Imber is a 2-5 player rogue-like dungeon building and exploration game.
Imber is a game that I am currently developing alongside a Connor Donovan. Though we are only a 2 person team, I currently take on the roles of Lead Artist and Designer whilst Connor takes on the role of a designer and artist. Currently Imber is moving towards eventual release in about Summer of 2020.
Imber began development July 2018, after the UCSC Games Showcase of 2018. The game was originally developed under the title Kanata, and post the showcase, the game eventually found its name as Imber. The game is still being developed with balance being updated as well as miscellaneous mechanics. The game has gone through around 7 major revisions which will be outlined below.
Version 1 - Original Creation
Version 1 was developed as part of ARTG 80G : Visual Communication and Interaction Design. Read more about it on Kanata. The game was, at this stage, still a amalgamation of general ideas, and was, never at any point, considered to be a final version. The game had too many plot holes, bugs, and balancing issues to be considered finished. Yet the game was still shown at the UCSC Showcase in 2018. There the game gathered interest and following the showcase was introduced to Connor and taken to the next level. The game in this state, looked like the above. It used regular poker cards, this would become one of the very first things to receive change over the next couple versions.
Version 2 - General Balancing
Version 2 began development on July 24th 2018. The game had just gone to the UCSC Games Showcase 2018, and had garnered interest for it to be developed further. The first couple major overhauls included reworking all items, monsters, and path art. A good number of monsters and items were added, and further tweaked so that the game would be a bit more balanced. Version 2 quickly saw its end, as most of the rules originally implemented for this version largely stifled player freedom and player accessibility. Version 2 sought to fix the biggest issue, and the most concurrent issue throughout most versions which was lack of information and ability to find things. All objectives were hidden, and thus made it difficult to players especially on their first play through. This required us to make changes to the UI of the cards.
Version 3 - Systems Overhaul
Version 3 and 2 were not much different in terms of cards. Version 3 was mostly a systems overhaul after getting playtest feedback on version 2. Small UI elements and features were added to the game at this stage.
Version 4 - Combat Overhaul
Much like Version 3, version 4 was merely a combat update. This was post, our first public playtest on November 30, 2018. At the public playtest we were recommended to either overcomplicate combat such that game players would have more interesting combat sessions and in turn lower the duration of the game, or over-simplify combat and in turn increase/retain the duration of the game. In version 4, we decided to explore over-complicating combat; however, as neither of us have ever devised a complicated combat system this failed. In the first weeks of 2019, we quickly reverted back to Version 3, and continued development of the game.
Version 5 - The Multiplayer Update
One of the things that were brought up to us originally in our November playtest was the a distinct lack of multiplayer. By industry professionals we were told that 1v1 games tend to sell little, and might be in our best interests to increase the player count of our game. We also agreed as our smaller, local playtests had said the same thing. We, in this update, decided to increase the player count from the original 2 to 2-5. The game’s balance was terribly broken at this point so it required a re-design from ground up. During this part, we were also presented with the ability to overhaul the road system of our game. It was frequent that players would find endgame bosses in their first turns for earlier iterations so we implemented a tier road system in which roads were changed to change color depending on difficulty. Green was the easiest, whilst blue was the middle of the road, and red was significantly more difficult than the previous two. This was manipulated through increasing roll values and decreasing hunter ability. Overall, as a mechanics change this was successful; however, the balancing was still off.
Version 6 - Art Overhaul
A big difficulty that Connor and I had throughout development was consistency of assets. It was considerably difficult to align both of our visual styles together to create a cohesive art piece. Here we introduced our current 1.5 bit style and resolved to convert every single art asset in our game. This included existing roads, paths, items, monsters, and characters. This update also saw the inclusion of classes, something that we had been working on for a while, but could never truly implement. At this point the game needed classes as a balancing factor, so it was included.
From left to right, version 1,2; version 3,4,5; version 6; version 7. A set of classes implemented in this version. Each class had their own unique ability and different health/dice roll values.
Version 7 - Color Overhaul
Version 7 happened in between Pacificon 41 Protospiel and Protospiel San Jose. We had been given the advice that our game, as it stood did not look like a casual game. The development always intended on being a casual game, so many of the game’s visual fidelity was changed to reflect that.
Version 8 - Multiplayer Update v2
This will be updated as we make improvements! Check the game and its current state out at www.falseworldgames.com