Garrison: Archangel Devs Discuss The Challenges of Creating A Fighter With Customizable Mecha

By Joel Couture . July 7, 2017 . 2:00pm

Garrison: Archangel is a 3D fighting game where two to four players can battle it out using their own customized mecha, developing their own strengths, weaknesses, and weapon loadouts to use against their friends.

With an alpha demo available to the public, Siliconera reached out to the developers of Garrison: Archangel to talk about the unique challenges they face in balancing when all of its players can make their own characters, rather than using preset ones, in a fighting game, as well all of the unique parts players can use to truly dominate their friends.

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What do you feel players enjoy about customizing mecha? What is it about choosing every part that adds such appeal?

It’s a similar joy to playing with building blocks as children, and the general act of creating something that you can say is yours. With our game, you add that feeling with giant robots that shoot missiles and lasers, and being awesome in general. On top of just picking armaments, which determine how effective they are in battle, we also give our players several options (like body parts and colors) that determine how cool they look while doing so!

What are some of the challenges you meet in making fun or interesting parts for customizing mecha? In designing parts that will make combat interesting in this 3D fighting style?

Right now the challenging part is making sure they’re balanced with each other WHILE being novel and cool. We have weapons in the game like swords, railguns, and drill lances that can become hammers, so we have different systems and play styles that have to work and interact with other builds without diminishing their unique-ness.

We actually have a lot of ideas (both internal and suggested by feedback) that add new systems to the game. For example, we’ve heard calls for drones that follow your mech around and shoot with you, bows that become nunchucks, deployed mines, and many others. It’s more a matter of getting around to developing them, then eventually balancing them with our existing roster of equipment.

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How will the parts change up how a mecha functions?


We have two general categories of parts: First, we have body parts that determine a mech’s overall ‘stats’ which determine movement, health, and potential damage. Then you have armaments, the weapons and tools that you use in-game to fight your opponents: stuff like missiles, guns, extra ammo packs, shields, and the different melee weapons.

 

Is it challenging to balance a fighting game with so many possible parts?

Yes! Like I said earlier, our different weapons have different unique playstyles, which you can mix and match. On top of this, you can change your mech’s speed and armor based on the body parts you use. Certain combinations of loadouts will be better than others, and it’ll be players making these combinations, not us developers. It gets more complex when you realize you can have more than one of the same type of gun, or you can mix a bunch of different kinds of missiles that can easily make a mech’s loadout more powerful than others, and even unfair.

This is why the game is actually more difficult to balance than your typical fighting game, which instead utilizes characters with ‘preset’ combinations of capabilities and attributes.

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You mention that the arenas will be a part of the action. What sort of traps and dangers will players have to look out for?


We’ve got a lot of different stage hazards depending on the theme of the map. We have a volcano stage that has flowing lava under the platforms. We have a virtual-reality style grid map, with edges that lead into the infinite darkness of 80’s-era cyberspace. We have an aircraft carrier in the middle of a stormy sea… and these examples are just the tip of the iceberg! There’ll be more to come!

You have said that Garrison: Archangel was born out of a card game. Can you tell us more about how the card game plays, and what about it drew out this mecha combat game?


The original card game also dealt with you customizing your mecha’s weapons and systems, then fighting an opponent or a series of different opponents. Its core mechanics (make a mecha, then fight using it) are actually similar to our video game. If anything, we just wanted to put more stuff in, and see our mechas in action on screen!


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