Developer Update

Developer Update:

DEVELOPMENT

 

Greetings all, from the Doctor Who: Worlds Apart development team. We’ve grown a lot in size since you last saw us: we hope you’re all doing well and we thank you all for your patience and for engaging in the community!

Firstly let’s introduce some new team members, joining us since the start of the year we have; Joshua as Lead Programmer, Sophie as Concept Artist, James as Creative and Web Services Manager, Eric and Mohamed as programmers, Dave as Senior Programmer, and last but not least Conrad as the company's new Head of Production.

This update focuses on raising the quality bar for DWWA across a wide range of areas including; gameplay, UX and technical performance. It represents the foundations of some overarching changes that will come out over the next few months to help increase the overall quality of the experience of the game.

Remember, DWWA is in Early Access, which means that sometimes, we have to 1) make difficult choices for the health of the game, while 2) carefully thinking through the consequences of our decisions including the impact on the existing community and 3) trying to get to a place where we can put out regular content for our Founders Token holders. We’ll return to these three points later in the article!

 

What’s New in v0.6

This update starts with some of the biggest changes to the core gameplay flow that the game has ever seen. We’re changing the way players attack with their Creatures, and how players can respond to their opponent, to massively increase the pace of gameplay:

  1. Players are no longer prompted with a reaction window after every action. Also, Creatures no longer attack “individually”, and instead are selected by the player to attack at once in the Reaction Phase.
  2. During the Reaction Phase the opponent is given the opportunity to use their Flash cards and decide which Creatures they want to block with and which are staying back.
  3. All of the combat resolves at the end of the Reaction Phase before control returns to the turn player to make any further actions before the end of turn.
  4. We’re also revamping the appearance of the board and the general flow of the gameplay to match these changes and generally smooth out a lot of the pain points that existed in the Founders Token holder build. That includes new SFX and VFX as well.
  5. Also expect to see changes to cards in the free set as a result of these changes.

The full patch notes including the exact changes to cards are available on Discord. Also, this patch comes with a lot of behind the scenes work on servers and the matchmaking service, and the collection screen. You should expect to see a lot fewer issues with disconnects, poor load times, and other bugs in this update.

 

 

Pacing and Flow

When we released the first Doctor Who: Worlds Apart cards to the public, all of the actual gameplay testing had been done with paper prototypes, just like any other Collectible Card Game in the early stages of development.

Once a set had been paper tested, Doctor Who lore could be added, and those cards could be sent over to digital artists to make the art which combined became your NFTs. Then the finished cards could be included into the client for people to own and trade.

But there was an issue: games that took 10 minutes in the paper prototype slowed to a crawling 30 minutes in the digital version. In addition, gameplay mechanics that were easy to write on paper ended up being a technical challenge for the original codebase on integration.

When we took stock of the situation after launching the FT Holders build and further validated our thoughts by seeing how real players interacted with the game, we had a choice: stick with the original game design, or decide on how we’d address those problems, and prepare for the impact of these big changes.

The good news is, the team’s industry experience has increased by decades from adding new team members.

Let’s return to what we said about what it means to be in Early Access: “making difficult decisions for the health of our game”.

 

Early Access Point #1: New Gameplay Decisions

We got a lot of useful feedback from the Founders Token holders last year, and we’ve also been following the community tournament and seeing the strategies that players have adopted, as well as further testing with the cards from Unearthly Origins and Time Lords Victorious.

Pacing isn’t the only issue we have, but it’s one of the biggest killers for onboarding new players interested in the game. The phase-based gameplay you’ll now find in the game is our solution addressing that problem. Let’s compare how Skaro looked before to how the game looks now:

 

DWWA is a conflict over the power of time and space itself, where you and your rival fight to control the flow of Artron that lets you summon Doctor Who’s most famous characters. We represent that tug-of-war literally: with the TARDIS console moving back and forth between you and your opponent during your turns.

At the start of your turn, the console lights up your Artron cells, making you the “Active Player”. The Active Player can play as many cards and activate abilities as they like, as long as they have the Artron reserves for it, and by clicking on their Creatures they can “mark” them as an attacker for the next phase of the turn.

 

Your opponent then becomes the active player. This means they get their own chance to respond, but since it’s not their turn, they can only play cards with Flash and activate abilities. Do not underestimate the ability to play a card with Flash and immediately use it by marking that Creature to block an attack. Once blockers have been selected, we then proceed to battle.

 

After combat, the console passes back to the player that started this turn. Your Artron doesn’t refill until the start of your turn, so you may want to reserve some Artron for after combat to replace the Creatures you lost!

 

It’s now your opponent’s turn to refill their Artron and start their assault. Each turn should roughly take at most 90 seconds to play out now, but if you remember to press the button to end your phase early the average turn will be much shorter and you’ll bank time to use in future.

 

Early Access Point #2: Card Consequences

This update has meant that we’ve needed to make some changes to the cards we have in the game already, that no longer make sense with this much more intense gameplay.

In particular, this update affects several keywords (Rapidity, Upper Hand and EXTERMINATE), as well as several cards that refer to enabling/disabling cards. There’s also a bunch of other changes to the overall gameplay flow to streamline the experience, and some of those effect how we design cards as well.

We’d like you all to check out our patch notes on Discord to explain those changes and some of our reasoning behind them.

 

Early Access Point #3: The Future

I imagine some of you will have some questions about what these changes mean for the future of DWWA. This update includes the majority of core gameplay changes we’d like to make and changes to the (first) gameboard, but there’s still more to come: many more cards to add, progression features, card frames, player avatars, and plenty of polish.

You’re probably also wondering about regular updates and what our plans are for a full public release. This month we added Conrad to the team as our Head of Production, and we’ve got some great news: expect to see a new public roadmap in the next few weeks.

We’re really excited for you all to get your hands on the new content in this release and to try out the changes to gameplay, and look forward to seeing all your feedback. We’ve got great plans for the future that we think you’re all going to be super excited for, as we head towards beta release.

That sums up our round up of the latest game development updates to enhance the Doctor Who: Worlds Apart gameplay experience.

Thank you to our community for stopping by to read about what we've been up to. Be sure to stay tuned for more news coming soon!

 

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