December 9

Design Quest – Week 2 Release

Play Now on ITCH.IO

In game feedback system

I’ve made it even easier to leave feedback by adding an in-game system.  Just click the feedback button and let me know what you’re thinking.

This took a little bit longer to make than I first expected so I had to cut the game design short!  Fortunately, it’s already paying off as people leave me comments.  I’ll also be able to leverage the same webserver for high-scores, user profiles etc.

 

Feedback request in game

 

New cards/abilities

I added six new cards to this release to try and emphasise the character roles.

  • The swordsman gains the charge card, that grants increased damage after moving and the taunt card, that causes enemies to target him exclusively
  • The maceman gains the knockback card, allowing them to prevent incoming damage and keep enemies back
  • The archer now has two bow attack cards, quick shot and power shot. This allows you to attack more frequently while still having a powerful decisive attack
  • The mage gains the teleport card, allowing them to zip around the battlefield or get to safety

 

 

Initial cards and deck set-up

From watching people play the game, I noticed that often the player would start with no usable cards (e.g. two attacks).  They’d also end up with too many of the same card and have to skip their go.

I now set the initial cards, typically to one move and one attack, and have adjusted the decks to feature a better balance of cards.

 

 

December 1

Design Quest – Week 1 Release

Launch Design Quest

 

 

Track down and defeat the Orc hordes

Fight your way through three encounters, battling Orc foot soldiers, archers, thieves and shaman.  Watch out as they try to outwit you and attack your weak points.

 

Ready your new war band with new abilities

Introducing an entirely new set of action cards, find the optimal plays to beat the Orcs while taking the least damage.  Save your best cards for when you need them the most and throw away the ones you don’t need.

 

Improved graphics and audio experience

Hear the clash of steel on steel and the cries of pain as you drive your enemies away.  Improved graphics show more clearly who your enemies are and what they are wielding.

 

Go retro and follow the design of the game

Check out the previous version of the game right from the main menu.  Selecting week 0 shows you what the game looked like before.  Follow the complete design progress with future updates.

 

November 25

Design Quest: Week 1 Mechanics

Now that I’ve set-up the bare bones game, it’s time to get designing some game mechanics!  I’m hoping that by the end of this week I’ll have an enjoyable game for you to try out.

I’ve decided to focus on the card mechanics first.  In the bare bones version there’s only three types of card, melee attack, ranged attack and move.  Each character draws five random cards each turn for you to use and then discards them at the end.

In this week’s prototype I’ll be adding five new cards types and updating the existing attack cards.  The card set will consist of:

  • Move – move x squares
  • Direct melee attack – hits one target for x damage
  • Area melee attack – hits multiple targets for x damage
  • Ranged attack – hits one target for x damage
  • Heal target – heals the target for x hit points
  • Block stance – prevents enemies moving past the character
  • Defensive stance – reduces incoming damage
  • Evasive stance – attempts to dodge incoming attacks

I will also be creating AI rules to determine how they are used by the enemy characters.  By combining different stats, cards and AI rules I’ll be able to create different enemies for the player to deal with.

I’ll remove the randomness of the deck draw.  Instead, each turn the characters will draw X cards up to an upper limit Y.

Finally, I’ll be putting together a series of encounters for the player to fight through, similar to the bare-bones prototype.  It’ll be fun to randomize these encounters at a later date but for now I want to design these encounters to try out different design ideas.

TL; DR? New cards, decks, levels and AI.

November 24

Design Quest: Quantity Leads to Quality

There’s a great story from the book Art & Fear that shows us how to get better at something:

The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity of work they produced, all those on the right solely on its quality. His procedure was simple: on the final day of class he would bring in his bathroom scales and weigh the work of the “quantity” group: fifty pounds of pots rated an “A”, forty pounds a “B”, and so on. Those being graded on “quality”, however, needed to produce only one pot – albeit a perfect one – to get an “A”.

Well, come grading time a curious fact emerged: the works of highest quality were all produced by the group being graded for quantity. It seems that while the “quantity” group was busily churning out piles of work – and learning from their mistakes – the “quality” group had sat theorizing about perfection, and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than grandiose theories and a pile of dead clay.

I want to become a great games designer and therefore I’m going to follow a similar strategy.  Each week I’ll be releasing a prototype that explores a new gameplay idea.

I’ve created a barebones version of my turn-based strategy game.  It contains just enough code/art to communicate my intent, while still allowing me to iterate quickly.  This will allow me to focus on the mechanics rather than all the other parts of game development.

 

Check it out now, over on itch.io

 

My weekly process will consist of:

  • Deciding on a gameplay experience to explore
  • Adding new features/mechanics to support that experience
  • Publishing a new prototype to itch.io
  • Collecting feedback from players
  • Writing a blog update with my findings

This can only work with your support so please try out the games, leave feedback and let me know your thoughts.