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.

Things Fall into Place

rock pile

It’s not quite fall, but things are coming together nicely as summer concludes. Not only are the procedurally generated battlefields improving daily, but the visual style of Crystal Companies is cohering nicely as well. Progress and plans for the future abound in this end-of-summer/beginning-of-fall update!

Procedural Generation: The Latest

This video shows some of the most recent developments on the map-generation front in Crystal Companies (of course, to see the very latest you should just get yourself a Steam alpha key from our Discord server!).

Environmental Assets

Here are the latest results from Johnny Halcyon’s hard work!

yellow longspur lupine purple longspur lupine rock pile matgrass

QoL

As usual, there were so many improvements this month–too many to mention here. However, Brad’s devblog post catalogs them in detail here.

I’ll mention a few highlights:

  • Battlefield shapes are diversified and will likely become archetypes in addition to random map options
  • Many stock structure models have been improved across Wealth (yellow) and Intellect (orange)
  • Card glow (which indicates playable cards in hand) is now amplified

On the Horizon

The next month includes preparing for Granite State Comic Con (and probably a few more events that we will tell you about later!) and polishing Crystal Companies’ game mechanics and UX/UI. Both of these major initiatives should result in a smoother onboarding experience for new players and increased functionality across the game. Needless to say, these are exciting times!

As an end note, don’t forget to like us on Facebook–where we’ve begun a new series called “Procedural Map Monday” wherein we post games played on procedurally generated maps–and follow us on Twitter, Twitch for Wednesday-night dev streams, and hop onto our Discord server to chat and/or get a FREE Steam alpha key!

January: A Journey of 1,000 miles…

Over the past month, a lot of minor tweaks and incremental upgrades added up to proverbial leaps and bounds in terms of improvement to CrysCo alpha.

Grab a free alpha Steam key from our Discord channel, and while you’re there, let us know what you think!

New Models on the Way

Much of what we accomplished this month can be perused in more detail over in the update notes. (We weren’t sure you’d want to read about the awesome networking upgrades Brad made, but you can if you want!)

However, we are nearing completion of some new models! Here is a preview:

3D models of a new Wealth character
By the talented Océane Bidou, https://www.artstation.com/ocnbidou
Another nearly complete Wealth character modeled in 3D
By the talented Océane Bidou, https://www.artstation.com/ocnbidou

Gameplay Changes

We made a few major changes to rules inside of skirmishes this month, including:

  • Units now enter that battlefield with a condition called “Fatigue.” Units with fatigue cannot attack or move. Fatigue will last for one turn. “Zeal” is a mechanic that exempts units from the fatigue condition (like “haste” in MTG). We did this to ensure that first turns would not favor decks with large move ranges over others.
  • Blockers now only attack back if they have health greater than zero after the initial attacker damage. Attacks no longer occur simultaneously (all attackers now essentially have what we called “agile” before, whereas “agile” now has more niche use-cases). This makes combat more intuitive visually and adds more depth to combat interactions.
  • Tweaks to line-of-sight and crystal cost have been made to many cards. Investments require increased crystal expenditure and with smaller maps, these changes help to balance the in-skirmish economy.

Quality of Life

Brad made loads of QoL updates this month. Here are a few highlights, but these are best experienced by playing the alpha version for yourself!

  • Hovering over a unit will now display its current movement range.
  • Some hex highlights have been updated to be less jarring.
  • The status menu showing number of cards in hand, graveyard, population, and cards left now glow when any of the numbers of updated.
  • Population and hand size now turn red if they are at max capacity.
  • Dedicated market and investment window buttons have been added over the deck/population status panel.

New Hotkeys and Settings

Last but not least, we made some additions to make the game more customizable (fyi: the settings window is now reachable no matter where you are in the game! So, customize away!) to each player’s preference / setup. These include:

  • Page Down/Up now zooms the camera in/out.
  • Numpad +/- now zooms the camera in/out.
  • The option to enable/disable tutorial was added to the settings window.
  • The option to auto-confirm movement was added to the settings window.

GIFs

Since this month’s update is so text-heavy, here are some videos that highlight some basic aspects of the game–we hope to make more soon (in the form of easy-to-post GIFs) to reflect the most current look of the game.

On the Horizon

That’s all for this month, folks. We look forward to wowing you next month as Brad tackles a major revamp of a core feature that hasn’t been seen in CrysCo for about a year 😉 Stay tuned, and don’t forget to take the alpha for a test-drive!