In an overdue effort to keep things balanced in the land of Outwitters, 2v2 has been updated with a first-turn advantage fix similar to our 1v1 rules. This solution addresses the concern that when second player takes their turn, their team starts 5 wits behind first player and plays catchup. The new way this works is:
- Team 1 gets 5 wits.
- Team 2 gets 7 wits (starting 5 wits behind, but ending the turn 2 wits ahead).
- Team 1 gets 5 wits (starting 2 wits behind, ending 3 ahead).
- Team 2 gets 6 wits (starting 3 wits behind, ending 3 wits ahead).
- From here, all players get 5 wits at the start of each turn.
If all this sounds odd to you, know that it sounded weird to us too when the concept was first introduced on our forums. With this tweak, each player starts their turn playing catchup on wits, but gets to end it a little bit ahead of the person before them.
The 3rd installment of the fan-organized Outwitters World Cup is accepting challengers here through Wednesday, January 14th. You definitely don’t want to miss out on this chance to do your country proud, and possibly snag a cash prize of up to $150! We do have to reiterate that One Man Left is not responsible for running this tournament or providing any of the prizes, but you’d be crazy to miss out on one of Outwitters’ most prestigious tournaments.
The last World Cup was won by poweewee (Philippines), and the first cup ever went to Alvendor (Sweden).
Image credit: Cozyhut3 from our forums
You’ve battled hard over the past few months, and now your Season 3 rank is eternally etched in your profile’s history. Time for a fresh start!
Today you’ll find yourself back in placement for your first match, after which you’ll be promoted into a new division and league. Your behind-the-scenes skill rating will carry over from the previous season, so you’ll continue to be matched against similarly-skilled players. Best of luck to everyone in the ongoing war of wits!
I was playing around with a prototype idea, looking for a placeholder graphic, when I remembered this ugly little guy. Back when the Veggienauts were still being balanced, we explored a few other plant-themed special powers outside of Bramble’s thorn patch. One concept was so inspiring I had to mock up the character behind it. His name was Retch, and he spewed a cloud of spores that was toxic to your enemies.
Check out this new fanart from a mysterious artist known only as “Someone Someone”. If the Veggienaut up top can get to those wits, he might be able to kill that vocalist.
“Post mortem” is a game industry thing, reflecting on a project for our own benefit (to learn from our mistakes and successes), and for anyone that might try to follow in our footsteps. Production for Outwitters has been suspended, but servers and season support will continue for as long as there are players to spend the wits. The forums will always be around to find active teammates and opponents.
This is being written by Adam, the artist half of OML, and doesn’t necessarily reflect Alex’s experiences making Outwitters. I’m responsible for artwork, and we collaborate on the business and game design decisions.
What Went Right
As the first prototypes for Outwitters were being assembled, we had never balanced a competitive multiplayer game. I had never done real character animation for games before. I hadn’t done digital painting since high school, and I didn’t have much in the way of level design experience.
In the roughly 1 year and 10 months we worked on this game I tried all of these things, scrapped the work, and redid it until it felt right (or we ran out of time). Looking at the project in terms of what I was capable of when we started versus what I can do now, Outwitters was an amazing learning experience. We really challenged ourselves and got outside of our comfort zone, and I think that paid off.
The stated goal of the project was to create a turn-based strategy game for everyone. It started as sort of a reaction to strategy games I thought were too complex to get into. I think Outwitters is easy enough to pick up, and we’ve had a fantastic fan community that’s really taken to it. But there is one caveat:
What Went Wrong
When you set out to make a “strategy game for everyone”, that includes people who don’t like strategy games. While working with some of our testers, we learned that these people don’t like them on a molecular level. They do not want to play your turn-based strategy game, no matter how cute your bears are. So catering game design decisions to them, like keeping teams the same except for one unit, was probably misguided.
A bigger problem, financially, was that Outwitters took a really long time to make.
After release, I remember Alex wondering at what point we would break even. How do we even calculate that? We wrote it off at first; we’re a small company with no office, so our games must only cost sound effects money and the occasional equipment purchase. Then it occurred to us that if we need this much in salary to feed our faces and X to run the company each month then, gasp, our time has value! It sounds crazy, but only now do we know what a month of game production costs us. And Outwitters cost many months to make.
The rationale behind our business model was something like “it’s multiplayer, so we need lots of people playing” and “freemium seems to be working well for other companies.” There was definitely a dash of “we can do it without getting all shady with ads and timers.” Not much thought was put into pricing, conversion rates, or how many users we’d need to break even; because that had never really been a problem for us before. We didn’t understand what made the freemium business model work. I’m glad that we learned something about the business side of game development, and we’re still very much alive, but it was an expensive lesson.
Having moved out of content production for Outwitters (no more new teams/map themes, but we’re still looking out for balance and bugs), I thought it’d be nice to at least show off some of the leftover race concepts. They’d have been redrawn for the actual game, but I’m still pretty fond of a lot of these designs. Maybe you’ll see some of them crop up in a future game. I’m especially proud of the ice pig.
Outwitters 1.6.2 is on the way! Hearing all of your feedback, we prioritized getting this patch out ASAP. It’s working its way through Apple’s approval process to WEED out some Bramble-related issues. That pun was intentional and I don’t have to apologize to anybody if I don’t want to.
Back by popular demand: Bramble thorns will return to 2hp, but still have the ability to attack and retreat. The nasty Bramble replay bug that’s been ending your replays prematurely is also fixed. We really appreciate your patience with this, and apologize for the issues with 1.6.1. I can assure you this update will be 0.0.1 better.
Outwitters 1.6.1 is out! Players are loving the new maps with the release of the 2nd gen maps in our previous update. Then they realized the new maps weren’t coming up in league play. Oops! This update fixes that. The new map pack should now start appearing in league matches.
On the topic of the recent Bramble buff, we’ve been listening to feedback and watching match outcomes in aggregate. With most drastic changes to unit abilities or gameplay rules, we see a slight upswing in favor of the new ability as players are typically faster at learning how to use the ability offensively than they are at defending against it. Defensive strategies tend to lag behind any metagame changes as players slowly adapt new tactics and let go of old ones that no longer work. While we do think the new Bramble is strong, we aren’t 100% sure if it is broken or a matter of the metagame lagging behind. We would like for the Bramble change to run it’s course through this weekend, and come next week we’ll look at the data and feedback and adjust from there. We do appreciate our player’s patience and support as we work towards a more balanced game!