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Default Mount & Blade II - Game Design

October 22nd, 2018, 11:53
The latest update for Mount & Blade II: Bannerlord talks about the game design.

Greetings warriors of Calradia!

Due to unforeseen circumstances, we are unable to do the Q&A with Assistant Designer, Cihan Şekercioğlu that we announced last week. But, it is Thursday my dudes and the show must go on… Instead, in this week’s blog, we will talk about how we approach game design here at TaleWorlds, giving you a brief insight into the general process of taking an idea and turning it into a game feature.

Game design is possibly one of the most rewarding jobs in the game industry. Seeing an idea come to life and being enjoyed by others is most certainly a fulfilling experience. However, it is also one of the most difficult jobs that the industry has to offer. Something which might seem great on paper may turn out to be rather dull when implemented into a game. And to even get it to this stage, you need to be able to formulate your idea in a way which makes sense to your peers.

At TaleWorlds, we feel that for a game to be fun, it should be built around a solid core mechanic. In the case of Mount & Blade games, this is the combat system. We think that the combat system in our games is fun, intuitive, easy to learn, but difficult to master. And, in the end, if the core mechanic isn’t fun, then whatever is built around it becomes irrelevant.

With Bannerlord, we are building on a solid foundation of what we had achieved in previous Mount & Blade games. But, at all times, we keep it in mind that the combat is the main draw for the game. We always aim to ensure that any new mechanics we add don’t adversely affect this core mechanic. This was something we had to consider when we decided to implement directional blocking for shields. We had to ask ourselves questions such as, “does this actually enhance the combat in any way, or are we interfering with something which already works and is enjoyable?” (Ultimately, we decided that directional shield blocking actually fits in really well with the skill-based design of our combat system.)

We try to be as inclusive as possible when it comes to the design process. Everyone in the studio is a gamer (after all, we all got into this business because we love to play games!) so we try our best to make use of this wide range of opinions and experiences when it comes to designing our own game. But that’s not to say that we don’t have professionals who specialise in this aspect of development, only that we understand the importance of hearing the different opinions and thoughts of everyone in our company. And in many instances, this kind of approach allows us to highlight potential issues early on in a design as people visualise the idea differently in their own head.

With this in mind, we tend to include everyone who would be involved in implementing a feature in the design meetings alongside the game designers. Not only to offer their feedback on the actual design but so a plan can be formulated for the implementation of the design. The professional expertise of the people responsible for implementing each design is required to ensure that any new feature or mechanic is technically viable and can be implemented into the game. And in many cases, these professionals have unique solutions to any problems that arise.

Following design meetings, a document is created which the team can then refer to. This process of holding meetings and revising the design document is repeated until we feel that the design adds an additional layer to the game in a way which is positive and enjoyable for players.

We can’t say for sure if this is the best approach to development, but we certainly feel that it works well for our company, and has led to the introduction of some features that otherwise might never have seen the light of day!

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Thanks Farflame!

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October 22nd, 2018, 11:53
Ultimately, we decided that directional shield blocking actually fits in really well with the skill-based design of our combat system.
I don't think it does. Too much to deal with while surrounded by hundreds of units, trying to lead hundreds more and riding a horse. If combat is the most important feature then they should look to games like Dark Souls not Hillsfar arenas. A tiny bit less realism can mean a lot better gameplay.
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October 22nd, 2018, 13:42
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I don't think it does. Too much to deal with while surrounded by hundreds of units, trying to lead hundreds more and riding a horse. If combat is the most important feature then they should look to games like Dark Souls not Hillsfar arenas. A tiny bit less realism can mean a lot better gameplay.
The only fitting reply to this nonsense: Git gud.

I never had any problem holding my own while commanding troops in M&B and I certainly wouldn't like any dumbing down to cater to people who can't handle their input devices properly.

The last thing a game like M&B needs is dodge-roll combat ala Dark Souls. Which I like, btw, but it would be totally misplaced in M&B.
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October 22nd, 2018, 13:53
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
A tiny bit less realism
Realism without a story? Sure. In bacteria world, but I don't think this game is about microbs.
There can't be less realism here as it's already unreal.
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October 22nd, 2018, 14:15
Originally Posted by TheSHEEEP View Post
The only fitting reply to this nonsense: Git gud.

I never had any problem holding my own while commanding troops in M&B and I certainly wouldn't like any dumbing down to cater to people who can't handle their input devices properly.

The last thing a game like M&B needs is dodge-roll combat ala Dark Souls. Which I like, btw, but it would be totally misplaced in M&B.
In the original M&B directional blocking was just for weapon blocks. With shields you could just hold them up but they'd break far too fast to be used for a whole battle. Do shields last longer now or are they just worse than weapon blocking all around?

Being easy to block with for a few hits was all shields had going for them. Why bother with shields now?
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October 22nd, 2018, 14:20
Originally Posted by joxer View Post
Realism without a story? Sure. In bacteria world, but I don't think this game is about microbs.
There can't be less realism here as it's already unreal.
You can't force me to use this bacteria shield system. I can just be a horse archer.
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October 22nd, 2018, 14:44
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
In the original M&B directional blocking was just for weapon blocks. With shields you could just hold them up but they'd break far too fast to be used for a whole battle. Do shields last longer now or are they just worse than weapon blocking all around?

Being easy to block with for a few hits was all shields had going for them. Why bother with shields now?
They didn't tell any details, so we can only guess.
I would expect something like a blocking efficiency with shield, as in, you lose less or maybe nothing if you block in right direction while you lose more if you block incorrectly. Or that breakage you suggested.
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October 23rd, 2018, 19:42
Maybe one of these days they'll get around to finishing and releasing the game. Seems like it was ages ago that it was announced.
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October 23rd, 2018, 21:30
Yeah it's been a work in progress for quite some time, but I'm just hoping that makes it even better for all of us when it is finally released.
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October 30th, 2018, 16:50
I don't know why they don't release as early access like the first version of the game…

I think many people would be fine with that.

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October 30th, 2018, 18:40
That's actually not a bad idea, assuming that it is playable right now. It would get them a few sales, and probably some good word of mouth.
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October 30th, 2018, 19:31
Originally Posted by Carnifex View Post
That's actually not a bad idea, assuming that it is playable right now. It would get them a few sales, and probably some good word of mouth.
I had bought mount and blade beta at the time when early access wasn't a thing…



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October 31st, 2018, 00:21
Originally Posted by Pladio View Post
I don't know why they don't release as early access like the first version of the game…

I think many people would be fine with that.

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Yeah, many people would be fine with it. However, the only ones you'd hear from would be the ones that were pissed that feature X wasn't in the game (yet) or that Y was unbalanced. I really don't know what the right call would have been in this case. It's like they announced it as soon as they decided they were going to start working on it, since it seems like it's been in development for ages. Steam says I added it to my wishlist on 1/6/2017 and I know it was announced long before it had a Steam page. Yeah, they've had plenty of time to get word out about the game, but by now many of the fans are getting really impatient, which may lead to them trying to rush the devs. Then there are others who've just plain forgotten about it because it's been so long since it was announced. =/
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October 31st, 2018, 00:26
Originally Posted by Rhawkas View Post
Yeah, many people would be fine with it. However, the only ones you'd hear from would be the ones that were pissed that feature X wasn't in the game (yet) or that Y was unbalanced. I really don't know what the right call would have been in this case. It's like they announced it as soon as they decided they were going to start working on it, since it seems like it's been in development for ages. Steam says I added it to my wishlist on 1/6/2017 and I know it was announced long before it had a Steam page. Yeah, they've had plenty of time to get word out about the game, but by now many of the fans are getting really impatient, which may lead to them trying to rush the devs. Then there are others who've just plain forgotten about it because it's been so long since it was announced. =/
Yeah, that's possible, but they could do it based on their previous beta potentially. A semi-open beta could lead to good feedback from players.

Anyway, I'll probably end up getting it, but it's not a priority anymore with over 30 games on my wishlist
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October 31st, 2018, 00:41
Well let me clarify this game was announced in 2012, and it started development in the summer of 2011. Seem to be a common case of announcing the game way to early.

If you want check out a game called Kenshi. It was the very first Early Access game, and almost ten years later it still has not released. Doubt it will ever be released.
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