Author Archives : Will Ma


About Will Ma

Will Ma strives to try vastly different things in life. During the four years of his undergrad, he profited over a million dollars in online poker, appeared everywhere in school music ensembles, and ran a marathon...while being a housing don. He quit his PhD at MIT to found Lunarch Studios, and explore his childhood dream of deterministic Magic the Gathering. Nowadays Will dreams about beautiful game scenarios in Prismata that allow for endless strategic transitions.


Kickstarter Update: Why doesn’t Prismata have decks?

See the full update here.

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This video marks the first in a series where we’ll profile the features that make Prismata so unique. In this episode, Elyot and I talk about why Prismata matches use randomized unit sets, and what impact that has on game mechanics and addictiveness.

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Conduit Tech Profile: The green strategy in Prismata

Gauss FabricatorConduit technology is some of the funnest in the game, and in many ways the most versatile. Although players with conduit tech don’t have the ability to mass big blue defenders like Defense Grids, or high-attack rushers like Shadowfangs, green technology provides super-cheap defense in a pinch (Forcefields), storable resources, and high – if Fragile – unit health.

One of the best feelings in Prismata is amassing green and unleashing a devastating attack after letting your opponent ineffectively breach you a turn earlier. Playing with green tech is about calculated neglect, and knowing when to go all-in. Here’s a profile of all the classic green-only units, and how you can lead them to victory.

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Prismata’s Tech Trees: The stories behind Prismata’s craziest units

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Over the last couple of weeks we’ve introduced a variety of new units, from the utterly game-changing Apollo to the more subtle Auride Core. We’re aiming to release new units on a consistent basis, as it keeps the game fresh and players adapting, but there are a lot of considerations that go into creating units that are radical and seamlessly integrative.

I’ve already explained the significance of sniping, but what other game-changing mechanics are on Prismata’s horizon?

In this post I’ll explain the design philosophy behind four of our latest units: Ossified drone, Zemora Voidbringer, Chrono Filter, and tomorrow’s new unit, the Savior:

Unreleased until now, Savior enables burst attack and asymmetry.

The Savior provides a sudden burst of attack and can lead to asymmetrical game states.

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2 New Units, 1 New Mechanic: Let’s see how you like the red dot! 2

making prismata ma

 

You’re 10 turns into a game of Prismata. Both you and your opponent are pumping out attackers as fast as you can, but nothing seems to be enough to penetrate their Defense Grid. They buy a Wall, you buy a Wall. Tit for tat.

What’s the best move in this type of situation? To stop buying defense in favour of burst attackers? Risky! Switch your tech to a more offensive play? Inefficient! Wait for them to run out of defensive unit seeds? There isn’t a clear answer in situations like this, especially for new players who aren’t sure how risky each option truly is.

Until now.

 

Let’s talk about our latest two units, and the new game mechanic that’s going to change everything about turtle defense builds in Prismata.

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

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“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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An Exposition of the Exact Rules of Prismata 9

Prismata is a fast-paced, turn-based game that mixes together ideas from real-time strategy games and card games.  In Prismata, players take turns collecting resources, building up units, and eventually attacking each other.  The objective is to destroy all of your opponent’s units – before they do the same to you.

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Your forces are displayed on the bottom half of the screen, while your opponent’s forces are displayed on the top half.

Resources in Prismata

There are five resources in Prismata: gold, energy, green, blue, and red.  These are their symbols, in order:

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At the bottom of your screen, you see how many of each resource you currently have. Your opponent’s resources are displayed at the top of your screen.

Gold and green, once produced, are stored until they are spent.  Energy, blue, and red expire at the end of each turn, meaning they can only be used on the same turn they are produced.

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How to win at Hearthstone by playing dirty: 5 deceptive tactics inspired by online poker 38

As a veteran of online poker, with over a million dollars in profit, I’ve learned that in turn-based online games, there’s a great amount of value in concealing information and deceiving your opponent. Poker players need not look far to find lengthy articles on how to profit from timing tells and deceive opponents through timings.

Such tactics really shine in Hearthstone because there are an incredible number of interesting ways to abuse Hearthstone’s user interface to hide information, cause confusion, and lure your opponents into making sub-optimal plays. Whether or not you decide to use these tactics, I hope you’ll find them interesting.

Before we begin, a couple of disclaimers:

Disclaimer 1: These tactics will irritate your opponents. These tactics are controversial. Many of them involve completely unnecessary stalling. People will think you’re an asshole if you employ them. Using them on your friends (assuming you want to keep them) is not recommended.

Disclaimer 2: These tactics aren’t for everyday laddering. They’re not gonna help you climb fast from rank 20 to rank 10. They’re not gonna help you grind faster to earn gold and unlock heroes. These tricks are for tournament matches and legend-level ladder games that you really want to win.

Disclaimer 3: These tactics are not for everyone. These tips are for the soulless masochists among us—those willing to sacrifice our integrity to squeeze out every last advantage possible in every match. They’re not fun. They may waste your time, and may encourage your opponents to grief you. But if you crave every possible edge you can possibly get, these tips are for you!

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Stepping Away From Unit-on-Unit Combat 58

making prismata ma

 

Armies fighting Aliens. Warriors teaming up to land a hit on a Dragon. Almost every RPG, strategy game, and card game containing battle of some sort has the concept of unit-on-unit combat—the notion of “I am commanding friendly unit A to attack enemy unit B”. After all, it makes perfect sense given our understanding of how warfare proceeds in real life. And it works extremely well as a gameplay mechanic.

Prismata is different. Our combat system contains no unit-on-unit combat at all. Given its traditional role in competitive games, why on earth would Prismata choose to abandon unit-on-unit combat?

In the Making Prismata series, we’ll explain our decisions in the design of the core gameplay mechanics and units. As a hybrid strategy game incorporating many different elements from real-time strategy games and card games, every element of Prismata’s final design has been endlessly scrutinized. Nothing was left unquestioned because it “worked”.

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