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 ๐Ÿ˜‰). This also means we need to create another update accounting for our progress before the launchโ€”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! ๐Ÿ“ท 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! โž—โž• 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 ๐Ÿ‘‹๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘

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 Ocรฉane 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 youย 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–readย ย Bradley’s update notes post.ย  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.

The Creppy/Spoopy Monthly Update

Hello all, and welcome to the October Crystal Companies monthly update. Since our last post, we have implemented a slew of sweet upgrades into the game. If you haven’t yet, join our Discord channel so you can get your very own alpha Steam key! Find the scary-good update details (if I do say so myself) below.

๐ŸŽƒย ๐Ÿ‘ปย ๐Ÿฌ

Marketplace, Investments, and Main Menu Screen

There have been a few major substantive changes to the user interfaces of the game that also happen to be cosmetically and experientially noticeable as well.

First off, the marketplace and investment windows have been removed, and their functionality (or at least the parts deemed to be relevant) have been rolled into interactions within the environment itself. Now when you claim build sites, you receive certain universal upgrades specific to the structures you build.

Second, the main menu screen received an interesting overhaul–now, instead of a 2D menu, there is a 3D scene that makes navigation more intuitive (we hope!).

An image of Crystal Companies' 3D main menu screen

(Try it out for yourself–get a Steam key here.)

Hand UI

Will made several major upgrades to the hand UI, making it smoother and more functional overall. This short video demonstrates these changes:

New Standard Maps

The cat’s out of the bag: in addition to the procedurally generated “unknown” (random) map feature that was added recently, there are now also a number of new standard maps.

Not only that, but some of these maps include entirely new interactable units like boats, and bears, and boars (oh my!).

On the Horizon

We hope you will be our guests and test out some of the big changes coming to Crystal Companies over the next few months. Lately we’ve added a new stream to our Twitch schedule (http://twitch.tv/crystalcompanies), played a bunch of community matches (more to come), and been to some really fun local events (also more to come). As always, check out our Twitterย for intermittent updates (and Discord of course). Have a creppy/spoopy month!