2018 Initiatives (Alpha!) & 2017 Recap

December flew by, what with the holidays and constantly adding new content to CrysCo’s alpha version. January is already off to a great start, and we’re just now getting around to posting a recap of our progress during the end of 2017 into 2018. If you haven’t already, join our Discord channel to begin playing Crystal Companies’ alpha debut today!

Here is a quick demo of what the game is looking like these days:

Nature Revamp

The Nature faction received a much-needed overhaul over the past month. The characteristic features of nature cards–environmental primacy, growth over time, and synergies between plants, spells, and creatures–have been emphasized and retooled for a much more defined play-feel. Plants in particular play a much bigger role with this update.

Population Capacity

The newly added population rule effectively creates another resource for players to manage during a skirmish. Instead of being able to indiscriminately play creature cards, a player must now balance their “pop cap” along with the cost of deploying a creature contract. Population does not impact structures or traps, but it does impact spells that produce creatures #makessense.

Investments

Last month, we revealed the investments feature. Further revisions now enable players to craft a more nuanced strategy over the course of a skirmish with better-defined investment lines and tiers:

  • The Infrastructure line offers investments upgrading population capacity, hand capacity, and health and armor of your structures and support operations.
  • The Military line offers investments upgrading a variety of attributes for your creatures such as attack, armor, and movement speed.
  • The Economy line offers investments upgrading resource generation and card acquisition.
  • Each investment costs purely crystal resource and only one investment of each line can be purchased each turn.

 

UX/UI Additions

UX changes this past month included a skirmish preview (which highlights you and your opponent’s captains and provides a random preview of cards from each player’s deck before the skirmish begins), toggle options in player settings for both the hex grid overlay and for health bars, as well as a sidebar that displays battle notes (in case you are ever wondering why a creature gets defeated or a spell doesn’t produce the result you expected).

New Hotkeys

New hotkeys were also added, and are as follows (by default):

  • Q: go to previous ally.
  • E: go to next ally.
  • R: go to next movable ally.
  • T: go to next attack-ready ally.
  • V: go to next visible enemy.
  • Escape: open game menu/settings.
  • Spacebar: confirm action.

New Map – Taru Quarry

Set in an old and overrun crystal mining quarry, Taru Quarry is a new map that is easy to wall and defend. Anima and thieves stalk the two outer lanes and there is a build-site in the center that is not easily accessible without Native or Flying.  Rock rubble will impede movement in the early game but are breakable barriers, which makes traversing a bit easier in the late game. Before the encampment was overrun, crystal was exposed but not yet mined.  You’ll find a giant crystal face on the right side of the map that fragments crystal every time your units hit it.

QoL

Many quality of life tweaks have been made over the past month and a half. Do check out our December and January update notes for all the gritty details! Or just grab a steam key from our Discord channel and experience them for yourself!

On the Horizon

The biggest focus for us in the near-term (which we hope will culminate in a successful Kickstarter campaign in the long-term) is community development. We have made much headway in ensuring Crystal Companies is not only fun, but also consistently smooth and exciting over many plays.

Without players’ feedback about the recent major changes, however, it becomes increasingly hard to improve the alpha version. We just can’t be sure what people want until we give it to them. So, if you or someone you know loves the idea of playing a turn-based 3D card game in an alpha-state, please grab a steam key from our Discord channel! Just type !key when you get there.

In addition to spreading the word about CrysCo’s alpha being available, we at Boreal Games will be working on re-integrating all-important features like deck construction, card acquisition, and collection management over the coming months.

We are more excited than ever to hear what you have to say about Crystal Companies and for what lies ahead for us and the community!

 

 

 

 

Movember (Momentus November) & New Demo!

There were a lot of reasons to be thankful this year. 2017 definitely has had its setbacks, but here at Boreal Games we are feeling predominantly cheerful as we head into December. The overall focus of this past month was to refine and simplify many of the existing features of Crystal Companies. In the end, we launched a new demo of the game! Read on to peruse our progress or skip to the end to find out how to get the latest demo!

Dynamic Cards

We have been very happy with Will’s initial card design (created circa 2016) but it hadn’t been touched recently whereas the rest of the UI has steadily improved. This month we have revamped the card design to reflect the current UI style and have integrated the real-time model view on the card itself!

The new dynamic card functionality has been a long time coming. This feature is brand new so we’re still working out the kinks. That said, we’re pleased it’s finally implemented!

Simpler Maps

Two new maps have been added to the game. The wasteland/arena map we used for playtesting (which was massive and complicated) has been archived. These simplified maps emphasize environmental strategy and communicate tactical advantages more succinctly to players.

Drake Isle

This map, while quite small, has very narrow lanes and is generally hard to traverse. Players can win in the traditional way–via destroying the opponent’s Command Post–or they can break into the tomb of the Crypt Ancient and battle for a magical talisman. Holding the talisman for four turns will mean victory, but a unit that is killed while holding the talisman will drop it for anyone to pick up.

islands map
Several islands separate you and your foe. Surge forward into battle or search a forgotten tomb for a powerful amulet.

Frontier Plains

This map is bigger than Drake Isle and is wide open–however, AI creatures do roam in the middle. Resource is abundantly available from Crystal Anima, Crystal Formations, and from controlling the Frontier Mine. A marketplace stands on the other side of a river for easy trading.

 

plains map
Make your way onto the open frontier to gather resource under fire from frontier turrets and threat of death by a demented mine captain.

Character Models: Frontier Soldier

Our friend Milly finished some sweet new models for us, which will be making their way into the game soon! Here’s a closer look:

“Investments”

Our goal has always been to integrate some sort of economy management system into the gameplay of Crystal Companies. We previously automatically upgraded a player’s crystal generation over time with the “warm up” feature (what does that even mean???) but have now replaced that mechanic with one that makes a bit more sense while also upping the ante strategy-wise.

The newly implemented investments window enables more nuanced decision-making around how to balance your company’s economic trajectory over the course of a skirmish. Investments are permanent upgrades, impacting resource generation, number of cards drawn, and unit combat ability. This feature is in its first iteration, and will likely be refined, but it has proved to be a big stride so far in providing players more interesting and creative ways to balance their resources.

Demo Revamp & Release

For anyone who hasn’t been following our development from the beginning, we have made the game available at various junctures for testing purposes before. We are making it available again to anyone with Discord and Steam accounts (so if you haven’t got one or both, you should 😉 ). Crystal Companies is still pre-alpha, but we feel, for the first time, playing the demo will be more for the fun of it than for finding bugs! #yay

How to get CrysCo’s latest demo:

  1. Join our Discord community using this link (even if you don’t have an account yet): https://discord.gg/Gv4gwRp
  2. Type !key in the “general” channel and the bot will send a Steam beta key for Crystal Companies
  3. Once you’ve entered the key in Steam (more on that here), play Crystal Companies as you would any other Steam game! 

On the Horizon

There are many things still in process as we roll out the latest demo of Crystal Companies, and we’re not sure what December will bring exactly–only that it will be another very full month as we build toward a Kickstarter!

As we mention above, you can join our Discord to get on board with all of the latest community and demo updates. Also, follow us on Twitch and Twitter to stay up-to-date on our live streams and other news!

Also, if you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list on our homepage (we hope you dig the new look!).

Until next time!