Big month in many ways, not just for KPEM but also just general life. First, I got a dog! Meet Bubble, she is a good girl.
Also, Oxygen Not Included came out of Early Access on Steam and I’ve been hooked. The magnitude of my addiction to ONI is unlike that of any game in a long time. Something about it just keeps me building for hours. Klei did a fantastic job with it and I’m eager to see where they take it next. Since it’s so similar to base builders like RimWorld and Dwarf Fortress I’d really like to see some kind of external visitors brought into the mix.
When not walking the dog or creating cooling loops I’ve been plucking away at KPEM. So what’s been happening:
Card Drag UX improvements / Refactor
Needed to do this for a while. Card dragging had become overly complex so I needed to give it an overhaul. Now when you drag cards you get a targeting arrow and when played they have a little hop animation as they go to the discard pile. Basically just trying to get it to work as much like Hearthstone as possible. It also works across PC and touch screens!
There are now 4 Objective locations in the world, each one has a mini boss. The idea to these objectives is that if the player defeats the mini-bosses within they not only get a major reward (cards/equipment) but also the final boss will become easier.
There will be thematic details on this stuff later, but mechanically the objectives are added to the world and a powerful enemy is encountered at each one. The rewards and their effect on the final boss still needs to be coded.
This is a big new mechanic. There is now a deck of cards called the Timer Deck. It is full of special cards which have an effect on the round. Timer cards are revealed, one at a time, after the player’s Movement phase, some have immediate effects, like starting a combat, while others change some aspect of the round and stay in effect until a new Timer Card is revealed. A Timer card can make you start all combats with an extra card while it’s in play or they can make certain terrain tiles easier or harder to move through. Overall, they add variety to each round.
It’s not called a Timer Deck for nothing. Spread out evenly in the Timer Deck are cards that will increase the difficulty of the enemies you encounter. It will be advantageous for players to complete events which add cards to the Timer Deck and avoid situations that will waste their time because when the Timer Deck is depleted the Final Boss will emerge and the Final Fight will take place!
Play testing with this has been fun and the best part is that it piggy backs off of the existing card logic and code. Meaning the time/effort to add in this feature was minimal compared to the amount of game play options it added to the KPEM.
Phases and the new Prep Phase
Like before, this allows the player to make choices about what cards they want in their deck beyond just the combat purposes of a card.
The flow of the game is now broken up into Phases. The round starts with the Prep(aration) Phase. In the Prep phase, the player is shown 3 cards from their deck, they are given the option to select as many of these 3 cards as they wish to be played for this round. In this phase, the cards in your deck provide Steps (movement points) and sometimes other effects on the round. For example, the card Kick provides many Steps, while Eat Meat reduces steps slightly, costs 1 meat to use but heals the player.
After the player has locked in their Prep cards for the round the Explore Phase begins. In this phase, the player moves their character on the map, spending Steps. When the character lands on a special tile its effects are resolved right away.
When the player runs out of Steps the Explore phase is over and the Timer Phase begins. The Timer Phase is a short phase in which a new Timer Card is revealed, its effects resolve and then a new round begins.
And that is the overall Game Loop!
Enemies now display the type of attack and the amount of damage they will do on their turn. This is similar to other deck builder games like Slay the Spire and Guild of Dungeoneering.
This one I’ve avoided doing for a LONG time. In fact I fully intended to not display the enemy intent, instead just having the enemy attack always be somewhat unpredictable. But I must concede that allowing the player to see the enemy intent adds a lot of interesting gameplay and I cannot deny it any longer.
This also opens up a lot in terms of damage mitigation cards so I’m looking forward to adding more cards, equipment and enemy attack patterns with this new mechanic in mind!
Ok that’s everything for this month! Time to walk the dog and see if my Dreckos need sheering!