Hello everyone,

I hope you and your loved ones are doing well and staying safe during these challenging days. In case you are facing hard times, I wish you a speedy recovery and the best of luck.

This is just a quick update, that we at poetic are doing fine, and that the development on Sacred Fire continues without problems.

USER EXPERIENCE IMPROVEMENTS

Besides working on the art of the game, we’ve been implementing feedback from playtesters: fixing bugs, balancing the combat AI and adding polish to the flow of different combat end states.

Based on your feedback, we’ve also added character creation presets, so you can jump into the story without studying the whole RPG ruleset in the character creation screen.

Our ruleset enables us to avoid the typical ‘how do you deal damage/what’s your role in combat?’ presets

ART IMPROVEMENTS

A big art task was to improve the basic layout of key scenes, basically story-boarding all the scenes, so that we then can only swap out the placeholder art for the final character and location art.

A lot can be achieved just by using an interesting composition or camera angle

Besides that we made numerous UI tweaks, added more unlock insights lines and balanced out the amount of renown and wealth you gain.

COMBAT IMPROVEMENTS

Behind the scenes, a crucial task of making a master combat script that is re-usable was accomplished successfully. This makes not only my task of finishing the game easier, but it also keeps the words count in reasonable ranges and may prove vital when localizing the game.

On the user experience side, the important thing is, there is plenty of unique elements in each boss fight. The variation also comes from the combat AI picking different actions, the AI profiles (some opponents flee, others never yield), unique tactics to unlock per combat, or global conditions being in place, like a countdown till reinforcements arrive. Also, the variation in writing and the prompts to react to pain, provocation and intimidation help to achieve the overall feeling of ‘flow of interesting choices’, to use the words of the famous game designer Sid Meier.

React to the emotional state of the two opponents. There is always a different move, that gives you the edge.

An important result of the emotions influencing your chances is, that unlike many games with turn-based combat, there is no one-trick, or one sequence of tactical moves, that will work no matter what and make all the combat encounters in a game a grind, where the player just gets through the same motions again and again. There is no winning tactic in Sacred Fire, you have to go with the flow, and instead of fighting against your own emotions and circumstances, adapt to them and make them work for you. Bruce Lee would be proud :) ‘Be like water’ and all that.

Cheers,

Andrej

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