Tuesday 31 January 2017

imbroglio update 1.04

A bunch of little tweaks here. May take a few hours to show up in the appstore.

- Arcane Hourglass: now displays the number of turns until an enemy will reappear.

The previous update added a "telefrag" effect to Hourglass whereby the time-travelling enemy replaces other enemies in its space rather than waiting for them to leave. This made it a lot more important to keep track of when enemies will reappear so now the number of turns is displayed to make this less hassle to deal with. Should have had this all along really.

- Forged Sigil: extra rune per level, damage dropped to 11111.

Felt like the extra runes weren't significant enough, especially for heroes with a 2-cost power, so now there's heaps and it definitely makes a difference. Seemed pretty strong; dropped the damage to compensate. Now I've broken the rule that 1/4 of blue weapons get to 2 damage, might have to do something about that?

- Rusty Caltrops: damage profile to 11122, stun moved to IV.

The Caltrops/Rope/Wheel board turned out a bit too strong, I already dropped the Rope percentages to make it less reliable but it's still been dominating. Also I was noticing people often were surprised by Caltrops stun because it's a big effect that turned on at level 2, which is just somewhere in the middle of the progression, not a point people are keeping track of. It's more intuitive for a major effect to either be always on or to activate at level 4 when the weapon is fully leveled. Moving the stun to level 4 makes a Caltrops combo harder to get into play but doesn't change its strength once it is.

- Whetstone: now only affects adjacent weapons in the same row.

Whetstone has been showing up in almost every build; increasing damage is a very strong effect and its disadvantage of leaving a tile with 0 damage isn't significant enough to compensate for it. This nerf breaks a lot of existing boards, which is not ideal because they're still in the scoreboards and someone might get confused, but it leaves the weapon still very usable just hopefully a little less dominant.

- Brainspoon: controlled enemies may use Skeleton Key to move through walls.
- Brainspoon: fixed crash when controlled enemies attempt to attack through a wall.

Surprisingly many people reported the bug of Brainspoon-controlled enemies crashing the game when attempting an invalid move (towards a wall the other side of which is occupied). I didn't think it was a priority to fix because it's not preventing any actual moves in the game, but the reports just kept coming in. Why is everyone trying invalid moves?

- Dream Wheel: changed interaction with Simon Rainbow Jester's second gem; now neither gem will move further away.

Wheel is quite effective at dealing with Simon's disadvantage because it moves both gems. Because they can't move into the same spot there were some odd interactions; sometimes one would move into a chokepoint and then the other one would avoid that spot in its path-finding and start taking the long way around, or if there was only one route then both gems would refuse to move. This latter case seemed like a nice balancing effect to Wheel's extra effectiveness - the gems get stuck and you have to leave your Wheel more often to fetch them - but it didn't come up very often. Now that gems refuse to take a longer route it will occur more often.

- Jeska Nomad Witch: power changed to "curse a random enemy" (was "curse nearest enemy").

I oscillated between these in development but ended up feeling she needed the slightly stronger "nearest" - gives more control over the outcome and sometimes gives extra curses when multiple enemies are equidistant. But then she was the first hero to ascend, with a very reliable board. Being able to reliably curse attacking enemies combines very favourably with Confusion Cloud. So I no longer feel she needs the extra strength.

- Chaos Oracle Molly: enemies are now more likely to spawn at their usual gate.

I just kept feeling disappointed that board orientation didn't matter. Now it selects a random gate and there's a 50% chance it produces its usual enemy, 50% chance it'll be random. (So actually a 62.5% chance of the usual enemy, because that could be the random one too.) Feels okay to me; it gives you slightly more to work with but still throws plenty of surprises. I may end up tweaking these percentages later on.

- swapped unlock order of Dice of Omens and Arcane Hourglass.

Several people found the final set of weapons jarring because it added a lot of complexity all at once, so I've spread it out a bit more. Dice add variety to possible curse builds by giving an alternative source but that's a fairly subtle decision so it makes sense to reserve it for more advanced players; at the same time the text on the card is very simple. Hourglass has a lot of text but is a simple enough concept.

- Amulet of Immortals: with multiple instances, a random one is triggered (Chaos Oracle Molly can spend a rune to choose).
- Bonesnare: multiple instances trigger in random order (affects Masina Rebel Queen; Chaos Oracle Molly doesn't choose).
- Wicked Thorns, Ixxthl's Ring: percentages adjusted to 12/25/37/50 (were 10/20/30/50 and 15/25/35/50).
- Dominic Twice-Bitten: no longer stuns friendly ghosts or enemies controlled by the Brainspoon.
- Ossuary title image displayed sometimes on startup not just when purchased.
- arrows displayed for controlled ghosts's ability to move through walls.
- fixed a bug in scrolling weapons at bottom of screen.
- hit effects say "after" to clarify some interactions.

Just a bunch of things coming up between working on PC release and another expansion.

Thursday 12 January 2017

self expectation

over the last few years i have worked at making some changes to my lifestyle. spending more time with other people. getting more exercise & generally having a better relationship with my body. spending less hours in front of a screen, remembering to take regular breaks when i'm working to stretch & avoid rsi. learning new things. i am just in a way better place now in terms of physical and mental health.

i make games more slowly than i did a few years ago. seriously like in 2012 i released Game Title, Lost Levels, Zaga-33, Kompendium, VESPER.5, O, Corrypt, various smaller jam games. in 2015-16 i released Imbroglio. sometimes i feel pretty bad about this, i miss being more productive and i feel inadequate for not making a dozen more games at the same time and also porting to more platforms. i feel confused about why i am less productive. plus i feel bad about not keeping up with other game makers, like i never played all the latest games everyone talked about (half of them are console exclusives anyway) but i used to at least follow all the work of people i know personally and now i don't.

i just put these trends together and went "ohhhhhhhh". it is obvious when i think about it but as these have been slow trends and changes of habits it is not always easy to see. i am spending less time sitting at a computer, so i am getting less done in that time. i think somehow i expected to be so magically productive that i could do a bunch of extra things without anything else diminishing. but i actually have limitations and i have to make choices about how to allocate my time. i have to recognise that while i enjoyed being so productive back then, part of what enabled that level of productivity was constantly overworking myself, lifestyle habits i've realised were unhealthy for me and that anyway were unsustainable. i could still just sit down and jam out a game in a few days i just can't expect to do that while also doing what's best for my body. i still am able to make things now, it's not like i am unproductive, i am just comparing myself to a standard that i feel like i can achieve but is not realistic over the long-term. & if game-making time is a more scarce resource than i thought then i guess it's reasonable that i am not spending it on the little jam games?

ok moving forward i try to have more realistic expectations for myself. keep working on all of life and also games. really important to keep learning and trying new things, i don't want to be stuck in a loop of only making the kind of art i was capable of making five years ago (but integrating new ideas takes time too, i shouldn't expect to be able to express them straight away). accept making games at a sensible pace. not sure what this means for the equation of "can i continue to make a living from this", but i try. next game when it's ready, no rush, ok.