Fall 2019 Development Update πŸŽƒ

As we approach the release of a Crystal Companies: Expeditions (CCX) demo, we have a few final updates to share, as well as details on how you can join our community of beta testers! πŸ•ΉοΈ

New Explore Mechanic & Incidents

πŸ—ΊοΈ Exploration

In addition to playing through common scenario modes, exploring enables players to encounter additional minor events in between. Exploring can provide opportunities to find unique items or trade with a traveling merchant.

However, exploring can result in unintended consequences that derail your expedition temporarily; for instance, bandits can steal your wagon’s wheels!

One example of an incident: Tormented bones show up chasing an unfortunate traveler, and it’s up to you to decide what to do about it, if anything.

πŸ’€β›ˆοΈ Incidents

During scenarios there are now random incidents, which, like the changing of weather, add layers of strategy to basic scenario objectives. This can include the arrival of merchants, mercenaries, and undead adversaries, as well as natural disasters.

UX/UI

Lots of quality of life changes took place this month, mainly to make transitions easier to understand and give more information about items and contracts in game. Overall we are steadily making portions of the game less confusing (we hope!).

The updated company view on the expedition screen allows you to view all current contracts, and their abilities.
The updated design of the unit detail view enables it to fit better with the overall UI design.
We cleaned up the dialogue view design to make more sense overall and fit with UI design better.
The updated end-of-skirmish experience streamlines the looting/company growing process into several discrete steps as well as incorporating story elements, making it easier to take charge of your company.
Agents now show previews in the inventory view, and when upgrading an agent in the shop you can now view the upgraded agent before you choose to purchase the upgrade.

Bonus Update: Battle Map Studio

Awhile back we received an unexpectedly large amount of love for the map editor our developer, Bradley, created to make generating battlefields in Crystal Companies easier.

Now this tool is getting a full beta release as a standalone application! Dubbed “Battle Map Studio,” the editor makes creating and manipulating 3D, procedurally generated environments for RPGs or other games super straightforward and satisfying.

Find out more on Bradley’s website, including how you can become a beta tester 😊

On the Horizon

Crystal Companies: Expeditions is on the verge of release, and we continue to be optimistic about the progress we are making.

Beta testing for CCX should begin in another month or so (🀞). In the meantime, join us on Discord or follow us on Twitter for more frequent updates, and so that you can be among the first to know about the upcoming release!

And thanks as always for joining us on this journey. πŸ™

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 nowβ€”here are a few glimpses at progress so far!

Deck Selection, Overworld & Encounters

The framework for beginning an expedition is now in place πŸ™Œ 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 additionsβ€”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 battleβ€”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 strategyβ€”or “meta strategy,” if you willβ€”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. πŸ™ 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 πŸ˜‰). This also means we need to create another update accounting for our progress before the launchβ€”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! πŸ“· 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! βž—βž• 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 πŸ‘‹πŸ˜‰πŸ‘