I've been looking forward to this for several months now - excited for next week!
I understand this is designed to support keyboard and controller equally. By directly controlling a single character, it drastically reduces the number of inputs you would need over a more traditional RTS.
Have you (or the early testers) noticed whether choosing keyboard or controller affects gameplay at all? (i.e. is there a benefit to using one over the other?)
Are matches played peer to peer? If so, how much does latency affect the game?
Matches are peer-to-peer, and it uses a Lockstep networking model, which means that in bad connections, it will slow the game down rather than having rubberbanding. It's a very low amount of data passed over the network since all clients simulate locally.
As for keyboard/controller. We have seen some tricks from a couple of our absolute best players that are possible on keyboard and not controller. That said, several of our top-top players use controller and don't use those tricks. So while it's possible that in the top 0.01% of players there will be an advantage to keyboard/mouse, for everyone else it's about personal playstyle. I prefer controller myself.
Does Tooth and Tail support LAN multiplayer?
Btw, thanks for allowing us to play in splitscreen mode! That's always nice to have! :)
Afraid no LAN. We had it at first, but it was a pain to support over the course of 3 years of development since we never used it. If things go well maybe we'll bring it back! But yeah, you got it, split screen is the other long term option for co-local multiplayer!
We also wanted the world to feel like a real world, so we made the choice to prevent players from picking the same character in the same match.
By this, I assume you mean you wanted to prevent mirror matches?
There's a really interesting talk by the Towerfall devs about how making the character choice be aesthetic only freed players up to role play more because they weren't forced to pick their faction based on function. Google it!
Outside of the storyline campaigns, RTS is not a roleplaying genre, really. "Functions" are what keep RTSes (particularly those with weaker storylines) going and prevents them from getting dull quickly. Towerfall is not in that genre, so as a long-time RTS player, I must strongly disagree with their idea in the realm of strategies, though I do agree with some guilty pleasure memories for sandboxes, RPGs and the like ;)
To follow up, which aspects of existing RTS games did you point at and say, "we want this amped up to 11" and "we want this to be thrown out" the most, and why?
No, it wasn't really about mirror matches, it was that there is only one Hopper, there's no Hopper_1 and Hopper_2. You don't have to agree with that design decision, but that is where it came from :)
As for the aspects of RTS that we emphasized and threw out: the big one that we threw out was that we wanted to get rid of the things that often feel like a chore (queuing up new units) and the things that increase skill cap based on one's ability to multitask. We still require players to think about many things at once, but we only require them to *DO* one thing at a time. This cuts down on the mental/physical exhaustion that's inherent in many other competitive RTS games.
As for what we wanted to emphasize: creativity, improvisation, unpredictability being the keys to success. So random maps, customizable armies, lots of hidden information help to make Tooth and Tail all about the mind games.