Welcome to our fifth Dev Diary, offering a behind-the-scenes look into the development of Last Train Home, a survival strategy game that revolves around the Czechoslovak Legionaries and their arduous journey back home after the Great War. This edition will focus on Combat.
Last Train Home presents a single-player, story-driven experience that spans approximately 40 to 50 hours. The game uniquely combines train management and missions that contain real-time combat with a tactical view feature pausing the game.
Within the world of Last Train Home, you take charge of compact squads of soldiers, ranging from a minimum of three to a maximum of ten members. Your soldiers are equipped with distinct Combat Roles, such as Machine Gunners, Medics, Riflemen, Grenadiers, and Scouts. Each profession possesses a unique skill set, which can be further honed and expanded according to your strategic choices.
These specialized skills are designed for specific situational challenges. Consequently, it's essential not to impulsively charge into battle but to thoughtfully assess both the positioning of your soldiers and the skillsets you can leverage to effectively address the current scenario.
To achieve success, waiting for battles to self-resolve simply isn't an option; you must proactively engage in conflict resolution and maneuver the situation in your favor. Scouting, planning and strategic positioning are vital to the survival of your soldiers.
Fortunately, you wield an arsenal of tools to influence battle outcomes, including the use of Tactical View. During missions, you can pause the action by hitting the Space Bar, allowing you to issue move commands with ease or observe previously given orders.
Another vital mechanic is the cover system. Soldiers can take cover in positions that offer partial protection while allowing them to shoot. Properly leveraging the terrain and various objects can shield your soldiers from incoming fire, although they remain vulnerable to flank attacks, rear assaults, and melee strikes.
In-game covers are fully procedurally generated, with two types: soft cover and hard cover. Soft cover offers limited protection, reducing the chance of being hit by 40%, while hard cover provides substantial protection, reducing the chance of being hit by 80%.
Last Train Home incorporates a Silent Mode, allowing your troops to move in a silent manner and even execute a stealth kill. However, it's not intended as the primary solution for all situations. Some missions can be completed without firing a shot, but these are exceptions. In most cases, it's more effective to use Silent Mode for preparation or to set traps before switching to direct fire.
Your units can acquire three types of weapons, each with two possible ‘upgrades’. You can purchase them from merchants or occasionally obtain them through the narrative. In addition to firearms, you can utilize landmines, grenades, and sleep flasks. However, all ammunition and equipment are limited, requiring careful management for each mission.
The game also features a powerful artillery strike that can eliminate even well-fortified enemy positions. However, its use is restricted and subject to specific conditions. And be cautious, as enemies also have access to this potent weapon.
In pursuit of adding a sense of persistence to the game, health doesn't regenerate automatically; you must heal your soldiers. Furthermore, healing during missions is temporary, and upon returning to the train, you must complete the healing process. Think of it as follows: a quick bandage won't fully heal a gunshot wound, and recovery takes time.
When a soldier's HP is depleted during a mission, they fall into a downed state, from which you can still save them. However, this safety net comes with consequences, as downed soldiers have a high chance of incurring permanent physical or mental damage, which cannot be reversed and accumulates over time, potentially making them a burden to the squad.
Enemies are categorized into three types, each with distinct statistics, skills, behavior, and attire. Additionally, they have access not only to regular weaponry but also to armored vehicles, posing a significant threat.
In order to enhance the challenge and immersion of combat, we've developed an AI system that empowers enemies to assess the battlefield dynamically, relying on probabilities to drive their actions. In contrast to many RTS titles, the AI system in Last Train Home is fairly advanced, with each unit making independent decisions. This system strives to mimic the reactions of real-life soldiers, which, to be honest, presented a significant challenge for us.
The enemies engage in calculated decisions, choosing the opportune moments to open fire, seek cover, switch positions, retreat, or attempt to outflank your troops. Their reactions are shaped by visual and auditory cues, and they are guided by a sophisticated system encompassing numerous evaluative factors, aiding them in selecting their next target. To anticipate the adversaries' next moves, keen observation becomes indispensable.
Your soldiers earn experience by completing objectives, but there are no rewards for killing enemies. XPs are used to level up their roles, enhancing specific attributes or unlocking new skills. Soldiers can even have multiple Combat Roles and combine their skills as long as the skill is not specific to a role or a weapon.
Regarding combat difficulty, the game offers a wide range of adjustments, allowing you to modify different statistics, such as damage inflicted on your troops and the enemies. However, the number of enemies and their behavior cannot be changed, as missions are pre-set and meticulously handcrafted.
If our combat system has captured your interest, you can download the demo of Last Train Home on our Steam page now and try it for yourself. The full game is set for release on November 28!
Thank you for your attention, and stay tuned for more updates.