In this captivating Fireside Chat, the Wildcard Engineering Team invites you behind the digital curtain to explore the technical marvels that power Wildcard. Hosted by Jeff, the Director of Engineering, the session serves as a comprehensive guide to understanding the technological backbone of Wildcard. The event kicks off with an introduction to the team, highlighting the roles and expertise of key engineers like Nick and Gino. This segment sets the stage for the audience, offering a glimpse into the minds that bring the game to life. But the conversation goes beyond mere introductions. The team delves into the core game mechanics, discussing the challenges and solutions they've encountered in the development process. They also touch upon the integration of web3 technologies, providing a holistic view of how Wildcard is pushing the boundaries in the gaming industry. Become part of the community today: https://discord.gg/playwildcard
Here we go. All right, we are live. And then, Remy, if you want to drop announcement in the announcements channel, we can add everyone about it. I know that everyone gets the stage.
But just for good measure.
All right, so this is all streaming, so we're going to go ahead and dive right in. Usually we wait for some audience members to filter in, but we'll go ahead and dive right in and start with some intros. But first, thank you to everyone who is here with us in Discord. If you're joining us on YouTube or Twitter, hello to you too. This is our first Fireside chat with the Wildcard design team, and I'm going to let them introduce themselves before we dive into some really great stuff. We're going to be talking about the design of the game in general. We're going to be talking about some new features that you guys are going to start seeing coming into our play test builds really soon. We're going to answer some of your questions all around. I think it's going to be a really good time, but I want you guys to know who we're talking to first.
So first I'm going to pass it over to where? Possum or Dan, who's our design director at Wildcard. Go ahead and introduce yourself, Dan.
Hello, everyone. Hi.
Yeah, I'm Dan Hurd and I'm the.
Game director for Wildcard.
And I'm really excited to be joined.
With everyone here to talk about what's going on.
And as you know, Wildcard is.
Game and development, and so there's many.
Things changing all the time and that.
Affects the way the game plays, kind.
Of the way that you approach the.
Problem, taking down the opponent's goal, like the tools you have at your disposal.
So this is our way of starting.
To open that development process and pipeline.
Up to everyone here so you get a chance to see kind of all.
The cool stuff that's in the so I'm really excited to have this opportunity.
So thanks for joining us.
I will pass it over to Brad.
Who's going to introduce himself. He's a member of our design team.
How's it going, everybody? I'm a designer over here at Wildcard. I'll give you a quick little brief background. I come from the long line of esports and being a professional gamer and doing a lot of production stuff on that front. And I worked on other games such as Smite Road Company Paladins over on the high res side of things. And I've now found myself here enjoying getting to know everybody and putting together an absolutely amazing game.
All right, Steven.
I'm Stephen Hurd. I'm also a designer here on the Wildcard team. Very excited to be here. A quick a little about me in a nutshell, I've been working in games for about eight or nine years, worked at various studios, kind of in the area on mobile games, a lot of competitive games, a lot of my work lives in kind of balancing and tuning, also creating content creatures, all that kind of fun stuff. And so overall, whenever I have a chance to solve an exciting new problem, that's when I'm happy and that's what I like to work on. So very excited to be here and start sharing some of the give you all kind of a peek under the hood and share a little bit about our process on this game that is still we're still figuring out a lot.
Of those interesting questions and so it's an exciting time.
Yeah, I absolutely cannot wait for this talk. And y'all, the design team has put together this great deck which is going to have some of the talking points, but also some pictures of what they're talking about, some videos along the way. So we'll go ahead and make that full screen for you and I think Dan is going to kick us off.
Okay, great. So, yeah, thanks for joining us. And what I'll do is I'll just.
Give an overview of our design principles.
That we're running at. So we operate in sprints, which for us is roughly every two weeks. And kind of what we try to.
Do in a sprint is we take.
A look at the game, we get feedback from the community and from kind.
Of our own internal play testing, and.
We look at where do we want.
The game to be in, let's say.
Like two months with kind of a more major build.
And then we say, okay, how do.
We back out from that and kind of divide that work into little chunks that we can ship within, like as in playable software every two weeks or so. And so we operate on that. Have been operating in that way for.
Some time now and we are currently.
Running towards a milestone build which is for us, it's just a major update to the mechanics, the feel of the game. It has kind of all the latest.
Experiments in it, things that we are increasingly likely to think are a core.
Part of our game and are an.
Important part of our game. And so kind of our overarching concept.
That we're really trying to do now is Wildcard has actually been in development.
For a little while, and we've done.
A lot of things with it, including starting to build out all of the Web three infrastructure. That wraps Wildcard. And we have a lot more to share in that regard, but this presentation.
Is going to be very focused right.
Now on the competitive game, the arena game. We are rapidly running toward a state where we need to be able to make calls on feature sets, things like that, say like, yeah, we're pretty certain.
That this feature will be in the game, full stop.
And it's been tested and it's fun and it holds up and it kind of upholds our values with the game. And so in order to do that, in order to be able to make calls on things, that means that we have to get a lot of play testing and a lot of eyeballs on a playable feature. You can't do that just from a design doc.
And so that's primarily our goal in this sprint, is really trying to get.
Represented all the last little features that we hope to be in the game.
So then it becomes more of a content scalability issue where we want to.
Build out just more of a very polished core that we have.
So you can go ahead and go to the next slide and I'll give.
A brief overview of the things that we're focused on. So before we get started, I just.
Have to make the note. This is a game in development, so.
We're excited to show things in development. Doesn't mean they're guaranteed to be in.
Doesn'T mean they're polished, but does mean.
That they're often pretty exciting and fun things to look at and talk about.
And so I'm really excited, the whole team is excited to be able to just talk openly.
And this isn't a one off, right?
We actually want to do this on.
A more regular basis and kind of.
Get everyone up to speed. Not everyone's play tested the game.
Not everyone has seen kind of later footage. So this is a good opportunity for us to kind of discuss all the things that we're thinking about and solicit feedback from everybody.
What do you think?
Not cool. That's how we like to develop the game and that's how we like to get our feedback. One of the goals for this sprint.
Is we're working on the champions.
So many of you are familiar with.
Locke and Bolgar, so I've kind of.
Written over here a sense of like.
What are the goals for working on.
Lock and Bulgar, right? It's one thing to just say make.
Them better, but we kind of have to chase a feeling that the.
Community or that any player would feel.
When they're interacting with a feature.
And so for us on the champion.
Side, we have a very specific lens.
That we're looking at champions. Like, why are we updating?
Right? That's a good question. So champions at a very high level.
Need to represent fun, skilled play. What that means is, if I'm playing.
A champion and Stephen's playing a champion, that the champion itself.
And the way you're almost performing in a way with your champion when you're.
In the arena fighting a game.
We see this at very high levels in games like Street Fighter or any game where there's a lot of ability for a human player to kind of.
Orchestrate their movements in such a way.
That's really interesting and fun to watch. And sometimes they can uncover different combinations and different timings that really give them.
A unique vibe on the battlefield.
So I've written this out as a player can express their mastery of the.
Game in the champion that they choose, they all need to feel really different and the way that they control them in the arena. So Wildcard is built to be a spectator sport.
So we really look at how do champions relate. If I'm watching from the stands or.
From a stream, how does that look?
How does that feel? Can I even tell a difference? Is a champion exciting to watch?
So we'll get into a little bit.
More details about that, but that represents our goals with champions.
And so we're actually doing that work right now, migrating them over to a.
New structure that allows for much more.
Flexibility and excitement in combat and updating their character packages where they have brand new moves, kind of different cool interactions.
On the battlefield, and ultimately synergies that.
Work well with summons as well. So let's go ahead and move to the next slide.
Okay. Deck building. So, deck building is part of our game.
And obviously, when you're a game in.
Development, the biggest thing that can allow.
That to be a huge component of.
Your play cycle is, do we have enough content, do we have enough creatures.
To support the act of deck building? And what I mean by that is.
For those who are not familiar in.
Wildcard, you basically build a deck.
Before you go onto the battlefield and.
Fill it with different summons that you.
Then spend resources to summon on the battlefield. And they do a heavy part of.
The fighting for you. They have unique abilities, unique synergies.
And the champion plays a support role.
In helping push forward damage and take.
Down the goal where they can. You can sneak attack by sending them around a different way.
You can counter an opponent by playing the perfect summon that has an ability.
That counteracts what they're doing pretty well.
So we are on a mission to build out the content.
And as a game in development, we have a secret weapon, which means that.
We can show you things earlier than.
If they're totally done and perfect. And that's actually exciting to us. And so we are building out our content in terms of all the different summons that you'll be able to use.
And we want to put them through the gauntlet. Basically, we want everyone's opinions on what's fun, what's exciting.
We want to see grousing about who's op and who's not usable enough because.
That helps us shape every summon to.
Kind of clarify what it does and.
How it affects the battlefield. And so to pursue that goal, we're.
Doing kind of two steps here. One is we're building in a way.
To just grab a preconstructed deck.
So we're kind of doing this manually now.
So if you play the game, generally.
We'Ve been delivering a deck to say.
Hey, play with this deck.
So we want to expand that system.
And have that be player selectable.
And that may actually be if you start playing any game like Magic or Hearthstone, they generally say, here's the deck you start with. They don't ask you like, hey, just suddenly understand the whole game and build.
A deck that works.
They give you some options and those.
Decks need to tell a story.
So here's my go fast deck, here's.
My hunker down deck.
So we're working on that. Sorry Kyle, I have stolen your very early artwork which is looking fantastic. It's a work in progress, but we're thinking about what's a nice interface for.
Seeing, visualizing and selecting your decks that you want to use in tandem with your champion.
Okay, next slide please.
So, systemic interactions, it's another goal for us. And what we mean by that is.
The way we've seen this game evolve.
Over time is the first time we knew it was fun was when were able to play and have a sense of competitiveness and get excited about the results of the game. Did I win?
Did I lose?
Was it close? Was it a sweep? All that thing's great. All of those elements are, I think.
Core and gave us the confidence to.
Keep building out the core of the game. However, something that we are really wanting.
To push is when you have a.
Game where a lot of the creatures are controlled by the computer, essentially they have behaviors, right?
And they do their thing in the lanes. You also want to build in ways.
That the game can kind of unexpectedly showcase exciting interactions between champions and creatures, maybe even the audience in a way.
And so to do that, we don't.
Want a bunch of disconnected one off.
Abilities like, well, this guy over there, he'll explode. What does explosion do?
Well, it does damage.
Okay, this guy over here, I don't.
Know, he has some other effect.
But if they're not actually tying into.
Core systems that power the way that.
The creatures interact on the battlefield, then.
Eventually you're kind of left with this.
Network of all these discrete effects that.
You have to actually pull back together.
And be like, oh, well, that guy.
Is not being affected, but he should be. And this guy and it's this very.
Complicated network and it doesn't actually lead.
To a really fun, exciting game.
Like everything we have to hard code in. And so I've written this out as basically our high level goal is that we want matches that are full of opportunities for exciting, unexpected, clever moments that.
Result from systems of summonings, of summons.
Champions, position and timing.
So we'll get into more detail about what do we exactly mean about systems.
But I just want you to know.
That that's actually a very high level goal for us.
That the game to be watchable and.
Replayable over and over again needs to express these fun systemic interactions where it.
Doesn'T feel random, but you always can.
Have bursts of excitement and unexpected collisions and follow on effects from what you.
Think your plan is.
So go in with a plan, try.
And implement it, do your best and react.
And that's a key thing.
React to what's going on in the.
Battlefield, react to your opponent.
Next slide, please.
Oh, and that image, by the way, that was a result of systems doing what they're supposed to do.
So our knockback new knockback system was.
Able to catapult me into space through.
The arena, which was fantastic.
I think we've seen a few sports go into the audience too. That's always fun.
So falling through space means, hey, we're doing something right because it was unexpected, it was exciting.
I don't know if it's the exact.
Perfect thing that we want, but it.
Shows that it's working. So next up is, and this is a very important one, matches in the arena should have a sense of progression.
So there's kind of two lenses we look at.
That one is within a round, can.
I as an audience member, can I sit down, look at the game and.
See exactly who's winning, who's losing, can.
I get a sense of the momentum of the match? Am I on the back foot or.
Am I really pressing the attack?
And is that obvious? Without a sense of progression within the.
Match, within a round it can be.
Kind of like a steady state, like maybe there's a big push and I.
Can counter that push, but then it.
Feels almost like we've kind of reset.
Like yeah, well, the game's almost like it was exactly when we began. And so this screenshot here is showing.
A very early in progress thing that Brad will talk a little bit more about.
But the eagle eyed among you may.
See a few very different elements in there.
All work in progress, but with a.
Sole goal of trying to give a very strong sense of progression. Are there lots of little wins that.
I can accumulate on my way to taking out the goal? So that's one way of thinking about it. And then we also want progression across rounds. So within a round, but then from.
Rounds one to possibly all the way.
Up to round three, which is a full game, how does the game ramp up?
And so we've kind of been talking.
About that through the lens of the.
Game should ramp up intensity and.
Fun the later it is in the round progression.
Round three should not just feel like.
A rehash of round one.
We're taking a very strong stance about that. We want it to feature if you get to round three, which means you.
Tied it up one, now you're going to the tiebreaker. What things can we do to actually.
Make that super exciting for everyone and make the plays bigger and more exciting? Because not every match even reaches round three. And that's a good tense moment. So we're looking to kind of artfully ramp up that intensity throughout the duration of the game, so that way we build excitement rather than kind of keep just kind of a steady state of.
Excitement throughout the whole game.
And so we are working on several.
Features that address that very specific thing. Okay, so that's my overview of the.
Goals that we have for our upcoming sprint and milestone. Now, I'll turn it over I believe Stephen is next, and I'll turn it over to him to get into more specifics about what exactly are we working on.
Thank you, Dan.
I will attempt to make this not to keep it interesting and quick, but I am excited to talk a little bit more in depth about some of these gameplay systems and kind of what they represent and how we hope to use them to accomplish those goals that Dan laid out there. And so this is not a exhaustive list of every system that we might have in the game. And in fact, we're even as coming in hot as this current sprint, we're like, hey, anything else going to make it in under the wire?
We're really looking to take advantage of.
Any opportunity space that's there, given our unique kind of game with this mashup of different elements. And say, it turns out this is the system that really enables us uniquely to accomplish all these other goals with gameplay. But I will talk a little bit about these three that I have listed here because these are kind of good examples of broader systems that might have a kind of a limited number of rules or actually actual mechanics might just be a few lines of code in a way.
But the output of them, they can.
Surface themselves at unique times and unique opportunities and be something that really enhances the flavor of a match of Wildcard. And so the first one is kinetics, and really all we mean by this is kind of the label that we gave it, but it just means the actual physical interactions of different things in the game as the match progresses. Right. And so am I near to something else?
Well, that's actually something that matters a lot in Wildcard from is my.
Champion close enough to something else to attack it that matters. If I'm not close enough that I'm.
Out of range, I can't my when.
I summon Jans in and Jans comes in and does this cannonball of it.
Was I able to get close enough.
To the right target of units in order to take best advantage of that? And so that constant evaluation of kind of the physical location and interaction of things in the arena is something that's important to you as a player. And so that means it's a good opportunity for us as designers to make it matter and make it result in exciting outcomes as much as possible, right?
Like any of these things, that because.
Of what it takes to play or win a game of Wildcard that.
Are important to players.
Those are what we see as those opportunities to really kind of pepper in these additional mechanics or interactions that can happen. And so, as an example to a mechanic that is part of the system of kinetics is knockback.
And so a simple version is I.
Have a strong I think you can observe this on the latest demo builds, but we've even added knockback to some of the basic summon attacks. And so Slow Claw is this big powerful brawler, right? And she's got these long claws and deals insane damage. She's super slow, but is doing these powerful hits if you don't get out of the way. And we are testing a little bit of knockback on that to physically move the enemy character away. And so that's kind of a simple outcome. But because of these systemic interactions, because whether or not you're nearby, something else matters. It can have these kind of follow on effects. And so let's say that you are running a deck here's, a summon that doesn't exist right now or even think about Lump. Lump is healing nearby allies, right? Lump is a support player, and Lump is healing all your friendly units that are nearby.
If enemy Slow Claw comes and knocks one of your summons out of that.
Ring of heel, that kind of area.
Of effect, then all of a sudden that's like this unintended. All Slow Claw knows is that he's.
Attacking and dealing damage.
But because of these systemic interactions, that's actually kind of a strategic play where, oh, I'm going to deploy Slow Claw against this kind of area of effect buff push that's coming my way, because she's going to disrupt it and scatter.
The units all around, right? So, just an example.
The next one here on the list is damage type. And so you see this a lot in various RPG games. It's kind of a common system, but we really asked ourselves, what is the.
Best version of this that serves, again.
Kind of our unique blend of gameplay. And so we're thinking about damage that has a type. And so fire damage is a great example. Maybe the damage that happens in a regular brawl is just default damage, doesn't have a type or physical damage, whatever, however we think about it. But a summon that uses fire abilities.
Would deal fire damage, which can, let's.
Say it causes enemies that receive it to ignite, so catch on fire and then to burn. So take additional fire damage over time. That's a pretty typical implementation of fire damage, I think, if you look at some other games. But because we are kind of tying it into these systemic interactions, again, that gives us a hook that can be caught by any of these other things that are just naturally going on in the arena or strategies that a player is planning to use. We like that moment of ignite and kind of calling it out as, hey, that's this inflection point where things can happen. So maybe you have a summon that really likes fire. This kind of breaks the pattern. Fire usually burns everything. This one likes fire, and when it ignites, it gets some bonus. Or maybe when something ignites, it even has a chance to spread fire to things that are near it, right?
So we look at these kind of.
Very readable by, which means you can kind of tell that they're going on just by playing. If they're not hidden information or visible. We look at these readable moments that happen that we can use to kind of catch or result in additional follow on systemic effects.
So that's just an example.
And we're playing with other kind of prototype damage types. For example, kind of shock damage or electric damage, which might have a totally different effect that it causes. Shock damages, has a chance to stun an enemy unit when it is applied, right? And so that's kind of a different.
Pattern, but results in its own kind of follow on effects that can then.
Play out within the system of systems and result in these unexpected combinations of behaviors. The last one I'll talk about here on this slide is house abilities. And so this is a really exciting space in Wildcard. We have these unique houses that matter. They're important, they flavor our champions and our summons, kind of give them unique identities. And you might even get excited about a house that you really identify with. I'm team love Abub. I love it. They're all about nature and togetherness, and that really resonates with me. Or maybe you'd love Kronos. They're technologically advanced and brilliant and innovators. They just want to dominate in the arena. Right. And that you're like, yeah, that's totally me. Right. And one way that we're making those houses matter in the arena and in a match is by making sure that they each have really unique, over the top powerful house abilities that only they have access to.
It's like their own unique form of mastery within a match. And that those are designed in such.
A way that they really align with.
What the house likes to do because of their identity and even their story.
And the characters in the house, how.
They would try to kind of win a match of Wildcard. And so the examples we have here.
Kronos has time control.
And so know, one of the taglines we have for Kronos is like, it's about time. And it really is. They would rather secure a strong defense, take their time, build up strength, and then overwhelm you with this force that you didn't have the ability to build over that time frame. And then how do they give themselves like, this unfair advantage? Well, they actually control time. They can slow down your summons that are coming their way. They can maybe speed up their own summons. And so it's like our strategy is take advantage of time and by the way, we control time. That's what we mean by that unfair advantage that they try to secure for themselves an ability that only they can use. But it's only unfair unless every house has a version of that. And that's really what our goal is. And so for Lubabubub, we have this kind of catch line of size matters for love abub, right?
And so they are much more likely.
Than Kronos to just be happy meeting in the middle of the lane, brawling, having a fair fight. That's what they're all about. They're brawlers and bruisers and maybe they have the best value on strong summons. I'm thinking of gore it or slowfall some of these examples that you've seen in our demo. So they're naturally happy to kind of just have a straightforward fight in that way. But by the way, they can control the size of summons too. And that has follow on effects. And so what we're exploring is Lubabubub abilities that can gigantify a summon and take it from regular sport to now you have this giant sword kind of lumbering through the arena. And so again, just like Kronos and their use of says, hey, you know, we're happy to have a fair brawl in the middle of the fight and let the stronger man win.
And by the way, we're the strongest.
Because we control size. We can shrink you and grow ourselves. And so again, securing for themselves this unfair advantage that has to then stack up against these other unique tactics and abilities that all the houses are going to have and bring to the arena. Go ahead and jump to the next slide, please.
So as an example, I want to.
Just give a sneak peek of kind of a prototype summon that we've been working on. There are many, but we'll just spend a little time one just as.
An example of how we take some.
Of these systems and then turn them into content, right? And so this kind of represents a very early way that we might just design or kind of capture a thought about a summon.
You can see that the layout, if.
You'Re a TCG player, a magic player, it kind of looks like a magic card. And we actually kind of do use that shorthand a lot of times just for capturing the details of a summon that we want to eventually end up prototyping and testing out. And so this is very much like what we would just put down on paper and say, hey, here's a new summon and let's start communicating with all the other members of the team to get this made. This one that we're talking about has.
A code name of Drink Fairy, which.
Is intentionally very generic and we make. A point of not trying to figure.
Out naming creatures and giving them a.
Cool name is an art and a lot of times takes a lot of iteration and collaboration with other folks on the team. So we're happy to give it just a generic code name that no one would hopefully ever mistake for the final name. So we're talking about code name Shrink Fairy. And what's its ability? Well, it's a lubabubub summon that can shrink enemies with magical projectiles. So kind of a support summon, ranged, sits in the back, maybe out of the way, and hopefully doesn't get caught by brawlers or other things that are happening in the lane and then uses its ranged magic to shrink enemies down. And what does shrinking do?
Well, doesn't just physically shrink them down.
But also reduces their hit points, their max hit points and current hit points kind of scales those down as well. And we talked about our kinetic system and knockback being a mechanic that we have. Well, it turns out that smaller units, when they get knocked back, they're going to fly farther because they have literally less mass and they're less resistant to getting knocked back. You try to knock back a big goret, you might just go, right. It's big and heavy and has a lot of inertia. But once a Shrink Fairy has shrunk down his board and is little tiny baby bella mushroom skittering across the arena and then they get knocked back, that thing could go flying. And that's when we get these fun moments of things landing out into the crowd. When Dan got launched into space very much on purpose and not by a bug, these things start to happen and they're fun.
Go ahead to the next slide, please. So we then take that kind of concept. We can do a quick implementation in the game and test it out right away. Right. But we don't have any good visuals for it. And so we'll ask our art team to start to kind of conceptualize what this summon might look like. We'll give them just the main bullet points. Hey, it's a flyer. We want to make sure that it's kind of up off the ground in a ranged attacker. It's going to sit there in the back. Like we said, it's got to shoot a magical projectile, so maybe it has a wand. We like theming of a fairy because this kind of mischievous, magical love.
Above magic that shrinks something is very.
Much on brand for love above and.
What they're going to do.
And so we'll kind of provide just this framework and then Art goes and knocks our socks off with these amazing lineup of different options and takes on that prompt. So this is, again, not kind of a final, but just an example of one that's had a bit of a little bit of color applied and a bit of a turnaround. And so you can kind of just a glimpse into even before the stage where anything is modeled and we have a real kind of 3d summon running around, how we kind of try to bring that initial design to life, even though it started out just as that one sentence on a little kind of magic art looking frame.
Right, next slide, please. So I think there is a GIF here, Bret.
Maybe you got to refresh it.
I don't know if I can easily do that.
Okay, we're not going to worry about it.
So we had a little bit of GIF here, but essentially this was a.
Non kind of I'll describe it so.
Well that you can imagine it. Imagine a big summon that shrinks and it gets smaller. Right? Let's all just close our eyes and do that together. But the idea being so what this represented is even before we had this final concept or this more polished concept from the art team, we want to test out this summit and see if it's even a good idea, if it is bringing these mechanics and these systems alike in the way that we imagine it would. And so we call it a proxy. This is just like a temporary kind of throwaway version of it that we can just jam together in a day and get it in the engine and start to play test without worrying about getting into more polish and trying to make it look really great. Okay, so you'll notice the shrink fairy that we have here.
This is not that lovely concept that were just looking at. This was I think we took the torso from another Proxy summon that we had looks like this little yoda head and then threw some butterfly wings on it and gave it a stick with a star on it and called it. We intentionally tried to make it look a little rough and unpolished because it's very easy to start to fall in love with these summons, even in a rough state, and be like, well, I really liked that initial kind of flying yoda summon. What if we just roll with that, right?
And so we try to head off.
That train of thought from our future selves by just making sure it's rough.
But yeah, we want to test out.
Hey, is this doing what we think.
It would give ourselves an opportunity to iterate?
And in fact, we did with shrink vary. Initially it had a just regular attack and then its shrink effect, I think was an area of effect that happened on a cadence every so often. And we said, you know, you don't.
Really after some play testing, you don't.
Really understand that shrink effect is coming from the shrink vary. It's not clear, it's not reliably shrinking the things because it gets killed too fast.
So we iterated, we increased the range.
We put the shrink effect on its projectile attack. So you can literally draw this connection from the String Fairy summon to the thing that's getting shrunken down. And fair enough, now it starts to.
Read and we say, okay, we think.
This summon is doing what we want. It is now kind of fulfilling this mechanic that we want to kind of.
Exist in this space of different gameplay systems.
And so we now have more confidence in moving forward with art concepting and getting some more of those polished takes from actual artists to hopefully get to the point where it looks like it just fits right in with the lineup of all of our other summons that you've already seen and is ready to roll.
So that was just kind of a.
One example of how we are exploring.
Via new summons and specific abilities some.
Of these gameplay systems that are all intended to kind of work together and interact together, so that maybe someone has the idea I'm going to shrink all my opponents, and then I'm going to roll with knockback and knock them extra far off the ramp and totally disrupt their strategy. And that's a valid take. Or I'm going to shrink and then I roll high DPS summons because I know that shrinking reduces hit points and then I'm going to be able to steamroll enemies even faster. So a more aggressive kind of version. And all of these strategies are not defined explicitly on any one card, but they're a result of these systems interacting and then players being able to take advantage of them in unique kind of clever ways. That speaks back to that initial goal that Dan described up front and that.
Kind of know that's the direction that.
We'Re pointing with a lot of these kind of new summons and how we're using them to kind of fulfill these systems. So with that, thank you very much for putting up with me and listening. And I will hand over to Brad.
Who'S got some more cool stuff.
Sweet. Thank you, Stephen. All right, there's three main things we're going to talking be about. We'll be talking about the dugout towers and Scrimmage line and some updates that we are testing to the map. All of this has to do with progression within a single round and just how that makes the player feel so that it's not just a base race. So we will jump into here's some concepting art of the dugout. What we did with the dugout is something that was happening is the champion would get Koed. You'd spawn and you get in this kind of endless loop of spawning and getting koed and spawning, getting Ko'o'd. And there wasn't really a good place in the arena to respawn a champion when they got Koed. So what we did is we've cut out a hole in part of the arena. We're putting in this dugout there where the champion will be able to respawn when they get Koed.
They're protected in there. They can't cast any cards in there or anything. So it's just a nice little area. And then there will be a lot of cool ways that this could possibly expand in the future to be able to see the summons when they're in your hand, see them jump into the portal and then get casted. So a lot of cool flavor stuff that we planning on experimenting with in the future with the dugout. But it solved a kind of issue that were having in the gameplay and gives everybody a sense of where they're going to spawn every single time. So now we're going to talk about towers and scrimmage lines. You'll notice there's a bunch of colors in here. I'll kind of go over that with the maps that's kind of just splitting up the lanes right now. So you can see when we're testing what we did is we're like, hey, it's hard to tell where you summon something, what lane it's going to go to.
So when were in this blockout phase of levels, we just colored everything. So then it's like, hey, if I place it in the gray area, they're going to go down the gray lane. If I place it in the green area, they're going to go down the green lane. And it made it very obvious so you know where you're casting stuff. And as we kind of went through that, we're like, hey, it'd be really nice if when stuff gets arted up, we take things like this in consideration so that the players and everybody just kind of always knows where you cast something, where it's going to go. Because one of the worst feeling things is you throw a card down and you're like, I want this to go in the middle lane and then it goes off to the left and you're like, well, that just screwed up my entire plan of what I was just trying to do.
So we want to try to alleviate those pain points as early as possible. So this is kind of how we test those things out. So what you'll see here though, is you'll see that there's three towers as well and they have a bunch of rings around them. That's just for because I didn't want it to just be one single ring, because one single ring is boring to look at. So it's got this cool little decal in there. That's the range the turret can attack incoming enemies at. So it'll attack creatures. And then if there's no creatures there, it will attack the champions. They do a lot of damage. They have health. You got to take them down in order to get to the base. There's a lot of prototyping that we're going to be putting into these towers. We don't know how much damage they should do, how fast they should attack the health, how they're going to be tied to the goal.
There's a lot of things that we're experimenting on, but what we really like is the sense of there are obstacles in your way. You have to take those out. And as you take them out, you are rewarded in the sense of you feel accomplished before just ending the game. And maybe there's other things in the future that we do for when you take out a tower, other things are happening or other things happen that go into other rounds. So we can spiral off of just the tower concept in a lot of other systems and a lot of other interactions. So that's kind of the core basis of why we want the towers there. We also think it is important to show the range of the towers. That is something that we are just doing with these simple Decals. But as the art happens, we want it to all feel like it's part of the arena and it's all meant to be there and we want them to be interactive.
So you can see when it's charging up and about to fire, you can see what color it is based on what it's targeting. Is it targeting a champion or a creature or is it not targeting anything? So a lot of feedback like that to just give a really good sense to the players of what those turrets are doing and what's going on. Now another thing that you'll see in this image is you'll see this giant yellow line across the screen. That is your center line. Your Scrimmage line is what we call it now the Scrimmage line in their current map. What you'll see is it just looks like a Decal on a field, like any other sports thing. So now what we're doing here is we're bringing a little bit more life to it and we're saying, hey, this is something that you really care about.
It's nice and bright and yellow. You know, where you can summon cards. It is on your side of the Scrimmage line. It is not on the opposing sides, but maybe there are summons that could summon anywhere. It's a little spoiler alert. So what happens here is these tie into the towers. So every time a tower gets taken down, your Scrimmage line in that lane will move. So when I jump over to this next image here, this is all three Scrimmage lines moved up now. So it goes from the middle there and it moves up. So if I just take the middle tower, only that Scrimmage line that is on the gray right there in the middle is going to move. The other two are going to stay in the middle. If I take the one that's on the purple side, only the purple side is going to move.
If I take the one on the green side, only the green side is going to move. So now you're taking out the turrets, your Scrimmage lines are moving and you're able to cast your cards way closer to the enemy's goal. So now you have the sense of progression. You have a lot more decisions to make on what lanes you're pushing and why. And that's what we are accomplishing with the Scrimmage line and the towers. This map is a test map. This is in a blockout version. So if you've seen our other arenas, it's fully arted and everything like that. Something that kind of kept coming up was it felt a little small. And when we implemented these towers, the towers were reaching multiple lanes. So, like, you'd have one over on the purple lane and it was hitting middle and it was hitting the purple lane.
And we're like, well, that's not really what we want. So compared to if you've played our game and you compare that one, this is 20 meters wider and 20 meters longer. And then we've also reduced a couple of other pain points. The ramps in the current arena were really steep, and a lot of summons were having a hard time interacting on that, whether it was attacking or finding their footing of where they should go. So we've lowered the steepness of all of the ramps in the arena so that things can traverse them a lot easier. It is a way bigger feeling arena. So there's a lot of other things that we have to take in consideration when doing this. Dan had mentioned that we're reevaluating our champions right now in the base of how they're attacking and all their kits. Well, when we do a change like this to Maps, we also have to accommodate their movement speed.
When we did the first initial test of them having their normal movement speed, it immediately feels like you're moving really slow because you have a lot more space to cover. Things are spread out more, so upping their movement speed, which then you have to consider, how does that go into their combat, how does that go into their kits, how does that go into the flow of the match? So one little change that might seem like a little change, like, hey, we're just going to make the map a little wider and a little longer. It actually has a waterfall effect into almost every other system that you can think of. So before we make a change like that, we have to consider what is everything else this is going touch, what is everything else it's going to affect? And is this change going to be worth it for the better?
And how long is it going to take us to do it? So, tons of testing to do on this still, obviously. But we just want to show you. This is kind of the block out stage of what maps go into. So then if we pass this or we'll keep iterating on it like this. Screenshot has already had several iterations from when we first tested it, from where the towers are placed, how the lanes are, how the Scrimmage lines work, and where they're placed. So we just test. We iterate and we test and we change until we get something that everybody is kind of happy with. This is the area where I was talking about. The ramps are a lot shallower, so it used to just be a one really steep ramp, and now you can see it kind of goes up and then it has a 90 degree turn to the right.
So the pathing is different, the feel to get to the goal is different, a lot of things like that. So that's just kind of the iteration process of making the progression feel like it's happening during a match and allowing the players a lot more player choice and decisions inside of it. That does it for me.
All right, so we've got about 15 minutes left, so we're going to rapid fire some Q and A. Although I've read the questions that have come in, I'm sorry, my nose is all stuffy, so if I sound nasally, that's what's going on. The questions that came in are actually really good and pretty deep, so we'll try to get through as many as we can. If there's any that don't get answered, we might be able to answer them offline in Chat later on. So let's dive right in. So I'll ask a question and then whoever wants to speak up and answer.
First, go for it.
For the audience. We do prioritize our Wild Pass holder questions, so if you want to ask questions in future AMAs, that's a really.
Good way to do it, but just.
Throwing that out there. Okay, so Unreachable came in with a few questions, but I'll just start with one. The question is, how do you design a PvP game that is fun to play and what principles or techniques are you using as a guide?
That's a great question.
And the other designers may have some.
Additional follow on to this as well. But just from a very early standpoint.
Specifically with Wildcard, we as a.
Studio in a lot of our products, even previous games, like to look at what is the ultimate feel that we'd like a player to experience when they play the game. So that sounds like a generic answer, but actually it's crucial.
There are a lot of different feels.
In very similar genre games that you can go for.
So, like, for instance, StarCraft would have.
A very specific feel of kind of tactical mastery of planning, of timing, and kind of the satisfaction of being like a fiction, almost like of a war game planner, right?
Like I'm planning a war for Wildcard.
The reason why that I even talked.
About kind of champions at the onset.
And some of our goals about being a very watchable game is we're going for a feel of a spectator sport.
We're going for a feel of a team based sport where, like I said.
The champions are not the only thing that matters. Right, or else we'd probably go to.
A competitive, like a one v one game.
The reason why there's arena, the reason why there's all these interesting summons is the feel should be as a teammate.
As somebody who has agency, can express.
Themselves through their champions powers, but also in the unique cards that they bring.
To the battlefield and the timing and.
The position of how they use them.
So for us, the way that we.
Understand and that we know that we're.
Making fun, competitive game is if the.
Clarity of the battlefield is very readable.
And if the decisions that we're putting in front of the player feel like.
Just the right amount of decisions, not too many, right, that gets complicated, that gets hard to understand. We're constantly in a battle between looking at new features or new concepts to.
Understand and then pushing it all the way back down.
Yeah, but if I pick up the controller or on the keyboard and I play the game, is it understandable? And do I understand at the end of a match or the end of a round?
This is a crucial element. Do I understand what I did wrong or right, and do I know what I can do next time to improve?
And I think for this specific game, that's definitely a really strong barometer of.
Is it a good competitive game?
Do I walk away from a match.
Understanding what went south or what went right and what I can do to change it up?
And ultimately, would you go to your.
Deck builder, say, like, well, that summon.
That guy used was super cool, or I have a new idea about two creatures that might work well together?
Or do you think about how did I control my champion? Was my timing off?
Did I waste my energy over time? Did I just sit there at full energy and not summon for a long time?
I can do better. That's actually one of our big goals that I think puts us and kind of gives us the right sort of.
Information to know how competitive the game feels, how fun it feels. And if we're on the right track.
And if it just ends and you.
Don'T have any clue about any of.
Those things, then we know we have.
More work to do. Thank you.
All right, so I'm going to combine I'm going to try and combine a couple of questions that came in from Mr. Clean, who's in the audience. Thanks for joining us, Mr. Clean. So they want to know about the concepts that went into designing the Frostburn arena and balancing the aesthetic of the arena versus how it's being used in gameplay and strategy. And, of course, this question has come up a few times, but it's a good time as I need to ask if we're considering multiple arena designs that.
Can be used in game cool.
Frostburn has gone through a couple of.
Permutations, even in the past in our.
Trailer, I think you can see kind.
Of an early version of that, and.
It'S communicating something and very specific in that trailer. We're like, actually, maybe we want to reserve that with our exhibition that we did not too long ago. We wanted to give a feeling back.
To feeling of a competitive kind of high level competition.
And so the current design of the.
Arena, kind of the great work that the artists have done to give it.
This, it's kind of like a neo sports vibe.
It's less about some sort of fantasy.
I don't know hellscape, that the other.
Arena kind of started feeling like it's more like this is a high end competition. So that understanding of, well, okay, if.
There'S a high end competition, what's kind of like a low end competition? Or what's a more casual competition? That is my way of segueing into your second part of the question, which.
Is, are multiple arenas being considered?
And the answer is yes.
Now, the form of that and kind.
Of the implications of that, we're still working on.
So I won't spoil all of that.
But we're definitely thinking about it.
Just consider it.
We have a fun, robust IP that we're building out nonstop.
These characters don't just come from nowhere.
They come from somewhere. And they have whole home worlds that.
They come from and societies that live.
On those, and they're not alone.
So when we think about those things, we think about how do we extend.
Not just the playability of the game.
But also extend our IP through that lens?
And also, this ties very much into.
Kind of our aspirations in the competitive.
Space and in the web three space about how we express competition at different.
Levels in Wildcard.
So there's a little bit of vaguery.
There because there's some things we haven't.
Released yet that I can't wait to show. But I just very simply do want.
To address the core of that, which.
Is, oh, yeah, we're thinking about additional.
Maybe next design talk. Just kidding.
Okay, I want to ask one from let's do the one from Pyro Gump. So given the well, you know what, we did talk about deck building, so I'm going to skip over that. I'm going to go to Luke Skywalker. Who wants to know where the initial idea to combine a champion based game with a card game came from?
That's a really good question.
And Stephen was even on kind of.
The original team kind of back in the day, too.
And I remember this is many years ago now. I remember that this game actually kind.
Of evolved from a separate game that.
We were working on that was a little bit slanted, more adventurey, but was.
Still the strong focus was on spectatorship and fandom and expressing your fandom via and being visible within the game itself. And so the adventure part of it.
Had similar themes, right?
It had houses and kind of different.
Actions and stuff, but I think it.
Kind of evolved from that state into this competitive version that we see today. But the crucial thing stayed the same.
And it's the whole reason that I.
Think we're even interested in the web.
Three space at all, which is community.
And connection and visibility within a sports.
Like ecosystem, that frustration that were.
Running into back in the day when were trying to build this game.
And say, well, it's not enough that.
People just show up. The game needs to understand that people.
Are showing up and highlight and reward that behavior.
It's ridiculous. That's incredibly valuable and exciting and fun.
That there's a community growing around a game. How can we connect these pieces?
And not until, I think, the advent.
Of deeper thought in the Web Three.
Space were we finally able to kind of start connecting these pieces to be.
Like, you know what?
I think we figured it out.
I think we know how we can.
Sufficiently do our aspirations in this space.
And really connect the audience and the fandom to the game proper and have.
That level of awareness.
So I don't know if you have.
Anything you want to add to that.
Steven, but that's pulling back multiple years now. That's what I remember from the journey.
Now, that's a good summary. And so I won't belabor it, but, yeah, I think my history and recollection.
Is that core interaction of, here's a.
Champion, I'm throwing his card, and I'm summoning, and the summons kind of progress and five fiat AI hasn't changed almost 1% since those very early days that I've been on. And so I think that interaction and again, that feel of hey, it's like I'm having a Pokemon battle except I'm there in the arena battling alongside my summons. That core idea was something that was kind of identified from those very early explorations like dances of kind of an unrelated or project that was pointing in a different direction. And then when I came onto the team very early, what were trying to do was, okay, how do we know this, that we found this core of fun because of this interaction? And kind of we had a representation.
Of a deck building to go along.
With it, and all the Summons looked like Shrink Fairy minus, right? But we knew there was this court of fun, and then we started exploring, what if we get off of this flat, square arena that looks like a tennis court into something a little bit more complex? And that's what we ended up designing Frostburn and these other arenas and kind of exploring off from there. But that initial kind of core came.
From that fundamental interaction and fantasy of.
What this game is all about. And that heart of it hasn't changed since the time that I was on it. At that time, even.
Right? If you think about the fiction and.
The feel, it's like Pokemon, but for real, right?
Where it's almost like Pokemon. The anime that you watch and you see how exciting and dynamic those battles feel.
I think if you kind of go.
Work backwards from that sort of sense.
And kind of the tactical sense that.
We get from games like League of.
Legends and stuff like that, then you start getting to the soul of that's.
How these pieces all started fitting together.
Was, well, this is a game about summoning.
This is a game about supporting those summons. This is a game about player choice. This is a game about strategy meets action.
So all of those have helped shape.
The game kind of into its current.
Direction and I think have found a very fun core, which we're really excited to build on.
I love it.
Thanks. Okay, so this is going to push us over just probably a minute or two, but I love the nature of this question, so I want to end on a really fun one. But the question is from Mr. Clean and is asking similar to films having Outtakes or Bloopers, have we experienced any unexpected uses of the game's design that.
Know, unexpected or funny?
We can maybe just do one or two examples that we'll wrap up.
Absolutely. So one of our engineers, Nick, did a great thing. He actually unleashed a strategy on AMI when they were playing.
We do weekly kind of team kind.
Of big competitive play tests, which are.
Different than just playing and hunting bugs and things.
Let's play it and let's focus on.
The game as a competitive game.
And so Nick was doing Psyops on us and kind of like saying, oh.
I don't know what I'm doing.
I don't know what I'm doing.
And then he unleashed this devastating strategy.
Shocking strategy, I'll put it that way.
Which was, what if he ignores everything.
And just dashes with bulgar as fast.
As possible to the opponent's goal and.
Just starts wrecking it with the ground pound, which is like a super op move.
We know about that. And as soon as he gets Koed.
He responds, dashes right back over, doesn't summon a single thing and just smashes the goal.
Smashes the goal. It was awesome.
And it was completely unexpected. And.
I think what it does is.
It opens our eyes, like all stuff like that. And then what have I seen recently in the channel?
The watchy army.
The sembler army being healed. They have degrading health. They're being healed by Aloes.
Fantastic. These are the things that we want to see.
We want a game that supports crazy new strategies.
And the thing about the Nick strategy.
That I mentioned is I loved seeing it. Was it busted or broken?
No, not really. But it highlighted some other elements of.
Our game that we wanted to improve.
Which was, well, the part we don't.
Like about it is that it's like very non interactive. You can't disturb, you can't break that pattern. There was no way to snap them out of it.
There was no way to stop that. Now, did it win all the time?
You would imagine that those sort of things kind of work themselves out of a game.
Like, well, if it doesn't work all.
The time, why would people do that?
It can catch you off guard.
And even the latest, like, tower prototypes, it becomes less of an issue because those towers are mean.
That sort of experience and seeing kind of unique and exciting new strategies.
That'S what this game is about.
And I think the game must support and must be exciting to try out new things. So we have a mantra here on.
The design side, which is for any.
Of our systems, for anything that we work on.
If there's a question which is like, hey, I wonder if this would work.
The way I think it does, I.
Want the answer to be yes. And I think we all do.
So a good example is if you.
Grow spored and make giant spore.
I mentioned this in the chat. Well, Spord multiplies.
So if he is grown and he.
Multiplies, sure would be kind of frustrating.
To see just a regular looking sport.
No, actually its babies are gigantic as well. So suddenly you're like, oh, cool.
Well, there's a new strategy. Well, on multiples, I want to grow.
The base and then let it split.
And then I get that kind of.
Follow on effect, follow on bonus. It's not something we lay out do this thing.
It is a fun mix of systems playing together, but the answer should be yes.
So that's something we're trying to hold.
Ourselves to every time, because the goal.
Is fun, the goal is discovery and.
The goal is surprise. And if you think about a game.
That'S played over and over again without that, the matches start feeling very similar. So awesome question, but yeah, we've seen it, we continue to see it and.
We'Re, I think, always motivated by seeing kind of new strategies.
Really lights our fires.
Definitely. All right, y'all, well, we're at the end of our time for today and I know some of our holders in the audience are now eager to get into a play test, which happens right now. So maybe you guys can start using some of the strategies and the alpha that you learned here today. But Brad, Dan, Stephen, thank you so much for making the time today and sharing the more of the inner workings of the Wildcard design. We'll be doing more of these with both the design team and other teams at Wildcard. We'll talk to the art team and engineering team. You guys will know everything that's going on the side. So thank you for joining us today. We'll keep answering your questions in Chat as best we can, so you can join us in General Chat and we'll keep the discussion going there.
But we'll sign off now.
Thank you. Bye.