Early Access launches through platforms like Steam have become more common. Some have complained about needing to buy a game while it’s in development, even though the price is cheaper. However, the ability to get continued fan feedback has been invaluable to many studios, such as Supergiant Games with underworld. Launch of Lavapotion songs of conquest in early access on May 10 with the goal of tailoring its experience to players’ interests.
songs of conquest began its journey in 2017 with CEO Magnus Alm, technical artist Patrik Liljecrantz, lead game designer Carl Toftfelt, and lead programmer Niklas Borglund aiming to create their own take on the eponymous strategy adventure genre. The team has since grown to eight employees, plus a number of freelancers who help recapture and enhance the magic of classic turn-based strategy games like Heroes of Might and Magic, The Age of Wonders, the kindness of the Kingand Disciples. While Lavapotion knew what kind of audience it was aimed at, Game Rant told Toftfelt how it’s using Early Access to gauge what kind of enhancements it will focus on.
Songs of Conquest’s early access launch was intentionally limited
The central “constellation” of founding members has experience in the wider gaming and entertainment industries, with Toftfelt working as an actor and singer for 11 years. Toftfelt and Alm were childhood friends, and Alm described the lead game designer as “one of the most dedicated gamers and clever designer minds I’ve ever met” in a statement to Game Rant. Although Toftfelt had only been an acquaintance of Liljecrantz before songs of conquestand he had never met Borglund, “We hit it off really quickly.”
Lavapotion and Coffee Stain Publishing bonded early on, with the Swedish publisher facilitating development even after Toftfelt and the team decided to change course nearly two years later. Songs of conquestSince the 2.5D pixel art was so complex that it was feared that designing a faction would take years, Lavapotion also wanted to focus on defining its magic system.
Toftfelt also found it important to work on story campaigns that explain why different factions are at war, even in more casual and personalized single-player skirmish matches. Lavapotion had originally planned extensive 50-hour campaigns for each faction, but realized that if they wanted fans to throw themselves into learning each song (rewarded verse by verse for each mission), they would have to be kept short. and intense. Not knowing how interested players would be, Lavapotion only developed campaigns for two of the four factions.
“One of the main reasons we decided to move to Early Access late last year was that we were trying to figure out what modes people would like to play. Two things that we really underestimated are the amount of campaign and multiplayer they want to play. . Most of the team thought they would want to play skirmish.”
Based on reviews on songs of conquestIn the first month, Toftfelt said Lavapotion was “convinced to do more” campaigns – although he added “I don’t want to make any promises”. The studio also has a prototype in the works to facilitate multiplayer and open up more robust support, which could be implemented by this summer if all goes well.
Fan-generated content in Songs of Conquest
A major facet of songs of conquestEarly Access is a custom map editor, with fan creations available to download and use in skirmishes. Toftfelt said this feature was important to Lavapotion, “That way we can get more of the stuff you want, because we could never produce enough of it.” The designer has played a bunch of player content and says the results are particularly impressive given how “extremely unruly and difficult to use” the map creation system is. Making this feature more understandable to the public has always been pushed back in favor of other developments, although Toftfelt thinks it’s cool that players have all the same tools as Lavapotion. “I think it took me by surprise how good players use our resources to do pretty things.”
While the Swedish studio hopes to gauge general player interest, it also has a feature suggestion forum available at songs of conquestthe website of. Here, users can pitch ideas for fellow fans to vote on, and popular suggestions get “a lot” of consideration when deciding what to implement – depending on time commitment. relative. Toftfelt said some popular ideas may seem easy to fans, but require a disproportionate amount of work. Others may have fewer votes, but are easy to implement in a day or two; for example, the option to auto-battle again or go halfway through a multiplayer match has already been added.
Designing a roadmap for the future
Lavapotion has many features in mind, including a random map generator currently in the prototyping phase (an idea with 1,400 upvotes in Songs of conquests user suggestion forum), and better campaign scaling with difficulty levels. Toftfelt said Lavapotion didn’t have a full track record when this interview was done in early June, but hopes to have the right goals he can be confident in by the end of this month or the next.
“There are so many ideas, our backlog is about 10 years old. We try to zoom in on what players want and keep EA within a reasonable time frame.”
Additional factions are the biggest fan request and something the developers hope to achieve. Toftfelt said Lavapotion’s first priority is to complete missing mechanics in the current four factions: Arleon, Barya, Rana, and the Barony of Loth. From there, the team has half a dozen more in mind, but will probably only choose about two – balancing the time it takes to design the groups and their animations in a pixel art style reminiscent of HD games. -2D from Square Enix. Each faction is associated with a unique environmental biome, and this will likely carry over to additions that “could add a lot of flair to the map.” As for what to expect, Toftfelt explained how fans reading lore snippets can get an idea of the factions being considered.
songs of conquest has only been available for a few weeks, but Toftfelt says it feels like months – and the team is eager to get back to normal working hours. However, he thinks no one at Lavapotion foresaw how the Early Access launch would turn out after five years in an echo chamber. “We’re super overwhelmed in a very, very good way,” he said. “We’re thrilled that so many people are interested in an Early Access game like this, and there are some very active players.”
songs of conquest is available now in Early Access on PC.
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