Archive for category: Project Updates

Tempus Fugit

09 Oct
October 9, 2015

At the end of this month, I will have been working on System Crash for four years.

Four years.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around that number. I’m in such a different place right now, that old life seems like a half-remembered dream.

I do remember desperation, though. Feeling trapped, like an animal. Dreams die hard, and I could feel mine kicking frantically in my chest as the daily grind slowly suffocated the life out of it.

There was nothing wrong with me. I was well-off, respected. I had great friends and an active social life. And yet, slowly but surely, desperation grew. I could feel the point approaching where I’d have to either let my dream die or do something drastic.

So I jumped.

Which was fairly unprecedented, for me. I’m not particularly brave. Or, to put it more generously, I err on the side of caution. But I guess the fear of what would happen if I made a move was eventually overpowered by the fear of what would happen if I didn’t.

It was a bit of a fuck up, though. I mean, obviously; I had originally estimated one year and here I am, four years later, still labouring to get the first game out.

I made plenty of mistakes in my design and my development process along the way. From choice of art style (I love SC’s art, but lots of indies have found success with abstraction and a stylized art style that gets them more bang for their art buck. I’ve been taking notes.) to stubbornly failing to triage certain beloved features the minute I saw that I’d run out of money before finishing them (The story campaign, for example. I should have released an arena card battler then used the money to build a story campaign in the sequel. I should be building that sequel now).

My game design isn’t as creative as I’d have liked, I basically just mashed together existing CCGs that I’d played, and I’m piss-poor at marketing and PR. I took ages to put up a proper website for the game, I don’t have a PR video or a Facebook page ready, and my blogging (the cheapest form of PR I could do) is erratic.

All in all, just a mess.

But…but the desperation is gone. I mean, I’m not where I want to be, yet, and I still want to get there, badly. But that animal in my chest isn’t kicking me in the ribs anymore. I’ve fucked up a lot, but at least I’m fucking up in generally the right direction. I’m doing something to make my dream a reality. And, to paraphrase Edison, I’ve figured out a bunch of things that don’t work.

So at least I can make different mistakes on the next game. 😉

Four years. Crazy That’s a hell of a lot of time to devote to a thing.

It’s also, I think, going to be the sum total of the thing. I’m anticipating being finished development by the end of this month. The game is looking good, just a little bit more playtesting to do and it’s a wrap. So, yeah, woo!

Here’s to four years! It was a crazy journey, but I’m ready to start a new adventure now!

Screenshot Saturday

18 Jul
July 18, 2015

You can now see your own avatar’s portrait during dialogue. Gives you more of a sense of “yourself” during conversations.

I’m currently implementing tweaks like this based on beta feedback. It’s good stuff, keep it coming! 🙂

PlayerAvatar

Aaaaand There’s A Nasty Bug In The Beta

15 Jul
July 15, 2015

Beta releases are bittersweet. On the one hand, it’s the culmination of a lot of work, and it’s cool to see people enjoying it.

On the other, bugs. Immediate bug reports. Sometimes, nasty ones.

Ah well, good to catch the flipping things.

Beta 1.2.1.0 has a rather nasty hang bug. I’ve mailed the newsletter, but let me post the details here, for anyone who reads the blog but hasn’t subscribed to my newsletter, for reasons unknown. *cough* *hint* *cough*

System Crash saves out profile data to the install folder, mainly because I hate digging around in My Documents to find my save games.

Unfortunately, Windows UAC doesn’t like that when the game is installed to Program Files. Installing with UAC set to enabled results in the System Crash exe not having sufficient permissions to modify files in Program Files, even the save file it created.

So people are experiencing the problem where, when shutting down SC and restarting, the program hangs on a grey screen.

My apologies for not catching this issue, and any frustration it may have caused. I’m looking at a fix (probably saving your profile to My Documents. The Man has won :/).

In the mean time, you can do the following to continue playing:

1) Set the program to “run as admin”. This grants it rights to modify files in Program Files.

2) Copy your save files out of your current install (INSTALL_DIR\System Crash_Data\Gameplay\Profiles\YOUR_PROFILE.prof), uninstall System Crash, reinstall it somewhere else on your drive. Copy your save files in. Should work now.

3) As 2, but you turn UAC off and then reinstall in Program Files, if you really want it installed there. That will install the program with full file access rights, since with UAC off, programs are by default installed with the same rights as the user, and you are an Admin.

4) (Optional) Swear a dark curse upon the House of Microsoft, from now unto the 100th generation of Bill Gates’ line.

Sorry for the frustration, if you ran into this bug. And thank you for your patience while these beta issues are fixed.

I hope you’re enjoying the game, otherwise!

Gareth out.

Beta 1.2.1.0 Is Here!

13 Jul
July 13, 2015

It’s been a long road, friends, but final release is tantalizingly close, now.

Here at Rogue Moon Studios, it’s full steam ahead on getting System Crash to a release candidate. The content is in, gameplay has been tweaked and tuned, known bugs have been squashed, and there’s just this last stretch of campaign playtesting to get though.

And for that I need your help, ladies and gents.

Please, grab yourself a copy of either the windows beta installer or the zipped mac archive, install the 1.2.1.0 beta, and give the Neon Noir campaign a play.

The beta lets you play up to 13 missions, so give them a try and tell us what you think. Is it fun? Challenging? Do you want more?

Help me make System Crash the best game it can be.

Good luck, and watch out for black ICE!

_qSml

Saturday Dev Update

11 Jul
July 11, 2015

An exciting Saturday game development update, you won’t want to miss this one, friends!

MOAR Mechs

04 Jul
July 4, 2015

I’ve been having trouble designing an Easy mech deck.

Mainly because there are no weak mechs in the current card set. Which is something that testers have brought up before.

So I decided fuck it, let me paint some new mechs to fill out the lower tiers. 🙂

New mech card #1 – Surveillance Drone
MechSmallLogo

New mech card #2 – Spyder

Mech1SmallLogo

New mech card #3 – Tarantula

Mech2SmallLogo

Challenges

24 Jun
June 24, 2015

Sigh, my next game is going to be something simple.

I keep telling myself this, repeating it like a mantra, as I pull my hair out in frustration at trying to balance a strategy game with a huge number of variables and potential interactions.

This weekend’s challenge: the elite Rush deck beats other elite decks around 50% of the time. It’s pretty fun, go fast enough and they don’t have time to build up their cool combos before you’re already at the finish line. But the starter deck, it turned out, beat the elite Rush deck 4 times out of 5. Even though that same starter deck lost consistently to the other elite decks.

Fuck.

So the hair-pulling came as I tried to rebalance some of the rush cards so that it could beat the starter deck consistently while not unbalancing it versus the other elite decks.

Not a simple task, let me tell you.

The problem turned out to be that while the starter deck doesn’t have a lot of good cards in it, it does have a lot of cheap ones. And some of the cards it does have had a bit too much card draw boosting. So it managed to churn out enough cheap, disposable Agents, without emptying its hand completely, to keep the Rush deck from, well, rushing effectively. Long enough, at least, to move out of the early game, closing the window in which the rush deck can win.

I eventually managed to make certain cards stronger and others a little weaker (particularly some of the starter deck’s card draw boosting cards), leaving the final balance about the same, but making it harder to simply block a Rush deck with a pile of cheap bodies.

Which was a whole lot of tweaking and testing just to get me back to where I was in the beginning, thinking I had my cards pretty well balanced and moving on to setting up the story campaign battles.

Sigh.

My next game is going to be something simple.
My next game is going to be something simple.
My next game is going to be…

Survival of the Fastest

19 Jun
June 19, 2015

In System Crash, it isn’t always about getting the strongest Agents on the board. Sometimes it’s about speed.

The Rush archetype deck is built with speed in mind. It’s filled with cards to help you get Agents out quickly and dominate the early game. Hit ’em fast, hit ’em hard, don’t let them recover, that’s the Rush philosophy.

And I was a proud ‘dad’ when the AI managed to pull off the Rush strategy flawlessly against my Yakuza deck. 😀

Some early Blackjack’s and the 9th Circle nightclub support card had seen the AI to 48 points, a mere 2 from victory. But I’d finally blocked its advance, bringing out tougher mid-tier Agents that I knew it wouldn’t be able to beat, in a fair fight. Generally, once the Rush deck loses momentum, it loses it permanently.

RushAI

But the Rush deck has one more trick up its sleeve for just such an occasion. Deception cards. Deception can clear you some room to attack when brute force alone won’t do it.

RushAI1b

Reroute cleared the path, but it still wouldn’t be enough without speed. That’s where Nem0 shines. With 6 Attack Power and Haste, he can quickly claim OP from an opening.

RushAI2

And that, as they say, was that.

RushAI3

Well played, that code. Well played.

Testing, testing

12 Jun
June 12, 2015

I’m all about the balance testing, right now, as I work to get the game ready for another beta testing release. Not long now, not long.

So I test and I test and I test. And sometimes, fun moments happen. The funnest of those are skin-of-your-teeth victories. 😀

This one was pretty darn close. One more turn and my hackers would bring home victory, but that lane on the right is open. Any Agent with Haste (that enemy deck has a couple), or any card that would have opened up one of the other lanes, would have cost me the game. But, fortunately for me, the AI didn’t have anything like that in its hand that turn and I won, just in time.
HackersVsMetroSec

Another hacker deck test. This time, I was pretty boned. Smoke Grenade kept me alive by debuffing the enemy Agents’ attack power, but even with that barrier, he’d managed to wipe out all my Agents with direct damage and climb toward victory. One more turn and Smoke Grenade would drop, and between tough agents and powerful turrets, I wasn’t going to get another Agent on the board.

Luckily, I drew a Software Vulnerability just when I needed it, allowing me to directly gain 5 OP and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

LastMinuteHack

Screenshot Saturday

06 Jun
June 6, 2015

Heavily-armored MetroSec forces vs a line of defensive turrets, who will win?!? 😀

TurretsVsMetroSec