Hey everyone, this weeks new levels can be found at numbers 5, 17 and 18! Other levels got moved around and one got removed. Sorry for the constantly changing level numbers! I’ll try to move to a better system soon.

If you’d like to know about a subtle rule change to bandit behavior and the player survey results, continue reading over here!

Bandits spawn rule change

A small tweak to bandit spawning behavior was released:

All stranded units turn into bandits at the end of each players turn (previously was “at the start of their owners turn”).

I like this tweak, because it prevents some unintuitive scenarios, is easier to understand and gives faster feedback to the player after cutting off enemy units.

Player survey results

Thanks a bunch to everyone who participated in the survey! I got 49 responses in the two weeks it’s been up, which is a pretty decent sample size!

So what were the most requested improvements?

The message is clear, I should focus on everything 😆.

But now for some real takeaways:

  • Adding more and better campaign levels seems to be the best thing I can do to make basically everyone happy, so this will definitely be a big ongoing focus - more campaigns, more and hopefully better levels!

  • There’s a big demand for new unit types and mechanics, which is something I really look forward to experimenting with myself. I have a number of ideas in that regard and received dozens more from you guys in the past few weeks, so stay tuned! My plan is to always keep the core game rules super-simple and easy to pickup. But additional units and mechanics could nicely spice up some later campaign levels and advanced game modes.

  • Map editor and maps sharing features will also remain one of the top priorities. I think it will also feed directly into the demand for more and better content, because some of you guys will probably totally outclass my crappy attempts at level design 🙂.

  • I hope to give conquest balance some attention soon as well. Nobody enjoys unwinnable maps, and I think there are some fairly easy improvements I could do to make sure you don’t run into these!

  • The AI, while mostly serviceable, has been a constant source of some deeply frustrated feedback messages. I would like to give it some more attention before I add too many new levels built around the current AI behavior. The main problems I currently see are:
    • the AI behavior is too unpredictable and opaque, players tend to learn to just treat it as psychopath that can’t be reasoned with, rather than a rational opponent; I’ve been thinking about some ways to give player a bit more visibility into the AI decision making without making it too predictable.
    • the AI is generally too aggressive and confrontational, often to its own detriment, even when it has space to grow peacefully. This also tends to teach the player to play just as aggressively, often overextending and hoping for the best. Which in turn makes the game feel more luck based and less strategic.
  • Multiplayer modes will stay in the “possibly in the future” bucket for now. Definitely not ruling them out, but as you can see, I have more than enough improvements to worry about as is, without taking on this giant additional undertaking. I’m still just a solo dev doing this in my free time, so I better not stretch myself too thin.

Coming up next

So with all that said, what to expect in the coming weeks?

  1. The work on cloud saving should be done soon (hoping to wrap it up next weekend, no promises!).
  2. After that, I’d like to significantly expand and overhaul the campaign - most likely split it into at least three separate campaigns:
    • An introductory campaign focused on teaching all the key rules and tactics
    • An ever expanding main campaign with adjustable difficulty level
    • A separate campaign for lovers of punishingly difficult “puzzle-like” levels
  3. Alongside this, I would like to find some time to:
    • spice up the game with some fun little extra mechanic that opens new level design opportunities
    • iterate on the AI
    • improve the conquest map balance a bit
  4. And once I’m somewhat happy with the above, I’d like to dig in into the map editor and map sharing features.

Thank you for your interest in the game!