Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Dev Log: FissureVerse #37 - Crusaders 1

The first round of redesigned Crusaders is here.  Most of them are Blue, likely just because of the particular Deviant Artists I've been using.  So all of these cards have new placeholder art that's a little closer to what I'm going for, as well as flavor text, and clarified rules text, and (hopefully) more balanced attributes.

The big two artists in this set are Lane and Jose Arias, as well as a few from Smithhy and cat-meff.  A smattering of others come here and there, and I'm sure to give credit on the side of each card.  Of course, this is still just placeholder art, nothing official, but far, far closer to the feel and themes I wanted.

Steadfast Clan, The Collector, Dustchildren, Android 8
Click to enlarge, of course.
Steadfast Clan remains the same; I wanted to give them a Native American feel (in fact that should be one of Blue's big themes), with the simple declaration of their resolve.  The Steadfast Clan, being Blue, is big on Resolve/Defense/Water/WhateverYouCallIt, but is also willing to fight for their home.

I bumped up The Collector's Water attribute, because of the rules modifications, The Collector's special text is no longer as powerful as it once was.  The balance must be weighed between the regular way of playing (all or none) and the house rule for scoring.  As for the art, my original thought was for The Collector to be a collector of souls, but this worked really well, too.

The Dustchildren artwork is just cool; I can't claim I imagined anything like it.

The original picture for Android 8 was Data from Star Trek, which was pretty much what I wanted (except I hoped to find a less copyrighted, less photographed take).  What it is now is even better.  I didn't just make the quote reminiscent of Pinocchio, the image is Pinocchio, just a sci-fi-ish version.

Twister, Tames, Scatterbrains, The Unimaginable

For Twister and Tames, I wasn't sure I'd be able to get across an alien race that represents wind and earth, respectively, without just showing a tornado and an animal, like I had for my first round of placeholder art.  But these most definitely work, and I like how they're both massive, but have opposite dispositions.

Twister has been boosted a little in its Water attribute, to make it average.  I think that a player aiming to convert Twister might have a strategy involving discarding a card, so it might not be as bad a result for the other player every time.

Scatterbrains seems like an obvious choice, given the subject.  I had in my head a double-headed alien, but anything with lots of brain cases works, doesn't it?  Scatterbrains also got an extra Reason attribute point, again to make it average.  Splitting its Crusade between two opponents is cool, but not really worth it if the card can't handle the split.

The Unimaginable was always a Lovecraftian horror from the get-go.  The placeholder was just Cthulhu itself, but now Lovecraft has been moved to the flavor text, and The Unimaginable is a more original monster.  Each Color gets one card that is seemingly the opposite of what it stands for, and for Blue, The Unimaginable is it.  The Unimaginable got a boost to its Sword attribute, to balance for the change in rules, just like I did with The Collector.

Guardians, Thunderheads, Meek, Flesh
 
Guardians was tough; I almost didn't use that artwork because it was tough to crop it just right.  But I'm glad I got both the guard and the child, and if you can't quite see it I turn the flavor text into a conversation instead of just a single quote.

Thunderheads was always meant to be a fire-and-brimstone preacher (well, plural... a lot are plural but the best image was singular), and the dark smoky shadow works perfect here.  I decreased Thunderheads' Sword attribute, in an attempt to balance for the broad red text.  Red text is tricky at times, because there's a variable in how many Crusaders the player might have out in the Field of Play.  Too few, and the card is overpowered, too many, and the effect is too costly.

Meek is based off the Bible quote Matthew 5:5 "Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth".  Here, Meek is a creature that starts off weak (or meek), but can become extremely powerful.

Flesh is Green's "opposite" card, light on Reason and big on murder.  I like the joke that a card called "Flesh" has a picture of skeletons on it.

The Winged, Naomi, Servants of the Noise, Learning to Walk

I had many, many options for The Winged; since practically half the fantasy creatures ever conceived have wings.  The first placeholder was an angel, and although that was cool, I felt such a token symbol of good wasn't "Red" enough.  Now here is a more common image for fantasy.  However, the lore is that dragons are extremely intelligent, but since it's Red, Reason is a bad attribute.  So instead I made it more of a taunting kind of card.  "Infinite", of course, is the name of the Green faction, Red's big enemy.

Naomi was tough to pick for; of course I had to pick a woman as artwork, considering the name, but it was tough picking between this, the Steadfast Clan girl (above), and others.  I think I went with this because of the sun-ray-type background.  Her image is also not too sad, not too tough, but calm, like she has a trick up her sleeve.  Like Thunderheads, Naomi had to be rebalanced for the red text effect, so here I decreased her Fire attribute, which of course ought to work fine, considering she's Blue.

Each color also gets a "Servants" card: your basic card that's adequate in all four categories.  Servants of the Noise is Red's.  I think it captures the spirit of Red well enough: a brutal sense of humor.

The original art for Learning to Walk was a baby deer.  Of course that's not quite what Yellow is about, but I wanted to keep that same sort of idea, something weak in the knees (mostly because whatever my original idea about what Learning to Walk should be has been forgotten).  When I decided on this one, I thought it worked, though I contemplated a Frankenstein quote to go with it (nothing worked well).  This works; perhaps it's best to have as few non-original quotes as possible, unless they're perfect.

Starving, Cacophonous, The Hidden, Optomites

For Starving, Cacophonous, and The Hidden, I felt silence was best.  Starving has silent gratitude, and The Hidden is silent because, well, it's trying to maintain cover (even if it's out in the open, seemingly).  For Cacophonous, I struggled with something to write there, before deciding that the picture says it all.  Writing "Raaaaaawr" or something equally lame would just detract from the image, which is awesome by itself.  It's one of those pictures you can hear just by looking at it.

As for The Optomites, well, you'd be surprised how tough it is to find a sci-fi alien that's smiling!

Witch Doctor, Abductors, Servants of the Infinite, Slowpokes

I think Witch Doctor and Abductors speak for themselves, and aren't a far cry from their original art.

Servants of the Infinite was a tough choice for that artwork.  I think it's amazing, so I wasn't sure if I wanted it for this or for For Hire (which I'll get artwork for later).  For Hire, however, is more along the lines of hiring a lawyer or debater or philosopher than hiring a mechanic.  This works better here, I think.

Last (of course), but not least, Slowpokes is a turtle.  Of course it's a turtle.  I had that in mind from the beginning, I think, and I'm glad I found such a badass turtle warrior for it.  At least I didn't use the pokemon!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Dev Log: Latchkey #59

I hope whoever invented trace statements got a prize.

I got the error messages to appear in the proper place, so if the game messes up, the message goes in the bottom left box, and if everything is fine, it goes in the top-middle box. 

I've also got the examine command to work (I think).  It should work as normal, though I haven't done every possible test case, since it's becoming harder and harder to figure out what every possible test case is.  The way I do it is to put a trace statement between every line of code, and as I come across them when I test, then I delete them because I know the program got that far without an issue.

AS3 doesn't like to concatenate things, so I thought I was being a good little programmer by using .concat(), but it wouldn't work and messages would only appear fully if I just used += instead.  The online documentation claims both ways produce the same results, but not for me.  Perhaps because I'm trying to concat within a string vector or something.

Anyway, examine/look works again.  However, now I have a lot of duplicate code, but the duplicate code has become necessary because I forgot to add into the initial parsing just where each item or barrier was found.  So basically if you try to look at "the door", and there are two doors, the barrier vector points to them both, but it forgets that the doors are to the north and east, so I can't say "There is a door to the east" without completely rechecking for it.  Same thing if the player is looking at an item in the room or in hand.

So, back to the drawing board, to add locational data on the initial runthrough.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Dominion: Industry #13 - Canal & Clockwork Fixes

After playing a game involving plentiful use of both Canal and Clockwork, I have decided to switch the prices.  Canal is now worth $4, because it is far more useful than I thought it would be; even players who typically don't like to trash cards are fond of it.  Clockwork is much slower than I anticipated, and only tends to be useful towards the end of the game, so I lowered the price to $3.  It's still fun to play, just not used quite as often.  Perhaps in other games the Clockwork Tokens will rise quicker and it'll be necessary to raise the price again.  But that's what playtesting is all about!

I also clarified the rules for Canal, so if you have no cards in your hand during your Cleanup Phase, you don't trash anything, and you don't gain any cards.


The price change does mess with the balance of some of the suggested sets, so I may make corrections to them.  But who knows, they might still be fine.  Only one way to find out!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Dominion: Will of Ra #5 - Suggested Sets

So here are the suggested sets for Dominion: Will of Ra.  If I make this expansion bigger later, I'll remake the suggested sets to incorporate new cards.  Each of these sets should be well-balanced, price-wise.

With vanilla Dominion:

Heavy Lifting: Adventurer, Mine, Remodel, Woodcutter, Workshop / Canopic Chest, False Door, Nome, Palace, Scribe

This one is designed for big money and a fast-moving game.

Leaders and Villains: Cellar, Library, Market, Thief, Witch / Chariot, Nomarch, Pyramid, Sphinx, Vizier

This one is meant for Attacks and Curses to come into play.

With Intrigue:

New Ventures: Bridge, Great Hall, Nobles, Scout, Shanty Town / Canopic Chest, False Door, Nomarch, Nome, Pyramid

This one is big on Victory Points.  There are lots of Victory cards and quick ways to get them.

Old Money: Harem, Minion, Saboteur, Tribute, Wishing Well / Chariot, Palace, Scribe, Sphinx, Vizier

This one should hopefully be both attack-heavy while also being a quick, high-money game.

You know the routine: play, test, have fun, suggest your own!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Posting schedule

I have to push my posting schedule around a bit to figure out what works for me.  I'm waking at four in the morning on weekdays for work, so I'm finding I'm unable to concentrate on much creative work, whether it's design or programming.

A guy smacking an alarm clock

What I think I'm going to do is move to a more variable posting schedule.  I'm definitely going to continue to post at least once a week, and sometimes twice a week, when I have the energy for it.  The days of the week that I post may change around for a while until I find what I'm most comfortable with.  Once I get a good groove going, I'll solidify the schedule again.

Now... time for a nap.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Dominion: Will of Ra #4

Here are the last five cards in the expansion.  It's a small one!

Palace, Pyramid, Scribe, Sphinx, & Vizier
Last of the cards; click to enlarge.
Palace is a Village-type card, just with a little extra bonus; it's specialty here is that the Treasure you draw will have some variance.  Other cards in official expansions have similar features, so it's nothing too new; I just put the mechanic on a Village.

Pyramid, I figure, will often have a use, but beginning players might not think of the best way to utilize it unless Curses are present (and if you're using Will of Ra's Curses, you'll definitely want this).  But for more experienced Players, they'll think to trash Coppers or other cards that are clogging their deck.

Scribe is a neat little card that gets more powerful the later you play it in your Action Phase.  I always liked cards with some variance to them, like the price of Peddler from Dominion: Prosperity, so this is something along those lines.

Sphinx is a fun little gamble: if you really, really want those four extra cards, you're going to have to take a little hit for them.

Once upon I time I began a very complicated military-themed expansion for Dominion, which had Reaction Attacks.  These basically were Reactions that caused an Attack, and generally their trigger was being attacked, so you would end up with nested Attacks and huge combos of cards bouncing off each other with lots of Players throwing down Reaction after Reaction to cancel each Attack that kept coming through.  Well, that was a mess of a game that was hilarious the first time it happened, but would quickly devolve into nonsense.

So anyway, Vizier is a little taste of that.  It's not an Attack, but still does something nasty to the Attacker.  It's not going to block an Attack like a Moat would (from vanilla Dominion), but it serves its usefulness by making Players think twice who would ordinarily play lots of Attacks.

Part 5: Suggested Sets...

Friday, August 15, 2014

Dominion: Will of Ra #3

Now after those unique (oddball) cards, we get some more regular Kingdom Cards.

Chariot, False Door, Normarch, Nome
Normal cards!
Chariot fits the bill for the theme of the expansion, where you rely on a little luck to see what you get, kind of like Golem from Dominion: Alchemy.  I used to dislike Golem because I would never get good Actions from it, but I really warmed up to it once I realized that if you're going to get any, you're also going to want to build your deck around it.  So with Chariot, I think the same thing applies: if you are careful about what Attacks you put in your deck, it can work out really well.  On top of that, if you don't have any Attacks, you get a consolation prize of $2.  So even if the game you're playing has no Attacks in it, Chariot is still +$2 and you in essence put your deck into your discard pile.

A False Door in ancient Egypt was a place where people would lay gifts to their dead.  So I took that idea and made this card out of it: you sacrifice a card, but the bigger the sacrifice, the more chance you have of getting rewarded.

Nomarch is not 'monarch' spelled wrong.  A Nomarch in ancient Egypt was the ruler of a Nome, which is something along the lines of a city-state (not exactly, but close enough for government work).  So a Nomarch is something akin to the Baron, Count, or Duke from the official Dominion sets.  But it also has some variance to it, so it fits in this expansion, too.

Nome is a Victory card with a similar function to Dominion: Dark Ages' Border Village.  I figured a Nome was a bit like a village, but a bit more like a Duchy or something, so I went halfway with it, and I think it might work out, though perhaps the extra card you gain might be able to go up to $4 if necessary.

Part 5: Palace, Pyramid, Scribe, Sphinx, & Vizier...