DevLog #28 – Items now auto equip!

Hello everyone!

I’m glad to release today v0.9.3 of Skycliffs demo! Full patch note is available here. It contains a few tweaks and bug fixes, but mostly some significant improvements to the equipment system. Let’s dive into the details!

How it was working before

So, previously there was an inventory tab in the menu where you could see all the items you have. Items you bought would go into your inventory and you would have to manually equip them in the status tab. What happened is that most players did not notice buying was not enough and a second step was required. So they ended up having lots of unequipped items in their inventory…

Now, let’s explain why I implemented such a seemingly complex system in the first place. The reason lies in locked slots. If you did not have a free slot to equip an item you just bought, you could keep the item in your inventory and clear a few more islands to get enough money to later on unlock the slot and equip the item.

Seeing how players were interacting with the demo made me reassess this choice. In most other games of the same genre, you buy items and then you see the effects, you don’t have to manually activate something. So I realized it makes sense for Skycliffs to operate the same way. It feels way more intuitive. But then, what about the locked slots? What happens if you buy an item but have no free slots? That’s where I had to make some new design choices!

New equipment system!

I decided to rework the inventory by removing this duality of equipped / non equipped. You either own an item, in which case it is equipped, or you do not own it. This means the instant you buy an item, it is auto equipped in a free slot. There is no more manual step to take. This comes with a few more decisions:

  • There are no more locked slots. All item slots are available from the get-go. There is still a limited number of them though (I want to force players to make choices). If you have all of them equipped, you cannot take any more item and you will not be able to buy from shops anymore. This also means I removed the system upgrade for equipment slot capacity.
  • I doubled the number of slots. Yes, you can now have up to 20 items at the same time in a run! You probably won’t fill them all in the demo, but it will happen in the full game. I want builds to become crazy!
New status menu with now 20 equipment slots!
  • Besides shops, there are a few other ways where you can get items. It can be a challenge reward or a rare loot from an enemy. These do not auto equip. They instead trigger a popup where you can decide if you want to equip them or ignore and recycle them (which gives you some money).
You got a new item! What will you choose?
  • I also reworked the animation to notify the trigger of a synergy. It now happens in-game. You can then of course open the status menu and hover the icons to read the details of that synergy.
Oww! A synergy triggered!
  • Shops do not have a sell tab anymore. Inventory tab in the menu also no longer exists.

I hope all of this make the system simpler and clearer. Tell me in the comments what you think about these changes!

What is next?

Next, I’m going to work on improving the starting class system and introducing more gameplay variety with as always more items and synergies. This will probably be the focus of the next major patch for the demo.

Simultaneously, I’m progressively polishing all the other zones of the game to prepare for the Early Access release. Besides, I implemented a new challenge and secret quest for one of the later areas.

See you next time! 🙂