Earliest Build of Mage Gauntlet





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Published on Oct 2, 2011

**WARNING: Extremely goofy early alpha footage of one of our games, and long-winded text about development**

Just for fun, here's some footage of the absolutely earliest build of Mage Gauntlet we could find. In the beginning, it was going to be a top-down shooter arcade shooter, with the spells you got being powerups. You'd get up to four spells. There was a button you could tap to sacrifice a spell, triggering a large AOE special attack that could save your life. Ditching your spell would switch you to the next spell, eventually reverting you back to the normal, weak shot once you ran out.

The game has obviously changed immensely since then, but some elements remain. The story never really changed that much, right down to the characters. We also stubbornly held onto the "spells as very powerful but get eaten up fast" design, even keeping the four spell slots. Almost everything else changed pretty drastically.

The game's genre jumped from arcade shooter, to randomly-generated dungeon dive, to classic-styled action-RPG. Even when it settled to the last one, the controls kept changing drastically. Gesture based controls, to the current swipe (or optional virtual control) based. Even with those parameters nailed down, the game kept changing.

The combat was tweaked heavily. Spells were added and removed. Spells became less common per level as the focus shifted towards sword combat. Before, you could hold the sword attack button down to automatically swing over and over until you ran out of energy, or charge by double-tapping attack. With input from other developers, we worked out a more responsive system. You tap attack to swing, or mash it to do fast but weak attacks. We caved and just did the traditional "hold for charge attack" scheme, which worked way better than I thought it would. Because it was then harder to use charge evasively, we made a separate dash button. The combat made it to its final form.

Development was crazy. Everything took a lot of tweaking, with some outright starting over. At the end, I think the final product was worth it.


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