Monthly Archives: September 2014


How to stop sucking at Prismata: 6 common mistakes you might be making

[youtube=http://youtu.be/pmvvxmUkfqY&w=640&h=385]

 

“If you build it, he will come,” the voice said.

We’ve been readying ourselves to expand our server capacity, and would-be beta testers—20,000 of them, in fact—will soon be coming to play Prismata. So in preparation for the huge influx of new players, I’ve decided to make a sequel to our original how to play video for beginners, and the supplementary text guide. They were successful in explaining the rules and user interface of Prismata, but some players, especially those unfamiliar with real-time-strategy decision-making, had no idea what to do each turn.

Should I be building Drones, or laying down a lot of Blastforges, or spamming attackers?

In this article, I hope to answer these questions with some simple rules of thumb—guidelines to help new players through the overwhelming amount of options. Of course, the true art in Prismata is discovering, through experience, when these rules should be broken.

If you haven’t already checked out our introductory how-to-play video, you might want to have a look at that first.

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Introducing a new feature in Prismata: the Grandmaster Set 5

If there’s one feature that sets Prismata apart from other games, it’s the diversity of units available. Most games of Prismata use a “base set” of units, plus some advanced units that are randomly generated. But unlike in deckbuilding games where you might need to spend $3,000 or more to get all the good cards, players in Prismata are evenly matched because:

  • All units are available to EVERYONE from the beginning
  • Both players in a 1v1 match have the same units available in each game

 

Vel'kar

Until now, static unit sets have only been available when playing Vel’kar. Players have never been able to refine strategies on a static set for competitive play.

When players begin the automatching process (or choose to fight against an AI), they choose a subset of the hundreds of unit combinations to play with. The current options are:

  • Beginner Set: This set doesn’t use any of the green resource in its 10 units. Instead, it focuses on introducing the Prompt, Stamina and Lifespan unit abilities.
  • Base + 5: A set that includes the base set and 5 additional, randomly generated, units.
  • Base + 8: A set that includes the base set and 8 additional, randomly generated, units.

These options provide virtually endless unit and strategy combinations, as well as opportunities for new players to learn basic game mechanics. The only thing lacking is an opportunity to sink your teeth into a static and intricate set of units that can be played again and again as you refine a specific strategy. Until now.

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What’s in a name? The 5 steps that led to “Prismata” 20

Prismata is the gaming love of my life. My obsession with Prismata is so great that I literally dropped out of school to work on it. In this article, at long last, I’m going to address a question that I’ve received countless times, but have never spoken publicly about:

Why is the game called “Prismata?”

Honestly, there is no short answer. Naming Prismata was probably the hardest decision we ever had to make. I imagine that it might feel similar to naming a first child, except there are lawyers involved.

I’m pretty embarassed to post this; it was a doodle I made in MS Paint (mostly for comic relief purposes) during one of many stressful “name the game” meetings with other devs. I was really hoping something would just “feel right”. Nothing did. That red one in the middle was close, though.

It took us almost 4 years to name our game. The process had me adding the US Patent and Trademark Search to my browser bar, and murmuring awful name ideas like “Savant Horizon” in my sleep. I don’t know the optimal way to name a video game, or how to decide which of the million options suck the least, but these are the steps that led us to choose the name “Prismata”:

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Four reasons you MUST watch the Prismata Cup 2 FINALS, airing this Sunday Sep 21 1pm Eastern Time 1

The stage is set as 64 of the best players in Hearthstone will play to a winner in the Prismata Cup 2—probably the most hyped Hearthstone tournament ever. Following the success of the original Prismata Cup, which saw a peak of 40k concurrent viewers and was the strongest Hearthstone tournament to date, this event is already promising to be even bigger.

 

Stream: twitch.tv/lunarchstudios

Date: Sunday, September 21st, 2014

Time: 1:00pm Eastern Time

Casters: Frodan and Reynad

Produced by m1lkcast LIVE

 

If you watch one Hearthstone tournament this year, watch the Prismata Cup 2 finals.  Below are four reasons why this event will be even better than last time:

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Prismata’s soundtrack is radically different from most video game soundtracks. Here’s why. 115

Fun fact: for more than 3-and-a-half of the 4 years that Prismata has been in development, the game had no sound or music at all.

After the break: something you *can* hear!

It was about five months ago when that finally needed to change, and we began the process of acquiring a proper soundtrack together for Prismata. We produced our soundtrack in a manner that’s quite a bit different from what most game studios do, and the results have been brilliant. At long last, we’re ready to give you a sneak peak.

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Prismata at Boston FIG! (#EVENMOREHYPE)

Showcasing Prismata at Fan Expo was a wonderful experience, despite all of the small hiccups we encountered along the way. It was exciting to see so many people take such a deep interest in our game, especially coming from an audience that we didn’t expect at all! Anyway, I bet you thought we were done talking about conventions once we posted up our full Fan Expo post-mortem account, huh? Well … you thought wrong!

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Exhibiting Prismata: How we got screwed by PAX, blew $6500 showing our game off, and then lost our entire mailing list (PART 2 of 2) 7

This is a continuation of Part 1 from last week. Read that first, as it explains how we ended up at Fan Expo in the first place.

Fan Expo Preparation

Fan Expo for us practically began after the first week of August, when we finally got confirmation that we’d have a booth. It was exciting, especially after the disappointing news from PAX, but there was a lot to be done and we didn’t have much time.

Most important of all was figuring out the booth. We provided our own tables, seats, and computers, so we had to determine the exact dimensions of the space to ensure that our equipment would fit in the booth. Acquiring this information was more difficult than expected; Will had to make a huge number of phone calls to receive an answer, since the plans weren’t terribly well-organized and no one was completely sure how much booth space we actually would be getting.

Mock Prismata booth

We’re not losing our sanity! We’re just planning out a booth!

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Exhibiting Prismata: How we got screwed by PAX, blew $6500 showing our game off, and then lost our entire mailing list (PART 1 of 2) 4

This is the complete story of the first public appearance of Prismata, our new Starcraft-meets-Hearthstone turn-based strategy game. As you may know, PAX Prime—one of the world’s largest video game festivals—happened about a week ago in Seattle, Washington. Tens of thousands of fans were treated to exciting previews, live announcements, and playable demos in the massive Washington State Convention Center. It’s always been a dream of mine to show off Prismata at PAX, and we’d been planning to have our own booth there since early spring of this year. It was going to be great!

Except, we didn’t go.

In a move that left us all extremely disappointed, PAX’s sales team left us hanging for weeks without returning our emails, and ultimately denied us the opportunity to even submit an application for floor space at the event, giving preferred treatment to AAA developers and other established exhibitors. We ended up relocating our PAX booth to Fan Expo Canada—another large convention that happened to fall on the same weekend. Despite requiring a ton of planning, effort, and upfront costs, the Fan Expo booth went really well. Thousands of people played the game, and many of them came back multiple times, often bringing their friends, or waiting in line to play a fourth, fifth, or sixth time. There was nothing more satisfying than watching newbies turn into veteran Prismata players, after which most of them happily signed up to our mailing list to receive a beta key. Everything was going great! That is, until we returned to the office and realized (to our horror) that the entire list of hundreds of emails we had collected was wiped out by a bug in Google spreadsheets. More on that later.

This article is our exhibitor post-mortem. Here, you’ll find a full description of what happened with PAX, info on how we planned and ran the booth at Fan Expo, a full listing of our expenses, and a complete description of everything that we wished we’d done differently. If you’ve ever considered presenting a game at a convention, this is a must-read!

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FAN EXPO!

Hi everyone!

This will be a pretty quick post, as we just got back from the labour day long weekend. Most of our team spent the last 4 or 5 days in Toronto, where we showed off Prismata at Fan Expo Canada 2014. At our booth in the largest comic/anime/gaming convention in Canada, over ONE THOUSAND people tried Prismata for the first time, and their responses completely blew away my expectations. People absolutely loved the game, with many people returning to the booth to show Prismata to their friends, or coming back a day later to play for a second time (or third, or fourth…).

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