We were working on Quick battle mode since May. At the beginning of August we thought ‘Hmm, so this is it. Quick battle at it’s nearly final state. Let’s work on the Classic mode now.’ and we did as we thought. 2 days ago we were thinking that Classic mode is almost done too.
It was fun to play this game mode and everything seemed fine, but then accidentally I pressed ‘Quick battle’ button in main menu. I got astonished how this mode sucks. It was completely unplayable after playing Classic mode which was quite fun. We decided to design Quick battle from the scratch.
I tried to forget about every game that I played before and tried to imagine what would fit to plain gem matching, what would be great idea to add. Then I came up with that idea. We will get rid of characters’ spells and skills. You won’t have to look at the GUI anymore, it’ll be simpler to concentrate on the main board with gems, also board and gems will be smaller so there will be more free space and GUI will be simplified to not distract potential players.
The idea is completely new to match-3 games (even for match-3 + RPG games) and I didn’t see it before in any. Characters will still have mana points, spells will be hidden under your right mouse button. ‘Only one spell at a time, or will I have to change spells with mouse wheel?’ you’d ask. Nothing like this, magic effect of your spell will depend on which gem you’ve clicked. For example if you click yellow gem which symbolize earth element, gems around it will start to shake (like in an earthquake) and will be destroyed. Area of effect of your spells will depend on your level in relevant element.
That’s not the end. You will be able to equip items. But each character will only have 3 slots, one for weapons, one for armors and one for rings. Weapons will be categorized in two different groups. First group will contain weapons like swords, war axes, etc. and they will increase your basic damage in chosen element. Second group will contain magic weapons like, for example, staffs. They will increase your magic damage in chosen element. Rings will have varied effects, some will simply increase your mana pool, others will enlarge area of effect of your fire spells.
Also battles won’t be boring and static any longer. There will be no turns, you will be able to make a move (or cast a spell) every time when your action bar is loaded. Loading speed of that bar will depend on you attack speed. You will have to think and move quickly, because your enemy won’t wait for you to decide if it is better to destroy 3 red gems or to cast a nature spell to heal yourself.
This fight model will be used in campaign, which, by the way, won’t be linear and hack&slashish (like in Puzzle Quest). Also our world (Navaroth) won’t contain ordinary and mere races like dwarfs or elves. It’ll be completely different from what you could see till now. But it’s a topic for a different article :)
Let’s get back to the Classic mode, as I wrote before we were thinking that it’s already almost finished. Then I gave it to my friend (match-3 veteran and also a designer – TeeGee, which is currently working on Cinders, visual novel) to playtest it… and he smacked it down. I checked out Bejeweled 3 as he told me to and I noticed that there are several lacking things that make our Classic mode unfriendly to players. For example we didn’t have drag&drop option, you could only swap gems by clicking on them. Also in our game you can’t swap gems while there are some others on the board that are falling down at the moment. Simply because it would cause bugs, but now when we know that it is possible to make it working (after playing Bejeweled 3) we will try to add this feature to our game.
There are other lacking things in our Classic mode but it’s not the point to list them here. As you can see we’ve wasted half of our holidays (not counting that we’ve learned something during the development process) on developing a game mode that sucked big times. Good thing is that we noticed our mistake before finishing all 36 spells and effects for them.
Now we have to rework Quick battle and polish Classic mode. After this we will spend some time on menus. Then we will make pre-orders and start working on the campaign.
Wish us luck, cheers!