One quick announcement, plus some random Q&A!
You may have noticed that we’ve modified several prices in Prismata:
- Flips in the Black Lab now cost 349 Shards instead of 399 Shards.
- The bar in the Armory now requires 1050 energy to fill up instead of 1200.
- 10 infusions now costs 299 Shards instead of 399 Shards.
- Most skin and emote direct-buy prices have been lowered.
These price changes are to help adjust the value of rare rewards to be closer to the levels they were at before we added Infusions.
If you just spent a bunch of your shards right before the price drop, don’t worry! We plan on resetting everyone’s cosmetics before we enter Beta.
It’s time for some random Prismata development Q&A!
Q: What’s up?
A: Polish, polish, polish. Server improvements, testing, bugfixing, graphical improvements, sound, and more. The last 10% is half the work, they say.
Q: No really… what’s everyone at Lunarch working on right now?
A: Well, let’s see here… in the last couple of weeks:
- Alexey has made our server a hell of a lot faster and more stable. Thanks to some database updates, certain operations like login are now about 3x faster and put a much lighter load on the server. We can now run our game servers on multi-core nodes, and a huge number of bugs relating to poor internet connections have been fixed. This work might not have much of an impact on Prismata right now, but it’s very important for our upcoming launch.
- David (Rhee) has been improving load times, fixing asset management problems, and doing a bit of graphics programming work (you can thank him for getting those shiny new target arrows animating). He’s also been working extensively on our single-player campaign, both on the missions themselves as well as some of the code for things like cut-scene playback.
- Alex has been adding a lot of polish to the Prismata client, including the new customizable emotes, black lab, and so on. His latest project has been achievements—he’s created dozens and dozens of them! Once that’s complete, he’s going to be spending most of his time on PvE raids—a project that is a bit of a moonshot for us, but we’re very excited about the possibilities.
- Dave (Churchill), our AI mastermind, has been quite busy as he recently started a new career as an assistant professor at Memorial University! Dave is still supporting the Prismata AI with updates, fixes, and enhancements for the campaign, but for the purposes of Prismata’s launch, we’re mostly happy with the current state of things (beating Master Bot is still a huge challenge for new players!) Dave remains interested in Prismata as an AI research project, so we hope to see more from him once he settles into his new gig.
- Will is in full-on PhD mode at the moment, but he still logs into Prismata just about every day, and he’s still dreaming up new units for us all to enjoy.
- Our contractors are not terribly busy at the moment; art is almost entirely completed. Sound is underway and it’s mind-blowingly awesome.
- As for me, I’m dabbling in pretty much everything these days… client stuff, server stuff, production, art, bugfixing, support, project management, and more. I rewrote some major portions of our build/deploy system recently, and I’ve been working with our externally-contracted sound guy to make sure our in-game sound effects are super awesome. I’ve also been working quite a bit on the code that handles our artist’s in-game animation work, like the new lightning bolt effect that you’ll see when purchasing a Forcefield.
Q: How’s the Steam version coming along?
A: It’s only waiting on achievements. Actually, the current deployed version of Prismata has some Steam features secretly enabled, but they’re inaccessible unless you have one of our Steam codes for testing. Achievements are still in development; they’re taking a bit longer than expected, mostly because it’s time-consuming to individually program and test them, even with our dev tools and debug infrastructure. Thanks for being patient, everyone.
Q: Will achievements be available outside of Steam?
A: Yep. Instead of seeing the Steam popup, you’ll get one of those in-game notifications.
Q: Are you doing Steam trading cards, badges, backgrounds, and emotes?
A: You bet.
Q: When are new units being released?
A: We’re saving them up for more hype after the Steam release, but we have plenty of them.
Q: Will there be a balance patch soon?
A: At this stage, we’re just going to patch individual units when we feel like changing them. There will not likely be any more large balance patches.
Q: Are you working on a 2EE Drone or some other replacement for Vivid?
Q: Are you going to do something about Deadeye?
A: 5BB 2HP Deadeye… it might be happening this week! Stay tuned.
Q: What about Lancetooth?
A: We’ve had a few players complain about this unit, but there doesn’t seem to be a real consensus yet. Keep spamming our inbox; we’re listening.
Q: What’s happening with Vendium Scrap?
A: We completed the testing period and we’ve removed the unit for now (but it’s still available in the custom game options). The current plan is to keep it out of Ranked Play until after launch; interviewing newer players who saw it for the first time, we found that it confused them, complicated the game unnecessarily, and was especially confusing for people watching streams. It also created the impression that Prismata was less elegant and less balanced than it is (even without Vendium Scrap, our winrates are significantly closer to 50-50 than those of other games like Hearthstone and League of Legends). It’s very important that new players see Prismata as a simple, elegant, and approachable game, so we feel that it’s better if Vendium remains tucked away for the time being.
Will we add it back in the future? In all likelihood, yes, though the exact implementation details are still to be decided (should it only be in Tier X games? Which version of the unit should we use? Etc.)
Q: When will I be able to play Prismata on Steam?
A: When it’s ready.
Q: No, seriously, how long until Steam Early Access?
A: I don’t want to give a date until I’m confident that we can meet it, but we’re ridiculously close. We could launch in two days if we really wanted to, but there are major issues with Prismata’s user experience that we feel should be ironed out before the game receives the level of public scrutiny that early access will bring. Hence all the polishing.
Q: Why is it taking so long?
A: I could come up with a myriad of excuses: we’re a small team, only half of us are working full-time, online multiplayer games are difficult, free-to-play is hard to get right, and games with no RNG are impossible to balance. However, the simple reality is that Prismata is a massively complicated project and there is a lot of work to do. We could certainly move things along faster if we hired more people, but we’ve seen many other gaming companies run out of cash entirely because they grew too fast, and we want to avoid a similar fate!
I can only promise you all that we’re working as hard as we can, and that we’re making considerable, steady progress every week. Thanks for your patience.
Q: Will there be a Prismata Beta World Championship?
A: YES! There will be a big Steam Early Access tournament, and maybe some other special events like blitz tourneys. We haven’t even started planning them yet, though. Personally, I would like to involve the community a bit more than we did with the Alpha World Championship.
Q: I have another question that you didn’t answer yet!
A: More Q&A coming next week, or ask me on reddit!