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!

 

Juice, Juice, and More Juice

This month we attempted to inject more juice than ever into the game…and I think we succeeded (depending on your figurative definition of juice, of course).

UI

We are always working to improve the UI in order to better communicate the themes of Crystal Companies and make it easier to enjoy.

This month we:

  • Fixed a number of lingering issues in the unit detail view, as well as fixed display of unit models and lore display.
  • Refined designs for the new Draft mode, which allows players to play with a selection of random cards that they may or may not own.

Snapshot of draft mode user interface
As you can see, card art is still in the works!

  • Refined timer system design to make it more obvious that time management is important during playing.
  • Refined conquer point bars / player display design for more space-efficient display and to communicate some of the frontier exploration elements of Crystal Companies.
  • Combined system messages into the new “HUD bar” design.

    Snapshot of new player heads-up display
    This HUD design is still a work-in-progress, but is far and away a big improvement over what we had previously!

Keep your eyes peeled as these new designs should be rolled out in time for Crystal Companies exhibition at Boston FIG.

JUICE

We’ve been hard at work this month fine-tuning CrysCo’s look and feel with updated special effects, models, and controls. Here’s a quick run down of ALL THAT JUICE:

  • Character movement now feels more natural and with less jerky teleportation.
  • Most spell cards have visual and sound effects, and representative characters that are shown in the character detail view.
  • Most conditions and boons now have sound and visual effects.
  • Special effects triggered by abilities are much smoother and more synchronized.
  • Targeting with spells and placing units is more straightforward and intuitive.
  • Error messages are now more informative and describe problems in a less technical fashion.
  • Character models are more organized and better represent their associated resource faction.

Here’s a quick video showing just one of the many new effects in action (a lot of times, but sadly without its particle effect…)!

On the Horizon

Be prepared for EVEN MORE JUICE in the following updates! By the end of the summer, we hope to have our “productized” version of CrysCo available to our followers! For now, here’s how anyone can get involved:

  • Join our Discord server here: https://discord.gg/fy7yBrk
  • You can hop on our stream every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 5:30-7PM EST here.
  • Come see us at the Boston Festival of Indie Games (FIG) in September! Check out https://www.bostonfig.com/ for more details and to get your tickets.
  • As always, feel free to share CrysCo with your friends, and let us know what you think!

Once again, thanks for reading. And remember: next month juice will be in even greater abundance.