Puppet Masters Update 03 // Card Mechanics


Welcome to Update number 3 of Puppet Masters!

I will start off by saying the Closed Alpha is now LIVE! The game is on unlisted and playable anytime. Just join the Nuldrums discord, head over to the #alpha-invite channel and react to the post! A bot will apply the @Alpha-Tester role to you and send a direct message with a link to the game. I am pushing updates every couple days and posting a list of all the changes each week on Friday night with a ping for all @Alpha-Testers. Every Saturday afternoon between now and release there will also be 1 - 2 hour testing sessions with the community.

Onward with the update! I'll start with a video showing everything thats going on in the combat so far then we'll break it down,

Decks are organized in "rings" since they are being played from the "Deck Ring" on the player's hip. Here is a screenshot of a sample deck being viewed in the deck editor,

Whenever a player first beings a battle with a fresh deck their starting hand consists of the top 5 cards on the ring. The middle card is the one at the 12:00 position. During combat players can scroll through their entire deck ring by pressing, or holding, Q to go left and E to go right. Cards can then be played by either pressing F or Left Clicking. The card scroll has a global cooldown that is indicated over the icons. The purpose for this is to only give players access to their currently selected card +/- 5~6 cards to the left or right. I did not want players to always have access to their entire deck every turn or their would be no real strategic reason for the order they are placed in.

Some dev notes on the hotkeys, Q and E were chosen over A and D because WASD is being used for puppet movement and it felt really bad trying to press the scroll from a previous turn then accidentally triggering your dodge cooldown. Originally I had planned for the mouse scroll wheel to work for the scroll but apparently there is not an easy way to do this in Core without hijacking the camera zoom functionality which could potentially cause some issues. I will probably try and do some investigation to implement it further down the line (if there's something I'm missing and anyone has some advice on this feel free to lmk! :slight_smile: ) Next lets take a look at what happens when you run out of cards in your deck,

Once a player dips below 4 cards in their deck the Recharge meter lights up along with the hotkey notification for it (R). Players can hold R to build up their recharge meter anytime that it is their turn, once it fills up it either completes the recharge, if they only have 1 stack, or reduces the stack count. After each successful recharge players total Recharge Stack Count is increased by 1. This means that the first time they recharge their deck in the field it will take 1 full turn to complete, the second time around it will take 2 turns, etc.

This gives players a limit on how long they can effectively farm while in the field or in a dungeon. This also serves to scale difficulty during bossfights and as a sort of soft "enrage" timer. As of right now the only way to reset your recharge stacks is by resting at the innkeeper. I do plan on having consumables that reduce the recharge stacks by 1 each time, players will primarily look to stock up on these for long dungeon runs.

The recharge mechanics are not entirely set in stone yet and I do have some reservations about it right now. I've been thinking it may need to be disabled until all of the player's cards are gone. In it's current implementation a strategy has been developed to start spending the first part of your turn charging as soon as you hit 4 cards then play a card. This means that by the time players are down to their last card they could have already knocked a few stacks off. It has made PvE more engaging but will ultimately cause problems in PvP. The intention of the stack counter in PvP is to provide strategic windows of time where players will know they cannot get hit for a turn and offset who gets to go first by a little bit. The second issue is the guaranteed order of cards after every recharge. I'm afraid this will make the gameplay start to feel stale after awhile and I do plan on running a test some weekend soon to see what the game feels like with cards getting shuffled after each subsequent recharge.

Thats everything so far with the card mechanics, feel free to play it and give me feedback on how it feels so far. I will be continuing to polish the combat flow and make it feel as fluid as possible throughout this week!

Thanks for reading this! I stream EVERYDAY of development so if you're ever curious about how things are made or want to get a preview of progress before it's posted about come swing by my Twitch channel! Links to all the socials are down below.

- Trikeri
:skull: :black_heart:


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