Happy New Year! 2019 Retrospective

A Look Back at 2019

I hope you all had a fantastic year! This year was another busy one for us. Let’s take a look at what happened in 2019, and then talk about what we can all look forward to in 2020.

 

Siralim Ultimate was announced!

The latest installment of the Siralim series was announced last month, and I can’t wait to dive deeper into all of its features in upcoming blog posts. This is our most ambitious game yet, and I’m very excited for players to try it out in just a few months from now.

 

Siralim 3 was released on Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4!

This year marked the first time we’ve ever released a game on Nintendo Switch and Xbox One. Playing my own game on a Nintendo platform was a childhood dream come true. I was very happy to be able to get our cross-platform cloud saving functionality working on the Switch as well.

I also did an AMA on /r/NintendoSwitch. You might find some of those answers interesting if you’re into that kind of thing.

 

Siralim 3 was released in physical format for PlayStation 4!

Limited Run Games once again helped us out by publishing physical copies of Siralim 3 on PS4. Hope you managed to grab a copy for your collection before they sold out!

 

 

We launched a new merchandise shop!

Earlier this year, we revamped our merchandise shop and launched a whole new line of products, including mugs, phone cases, posters, and much more! Keep an eye out for Siralim Ultimate merchandise in the near future as well.

 

Project Bestiary started and ended

We started a podcast about monster catching games called Project Bestiary. The podcast ran for a total of 20 episodes, but I decided to put this project on an indefinite hiatus so that I could dedicate more time to making games. I still haven’t decided if/when the podcast will make its return, but I hope everyone enjoyed it while it lasted! The episodes are still available on the Project Bestiary website, so check them out if you haven’t done so already.

Project Bestiary

 

Creature of the Day started and ended

Every single day on Facebook and Twitter, we posted a “Creature of the Day” image that featured a randomly-selected creature’s lore, stats, trait, and a custom drawing of that creature. Now that the year is over, however, I have decided to stop releasing Creatures of the Day. I’m afraid that such constant spamming annoys a lot of people, not to mention it clutters our social media pages and makes it difficult to find important information such as game announcements. While I’m sad to see this feature go away, I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted!

Image

 

What’s in store for 2020

Siralim Ultimate Kickstarter

We’re going to launch a Kickstarter for Siralim Ultimate in early 2020. All the proceeds from this Kickstarter will be fed back into the game to add even more content and polish to it. It will also give players the opportunity to add their own ideas to the game!

 

Siralim Ultimate will be released on Steam, iOS, and Android!

This game is shaping up to be absolutely massive. It’s going to have more content than all three of the previous Siralim games combined, and I know you’re going to love it. And with your help, we’re going to make it even better.

We also look forward to bringing Siralim Ultimate to consoles in 2021.

 

Trial of the Gods: A Siralim Collectible Card Game

Yes, we finally have a name for our upcoming digital card game: Trial of the Gods! Jay and I have been play-testing it for a few weeks now, and it’s an absolute blast to play. We’re almost done with the trailer, so you can look forward to that in just a few weeks from now, as well as a full feature announcement. We’ll also have a few blog posts dedicated to this game before it releases on Early Access. We’re currently targeting early February for Early Access on Steam. It will make its way to iOS and Android later in 2020 as well, but we’re still not sure if it will come to consoles yet.

 

And a quick note about The Negative

Right now, my full focus is on development for Siralim Ultimate and Trial of the Gods. For that reason, The Negative is once again on the back-burner so I can fully dedicate myself to my other games. I realize this is disappointing news for some people, but the truth of that matter is that I’m still not 100% satisfied with the direction The Negative was heading in. I’m going to need to re-visit it at a later time with a clear mind and try to re-think some of its core gameplay mechanics. This is an extremely personal game for me as it’s a gamified representation of my own philosophies and ideals, so it’s very important that I do it all the right way.

Just to be clear: The Negative is not canceled.

 

Thank you!

I can’t thank you all enough for yet another year of your support. It is absolutely humbling to watch so many players interact with each other and discuss their love for the Siralim games. Your passion is what drives me and the rest of the team to work as hard as we possibly can to continue delivering deep, engaging gameplay experiences to you.

I hope you and your family have a happy and safe New Year! 2020 is going to be our biggest year so far, and I can’t wait to show you all the amazing things we’ve been working on.

– Zack Bertok

What We’re Working On

First of all, I want to apologize for my radio silence this year. Originally, I intended to write development posts about The Negative on a monthly basis, but as you can see, that didn’t happen. I’ve decided to write a quick blog post to let everyone know what we’ve been working on, and what to expect from us in the future.

The Negative

We’re still hard at work on The Negative. It feels like I announced this game forever ago, but I still haven’t had the opportunity to show it off very much. The main reason for that is simply because the game is absolutely enormous. There are 13 different environments in the game, and just one of those environments has more assets than all of Siralim 3 combined. The Negative also requires an insane amount of sound effects – for example, when your character walks around in the world, you’ll hear different footstep sounds depending on what type of surface you’re walking on.

However, another reason for the delays is because at the start of this year, I decided to start over on development completely. Almost everything about the game will be different compared to when I first announced it. For example, the overworld will now be hand-crafted (rather than randomly generated), and it takes a lot more time to develop a massive world like that. In addition, I’ve designed a bunch of new systems to give the game more depth of gameplay, and also to increase its replay (and post-game) value. Even the main character that you’ll control looks completely different now.

With all of that in mind, I’m still very, very far off from having anything to show you, much less release an Early Access version for you to try out. The biggest roadblock is the sheer number of graphical assets that need to be created for a game of this scope. For that reason, there’s not much I can work on right now because most of the programming is already finished.

That’s the bad news. Now, let’s get to the good stuff.

Siralim CCG

Alongside The Negative, we’re working on a single player, digital, collectible card game that takes place in the Siralim world. It will be available on all the platforms you’ve come to expect from us, and it’s insanely fun. The gameplay is unique, so you don’t need to worry about it being yet another MTG/Hearthstone ripoff or anything like that. In addition, you’ll only need to pay a one-time fee to play the game – we’re not going to sell booster packs or anything predatory like that.

This is the first game we’ve ever created where I’m not the programmer; this time around, I’m working with a programmer named Jay. My role is simply to fund the project, work with Jay on the design process to make sure that everything fits with the Siralim theme, and to ensure that the game is as fun and deep as possible.

The Siralim CCG is pretty far into development at this point, and while we still don’t have a release date to share with you, it will come sooner than you probably think. In the coming months, we’ll show off some gameplay and discuss the game’s core features. We might even have a demo available some time before it hits Early Access on Steam.

Secret Project

So if I’m not programming The Negative or the Siralim CCG, what have I been doing this whole time? Well… working on another game, of course!

I can say with 100% confidence that if you’ve enjoyed the Siralim games, you’re going to adore this game as well. That’s all I can say for now, but I’m planning to announce it before the end of this year and release it some time in 2020. It’s going to be amazing.

The Negative: Devlog #23: Just checking in!

While I’ve been busy working on Siralim 3, Maarten, Tim, and JC (who is also working on a lot of Siralim 3 stuff!) have continued to work on new graphics, music, and sound effects for The Negative. While I don’t have any huge news to report in this devlog, I figured everyone might appreciate a status update on how the development cycle is going for The Negative.

As of a few days ago, Maarten completed work on all the monster sprites. There’s over 140 sprites total, including summoned monsters and things like that. They’re all animated with both attack and idle animations. JC has been working hard on skill effects for these monsters – each monster can have 4 active skills, so all of those require their own particle effects and sprites. In addition, many passive skills also require animated effects, so there are around 800 total skill effects in the entire game. That’s an absolutely insane amount, and yet JC is already about 80% done with these. He also finished all the buff and debuff effects, as well as battle ground effects such as pools of lava or circles of healing.

While JC finishes up the skill effects, Maarten has started working on the in-game environments. He’s starting with the Depression environment, which has a lot of snow, ice, and forgotten ruins. Each environment is made up of several sub-environments to keep things fresh for the player – our goal is to ensure that players won’t see the same tileset more than once every 10-15 hours. And when you do start seeing repeated tilesets, my hope is that the random generation will be so good that you’ll barely recognize it anyway. I’ve discussed this goal with Maarten quite extensively and we’re confident that we can pull it off. It’s going to be awesome. Oh, and each environment also needs its own town graphics since each environment also has its own distinct culture and lore. People who live in the Depression environment will live in very different houses than those in the Anxiety environment, for example. They’ll dress and act differently too.

One slightly frustrating part about developing The Negative is that there won’t be much to show you in the way of screenshots for a pretty long time. I decided that we should focus on creating monsters and skill effects first, so while there’s a lot of smaller bits of art to pass around, it’s almost impossible to show you what the actual game looks like since there are no actual environments or tilesets yet. But don’t mistake that for a lack of progress – the game is coming along very well and I am incredibly excited to continue working on it.

There’s still a ton of work left to be done, and I honestly don’t even know when we can expect an Early Access release at this point. The goal is still late 2018, but this game is easily the largest and most ambitious project I’ve ever created and I will take as much time as needed to make sure it’s absolutely perfect. In the meantime, you’ll have Siralim 3 to enjoy very soon!

The Negative: Devlog #22: Monster Spotlight – Wickerman

Moving forward, the devlog schedule for The Negative will change to every 4 weeks, rather than once per week. In turn, the devlogs will be a lot more detailed and will contain more pertinent information about the game outside of simple monster spotlights. Additionally, I’ll be announcing a new game soon which will have its own set of devlogs to fill in the gaps between the ones for The Negative.

The Wickerman is part of the Balance class and is one of the most useful disruptors in the game. This monster’s skills focus on turning your enemies’ positive effects into negative ones, and can even turn into quite a powerhouse thanks to its “Draw Power” skill.

 

Active Skills

Effigy: Deals a small amount of damage, and deals a small amount of damage to a random enemy.

Coalescence: Your monsters’ HP is redistributed so that each one has the same percentage of HP.

Draw Power: This monster’s stats are set to the highest of each of your other monsters’ stats.

Convergence: Enemies’ HP is redistributed so that each one has the same percentage of HP.

Passive Skills

Trickery: When an enemy damages one of your monsters with an attack, it has a 7% chance to heal them instead.

Despoil: When an enemy gains stats, it has a 15% chance to lose them instead.

Deface: When an enemy gains a buff, it has a 15% chance to gain a random debuff instead.

Misfortune: When an enemy is healed, it has a 15% chance to take damage instead.

The Negative: Devlog #21: Monster Spotlight – Coercer

The Coercer belongs to the Mind class, and I’m sure you can take a guess as to what its skills revolve around – convincing enemies to do your work for you! This monster doesn’t have a single skill that damages, heals, or buffs your monsters directly – instead, it forces its enemies to it for you.

Keep in mind that its skills also work on allies – for example, it can coerce an ally into healing your own party as well!

Active Skills

Telekinesis: Target deals a small amount of damage to a random enemy.

Kismet: Target increases your monsters’ Luck by a moderate amount.

Hidden Power: Target heals your monsters for a moderate amount.

Mind Rattle: Target deals a moderate amount of damage to all enemies.

Passive Skills

Mana Burn: When this monster uses a skill that targets an enemy, the enemy incurs 20% of the skill’s MP cost.

Clumsiness: When an enemy uses a Healing or Mana Draught, it has a 20% chance to use it on one of your monsters instead.

Self-Loathing: At the start of each enemy’s turn, they have a 10% chance to attack themselves.

Coerced Coexistence: Enemies’ healing effects are split between all enemies.

The Negative: Devlog #20: Monster Spotlight – Tokoloshe

The Tokoloshe is a Balance monster that harnesses evil voodoo magic to manipulate its foes in strange ways. This monster can force other monsters to attack themselves, shuffle their stats, and move them all around the battlefield at will. This monster also has a few reactive passive skills that cause it to deal damage when enemies perform certain actions, such as attacking or moving.

 

Active Skills

Evil Eye: Deals a small amount of damage, or a large amount of damage if the target is in the center position.

Discombobulation: Target’s stat values are shuffled.

Jinx: Target attacks itself.

Black Wind: Deals a moderate amount of damage to all enemies and moves them to random locations.

Passive Skills

Crossfade: This monster deals 15% more damage to enemies in the middle of their column or row.

Hex: At the start of battle, afflict a random enemy with Silence, and another random enemy with Scorn.

Voodoo: When an enemy attacks, they take a very small amount of damage.

Pressure: When an enemy is forced to move against its will, it takes a small amount of damage.

The Negative: Devlog #19: Monster Spotlight – Nix

This monster is definitely one of my favorites. The Nix is a psychic ninja that belongs to the Mind class. Its skills are all about dealing quick and clever damage or surviving incoming attacks in unconventional ways. This monster’s sole drawback is that its skills are “selfish” by nature – it doesn’t do much to help your other monsters in battle.

Active Skills

Backstab: Deals a small amount of damage, or a moderate amount of damage if the enemy isn’t in the front column.

Psychic Shurikens: 6 random enemies take a small amount of damage.

Preparation: This monster gains a moderate amount of Speed, then becomes Invisible.

Smoke Bomb: Enemies take a moderate amount of damage, and the weather is changed to fog. (Note: the “fog” weather effect causes all monsters to have a chance to miss attacks)

Passive Skills

Ambush: At the start of battle, this monster becomes Invisible.

Cloak of Shadows: Your monsters are immune to the adverse effects of fog and wind.

Shadow Focus: When an ally takes damage, this monster gains a small amount of Power. This skill can only activate once per turn.

Shadow Clone: When an enemy attacks, this monster has a 15% chance to summon a shadow clone of itself. The clone swaps positions with the enemy’s target before it attacks.

The Negative: Devlog #18: Monster Spotlight – Soulcaster

Today’s monster spotlight is all about the Soulcaster, a Life-class monster that interacts with its enemies’ stats for its own benefit. This monster is extremely useful when dealing with enemies who heavily rely on buffing their stats. In the hands of a skilled player, this monster is capable of dishing out some massive damage as well.

 

Active Skills

Soul Arrow: Deals a small amount of damage. An additional 20% of the target’s Power is used to determine the amount of damage dealt.

Manipulate Fear: Target loses a moderate amount of Luck, and takes damage equal to 50% of the amount of Luck lost.

Legendary Pain: Enemies take a massive amount of damage, plus damage equal to 7% of their Maximum HP.

Dark Metamorphosis: Swap location, stats, HP, and MP with the target ally.

Passive Skills

Rend Spirit: At the start of battle, this monster steals a very small amount of MP from each enemy.

Soul Shield: When this monster takes damage from an enemy, the damage is mitigated by 15% of the enemy’s Defense in addition to this monster’s own Defense.

Soul Mirror: When this monster takes damage from an enemy, and the enemy has a higher Resistance than this monster, the damage is mitigated by the enemy’s Resistance instead.

Muted Life: When an enemy is healed, this monster steals 15% of the amount healed.

The Negative: Devlog #17: Monster Spotlight – Asura

The Asura is a hard-hitting Chaos monster that specializes in attacking multiple times per turn. While this monster is capable of dishing out large amounts of damage to one target at a time, its area-of-effect abilities leave something to be desired. In addition, despite having a couple skills that enable it to recover HP, this monster is pretty easy to take down if the enemies focus their efforts toward killing it off.

 

Active Skills

One-Two Punch: Deals a small amount of damage, and has a 50% chance to cause this monster to attack the target afterward.

Doomfist: Deals a large amount of damage to the target and moves it to the back column. If a monster is in the way, it takes a moderate amount of damage.

Chakra: This monster recovers a moderate amount of HP and MP.

Barrage: This monster attacks the target, then attacks 2 random enemies for 50% normal damage.

Passive Skills

Crush Punch: After this monster attacks, the enemy takes a small amount of damage.

Remorseless: This monster has a 20% greater chance to deal critical damage with attacks.

Many-Faced: When this monster is healed or gains a stat, it has a 35% chance for the effect to be duplicated.

Fury: When this monster attacks, it has a 50% chance to attack again. This effect can only occur once per turn.

The Negative: Devlog #16: Monster Spotlight – Jotun

On Facebook and TwitterI asked which of the following monsters you wanted me to reveal today. The choices were between Jotun, The Deceived, or the Alchemist, and you chose Jotun! If you’d like to participate in the next vote (coming in just a few days), remember to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

Jotun is a Chaos monster that makes use of a terrain effect called “magma pools”. Magma pools can appear underneath a monster in battle, causing them to take damage over time. Monsters can move away from these pools, which of course costs them their turn. You’ll need to decide if your monsters’ safety is worth stalling the battle longer.

Active Skills

Eruption: Deals a small amount of damage and creates a magma pool at the target location. If this skill is used on your own monsters, it deals no damage.

Volcano: Deals a moderate amount of damage to all enemies, plus 20% damage for each magma pool on the battlefield.

Molten Reflection: This monster splits into 2 separate monsters. Each one has 35% of the original monster’s HP.

Firestorm: Deals a large amount of damage to all enemies. Each position on the enemy’s side of the battlefield has a 30% chance to erupt into a pool of magma.

 

Passive Skills

Lava Spawn: This monster receives healing over time from magma pools instead of taking damage from them.

Molten Shield: While this monster is standing in a magma pool, it takes 15% less damage.

Incinerate: This monster deals 5% damage for each consecutive time it has attacked or used a skill on the target.

Ashes to Ashes: This monster deals 5% more damage for each magma pool on the battlefield.