Campaign mode! (Kinda!) [v20230329-02]

The "Campaign Mode" Update

One thing I really love about games like Slay the Spire are the contiguous campaign mode where you can choose your own path to balance risks and rewards. It turns a very short gameplay loop into a prolonged experience where you build and grow to match your unique playstyle.

I have still been focusing on adding features to the game mechanically without much regard to the visual presentation, but I feel that will be changing fairly soon. Most of the menus and visual presentation of the game needs an overhaul to better represent the themes of the game. I'm looking forward to learning and growing as a pixel artist.

There is still a laundry list of features and changes to the game I want to make, but it is slowly dwindling! I'll get more into that at the end.

Patch notes

  • Added the campaign mode map!
    • Navigate between multiple event nodes to grow in power and fight the boss at the end
    • Skulls - Fight the "easy" opponent
    • Horned skulls - Fight the "difficult" opponent
    • Flags - Battlefield events where you can scavange for resources
    • Stones - Ley lines that imbue your army with additional power
    • Bonfire - Campsites that allow you to upgrade and customize your crypt
    • Boss - Very difficult enemy (probably too difficult)
  • New system menu
    • Toggle between the pause screen and preview the campaign map and the stats of your crypt
  • Monsters are larger on the screen so they stand out better
  • Big Match is now built into the game. Matching more tiles at once powers up your monsters
  • Empowered Tiles are now build into the game. Gold tiles give you 10x the amount of resources
  • Added a "fog" animation shader to the background of the menu and campaign mode to make things more visually fun
  • Tuned some monster numbers for balance
  • Lots of back-end optimizations to help the game run better and retain what's left of my sanity

We're getting there! It's been a busy few months, but it's starting to feel more and more like a full game you can play from start to finish and that makes me pretty dang proud. Still a lot of big hurdles to clear before I call this a "feature complete demo", but it's getting there. Let's talk about them for a moment.

Future updates

  • Puzzle Game Changes - One of the biggest changes that needs to happen is how the puzzle game works.
    • Currently, it's a frantic race to match as many groups as possible before you get overwhelmed and this causes a lot of problems.
    • It means you miss all the autobattler action up top. You can't see how the fight is going because any attention away from the puzzle grid is a missed opportunity to summon more monsters.
    • It makes the difficulty gradient too wide. If you are fast with the mouse and good at puzzle games, it makes much of the game too easy. If you are slower and are still learning, then the game is impossibly hard.
    • The design space is pretty limited because of the above points. You can't have too much complexity or the whole system falls apart.
    • As a solution. I am thinking of making the autobattle turn-based. You make X number of matches, then all of the monsters are spawned at once and they bump around until no more monsters remain. Repeat until someone runs out of health.
    • It reduces the frantic, chaotic nature of the game, but I also feel it makes the game far more accessible for people.
  • Relics - One last piece of the puzzle is adding relics that can be found in boss fights or events. Collecting these changes the rules of the game and tends to affect how you "build" the rest of your army. These can be stats updates (reduce cost of spells or summons), or mechanical twists (making a match over X blasts enemies with lasers)
  • Better visuals - This one is a long time coming and desperately needed. I'm still trying to find the right "tone" for this game, which goes into the writing and visual art, but I think I'm getting there as the rest of this comes together
  • Better balance - This one really needs to happen. Most of the monster stats along with other upgrades, costs, opponent necromancers were thrown together just to make sure things actually work without much regard to the greater scope
  • Saving Progress - Right now nothing is saved if you turn off the game. Now that you can progress through a campaign mode, though, I need to create a better system to preserve player progress. A lot of it is already pretty well-organized, so hopefully this won't be too tough
  • More varied events - Currently, the ley line and battlefield events only have one story beat. I want to have a handful of them to help build out the world
  • More music - Even if it's just a few more songs, it'd be nice to have some variation
  • More spells - More interesting ways to interact with the gameplay and battle

There's probably a lot more that will pop up along the way, but ideally, I want to finish this demo before April 28th, when the next Ludum Dare starts. I don't know if I'll participate in the challenge, I could use a break, but I really would like to have a 3-month development cycle max for these ideas so I don't spend a bunch of time spinning my wheels on one project too long.

Thanks so much for reading and playing! I've been having a blast making this :)


Files 32 MB
Version 20230329-02 Mar 29, 2023 41 MB
Version 20230329-02 Mar 29, 2023 31 MB
Version 20230329-02 Mar 29, 2023

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