Robert Hornbek

Game Development & Exploration

Posts Tagged ‘DotA’

Bloodline Champions

Posted by rHornbek on October 14, 2010

I only recently learned about this game on GameTrailers.com and the more I discover the more excited I get!  At first glance it may look like a DotA clone (worse case scenario) or a Team Defense (working genre title) game that has DotA elements but with original mechanics…

Ingame screenshot of Bloodline Champions.

Turns out the game is more like World of WarCraft’s Area, where two teams of users fight to the death!  As you can see from the screenshot above each character has 6 abilities and what looks like a 7th Ultimate ability in addition to the standard mini-map, character portrait and various status bars.  I am not sure what that grey box is on the left though…

Character concept art.

What has really excited me has been the similarities between this game and a concept of mine titled Tikihudu, driven primarily by the tribal art style and forgotten world look.  I imagine this will also make for a great LAN game, so I am eager to test it out…

Tikihudu is all about lost cities, animal gods and stone temples, so I love this art!

That said, if you like what you see please head over to their website and sign up for the beta and check out all of the other art and videos!

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DotA 2

Posted by rHornbek on October 14, 2010

Image of Bloodseeker from DotA 2

Recently there has been all sorts of controversy regarding Valves acquisition of the DotA property and even more so the announcement of Defense of the Ancients 2 (DotA 2).  There does not appear to be a centralized website for the game thus far, but there are enough articles to keep you busy until then if you Google it.  Now it is my turn to add to that list…

Personally I think Valve is making a mistake by trying to create a sequel for the game, or even bothering with the IP in the first place.  Valve has been known for their original properties and revolutionary thinking, and while DotA did establish a genre we are only beginning to see utilized Valve has the brainpower and resources to do far better.

To be fair, all we have seen is artistic renderings of the game’s characters and mention that the game will hold true to the original mechanics.  Is that really so bad?  I don’t think that is terrible, besides Valve has plenty of time to clean it up and make it better, I mean that has been Riot’s intention from the start.  Consider the second FPS ever made, it was probably not all that different than the first, and if you look at the latest FPS there are plenty of similar qualities.  So as long as there is progression I don’t think there is anything to get to worked up over.

What appears to be the greater issue for most people is Valves association with IceFrog, whom apparently does not have the best reputation in the DotA community.  I have never worked with the guy and despite the stories I head about him while working at Riot I really cannot judge.  But still, Valve could have done all of this without him or the DotA title.  Lets just hope they take DotA (not a terrible game) and really make it their own (a great valve game)!

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Breath of Fresh Air: Monday Night Combat pt2

Posted by rHornbek on August 18, 2010

The video below is the second parts of the Monday Night Combat Developer Walkthrough.  In this demonstration they present the second of two maps that are available when you purchase the game, and the Support class!

The Map

The first map they played on, GrenADEiii, was circular in shape, where LaserRazor, the second map, is mostly a rectangle.  It does not seem to play all that differently except it is much easier to move from each of the two lanes.  With that said, unlike DotA style games Monday Night Combat (MNC) only has two lanes.  I am curious how this will effect the gameplay, but I imagine it will make it much easier to switch lanes and thus push.

Turrets

A key feature in the DotA style game are the turrets, or towers.  In MNC each user will earn money as they play which can be spent on building turrets for you base.  I absolutely love this idea, and to make matters more interesting you have the option between four different turrets.

The Support Class

I have only seen in detail the two classes highlighted in each of the walkthroughs, but I can confidently say I would love to play as the Support class!  They can best be described as a mix between the Medic and the Engineer from Team Fortress 2.  I really appreciate how much support they can actually deliver with air strikes, heals, buffs to the Fodder (minions) and the ability to hack turrets.

MNC appears to have a lot of promise, and as long as the balancing is tight I imagine it will be a ton of fun!  I will continue to keep my eye on it and pray that it makes it to the PC so we can play it at our next big LAN party!

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What A Riot, Episode 1

Posted by rHornbek on January 14, 2010

For those of you who do not know me, or who are still getting to know me, at one time I interned at the start-up game company Riot Games.  There I worked on the company’s first title League of Legends, based off the groundbreaking WarCraft III mod Defense of the Ancients better known as DotA.  While at Riot I was fortunate to work with nearly all of the departments at one time or another, and thus I was able to learn a lot.  That’s not to say I didn’t confront any grand challenges, but I should cover most of the highs and lows in this and following articles.

The first time I heard about Riot games was actually from my grandma.  While attending a club gathering she learned from one of her friends that their son was busy developing an original game.  When she explained it to me I was immediately interested and requested that she get me in contact with him.  Not long after talking with Marc, the aforementioned son and president of Riot Games, I had an interview with the company for a production intern role.

Actual front door of actual office off the official website!

When I arrived at the company’s Culver City office I was super jazzed, I even turned up an hour early to make sure I was not late.  Inside the office things were just as I imagined.  The walls were adorned with game paraphernalia from both League of Legends and other popular titles.  Even a cut-out of Mr. T stood in the lounge, which was basically a game room with a massive TV and every modern consol you could by in stores.  To even better set the stage the company only had about 12 or so employees at the time, so from where I sat I could almost see everything that was happening in the office.  However I did not know I was about to have the best and worst interviews.

For my first interview I was warmly greeted by two Riot employees, the production assistant and the office manager.  The interview started off pretty standard covering a list of questions they had planned for me before arrival.  The interview soon turned into a conversation and the three of us began chatting openly about the games we play and would like to play.  To my delight I was given the opportunity to really express myself and feel comfortable doing it, it was overall a pleasure to chat with these individuals.

We will punch you suck'ah!

Just as we finished I was asked to wait in the office for the next interview and they left the room showing their gratification on the way out.  I only sat alone for a few moments enjoying the warmth of the previous conversation before the next interview snowed on my parade.  In came a tall silent man that sat staring at his smart phone for what felt like an eternity before he even greeted me.  This immediately had me unsettled.  He began talking, asking mostly the same questions as the two before him but this time with an absent and unyielding look.  To my relief the interview was over and I was left feeling incredibly awkward.  In all I felt pretty good, I said a quick goodbye and took another quick glance at the office before I was on my way back home.

It was a couple of weeks before I had my answer but when I finally got one I did not get the job.  I learned later that my downfall was when I described to my second interviewer my desire to become a designer, which he did not want for his production interns.  Without any other available positions I had to look elsewhere for industry jobs.

Hang in there kid and never give up!

A few months later my girlfriend sent me a link to a Craig’s List post requesting applicants for a marketing intern position at Riot Games and I jumped on it.  On my return I was interviewed by the marketing manager and I felt the interview went rather well.  In fact it went well enough that a few weeks later I was called an asked to begin working.

Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of What A Riot where our hero travels through the world of viral marketing!

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