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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #480 on: September 23, 2022, 04:53:53 PM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
UI Overhaul


Hey everyone,

let's dive right into what I have been up to recently. Everything presented here will be within the next patch, which will be published in a couple of weeks. So, less talking, more moving images!

I overhauled the visual effect of interactive objects like the workbench when vision onto them is blocked. This (optional!) feature is not entirely new, but the old version did not support readability that much. Here is an example:



As you can see, the workbench (as well as the fire on the right) have a slight outline and transparent color when occluded. The same also goes for enemies.



The second and a lot more work-intensive task was working on the game's UI. When I initially designed it, I wanted it to be vivid and colorful. But it turned out that when everything is colorful, it is hard to see what is important. So I stripped away a lot of color and ironed out a new design guideline. So here is the new inventory as an example:



I could not bring myself strip away all the visual fluff, which is why there are still decorative elements, e.g. in the character sheet and quest log:



I would really appreciate some feedback on whether I should streamline these elements even more. I'm looking forward to hear your thoughts and hope you have a nice weekend!

Alain
Definitely more readable, very nicely done!

Keep the stripes, it makes the Beetlejuice reference more obvious Wink
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oldblood
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« Reply #481 on: September 25, 2022, 07:24:10 AM »

Think the UI overhaul is a success. It's a fine line to walk between cleaning it all up and also keeping enough "visual fluff" (as you called it) to give it some personality and style, but I'd say you've maintained the look while making it more readable, which is a win in my book.
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Alain
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« Reply #482 on: September 25, 2022, 10:21:58 PM »

Keep the stripes, it makes the Beetlejuice reference more obvious Wink

Funny, I never thought about the stripes hinting at Beeltejuice. It's great you mention it, this way I can keep an eye out to incorporate them more where it makes sense!


Think the UI overhaul is a success. It's a fine line to walk between cleaning it all up and also keeping enough "visual fluff" (as you called it) to give it some personality and style, but I'd say you've maintained the look while making it more readable, which is a win in my book.

Thank you, I'm glad you say it's a win. I feel like the UI has character, but there is a fine line: I am not a pro 2D artist or UI designer and I think there is the danger that what I make looks like from the Flash era, but in a crappy way. I'm looking forward to see how the UI in your own game will develop over time, maybe I can steal some ideas from you Wink
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Sima
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« Reply #483 on: October 02, 2022, 11:37:34 PM »

Hi Alain. I watched your developer streaming session (the one from the Steam shop page) to get an idea of what BattleJuice Alchemist is about.

First of all, you did a great job with the streaming session itself! Gentleman
I was training live streaming for the upcoming Steam Next Fest myself and I find it very hard to entertain people when you're not a trained streamer. You did very well. ^^

Some questions about the game itself:

1) Will there be ritual "recipes" hidden in the environment? Since the symbols have a natural form, I imagine rocks/trees/occult things lying around that secretly display a ritual code. Not sure if that'll work with the randomly generated world, but I think it might be fun to discover them.

2) What is the point of the high amount of secondary flasks? When I think about deck building games, the minmax approach would be to have less randomness (that's why removing cards is so valuable in games like "Slay the Spire"). If I have the option to either take 3 reliably available flasks versus having 8 different that I can only use 3 of, I'd always pick 3. Is there any kind of bonus for equipping more secondary flasks (besides the fun of randomness)?

3) In the video you said that you enjoy ranged combat and I wonder why... ^^
In my impression, ranged combat is fast but super deadly (you lost a big chunk of HP multiple times during the stream). In contrast, melee combat seems to be a bit slower, but extremely save. I didn't play the game yet, but I imaging taking the secondary flasks frog+shadow+healing and fighting enemies in melee combat only will be very easy (you can evade ranged & melee attacks and heal up if you failed to evade). So, as a player that likes to minmax; why should I go for ranged combat and risk easily being killed?

The game looks fun so far. Keep it up! Smiley
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Alain
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« Reply #484 on: October 03, 2022, 01:19:48 AM »

First of all, you did a great job with the streaming session itself! Gentleman
I was training live streaming for the upcoming Steam Next Fest myself and I find it very hard to entertain people when you're not a trained streamer. You did very well. ^^

Thank you, I'm glad you liked the stream. I enjoy talking a lot, but sometimes feel like it does not come too easy to me, because English is not my native language. All the more it is cool to hear it was fun to watch for you!

1) Will there be ritual "recipes" hidden in the environment? Since the symbols have a natural form, I imagine rocks/trees/occult things lying around that secretly display a ritual code. Not sure if that'll work with the randomly generated world, but I think it might be fun to discover them.

You are exactly describing how it is in the game. In the non-procedural story locations you can find clues for rituals and runes to cast them like here:




2) What is the point of the high amount of secondary flasks? When I think about deck building games, the minmax approach would be to have less randomness (that's why removing cards is so valuable in games like "Slay the Spire"). If I have the option to either take 3 reliably available flasks versus having 8 different that I can only use 3 of, I'd always pick 3. Is there any kind of bonus for equipping more secondary flasks (besides the fun of randomness)?

This also is exactly the observation players make when they start out. Once they equip more than 3 flasks they realize that they trade reliability for versatility. Most unequip down to 3 flasks. But later, the stat bonuses on flasks are so benefical, that you have to give up the security of always having the same 3 in your hand.


3) In the video you said that you enjoy ranged combat and I wonder why... ^^
In my impression, ranged combat is fast but super deadly (you lost a big chunk of HP multiple times during the stream). In contrast, melee combat seems to be a bit slower, but extremely save. I didn't play the game yet, but I imaging taking the secondary flasks frog+shadow+healing and fighting enemies in melee combat only will be very easy (you can evade ranged & melee attacks and heal up if you failed to evade). So, as a player that likes to minmax; why should I go for ranged combat and risk easily being killed?

Yes, the close combat is the secure way to play. When you encounter an area, where you are having a tough time, you can pick off enemies one by one. The question, why players would ever take the risk of fighting is ranged combat is very valid. I think the answer is that it provides a better kill speed and people like the challenge. But I have watched players almost exclusively doing close combat, and that of course is fine as well, of course

It is funny how you nailed the observations many players made, although you have not played the game! Surely that's because you are making a game with a lot of points of comparison!
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Sima
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« Reply #485 on: October 03, 2022, 03:37:21 AM »

You are exactly describing how it is in the game. In the non-procedural story locations you can find clues for rituals and runes to cast them like here:



Ah, very nice! This way, it's meaningful to discover every corner of the world. Well, at least until the first one writes a guide in the Steam community (RPG players are lazy nowadays, haha).

This also is exactly the observation players make when they start out. Once they equip more than 3 flasks they realize that they trade reliability for versatility. Most unequip down to 3 flasks. But later, the stat bonuses on flasks are so benefical, that you have to give up the security of always having the same 3 in your hand.

So you receive stat bonuses like +X HP from all flasks? Okay, that's a valid reason to equip multiple ones.

But I wonder how 8-flask builds would look like... Equipping 8 different effects might not be the best idea since you'll always have to check your flask-roulette to grasp the effect in the midst of combat. Do you equip 4x type A and 4x type B? Or maybe 3x A, 3x B, 2x C?

Yes, the close combat is the secure way to play. When you encounter an area, where you are having a tough time, you can pick off enemies one by one. The question, why players would ever take the risk of fighting is ranged combat is very valid. I think the answer is that it provides a better kill speed and people like the challenge. But I have watched players almost exclusively doing close combat, and that of course is fine as well [...]

Better kill speed is actually a good point. So, I imagine ranged combat being nice when farming easy regions for items / gold.
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Alain
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« Reply #486 on: October 03, 2022, 10:18:25 PM »

So you receive stat bonuses like +X HP from all flasks? Okay, that's a valid reason to equip multiple ones.

Exactly, that is how it works!


But I wonder how 8-flask builds would look like... Equipping 8 different effects might not be the best idea since you'll always have to check your flask-roulette to grasp the effect in the midst of combat. Do you equip 4x type A and 4x type B? Or maybe 3x A, 3x B, 2x C?

Yes, you can equip the same type of flasks multiple times. As you say, this is how you build your "deck" Smiley


Better kill speed is actually a good point. So, I imagine ranged combat being nice when farming easy regions for items / gold.

That is one situation, yes. Or you can soften up enemies in ranged combat and finish them in closed combat, if you like. I hope I can get variations of playstyles to be valid and fun. Fingers crossed.
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marcgfx
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« Reply #487 on: October 04, 2022, 02:45:47 AM »

Hey Alain, just gave the game another go. I liked it waaaay better this time, not even sure what you changed. Felt pretty smooth to me now. I continued with my old save file, this worked although it was quite old. Combat felt good, both melee and from a distance. I'm still not entirely convinced of the mechanics though. just clicking every flask that is full has no downside I think? I also think the random flask selection is kind of weird. I would rather there were cauldrons that allowed more slots, maybe with other downsides.

I wasn't dying at a crazy pace anymore, well I didnt die at all.

I like the rituals! Just finding out how to do them was fun, I did get most of them in one go after understanding how it works. I didnt really explore the effects of all of them, as the game ended with no more missions.

Some of the drops could not be picked up in one case (11 gold and something else). Even rotating the camera did not help. Oh and I think you get waaaay too slow when you have too much loaded. I think this needs to be a gradual slow-down based on how overburdened you are, not 1 too many makes you half speed.
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Alain
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« Reply #488 on: October 04, 2022, 09:44:50 PM »

Hey Alain, just gave the game another go. I liked it waaaay better this time, not even sure what you changed. Felt pretty smooth to me now. I continued with my old save file, this worked although it was quite old. Combat felt good, both melee and from a distance.

First of all, thank you so much for taking the time to play again and giving so much feedback, which helps me a lot! A ton of things have changed since you last played and I'm glad you say the game improved!


I'm still not entirely convinced of the mechanics though. just clicking every flask that is full has no downside I think? I also think the random flask selection is kind of weird. I would rather there were cauldrons that allowed more slots, maybe with other downsides.

I understand, the random drawing mechanic in deed is weird. But I think it is at the core of the game and what makes it unique and actually what got me started in the first place, which is why I am clinging to it so hard Wink As for just drinking every flask that pops up: all non-resource flasks cost you resources (Liquid and/or Juice). If you have a lot of resource flasks pop up that you actually do not need and just "chuck them away", this is fine of course, but this means you have room to improve your deck. I hope people find fun in tinkering with their deck.


I like the rituals! Just finding out how to do them was fun, I did get most of them in one go after understanding how it works. I didnt really explore the effects of all of them, as the game ended with no more missions.

That's cool, you played to the end of the current content then, glad you tinkered a bit with rituals. Did you also figure out the optional ones from Allen's notes?

Some of the drops could not be picked up in one case (11 gold and something else). Even rotating the camera did not help. Oh and I think you get waaaay too slow when you have too much loaded. I think this needs to be a gradual slow-down based on how overburdened you are, not 1 too many makes you half speed.

Grrr that pesky pickup thing happens once in a while. For now you can work around it by pressing the pickup nearby button (default: E) or simply enable auto pickup in the options. I'll have a swing at the overburden system again, thanks!

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marcgfx
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« Reply #489 on: October 05, 2022, 02:13:12 AM »

overburden: why do you even have it? why is there a limit on how much you can carry. what is the fun or advantage of the system?

deck tinkering: I guess you are right. I was glad I did not have to play perfectly so far. I think that made it more fun for me. But I guess with more difficult opponents later on having a good deck and playing better will be important. I did feel like the fog and frog-jump were a waste of space. I usually just had attack-flasks and liquid+heal.

rituals: yes I got both from the notes, I actually got the owl one first. I kind of missed the 2 wood one that I should have done first. I tried burning two wood and spell an english word that was in capital letters first. I can't find the word anymore in the conversations. On that note, it would be fantastic if you could click to force the text in conversations to be completed instead of having to wait for the typing/talking to end.

collect issue: normally a player will click a lot to collect everything. maybe multiple clicks could cause auto-collect to activate. or at least prompt the player once if he would like to activate auto-collect.
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #490 on: October 05, 2022, 03:36:13 AM »

I guess in the Diablo series the burden mechanic is a way to encourage people to go back to the village, so they can discover new changes. Not sure if an how this is relevant here (haven't actually played any demo yet Embarrassed).

OTOH it probably does say something that Torchlight explicitly gave you a companion to carry an extra inventory and allowed you to send it back to the village so sell all the junk for you without interrupting the gameplay.

Auto-collect seems like it would also clash with overburden
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Alain
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« Reply #491 on: October 05, 2022, 09:33:25 PM »

overburden: why do you even have it? why is there a limit on how much you can carry. what is the fun or advantage of the system?

JobLeonard answered this one for me Wink:

I guess in the Diablo series the burden mechanic is a way to encourage people to go back to the village, so they can discover new changes.

Still, I heard somebody say once: "There has never been an encumbrance system that did not encumber the system" Wink. In BattleJuice Alchemist you can instantaneously port to town and back at any time, so I thought it would not bother players to return now and then.


I did feel like the fog and frog-jump were a waste of space. I usually just had attack-flasks and liquid+heal.

Your combination makes a lot of sense. The frog hop and the smoke flask have quite cool secondary effects when juicified: You can deal damage with the frog hop and push enemies. The smoke flasks spawns a black hole that pulls in enemies for crowd control. When I play I use them a lot because of these secondary effects.


rituals: yes I got both from the notes, I actually got the owl one first. I kind of missed the 2 wood one that I should have done first. I tried burning two wood and spell an english word that was in capital letters first. I can't find the word anymore in the conversations. On that note, it would be fantastic if you could click to force the text in conversations to be completed instead of having to wait for the typing/talking to end.

It is cool you checked out the optional scrolls! Instant dialogue completion when clicking put to the to do list Wink


collect issue: normally a player will click a lot to collect everything. maybe multiple clicks could cause auto-collect to activate. or at least prompt the player once if he would like to activate auto-collect.

There already is a tutorial for the auto-collect, but I will find a way to show it at a more appropriate timing. I like your idea of temporarily activating auto-collecting on double clicking, I will definitely try to figure something out!


OTOH it probably does say something that Torchlight explicitly gave you a companion to carry an extra inventory and allowed you to send it back to the village so sell all the junk for you without interrupting the gameplay.

Auto-collect seems like it would also clash with overburden

I made a note for some interaction with our companion Plato to sell junk, maybe that works for us too as in Torchlight, but maybe it also makes the whole system obsolete. I'll definitely think about it.
Auto-collect kind of clashes with overburden on the paper, that is true. But if you only put a few points into agility in BattleJuice Alchemist, you usually do not get overburdened easily. Still, I'll have an eye on it, thanks for pointing it out!
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Alain
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« Reply #492 on: October 07, 2022, 03:32:36 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
UI Overhaul and Companion Fixes


Hey everyone,

in the last devlog I already talked in depth about the upcoming UI overhaul. It is now completed and live on the public branch of the alpha playtest. So you might have already seen bits of the new UI and I'll only show you the local map here (because working on it is an evergreen for me) as well as the overhauled HUD tooltips:





I also took a close look at the combat behavior of our companion Plato. His freeze attack was quite unpredictable, which should now be fixed. Plato should now freeze your opponents like a champ. He is just such a good boy.



As always, there are a lot more minor changes. The full list of them can be found on our Discord as usual. I'm currently working on a quite big addition to the game that I will hopefully be able to talk about next time.

Cheers,

Alain
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« Reply #493 on: October 15, 2022, 04:45:37 AM »

Trying to catch up on this thread again. Especially liked the update on concept art and the lore it ties into! That's a really nice backstory to have to inform the look of the place. How much of this is part of the story the player gets to learn directly, and how much is in the background?
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Alain
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« Reply #494 on: October 18, 2022, 09:40:10 PM »

Trying to catch up on this thread again. Especially liked the update on concept art and the lore it ties into! That's a really nice backstory to have to inform the look of the place. How much of this is part of the story the player gets to learn directly, and how much is in the background?

Great to have you back and thanks for catching up! Regarding the story, I think you are referring to the backstory of the starting town that was deserted after an alchemical explosion, right? The player experiences that part through conversations with the few people who are still there and through environmental storytelling.
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Alain
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« Reply #495 on: October 21, 2022, 10:55:24 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Preview on Perks and Classes


Hey everyone,

when I started working on BattleJuice Alchemist, I was sure that you would play an alchemist. But the game is also an RPG and different classes are expected. So how do we handle that? Let me present to you our all-alchemists-class-system (TM)!



When creating your character, you can now select between the Bold Alchemist, the Swift Alchemist and the Sly Alchemist. In non-alchemy terms, you have a melee class, a ranged class and a mage class. These three have different ways of using their flasks: for the Bold Alchemist they explode right in his hands, the Swift Alchemist throws them at a target point and the Sly Alchemist drops them to the ground where they explode after a delay.

When leveling up, every class gets access to exclusive perks that enhance their special abilities. Additionally, there are perks available to all classes.



This allows for interesting character progression and builds. Want to play a teleporting melee character? You won't be a master teleporter, but you can pull it off. Here are some special abilities in action:



You won't have to wait too long to try out the classes and perks in the Steam playtest, they will be in the next patch coming in two weeks. I now have some testing and balancing to do. Until then, don't forget to join our Discord if you want to follow the development more closely.

See you there!

Alain
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JobLeonard
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« Reply #496 on: October 21, 2022, 11:48:16 AM »

Nice!

So uh, does the bold alchemist hurt themselves? Because that would be some interesting gameplay
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Alain
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« Reply #497 on: October 22, 2022, 03:38:00 AM »

So uh, does the bold alchemist hurt themselves? Because that would be some interesting gameplay

That would be quite interesting in deed! It is not the case right now, but I could imagine a perk like "Your total life is doubled but you receive damage from your own flasks".
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« Reply #498 on: October 22, 2022, 07:43:45 AM »

Wow, you continue to power through these big updates, Alain! Great work! BJA keeps getting more and more feature heavy and love the classes. Adds lots of replay value. You're really on a roll with these updates man.
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« Reply #499 on: October 24, 2022, 05:58:53 AM »

Solid updates my friend, your game is looking more and more polished.

I like to check your blog from time to time to see your progress, especially since I can empathise so good with your situation


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