A Design Question

03 Dec
December 3, 2013

There’s an aspect of the System Crash UI design that I feel is a bit awkward and confusing. And I am considering changing it. So I thought, before I did that, that I’d ask people who’d played the beta for their feedback.

When you start the game, from the main menu you can choose to play a SenseSim game ( a quick random match), and you can access the Black Market (the deck editor).

But.

Behind the scenes, the game saves out the data representing your Profile. This includes data for any campaigns you’ve played, your unlocked cards, and your decks.

Now, your unlocked cards and decks are not tied to any campaign. The idea is that if you unlock a card in any campaign, it’s unlocked for your entire profile. Likewise, decks that you create are global to your profile.

Your earned credits, however, are not. I didn’t want you to be able to unbalance expansion campaigns by being able to play Campaign A, earn tons of credits, then take them into Campaign B, which is balanced around you only having so much money to unlock cards slowly.

So, the awkward part is how your cards and decks are global to your profile, but credits are campaign-specific. This means that if you load up the Black Market from the main menu, you can create and edit decks, but not buy and sell cards. Whereas if you load the Black Market from a Campaign game, you can do so.

I feel it’s not hugely clear to new players why it’s like that. I did it so that, even without a campaign loaded, players can fire up System Crash and play a quick game. But what I wonder is, does anyone do that? Have I catered for a case that no one cares about, making things more confusing in the process?

It’s also a half-measure which doesn’t quite fix the balance concern. Sure, you can’t take your credits across from one campaign to another, but you can take your unlocked cards and decks. Which means that a similar problem exists, you can play Campaign A, unlock a ton of strong cards, then go onto Campaign B and steamroll. At the time, I was thinking that any expansion campaigns would assume you’d have unlocked all the cards from the base game, so you would only be unlocking new, expansion-specific cards anyway.

But now I’m thinking that may not always be the case. Maybe I’ll want to ship an expansion campaign that has you starting with limited or weak cards again. Which would mean I need to tie the unlocked cards/decks to the campaign they were earned in.

The downside would be that you’d need to recreate your favourite decks in each campaign you play.

I dunno, I’m torn. What do you guys think? Is it a non-issue, am I worrying for nothing? Should I leave it as is, or make cards/decks campaign-locked and nuke the SenseSim/Black Market buttons on the main menu screen?

(There is a poll on this question up on my forums. Feel free to answer here in the comments or in that forum poll, whichever format you prefer.)

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