Last September, I purchased the GameMaker: Studio Humble Bundle and since then I’ve been porting over my older project made with libGDX from the ground up. This new project finally has a name: The Battle for Jotsway Canyon!
Jotsway Canyon is a tactics game being developed for Widows, Linux, HTML5 and Android. The current test build is available for free on itch.io. I’m always looking for constructive comments and so far, feedback has been generally positive.
For the initial release, I’d like an endless Arena mode with a choice of classes, varied enemies and unexpected mechanics with later updates including a story mode and additional classes and enemies.
In the current build (0.0.33), you take on the role of the first class: the Sorcerer. The player battles enemies and levels up which allows the player to select random bonuses drawn from unique Class Deck. In this mode I hope the challenge will come from adapting to the environment and enemies with unique abilities rather than relying on inflating stats.
For 1.0.0, they’ll be 3 classes: the Sorcerer, the Barbarian and the Cleric. The player will choose which one to be at the start of every Arena game and each one will have a unique Class Deck to draw from.
Decks are made up of Cards with varying rarities: Common, Uncommon, Rareand Legendary. When the player levels up, 3 Cards are drawn from the Deck. Common Cards appear more often and LegendaryCards appear very rarely.
The player can choose to spend Gold they gather from enemies to mulligan and redraw their hand.
Previously, I had a talent tree system but I decided to move towards a this newsystem for several reasons. Firstly, having the player draw a random set of upgrades feels more exciting and adds a newdecision every level which increases variety and replayability.
Additionally, the new system has better scalabilitythan the previous iteration as I can add and swap cards to Class Decks very easily and don’t have to worry about redesigning the UI to accommodate these changes. This is especially important during this early stage of development where there are many rapid changes.
Another change I’ve made is how damage and stats work. I’ve simplified the stats to become Health and Power rather than Physical Power/ Defence and Magical Power / Defence etc. This is to improve readability and put more emphasis on positioning, movement and mechanics rather than having numbers scale linearly and arbitrarily.
Enemies grow in power a lot slower stat-wise. Difficulty instead will come from more interesting and complex abilities that the player will have to react to.
I’ve also removed random damage from skills because I want the player to be able to predict what will happen and be rewarded for reacting properly. Random elements still exist; Burns happen randomly and enemies are spawned randomly and move randomly but for the combat, I want to keep the randomness manageable.
Building the game from the ground up again has allowed me to learn plenty. I’ve continued to experiment with pixel art and I try to tackle systems with a bit more thought first.
I generally use Inkscapeto lay out ideas first and I’ve found this particularly useful when designing the Class Decks. Although I don’t use it for illustratios, I’ve become very quick at making outlines for ideas and it’s essential for my workflow!
I’m aiming for a late 2017 release for all platforms. You can follow the development of Jotsway Canyon via Twitter or on my website. I release all of the patch notes there! If you have any comments feel free to let me know. Thank you for reading!
As a little treat for my birthday this past September, I bought GameMaker: Studio during the Humble Bundle sale. It has been great fun to learn! And getting a prototype up and running is super fast.
Having a more visual program to create games rather than hard coding everything took a little time to get used to but there is a lot of back-end tweaking that can be done through its own language called GML. I’ve not scratched the surface!
I’m creating a new game but it’s still going to be a turn-based tactics game on a hexagonal grid. For now, the name I’m using for it is Jaggy Tactics. This time I’d like to add story elements while keeping the same feel. So far, I have this playable in-browser demo.
Why the Switch?
I love libGDX but I became increasingly frustrated with getting the HTML5 build to work. This is important for gathering feedback from players quickly because it’s much easier to direct them to a site rather than having them download a file. GameMaker seems slightly less painful in this regard and distributing is quick and easy.
libGDX still has a special place in my heart and I may go back to it in the future but for the time being, I’m happy learning something new.
I’ll be adding more updates and patch notes to Jaggy Tactics as development continues.