Summer’s End Update 2019

We’ve been hard at work on Expeditions this summer, and we have a lot to share. In case you missed it, Expeditions is a new single-player mode of Crystal Companies that emphasizes procedurally generated adventures. (We shared details about Expeditions in our previous update.) We have some finishing touches to complete before a new playable demo is ready. But, as you will see below, things are falling into place nicely with the game.

Unit Ability Effects and Animations

Two types of decks will initially be available in Expeditions (each of which will start randomized rather than pre-constructed). Both come equipped with a series of revamped abilities with animations to match.

Imperial deck moveset and FX.
Alomian deck moveset and FX.

UI/UX: Item Management & Tactical View

As items play an enlarged role in Expeditions, the entire system for collecting and using items had to be overhauled. Similarly, we improved the way players can review the environment and actions in a more streamlined way. Below, you can see how looting items and the action viewer have been consolidated into the HUD bar at the top of the screen. Along those same lines, the tactical view has been reinvigorated with a cleaner layout.

Loot, Item Menu, Actions

New item pickup, use, and inventory system.
Looting items from another point of view, which also includes the adjacent actions stream on the left-hand side of the HUD.

Tactical View

An especially optimal time to use the tactical view: when the world is on fire!

Environmental Improvements

Environment generation has received some love recently as well. Both the blending of textures and weather effects were updated.

On the Horizon

As was said in the intro, a new playable demo is on the radar! Hopefully in the next update we will have firmer details to share. But for the time being, you can join our Discord server, which is where we plan to make Steam keys available again!

First Look at Expeditions

This is a preview of the new Expeditions mode of Crystal Companies.

Expeditions is a single-player mode where players embark on procedurally generated missions, dynamically build decks, and navigate hex-based tactical environments, all in an effort to build a successful crystal company.

Expeditions have been in development for a couple of months now—here are a few glimpses at progress so far!

Deck Selection, Overworld & Encounters

The framework for beginning an expedition is now in place 🙌 We are still ironing out some of the visuals, but the basic format of each expedition is as follows:

  1. Players select a captain, which is associated with a semi-randomized deck. Contracts (cards) can also be acquired or sold over the course of the expedition.
  2. An overworld scene with a series of nodes is generated procedurally.
  3. Each encounter has specific win conditions and optional challenges, with the goal being to end the expedition with lots of crystal.

Going Deeper: Items, Agents, and Economic Strategies

Expeditions will bring a slew of new additions—dynamic deck building, new UI, and contract simplification, to name a few. Here are some of the things we’re working on now.

Items

Items, like potions and equipment, have always existed in Crystal Companies as contracts, but in Expeditions, they will have a more distinct function in addition to their traditional role as cards in the deck.

With the addition of an inventory, items can be collected during an expedition and accessed on demand rather than exclusively in the form of drawn cards.

Agents

Players begin each tactical encounter with any agents they control appearing near their wagon or command post. Agents can be movable units or take the form of stationary support operations, which existed in previous versions of CrysCo.

Agents are also special in that they persist from battle to battle—as long as you retain them in your inventory. Agents, like items, can be found, bought, exchanged, and lost. Agents are unique in that they can be upgraded at forts.

Economic Strategy

The monetary importance of items and agents will also play a role in the overall strategy—or “meta strategy,” if you will—of Crystal Companies.

Not only will players have to balance their deck composition with the mission at hand, they will also have to maintain a healthy, sustainable company over the long haul by managing their supplies.

On the Horizon

Thank you for joining us on this leg of the journey! We look forward to sharing a more polished (and playable!) version of Expeditions mode soon. 🙏 Join our Discord server to be among the first to access this new version of CrysCo!

A New Chapter Unfolds

One week ago, our Kickstarter campaign wrapped up. And though we didn’t reach our funding goal, our vision for the future of Crystal Companies has never been clearer.

Image of wagon from Oregon Trail fording a river.
We’re going back to the basics; we’re inspired by the themes of survival from the classics! But we’re blazing a new trail. See you on the other side…

The Way Forward

The near-term focus of Crystal Companies will shift to single-player, procedural expeditions.

Expeditions will be defined by:

  • Dynamic deck-building, with deck archetypes built around central captain characters.
  • Choosing between several procedurally generated overworld pathways for each expedition you embark on; each path will include different kinds of encounters where you will have to decide to fight or avoid enemies, visit or skip forts, and collect different cards and items.
  • Upgrades for your crystal company over the course of an expedition, as well as opportunities to visit merchants, gather resources, recruit supporting characters, or repair your company’s wagon, which causes you to lose your expedition progress if it is destroyed.
  • Skirmishes, which will still form a significant portion of the encounters seen during expeditions; turn-based, procedurally generated, hex-based battles will continue to form the foundation of Crystal Companies‘ gameplay.

The Journey Ahead

Over the next several months, we aim to complete implementation of Expeditions, which will consist of leveraging much of the work that’s already been done on Crystal Companies up to this point. It will also be an opportunity to clean up code and streamline functionality.

Overall, this is a very exciting time for the Boreal Games team.

While we will be reorienting our focus, we won’t lose any of the work we did on the synchronous multi-player version of Crystal Companies that we honed over the past few years; that game mode will simply not be a focus for the the foreseeable future.

For now, we will continue to do our best to complete the best version of Crystal Companies we can.

Thank you for embarking on this leg of the journey with us!

Ramping Up for Kickstarter Part 2

We’re on a roll. In fact, we moved Kickstarter to April 9 to accommodate some crunch-time polish (it will all be worth it we think 😉). This also means we need to create another update accounting for our progress before the launch—so read on!

Map Editor Updates + Plans

Over the past month Bradley put loads of emphasis on our map editor. We unexpectedly received a lot of love on Imgur last month. And since then, we’ve only been improving this tool.

Our main focus remains honing the gameplay experience of Crystal Companies, but because so many people have noted the extensibility of our proprietary map editor, we plan to make a standalone app available to our Kickstarter backers.

For those of you who want to see the additions to this tool since the big Imgur post (which does a decent job of reviewing its features up to that point), here you go!

Terrain Boxes, Rifts, Cyclones, Etc.


Gameplay: Conquer + Camera

  1. Camera controls are finally here! 📷 Swivel that baby to your heart’s content.
  2. Conquer points can be scored whenever a build site is captured. Maintain control of all build sites for a turn and you’ll win the game! It works like a tug-of-war though, so make sure to factor fending off your opponent into your conquer equation! ➗➕ Conquer!

Rade + Saen Up Close

While new art will be revealed soon, we’ve made a couple of posts exploring two of Crystal Companies‘ captains: Rade and Saen.

On the Horizon

In case you missed it: Kickstarter! We’ll see you there 👋😉👍

2019: Ramping Up for Kickstarter

Welcome to the first “monthly” update of the New Year! The first big announcement of the year: April 9, 2019, is the date we have chosen to launch our Kickstarter campaign. 🤘

Now, let’s take a look at what we’ve been up to over the past month (and a couple weeks…).

Procedural Environment v2

The “random” battlefield generation that debuted awhile back immediately improved the way Crystal Companies is played. In the past few weeks, however, battlefields have only gotten more dynamic and “flavorful.” Not only is our lead dev a savvy coder, he also brings an interest/knowledge in eco-regions/biomes/geomorphology, which help to inform the procedures used to generate battlefields that look and feel “right.” Day/night cycles, weather, and more refined terrain generation are some of the big areas that were introduced this month.

Environment 2.1

Since we drafted this post, we started to tweak aspects of how environments are generated—and folks noticed! Here are some of the highlights from the past week.

Thanks for the retweet Unity!
Thanks for the feature 80 LEVEL!

Getting in the Spirit: New Promo Art

Marta Nael’s latest commission for Boreal Games and Crystal Companies pictures the blue captain, Traist, Prince of Hochraun, responding to a unseen foe (a Roc? an ambush?) while patrolling the interior of a canyon with his royal guard.

Gameplay Experience Back on Track

In addition to having way too much fun improving the ways environments are generated, we also have streamlined gameplay and user experience in myriad ways, including a simplification of the resource system! Now only notes and crystal gathered from the environment factor into card costs.

That’s all for now. Stick around our social accounts for the next month or two—it should be a pretty active time!

If you haven’t already, follow us on Twitter, join our Discord server, and or like our Facebook page <3