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VOLT: Robot Battle Arena» Forums » General

Subject: Some thoughts about the development of the new edition rss

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Roland Goslar
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Autumn 2015 I started working on the new edition of Emerson's game as my first project for Heidelberger.

I liked from the start the reduction to just 3 steps of programming and that the orientation of the robots doesn't matter as 5 steps plus many turns make RR really annoying for many many people.

First idea was to change the handling from 3 dice on 2 control units to 3 dice on 3 control units with a fixed order. Together with the direct visual parallel connection between the dice on the control units to moves and actions of the robots in the arena this lead to a wonderful low number of mistakes in programming.

The next big step came after some months of testing: Colors for 3 module types: damage, movement and specials. Together with the restriction to just 2 permanent installed modules of different colors this gave an easy way to have control where to go when taking new modules not always drawing things you don't need. Together with the restriction of the most modules to a dice color and a range of pips and the introduction of breakpoints in many modules for tactical decisions while activation the balance seems quite fine right now.

Third step were the b.e.a.s.t.s.. They came up when we started to integrate more advanced obstacles in the arenas. We started with typical tiles from RR but they felt fixed and lame and the programming was more about bypassing them than totaling opponents. The monster from Friedemann's Fearsome Floors let us think different: A running and biting monster which can be killed for VP. After many tests of programs to get the monster not to strong and not to weak we are quite happy with it: A bit random, some times very strong some times just dull like ourselves.

Last came a catch-up mechanism. We always felt a killed robot should be pushed or raged up somehow to avoid frustrations. We tested resources you could spent for an extra damage or an extra step but none created memorable fun. Talking about the feel of modern shooters: Coming back after seconds right into the action wearing new gear my eldest Johnny had the idea of receiving 1 new module but not in exchange for an old (as we tested many times with bad experience) but as a 1-time module. This worked unbelievable well right from the start creating epic moments by activating up to 4 modules with 1 dice.

At this point in November 16 I hope the new VOLT will see the tables soon as I believe it's one of the best skirmish games I've played creating tension not by rolling dice but by thinking about the possible actions of your opponents who have only a small number of rational moves. Not random as in many table tops and not fixed as in many turn based games and not just arbitrary as in many blind bidding games.
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