Category Monsters Den Chronicles

Elegance vs. Simplicity

Category: Monsters Den ChroniclesMonsters' Den: Godfall Comments: 30 comments

When I was implementing the (new in Chronicles) “action clock”-driven battle system, I was faced with a problem. In the previous system every character took one turn per round, and so regeneration and skill effect durations were all tied to turns. But now having a higher Quickness stat meant that a character would actually have more turns. On top of the obvious benefits of acting more often, they would regenerate more quickly and effects on them would expire more quickly.

I spent a long time thinking about how to address this. Eventually, I settled on what seemed an elegant solution: since the action clocks filled up in real time, why not use that time to measure effect durations and space out regeneration ticks? It put all characters on a level playing field and helped tie all of those systems together. Unfortunately, what I’ve only come to realize lately is that while I was in love with the elegance of it, from a player’s perspective it is terrible.

Elegant it may have been, but it was also far too complex. To answer a simple question like “will my character get a turn before this effect expires” requires either an intuitive grasp of the timings that a player is not likely to attain, or a large amount of additional user interface. I did my best with the Chronicles interface, but it was already far too crowded and so this kind of vital information was not readily available. That’s bad. It cripples the strategic element of the game when a player doesn’t feel they have the information they need to make the correct decisions. I need to fix it.

So, with Godfall I have a couple of options:

  1. Improve the interface so that the system is more comprehensible to users
  2. Move back to using character turns

I am heavily leaning towards option 2. I’m less convinced now that the variation between characters is a huge problem, and there are ways to partially mitigate it. For instance, regeneration values can be higher on heavier equipment. I’m growing convinced that this is one of the missteps I made in the transition from Book of Dread to Chronicles.

 

 

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Monsters’ Den Chronicles v1.5 Changelog

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 14 comments

I’m uploading the new version to Kongregate and Newgrounds now, Armor may take longer. So, what’s changed?

  • New infinite campaign- Act VI: The Limits of Evil. If you have already unlocked the other bonus campaigns this will be available. This campaign gives an experience more similar to the older Monsters’ Den games. You can no longer return to previous floors. Returning to the entrance stairs will allow you to leave the dungeon, and you’ll earn gold and item rewards based on how many floors you completed.
  • Ability to reduce campaign level. On the campaign select screen, click on the new campaign level label to open the settings page. If you’ve been wanting to use your godlike party to beat up some level 1′s, now is your chance.
  • ‘True Hit’ option for accuracy calculations is now available to everyone, and is on by default. You can turn it off and return to the original (accurate!) accuracy method in the options screen. I caved on this one.
  • Replacement premium modifier: ‘Level Range’. When this setting is on, each individual enemy has a chance to be one level higher or lower than normal. This helps mix things up a bit.
  • Customize Character icon now appears in the party camp. This should make it more obvious that the option exists.
  • Consumable tooltips in the Emporium now tell you how many of that item you already have in inventory.
  • You can unlock a couple of bonus items by visiting the Facebook page. Check the options screen.
  • Gold reward for completing Act V reduced a bit.

With this update I’ve tried to address a lot of the most common complaints about the game. Better late than never.

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..better than your new stuff. Chronicles post-mortem.

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles

In a previous post, I asked for ways in which people thought Book of Dread (the previous game in the series) was better than Monsters’ Den Chronicles. Based on the responses to that, as well as general feedback on the game since it’s release, I’ve identified some common complaints. I’d like to talk about these factors, explain why they went the way they did, and perhaps figure out how they can be corrected in the future.

Be warned: this is a long one..

1. Slower Battles

A lot...

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Monsters’ Den Chronicles v1.4 – XX Chromosome Edition

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 8 comments

A new update to Chronicles has now gone live on Kongregate. It should appear on Armor Games within the next few days.

Changes:

  • This version (finally) introduces art support for female characters. I hope people are happy with the non-pandering approach I’ve taken.
  • There’s also a new feature: you can now export your current progress to a convenient save file, and then import it later. This is somewhat against the spirit of the game, but the number of people reporting save problems was large enough that I had to try to find some solution. At least now it is possible to maintain a backup in case your data is lost. This will not appear in Armor Save-enabled versions of the game, as the Armor Save is supposed to serve the same purpose (and the two systems could interact badly).
So, what about the Chronicles 2.0 I mentioned in the Roadmap post?
I’m putting it on the back-burner for now. Since the female art was now finished, I decided to just push it out rather than wait. I may come back to it, but for now I’m refocusing on the next game which will help pay my bills.
The original plan for 2.0 was that I would introduce some additional premium content to justify my time spent adding the new free content. I have cooled on that idea a bit.. it’s hard to think of anything else I could charge for now that wouldn’t feel abusive or disrespectful to those who’d already purchased the original Premium Content.

 

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Premium Content

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 4 comments

For anyone on the fence, here’s a full breakdown of what is (and isn’t) in the Premium Content package for Monsters’ Den Chronicles.

 

1. Extra Characters

Unlock ten new characters, one of each class. These new heroes start with visually-distinct equipment, but are otherwise the same as the starting heroes. Parties can be formed from a mix of old and new characters.

This greatly increases your options for party composition, as you can (for instance) have two Confessors, or an all-Mage party.

 

2. Campaign Bonuses and Modifiers

The premium edition also unlocks new ways to customize each campaign.

Campaign bonuses let you choose between different benefits for a campaign.

  • Experience: Experience earned from battle increased by 20%.
  • Reward: The gold reward for campaign completion will be doubled.
  • Recovery: Additional 25% Health and Power recovery after battle.

Campaign modifiers are optional changes to the rules.

  • ‘True Hit’: Use different accuracy calculations that are biased towards success.
  • Fixed Level: During a dungeon campaign the enemies will not increase in level.
  • Lethality: Enemies have 25% less health, and deal 20% more damage.

 

3. Sparks of Legend

With your purchase, you get a bonus of five Sparks of Legend in your inventory, immediately. If your inventory is full, the game will try again to add any sparks you are owed each time the game starts.

These sparks function exactly the same as the ones that can be found (rarely) through normal play. When used to enhance an equipment item, that item will then automatically scale to the level of whoever equips it. The base armor rating and/or damage of the item also increases.

If these sparks (or the items they enhance) are sold or destroyed, they cannot be recovered. However, if you choose to reset your saved data entirely via the options menu, you will start with all five of them.

 

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Monsters’ Den Chronicles 1.2

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 29 comments

Time for another new version! With the exclusive period ended, the game can also now start appearing on other portals (let’s try to ignore all of the sites already hosting a hacked version).

Here is the list of fixes:

  • The “Fixed Level” campaign modifier now works correctly
  • When the game loads, any bugged/missing Emporium achievements will be awarded
  • Purchased (premium content) Sparks of Legend are re-added to the starter inventory if the player clears all saved data
  • The cost to restock the Emporium shows properly on mouseover (when you can’t afford it)
  • The cost to restock now uses a different formula, it scales more smoothly and reasonably
  • Suborned Champion is now considered a “boss”, resists Coup de Grace
  • “Mind Control” can no longer be chained indefinitely in some rare circumstances
  • Revival skills heal a minimum of 1 health, regardless of -healing or -healed penalties
  • Portal integration (Newgrounds medals, Kongregate API etc)

The game was also positively reviewed on Jay is Games today.

 

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Monsters’ Den Chronicles v1.11

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 91 comments

A new version of Chronicles is now live on Armor Games, and it includes a host of bug-fixes and improvements.

 

v1.1 – Premium Content version

  • Premium Content added! New characters and campaign modifiers are available. The purchase is tied to your Armor Games account, and can be used whenever you are logged in.
  • Secondary stat bonus thresholds reduced
  • Boss monsters are not instantly killed by “Coup de Grace” – they now lose 30% of their max health
  • Ctrl shortcut in inventory is now “quick sell” rather than destroy item
  • “Auto Re-sort bag” button on inventory bags
  • Spark of Legend grants an extra enhancement slot
  • Cant use more than one Spark of Legend on the same item
  • Various other Spark of Legend-related bugs fixed
  • Some teal set items didn’t have enhancement slots, they do now
  • Store contents are properly updated when switching from local to cloud saves
  • When using “Change Formation”, styles belonging to dead characters don’t take effect
  • When switching to “Empowered” style, your current skill will be changed if you no longer have enough power for it
  • Resurrection skills can no longer have their healing component reduced below 1
  • Non-weapon attacks now scale up slightly faster
  • Changed power costs on “Heal” and “Healing Flash” (slightly)
  • “Healing Flash” cannot be used on the caster, target now loses a small amount of action
  • “Insidious Poison” cancels health regen on the target while active
  • “Flash Powder” is now a half action
  • Cleric’s “Revive” now also Anoints the target
  • Rogue’s “Deadly” style critical chance increased
  • When a summoned creature is forced to retreat, it is unsummoned
  • When you buy an item, the status message tells you which bag it went to
  • Better handling of buying items when bags are full or loot settings wouldn’t allow (items no longer lost)
  • Current difficulty setting is shown on the load saved game dialog box
  • “Double stairs bug” fixed – can no longer use ascend/descend buttons while the party is moving
  • Monster damage (in general) increases slightly slower
  • Base monster damage reduced by 10%
  • On Beginner difficulty, monster health/damage increases even more slowly
  • Soulharvester has slightly less health, damage
  • Necromancer fights in Act II have reduced enemy counts
  • Stats on many undead creatures adjusted

v1.11

  • Fixes ‘black screen’ crash bug
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Monsters’ Den Chronicles v1.02

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 61 comments

A new version of the game has been uploaded to Armor Games. Here are the changes:

 

v1.02

  • Online saving has been implemented. This requires a free Armor Games account.
  • Randomly generated items will correctly remember their number of enhancement slots
  • “Necromancer” stats have been reduced a bit
  • “Curse of Mortality” damage decreased
  • “A Martyr’s Example” shrine should no longer cause rare crashes
  • “Greater Devourer” has a description
  • Enemies should no longer try to revive disintegrated characters
  • Negative bonuses to healing now work more logically
  • Unvisited rooms will now highlight properly beyond the first floor (when mousing over %)
  • Confirmation dialogs now mention mention Cmd button as well as Ctrl (for Mac users)
  • You will not get campaign unlock messages every time you finish Act V (only the first)
  • Sorting a bag by “none” makes more sense, and unpredictable behaviour corrected
  • Character customization icon no longer shows up in the battle inspection dialog
  • Secret rooms no longer count towards the floor explored percentage (you can get 100% without them)
  • Secret rooms are easier to see
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Inaccurate Attacks on Chronicles

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 57 comments

In comments on the new game, a lot of people have been complaining that the accuracy calculations feel wrong or unfair. I wish this was new to me, but exactly the same thing happened on the release of both of the previous games.

In the interests of science, I added a new function to my editor. It simulates 10,000 attacks using the actual functions from the game (the editor is the game, compiled with different flags). Here are the results:

 

So. That’s that, then.

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Monsters’ Den Chronicles v1.01

Category: Monsters Den Chronicles Comments: 2 comments

A new version is now live on Armor Games. Here is the change list:

 

v1.01

  • Slightly increased experience gain from monsters
  • Decreased xp lost from defeat penalty
  • Game prompts to increase local storage allocated for saves
  • Force save files to disk when we exit to menu
  • Fixed issues with quitting to menu during a battle then resuming
  • Additional confirmation dialog when aborting game in progress
  • Fixed item “Nomad’s Crook”
  • “Time Warp” skill has some new drawbacks
  • Beginner difficulty is now the default
  • The first time a campaign is started, force display of the difficulty select screen
  • Show the character’s portrait in level up screen
  • Add customize character button to paperdoll in inventory (was only in character screen)
  • Mouse-over text background is darker
  • Slight color hinting on item tooltips, re: Usable / Prohibited
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