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 now—here are a few glimpses at progress so far!

Deck Selection, Overworld & Encounters

The framework for beginning an expedition is now in place 🙌 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 additions—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 battle—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 strategy—or “meta strategy,” if you will—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. 🙏 Join our Discord server to be among the first to access this new version of CrysCo!

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.