DevLog #12 – Better balancing and brand new maps!
I released alpha v0.4a of Destroy The Monoliths a few weeks ago and it’s time to share some more progress! First, on a personal note, I gotta mention that I started a new side job. So the development of DTM will slow down a bit while I get used to my new schedule. But do not worry: I definitely intend to finish the game! (hopefully this year!)
I’ve been working on v0.5 but it is not quite ready yet so here is a quick post to make up for that. I’d like to release the update in the upcoming weeks. My plan is also to make the alpha available on Steam through the Playtest feature. Stay tuned for that!
For today, let’s talk about some changes that will be part of v0.5.
Better balancing and difficulty progression
Let’s be honest: the balancing in v0.4 is all over the place. Since monoliths now level up based on their remaining health instead of a timer, they ended up reaching far higher levels than before. Which means the existing formulas for scaling the summoned minions did not fit. Minions had way too much health and attack. That’s why I reworked all formulas to have a better increasing difficulty.
But this is only one part of the puzzle. I noticed some lack of progression on the player side. Getting relics with unique effects, new buildings and weapons make you stronger, but it was not enough to deal with very high level minions. The solution to that is quite simple: the player also need some stats upgrades as the campaign progresses.
So I decided to go for a secondary pool of relics dedicated to stats improvements. You will get to pick a relic from that pool once per mission, at the very beginning. These relics cover stats like attack damage, buildings health and reload times, etc. Each relic gives a big increase to one main stat and a slight increase to a secondary stat.
I hope this system helps refine the difficulty balance for the better and makes the game more enjoyable. Tell me what you think about it!
Reworking maps and biomes
As I mentioned in last devlog, I am now working on improving the exploration aspect of the game. My ultimate goal is to have more diverse and interesting maps with unique features. This is a lot of work so I will tackle this in several phases. For v0.5, I am focusing on reworking the biomes.
Previously, a map was determined by a biome and a shape. This allowed to have a lot of possible configurations. But I noticed that some of them are actually not interesting, and this system could be confusing. It was a bit weird to have a map “Inner sea” with no water because the biome was “Arid”. I needed something clearer.
So I removed this double dimensional system. Maps are now determined solely by their biome. This requires a bit more work to have a significant pool of diverse biomes, but I am now able to customize each map type much more to make it interesting, both from a gameplay and visual standpoint.
Also, I am adding some decoration to the maps (e.g. trees, flowers, rocks). They look nice, but some constitute indestructible tiles so they constrain the space and serve the gameplay as well. To design the 3D models of these assets, I am now working with Blockbench. This is my first time using this software (it is highly popular among Minecraft modders) and I am very happy with it. I like working directly with Godot primitive meshes but the engine does not provide mesh merging and here I needed single objects to have all the decoration models inside one Gridmap node.
All of this came with some internal code reworks but I won’t bother you with the details here. So let’s rather have a look at some of these new maps!
What is next?
I still need to rework more of the old biomes. Moreover I need to add some kind of popup to inform players about the specificities of each biome. It is easy to notice that sand blocks slow down but not quite obvious to understand that mercury liquid messes with the shield. So I need to work on biome entries for the journal. I would also like to make new buildings and relics.
I hope to release v0.5 in a few weeks, so stay tuned! It will also introduce a brand new scripted tutorial! I am very happy about it and I can’t wait to get your feedback about it.
Thanks for reading, and see you next time!