KOTCL Developers Diaries: Emotions, Effects, and… Coffins?

Redboon
6 min readDec 15, 2023

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Well what did you expect? It’s all in a day’s work for us!

Knock-knock, travelers!

Once again, Friday marks another entry in our developer diaries. Let’s show you what this week has brought us.

No Peace in This Coffin

The thought of upgrading the character selection screen has been gnawing at us for a while. We really wanted to add various details that would improve both the overall picture and the atmosphere.

For instance, we’ve reworked Vanadis’s coffin a bit by adding one of the lock variants. Soon, we’ll add more life to it; that is, animations. What do you think about it? Write your answer in the comments!

In Joy and Sorrow

Life wouldn’t be as interesting and thrilling without emotions. Of course, this applies to gaming worlds as well. Currently, in dialogues, our characters remain unflinching despite all the hardships, adversity; even joys don’t seem to affect them at all. ‘That won’t do’ we thought, so we turned the emotions switch on. They can no longer hide their true reactions!

Rattling the Nerves

We continue to accompany events with atmospheric artwork. We’re eager to share our artists’ fantasies for one of the demonic events. We think it turned out great and very menacing at the same time, sending shivers down our spines, just how we like it. The screamer adds to the horror. You’ll find out which version will make it into the game in the next episodes.

Will There Be Animations?

Why yes, of course! Did you think we’d let you go without them? No way. Today, the animation menu presents the following items.

We’re thinking up and trying out buff and debuff effects, with the one and only Persival as the model.

What will getting 10 health points for each curse in hand look like? Here’s a sneak peek.
Absence of block at the end of a turn grants Evasion.
This is what immunity to periodic damage looks like, and if there’s Burning, a fiery aura appears around the character.
When evasion inflicts Miss on the attacker, there’s always an urge to make some kind of swoosh.

Now, let’s add a bit of occult Spine magic.

And finally, here are some new event animations:

How about some chit-chat?

Andrew aka Innrey, the founder of RedBoon, is back on the air. The week has been dynamic, eventful, and a bit tense. But let’s take it step by step.

We’ve almost finished the tutorial; all that’s left to do is a bit more tweaking. I’ve already watched and tested it myself, so to speak. I can say it turned out to be challenging and tedious. To be honest, the tutorial is still very much not fun. But finding a way to explain and show everything to a player who’s seeing KOTCL for the first time, making it all understandable and, preferably, not boring is still a puzzle for us. But we’ve added the option of disabling hints so that players can go through the tutorial without them. We’ve also added a small prologue to our story in the tutorial, giving a little more insight. No spoilers!

The final battle. Oh, the final battle, my blessing and my curse. We really tried to come up with something cool and memorable to achieve that ‘WOW’ effect and all of that. But it turned out to be much more complicated than I thought. We came up with what we thought was a fun feature — spells that you draw with the cursor. But when we put it all together and tested it, the result disappointed us, to put it mildly. We had to abandon this mechanic, and now we’re thinking about how to redo everything without taking an unimaginable amount of time, all while still maintaining quality.

We shared our pain on Reddit and asked developers about cases where a brilliant idea turned out to be not so brilliant in the end, after a considerable amount of time and other resources had already been spent on its development. It turned out to be a pretty good discussion, you can read it here.

By the way, did you know that to make the storyline crystal clear, you need to cram a huge number of various cues, arrows, and other hints into the game? Captions and other pointers are something everyone has gotten used to. For example, in 2008, quests in WoW looked like simple descriptions of the area. You had to figure out where to go and what to do on your own. At that time, an add-on that showed specific locations and specific enemies needed to complete a quest was growing in popularity. Nowadays, it’s an integral part of any game, and without it, it seems like “game designers are fools”.

What am I driving at? Well, we get a lot of questions from you about how to survive the powerful attack from Millenis and defeat her. Some players, seeing for the first time her intention to deal 100 damage 3 times in one turn, got quite upset and rushed to write negative reviews. The one-shot from Millenis may look like a game design error, but let me assure you — it’s not. We want the player to lose and start exploring the world in search of solutions. Right now, that need is not altogether clear as we’re missing specific quests, arrows, and hints. Perhaps the easiest way would be to make Millenis simply kill the hero without any attacks or intentions. But we still want our players to have a chance to defeat a boss even without quest-derived solutions.

I’ll conclude by saying that the work on quest chains is in progress. There are enough of them to immerse oneself in the world of KOTCL and, at the same time, find a few ways to outsmart the bosses. We hope that we’ll be able to show those ways to you in the first patch of the next year. This should convey our idea and hopefully lower the temperature a bit on the feedback and critiques.

That’s all for today. See you next Friday!

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