Mid-Summer Update: 2018 Edition

Summer is in full swing, and since our last post, the BG team has implemented a bunch of user-facing improvements and features–see for yourself! (Read on below and/or hop into our Discord to get an alpha Steam key.)

Introducing: Saen Sure-Shot

Of the captain models we wanted to commission pre-Kickstarter, Saen was at the top of the list. Now her new model is implemented in-game!

Saen is a unique personality and no stock model could come close to doing her character justice. In addition, Yellow/Wealth is the only one of the sub-crystal types to not have two playable captains currently. Thanks again to Micah Masbaum for working with us and producing this awesome model! (Next up: rigging and animating!)

Procedurally Generated Maps

Last month at Port Con we debuted a test version of the “random” map selection feature. Not only was it surprisingly fun, it was a bit too random! In addition to dialing the craziness down (in a good way) we also augmented the experience with the first pieces of a whole batch of new environment models and textures.


As you can see in the video, map size, terrain and terrain effects, water features (with a new build site type: dock), elevation, and even AI creatures and win-condition are randomized in this mode!

(Check out that grass! More environment updates to come from Johnny Halcyon.)

Shop

That’s right: DLC will someday be available for purchase. For the time being, the implementation of a functioning shop is more of a backend win (integration with Steam, a user-friendly menu system, all new currencies, etc.), but down the road expect an appealing storefront for redeeming in-game currency as well as cash for in-game items, including packs of cards and aesthetic changes! (Just for the record, we aim to release CrysCo as a FTP game that will always reward skill above monetary investment.)

On the Horizon

As always, check out Brad’s latest update notes post to see a comprehensive list of game changes and technical tweaks from the last month. We have plenty more coming down the pipe (especially visuals and functionality improvements).

With another month in the books, we hope to continue to hear from you about what you would like to see happen in Crystal Companies as far as game improvements and community engagement–hit us up on Twitter, during our Wednesday Twitch stream, and as always on Discord. We have a Facebook page, too if you want to give us a “like!”

 

Sum Sum Summertime

It’s been a minute since we wrote our last update–for good reason: we’ve been busy! SUMmer output is adding up…

Technical Improvements

Last update we announced the reintroduction of deck-building. Now we have the foundation set for player inventory and shop functionality!  MENUS!!! All of this is integrated with Steam, so we will be able to quickly roll these features out when CrysCo launches.

Also, a reconnect feature has been added and is live now. Look for more robust random map features in the near future, too.

As always, there will be more to come on this front, but in the meantime, you can check out our latest dev blog post for a more detailed breakdown of in-game changes that occurred recently.

Art

Here’s a first-look at a new captain! Saen Sure-Shot will be the next main to be finished a playable. We are super pumped to be working with yet another inspiring artist and we hope to have a final version of Saen to show off soon!

As for other Crystal Companies art initiatives mentioned last time: all that and more is coming your way soon!

Last but not least…

The Boreal Games team is heading to PortCon in Portland, Maine, this weekend! If you’re local, come by and say ‘hi’ and/or pick up a poster!

On the Horizon

To sum it up, the past month marked the end of one sprint and the start of another. A lot of behind-the-scenes work was accomplished, and more front-facing work is coming down the pike. Stay tuned and be sure to jump into Discord to let us know what you think and get a free alpha steam key if you haven’t already!

 

 

 

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.

Spoiler Alert! Cards are in the Cards

Last month I hinted at a new/old feature’s (re)appearance in CrysCo. Spoiler alert: it’s not ready yet! But don’t despair–this month was packed with progress (but of course you already knew that because you’re following along in our Discord community). New cards, updates, and fixes abounded in February and into March. And some of us are improving at actually playing the game as evinced by this tasty “S” rank (though double S’s have been reported, they have not been substantiated with photographic proof).

Game Changes and Quality of Life Updates

The game is evolving at a rapid clip! You can get your own Steam key and play along by joining us on Discord (link in intro), but here are some highlights from this month:

  • The marketplace feature has been standardized and is now available at any point in a skirmish
  • Crystal is now generated at a lower rate but can be acquired in new and interesting ways, including through investments and in the environment
  • Individual hexes can be selected and now have specific characteristics (terrain at this juncture is merely aesthetic but could take on additional properties in the future…)
  • Outlines delineate active from passive abilities, and icons have been applied in a more coherent way across the board
  • And much, much more. In fact, there was not one but two significant updates over the past month.

Card Updates and a Word (or several) on Lore

The initial set of cards in CrysCo has seen countless iterations, and it is still evolving–the beauty of a dynamic card game is that this will always be the case to some extent. However, revision is being supplanted by a solid foundation in many cases. Here is a brief overview of the current state of each available crystal type and the cards aligned with them:

Spirit (Blue)

Representing a fractured northern kingdom and aligned with the crystal strain known as “seplaem,” the Hochraun remnants, Old North clans, and Menhiran Order band together for team-oriented gameplay.

  • Creatures work in tandem to overcome an opponent; keystone abilities include “faithful” (disseminating boons to nearby allies on ally entering the skirmish) and inspired (which works on the same mechanic but is a self-buff)
  • Spells augment clusters of creatures’ ability to survive (healing, protection, overshield, toughness) and act quickly (i.e. zeal, agility, and move range).
    • Banners are spells unique to spirit that can only be played around a creature
  • Structures are few and far between in spirit, meaning that population capacity is a major concern for such a creature-heavy style of play

Wealth (Yellow)

Alom is the currency crystal of Masteria, the primary setting of Crystal Companies. The Alomian Isles–so named because of the mines and commerce this confederacy is known for–are rife with pirates, mercenaries, and rogues, each with their own style of fighting and deceiving. This confederacy provides a rich tapestry of individual cards from which to choose–just don’t expect them to be individually balanced or come with a lack of risk to the battlefield.

  • Spells are scant in wealth, but unlike spirit, siege units augment the reliance on creatures–population capacity remains a resource to balance as siege is affected by it
  • Speaking of creatures, wealth consists of ranged gunpowder units, fighters that vary in ability based on attacking, and units with inherent zeal (movement on first turn in play). Wealth’s creatures are explosive–literally and figuratively
  • Siege and traps give wealth an edge in allowing them to clear the battlefield of enemies, albeit in a fairly risky fashion (usually involving blowing things up)

Intellect (Orange)

The Stadian Empire controls most of Masteria, including a vast walled city networked with Zligen crystal energy hubs that enable the deployment of defense mechanisms and transportation via warp-portals. Domination is an exercise in strategic thinking for the Stadians.

  • Structures and spells make up the majority of an intellect-based arsenal.
    • Turrets are immobile but provide support, visibility, and act as a deterrent to enemies in an area
    • Spells act to disrupt and immobilize enemies, and also enable the creation of temporary fighters in the form of zligen constructs
  • Creatures in intellect are typically utilitarian–building structures, scouting new areas, and capturing waypoints
  • Siege in intellect is a minor element but a formidable one–the siege zeppelin is a prime example

Nature (Green)

The Forestal region of Masteria is a semi-autonomous region that is defined by its sprawling wilderness. Different regions in nature represent individual strengths, but the commonalities across the cards–from the Deeproot jungle-dwellers to the Terran resistance fighters to the protectors of the Grove–is that they are adapted to environments of all kinds.

  • Plants are a unique sub-type in nature that can be structures or creatures. Plants can be food, materials, or even fighters
  • Creatures are diverse in nature too: humans fight alongside reptiles, arachnids, birds, and more. Native is a core mechanic of nature creatures, and flying is also a common trait. Poison plays an outsized role, as do abilities like territorial and evolve (wherein creatures act when enemies move in range and when creatures change in size and abilities over time, respectively)
  • Spells in nature play a mid-sized role, by and large serving to boost the vigor of plants and creatures alike

In the future, we hope to offer a glossary of lore and game mechanic terms as well as a complete card list. Currently, you can look up in-game cards by using a command in our Discord channel, which is also where you can access the game and discover new cards through playing the game itself.

On the Horizon

The functionality of Crystal Companies will continue to develop in the coming months. We invite you to join our Discord server to help with testing, give feedback, and hang out. New features will also be appearing/reappearing in the near future, as previously hinted at. So keep an ear to the ground! Or something like that.

P.S. Here’s a sneak peak at some new concept art coming soon!