Saturday 2 November 2013

Progenitor revision 2013.11.03 changelog

Progenitor changelog 2013.11.03


Adaptive ShieldingDecreased Energy from +0 to -1.
Atom ReclaimerDecreased Energy Requirement from 3 to 2.
CharibdisNow only lets you destroy cards owned by the player with the most Energy.

Saturday 5 October 2013

Grand Theft Auto V - Loading Screens

These are all the images that slideshow past as you wait for the game to load.  Anomalies detected...

Hot female cop arresting hot hippy chick
Do not appear in game
Franklin & Chop
Playable character and
 trainable dog
Playable character
Playable character
Playable character
Hot bikini chick
Does not appear in game
Playable character
Playable character

In summation:

Characters  in loadscreens   that appear in game   who are playable
 Male 663
 Female 300
 Canine 110
 Total 1073

Monday 23 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Purging & Turnover

In the last couple of posts I've discussed some key mechanics of Progenitor, and how gaining cards affects tempo.  Here I'll put the two together, analysing the tempo gains/losses of a purge and a turnover.  First up, let's look at purging.

When you purge you get to gain cards from the board, trigger any purge effects, then destroy all cards you have in play.  Each of these steps can change your tempo, so working out the tempo change for a purge is probably the most convoluted calculation applicable to Progenitor.

First, you add up the tempo you get for any cards you gain, which is the Energy Requirement of each card plus one.  Then add any tempo changes from purge effects.  Finally, you destroy all cards you have  in play, and thus subtract tempo for all the Energy and Primes you lose.  It doesn't matter how a card leaves play, be it an opponent destroying them with a card effect or you purging, you still lose the tempo in exactly the same way.  This would seem to imply that building up and purging is a massive waste of time, as almost all the tempo you gain with your plays will be lost again as soon as you purge, but the purge is letting you gain cards from the board, and it's this gain of cards which is the overall tempo increase you are scoring.

0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these] 1ER, +1, +1 Prime.
Let's look at the example I used before, where you have 2 Charge (0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these]) cards and a Supply Shuttle (1ER, +1, +1 Prime) in play, giving you a total of 3 Energy and 2 Primes.  When you purge in this sitation you have four different options as to what you take from the board.  You may gain:

Thursday 19 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Gaining & Losing Cards

Up until now tempo has dealt purely with cards as they enter and leave play.  A card which gives you +2 Energy is worth 2 tempo while it's in play  Destroying a card which would provides an opponent +1 Energy causes them to lose 1 tempo.  But how is tempo affected by adding cards to our deck, or losing them from it?

When you gain a card you put it into your discard pile.  If you gain it as part of a purge action then it is never in play: it goes straight from the board into your discard pile.  It may appear that this has no effect on tempo at all.  This is not the case!

Friday 13 September 2013

Progenitor - Windows Of Opportunity

In games like Progenitor it's not uncommon for a player to get into a commanding position: a place of power which can make them seemingly unassailable.  In Progenitor this manifests in two ways:
  1. Play Presence.
    By having a lot of cards in play you can have a plethora of effects continually providing you with benefits. Defensive cards can stop any opponent from messing with you, while utility cards like Permutator (2ER, +2, At the beginning of your turn you may look at the top card of your draw pile, then discard it or put it back.) or Entropy Engine (3ER, +0, At the beginning of your turn draw a card) can give you extensive card draw or a way to lock-down / control your adversaries.

  2. +2, 2ER, At the beginning of your turn you may look at the top card of your draw pile, then discard it or put it back.
    Having this in play is pretty nice...
    +0, 3ER, At the beginning of your turn draw a card.
    ...but not as nice as this.
  3. Hand Size.
    Your hand is your materiel, your ammunition.  The more cards you've got in hand the more options you have in your turn.  Add to that the presence of defensive cards like Blink Drive (2ER, -1, You may play this card when an opponent targets you or your cards to nullify opponent's card, played: Draw a card) and a large hand of cards can give you a large psychological advantage, as well as the actual advantage of having lots of answers to your opponents plays.
-1, 2ER, You may play this card when an opponent targets you or your cards to nullify opponent's card, played: draw a card.
Simply having this in your deck can deter opponents.
There are two key play mechanics in Progenitor aimed at redressing these advantages.  That is not to say it removes them: after all, a player who has played well enough to get into a position of power deserves to be rewarded for it.  They do, however, provide a couple of ways through, a couple of chinks in the armour that a canny player can take advantage of to pull a game back in their direction.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Progenitor revision 2013.09.11 changelog

Progenitor changelog 2013.09.11


AM ShellAdded 'playable' when playing with a card from hand to stop instant win with All-In.
Adaptive ShieldingOpponent may discard card with same Energy Requirement to stop gain.
Blink DriveIncreased Energy Requirement from 1 to 2.

Monday 9 September 2013

In case you were wondering what a 5-star rating is worth...

Just received this email:

Dear Android developer,

Please let us introduce our new services that can make your app look more appealing and will eventually lead to more downloads.

1. Positive ratings

- Adding 100 5-star ratings and 10 positive comments to your Google Play page
Price: $135

- Adding 1.000 ratings with 100 comments
Price: $950
2. Facebook likes

- Adding 25.000 Facebook likes to your Facebook page
Price: $250
- Adding 100.000 Facebook likes
Price: $750

Progenitor - Tempo: In Play

+0, 1ER, played: Destroy target card. +1, 0ER, [starting deck is made of these]
When using tempo to analyse plays in a game we need to look at how the play changes the state of the game, as opposed to the theoretical numbers we used previously.  For example, if you were to make a play that would destroy an opponent's card, we no longer consider this card destruction worth a flat 2 tempo (your opponent loses a draw and a play); instead we need to look at the card we are going to destroy.

Let's say you play a Laser Salvo (1ER, +0, played: destroy target card).  If you destroy an opponent's Charge (0ER, +1, [starting deck is made of these]), what have they lost?  They have lost 1 Energy.  Ignore that they had to draw and play the Charge; that is irrelevant. The direct change to the state of the game is that they now have 1 less Energy than they did before.  You might think that your play was therefor worth 1 tempo, and it would be, except that them losing 1 Energy is not the only change in the state of the game: you now have 1 less card in hand than you did before.
Therefor, your play was worth 0 tempo: you have set them back by a point (of Energy) at the expense of a point of your own (a card in hand; a draw).

Scoring your tempo is an interesting idea: obviously, the more tempo you gain the better, so you would want this to be high.  If it were a computer game (or you were particularly bloody minded) you might be able to derive stats after the game was over, like your average tempo per turn.  While it is clearly a good rule of thumb that the bigger-the-better for tempo/turn, during play it won't actually be key that this number is bigger than some goalpost figure: rather, it is important simply that it be bigger than your opponents'.  Note that in a heads-up, 1v1 game the tempo score is zero-sum: any time you gain tempo your opponent loses it, and vice-versa; it's only in a multiplayer game that having a goalpost is possible; I'll look at tempo in multiplayer in a later post.  Let's look at 1v1 now, as it's much simpler.  In 1v1 tempo can be looked at as a peg moving up and down a number line:

Thursday 5 September 2013

Progenitor - Tempo: Take Two

As discussed in the previous post, tempo is calculated by adding up your gain and your opponent's loss from a card effect when you play it.  I stated that Laser Salvo (1ER, +0, played: destroy target card) is worth 2 tempo: when it destroys an opponent's card it costs them 1 draw and 1 play.  However, in order to generate that destroy effect it has cost you 2 tempo as well: you have had to draw the Laser Salvo and then play it.  Thus it could be argued that Laser Salvo is worth 0 tempo: -2 tempo from your draw & play, +2 tempo for opponents loss.  If you imagine a play situation: opponent plays a Charge, then you destroy it with Laser Salvo. The game has moved on 0 tempo from your previous turn.

Theoretically you can calculate tempo in either of these ways: as the total produced by the cards effect, or that total - 2 (for your draw and play); as long as you do it consistently it would still work, since you are only comparing these numbers with each other.  However, it is generally better to use the former, especially when we go on to use tempo to analyse actual plays:

Saturday 31 August 2013

Progenitor - Tempo

Tempo is an analysis tool I first encountered applied to Magic: The Gathering.  It's a means to quantify the potency of a given card or play, a way to attach a number so that different cards/plays can be compared.

In M:TG you have several resources available to you.  Primarily you have your hand of cards and the mana you can generate in your turn.  As well as that you have your deck of cards, and your life total and your graveyard.  These different resources could be tied together using tempo.  A unit of tempo is a measure of making progress in the game: you could gain tempo by either causing a gain on your part, or making your opponent lose something.  In M:TG this worked out to being 1 Card = 4 Life = 4 Mana.  So if you were playing, and had a chance to draw a card by paying three or less mana, then that would generally be a good deal.  Attaching a value to a turn in M:TG is hard as you can do so many things in a turn.

In Progenitor we have it much easier:

Monday 12 August 2013

Progenitor - Synopsis

As outlined in my previous post, Progenitor is a deck-building card game.  This post will be a simple primer on it, so that when I write about design and balance decisions people will know what I'm talking about.

The basics are quite simple: in any given game there will be a several different stacks of cards in the middle of the table.  You will be trying to acquire these cards, to add them to your deck in order to improve it and allow you to win.

The resource used is called Energy: each of the available cards has an Energy Requirement which must be met in order to prime (read: buy) it from the table and add to your deck.  At the start of the game your deck is made up of a few copies of the most basic card in the game: a simple +1 Energy card with no other ability.  Energy Requirements for the cards on the table range from 1 to 3, with more expensive cards being more powerful.

On any given turn you may do one of three things:

Friday 9 August 2013

Progenitor - Deck-Building Card Game

Alternate title: Progenitor - What I've Been Doing Instead Of Coding.

I've spent a lot of time playing CCGs. A lot. From the original Star Wars game (Decipher), through Legend Of The Five Rings (AEG), to the industry mainstay that is Magic: The Gathering (Wizards Of The Coast), these games have* a big draw on me.  The (fairly) recent genre of deck-building games, kick-started by Dominion, draw on a portion of what makes those games so great, and so I had a go of them too.

What I found was that there was some good stuff to be found in them, great stuff in fact, but there were also qualities I really disliked.  Primarily two:

Wednesday 7 August 2013

Pigment & The Droid, Part 3

As foreshadowed at the end of Part 2, the optimisations described therein were not enough to get Pigment to run on the Motorola Droid. Pigment was still using too much memory for the Droid to handle.

So: to get Pigment to run on a Droid it needed to use less heap.  How to accomplish this?  It needed to hold less graphical data.  I'd already reduced image memory size as much as possible regarding format and storage options (such as removing the alpha channel);  I either had to load less of the assets, or generate less content as the game ran.  In the end I did both!

The first saving relies on how the user experiences the game; as they play and complete levels the game will send messages to them: the Win! message, the tip about pressing Back to undo, the Bonus Unlocked messages, the Congratulations on completing worlds / the game.  Of these: the Science  Unlocked message and the final Congratulations message on completing the game made a useful pair.