There's unlimited juice? This party is gonna be off the hook
April 5th, 2023
The units in our RTS/RPG game can use skills to perform special attacks and defensive feats which juice up the visual experience of our game and add a layer of tactical customization for the player to enjoy. In this post we’ll explain how our skill system works and how we’ve integrated it in the game.
Units can be upgraded to have both passive and action skills. Passive skills increase a unit’s stats in some way, while action skills allow a unit to perform a special action when triggered. A unit’s action skills will be triggered under circumstances such as: seeing an enemy, seeing an ally, attacking an enemy, or receiving a certain type of attack.
Each unit can have up to three action skills in use at any time, but can accumulate many more as they are upgraded. The restriction of having only 3 actions skills in use at a time makes the player have to think about how their units are configured depending on their current situation. For example when battling a group of Archers, the Cadet’s Chest Kick skill may not be the best choice as it will send enemies flying backwards. This will just create more distance between the Cadet and their ranged attacking foes. A counter example would be the Miner’s Poor Sport action skill. This skill sends the Miner into a rage when hit by ranged attacks, causing the Miner to move faster for a few seconds. This would help the melee weapon wielding Miner close the distance between themself and the ranged Archers.
The Archer using the Rapid Shot skill, followed by Trick Shot. All while being pelted by two Blasters
The Archer’s portrait during combat. This shows their health decreasing with each hit, and also the cooldown that begins after each skill is used
We use special effects with most of our action skills to make them that much more special. The effects can appear at different times during an action skill. An example of an effect being used at the start of an action skill, as seen above, is the Archer’s Trick Shot skill. It shows air being pulled inwards followed by an explosion of sparkles when the arrow is released. To contrast, the Cadet’s Crush Armor skill will cause a blast of metal and sparks at the end of the skill, when the Cadet’s blade makes contact with their target.
Action skills can be configured with at least one special effect, and we can specify if an effect occurs when the skill starts or when it completes. How we configure an action skill can be represented visually using Unreal blueprints:
The FXType field can be set for both the Action Skill itself or the Action Skill Response, which is used when resolving a successful attack
The Cadet’s Crush Armor skill creates a shower of sparks and metal with an effect triggered in the skill’s Action Skill Response
Tales of Interest
To keep things interesting, some action skills use unique animations. These animations will use the Action Skill Response to trigger special effects just like a skill that doesn’t use a specific animation.
The Miner using the Don’t Crowd Me skill
The Blaster escaping their attacker using the Twitch skill, but not before using the Tar Bomb skill to slow the pursuing Cadet
In some cases, the special effect used for an action skill will be what causes damage to targets. For example, the Miner’s Ground Swell skill creates a blast of dirt that travels in a line away from the Miner. Enemies hit by the effect will receive damage.
The Miner uses three skills in quick succession. They move toward the Archers quickly due to the Poor Sport skill triggering when they are hit by ranged attacks. The Ground Swell skill hits both Archers in a line, and lastly the Hilt Hit skill stuns the last Archer while they receive a pickaxe to the head
We recently completed the Ruined Village area of our game. There’s lots of fun things to do and we had a lot of fun making it! Here’s some screenshots, thanks for reading!