Tag Archives : Design


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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The 10 questions most frequently received by Prismata’s design team 5

After releasing our how-to-play video two weeks ago, we’ve been getting more questions than ever about how Prismata was designed, what Prismata matches feel like, and why we made such unconventional decisions in crafting the game itself.

Prismata is unique in that it combines aspects of both card games and real-time strategy games, which led to many difficulties and challenges in its design. This article will attempt to shed some light on the design decisions that seem really bizarre to first time players, and answer other common questions.

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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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Prismata unit art and concepts 1

In designing the combat units for the game Prismata, there are a number of important considerations relating to gameplay, narrative, and artistic style. The look and feel of the game units affects how users feel when playing the game, how they perceive the story, and how well they intuit the actual game mechanics. We began by designing the most important and difficult units: those in our base set. These are the units that users can purchase in every single game of Prismata, and they are among the first units that users encounter in the single player campaign. We needed their look and feel to be perfect.

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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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The Role of Luck: why competitive games like Hearthstone NEED luck, but RNG isn’t the only answer 197

The topic of luck in competitive gaming always ruffles a lot of feathers, leading to never-ending complaints and hostility from many different types of gamers: players whining about losses caused entirely by randomness, fans whining about their favourite pros being knocked out of tournaments due to bad luck, and everyone else whining about all the whiners. The subject arises frequently in discussions surrounding card games like Hearthstone, where the issue has become a hotly debated topic in the wake of serious complaints from professional players concerning the role of randomness in the game.

In developing Prismata—a competitive turn-based strategy game sharing many features with card games—we’ve questioned whether the presence of luck was really worth all the fuss, raging, and drama. Could a game like Hearthstone still be as popular and fun if the element of luck was removed?

Over the years, we’ve talked to many professional gamers and expert game designers, including folks from Hearthstone’s design team, about the role of luck in card games. When asked whether it would be possible to design a card game without luck, they all told us the same thing:

“Bad players will never think they can win, and they will stop playing.”

“Your game can’t thrive if it doesn’t have luck.”

“You’d be fucking crazy to try and make it a commercial success.”

Challenge accepted. I guess we’re fucking crazy.

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Gameplay Videos

With the release of the first wave of Beta keys on the horizon, we thought it would be a good idea to show off some Prismata gameplay. In the following videos, Lunarch Studios founders Elyot Grant, Will Ma, and Alex Wice commentate a few friendly games and explain their decision-making and strategy.

While much of the look and feel of the game is rapidly changing as development continues, the core gameplay remains as it has been for years.

Subscribe to us on Youtube to be notified about all the new video updates. We plan on posting new videos weekly.

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Setting the Bar: featuring comments from Prismata writer Mike Fong 2

As the guy at Lunarch Studios who does most of the work that a producer would do at a larger studio, I get to interact with a lot of very talented people—artists, musicians, and of course our very own writer Mike Fong. Mike lives 1000 kilometers away in Boston, so I often consult with him over video calls or instant messenger to ensure that the art we commission agrees with the intended story details.

Elyot: What changes to the bar do we want the artist to make?

Mike: Make it less purple.

Elyot: I like purple.

Mike: Swade’s only friends are the demons inside his head. I just don’t think his regular hangout for drinking alone is a purple bar.

Elyot: At least it doesn’t look like a place where one goes to pick up chicks.

Mike: No, it looks like a place where one goes to pick up dudes.

Elyot: Yeah, yeah, whatever, we can mess with the hues later.

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