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Monday
Oct152012

Ongoing Development

You probably haven't heard much about what I'm working on, but there are an overwhelming number of things in the works. The Puzzle Strike kickstarter is now behind us, and thankfully shipped on time. If you missed out on the kickstarter, the game will start shipping to everyone else in a couple weeks, and you can get it here. And here's what else is going on:

Flash Duel Online

We're working on the online version of Flash Duel at fantasystrike.com. If you have a star membership, you can see our progress on that right now, actually. We're focusing on functionality first, and we've gotten most of the modes implemented, from 1v1 to 2v2 to even the Dragon Raid. Flash Duel online also has animated 8-bit sprites for every character thanks to pixel artist Conor "BT" Town.

Yomi and Puzzle Strike Online

Yomi and Puzzle Strike have been available to play online for quite some time now on fantasystrike.com. For a while now, we've been working on graphical and UI upgrades that will make both games look a lot more polished. Thanks to everyone who supported the site so far, I just wanted to let you know we've been working hard to keep improving it, even though you haven't seen a lot of what we've been up to yet. We're actually spending far, far more on these upcoming upgrades than the total amount we've ever made, so it's kind of a big deal. We're still 2 or 3 months from getting these enhancements on the live servers.

The Yomi Expansion

There's 10 new characters in development for Yomi, and you can actually play them right now at fantasystrike.com in the non-rules-enforced mode if you're a star member. I'm drowning in graphic design tasks on the physical version, as I'm making 10 new card backs, way too many boxes, a totally rewritten rulebook, and other various supplements that need graphic design. Not to mention art directing a hundred pieces of character art (bad news: that part is going disastrously slowly and is delaying the whole project). As for the gameplay, the new characters are pretty varied, with several interesting new mechanics and styles. They are pretty balanced and working well overall right now, though tuning will be ongoing for a long time.

There will also be a 2v2 mode, a 2v1 mode, and a solo mode. I'm really excited about the 2v2 mode. It's been a lot of work to figure out how to make it feel like Marvel vs. Capcom style, be fun, and actually work right (emphasis on the actually work right). I think we got it! I also think 2v2 will knock your socks off someday.

SCG4 is Codex

Sirlin Card Game 4 is actually called Codex. While the Yomi expansion is my main focus now, I'm working on this as well. I recently finished graphic design for all 56 of the game's different card frames (oh my god), and I continue to refine the gameplay here and there over time. It will take years for the card illustrations and hundreds of thousands of dollars just for that probably (no idea how to pay for that btw, kickstarter I assume), and I don't even really want to start on that until Yomi's art is done. So that means even though the gameplay part of this game is actually practically done right now—all cards exist and have been playtested for quite a while—the release is far off. A game this deep and complex needs a lot of balance testing though, so at least we'll have plenty more time for that.

I've also been testing a pretty interesting free-for-all mode for Codex. FFA generally has problems in most games where it's too much about ganging up (make an alliance with your friend before the game starts, even) and eliminating whoever you want. Also why even fight anyone when you can sit back and let the others weaken each other? The unusual FFA mode I've been trying addresses all these problems and is so far working well. You might say it's inspired by the new FFA mode in Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition, but actually that's not quite right. Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition's FFA mode was actually inspired by Codex's, it's just that you got to see the results in reverse chronological order.

If you haven't tried the new FFA mode in Puzzle Strike, I highly recommend it, by the way. There's no player-elimination and there's naturally shifting alliances as the game progresses, because whenever anyone is in a position to win, the rest of the players want to temporarily help each other to prevent that. It usually leads to exciting, close games. And if you have tried it, it would be nice if you rated Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition and/or Puzzle Strike Shadows on boardgamegeek. (Scroll down to "user information, then "rating" to rate a game.)

Not much more info on Codex right now. It's a troublesome situation that explaining the unusual workings of it gives other companies years to do the same kind of thing before I can even release it. I will say that it's inspired by RTS games such as WarCraft 3 and StarCraft, that you have a lot of flexibility available to you during gameplay that you don't have in CCGs, and that there's no randomness in the resource system.

I will now go back to making logos, boxes, rulebooks, more boxes, and more boxes.

Reader Comments (10)

Hey David, loving all of your work. I've been enjoying what I've managed to play of Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition so far. Really enjoyable and as you mentioned, fairly close matches in free-for-all. I'm really looking forward to the 2v2 and 2v1 modes in Yomi. Anything like MvC is fantastic. I'm very curious on how it actually works though.

Quick note though, both your links to BoardGameGeek go to the Shadows expansion. Here's the link for Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition. :)

October 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLuke Marshall

2v2 Yomi!!!!! :D

As if all the improvements and the expansion weren't enough...
That is incredibly exciting :D

(and I was already having a good day, this just made it even better).

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRik Newman (Remy77077)

I missed out on the PS Kickstarter unfortunately, but I pre-ordered it off the site about a month ago. I can't wait to play the physical version after trying it out online. My wife and I got into Flash Duel since it was very simple to learn and not terribly expensive. I have to admit I didn't think it would be nearly as deep as it proved to be. Very nice surprise there. We recently got Yomi which I really, really like and I can't wait for the expansion for that. I just about shat my pants when I heard about the 2v2 mode. This sounds like awesome fun! Anything like MvC sounds like a blast.

I am really intrigued by Codex! I know you've been talking a bit about it in recent months, about solving the issue of degenerate strategies in a CCG with a fixed card pool. Also, my playgroup (which consists of my wife, her sister and her sister's bf) really, really likes MtG. A lot. :) So a game with the customization aspect without the random packs part would probably interest them a lot. Too bad it's quite a ways away for now.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDorkmaster Flek

Everything sounds awesome.
Now I just hope that I'll find copies of PS3+Shadows at Essen.

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterZ

Im sad I wasnt here in time to support the PS 3rd edition Kickstarter, but at least I can buy it and support the game that way!

2v2 Yomi... *slow clap* I tip my hat to you, sir. Well played. I cant wait for it!

October 16, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJames Johnes (Yobo93)

It's been a while since I've been around the forums and such. Is the 2v2 mode based on the one VirtualAlex (I think that was his name) came up with? Or is it totally new? (Or, start off as one and slowly morph to the other? :P) Also, it's hard for me to play Yomi at my gaming group, because it's 2-player, and if you want to introduce 4-player mode, you have to teach them 2-player mode, first. I have taught two games at the same time before, though it was quite challenging...

The single-player mode really intrigues me, though. Last I heard, the bot on Fantasy Strike was just an RNG.

Everyone I describe Codex to seems really interested (and also they seem to all be Magic players). Of course, I can only say what you've said on the blog, which is not much, but certainly enough to get some attention.

In all cases, I'm totally excited. : D

October 17, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlbeyAmakiir

The Yomi 2v2 mode did start by combining what a few different players had suggested, from a long time ago. The assist system in particular is not from them though, it's new / completely different. While assists are something you might want to play without the first time, to get the hang of the rest, the amount of development time spent on each breaks down about like this:

base 2v2 mode: 5%
The assists for 2v2 mode: 95%.

I told testers that we should have a publication called The Daily Assist, because it's a never-ending task to get it work right. Some said they would like to subscribe to such a thing. Anyway, I think we don't need The Daily Assist anymore because it pretty much finally does what it's supposed to.

Yeah I would recommend teaching 1v1 before 2v2, because 2v2 adds even more stuff like tagging in and out. That said, it's pretty damn awesome. You could probably have Yipes (MvC player / commentator) do hype announcing for it, with people way into it and yelling and stuff while the people at the next table are playing some mostly solitaire farming board game or something. Maybe that would demonstrate that it's worth learning lol. Not to mention that the boring farming game probably has way more rules complexity than Yomi anyway.

October 17, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Hey David,

Thanks for the update. I'm very excited about the yomi expansion. What are the chances we'll see a kickstarter for that similar to what you did for Puzzle Strike 3rd Edition? I'd really like to be able to purchase a bundle with both the original game and expansion and maybe some extras. I've been playing my copy of puzzle strike 3rd edition and really enjoy it, even though I feel like I'm playing it "wrong." I think that's a good thing, which probably indicates that there's some depth to the strategy beyond just identifying what the best chips are and cramming your deck full of them.

October 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChristian

Yeah there will probably be a kickstarter for Yomi. And the timing might work out that we'd need to do another print run of the base decks too around then, so yeah there could be a bundle where you get all of it, plus possibly some extras.

October 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterSirlin

Just popping in to say that "Codex" is a great choice of name. Possibly your best yet, even.

October 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterpkt-zer0
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