Sebastian Kaspari joins the Lands of Ruin team!

I have some excellent news today. The Lands of Ruin team just got some serious reinforcement. Sebastian Kaspari has officially joined our team. Sebastian is an Android developer with tons of experience writing great apps (see some of his private apps in Google Play). Sebastian will strengthen and speed up the app development process, as well as bring a new, fresh perspective to the general game development.

Stay tuned for more detailed updates about the app status – including screenshots very soon!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Developer Diary #5

Yesterday, we introduced another new player to our game. Dennis joined us to play a test game.

After a quick overview of the game mechanisms and rules, we jumped into the game. We played a small team game with each team trying to retrieve oil containers from the middle of the table.

As I managed to get the first turn I decided to make an early dash towards the objective with two of my guys and hoping that rest of my team could cover their retreat.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen. My machine gunner took too long to climb to a good firing position on top of an old abandoned military watch tower to prevent my forward guys from getting destroyed by Dennis’ more concentrated team and close range shotgun and submachine gun fire.

As both teams delayed opening fire – especially with their loud, fully automatic weapons – no zombies were attracted to the area in the early stages of the game. In fact, zombies started to appear only in the very end when both teams were already in full retreat.

At the end of the game my team was left with a 50% casualty rate and without being able to retrieve even one of the objectives. Meanwhile, in Dennis’ team, only one of his characters was wounded by my machine gun fire when retreating. Dennis also managed to take 2 of the 3 objectives home making it a total victory to the new player. Am I sensing a theme here?

In my book, the play test was a success – even in spite of the loss 😉 Dennis brought with him tons of great ideas and advise on how to improve the game. The feedback we received was very valuable. Thanks Dennis!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Developer Diary #4

Hi again everyone! It’s time for another update of our progress. This time we have some great news and a lot of new info has appeared online since the last update. We announced the game release date as well as opened the beta signups. We’re getting close to the release!

Play test

We took a big step in our testing by starting to introduce the game to people outside the game developers. Our first external tester was Sebastian Kaspari.

The game took about 3 hours to play including introduction and explaining the game rules. Even though Sebastian is new to miniature gaming in general he picked up the game quickly and was, in fact, able to defeat Rick in the game. You can read Sebastian’s thought about the game from his Google+ post.

The game objective was to recover suplies from a wrecked tank in the middle of the game area. While Rick was able to move in first and recover one of the objective containers early rest of his team failed fight off Sebastian’s flanking force. The battle culminated to Sebastians close combat specialist attacking Rick’s machine gunner in close combat and the close combat specialist’s chain saw making short work of the unprepared heavy weapon guy.

Despite some loud machine gun fire zombies didn’t arrive in the first few turns but once they did they did arrive with massive numbers. At the end the ruined city blocks were swarmed by more than 40 zombies and both teams were forced to evacuate the area.

In the end even trying to summon the powers of Cthulhu didn’t save Rick from a defeat.

App

This week we didn’t add any new features to the app. We concentrated on adding stability as new players were going to be introduced to the game. While we had some issues the app performed well and the game was a success.

The app also received a brand new icon this week!

Terrain

On top of playing and creating new graphics Rick has been busy painting and terrain pieces. While there’s still few pieces that are not complete the game terrain is looking awesome!
That’s it for this update. Stay tuned for more very soon!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Announcing Lands of Ruin launch date, beta signups now open

Make Munich launch

Lands of Ruin will be launching at Make Munich (in Munich, Germany) event 20th and 21st of April. We will be there for the whole weekend demoing our game to anyone who is interested. If you happen to live in southern Germany, or can get here, then come join us. We will provide you with anything you need to play Lands of Ruin!

Beta Signup

We have also just opened our beta signup for people interested to try the game as soon as it is available. If you want to be one of the first people to play the first, next generation tabletop strategy game signup now! You’ll find links to the signup form from our beta signup page.

Exciting times!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

App Icon

Several people have been asking me about the game’s artwork lately, so I just wanted to add a quick update today. Although I have mostly been focusing on creating terrain over the last few weeks, I have also been working a bit on creating some graphics and concept art for Lands of Ruin. I will begin uploading all of the new artwork to a new page on the site soon, but for now I will simply upload a few pieces at a time in these updates.

Today, I created the game icon for the app (above). Here is a picture of the icon as it will look on the tablet itself. Let me know what you think!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Lands of Ruin – Feature Overview

As we’re approaching Lands of Ruin’s beta launch (April 2013) we are starting a series of posts exploring the game features, detailing what makes it a next generation tabletop game. In this first post of the series we describe the big picture to allow readers to understand the context of the upcoming articles about each of the game areas.

Hybrid gameplay

Lands of Ruin is an evolution of the tabletop gaming genre that utilises the recent advances in technology. The game seamlessly combines the tabletop miniature gameplay we know and love with a tablet application, which allows us to bring features into the game that would not otherwise be possible. The main gameplay still takes place on the tabletop. The game is played with miniatures and the miniatures move through the tabletop terrain according to the game’s rules. 

Hidden complexity

The companion tablet app takes care of most of the tedious modifier calculations, helps the player to keep track of wounds, assigned actions and character effects. These are things that would be possible to do with a traditional pen & paper approach, but through making these the responsibility of the tablet, the players are free to concentrate on the strategic thinking, enemy movement and general overall immersion in the gameplay and story. 
We didn’t stop there. Incorporating tablets into the game allows us to move far beyond merely what would be possible with pen & paper!

Hidden activity

Playing traditional tabletop wargames is like playing poker with an open hand. Your opponent always knows everything that’s going on and where all of their enemies are (don’t get us wrong, we love traditional wargames and they’ll always have a place in our hearts, but we think there’s room for more). In Lands of Ruin you can have hidden models on the table, build boobytraps, secret weapons, reinforcements, etc. 
Hidden activity allows you to create much more complex strategies as your enemy doesn’t have full knowledge of the battlefield. Imagine creating and triggering traps by luring your enemy into kill zones covered by hidden snipers or machine gunners. 

Lure your opponent to hidden traps.

Non-player characters

In most tabletop wargames two armies line up and face each other on abandoned, isolated battlefields without any interference from outside forces. This type of war has not existed in reality for centuries. We wanted to create a living world that’s never truly empty, nor isolated. That is why Lands of ruin introduces AI (artificial intelligence) controlled NPCs. The battlefield will be infested with the left-overs from the final wars of civilization: zombies, automated droids & drones, and in the worst case battlemechs. The control of these NPCs is given to the tablet. They follow complex, but intuitive, AI rules programmed in to the app to behave rationally (or brainlessly in case of zombies).

Lands of Ruin brings AI to tabletop gaming.

Fight for a goal

Lands of Ruin battles do not need end in annihilation of your opponent’s team in order to achieve victory(although it can happen). The games are played to achieve a goal, for example, scavenge a wrecked tank, save a wounded character from the enemy, kidnap an enemy character, etc. Teams might or might not be fighting for the same goal. It might very well be that two groups of survivors just happened to be in the same place same time.
The players play the game to get something done. Sometimes you might be trying to avoid your opponent and sometimes you might be running after them. At any point you might decide to abandon your goal and leave the battle if the price of achieving it is becoming too high. You don’t want to lose your characters for nothing!

There’s life between battles!

Lands of Ruin continues between battles. All characters gather experience, learn new skills, equipment carry over wounds and heal between battles. You will see mini games resolving the results of the previous battle and its survivors as well as manage your tribe and focus your group’s efforts. All of this is done on your computer using a browser. You don’t have to resolve any of this right after the battle, but instead you get to do it whenever you have time.

The world is alive

The world of Lands of Ruin isn’t a vacuum where only two people play the game. The world is alive and connected. Battles are automatically tracked by a cloud service that tracks everything that is going on in the world (for people who want to participate). Tribes that thrive can affect the balance of power among the players and tribes in their real-world location. Your tribe might get harassed by other players in your area, and you’ll find opportunities to challenge them into games to resolve differences, or create alliances, if you so choose.
As the games are already tracked by tablets, players are not required to manually do anything for this to happen. You don’t have to submit your games or battle reports by writing result on websites. Everything happens automatically as you play.
———
Now that you have a good overview what Lands of Ruin is all about, we will start posting more detailed articles about the gameplay, as well as deep dives to each of the above sections to explain what exactly happens and how things work. Stay tuned!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Developer Diary #3

Hey everyone!
It’s time for a developer update again. This week’s play test was great. Our game rules are nearly complete and the companion app is supporting almost all of them. We found some issues with some interactions and some action point amounts and tweaked them for the next play test.

Play test

This week’s play test was action packed. The game took between two to three hours to play including all our breaks for rule discussions. We’re still on our target with the game play duration in general.
This play test confirmed that we’re on right track with the way we handle approaching zombie hordes. At the later part of the game the approaching hordes started to cause real pressure for both teams causing both of them to retreat but not before Rick’s team managed to reach and salvage the objective from the middle of the game area.

App

This was the first game test the app fully integrated with the opponent’s app. The interaction between the two sides is getting more frequent and is truly starting to speed up the game as well as hide the complex modifier calculations.

Terrain

Our terrain making efforts are moving along nicely. The new tables are now mostly covered with nice terrain pieces but some work still remains. Rick also promised to post an article about the way our road pieces are made. Stay tuned for that!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment