DevLog #8 – Placing more emphasis on the offense mechanics!

Hello everyone!

Two weeks ago, I released version 0.2 of Destroy The Monoliths. It shifted the focus towards a more offensive vibe and I think this is the right direction for the game. Today, I am glad to share the new alpha version 0.3 that emphasizes even more this aspect. It brings some reworks as well as some new game content. Let’s dive into the details!

Rework of the “building in sight” panel

When you get close to a building and aim towards it, it gets highlighted. Previously, if you then opened the menu, you could see the building stats as well as buttons to perform some actions like repair or destroy. This system had a few drawbacks:

  • It was not very intuitive. Getting in sight of a building was not enough because you also had to open the menu to see the panel. The tutorial explained this but we all know people tend to naturally forget some information (or sometimes ignore tutorials altogether).
  • It was very tedious to repair or destroy many buildings at once. It took significant time to aim, open the menu, click the button, and redo for the next building.

So I needed to implement a better system. Now, getting in sight of a building will automatically show a tooltip panel in the bottom right corner of the screen. No need to open the menu anymore. Besides, I got rid of the buttons. You can now directly interact with the panel by pressing keys. The repair action uses the “accept” input while I added a new input for the destroy action. In the end, you can now repair and destroy a lot of buildings very quickly. I believe this new implementation feels more intuitive and ergonomic. Tell me in the comments if you like it!

New building in sight panel in the bottom right corner! The rest of the HUD was also reorganized a bit.

Rework of the upgrade system (yet again)

Previously, enemies dropped XP orbs you could collect. Once you had enough XP, you had a level-up and could choose a new technology. But I feel this system had a huge inconsistency. Your goal is to destroy the monoliths, it is an offensive purpose. However, you were getting XP by killing the minions spawned by monoliths, so it was tied to defense and thus a bit separate from the actual goal. The best move was actually to stall and defend until reaching the max XP level and start to attack only afterwards. Otherwise if you win too early you would miss out on some upgrades. It seems like bad design, right? Getting the win should ensure to get all possible upgrades.

That’s why I am experimenting a new system and decided to remove the XP orbs. Enemies still drop orbs, but they are now healing orbs that restore a bit of HP (and can have additional effects if you own the right relics). The progression system is now rather tied to the health of monoliths. The HUD displays a progression bar on the bottom. When you damage monoliths, the bar does down. You win when it reaches zero (i.e. you destroyed all the monoliths). In-between, there are some levels. When you reach them, you get a new technology. The levels configuration (getting either a weapon, building or relic at each step) is pre-determined for now but it could be interesting to make it procedural in the future.

Current progress towards the destruction of all monoliths

In the end, attacking is now how you both work towards the win and become stronger. This feels more consistent. However, I am not entirely satisfied with some consequences of this new system. The progression results from your buildings damaging the monoliths and not directly from your actions. So when the upgrade menu suddenly opens it can be a weird interruption and feel like it comes out of nowhere. Maybe the monoliths themselves should actually drop XP orbs when damaged and you should collect them manually? Or does it simply needs more interface juice to make the interruption feel more satisfying? I’m not sure yet.

Please tell me your opinion and suggestions in the comments. This rework is quite experimental so I’m expecting things to change some more in the future and I need your feedback to get it right!

New content

I am glad to also share some new content with this update! Since the laser shotgun was quite useless, I turned it into a relic related to the laser bullets weapon and added instead a new weapon: the ice gun. The ice gun is harmless but has some interesting effect. It freezes enemies, but more importantly it freezes blocks. Now here comes the cool part: blocks have a chance to upgrade upon unfreezing. This means you can turn standard blocks into ore blocks, or turn ore blocks into better ore blocks yielding more resources. So next time you have the opportunity to get the ice gun, pick it and make yourself richer than ever!

Freeze enemies and blocks with the new ice gun!

Regarding the sonic push weapon, it now inflicts confusion to enemies. I hope this buff makes it a bit more powerful and useful. Besides, I added 5 new relics and 4 new buildings. For instance, you can see below the attractive and repulsive stations that regularly attract or repels enemies around them. Time to mess with enemies movements so much they have a hard time attacking your turrets! I don’t want to reveal everything so I’ll let you discover the other new buildings in game by yourself!

Attracting and repulsing enemies

Also, with the changes to building in sight panel, I had more space in the build menu so I reorganized things a bit. The buttons are now displayed in different rows to better distinguish the three different categories (attack, effects, support).

Build menu is clearer

Finally, I added a new music track that you may have already heard in some Shorts video on my Youtube channel! I hope you will enjoy it!

Closing words

You will find below the full changelog for v0.3. The update is available as of now on so head there and play Destroy The Monoliths! I look forward to reading your feedback.

Meanwhile, I’ve also been brainstorming and working on a roadmap for the future of the game. I feel we are slowly getting a robust core gameplay loop. So I’m starting to plan content and secondary features to expand the game variety and replayability.

I’m doing some technical and internal changes to my tools and the code base too. This will for instance allow me to handle more easily several versions of the game (like having a full build and a demo build). I struggled a bit with this aspect while working on Skycliffs so I’m trying to set up a better process this time. I may write a technical devlog about this topic once I’m done.

For now, thanks for reading this devlog, and please give the new update a try!

See you next time!

Full changelog (Alpha v0.3)

  • Reworked the panel displaying current building in sight
  • Reworked the tech upgrade system to use monoliths health instead of XP orbs
  • Added 6 new relics (including “triple laser shot” that turns the laser shotgun into a relic)
  • Replaced the laser shotgun with a new weapon: ice gun.
  • Added 4 new buildings
  • Added a new ore block containing one of each resource
  • Added a new music track: Beyond The Horizon
  • Buffed sonic push weapon: better stats and inflicts confusion to enemies
  • When manually destroyed, buildings give back resources proportionally to the health they had left
  • Added the grid size of buildings in their description stats
  • Campaigns are now 12 missions long instead of 16
  • Tweaked the number of monoliths in missions
  • Relooked the repairer and healer buildings
  • Fixed issue with blocks sometimes not properly hit by laser bullets
  • Fixed issue with relic descriptions not updated when changing language in game