Behind the Scenes: Bringing a World Boss to Life

The “Behind The Scenes” series is a chance for us to give you a glimpse into the inner workings of HabitRPG, Inc., the company that makes Habitica. Every so often, we’ll treat you to some silly staff shenanigans or show you the work that goes into your favorite features. Enjoy!

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Nothing brings Habitica together like an epic monster battle! World Bosses are some of the community’s favorite events, so in this edition of Behind the Scenes we’ll share the exciting history of Habitica’s World Bosses, plus inside information on all the hard work from the team that goes into making these events happen!

Leslie (AKA Lemoness) is the creative mind behind a lot of aspects of Habitica’s big events, including art, potential features, and quests. She had some great memories to share about the origins of World Bosses to start us off: “After our first successful Winter Wonderland event, I turned my attention to the rest of the year. The spring event would be pretty straightforward, but what about the summer event? There aren’t many classic holidays that land in the summertime, but I’ve always adored oceans and undersea adventures, so I knew that I wanted to incorporate some. Since I’d been looking for an opportunity to expand Habitica’s narrative and worldbuilding, this seemed like a perfect fit. I created a mysterious plot-line leading up to the discovery of a lost underwater city and, since raid bosses had been a common feature request, I decided to develop a World Boss to explain how it had sunk beneath the waves.”

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It’s understandable to want to sink beneath the waves if you see this coming at you!

“Implementing the Dread Drag’on of Dilatory was a monstrous task, especially since it was happening at the same time as the first Summer Splash gala, with all the attendant art and coding needs. I reached out to artisan baconsaur, who was doing a lot of art for us and who I knew was fond of dragons; they eagerly agreed to the secret project. We also had art that had been previously submitted for some Mantis Shrimps, whose rainbow splendor hadn’t leant itself well to the usual pet recolors. Seeing an opportunity, I worked them into the plot-line as well.  Our exhaustion was kept at bay by the increasing enthusiasm of the community as each new Bailey announcement held more clues about the coming event. When the Drag’on finally attacked, the reaction was tremendous – a fanclub Guild even opened up!”

But it wasn’t all smooth sailing from there. Just before the first Rage Strike, an unscrupulous rogue discovered an exploit in the World Boss code and slew the Dread Drag’on overnight. We awoke to a huge onslaught of confused and despairing messages from the community, who felt understandably cheated that the mighty Boss had vanished while it was still brimming with health. Worse, we had included gold and XP rewards, like with any normal Boss, so people found that they’d inexplicably and abruptly leveled up, and that their gold reserves were completely unbalanced for no apparent reason. It was a royal mess, but we managed to hastily fix the exploit, relaunch the Drag’on (which had “merely ducked underwater to revitalize itself”), and change the prizes to include an assortment of food instead of gold/XP. In fact, it was during this glitch that Beth (AKA: Beffymaroo) earned her very first Habitica contributor tier! She got a socialite tier for answering many, many questions from players confused by the premature end of the battle, and the rest is history. And the remainder of the event went… dare we say it?… swimmingly!

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Little known fact about Mantis Shrimp: They love puns.

After the resounding popularity of the first World Boss, people immediately began asking for another. Eek! Doing one during every event would be too much work (as well as anticlimactic), but Leslie sat down and planned out the next three World Bosses and how they would involve the discovery of new lands and characters during other seasonal events. The results of that brainstorming session were spread out over almost two years. If you’ve been around Habitica for a while, you might remember the Abominable Stressbeast, the dread Burnout, and the dazzling but dangerous Be-Wilder!

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A shifty-looking bunch for sure!

Since World Bosses have always been such a hit with the community, we decided another battle was due soon! We’d already had a World Boss in each Grand Gala, so we thought that Valentines’ Day would be a great Habitica event for an epic monster to make an appearance. Once Leslie’s ideas and concepts were out there, it was time to make it all come together with the help of the rest of the Habitica team!

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Perhaps the aspects of the World Boss that are most familiar to Habiticans are the pieces of amazing art involved! The Dysheartener was created by talented Habitica artisan AnnDeLune, who started working on the dread creature many months beforehand in order to make it perfectly terrifying.

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We also needed art to show the destructive havoc wrought by the boss when a rage strike occurred! Beffymaroo, using colors and concepts from the boss art, created the scenes for the affected shops showing the effects of the Dysheartener’s attacks.

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We will rebuild! But who will be next?? *cue dramatic music*

When it comes down to the all-important mechanics of the World Boss, we check in with Sabe (AKA SabreCat) about what’s needed from a programming perspective! Sabe gets all the ducks in a row for the boss’s health and rage, and how Habiticans will damage it, and then the team takes some time to test out the mechanics so that we know everything will work as intended. Our brave bug-smasher Alys also pitched in to help with testing and with readying the Phobia Protection Extension so that any Habiticans with phobias that might be set off by this creepy-crawly creature had the option to hide the artwork.

World Boss battles are a big event to fit into Habitica’s pixel world, and luckily we have talented designers to help us make them look and feel even more exciting! Tressley (AKA Apollo) and piyorii (AKA Sara) created special designs for the Tavern on web and mobile to help everyone get hyped about taking the monster down.

We’ve been able to make incremental improvements like these to the World Bosses each time, including adding animation in 2016, but this year’s World Boss has had the most improvements yet, including the revamped design in the Tavern, the detailed NPC banners in the event of a Rage Strike, and the improved integration with our mobile apps. And of course, as we look forward to future World Bosses, there will be plenty more fun in store!

With so many moving parts and so many folks involved, it takes a lot of cooperation, coordination, commitment, and time to bring a World Boss to the Tavern. But when we see how much the community enjoys fighting to save Habitica, it makes it all worthwhile!

Until next time! ❤

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Routines

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Illustration by JessicaChase

It’s Wiki Wednesday! Once a month, we highlight a helpful post from the Wiki with tips about productivity, wellness, and optimizing your use of Habitica!

Hello Habiticans! The year is still young, and February is a great time to put new habit-building practices in place for 2018. If you’re looking for help with structuring your day, or have tasks that need to be completed in order, a routine might be just what you need! If you’d like to set one up, we have a great guide tailored just for Habitica, thanks to our wonderful and hard-working Wiki Scribes!

A Routine involves assigning a particular order, time, or trigger for doing one or more common tasks. By adding additional structure, players can reduce opportunities for procrastination or indecision, and keep themselves organized. Routines can also help make the most out of unscheduled time.

Want to know more? Head over to the wiki to check out the full article!

Sharing the Love: Guilds for Interpersonal Relationships

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Illustration by Aries Faries

One thing Habitica is famous for is having a kind and supportive community. And February – the month associated with love!-  is a great time to work on your connections with other people, both in Habitica and out in the non-pixel world. In this month’s Spotlight we’re focusing just a few of the many Guilds in Habitica where you can find fellow players to support you as you look for support and tips to help you grow and maintain your interpersonal relationships.

Choose Your Partner Today: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/a9c4b5b6-cfb2-4c18-9a8b-ff54a89bf4bf

When there’s someone really special in your life, one of the most important things you can do is remind yourself (and them!) about why they are so special to you. This Guild is built around a unique monthly Challenge that asks you to remember why you chose this important person to be your partner and to find reasons to continue to choose them every day. The Guild Chat is filled with Habiticans sharing why their partners are so essential to their lives. Aww! ❤

Pen Pals: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/b3125106-8d42-4b98-be5b-6fe8cd965e56

If you’d like to connect with other Habiticans, or if you love writing and receiving letters, check out Pen Pals! It’s a community of folks looking to engage with others over snail mail or email, and you’re certain to find a new friend you can start a great conversation with.

Be Kind to Yourself Guild: https://habitica.com/groups/guild/de98b936-44a3-47a8-b83a-a5b8c3584e79

This Guild offers support and tips to help you take better care of yourself! After all, taking the time to be kind to yourself and practice self-care is a key part of being able to engage in better relationships with the other people in your life. Check out the chat for great ideas for taking care of your mind, body, and emotions.

These Guilds and many, many others are here to help you find new and helpful ways to nurture your personal connections both on- and off-line! And if you’re looking for more advice on using Habitica to help with interpersonal relationships, be sure to read this month’s Use Case Spotlight, featuring tips and tricks from fellow Habiticans!

Use Case Spotlight: Interpersonal Relationships

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Illustration by Aries Faries

In last month’s Use Case Spotlight, we looked at ways to use Habitica to set (and keep!) realistic goals for the New Year. This month, since Valentine’s Day is on the way, it’s a great time to look at methods for creating and nurturing connections to the other people in your life. These great ideas for using Habitica to maintain and improve friendships, romantic relationships, and family connections come from your fellow players in the Use Case Spotlights Guild!

indescribble starts us off with a simple Habit to encourage interaction with others:

I have a ‘ Socialised!’ daily which doesn’t count for those I live with or talk with daily (hubby, child, parents, inlaws etc) but does count for extended family, strangers etc.. I’ve found it has encouraged me to talk to other parents at my child’s school, other students in my uni classes, reach out to cousins for a chat on the phone, talk to random strangers when waiting in line etc..

Dan O’Dea shares some great thoughts on how to make your conversations more meaningful by listening with your full attention:

…Build a habit with a plus-minus system. The habit is, “Monitor your conversations today. For every conversation longer than ten minutes, check one of the following.

  1. If you listened more than you talked and didn’t try to resolve the “problem” unless asked to, click the Plus box.
  2. If you listened more than you talked and gave an answer the other person asked for, click the Plus box.
  3. If you talked more than you listened or gave an answer that wasn’t asked for, click the Minus box.
  4. If the conversation was specifically to answer a question, don’t click either box.

…Doing this sort of thing (listen to how people feel and respecting it rather than judging it on your standards) helps in a lot of ways.

Genleevia shares a Habit to help you cope with the people you interact with often but may find difficult or unpleasant:

Last year, I rented a room in a house with four strangers who I could barely tolerate. Itching to live on my own but unable to justify the cost, I bit down my irritation and resentment toward my housemates and spent several months being deeply, silently unhappy. Then I created a habit called “Think nice thoughts about housemates (they’re people, too!).” When I caught myself spiraling into a dark, resentful place, I’d consciously redirect myself toward positive thoughts and dwell on good interactions we’d had–and tick the positive habit box. If I indulged in the dark spiral, I’d mark the negative habit box. Thankfully, I could delete the habit in the spring when I finally moved into my own place. But while it lasted, the “Think nice thoughts” cue actually worked wonders!

diapasoun gives some tips on using a Daily to keep your long-distance relationships strong:

Many of my friends (especially from school) have moved away from our city, some to other continents; we’re a pretty far-flung bunch. I have a daily, due on Sundays, for checking in with far-off friends; it has a checklist of names. If I’ve checked in with that person that week, or otherwise made sure to keep the friendship connection going, I get to check off their name. Some people are very easy to keep in contact with, but for the people who are harder, the daily has absolutely made me check in with them when I wouldn’t have otherwise.

There were so many helpful and exciting tips we couldn’t feature them all here! You can see them all and join in the discussion in the Use Case Spotlights Guild– one of your ideas could be featured next month! Look for an announcement of next month’s theme from Bailey soon.

And lastly, if you missed it you may want to take a look at our most recent Guild Spotlight, which showcases groups dedicated to Setting (and Keeping!) Realistic Goals!