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The (literal) skill tree – Devlog #26

Gardening is a perfectly normal hobby, but for our dear redneck friend it’s something more: It means his life in the game! I know, I know, this is a game about shooting mythological-ish monsters in the face and not a gardening simulator, and that’s still what you’ll do most of the time in Immortal Redneck. Don’t worry. You just need to take care of one very particular tree if you want to succeed: The Skill Tree. And no, this is not some sort of wordplay: when we say “Tree”… We mean it!

A very basic visual representation of how we conceived the skill tree

When you see the tree for the first time, is just a little bonsai, but with your new abilities it’ll grow to be an ancient acacia (the Tree of Life on the Ancient Egypt) with many leafs, branches and a thick log. That’s right! We are tired of “Skill Trees” that don’t look like a tree at all. We want you to know your progression easily, just with a quick look at your tree. You may be asking yourself: How are you going to make your tree bigger and bigger? Do you need to buy a watering can and fertilizer? Please, this is a video game: It’s easier and more logical: you just have to make gold offerings to the Gods and buy skills, getting your character stronger in the way. Please, use the logic!

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Now, don’t leave! We’re going to talk about leaves!… Yeah, sorry about that. But it’s true! Design the leaves is not as easy as it looks. First we tried to do different leaves, each one different, but that was very difficult to design and animate and make them look realistic, animating each one separately. Also, it was time-consuming, so we made a great solution: If you see an acacia, you’ll notice that all the leaves are together in a big leave pack. That’s what we did… and it’s just beautiful!

 

The main problem we faced was “How are we going to make people go to the tree for the first time?”. We tried different tricks: Billboards, big arrows, subtle lights in the road… At the end, we just add a little, more subtle, light in front of the tree. And it worked! People who played for the first time go directly to the tree. And they should – All the money you don’t spend in the skill tree will be offered to the statues in order to enter in the pyramids.

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The subtlety of our arrow…

We thought that the tree couldn’t be just “there”. After all, it’s a magic skill tree! It should be placed in a special place! That’s why we tried different places for it: a little stone circle, something more magical… At the end, we put it in a little stone circle that it grows with the tree, from just a couple of bricks to a whole more modern round wall.

But… How does the tree grow? It’s pretty easy: With the money you collect from dead enemies or broken pots, you can buy skills in the tree (for example, more health, better attack or more critical hits). Each skill (which has different levels, with each level giving something bigger, better and stronger to the player) will unlock a new branch, with more skills, which you can see as more leaves and consistency to the tree. When you collect enough skills, you’ll be able even to buy new classes, like Apis or Seth (for a good amount of money, of course). You can’t expect to have the biggest tree after one hour of gameplay, but it’ll start to grow early in the game.

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At the end, if everything goes fine for your redneck, you’ll have a very big acacia (one of the most sacred trees in Egyptian mythology), with a thick trunk and solid roots, full of skills prepared for you. Do you like our literal skill tree? What would you add? And what would you delete?