• Monthly Archives: February 2013

    Designing a Hero Academy Team (Part 1)

    I’m not much different than any other gamer out there.  I love playing games of all kinds and sharing my experiences with friends.  I’m also fairly creative and love trying new things.  When I got my game design degree at the end of 2012, I knew a career in the industry was the next step.  While this sadly hasn’t come to pass yet, I have decided to take my passion for creation and my love of game design and create a Hero Academy team.


    If you’re a dedicated fan of Hero Academy, you’ve probably let your mind wander and dream up new ideas for teams to be added to the Robot Entertainment strategy game.  For some, this means wildly brainstorming some ideas, for others it could mean jotting down some notes, and some take to their favorite forums to post their team concepts online.  For me, it went a little deeper.


    I wanted to create a team that fit within the lore and theme of Hero Academy, fun to play, fairly balanced, introduced some new mechanics to the existing engine, and was as professionally complete as possible.  Because of this, I decided to create a design document for the team detailing every aspect of the team’s creation and the reasoning behind these choices.  In addition, I enrolled the help of a former artist classmate to breathe life into the unit creation.  I believe that my final product shows that I accomplished these goals and made a truly unique and complete team that would fit in nicely within the Hero Academy world.


    The first thing I decided on was creating a unique theme.  We’ve had varieties of races and themes amongst the teams so far, so I went with a focus that was unique to the game and kept with the theme; the Crystals.  In Hero Academy, the Crystals are generally just thought of as objects used to help teams achieve victory, but what was the story behind them?  My team was created with the idea that a rag-tag group of outcasts and vagabonds have come together in the pursuit of Crystal study and worship.  They wouldn’t mesh well together, but the draw of the power from the Crystals has given them unity.


    With the theme in play, the next thing to do was create a team bonus to center them around.  Keeping with the Crystal theme, I gave them a +20% damage against Crystals.  This would tend to have the team become Crystal destroying specialists, but I was OK with this as there isn’t a team that does this already in Hero Academy, the Dwarves probably being the closest.  I also decided to stick with a standard, four units plus one super unit format for the team.  This kept them familiar to the other teams making newer players feel more comfortable with using them.


    After all of that was decided, I began the process of creating units.  Not wanting to have overlap with the existing human teams, Council and Shaolin primarily, I came up with units that looked not only like strangers to one another, but rejects from the world proper.  After a lot of experimentation and research, the team finally consisted of: the Guardian, the Rogue, the Geomancer, the Purifier, and the Golem.


    So take a minute to look over the team and see what you think.  You’ll find all of the stats, mechanics, and artwork for the team below.  I will go into more details about my decisions for the individual team members and the challenges in balancing them in my next blog entry.

    Hero Academy wins at DICE. Plus Six answers from SixOkay

    Congratulations to all the team at Robot Entertainment as Hero Academy wins the “Best Mobile Game” at the 16th annual DICE awards. This is a prestigious awards for developers and Robot Entertainment was up against 3 other games in the mobile category including Fairway Solitaire, Horn and Rayman Jungle Run. Its fantastic to see Robot’s hard work recognised with this brilliant award.

    CEO Patrick Hudson and COO Harter Ryan were on hand at the ceremony to collect the award.

    Photo Credit: Jamil Moledina

    Celebrations were a plenty this morning at Robot HQ:

    Six answers from SixOkay

    In and amongst the celebrations for Hero Academy Justin Korthof, Community Manager has responded to the “Six Questions for SixOkay” feature we ran around Christmas. Reading through the responses we picked out the following six questions to be answered. So without further adue, here we go!

    Are there any plans to release detailed statistics about traps?

    At the moment, no. We don’t plan to add those into the game or release them in general.

    Is there any more DLC coming for OMD2?

    We’re giving it some breathing room now. We are really happy with the three booster packs that are out there now, and we’re all hard at work on some new exciting stuff.

    Have the way players have completed levels in YouTube videos surprised you compared to how the designers thought the level would be played?

    One of the most exciting things about developing both OMD games was knowing that we were designing it in a way that allowed people to complete levels in different ways. We always knew that people would find interesting ways to kill orcs that we never expected. The community hasn’t disappointed us in that regard.

    Any news on Hero Academy for Android?

    We don’t have a ton of new news here. We are fully committed as a studio to developing our new projects, and we don’t have the internal development resources at the moment to do a full Android port ourselves, but we haven’t stopped pursuing it. We’re currently looking at other options to bring Hero Academy to Android. Until we know more about how that’s going to progress, there won’t be much news. However, if we hit a dead end and decide not to pursue Hero Academy on Android further then we’ll let the community know for certain.

    Were there any traps that you liked but didn’t make it into the game?

    We have always poured out a TON of ideas when making these games, and there’s always stuff we have to cut out. I just can’t tell you about much of it because some of that stuff could come up again in future games. There were definitely a few things in OMD2 that were revived after not making the cut for OMD1.

    Can you shed any light if OMD2 will be receiving custom onslaught and mod support any time in the future?

    It’s highly unlikely at the moment.

    Although many of the community may be saddened to see there has not been much movement on Hero Academy for Android, we must bear in mind the project is not off the table entirely. Its still something that is being explored and may still happen if an appropriate means can be found to bring Hero Academy to Android. It’s not a “No” folks, but its not a “Yes its coming” either.

    Hero Academy update is live

    The latest update for Hero Academy has now gone live across both Steam and iOS devices. The update is no great surprise and many of the changes have been announced previously. Now that the update is live though we can now read about the precise changes that are now taking effect. The details of the bug fixes and balance changes are as below.

    Check out the official Robot Entertainment forums for community reactions!

    Bug fixes

    • Fixed First Turn AP settings to work properly
    • Fixed train hazard to correctly keep the initiating player’s units alive at 100 hit points
    • Fixed bug with bamboo tiles not appearing until late in the game
    • Changed the Shaolin game board to have only one speed-boost tile
    • Fixed Bloodrage icon to display properly when activated
    • Fixed bug that kept Shaolin win achievements from being granted
    • Updated Paladin description text to mention Revive
    • Fixed a bug that prevented colors from changing correctly
    • Fixed a bug that prevented taunts from displaying for opponents

    Balance changes

    • Wraith’s starting HP increased by 150 and soul charges reduced by 50 HP
    • Paladin HP decreased to 900
    • Shaolin monk movement increased to 3
    • Poisoner debuff increased to 50%
    • Sniper crouch bonus reduced to 250
    • TF2 heavy HP reduced to 1100