Category: Dev Journal

Journal – Wicked Lair – A mighty creature wishes to establish it’s Lair

Posted by – September 12, 2014

It’s been a bit longer than usual, i blame me trying to keep my release deadline and hence not finding the time to write one of these sooner.

In this Journal entry i want to talk about another Wicked Lair mechanic that adds some flavor to the Gameplay. Boss Encounters.

What fun would building a dungeon be if there were no powerful creatures that would seek to establish their home in your domain. Not much, so Wicked Lair totally has that.

While the tweaking of this is still very much a work in progress, the idea is that the deeper you build your dungeon the more likely it is that there will be a powerful creature wanting to come setup it’s living room on one of your floors.

For release i intend that every different dungeon theme (12 total) comes with at least one boss encounter. After that it should be easy to add in more additional bosses as DLC, which will hopefully end up in a very diverse pool of possible boss encounters for you to experience while playing the game.

How mighty is it.

Boss units are supposed to be mighty creatures with powerful and unique abilities. They are not limited to be offensive creatures, but can be any of the previously described creature arch types. Just stronger.

Yet to put it in perspective i’d put their strength at about 3-4 times that of a normal creature of the same level, although all that is still being tuned at this point.


When a boss creature pokes you that it wants to be part of your dungeon it does not mean you are required to accept, you may tell it to get lost. Now, “why would you ever do that?” you may ask. For strategic reasons! The floor chosen by the boss creature is random and there can only be a limited amount of boss creatures in your dungeon at any time. So if your dungeon is already 8 floors deep and some dude wants come rock it on the first level floor it may be more useful to tell him to go away and wait for the next one,

Thoughts on Balance.

Since boss creatures are so strong it is important to counteract that strength somewhat, right now i am doing that by limiting the total amount of bosses alive at a given time relative to how many floors there are. So for example the limit might be 1 boss per 5 floors. Which means that in a non-survival-mode game (10 floors maximum) you’d at most see 2 bosses alive at the same time. In addition to that, bosses don’t respawn like other creatures, meaning that a defeated boss will be removed until it decides to establish it’s lair again later on. We will see if this needs further adjusting, but during play testing so far it seems sufficient, and has the nice side effect of making boss encounters rare, as they should be.

Enough talk, Showcase plx.

I want to end this, as always, by showing some examples of currently implemented boss creatures.

First we have “Nightblade” of the Bandit Camp (Bandits) dungeon theme. He is a rogue of the worst kind.  A melee defender and his speciality (besides hitting annoyingly hard) is that he can jump to his target. This is big, if you read my post about creature types, normal defenders are stationary and can’t move, meaning any ranged hero will take them out if they are not backed up by a creature with a ranged attack. Not this guy tho tho, watch him leap and make short work of the warrior.

Second there is “Dreadcharger” of the Pit (Demons) dungeon theme. A Horse with a fiery mane he is of the invader creature type, meaning he runs into town and does a bunch of damage, but since he is supposed to be kinda powerful he also sets fire to any heroes he passes on the way, making them flee as they are ablaze. Also, animating horses is hard, so take it easy on me!

Finally we end with “Harrock the Greedy”  of the Warclans (Orcs & Goblins theme) dungeon theme. He is of the plunderer type, meaning instead of defending he runs into town and steals some loot. Relative to normal creature plunderers he can carry about 3 times as much, has a lot more health (eg. its much harder for heroes to stop him from getting to town and back) and on top of that he cannot be stunned.


Come along, Samwise.

If you like checking WIP screenshots and videos and follow development as it happens go check out the game’s twitter and facebook, as i post to those daily!


Journal – Wicked Lair – For a fistful of Virtual Moneys

Posted by – September 3, 2014

Man, the past few days have been killing me, i just now finished the 5th floor theme – “Mage Tower” – and it took much longer than i anticipated. Initially i  was going to make a journal about wtf happened there, but i don’t even want to talk about it right now, so that will have to wait til next time. I know i am a tease. Also its 3:33AM as i write this, and i am high on caffeine and giddy as a cat eating a bucket of catnip, so i apologize if this isn’t that coherent.

It makes the world go round.

So, my projected release date of “sometime between Novemeber 1st and November one hundred eleventy” draws ever closer and i am scrambling to get the game to BETA by the end of September. With the game progressing ahead there comes also the decision on how to monetize it.

The game is being built with expansion content in mind, in other words it’ll be super easy to add / sell new floor themes, heroes, boss encounters etc. So on that front i am good.

The question that is hanging at the back of my mind, nagging me to no end, is whether or not i want to do what everybody else is doing in this industry and also sell some form of in game currency.

My initial reaction to the thought is “Ugh…” followed be a “Meh.”

On one hand it seems like i have my bases covered with the content ill be able to provide as after release DLC down the line. That feels good to me. On the other hand, by not doing the ingame currency sale dance it feels like i am leaving a pile of money on the table, according to the general consensus anyways.  Combine that with the fact that as someone just starting out , every cent will count, and i am facing a bit of a dilemma.

Personally, i hate the idea of selling currency, i hate it when other games do it, and i hate the thought of doing it myself. There is no question in my mind, that unless you are very very clever about it, it absolutely messes with gameplay, and brings up the whole issue of tuning the game around people buying that currency as well.

However i also realize, taking my obvious dislike into account, that i am looking at this whole thing with a very BIASED opinion. So i have an issue with peddling crystals. Does it necessarily mean that the majority thinks the same way ? Probably not, considering the amount of money that kind of strategy brings into this industry.

Anyways, i have a bit of time yet to decide on this, but i was wondering what you people think of this issue and how you approach it. Am i overthinking it? Are people getting tired of buying crystals in every free game they download? It seems to me like they should.

Thanks for taking the time to read, and respond (if you do), here is a sneak peek at the Mage Tower Dungeon Theme.



Journal – Wicked Lair – Magical Incantations

Posted by – August 29, 2014

I finished all the spell icon graphics this week, making the spell casting system probably the most completed part of my game so far, so i figured now is a good time to talk about it.


Another tactical layer

When planning out the game it became clear to me fairly quickly that in addition to the core creature / tower defense / dungeon building gameplay i wanted another layer to spice it up a little.

In many tower defense games you get sometimes rare/not so rare items / abilities you can use to help turn the battle in your favor (such as bombs, mines, dynamite)

I liked the idea of that but wanted something a bit more in depth and tactical and also more fitting with the RPG / Fantasy theme i was going for.

Spellcasting  was the obvious way to go. It gave me two more resources to add to the resource game and allowed me to give the player one more choice in setting up their game by making them – over the course of the game as they level up – select 4 spells out of a spell pool of 12.

Looking towards Azeroth

The player’s level is tied to how deep their dungeon is +1 (for the lair), so a dungeon with 1 constructed floors would put the player at level 2.

New spells are then chosen at level 2, 4, 8 and 10.

As i mentioned he selects from a pool of 12 spells total, 3 spells at each spell tier with each of the 3 spells belonging to a distinct spell group.

The 3 distinct spell groups are

  1. Alteration – Heals, Buffs, Debuffs
  2. Destruction – Damage
  3. Summoning – Summon lair guardians and raise spells

This system is fairly identical to the revamped talent system in World of Warcraft (as it was at the launch of MoP – i havent played in a while so it might have changed again).

Ironically i wasn’t the biggest fan of how much they simplified it for WoW, but i think doing it that way works rather nicely here in a casually targeted mobile game.

Spawn More Overlords

In Wicked Lair casting a spell costs mana and chaos crystals. Depending on the spell it might cost either mana or N crystals or a combination of both.

Mana is earned by gatherer creatures that collect mana and deliver it to the lair.

Crystals are dropped by slain high level heroes and your boss creatures should they perish.

Only the most powerful tier spells cost crystals to cast. This was done simply to add another tactical element to the game. Crystals will be rare, so you will want to consider whether you want to cast that powerful AE spells now or later.

Nifty Spells

I worked on the spell system fairly early in the game (2 weeks in maybe?) and all the spells are already implemented by now – they need some polishing, but the logic and behaviours are all there. Obviously things can still change, game being in alpha and what not.

Let’s take a look of what kind of spells there are available at your cruel fingertips.


Alterations spells are your buff / debuff line of spells, a good example here is the Infuse Power spell. Infuse Power targets an entire floor and buffs the attack rating of all of your creatures on that floor for 1 minute. It costs 20 mana and you can stack its effect meaning if you are full (100) mana you can cast it 5 times giving every creature on the targeted floor +5 ATK for 1 minute, which is fairly significant.


Destruction spells are single-target and area-of-effect based spells. There is Fireball which is a powerful projectile spell that hits up to two heroes for a fair amount of damage. In this case i want to showcase the Thunderclap.

Thunderclap is an AoE spell, targeting an entire floor that cast lightning strikes down on any heroes on the floor that do some damage and stun each target for 6 seconds. I like how the lightning strike effect came out in the end which is why i am going to parade it in front of you here :).


Finally, the summoning spell group. It is not possible for the player to create creatures on the Lair floor (Thats the floor where your main bad guy resides) with the exception of summoning spells.  You may, for example, summon a Lidless Guardian who is a ranged defender that looks gross, and is fairly strong.

This is getting to be a rather long post, so i will end it here, as i think this should be enough to paint you a picture, thanks for reading!