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For this update I want to discuss pets, specifically pet placement.
Right now having pets is still a concept as far as development goes but we're getting closer to the point where we'll need to have it figured out so it can be ready for programming and such. Since a lot of it is still up in the air it means any ideas and suggestions from you guys are even more helpful. As I mentioned above I'm only going to be talking about pet placement though. Not pets overall, we'll get into those details later. So let me throw out a few ideas to get things started and then see what you guys have to say in the comments.
First, let me clarify that I'm referring to active pets. Ones that attack, level up, have skills, etc. In other words, not the ones that just follow around behind you. We'll have those too most likely but they are much easier to implement for obvious reasons. Another thing is every character can essentially have a pet because it'll be a class skill and as I mentioned in another post your class is dynamic based on the skills you choose. So you could basically put one point into the pet skill and now have the ability to fight with a pet. Granted you'll need to invest a lot of points in the pet skill and probably other pet related skills to make your pet feasible as you level up. In other words, you can easily have a pet but if you don't invest many points in your pet skills it'll be rather lackluster.
Having pets in a TD game is a little tricky. For example, where do they go on the field? If you have them in the same location as your character would probably look a bit strange because they'd practically be on top of eachother. They could be beside you but then what happens if there is no available area around your character? For example you're a ranged character on a small island safe from melee but only enough room for your character, where does your pet go? Having it just show up at the nearest location probably wouldn't work too well and would be a hassle. It could be possible that if there's not enough room for your pet then it just wouldn't be out, which means you'll need to think a bit more about character location. However, this mostly applies to grounded pets. Flying pets can get away with a lot more but we need something that works for both unless we just go with the idea that flying pets are more versatile since they are in the air.
There's also the option of having the pet be manually placed just like a character. It doesn't have to hang around you perhaps but the disadvantage might be that certain pet skills that your character has might have limited range. So if your pet is on the other side of the map your pet buff might not reach it.
Another solution is to only have the pet appear when it's attacking. Almost like how a projectile from your character acts. I don't see this being a popular choice though because peope like seeing their pets around and it would mean the pet doesn't have health, take aggro, or protect one of your sides while fighting side by side with you.
And finally the last idea was to have the pets literally be characters. The first game that comes to mind where they had this is Dragon Age. Basically, the pet would be one of your 5 active characters that you have out on the field. This is a slightly different route than the other solutions. I wouldn't expect them to have armor and weapons really or maybe they'd just have equipment that doesn't display (we don't want to drive Kevin insane). Also they wouldn't be nearly as customizable as the other characters but they would have skills and such, maybe some skill points that can be assigned as they level up, etc. So think of them as just being more specific and less customizable characters. This might sound like they'd be lesser characters overall but I'd expect them to be quite strong, just more limited. You could maybe even have special combo moves that can only occur when you have certain pets together. For example, maybe you have one character and 4 wolf pets. Maybe you'd get a special passive skill called Pack Leader that gives all your units a nice buff. Just something like that perhaps.
Kevin has some new stuff on his blog, KXN @ HTD. He's always looking for comments on his work so be sure to stop by and let him know what you guys think about the HTD art. Here's a cool sketch Kevin did for uhh...something:
Creature Concept Sketch
Leave your feedback in the comments and let me know what option you like best or if you have your own idea be sure to let us know!
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