To continue the week of Spartacus, today we’re going to chat about Buildables. We briefly touched on Buildables in a previous post, but it’s time to go a little bit deeper. We have Game Designer Chris Corey back to talk about the process behind creating Buildables.
When we start thinking about or designing Buildables, we first decide what we want the role of the Buildables to be. Is it area denial? Is it damage? Is it a counter to other Buildables? So if it’s a high-damage Buildable, we make sure it’s not an AOE, we want it to be single target, like the Ballista or the Light of Judgement. We also have to consider a few other things. Does it launch warriors? Does it stun them or slow them? If it does those things then it probably shouldn’t do as much damage, because it already has this effect that’s pretty powerful in Breakaway.
We also make sure that the health of a Buildable is balanced for its role and effectiveness. So if there’s a Buildable that does a lot of damage, we make sure it isn’t too tough to destroy, otherwise it would be overpowered. In some cases, we have to design specific counters for particularly effective buildables. The Ballista, for example, used to constantly shoot you while you were within range, resulting in melee characters taking a ton of damage if they tried to destroy it. We resolved that by making the Ballista not target enemies standing right next to it.
When designing Buildables, it’s a little different from designing warriors. With characters, we usually get concepts first and then start designing off of the one-pager. With Buildables, it’s functionality first, then we figure out what they should look like.
So let’s talk about Spartacus’ Buildables. His Ramp was actually from a previous version of the game and used by a completely different character. We really liked the Buildable and we wanted to keep it for him. He is that character we targeted as a high-mobility warrior. He has the No Retreat ability, which is basically a shoulder charge that closes the gap between enemies. He also has Slide, which is a short-ranged dodge move. So under the theme of mobility, it made sense that he would have a Buildable that could propel him across the map.
For the Fire Catapult, we wanted an offensive Buildable that could provide area denial and provide an effective counter to other Buildables. The Fire Catapult launches a flaming boulder that splits apart and forms a pool of fire. This allows it to do damage to multiple enemy buildables at a time and act as a persistent danger zone that opponents will avoid. Gladiator was the inspiration for the Fire Catapult. In the intro of the movie, you see catapults and archers as far as the eye can see, so for us it made sense to couple that notion with Spartacus in Breakaway.
First-time players tend to build his Ramp closer to their Relay, and that gets them to the Relic faster. That works fine, but if you build the Ramp closer to the enemy Relay, it can actually win you the game. It puts your team in a better position to score the Relay. It’s trickier because opponents will see you trying to build the Ramp, obviously. But if you time and position it right, you can really gain momentum and help your team score.
For the Fire Catapult, I’ve noticed players tend to build it right when the round starts, which is not the best tactic. It’s instinct for most, to deploy your Buildables earlier to maximize their usage on the field. But really, you want to wait to see when the enemy is constructing their Buildables, then position the placement of your Fire Catapult to destroy the opposing Buildables.