New Game

Everything you see/read is subject to change.

I started a new game recently. I am technically working on another game, which has been in development for the past 6 months, so this is more of a side project, and one that I can actually talk about.

Since Nojong, I've really wanted to do more with Mahjong hands. I really like the idea of having to balance a mahjong hand with playing a normal game. Nojong scratched that itch for me, although the conflict of the game was too weak. It was too easy to not lose in that game, so many people probably didn't get to engage with the scoring system that made the game work.

With this new game, which doesn't yet have a name, I'm trying to combine a Slay the Spire esque battle system with Mahjong stuff. The game controls very similarly to Nojong. You can cycle through tiles of the same name with the mouse wheel and are always selecting something. The tile on the far left is the tile you just drew, and everything else in the hand is sorted by name and color. 

The big thing in this game is the combo system. Whenever you play a tile of a particular color, you start a combo for that color, which ends with you being able to play an upgraded card. So my hope is that there will be an interesting dynamic of trying to save up tiles of a particular color so you can play an upgraded card at just the right time. 

Unlike Slay the Spire, this game has one continuous combat. Enemies spawn in each turn and give experience when they're killed. If you get enough experience to level up, you'll get to pick some new tiles  (I need to remove the start tiles from the card pool...). My goal is for this to be very fast paced, kind of like vampire survivors. I think a lot of the enemies and tiles will function much more simply than something like slay the spire. This is not a game which will be carried by it's complex card combinations. It'll instead be the combo system and intricacies that come from it that will make the game interesting (or at least I hope so). Right now comboing tiles feels very fun. Just playing 4 copies of a basic tile feels good, which is a good sign.

A design thing that I'm really proud of already is how enemies spawn. Enemies always get inserted at the front, pushing other enemies back. Only 6 enemies can be on screen at once, so when a 7th spawns, it pushes the back enemy off screen. That enemy can no longer attack or be attacked, but it still exists and will re-appear if space is made. I really like this system because it solves the problem where a player could just let easy enemies fill up all of the space and then just tank through it, breaking the game.

The main design problem I'm wrestling with right now is how to add hand scoring to the game in a way that feels natural. This was a core part of Nojong and I want it to be in this game too, but I'm not sure what the best approach is. The issue is there's no clear break points where it makes sense to audit your hand. There's also the question of what happens when a hand is audited. Ideally you get something useful, and not just score. I have a few ideas, but am still thinking. Hopefully I'll find a good solution soon.

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