Siralim Ultimate – Dev Blog: Animator Specialization

Recently, I asked on Twitter and Facebook which specialization I should reveal first: the Animator, the Trickster, or the Sorcerer. The Animator and Trickster were clearly the most popular choices among the three options, but the Animator managed to win by a narrow margin in the end. And honestly, this might be one of my favorite specializations in the game, so I’m really excited to share this one with you.

Before I get started, I’d like to explain a few things about how specializations work in Siralim Ultimate.

Specializations versus Classes

In previous Siralim games, players chose from one of five classes for their character: Chaos, Death, Life, Nature, or Sorcery. Each class had several unique perks that changed the way your creatures behaved in battle. It’s a totally fine system, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. So, rather than making any massive adjustments to how this class system works in Siralim Ultimate, I simply decided to add more options for you to choose from. Now, character classes are called “specializations”.

There’s a whopping fifteen specializations for you to choose from at the start of the game. Each one comes with its own starting creature. Some specializations are a bit more difficult to understand than others, so I’ve assigned a difficulty to each one so that new players can choose beginner-friendly specializations, while veterans of the series can experiment with more challenging specializations if they want. To be clear, however, the “beginner-friendly” specializations are no less powerful than those that are tuned for expert players.

Each specialization comes with a unique wardrobe costume and title. And, if our Kickstarter performs well enough, I’d love to add a few specialization-specific side quests to flesh out each one. And if the Kickstarter does really, really well, I have a few additional specializations in mind that I’d like to add on top of the promised 15.

Even after you’ve chosen your specialization, you can switch to a different one later on. You’ll unlock additional specializations by reaching a certain favor rank with each of the 15 original gods. Changing your specialization is as simple as visiting your castle and talking to an NPC after you’ve unlocked additional specializations. When you change specializations, the game will remember your previous specializations’ perks so that you don’t need to re-allocate your points every single time you want to switch things up.

Unlike in the previous Siralim games, your character no longer has a level. The only thing your character level did in Siralim 3 was grant you perk points, which seems like a bit of a waste. Instead, you’ll now gain a perk point each time you complete a Realm Quest at your highest-ever realm depth.

That’s pretty much all I have to say about how specializations work from a game mechanics perspective. Now, let’s take a look at the Animator specialization!

The Animator

 

Playstyle

Animators have access to a unique creature called an Animatus. While the Animatus takes on the appearance of a Nightmare Golem, its stats and trait are much different from the normal version of this creature.

The Animators’ perks all focus on creating the perfect version of their Animatus. Think of it like a Frankenstein type of thing. Your Animatus will grow more powerful based on your actions, and it will even steal benefits from your other creatures to ensure that it is the biggest powerhouse in your group.

If you played a Death Mage in Siralim 3, you might be familiar with this concept already (in the form of “Saia”). However, unlike the Death Mage, the Animator is 100% dedicated to its creation and offers far more customization to make your Animatus feel like you built it yourself.

Perks

Please note that the numerical values shown for each of these perks is not final yet. Any values shown in {brackets} increase as you level up the perk, but for the sake of clarity, I’ve provided you with their maximum values already.

Animatus – A unique Nightmare Golem joins your party. This creature can be upgraded and modified via other perks. In addition, Undertaker Glokta will join your kingdom and provide services for you to enhance your Animatus.

Endowment – At the start of battle, your Animatus fuses with a copy of the second creature in your party.

  • Note: this means that you can’t fuse your Animatus as you can with other creatures. This perk is interesting because it allows you to quickly change what creature your Animatus is fused with, so you don’t need to commit to a particular fusion long-term.

Molecular Betrayal – At the start of battle, your Animatus steals {50%} of your third creature’s Attack, Intelligence, Defense, and Speed.

Cogmind – At the start of battle, your Animatus steals your fourth creature’s non-Ethereal Spell Gems.

  • Note: You’re probably wondering what an “Ethereal” gem is. Those are simply what we’re calling “Temporary” Spell Gems from the previous games.

Damnation’s Edge – At the start of battle, your Animatus steals your fifth creature’s innate trait.

  • Note: notice the word “steal”. This means that your fifth creature’s innate trait will be replaced by a “dud trait” that doesn’t do anything for the rest of the battle.

Forged By Pain – Your Animatus shares the damage it takes with your sixth creature.

Dancing Blade – Your Animatus’ Artifact takes on a life of its own, giving your Animatus a {25%} chance to attack a random enemy at the end of each creature’s turn.

Dark Anima – Your Animatus’ Spell Gems take on a life of their own, giving your Animatus a {25%} chance to cast one of its spells at the end of each creature’s turn.

Anguish Through Awareness – Your Animatus starts battles with {3} random buffs.

Desensitization – Your Animatus has a {60%} chance to ignore debuffs.

Thrive On Death – After your creatures are killed, your Animatus gains {50%} of their Attack, Intelligence, Defense, and Speed.

Death and Decay – After an enemy is killed, your Animatus casts Corpse Explosion.

  • Note: Corpse Explosion is a spell that deals damage based on the number of dead enemies.

Gray Matter – Your Animatus gains {5} Spell Gem slots.

Forbidden Magic – Undertaker Glokta now sells items that allow you to boost your Animatus’ base stats.

  • Note: these work like Tomes from previous Siralim games. However, you can only give a creature a total of 15 of these items, so you’ll need to choose the stats wisely.

Masterpiece – Undertaker Glokta now allows you to change your Animatus’ race.

 

Animatus Customization

Your Animatus can be customized in several different ways. Undertaker Glokta is an Animator-exclusive NPC that you’ll find in your castle. He sells all kinds of different items for your Animatus, and provides a number of interesting services as well. One such service is the ability to change your Animatus’ skin. Here are a few skins that Nieve has come up with:

 

Aside from that, Glokta sells items that allow you to boost your Animatus’ base stats. There’s a limited number of these items you can feed to your Animatus, but you can reset them at any time and feed them new ones if you’re unhappy with your original choice.

Lastly, for the sake of opening up more opportunities for you to build your party around the Animatus, Glokta also allows you to change its race.


Please note that nothing mentioned in this blog post is finalized. I reserve the right to change or remove anything mentioned in this post at any time. If you’re reading this post after the game has already launched, your best bet is to forget everything you just read because very few of the things I write about will remain untouched in the final product.

Siralim Ultimate – Dev Blog: Battle Improvements, Minions, and More!

In this week’s dev blog, we’ll discuss some of the improvements made to battles in Siralim Ultimate. Please note that this isn’t a definitive list – there are dozens of additional battle improvements to be found in this game, but it’s difficult to fit everything into a single post. There are many other additions that you’ll be happy to discover yourself after you play the game. With all of that said, I hope you enjoy this post!

Important note: the animations in this post contain outdated creature sprites. As I promised before, the final game will include all-new sprites for these creatures. Also, please note that these GIFs are rendered at 30 FPS which makes them look quite a bit worse than they do in-game.

Battle Improvements

Attack Animations

Spells have always had their own unique battle animations to make them stand out from each other. But what about attacks? Up until now, attacking a creature simply caused their sprite to flash a few times. Needless to say, that’s kind of boring.

The first step toward solving this problem was to create attack animations that work just like spell animations. Nieve managed to draw an attack animation for every single creature race in the game. I’m sure it was a lot of work, but the result was definitely worth it. Here’s an example of my Berserker Fiend attacking an enemy:

The attack animations change colors based on the attacking creature’s class. For example, Berserker Fiends belong to the Chaos class, so their attack animations flash red and yellow. However, if you fuse your Berserker Fiend with a Dragon Soldier, the resulting Berserker Fiend’s class will be Sorcery. In that case, the creature’s attack animation will instead flash purple and pink to denote that it came from a Sorcery creature.

And More Animations

But that’s not all! Now, when your creatures attack, cast spells, defend, provoke, or take damage, their battle sprites will react accordingly.

 

For example, here’s what happens when a creature casts a spell:

 

 

Well, that was anti-climactic. It looks much better in-game – again, these GIFs are rendered at 30 FPS (half the game’s actual frame rate), so they don’t really do the animations justice.

While these animations will feel very basic, they do a great job at making it feel like your creatures are actually performing their actions in battle. As a result, battles are much more satisfying than before. Even when you’re fighting battles using Turbo Mode, it’s very satisfying to watch all the creatures on the battlefield (including your own) move around as they take action.

Better Readability

The battle UI now shows all kinds of useful information that will help you make better choices in battle. For example, when you’re choosing a target to attack, the battle selector will tell you if a target’s class is strong or weak against that of your creature. Let’s face it: none of us actually think it’s fun to memorize type strengths/weaknesses in monster catching games, and while it’s a bit easier for a game like Siralim where there are only 5 classes to memorize, a friendly reminder is always welcome.

As you can see, my Thrasher Fiend’s class is weak against that of the Skeleton Cannoneer that I’m targeting, so the “Attack” text appears in blue along with a sword icon followed by a minus sign. If I had targeted a Sorcery creature instead, the text would have been red with a sword icon followed by a plus sign.

Some creatures also come with their own, custom UI elements to help you use their traits more effectively. For example, creatures from the Reaper race have traits that kill enemies with 35% health or less. In previous games, these traits were difficult to use because it was hard to determine if an enemy was below 35% health or not. In Siralim Ultimate, an indicator will appear on the UI to tell you which creatures interact with your Reapers’ traits.

Action Queue… err, Timeline

The Action Queue is now called the “Timeline”. It just makes more sense.

In other news, you can now view all the creatures in battle on the Timeline rather than only the next 6 creatures.

The Mighty F Key

As you already know, Siralim Ultimate sports a brand new keyboard key for you to press: the F key.

 

While the F key is most often used to sort your inventory (and other interfaces) on the fly, it also helps out quite a bit in battle. For example, while you’re holding down the F key in battle, you can view the enemies’ “parents” that were used to fuse the resulting creature. Holding the F key also shows players the duration of all creature buffs and debuffs.

More Powerful Macros

I’ve added a ton of new conditions and actions to the Macro system in Siralim Ultimate.

Most interestingly, however, is the addition of the “AND” action.

Now, you can create a macro that looks something like this:

If this creature has < 50% Health AND…

If this creature has Berserk, attack a random enemy.

This means that you can link multiple conditional lines together to make your macros even smarter than before!

And yes, you can have multiple “AND” lines in a row and they’ll work exactly the way you’d expect.

One More Thing

Many players create some truly ridiculous combinations with their creatures’ traits, perks, and spells. In some cases, one creature’s actions might create hundreds or even thousands of instances of floating combat text, which makes some battles take a really, really long time. In Siralim Ultimate, after too many messages have been displayed, the game will automatically resolve the rest of the turn so you can move on with your life.

 

Buffs, Debuffs, and… Minions?

New Buff and Debuff Icons

Nieve drew all-new icons for buffs and debuffs for Siralim Ultimate. They’re much easier to read than before, and they also have uniquely styled borders so you can easily determine which of these conditions are buffs and which are debuffs.

Speaking of Buffs and Debuffs…

Most of the buffs and debuffs from previous games have been overhauled. Many of them are now much more straightforward, but more importantly, some of the less-useful buffs/debuffs are now far more powerful. Here are a few examples:

Berserk – Berserk creatures deal 50% more damage. [Previously, this buff also caused the creature to take more damage… so was it a buff, or was it really a debuff in the end?]

Blind – Blind creatures cannot choose their targets when attacking or casting single-target spells. [Previously, Blind gave attacks a chance to miss. It wasn’t very useful in general, and didn’t work with spells at all.]

Cursed – When Cursed creatures deal damage with attacks or spells, they take damage equal to 100% of their target’s Attack. [Previously, this didn’t work with spell damage.]

Taunt – Creatures with Taunt automatically Provoke at the end of their turn. [Previously, Taunt increased the chance for a creature to successfully Provoke. This buff should be much more useful now.]

 

Of course, there are plenty of new buffs and debuffs for you to discover as well…

Rebirth – Creatures with Rebirth are resurrected with 30% Health when they die. Then, this debuff is removed.

Bomb – At the start of a creature’s turn, its Bomb detonates, dealing damage to the creatures equal to 80% of the afflictor’s Speed. Then, this debuff is removed. [Remember “Bomb” gems from Siralim 3? It’s a debuff now!]

Disarmed – Disarmed creatures lose all benefits from their equipped Artifact. [Disarmed has always been a thing, but now it is considered a debuff instead of some arbitrary event that happens in battle.]

Debuffs, Bosses, and You

In previous games, bosses were immune to debuffs such as Stun, Scorn, and Silence. In Siralim Ultimate, bosses aren’t immune to debuffs at all – instead, certain debuffs will be much less powerful when applied to bosses. For example, Scorn doesn’t prevent bosses from attacking – but it does reduce boss attack damage by 50%. Bosses also have a much higher chance to break out of action-impairing effects, such as Frozen and Snare. This change will make debuff-oriented builds much more viable for all parts of the game.

 

Buff/Debuff Duration Consistency

Buffs and debuffs now have consistent durations. In previous games, one trait might afflict the Burn debuff for 6 turns, while another would afflict Burn for only 3 turns. This was unnecessarily specific, and wasn’t even relevant in most cases. In Siralim Ultimate, most buffs and debuffs last for 3 turns, while a few last for only 1 turn. You can still increase or decrease these durations using traits, perks, and things like that, of course.

Minions

If you’ve played Siralim 1, you’ll have a pretty good idea about what a “minion” is. Remember Dire Wolves? Spiderlings? Splinters? They’re back and better than ever in Siralim Ultimate!

Minions work a lot like buffs, except they’re not classified as buffs – they’re classified as minions, and they have a few subtle differences you should know about:

  1. Most Minions can stack multiple times. For example, if you have 3 stacks of Dire Wolves, they’ll deal a lot more damage than if you only have 1 stack.
  2. Minions don’t have a duration. Instead, each Minion stack has a fixed chance to go away at the end of your creatures’ turns. For example, each stack of Dire Wolves has a 25% chance to go away at the end of a creature’s turn.
  3. Typically, the function of Minions is much more complex than that of a buff.

Here are a few examples of the Minions you’ll find in Siralim Ultimate. Please note that these effects are not final and will very likely change before you get to play the game:

Dire Wolves – After this minion’s master attacks, each Dire Wolf deals damage to the target equal to 80% of its Speed. Maximum of 5 stacks.

Famine – After this minion’s master attacks, it decreases the target’s Maximum Health by 30% of the damage dealt. [Remember this guy, as well as the other three horsemen from Siralim 3?]

Doppelganger – All of this minion’s master’s actions are repeated an additional time.

While several traits and spells interact with Minions, there’s also a specialization that players can choose from called the Necromancer. Necromancers specialize in Minions, and the goal is for players to feel like they’re controlling a massive army in battle. I’ll dive a bit deeper into how specializations work, and I’ll start revealing the perks for these specializations in a future dev blog.


Please note that nothing mentioned in this blog post is finalized. I reserve the right to change or remove anything mentioned in this post at any time. If you’re reading this post after the game has already launched, your best bet is to forget everything you just read because very few of the things I write about will remain untouched in the final product.

Siralim Ultimate – Dev Blog: Spell Gems

Welcome to the first dev blog of 2020! In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into how Spell Gems work in Siralim Ultimate. Much like Artifacts, Spell Gems will have some serious quality-of-life improvements compared to how they worked in the previous games.

New Spells

First things first: there are over 100 new spells for you to use in Siralim Ultimate! Most of these are a bit more niche than the original spells, and I hope they’ll unlock new and exciting play-styles for you to try.

Here are five new spells that you’ll see in Siralim Ultimate – one for each class:

Schism (Life) – Enemies take a moderate amount of damage. This spell casts a number of times equal to the number of times your creatures have resurrected in the current battle.

Madness (Nature) – Target and the caster take a devastating amount of damage.

Flood of Darkness (Death) – Enemies that are Cursed attack their allies at random.

Reverse Polarity (Sorcery) – Target’s debuffs are converted to random buffs.

Blastwave (Chaos) – Enemies take a small amount of damage, or a massive amount of damage if they are Burned.

Goodbye Mana, Hello Charges

The old mana system never really worked out at all. Most creatures had such small mana pools that they could only cast 1 or 2 spells per battle, while others had such low mana that they couldn’t cast certain spells at all. It also felt strange that mana didn’t increase as your creatures leveled up while all other stats did… so while your creatures might someday have 5 trillion health, they’d still have the same ~25 mana that they started with at level 1. Overall, the mana system was virtually impossible to balance in order for it to “feel good” to play with. Therefore, the mana stat has been removed from Siralim Ultimate in favor of a new resource system for casting spells: Charges.

Each spell gem has a certain number of Charges. The more powerful the spell, the fewer Charges the gem probably has. After a creature casts a spell – whether manually or automatically – a Charge is consumed. When a Spell Gem runs out of Charges, it can’t be cast anymore until you replenish those Charges.

Charges do not replenish after battle. Instead, they will fully replenish when you leave your current realm. You can also sometimes find some in-realm objects and events that will restore your creatures’ Charges. Aside from that, there are plenty of traits, spells, and other effects that interact with the new Charge system to allow you to regenerate your Charges in battle. For example, the “Arcane” buff now causes the next spell a creature casts to consume no Charges, and then the Arcane buff is removed.

The goals of the new Charge system are as follows:

  1. To alleviate the issues with mana that I mentioned above.
  2. To give players incentives to use some of the weaker spells in the game since they have more Charges and are probably more suitable for auto-casting teams.
  3. To balance automatic casting and give players incentives to manually cast spells in some cases, rather than relying on auto-casting at all times.

New Spell Gem Properties

The following properties from Siralim 3 no longer exist in Siralim Ultimate:

  • Decreased Mana Cost
  • Supercharged (too many people thought that a bug was deleting their spell gems thanks to this property)
  • Costs X% Health Instead of Mana
  • Chance to Refund Mana

And here’s a list of new properties that you’ll find in Siralim Ultimate

  • +X% more Charges – this one is self-explanatory.
  • Defense Penetration – this causes your spells to ignore a percentage of the target’s Defense, which is relevant for damaging spells and stat-reducing spells.
  • Singular – this causes the spell’s potency to increase for each empty spell slot the caster has. With this property, it might be worth leaving a few slots open in order to cast more powerful spells.
  • Cascading – this causes the spell’s potency to increase for each Charge that is missing from a spell gem. In other words, the more you use a spell, the more powerful it will become.
  • Magnetic – this causes the spell’s potency to increase for each creature you have fighting on your side that has the same spell equipped. For example, if your Berserker Fiend has the Rend spell equipped with the Magnetic property, and 3 of your other creatures have Rend spells equipped as well, your Berserker Fiend’s Rend spell will deal much more damage. The other creatures with the Rend spell do not need to have the Magnetic property attached to their gems.
  • Cast After Attacking: if you played Siralim 2, you’ll remember this one. As you can probably guess, this property gives your creatures a % chance to cast the spell after the creature attacks. This property was removed in Siralim 3 because auto-casted spells were deemed too powerful, but thanks to the new Charge system, this won’t be as much of an issue since auto-casted spells do consume Charges. Aside from that, auto-casting is just fun. It’s satisfying to attack an enemy and then immediately barrage them with a few spells to finish them off.
  • Cast After Defending. Self-explanatory. Read above.
  • Cast After Provoking. Self-explanatory. Read above.
  • Cast After Healing. Self-explanatory. Read above.

Crafting a Spell Gem

Much like Artifacts, Spell Gems will no longer be found from sources of loot such as treasure chests. Instead, players will craft and modify Spell Gems at the Enchanter. At the start of the game, you’ll only be able to choose from 15 types of Spell Gems to craft. During your travels, you’ll acquire blueprints that will allow you to craft new Spell Gems.

Crafting a Spell Gem is the only way to acquire spells in Siralim Ultimate. The goal of this change is twofold:

  1. I want to give players more control over the spells they can use earlier in the game. In previous games, players were at the mercy of finding random spells in treasure chests, which caused the start of the game to feel very hit-or-miss depending on how lucky you were. Even the luckiest of players still didn’t have access to a lot of spells until much later in the game, which made the early game feel more boring than it should have felt.
  2. I want to mitigate the amount of inventory clutter. In Siralim 3, some players amassed thousands of pages of Spell Gems. At that point, how can you ever hope to sort through them to find what you want? Aside from that, this caused some massive performance issues for players who never grinded their gems to get rid of them.

Upgrading a Spell Gem

Spell Gems now have “Tiers”, and they work similarly to how they do for Artifacts. Spell Gems start at Tier 1, and you can upgrade them to Tier 15 by spending Crystal at the Enchanter.

Tiers are a bit more straightforward for Spell Gems than they are for Artifacts:

  • At tiers 5, 10, and 15, you’ll unlock a new slot that can be used to enchant the gem with a new property. Unlike Artifacts, Spell Gems don’t have different types of slots, so you can enchant them with whichever properties you want.
  • Each tier determines the potency of the gem’s properties. This system is meant to replace the “reforging” system for Spell Gems, effectively eliminating the need for players to rely on luck to obtain the best values for their gems’ properties.
  • At tiers 5, 10, and 15, the gem’s icon will also change to make it look more prestigious and powerful.

Enchanting a Spell Gem

This works the same way as in Siralim 3: you’ll take your spell gems to the enchanter, and she’ll add whatever properties you want to your gems in exchange for crafting materials (dust).

Disenchanting a Spell Gem

Again, this works exactly the same way as it did in Siralim 3: this function simply allows you to remove a property from a Spell Gem.

Grinding a Spell Gem

You can grind your unwanted Spell Gems and receive some resources in exchange for them. I’m not sure if this feature will stay in the game for release, because you won’t have as many unwanted Spell Gems cluttering your inventory this time around as you can’t find them in the wild anymore.


Please note that nothing mentioned in this blog post is finalized. I reserve the right to change or remove anything mentioned in this post at any time. If you’re reading this post after the game has already launched, your best bet is to forget everything you just read because very few of the things I write about will remain untouched in the final product.