A backlog on Week 1 to 6 Pre-production, exploring features and reviewing feedback:
The impulse to create this core game came from a sudden shower idea of merging 2 game mechanics, 1 from my own previous prototype, and 1 from a friend's. The original idea was to invent a new Match 3 variant that's really catered to gear inventory. User input turns out to be clunky and very little reward payout/happy incident factor.
Spent 2 days hacking out a modular system of this new core game in Unity. Usability feels much easier, reward payout is now higher because of 1 touch chain effects. Happy incident factor from rerolled same color tiles.
With a nice core interaction done, it's time to wrap it with some battle mechanics. Created encounter module, with basic HP and an enemy behavior based on turns and enemy item procs. A proper user goal now in the core game, which is to defeat enemy with inventory procs.
Also created more visual feedback of item procs and damage notifications.
Worked on an inventory edit module, with user interactions like re-positioning items. Also worked on an equipment upgrade/evolving module, a progression feature made much simpler with just 1 premium currency.
Encounter system is merely a list of enemies for now.
Brought the prototype for a couple friends to test. The core game usability is surprisingly easy to get. However, I could see none of them are motivated in the Encounter module, the whole habit loop seems broken.
Personally, I felt that the current meta systems is good enough to launch, but there really are no sense of immersion and investment. 1 of the main problems for Synchronicles for me, was the progression design and habit loop, so I sought to look for better solutions on that.
Pretty much wasted on year end break and game catching up, with some freelances as well. HOWEVER, a new idea popped up for habit loop and progression system. Inspired by Reigns, I came up with the idea of a Tinder like scenario adventure, along with actual positioning on a World Map. Both features will help with immersion as well IMO, but this will ramp up the art demands.
Hacked up a scenario module, with encounters to battle being in some scenarios. Art wise, also explored a .SVG vector conversion plugin in Unity, which pushes art asset sizes really lower. Decide to run with this plugin and adopt an art direction revolving around this tech.
Scenarios feel barebone now, with nothing designed in mind. Will need to handcraft a variety of quests/scenarios, and supplement with proper art to test whether this will really get players in the hook.