Developer's Blog

Chapter 2 Is Coming, And We've Got A Little Preview For You

Posted on December 07, 2018 by Shibusuke

We’re hard at work on Chapter 2, so I wanted to take a quick moment to update you on our progress and to give you a small preview of what’s coming.

First, a recap: after Omar pulled ahead of Zem during the last few days of Chapter 1’s influence period, the current standing among the faction leaders is:

You can read the full recap here!

With Azura ascendant and her ally Sohrab left vulnerable, what does that spell for the city? Thanks to you, the old alliances are crumbling, but what will take their place is in its infancy. This tumultuous situation will be felt throughout the city in Chapter 2.

In terms of our progress, we recently locked the script for Chapter 2 (it’s quite meaty, especially when you consider having all five factions in there) and are preparing to get everything hooked up and tested.

At the same time as we’ve been updating the AI, we’ve also been coming up with the boss battles you’ll face. We’ve settled on something we think will give you a solid challenge, and look cool to boot (we’ve made new visual effects for some of the enemy abilities you’ll encounter).

Designing and implementing bosses takes a lot of work (especially since we spent a good chunk of time focused on AI improvements), but we hope you’ll enjoy what’s coming.

The holiday season tends to slow everything down substantially, but we’re going to get as much as we can done before family obligations kick in. We’ll keep you updated as we get closer to Chapter 2’s release!

And as for what you’ll encounter once it arrives: the city is more divided and fearful than ever before, and the old alliances are crumbling. As the evil plaguing the city grows bolder, its leaders continue to focus only on themselves and their grudges. Even gestures of goodwill towards the people carry not-so-hidden meaning, and the people are becoming more and more frustrated. And Sohrab’s diminished status has not gone unnoticed...

Chapter 2 focuses on the city - your quest will bring you into contact with people who are caught up in the chaos but are trying to do what’s best, either for themselves or for those they care about. The movements of the faction leaders still play a prominent role, but you will be seeing more of their impact on the citizens of Iskendrun this time around.

I hope you’re excited to see how the story continues to unfold in Chapter 2, and we’re excited to see how you drive its evolution going into Chapter 3 and beyond!

City of the Shroud Patch 1.05 Released!

Posted on November 09, 2018 by Shibusuke

We’re happy to announce that Patch 1.05, which contains our updated enemy AI, is now ready for you to play! The AI in this updates is much more clever and aggressive than the previous iteration, which should make combat much more lively and engaging.

Major Updates:

Revamped AI:

  • Enemies are more aggressive in their movement and usage of combos.

  • Enemies are better at picking out vulnerable targets and hitting them with clever combos. This speeds up combat and makes timing and use of defensive abilities much more critical, especially on higher difficulties. They may also pursue vulnerable targets if the target tries to run.

  • Enemies have under-the-hood “personality traits.” Each class has a base set of preferences (prefers being aggressive / defensive / using support abilities, etc.), and these can vary across individual units.

  • Enemies now have a better understanding of the map. They will now go after AP bonus tiles and the like more frequently, for example.

  • Enemies are now better about maintaining an optimal range for their class and preferences. For example, Gunners will generally try to keep their target at the edge of their range while avoiding being in range of their opponent, even if it means giving up an immediate opportunity to attack. Meanwhile, Mages are more aggressive and will generally tolerate a higher degree of risk if it means they can pull off a powerful attack.

We still have some more updates planned for the AI - specifically, we’re going to be working on giving the enemies ability-specific decision making, which didn’t quite make it into this patch. We got it in for a couple abilities, but we want to focus our time and energy on getting Chapter 2 ready first.

Also, if you want a recommendation from me, try playing the game on Hard with the game speed set to Fast and disable Wait Mode entirely. You should really feel the difference!

Of course, if you’ve got any feedback on what you’d like to see improved, please feel free to share it with us in the Steam forums!

Patch 1.05 Preview

Posted on September 28, 2018 by Shibusuke

We’re working on the first big patch for City of the Shroud while Moira writes Chapter 2, so I wanted to take some time to go over what’s coming:

Major Updates:

Revamped AI:

  • The AI is getting an overhaul to make it more interesting, more challenging, and to let it better highlight what makes CotS’ combat unique. When the new patch releases, enemy characters will:
  • Enemies will be more aggressive in their movement and usage of combos. Enemies will be better at picking out vulnerable targets and hitting them with clever combos. This will speed up combat and make timing and anticipation much more critical.
  • Personalities: enemies will have “personality traits.” Each class will have a base setup (prefers being aggressive / defensive / using support abilities, etc.), and these can vary across individual units.
  • Ability-specific decision making: the classes in CotS are designed to be deep, with variety within each class coming from the types of Link Gems they have equipped. The AI will have a better understanding of how it can use the abilities it has equipped on a character to torment you more effectively, and rewarding you for keeping track of and responding to them.

Other Additions:

  • Combat Details Display: pressing the new “Combat Details” button during combat will display a variety of useful information on screen. This includes:
  • Range Preview: when you press the Combat Details button, yellow range indicators will appear on the tile you are currently hovering over, showing you what your range would be on that tile before moving there.
  • Player Character Shortcut Numbers: the shortcut number for each of your characters will be displayed over their head so you can quickly pinpoint where everyone is relative to the UI on the side of the screen.
  • Enemy Location Arrows: all (conscious) enemies will get a red arrow specifying their positions.

Minor Updates & Bug Fixes:

  • Update: We have made additional NPC character art for characters who are not important to the story to avoid repetition.
  • Update: The game now prompts you to select a difficulty when starting a new game.
  • Update: The AP cost of moving to a highlighted tile is displayed on that tile before moving.
  • Update: Shortcuts for Wait Mode / Combat Details are now displayed on-screen during combat during tutorial battles.
  • Update: Wait Mode can now be set to toggle by holding the button or tapping the button to turn it ON/OFF in Gameplay options.
  • Update: Improvements to flow when connecting to another player for an Online VS battle.
  • Bug Fix: Tile Targeting arrow for controller now gets drawn on top of Machinist’s backpack geometry.
  • Bug Fix: Fixed hidden tiles acting as pits in the Market Gate map in the Refugee Quarter.
  • Bug Fix: Fixed location and portrait of an NPC who should have been a refugee in the Refugee Quarter but appeared as an regular Citizen in Old Town.
  • Bug Fix: Long quest names in the Quest Tracker should no longer bleed out into the border graphic.
  • Bug Fix: Return To Game button on the pause menu no longer enters the “selection” sprite state when pausing even if the player is using mouse/keyboard.

The team has been under the weather with colds and whatnot for the last few weeks, so it’s taken us longer to get this done than we would have liked, but we’re slowly recovering. The patch will need some more time to thoroughly test it before we can release into the wild, but hopefully this gives you an idea of what we’ve been working on since launch.

We’ve also been following the responses to the game and seeing where players are having fun and where they’re not. We’re working on ideas to address these pain points - some will be harder and take more time than others (especially because we want to prioritize working on new chapters), but we want everyone to know that we’re seeing the feedback and will aim to address whatever we can.

Of course, if you’ve got any feedback on what you’d like to see improved, please feel free to share it with us in the Steam forums.

In the meantime, Chapter 1’s influence period wrapped up recently, so if you haven’t read about what went down, you can do so here!

Chapter 1 Results!

Posted on September 18, 2018 by Shibusuke

Chapter 1 is a wrap! Here are the final results:

A last-minute push over the weekend has placed Omar ahead of Zem. Azura’s Merchants are now the most dominant in the city, followed by the rebellion, and then the Syndicate. Navid is trailing his arch-rival Zem by a significant margin, and poor Sohrab can’t seem to catch a break.

What happens now? To start, Moira will be looking at not only how each of the factions stands in relation to the others but also at how their alliances and beliefs have shifted over the course of the chapter.

As you played, you were not only changing your chosen leader’s influence, but also what they think of the other leaders. So far, you have undermined several alliances, but not always mutually - in many cases, you have one leader who still trusts their ally, while their ally no longer trusts them back. I wonder how that will play out?

It’s not all seeds of distrust, though - you’ve also strengthened some bonds, and even managed to push hard for one we would never have predicted. And remember, these characters’ allies and enemies are all tangled together (for example, in Chapter 1, Navid is allies with Omar and Sohrab, but Omar and Sohrab hate each other), so these effects will ripple across the entire fabric of the story.

I don’t want to go into too much detail to avoid spoilers, but you’ve given us some incredible material to work with.

What does it mean for the city to have the Merchants rise to power as everyone begins to turn on each other, the old balance becomes untenable, and the City Guard, ostensibly keepers of the peace, watching the city descend into chaos while they are powerless to stop it?

We’ll have to wait for Chapter 2 to find out!

Chapter 1's Influence Period Extended Through September 16!

Posted on September 10, 2018 by Shibusuke

This is a quick announcement to let you know that we're extending the influence period for Chapter 1 until the end of this coming weekend: Sunday, September 16. A few newcomers have arrived, and we want to make sure they have a chance to make their mark on Iskendrun.

And if you haven't finished Chapter 1 yet, now's your chance!