DevLog #15 – Improving Missions to be More Fun!
I’m very happy to release today v0.7 of the Destroy The Monoliths Playtest! You can give it a try right now on Steam! This updates adds many improvements to the overall difficulty progression. Let’s talk about it in this post!
Tweaking the Progression in Later Missions
Watching people play version 0.6 on YouTube helped me realize some progression issues in the later missions of the game. What changed compared to the initial mission is the fact that you are now facing more and more monoliths each time. Which means that missions were taking more and more time and were starting to feel a bit boring or at least cumbersome. After some thinking, I made a simple tweak that actually solves the issue.
Now, the more monoliths there are, the less health they have individually. The overall amount of damage you have to make to win the mission is now increasing slightly at each mission (before it was proportional to the number of monoliths). This means all missions approximately last the same amount of time, around 10 to 25 minutes. I really like this because the gameplay is very tense and fun with this new dynamic. With many monoliths, you are attacked from many sides and can be easily overwhelmed, but destroying one can now be achieved quite quickly so you have to take risks to free some space. While the first mission against one monolith is mainly offensive, the following become more of a fragile balance between defending the core and striking successful counterattacks.
I also noticed some confusion with the term Campaign. It is very connoted with RTS games and was leading to some wrong expectations. For instance, some people could believe there would be different mission types. There is not. The objective in this game remains the same at each mission: destroy the monoliths (that’s the title!). To make things clearer, I decided to remove the word Campaign and to use solely World.
New UI for the World Map
I made a new UI for the world map! Now you control a tiny ship you can move around to select your next mission. I think it feels better to use, especially for those who use a controller. Since buttons were spread out on the map, it was a bit tricky to manage the focus and the result was not satisfying. Also, this looks a lot nicer and cleaner in my opinion (the overall screen is much more animated!).
Meta Progression and More Saves
Another aspect still a bit rough was the meta progression. You can unlock new main offensive buildings or starting packs at the end of any mission but they are only available if you start a brand new world. And there was a single autosave slot. This can be a bit frustrating because if you wanted to try the new content immediately you had to erase your current world. Or you could wait and finish your world first, but that may also be a bit frustrating.
I’m glad to share that you have now access to multiple save slots! You can save your worlds and finish them later. Also, you can now roll a random name for the world in the creation screen that allows to differentiate the saves more easily.
Finally, in the world creation screen, I removed the gamemode panel and added a new panel for Doomed Relics instead. My idea is that they are meta content you will be able to toggle to increase and customize the difficulty of your world. As I already said in previous devlogs, I want them to not be only stat related but also to bring new unique features, like elite enemies or mini-bosses for instance. These special relics won’t be part of the demo version and I actually have still a lot of work to do to implement them, so we’ll talk more about that in a future devlog!
This update brings some bug fixes and a few other changes. There is now a new offensive turret based on the sonic push weapon. Oh, and this weapon now feels really useful by the way! It has a powerful piercing effect and more range than before.
I added a new relic related to the attractive station. I tweaked the tutorial a bit to delay some info into popups that appear at more relevant moments. The building placement should have a bit more granularity. Buildings now have entries in the journal with a Number of times built statistics. And I tweaked the random choices to favor the successors of the newly unlocked technologies. My goal is to push players to go down the tech tree branches instead of stacking technologies from the surface level.
Also, maybe you already noticed on Steam… I worked on improving the key art for the game! I hope you like it as much as I do!
What is Next?
I an very happy with this version 0.7. I think the game starts to feel really solid and we are getting very close to it being ready for an official demo. I have a few festivals that accepted my submission. And I’m still waiting for a reply from a few others. So I will tell you more about my plans for the upcoming months soon! Be prepared to play a lot of Destroy The Monoliths this summer! 🙂
Meanwhile, I’ve started working on implementing lots of content for the full game. I will share some teasing in future devlogs so stay tuned! For now, you can read the full changelog for v0.7 below.
As always, thanks for reading, please reach out to share your feedback about the Playtest, and see you next time!
Full Changelog (v0.7)
- Expanded the save system to have multiples slots and save several worlds. Added loading and saving screens.
- New building: the sonic turret
- 1 new relic
- Added building entries to the journal
- Changed monoliths health system to have less health points when there are more monoliths on the map
- Reworked sonic push weapon: added piercing effect, increased range, removed confusion effect
- Tweaked XP levels to better control the amount of new technologies gained at each mission
- Re-spawning after a death takes now a bit longer
- Reduced the amount of resources found in treasures
- Now using the term world instead of campaign
- Reworked the UI of the world map to have a small ship to move around and select missions
- Updated the title screen to use the new key art
- Tweaks the random choices to favor the successors of recently unlocked technologies
- Tweaked the tutorial to move some information into popups appearing at more relevant moments
- Improved the building placement to have more granularity
- Some changes to the tech tree
- Buffed the matter generator to produce rarely ore blocks
- Buffed the attractive station to have more health
- Relooked the new world screen
- Replaced gamemodes with doomed relics (basis for future work)
- Renamed the pathfinder pack into the laser pack
- Modified the miner pack content and renamed it as the sonic pack
- Some UI polish here and there
- The beam weapon now has no bounce by default, but the relic that adds more bounce now affects the beam turrets as well
- Improved the targeting of the mine turret
- Fixed issue with weapon not removed properly when the technology was lost
- Fixed issue with some already owned buildings appearing again in choices
- Fixed issue with destruction of deco on water causing some collision walls to disappear
- Fixed issue with neutronic balls (from the summoner) and water