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  #3109  
Old November 24th, 2022, 10:34 PM
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Re: Heroscape: Age of Annihilation is here! Back it on Hasla

Like I said. Expect us to address it.

The designs of the Age of Annihilation, and their ACES compatibility with VC
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  #3110  
Old October 6th, 2023, 07:04 AM
Shadowking Shadowking is offline
 
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Re: Heroscape: Age of Annihilation is here! Back it on Hasla

@Dad_Scaper just dropping a line to see if you (or anyone else who was involved reads this honestly) can/are willing to share anything regarding various stuff with Age of Annilihation; not "new info"/info on unrevealed content as such, as a person interested in game design myself I'm just interested in some of the "behind the curtains" info regarding the design side of it. I know you've shared some info & stated you've been open to questions on some of the podcasts and videos you've been on, so was just wondering/hoping if you'd be willing to answer one or more of these questions regarding various things at all?

1. Was there a general "top-down" design philosophy or statement for AoA overall? Did it have specific design goals you guys wanted to capture? Sort of like an overall mission statement I guess. Were elements of it designed with the concept that it would later comprise some form of more traditional Master Set in mind?

2. How did the faction selection come about? Were the faction ideas handed down to you, or did you guys come up with them as a collaborative process? Were more historical-based units decided to not be a focus from higher-ups or was it more just coincidence that they weren't looked too heavily in AoA (or something like it not being a mandate or anything, but just that people didn't feel like they fit the other goals for the set?

3. Do you have any fun stories you can share from the design process? Funny design stories, playtest stories, that sort of thing? Obviously any sensitive info can be redacted if that would otherwise make you unable to share, but I always like hearing those.

4. What unit changed the most during design (either the most iterations or the biggest difference from concept to final card, or honestly both)? Again, specific details of older versions etc can be redacted on that of course.

5. How much intentionality was there behind the inclusion of synergy with older units/how much of it was more incidental or a nice bonus to things? Things like Dorim working with Dwarves, a new Hivelord for the Grubs, etc. Would future units have also been planned to take advantage of those synergies (so you weren't stuck having to buy a 15 year out of print squad)? I really liked this aspect personally, but interested to hear how much of an actual philosophy it was, if you can share.

6. Was there a specific drive to push the boundaries on things that the original run never touched, like multi-life squads, 5-model squads, figures that could create glyphs, etc? That was another element of AoA I found very compelling.

7. This one is very specific but I know multiple people have brought it up so can't hurt to ask if there's a chance you can shed light on it: there's been some contention with how the two Ursine heroes' sculpts and personalities line up, with Adelbern being the unit that ended up Wild despite looking more militaristic/armored and discipled, while Oberon ended up being Valiant but has the giant flailing claws and snarling teeth. Personally I don't really consider it an "issue" but I am quite interested to hear if there's anything you can share as to the reasons behind why it ended up how it did, as generally I think the theming behind AoA is really well-done but that one stands out a bit without knowing what the intentionality behind it was.

8. What was your favourite AoA unit that you created (of what we saw revealed), your favourite one you didn't create, and why? (I'm not uninterested to hear your least favourites too, if you had them, but that seems a bit of a mean-spirited question perhaps? Haha)
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  #3111  
Old October 6th, 2023, 03:53 PM
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Re: Heroscape: Age of Annihilation is here! Back it on Hasla

Good questions! It was such an intense period of quick decisions that I don't know that I can answer each in the spirit in which it was asked. I'll see what I can do.

Quote:
1. Was there a general "top-down" design philosophy or statement for AoA overall? Did it have specific design goals you guys wanted to capture? Sort of like an overall mission statement I guess. Were elements of it designed with the concept that it would later comprise some form of more traditional Master Set in mind?
We wanted to preserve the spirit of Heroscape. Our vision was to preserve it as a whimsical game that parents might want to get to play with their kids.

Hasbro's vision included a transition to faction-forward storytelling, which was not something that we challenged. Quite the contrary, it gave us direction when we were working on our own concepts.

Quote:
2. How did the faction selection come about? Were the faction ideas handed down to you, or did you guys come up with them as a collaborative process? Were more historical-based units decided to not be a focus from higher-ups or was it more just coincidence that they weren't looked too heavily in AoA (or something like it not being a mandate or anything, but just that people didn't feel like they fit the other goals for the set?
Craig asked us to pitch him ideas for factions. I pitched a planet of warring mages, which made it into the box, and I pitched pirates, which also made it into the box. I had some other ideas that were not given the go-ahead at all, and other ideas that were not realized in AoA itself, but might have seen the light of day in the future.

As for historical, at first I advocated in favor of including historical figures. I think that is such delightful space to mine. For instance, I brought the idea of creating Ranjit Singh - the first, greatest, and only Sikh Emperor - to the C3V. Who knew? So cool.

But a serious discussion of historical units becomes freighted, pretty quickly, with dark conversations about unpleasant things. And those conversations also, often, seemed to include some people lecturing other people about what they should (or, far more often, should not) find offensive.

I was happy to pivot to a world in which my ideas that were directly drawn from history were, instead, modified to be "inspired by" history. Some of those units have been identified by the community; others are still there, unidentified, hiding in plain sight.

Anyway. I brought the idea of warring wizards to Craig. He showed me the wisdom of making them into their own cool-looking species, and their look was mostly his doing. The artists he was working with were also important in creating the look of each faction, but we had no direct interaction with them.

Quote:
3. Do you have any fun stories you can share from the design process? Funny design stories, playtest stories, that sort of thing? Obviously any sensitive info can be redacted if that would otherwise make you unable to share, but I always like hearing those.
We were working on very tight deadlines and, though it was awesome and I am very proud of what we did together and it was deeply satisfying as a creator, I am not sure "fun" is the right word. It was exhilarating.

I will tell this story. I'd been working in the C3V since 2010, and on its leadership team since (roughly; I'd have to check) 2011. I've discussed many times the challenge of design in that context: make the theme match the mini, the mini match the mechanics, and the mechanics match the theme. If you've done those three things, you've done a good job. Working on AoA was different. I worked on transforming my ideas into a complete card. That was the (first) hard part. Well, one day, out of the blue, Craig sent me the professional artist's sketch of Bok-Bur-Na.

It was an emotional moment for me. It was an idea that I'd been gestating - a term I do not use accidentally - for months, and then there it was, realized more fantastically than I could have dreamed. It was a validation greater than what I had anticipated, a magical moment.

Quote:
4. What unit changed the most during design (either the most iterations or the biggest difference from concept to final card, or honestly both)? Again, specific details of older versions etc can be redacted on that of course.
Every unit changed, dramatically, over the time we worked on them. Certainly mine, because I do not have a mastery of the mechanics of the game the same way that dok does. But his, too, changed dramatically over time. We held onto themes (FTMP), faithful to the factions, etc., but they all changed. A lot of work went into dialing them in.

Quote:
5. How much intentionality was there behind the inclusion of synergy with older units/how much of it was more incidental or a nice bonus to things? Things like Dorim working with Dwarves, a new Hivelord for the Grubs, etc. Would future units have also been planned to take advantage of those synergies (so you weren't stuck having to buy a 15 year out of print squad)? I really liked this aspect personally, but interested to hear how much of an actual philosophy it was, if you can share.
It was intentional, and the impetus for it came from Craig. We had a pair of related, but ultimately contradictory, goals. First, anybody could get this set and be ready to play, without regard for the Old Stuff. Second, a person with the Old Stuff would feel a connection to this game, and would have accessible synergy, as well.

Quote:
6. Was there a specific drive to push the boundaries on things that the original run never touched, like multi-life squads, 5-model squads, figures that could create glyphs, etc? That was another element of AoA I found very compelling.
Yes. As above, we wanted it to feel both like Heroscape, and like something new. Both things at once.

Quote:
7. This one is very specific but I know multiple people have brought it up so can't hurt to ask if there's a chance you can shed light on it: there's been some contention with how the two Ursine heroes' sculpts and personalities line up, with Adelbern being the unit that ended up Wild despite looking more militaristic/armored and discipled, while Oberon ended up being Valiant but has the giant flailing claws and snarling teeth. Personally I don't really consider it an "issue" but I am quite interested to hear if there's anything you can share as to the reasons behind why it ended up how it did, as generally I think the theming behind AoA is really well-done but that one stands out a bit without knowing what the intentionality behind it was.
As specific as this question is, I think it might be just beyond what I can discuss freely. I will say this.

I love the armored bears. I was not the only teammember who wanted to design them, and I was very grateful that I was the one given the chance.

As for this particular debate, I enjoy reading fan theories. Theories like this, theories like Anitar's interpretations of the fuzzy-released cards. I just can't confirm things like that, no matter how well-reasoned they appear to be.

Quote:
8. What was your favourite AoA unit that you created (of what we saw revealed), your favourite one you didn't create, and why? (I'm not uninterested to hear your least favourites too, if you had them, but that seems a bit of a mean-spirited question perhaps? Haha)
My favorite is probably Bok-Bur-Na. The final design was true to the rough draft, and I see him as one of the great characters from the set, realized right there on the card. I wanted him to be a fearsome pirate captain, and he is. I am also partial to both bear squads, because I love the sculpts so much. The Ordo Borealis is my favorite unit sculpt in the entire set.

Favorite unit I didn't design? Maybe the Vorid Glide Strikers, again because of the awesome sculpts. I wish the cards did the sculpts more justice, but they were so sweet. That whole faction was fun.

I wish more of dok's design work saw the light of day. I know I was very lucky, in that so many of the cards I worked on made it out into the world.

Thank you for the opportunity to ask these interesting questions, Shadowking, and I applaud your patience with Brigdhe, your own design, which has blossomed into something fine. Good job!

The designs of the Age of Annihilation, and their ACES compatibility with VC
C3V "Easily the best quality classic customs I have ever seen."
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  #3112  
Old October 6th, 2023, 04:17 PM
Shadowking Shadowking is offline
 
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Re: Heroscape: Age of Annihilation is here! Back it on Hasla

Thank you for taking the time to answer them! I agree, I really like the sculpts for both the Ordo Borealis and the Frostclaw Paladins; in that one playtest video we saw their miniatures looked really nice and "chunky" too, as befitting for their theme. The "inspired by but not directly referencing historicals" angle is interesting (and I can see how it makes sense, especially when you take into account the move towards a more faction-driven storytelling set-up) - it was certainly visible in the pirate faction, and perhaps would have been moreso going forward with others; the other factions included in AoA specifically being a lot more "alien" to humans/history (not that they aren't cool in their own right of course) probably was part of why it maybe wasn't entirely noticed? But that's just me hypothesizing. The Bok-Bur-Na story is very cool too, I'm glad you were able to have that opportunity.
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  #3113  
Old October 6th, 2023, 09:36 PM
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Re: Heroscape: Age of Annihilation is here! Back it on Hasla

Thank you @Shadowking for the great questions!

And thank you @Dad_Scaper for the illuminating and thoughtful responses!

This is a great read.
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