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

End-of-Year Update: Bearing Gifts and Promises of Things to Come

First off, loads of card and game changes were made over the last month. Check out Bradley’s update notes here.

Now for some more specific news and and an overview of the rear view, i.e. what we did this month and what 2018 brought in general for Crystal Companies‘ development.

Loading and Skirmish Preview Screens

It’s all new, and is a nice combination of form and function if I do say so myself.

New Models, A Long Time Coming

We mentioned these models for the first time several updates back. But they are finally finished and will be making their way into the game shortly! Big thanks to Océane Bidou for the great work. They will replace a large swath of wealth/yellow-type models. Here’s a small selection of what you can expect to see:

Quality-of-Life Things

Normally I’d either summarize or point you just to the technical update for these types of changes. But I want to highlight the extensive fixes/improvements Bradley made to the game this month, because each one makes a noticeable difference (while not necessarily jumping out at you when playing CrysCo–as it should be). Here’s the whole list:

  • Added tooltips for many pieces of the UI that explain functionality.
  • Simplified the hex info panel with name of terrain and elevation.
  • Added card movement sounds.
  • Updated the help and settings panel to align with current UI style.
  • Updated the tooltip to align with current UI style.
  • Redesigned the skirmish preview screen to show the battlefield being created (see above!).
  • Updated the radial menu to align with current UI style.
  • Added functionality to view card collection without loading a deck.
  • Polished map generation for creating fairer map areas.
  • Tweaked parts of the skirmish report so that player scores better reflect battle performance.
  • Corrected issues with gamma on images.
  • Fixed many performance issues with fog of war, deck editing, card movement, hex highlighting, and battlefield loading.
  • Fixed many grammatical errors with the ability text parser.

Whew! That’s a lot and, tbh, it makes me want to go play CrysCo now. Speaking of which, you can do so by joining our Discord server. Type !key when you get there, and Isa will bestow upon you a FREE Steam key that provides access to our current alpha version (which currently enables you to play with any card in the game!).

On the Horizon

2018 brought a slew of big improvements and a lot of teamwork–both within Boreal Games and between us and our talented artist contractors. Not only did the overall look of the game change drastically for the better, the way levels are built (through procedural generation) and the way players interact with that environment (updates to AI, card abilities, upgrades, and so on) all moved forward by leaps and bounds. As we move toward 2019, we are feeling #blessed. And though we still have a lot to accomplish–and challenges to overcome, to be sure–we are feeling thankful for the journey thus far.

In the next few months we will be focusing on community development and continuing to polish CrysCo. Your support has never meant more to us, by the way! This will entail adding a tad more art, playtesting, and promoting CrysCo across various channels.

Our big goal for the first part of the new year is to be ready by February to run our long-anticipated Kickstarter campaign. We will announce loud and clear as soon as we have hard details to share. In the meantime, if you have any bright ideas about how we can reach our audience (you) better, please let us know!

Finally, please follow our development on Twitter (https://twitter.com/boreal_games), join our Discord (http://www.cryscogame.com), and of course check out our weekly dev streams on Twitch (http://twitch.tv/crystalcompanies) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCrPErTjd4IjAbY8VjTCrjeA).

Thanks for reading–see you next year (get it?).

Winter Begins, Work Continues

Winter is coming / here, and we are hunkering down, keeping warm next to our PC towers and basking in the white monitor glow while the snow falls outside. As nice as that sounds, it also means we are still cranking out updates to Crystal Companies. Community building and onboarding are of chief concern these days, as well as general improvements to UI and card mechanics across the board. Read below for the past month’s highlights.

Tutorial

The most substantial change to CrysCo’s alpha version (get your free Steam key from our Discord channel!) is the new tutorial. Ahead of applying to various gaming conventions, Bradley went all out to make sure that new players would be able to get acclimated in an engaging way.

On a similar note, the main menu received a few tweaks that make it cleaner and easier to navigate.

Environment Changes

The environments keep getting better and better looking (which is appreciably harder to do each time). Here are a few screenshots that show (better than I can tell) what I am talking about. (Of course, these are only a couple of virtually limitless cool battlefield views you can expect to see!)

UX/UI

We are steadily ticking items off the long list of minor fixes that need to be made to move us closer to a flawlessly streamlined UX (we can dream). One of the most noticeable changes has not been implemented yet–a new card design–but here is a sneak peek.

Game Changes

Don’t get caught by surprise like I was in the middle of a skirmish–read  Bradley’s update notes post.  Some of my favorite changes occurred in Intellect, with the addition of a new turret and balances that favor structure strategies.

On The Horizon

In the next month, aside from some much-needed holiday-related distractions, we will be continuing to chip away at our desire for a UX/UI masterpiece while attempting to find new players, improve playability, and fight through the dark winter days. Also, look forward to new art as we approach our expected Kickstarter launch date! (Which we hope will be sometime in the early spring of next year!)

As always, head over to our Twitter and/or Discord server to receive the latest updates.