Development Zaddiary #3
ONCE MORE WITH FEELING
Fate Weaver Zadarra and Her Unfortunate Misfortune is slowly starting to wind down with the final finishing touches being put in the game. The game is currently undergoing one more round of alpha development before I send it out to playtesters. Let's take a look at what I'm up to and what I am doing to make Zadarra's game the best it can be.
More Art More Delays
I have been working pretty hard on a lot of bonus art for the game as I work on the Kickstarter page and trailer. This art was unexpected, and it has made the process drag out longer than I wanted it to. Besides the art for the Kickstarter, I wanted to create a few art goodies for stretch goals.
One stretch goal I wanted to go back to was making the Astracite influence image unique for each suit. That requires 3 more pieces of art. That shouldn't take too long, but it definitely wasn't on the radar when I was first making the game. I'm way over my expected art count, but what the heck, let's do 3 more images.
There are 4 secret adventurers that will be unlocked with stretch goals, and I wanted to do one more secret one that is important to the overall story. This character will take a day or so to create, but I'm willing to push the game a little bit to add them.
The additional Kickstarter art is really dragging the timeline down for the game, but I really want to show a lot of love to Zadarra since this will be my first game on Kickstarter.
The game has 3 resources: Clairvoyance, fate shards, and gold. The more the Fate Cards are rotated, the more Clairvoyance you receive at the expense of fate shards. I want to make this mechanic more clear, so I wanted to increase the Clairvoyance bonus for rotations and the decrease for not rotating the card at least once.
The fate shards and gold feel balanced enough. You do get more fate shards than you can hold in the beginning initially, but you need high amounts to spend on relic abilities. Hint hint, you can convert those fate shards to gold to purchase relics quicker.
Death Card Rune Refresh
This marks one of the bigger changes to the game. At higher levels of difficulty it becomes nearly impossible to win the game because of the number of death cards that need to be conquered.
At the maximum difficulty of the game, there are 16 death cards to conquer in 10 turns. That means players need to conquer 1.6 death cards a turn, which is impossible on some runs and nearly impossible on others unless you are able to get Coberus leveled early on in the game, or can stall long enough with scrying.
To tweak this, I have introduced exhausted runes on the 180° side of the death cards. The death cards cannot be rotated again, but the runes can be refreshed to be used as a match for other cards in the reading. Basically, this will allow for more possible rotations in a reading as well as the ability to conquer 2 death cards per round. That means with rotations only, you can conquer a maximum of 20 death cards. I think that makes the game bearable and allows wiggle room with Coberus.
With the new death card rune refresh mechanic, players needed a way to do this. Coberus was updated to not only manipulate death cards, but to refresh the death card runes as well.
This added mechanic makes Coberus required for the maximum level difficulty. This eliminates some choice for players, but there is plenty of experimentation allowed at the lower levels.
Relics will also get a slight revamp only in regards to the cost of their abilities. I have my own personal go-tos that I use because of my play style, but I wanted to encourage players to experiment with other relics. I want to lower the cost of some of the abilities that are more mechanically wonky in nature.
Scrying for example is something that makes sense for more veteran players, but maybe isn't clear for newer players. I want to make it cheaper to scry, just so players can experiment. The goal of scrying in the game is to allow you to manipulate the cards in your fate suits to give you the highest possible number of Clairvoyance points. This also allows you to push those death cards into a more advantageous order.
I thought about players being able to scry the adventurer deck, but I like the Timewarp Hourglass being used to make decisions on how you want to approach a particular reading. Too many choices in an already choice-heavy game is not ideal haha.
Clear Objectives Clear Expectations
This is in the weeds a little bit, but I want to be clear in the way I explain the game in the Kickstarter and way I promote the game. I need to be clear that beating the game isn't the endgame so to speak. The game is set up to be a wonky point salad for those who really like to make the best optimal move in any given round. Since the game is a solo experience, this allows for analysis without the paralysis or anxiety that comes with multiplayer games. Making an optimal reading should feel rewarding to players, not necessarily the difficulty in finishing all 10 rounds successfully.
One stretch goal I wanted to implement was an achievement sheet players can use to feel they are rewarded for doing particular things within the game. I've finished up the various achievements, now I just need to make it into a physical form and do any design that might be required for it.
Multiple Modes of Play
The last major implementation I wanted to do was a few different modes of play. These will add to the development time, but I think it will add some nice flavor to the game overall. Not required, but this is just extra stuff if I can meet the stretch goal. It requires more time, resources, and money, so it is definitely a stretch goal thing.
The first mode is the most playtesting heavy. It would be a linear progression through the various mechanics/relics of the game, meaning you beat the game then unlock 1 relic, play again and unlock another, etc. Some levels of progression may require a certain Clairvoyance score or something similar. This would be for players that like modifiers or artificial restrictions that test their resolve to beat games without all the goodies.
The second mode is the most art intensive. The mode would replace some adventurers with Astracites that would require death cards in the reading to satisfy them. This mode would be about death card manipulation and timing the balance of conquering the death cards or letting them sit in the fate card pile until ready.
of course these are just ideas and they may get axed, but I wanted to think of how this game could expand if we reached some stretch goals. I have had some ideas on an expansion for the game, but until then, I was wondering to myself what else could the game offer besides the base game.
Fate Weaver Zadarra and Her Unfortunate Misfortune is coming together nicely. After this round of development, which is pretty major, I'll work on getting this out to a closed beta group of professional playtesters before opening playtesting up to the public. I would like to get this all nailed down in the next couple of months , but let's see how much I can hustle with the progress.