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December 06, 2022, 11:53:10 AM

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TIGSource ForumsCommunityDevLogsBattleJuice Alchemist – RPG with deck-building & bullet time
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Alain
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« Reply #500 on: October 25, 2022, 09:46:02 PM »

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.

Thanks for the encouragement, oldblood! There will soon be a time where I will have to stop polishing and adding features, but until then I'll keep rolling them out Smiley


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

Thanks Ramos, I really appreciate your input and advice whenever we get to talk!
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Alain
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« Reply #501 on: November 03, 2022, 09:50:10 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Patch Notes 0.21801


Hey everyone,

I usually post patches for the Steam playtest on Fridays, but 0.21801 is already done, so here it comes a day early!

As announced in the last devlog, you can now choose if you want to play the Bold, the Swift or the Sly Alchemist. They all come with their own unique way of handling flasks and their own perks.



The Sly Alchemist for example hurls flasks into the air and hits targets on the ground with a certain delay.



This patch also comes with a seemingly small, but in my eyes significant feature allowing players to choose the way they prefer to play: You are not forced into close combat anymore, but can opt out of it.



Last but not least, we have a little teaser for what is coming in the more distant future: A second game mode called Survivor Mode. I'll talk more about it in the future when it is closer to be done.



These are the big changes for this patch. As always, the full list can be found on our Discord. If any of this stuff sounds interesting to you and you decide to try it out, I'd love to get your feedback!

Cheers,

Alain
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oldblood
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« Reply #502 on: November 04, 2022, 06:58:19 AM »

Looking great! Really excited to hear more about this "Survivor Mode".
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vdapps
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« Reply #503 on: November 04, 2022, 09:33:24 AM »

Nice to see this project going forward! Gentleman

Can I ask, how's "Early Access" going? If you can evaluate, is it adding lot of value to you, compared to "offline" developing? 
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Alain
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« Reply #504 on: November 05, 2022, 05:04:23 AM »

Looking great! Really excited to hear more about this "Survivor Mode".

Thanks! It is going to take a while until I will get to work more on this second mode. It is just a rough skeleton at the moment, but I'll get to it eventually Wink


Nice to see this project going forward! Gentleman

Can I ask, how's "Early Access" going? If you can evaluate, is it adding lot of value to you, compared to "offline" developing? 

Thank you vdapps! Just to be clear, I am not in Early Access yet (also, no demo yet). What is accessible at the moment is this new "Steam Playtest" thingy. From my perspective it has been a great way to get feedback early on. I think I'd do it again, so it gets a thumb up from me Wink The only potential issue I can see is that it could hurt the demo launch a tiny bit, because a couple of people already tried it. But most of the gain you have from a demo launch e.g. during a Next Fest is that Steam promotes your game differently if it has a demo, so I don't see a conflict here. Actually, I hope that my demo will be a lot more polished than it would have been, if I hadn't had a playtest.
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« Reply #505 on: November 05, 2022, 06:56:02 AM »

This patch also comes with a seemingly small, but in my eyes significant feature allowing players to choose the way they prefer to play: You are not forced into close combat anymore, but can opt out of it.

This does seem like a HUGE deal. You are allowing to choose how the players will play and experience the game. From what I understand, opting out from the close combat would mean the game becomes more similar to a, say, Diablo clone. That's a good thing in my opinion. I mean I would remove the close combat completely and focus on the hack-and-slash aspect of the game.

Good luck!
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Alain
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« Reply #506 on: November 05, 2022, 07:19:01 AM »

This patch also comes with a seemingly small, but in my eyes significant feature allowing players to choose the way they prefer to play: You are not forced into close combat anymore, but can opt out of it.

This does seem like a HUGE deal. You are allowing to choose how the players will play and experience the game. From what I understand, opting out from the close combat would mean the game becomes more similar to a, say, Diablo clone. That's a good thing in my opinion. I mean I would remove the close combat completely and focus on the hack-and-slash aspect of the game.

Good luck!

Thanks for your feedback as always, bryku! You are absolutely right, by opting out of close combat, you can play the game completely like Diablo, except for some story-related encounters. To give players this choice also springs from feedback. My QA fairy Jan has been suggesting an option to opt out of close combat for a long time. I always said "we can't do that, it is an integral part of the game". But after other people said the same, they got through to me. Some players explicitly said they like close combat best and they can always rush at enemies and trigger close combat. Why not give the players who prefer top-down combat the chance to only do that? You can now select to skip "this fight", "all fights for 1 minute", "all fights for 5 minutes" and so on, so you can really play the way you enjoy the most.
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« Reply #507 on: November 11, 2022, 05:59:08 AM »

Thank you vdapps! Just to be clear, I am not in Early Access yet (also, no demo yet). What is accessible at the moment is this new "Steam Playtest" thingy. From my perspective it has been a great way to get feedback early on. I think I'd do it again, so it gets a thumb up from me Wink The only potential issue I can see is that it could hurt the demo launch a tiny bit, because a couple of people already tried it. But most of the gain you have from a demo launch e.g. during a Next Fest is that Steam promotes your game differently if it has a demo, so I don't see a conflict here. Actually, I hope that my demo will be a lot more polished than it would have been, if I hadn't had a playtest.

Thanks Alain for interesting info about this Steam Playtest! Gentleman
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Alain
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« Reply #508 on: November 18, 2022, 08:48:30 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Preview on Alchemy Tower Construction


Hey everyone,

so this week I have something small and something big for you. Let's start with the smaller something.

I always wanted to keep UI elements attached to the 3D elements of BattleJuice Alchemist's world to a minimum. Years later I realized that I had already added quite a few interfaces and somehow missed the most important one: health bars for enemies. So, here they come:



I went for this "newer" style that I think was popularized by games like Dark Souls, where the red bar is instantly shortened, but a secondary yellow or in my case beige bar slowly follows and gives you a good idea how much damage you dealt, even if the bar was not full when you hit.

Now let's come the big deal, which is mainly a teaser. I wanted to add one big gameplay element that ties together a few underused mechanics and adds depth to combat as well as crafting. This is why I am adding crafting your own alchemy tower. And the best thing: You can relocate it and summon it to the battlefield!



Very roughly speaking, the plan is to make enemies tougher at night, so you yourself need more firepower to deal with them efficiently. This firepower is provided by your tower, which you construct yourself and equip with traps, canons and other elements.

I will talk about the tower in more detail in the next devlog, so stay tuned! If you are interested, join our Discord and of course enjoy your weekend!

Alain
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Ramos
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« Reply #509 on: November 18, 2022, 09:18:07 AM »

This sounds like an epic feature

 Gentleman
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Alain
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« Reply #510 on: November 20, 2022, 09:25:12 PM »

This sounds like an epic feature

Thanks, I think it feels quite epic, I'll now work on making the construction itself meaningful and fun Smiley
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« Reply #511 on: November 22, 2022, 08:57:51 AM »

Great dev log, no clue how you find the time to do all this and make the game. Game's cool, too! I'm a little skpetical of close combat, but looking forward to being proven wrong Cheesy the construction stuff is dope, very unique sounding.
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Alain
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« Reply #512 on: November 22, 2022, 09:20:03 PM »

Great dev log, no clue how you find the time to do all this and make the game. Game's cool, too! I'm a little skpetical of close combat, but looking forward to being proven wrong Cheesy the construction stuff is dope, very unique sounding.

Thank you! I hope I can prove you wrong about close combat :D Since it has become more optional recently, when people played, I got positive feedback for it, so I hope it is in a decent state now.
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« Reply #513 on: November 27, 2022, 06:09:30 AM »

Wow, you continue to power through these big updates, Alain!

This!!
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Alain
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« Reply #514 on: December 02, 2022, 08:00:38 AM »

BATTLEJUICE ALCHEMIST DEVLOG:
Fighting Injustice for Our Players!


Hey everyone,

we need to talk about randomness, fairness and decision-making, but let me get started with some great news. I did not want to make this the headline of this devlog, because I already shouted it all over social media: We won yet another award!



In the course of the DevGamm awards 2022 we were selected for the special nomination award "Versus Evil Victor" sponsored by Versus Evil. We are super proud and honored!

I had planned to talk more about tower crafting in this devlog, but then decided to cover one of our core mechanics and the recent slight, but important changes I made to it. Those of you who already played the game might spot something new in this gif:



That's right, I added a preview of the next four flasks you will draw. You can call it a "magazine". I added this to give players the chance to make more informed decisions, which means more fun in my eyes.



While working on the flask system, I thought about randomness quite a bit. I watched people play the game and get frustrated because they did not draw the flasks they wanted to draw. Such a frustration is okay for me, if the player built their deck of flasks in a "bad" way. But what if they are just crazy unlucky? Let me put it like this: Wouldn't you get frustrated or feel treated unfairly, if you had tossed a coin 9 times, it landed on heads 9 times, you toss it again and the 10th time is heads yet again? BattleJuice Alchemist is not a casino simulation, so I decided to accommodate for this unfairness. The change can be explained very simply: in the past you drew a card, put it back, then I shuffled your deck. Now you draw a card and don't put it back, so the remaining cards will be drawn first, before you can possibly draw your first card again. It feels a lot less frustrating to me and I'd love to hear what you think, once this change is patched into the game.

That's it for today. If you have not yet, make sure to join our Discord and have a great weekend!

Alain
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« Reply #515 on: December 02, 2022, 02:21:23 PM »

Yeah, I started my gamedev journey with a strong sympathy towards randomness; Shardpunk is an XCOM clone, after all.

Still, as time passes, I am starting to like the idea of having clearer/simpler rules in a game more. No min/max damage calculation, no % to hit percentages. Just like "Into the Breach" did it. It helps you to plan stuff out.

I mean it's not something that would fit in every game, and I am not advocating full transparency. Still, giving more insight/control to the player is something I am starting to be a fan of.

My second game - if I will be lucky enough to work on it - will have less randomness, that's for sure.
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« Reply #516 on: December 04, 2022, 02:37:21 AM »

I think ideally games hit a sweet spot of randomness that require you to adapt to the moment, and predictability where you can plan.

Previewing the next cards you draw seems like a nice trade-off to explore here where you can strategize because you know your future options a bit better, but you're still limited in your current options.

I think the effect of "don't shuffle until the deck is empty" mechanic on gameplay really depends on how big the deck is, and how many copies of each card it can have (note that I haven't played the game yet).

If the decks are small you basically reinvented the "bag of seven" mechanic used by most modern Tetris games: all tetrominoes will be thrown in a "bag", and you'll pick from the bag until it's empty, and then they're thrown back in. That makes it a lot more predictable, while still being random enough to require moment-to-moment thinking.

If the deck is large, like a regular deck of playing cards, it's more pure card counting, which doesn't sound that interesting to me.
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Alain
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« Reply #517 on: December 04, 2022, 09:50:55 PM »

Yeah, I started my gamedev journey with a strong sympathy towards randomness; Shardpunk is an XCOM clone, after all.

Still, as time passes, I am starting to like the idea of having clearer/simpler rules in a game more. No min/max damage calculation, no % to hit percentages. Just like "Into the Breach" did it. It helps you to plan stuff out.

I mean it's not something that would fit in every game, and I am not advocating full transparency. Still, giving more insight/control to the player is something I am starting to be a fan of.

My second game - if I will be lucky enough to work on it - will have less randomness, that's for sure.

These are some really interesting points and examples. In X-Com I felt a lot of frustration when my soldier missed a 95% shot. It is a good choice that you can't see the hit chance of the aliens or otherwise you might get even more surges of frustration . On the other hand, there is this great feeling when your soldier hits with a 30% shot and saves the day. So there definitely is a thrill in the randomness here. My thought here would be to add a counter for a turn or mission, that keeps track of freak accidents (bad things happening to the player against the odds) and makes them more unlikely to happen repeatedly. This does not mean that after hitting a couple of 50% shots, the aliens would all of a sudden miss their 90% shots. Just that if they hit their 30% shot this turn, their second 30% shot gets reduced to a 15% chance or something. You could do the same to prevent the player's soldiers miss multiple 95% shots in a row. Does that make any sense?



I think ideally games hit a sweet spot of randomness that require you to adapt to the moment, and predictability where you can plan.

Previewing the next cards you draw seems like a nice trade-off to explore here where you can strategize because you know your future options a bit better, but you're still limited in your current options.

I think the effect of "don't shuffle until the deck is empty" mechanic on gameplay really depends on how big the deck is, and how many copies of each card it can have (note that I haven't played the game yet).

If the decks are small you basically reinvented the "bag of seven" mechanic used by most modern Tetris games: all tetrominoes will be thrown in a "bag", and you'll pick from the bag until it's empty, and then they're thrown back in. That makes it a lot more predictable, while still being random enough to require moment-to-moment thinking.

If the deck is large, like a regular deck of playing cards, it's more pure card counting, which doesn't sound that interesting to me.

You are totally right. The "don't shuffle until the deck is empty" mechanic highly depends on deck size. In BattleJuice Alchemist the maximum deck size is 10, so it's fairly small. That is so cool, I never heard about the "bag of seven" mechanic and it is exactly what I did for my game. You just blew my mind regarding Tetris, I never realized it works that way!
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« Reply #518 on: December 05, 2022, 02:43:52 AM »

Classic NES Tetris doesn't for example, that's one reason why it's considered a more "hard-core" e-sport among Tetris options. They even have terms for it - if you're waiting for a long block for a very long time and it doesn't show up it's called a "drought", for example.
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Alain
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« Reply #519 on: December 05, 2022, 09:06:13 PM »

Classic NES Tetris doesn't for example, that's one reason why it's considered a more "hard-core" e-sport among Tetris options. They even have terms for it - if you're waiting for a long block for a very long time and it doesn't show up it's called a "drought", for example.

I did not know about Tetris as an e-sport at all. I was assuming there are hardcore players but it is amazing to hear they are a community with their own lingo and all!
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