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.

🎃 👻 🍬

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 Twitter for intermittent updates (and Discord of course). Have a creppy/spoopy month!

 

Things Fall into Place

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!

Finally!

A wild new feature appears! Deck-building is back and better than ever. Check it out for yourself by:

1) joining our Discord server (discord.crystalcompanies.me)

2) typing !key in chat

3) redeeming the Steam key you receive and downloading CrysCo.

Now, for those who prefer it, read on below about our progress over the last month and a half.

Deck-Building Functionality

Here is a video that will do a better job than I can of describing what has been added to the game:

Worth noting about the current iteration of the deck-building capabilities:

  • Each player has been temporarily given the full library of available cards.
  • You can now create fully customized decks.
  • Searching and filtering a collection can be done via the filter buttons or search field at the bottom of the deck editing view.

Card Updates

To see a full list of recent card updates, head over to our Dev Blog.

In summary, a lot of interesting updates have been made to Intellect (orange) and Wealth (yellow) so maybe that’s where you should start when building your first deck?

Art

After receiving some amazing new art (featured in the new build of the game!) we have already begun commissioning art of another kind: new models! This should include not only a new captain character but also updates to the environment assets. Expect to see more on this front over the next month or so. Some models already in the pipeline (see previous monthly updates) should reach completion relatively soon as well!

On the Horizon

This month ended the first big sprint of the year for the Boreal Games Team. We successfully re-implemented the deckbuilding screen. But we are already hard at work on the next one! No spoilers yet, but a hint is in order: check the new nav and you can begin to guess what features are coming next. This series of sprints is meant to culminate in a (successful?) Kickstarter, so as you follow along, we’d love to hear ways we can continue to improve the game and help build our community’s interest!

P.S. one more time: if you want to play CrysCo, join the Discord 🙂

discord.crystalcompanies.me

 

What Spring is Bringing

The Crysco demo continues to evolve, and it becomes more exciting to play every day (get your alpha Steam key in our Discord server if you haven’t already!). That said, we are also doing work outside of the game to improve visibility and grow the community. As we head toward summertime, we will be putting the finishing touches on the look and feel of the game alongside technical updates. Here’s what happened this month!

New Art

Another Marta Nael piece reached completion this month! We teased this concept art last month, but the final version is here. Expect to see this piece worked into CrysCo’s in-game menu system soon.

Game Changes

  • Added a new ability called Adamantine (cannot be dealt more than one damage).
  • Added a new ability called Water Walking (can move and land on water spaces).
  • All skirmish reports are sent to each client at the end of the match.
  • Updated market so that trading from native to crystal resource can be done with any combination of 5 native resource.
  • Changed maps to improve the balance of resources and general navigability
  • Lots of QoL changes, which can be seen in depth in the update notes!

New Cards

Over the past couple of months we’ve completely overhauled Wealth/Yellow cards. The emphasis with this group of cards was always on attacking and comboing off of it. Expect more explosiveness when playing Wealth–literally and figuratively!

Also getting a big update is Intellect/Orange. More utility cards, structures, and synergy across spells, creatures, and structures is the focus here.

We will be periodically tackling each cohort of cards in order to better balance and define the play style associated with them.

PortCon

This year Boreal Games will be exhibiting at PortCon in Portland, Maine. We are very excited to be attending because, as far as we know, it’s the only convention of its kind in Maine. We hope to see you June 21-24!

Find out more about PortCon here: http://portconmaine.com/site/

Streaming

The entire team has returned to semi-regularly streaming! Catch us on Wednesday nights around 5:30 EST: www.twitch.tv/crystalcompanies

On the Horizon

A few months back I mentioned that we will be reintroducing a core feature–deck building–back into the game; this is still happening! A lot needed to be done to ready this feature for reintegration–and many other auxiliary systems have to be considered at the same time. All of this to say, soon is a relative term! All I can say for sure is: if you follow us on Twitter, Twitch, and/or are present in our Discord server, you will be the first to know when CrysCo’s next big feature arrives!

Until next month! Thanks for reading.

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!