Helionox: Chronicles Update

But my name’s not Shirley! Maybe it’s SLOWLY? As always, I mean to blog and social post way more than I do but the good news is, I’m generally working on games instead of blogging and marketing. The bad news is, things are still going much slower than I had hoped and here’s why:

First, Helionox: Chronicles is a much bigger game than I had initially thought it might be. It’s probably going to fall into the “Heavy weight” category – which is fine but the complexity makes testing take a long time. Adding a campaign mode sounded simple enough but it tacked on a ton of play testing . Each player count needs testing and each episode needs testing – and then I make a change (or changes!) and need to test it all again.

Second, it’s a big enough game that I’ve had to take some breaks and work on other games (more about that in future posts!). I’ll bang my head against a particular problem for a few days before realizing I need to put it down and come back to it later with fresh eyes.

Third, making choices is hard! There are a million and one directions that this game could go and I want it to be the best that it can be. Have I “over explored” different possibilities? I’m gonna say yes… An incredible play tester and friend Chris Mozzone (Mo for those of you that know him on BGG) has done a ton of play testing on this game and he mentioned that I’m probably tinkering too much. I’m pretty fast when it comes to graphic design, art direction, and even game development decisions – maybe too fast. I want to try everything. If it doesn’t work, try something else! Sometimes this means circling back. I change something that makes something I worked on in the past relevant all over again. If you’ve ever worked on a game, you’ve probably experienced the same thing. Here’s an example: in the past I wanted multiplayer to have simultaneous turns. Tried it. Failed miserably. Let it go. Recently, multiplayer games where taking so long I decided to give it another try and since adding the concept of actions into the game, it seems like it could actually work. Players take 2 actions on their turn then stop. All players MAY do this simultaneously. It worked pretty well with some players who were familiar with the game. I tried a table of new people and it was a total train wreck all over again! Does that mean simultaneous play is out again? Maybe – maybe not. This process is absolutely fascinating and should result in a better game (eventually) but it takes FOREVER! Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining. It has been a really awesome journey but it is way more time consuming than I had ever imagined.

Regardless, my goal is to make something truly special. I’m excited about where the game is and can’t wait to share it with you! Have you ever circled back on game ideas and found they worked better after changing something else? Have you ever wanted to speed things along but slow yourself down with constant tinkering? If so – tell me about it and tell me how it worked out!

4 Thoughts to “Design Diary 009 – Slowly but Surely”

  1. Yan

    Lovely! Keep it up, Tarak. Simultaneous play has seen some games state explicitly not to use it on first game / first few turns, but to switch to it when ready. That could be an option too. 😉 Here’s hoping the game does remain edible solo! but also good and deep and… Yeah, I don’t know how you do it, but I’m happy that you do. 🙂

      1. taran kratz

        Tarak sounds kinda cool though! Sometimes I get mail for Tartan Krata !!! Maybe that’s my epic viking name?!

    1. taran kratz

      Thanks, Yan! Thanks for the encouragement and that is a good idea about switching to simultaneous play when ready. It may very well work – of course it’s irrelevant for solo but I do plan on keeping excellent solo game play at the forefront of this game!

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