Developer Diary #5
Very soon you will be able to play our prototype of Earthbreakers. This early look, however, is just a small slice of where we want to be in the final product. In the prototype you will see the HQ, Factory and Refinery buildings, but there are at least three more structures that will be present in the final game. As in RTS games, each of these structures will have a unique purpose - something they will contribute to your team, and something you will lose if the structure is destroyed. In the prototype, the HQ will also house all of the upgrades you can buy, but in the final game, those upgrades will be distributed to the correct structures - this will be explained more below.
Let's start with the structures you will see in the prototype. The HQ, as in most RTS games, is the cornerstone of your base. It acts as the central command and "manager" for the rest of the structures. As such, if your HQ is destroyed, your ability to build other major structures is lost. Protecting the HQ is vital, but in most maps it will be in a defended position near the back.
The Refinery is the source of your income. Everyone will get a slow trickle of resources over time without the refinery present, but with a refinery each load returned by the harvester gives you a burst of credits to spend. Losing your harvester will stop the resource cycle for a time, but harvesters will automatically respawn after a delay. Lose the refinery, however, and you are left with just that slow trickle for resources.
The Factory is where you purchase vehicles and (in the final game) vehicle upgrades. It is also where you research vehicle tech levels. All vehicles and vehicle upgrades require the factory and many will require vehicle research. As with the constructions of buildings, research is automatic but can you can donate resources to speed it up. Losing the factory will remove your ability to buy vehicles and vehicle upgrades, though you never lose anything you previously purchased.
And now to the structures that aren't in the prototype. The Barracks is in charge of everything soldier class related. It will allow you to switch between classes and purchase class upgrades. Like the factory, it also controls class-related research, and several upgrades will require research before they unlock. Losing the barracks removes the ability to buy class upgrades and stops class research, though the ability to switch classes will remain.
The Power Plant acts as an enhancement for all of your base structures. It increases build speed, increases your income trickle and many other bonuses. Certain structures (such as advanced turrets) require the power plant to be active before they can be purchased (or even function). Losing the power plant removes these bonuses and can potentially render some objects like turrets non-functional.
And finally, the Tech Building. The tech building allows the research of team upgrades (upgrades that modify the base itself or the entire team in some way). All research types (Class, Vehicle and Team) have three tech levels. Tech level three is locked until the Tech Building is constructed, so without the tech building many of the highest level upgrades remain unavailable. Losing the tech building not only removes the ability to purchase team upgrades, but also removes the ability for tech level 3 to be researched at all (if it hasn't already been unlocked).
All of these structures and interactions mimic the "build order" and "tech tree" of RTS games. Of course, it can be a lot to take in, so we will always show you the build order and where your current progress is at the touch of a button (you can see this in the prototype by pressing the BACKSPACE key). And of course there are other things to build like turrets that are not considered "victory relevant" but play a large part in the defensive strategy of the game.
That concludes this week's dev diary. If you want to see first-hand how this all works, join us for Steam Fest! Try out the prototype of the game and let us know what you think!