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Topics - RossD20Studios

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Events / Develop with Ross - Episode 2
« on: January 15, 2019, 08:45:57 PM »
Develop with Ross - Episode 2: Let's make some more cards!

For those joining my development stream on Wednesday January 16th (9AM-11:30AM MT) on our Twitch channel I've put together this sampling of cards I plan to implement. If you've got other ideas you'd like me to try during the stream, feel welcome to post them here.


Game Discussion / Game Duration Solve Ideas
« on: December 29, 2018, 10:22:36 AM »
One of my original goals for PvP was quick battles (~3 minutes) to provide optimal experiences for mobile and short interim breaks on PC. I've observed that our recent update (adding both the heavy freeze mechanics and the advent of custom decks with trillions of possible combinations to affect game outcome) has resulted in longer game durations. This isn't necessarily a bad thing (if players are still finding the experience engaging) but I still want a solution for those quick battles for players that want or need that choice.

This has got me to thinking about ways of constraining the battles. Lain has suggested an idea of limiting the rounds as a potential solution (something akin to Warhammer objectives) which I really liked. Playing off this idea, I'm considering a way to combine restricted turn time with objective to create a fast pace game where the duration is guaranteed.

Rather than limiting turn time like other games might do (ex: 90 seconds) which doesn't actually reduce game time (in fact, it can increase it when players intentionally drag out turns to frustrate their opponent) what if we were to limit the game duration itself like a chess match?

Let's say we wanted games to take no longer than 5 minutes. Each player would get a total of two minutes, 30 seconds. You can manage that time however you like, but after you've spent your turn time, you no longer take turns, which adds a very intensive pressure  to complete your turns as quick as possible. If both players exhaust their time limit, the game determines the winner based on whichever summoner has the lowest life, tie breaking by life of remaining units, and finally establishing a draw if everything is equal.

Thoughts on this from the community?

Events / Cold Hearted Christmas Deckbuilder Launch Stream
« on: December 23, 2018, 04:10:17 PM »
It's a "Cold Hearted" Christmas...
And your presents have arrived!


Greetings everyone!

I'm stoked to announce that our much anticipated Deck Editor feature for Summoners Fate will launch tonight to coincide with Liz (Alizigators) "Summoners Sunday" live stream tonight on Twitch. The event starts on Twitch at 7PM MT on Liz's channel here. Since everyone is in different timezones, you can sign-up in advance using our handy calendar which should present the event in our local time zone. Let us know you're coming.

If you would like to play the build with us during the Stream, join our Discord and send a message to me (@RossD20Studios) so I can provide you with download instructions.

For tonight's event, we're playing exclusively on PC so I can patch in the event of any issues. Per popular demand, we're rolling this build out early knowing that we couldn't test every possible card combinations' impact to build stability, though we have done a thorough smoke test and fixed everything we can to ensure a smooth experience. For those already participating in our early access, I will have a full list of change notes available shortly.

Events / Summoners Streamers
« on: December 05, 2018, 10:48:34 AM »

Please welcome Mike (MCN_Mike), Liz (Alizigator), and Ethan (thefuzzydwarf) to our community.

Sign-up to watch streams in our new calendar.

We’re excited to announce the first Summoners Fate streams on Twitch! We’re partnering with enthusiastic, up-and-coming streamers to be the first to play our game for viewers worldwide. Mike kicks off on Wednesday, December 5th 11:30AM MT with an in-depth play of our current build. Liz aims to keep you entertained each week with Summoners Sundays. Ethan aspires to compete when we grow to become a fan-favorite eSport.

Events / Dreamhack Atlanta 2018
« on: November 14, 2018, 02:34:38 PM »

$500 in Prize Giveaways!

WIN Full Retail Version of Summoners Fate ($24.99)
WIN an Armored Squirrel Plush (Priceless!)

Indie Playground Booth I-30

D20Studios is showcasing Summoners Fate at Dreamhack Atlanta 2018 and to celebrate the weekend of gaming, we're giving away 300 Free Play Keys that will allow players to download and play our multiplayer early access of Summoners Fate for this weekend only and compete for chances to win a full retail copy of the game. We want to see attendees playing in groups on the show floor on their custom gaming rigs, having an awesome time hurling squirrels, summoning skeletal legions, and mind controlling their friends in our epic multiplayer battles. Show us your excitement on Twitter and you could also take home your own armored squirrel plush.


  • GET FREE PLAY KEY from the Summoners Fate booth in the Indie Playground Booth I-30.
  • Battle PvP vs. Dreamhack players. Join our Discord channel to sync up with opponents.
  • Complete an achievement to win a full retail copy of Summoners Fate ($24.99)*.
For Battles Completed Between
Friday 12PM EST 11/16 – Sunday 8PM EST 11/18

Each Achievement is Awarded to the Top 5 Players
4 Achievements x5 Winners Each = 20 Winners!

  • Grand Champion
    Win the most battles against unique players.
  • Friend Slayer
    Win the most battles against other players.
  • Bot Slayer
    Win the most PvP battles against the AI.
  • Summoners Addiction
    Play the most PvP battles.
*Winners notified via email by 11/30/18 will receive permanent early access key and retail version when game launches. Limit 1 WIN per player.



  • Play Summoners Fate multiplayer on the show floor with your friends.
  • Take an epic photo playing the game together.
  • Post your photo on Twitter with message “Hurling Squirrels in #summonersfate with @D20Studio at Dreamhack #DHATL18”.
  • Winners announced online by 12PM EST Sunday 11/18.**
**Winners - Please pick up your squirrel in person at our Booth I-30 by 4PM EST.

Game Updates & News / Dev Log
« on: January 10, 2018, 11:12:31 AM »
Dev Log: Creating the Card Management System

Greetings all! I was finding myself going down a bit of a feature creep/perfectionist lull with the production tools, so I decided to shift gears and work on our card management system. The card management system is the UI that allows the player to view all of the possible cards in the collection as well as create custom decks. If you’ve played CCG’s like Hearthstone, you’re probably familiar with what this system looks like, but just in case, here’s a quick breakdown of the elements:

  • Collection Management (Ability to view all of the cards)
  • Crafting (Ability to make new cards)
  • Deck Builder
    • View cards to place in deck
    • View cards in the deck (visualization)
    • Deck Stats
    • Ability to name deck
    • Number of each type of card in deck (Units, Spells, Equipment)
    • Average mana cost
    • Total mana cost
    • Card Quantity (X/20)
    • Sort By
    • Filter
    • Search
    • Back Out Button
    • Suggest Cards
    • “New” Indicator that appears over cards recently added to player’s collection
    • Deck Limit (Per card)
  • Party/Team Roster (A special case for Summoners Fate to also choose which characters are in your party).
Atm, I’m focused specifically on Deck Builder, as it is the most complex part of the system. The first challenge is layout, which is even more challenging for me because I support both portrait and landscape. The basic idea is to divide the screen into two parts (collection/cards available) and the deck visualization. The most intuitive approach is to drag cards from the collection and drop them into the deck.

My first step was to get a basic idea for the main layout of these elements. Portrait is the most limiting layout, so I started there. After some testing, I discovered I could fit about 3 cards across the narrowest dimension of the screen with the text still being readable. Additionally, I would support a “full size preview” for the user on tap to view the keywords and larger text. This would allow user to browse their collection 6 cards at a time. Additionally, I can fit the 20 cards needed to construct the deck as mini cards (showing only the icon and cost). As shown in images below, these numbers also work for landscape if I expand the number of columns.

Portrait layout for deck management. Cards in your collection are at the bottom, cards in your deck at the top.

Landscape layout for deck management. Cards in your collection are at the bottom, cards in your deck at the top.

Now that I knew the layout, the next step was determining how to effectively render and control display of all the cards. I decided to use Feathers, an open source library designed for AS3 and Starling, which has the exact components I need and (because it is open source) unlimited potential for me to customize for my game’s specific needs.

I use the “List” control component because it offers cell recycling. This is an absolute must for rendering 100+ items (particularly visual ones) because it vastly reduces the demands on the system to maintain/mask the hundreds of items the user will be scrolling. To reduce overhead as much as possible, I wrote a custom ListCellRenderer that takes the card data and renders it directly into a card visualization.

With this, I can get 60FPS scrolling performance. The only issue I’m still running into is that there is a slight “hiccup” the first time a user paginates to a new page of unit cards. This is because there is an overhead in the initial creation of the armatures to assemble the units. In several competitor games I’ve tested, this seems to be an acceptable “norm” though I would love a solution if any developers out there have an idea how to mitigate this.

Now for the hardest part: managing a texture atlas for 400+ cards. I also have to consider that with each game update, that number will grow as cards are added. In my previous dev logs, I’ve discussed how I can achieve optimal performance by scaling all assets to fit a single texture atlas (yielding only 1 draw call). However, this only works because each game instance contains a finite number of resources that I can manage without affecting quality. As the number of cards increases, it becomes impossible to fit all assets on a single atlas, so it’s necessary to paginate the atlas into multiple sheets.

This image shows the initial result of rasterizing the card images. At 400+ draw calls, application responsiveness is very sluggish.

I’m using Gil Amran’s open source DMT library to create my texture atlases dynamically from vector graphics. The library uses a rectangle packer algorithm to sort assets and place them on texture atlases, creating new atlases as needed. The algorithm is optimized to maximize use of area so that textures are packed as tightly as possible to reduce the total number of atlas sheets created. Generally, this works fine because most game levels can render on a single sheet. With hundreds of assets to manage however, this can result in an exponential increase in the number of draw calls when assets needed to render a layered display object (such as a character armature) are split across multiple texture atlases. For those familiar with the painter algorithm (see Daniel Sperl’s amazing depiction here) the best way to reduce draw calls and optimize performance is to plan your texture atlases according to how your game will display the assets.

This is why I use open source technology whenever possible: when modifications are needed to suit particular needs, I can examine the code and make the modifications as needed to adapt and evolve the software. And in turn, share these benefits with other developers once I’ve found and perfected a solution! In this case, the feature I needed was the ability to control how my texture atlases were being created based on how I would render the display objects.

To accomplish this, I created two properties “addedId” and “assetGroupId”. AddedId is a number indicating when something gets added to the raster list. AssetGroupId is a string identifier indicating that the asset to be rastered must have all assets within the same group added to the same texture atlas. Prior to rasterizing, I sort all of the assets by the addedId. Then, as items are packed into the texture atlas, I check to see if the next asset fits. If it doesn’t fit, I check to see if any of his “assetGroupId” buddies were added, and, if so, I pull all of those assets out of that atlas as well, then start a new atlas. Following this procedure, I was able to reduce draw calls down from 400+ to under 40 which, in turn, vastly improved the FPS and responsiveness of the application.

This image shows the draw call result of grouping the textures on each atlas according to how the game will render them. This is a 10X reduction from the initial test and results in substantially better application response.

Every choice has a trade off. In this case, my decision to break and start a new texture atlas rather than taking the next asset that fits can somethings result in an unnecessary number of texture atlases being generated. Where the original algorithm might have fit all of my assets into one atlas, the new algorithm might break it into two. At the same time, I find in practice that the tradeoff is worth it because I can guarantee more predictable performance by controlling which assets appear on each atlas.

Game Updates & News / Development Roadmap
« on: December 04, 2017, 12:08:04 PM »

Hi everyone! As promised in our Kickstarter, I plan to be fully transparent about our development process including what we're aiming for and when we plan to deliver it. Managing the Kickstarter campaign took a hit to our development timeline, and after carefully reassessing the remaining items, I've put together the (above) roadmap showcasing our goals leading to the Early Access closed-beta and worldwide launch.

Our commitment to you will be to provide daily updates on the game as well as periodic updates on the state of the roadmap so that you're informed if/when things change, why they changed, and what the impact will be to the schedule and the game.

Goals for Early Access:
  • Basic gameplay tutorial dungeon mission
  • Single player content via selectable missions. Selectable missions will include a variety of pitched battles (single battle vs. AI), scenarios (challenges where you have a fixed team/deck vs. AI in a particular level), and dungeons (a multi-stage battle with continuous progression including procedurally generated monsters/challenges). Note: The dungeons will not yet be connected via a campaign map or have a continuous progression. For the initial early access release, they will be selectable missions. You will be able to choose your team/deck going into battle.
  • All early access players will start with a subset of total cards available. I’m aiming for an initial 100 cards out of an intended 400+ for WW launch. Note: Card reward/unlocking will not be functional in the early access. I intend to reset card data/access once the progression/unlock path is finished so that we can test the pacing.
  • Multiplayer at this stage will feature real-time and desync multiplayer. The functionality will be basic: no chatroom/lobby setup (like in Hero Mages), rather, you opt to play a live match and it puts you in a queue. The next player joining will automatically connect with you to battle. Chat capabilities will be limited and possibility not available. Deysnc battles will download a list of opponent constructed decks to your device and will store them so that you can play the missions offline. Basic stats only (win/loss) plus replay will be available.
  • Hero Party and Deck Management: You’ll be able to construct team and deck from all of the initial cards available allowing you to experiment with a wide array of the game mechanics in both singleplayer and multiplayer matches.
What are the Risks and what’s the plan?
  • I have a surgery scheduled in January that will put me out of action for 2 weeks and this is shown on the timeline.
  • The number of bugs/feedback discovered in early access and soft-launch testing has high potential to impact the WW launch and/or delay certain features until post launch (namely, async multiplayer and whatever new features are suggested by players).
  • Async Multiplayer is at risk for WW launch. This feature will be completed post launch if it doesn’t make it for WW.
  • We have a cushion of 2 months during soft-launch to polish the game. Note: Polish means fix bugs, small enhancements (ex: VFX) and NOT addition of new features.
  • If the game isn’t fully ready to launch by end of August, I will likely push the launch to February or March of 2019. This is due to the August-January period being a high traffic launch period for AAA and a dead zone for indie game activity following the holidays. Soft launch and early access gameplay will remain active during this period.
Questions or concerns?
Please share your thoughts, ideas and opinions with me. I read all Discord messages and forum posts and typically respond within a 24 hour period or less.

Game Discussion / Chaos Magic
« on: November 22, 2017, 09:29:56 AM »
When non-being gives rise to existential motion, the raw, primal and pure potential energy created is called Chaos. Chaos is without bounds or rules; it is not limited by logic and reason. Even mathematical definitions such as 1+1 = 2 can be nonsensical or as valid as 1+1 = 3. If the entirety of existence could be construed as a line, then the period of history that represents Chaos would exist as a singular point. But, as Chaos is without time and order, this “point”, this “moment” persists as an eternity that continuously draws out infinite eventualities and realities.

From the infinite potential of Chaos, conscious thought is born, giving rise to being, celestial order, and the construct of time and the physical universe. Chaos is not a moment left in the past, however, but a source continually drawn upon to keep the universe within motion.

Chaos Magic
When chaos energy flares into the physical world, its manifestations are unstable and cause potent destructive force. While destructive, Chaos is not inherently evil, and many good and innocent individuals are gifted (or cursed as some say) with the power to channel Chaos Magic. For example, Nova the Sorceress, is a notable Chaos sorceress. At a young age, she unintentionally destroyed her village with fire when her born powers were first triggered, though she herself is not malicious like the Dreadnoughts - evil inclined beings motivated by the desire to destroy the world.

Chaos Spells
In Summoners Fate, Chaos spells grant powerful destructive abilities and have the highest damage output per cost of any other magic group.
What do you think of these ideas and what kinds of Chaos spells would you like to see in Summoners Fate?

Game Discussion / Void Magic
« on: November 21, 2017, 08:09:13 PM »
The Void
In the beginning, before time and space, there was the Void. The Void is the existential state of non-being. It is “nothingness” - an inherent truth and the persistent origin of all things, so speaks the scholars and ancient texts of the Academy of Arcane Arts. Accounts of those who have experienced the origin moment often speak of the Void as an emotion - the “feeling of emptiness”. It is a balance of fear and hope: fear that eternity is without meaning or purpose, forever alone in despair, and hope that within lies the potential to be something that is great and loved. This innate quality of non-being is what causes existential essence, the motion that drives the creation of all things within the universe.

Void Magic
The Void is often misunderstood and many of those gifted with its insights are driven to madness. In Summoners Fate, Void magic represents the negative state of nothingness and is associated with fear, despair, hunger and death. Dark and nightmarish beings, demons of the Void, are shadowy like creatures that feed upon the thoughts and dreams of corporeal beings. They are constant reminders of the existential balance between fear and hope. Void spells include the power to nourish by taking life, the conjuring of dark beings, and the power to bring death.

Void Spells
What do you think of these ideas and what kinds of Void spells would you like to see in Summoners Fate?

Game Discussion / Celestial Magic, Steampunk Rats & Time Spells
« on: November 15, 2017, 11:09:08 AM »
Within the moment of eternal chaos that precludes existence, the infinite possibilities give rise to consciousness and order. In this moment, celestial minds came into being and asked a crucial question that would result in the creation of the world: “Why are we here and what is our purpose?” Through contemplation of this question, they perpetuated the divine act of separating light and dark, collective soul and individuality, fear and hope. Their purpose: to attain everlasting contentment and love. Ever drawn back to the darkness of the Void through the innate existential balance, they devised a mechanism that would ensure their success: the dimension of time. Through the existence of time, individuality and meaningful narratives could take place, with the souls of trillions of individual beings acting as tiny mirrors, reflecting back upon one and other powerful emotions of life, love and discovery.

Celestial Magic is associated with divine order, light, love, spiritual energy and the dimension of time. This magical energy is drawn from celestial beings and the existential ether that shapes and forms the basis of reality. Celestial spells include powerful healing and protection abilities, light energy that can banish demons of the Void and repel the destructive forces of Chaos, and the ability to control time itself.

Celestial Steampunk Timekeeper Rats are an ancient race that was chosen by the celestials to safeguard and protect the secrets of time from those who would try and disrupt the divine order. The rats are a sophisticated and highly evolved race, good natured and lawful. They are small in stature, standing about three feet tall on average, wear fancy, multiple layers of clothing, and are equipped with clockwork relics that allow them to control and manipulate the fabric of time. They work exceptionally well together as a team.

From left to right, we have the Time Bombardier, a ranged unit that can throw "time bombs" that damage and slow enemy movement, the Time Keeper, a powerful Summoner with the power to cast Celestial Time Spells, and the Time Warrior, a cunning melee fighter with hyper speed and lightning reflexes.

Celestial Time Spells
Below are a selection of spells we have conceived of so far to go with the Celestial Steampunk Timekeeper Rat theme. Time manipulation mechanics such as these are one of many unique innovations we aim to bring to the tactics and CCG genres.
What do you think of these ideas and what kinds of time and celestial spells would you like to see in Summoners Fate?

Game Discussion / Which social goals reward would you like to unlock next?
« on: November 13, 2017, 12:53:39 PM »
Hi everyone!

Recently, we hit a new marker on our Kickstarter social goals of achieving 8 goals, which unlocked the Reptis Discord icon set which you can download here. As you can see from the download, our Discord icon sets are much higher resolution than our forum profile images and include different shots as well as full character renders in different poses to choose from.

We're very close to hitting our next reward target (12 goals) and we'd like you to let us know which reward you'd like us to unlock next by voting in the poll above.

Here are the social goals so that you can help us reach them and unlock the vote-winning reward:

Game Discussion / Arcane vs. Nature
« on: November 11, 2017, 06:15:21 PM »
Arcane vs. Nature

Today’s discussion topic is a “Which would you choose to play and why?” and to keep it simple, we’re focusing on two of the five magic schools in Summoners Fate: Arcane and Nature. Vote in the poll above and sound off in comments below.

Arcane magic is associated with the fundamental forces that define reality including gravity, materialization, and psychic energy. Long ago, an ancient race left relics of ancient texts and technology scattered across the world. Many of these relics were collected by the wizards of the Academy of Arcane Arts, where they study and use them to manipulate the fabric of existence. Arcane spells include abilities such as the manipulation of gravity, creation of forcefields, psychic attacks, and control of positioning on the board.


Nature magic is associated with the life energy of plants and animals, evolution and survival of the fittest. Druids, elf mages, and orc shamans alike draw upon nature magic in various ways: sometimes calling upon the earth and vegetation itself and sometimes from their inner life force to augment natural fighting abilities to superior status. Nature spells include abilities to buff units power and life, mutate and transform beings into other creatures, animate and multiply life and heal and restore balance.


Game Updates & News / Correction on Subscription Process
« on: November 06, 2017, 04:25:59 PM »
Hi Summoners Fate fans,

I would like to make a correction to my instructions for subscribing to our daily updates. Previously, I had advised to subscribe to the "board" (ex: Game Updates & News) however I have discovered that this only notifies you when a new topic is added to the board, not when a new post is added to the Daily Updates topic. The good news is that if you previously followed this step, you should be getting this message ;)

Now, to remedy this so that you get notified on our daily update posts, you'll want to subscribe to the Daily Updates topic.

You can do this by logging into forums and go to the Daily Updates topic and select the "Notify" button (it looks like a bell). Again, you can unsubscribe at anytime by clicking the "Notify" button again. You can also manage your subscriptions to threads in your forum profile.

I want to be as helpful as I can with ensuring communications are consistent and being delivered in the fashion that is best for you, so please let me know what feedback you have. We've enabled community to post replies on the daily updates, but if we find this results in too many notifications, we can lock the topic and redirect conversations to another board. Again, please let me know how the experience is working for you so that I can optimize it best for your needs.

Much appreciated,


Share Your Ideas / Spell & Equipment Card Ideas
« on: November 05, 2017, 11:46:16 AM »
Post Ideas for New Spell Cards in This Thread

Share your ideas for new spell and/or equipment cards in this thread to help us keep all suggestions organized and easy for us to review for consideration adding to the game. Be sure to include an appropriate spell card title, and a description or image of what the spell icon might look like. For summon spells that result in the creation of a new character, use the new character thread instead.

Spells in Summoners Fate fall into one of 6 categories:
  • Void: The Void is an innate state of "nothingness" from which existence comes into being. In Summoners Fate, this magic represents that dark side of this concept, with magic often themed around fear, death and hunger.
  • Chaos: When chaos energy flares into the physical world, its manifestations are unstable and cause potent destructive force. Chaos spells grant powerful destructive abilities and have the highest damage output per cost of any other magic group.
  • Celestial: Celestial Magic is associated with divine order, light, love, spiritual energy and the dimension of time. This magical energy is drawn from celestial beings and the existential ether that shapes and forms the basis of reality.
  • Arcane: Arcane magic is associated with the fundamental forces that define reality including gravity, materialization, and psychic energy.
  • Nature: Nature magic is associated with the life energy of plants and animals, evolution and survival of the fittest.
  • Earthen (Neutral)

Game Updates & News / Important - Read Me for Best Experience
« on: November 05, 2017, 11:05:37 AM »

Daily Updates on Summoners Fate by D20Studios
Click HERE to subscribe to Daily Updates and never miss an update!

We at D20Studios are committed to consistent, daily communication on the progress of Summoners Fate. We've been following this trend since August 2016 across our many communication channels and we intend to continue with regular updates each day leading up to the WW Launch in 2018. If you're considering backing our Kickstarter and want re-assurance of our commitment to finishing this game or are a fan interested in keeping tabs on our progress, rest-assured that you will find a new post from us each day sharing our progress.

Did you know that less than 5% of our Facebook communications actually reach our audience? We can't explain it, but we believe it is due to how Facebook algorithms curate content as well as the relative "social noise" that causes content you care about seeing to get buried in the feeds.

For the best possible experience and to make sure you never miss an update, we recommend subscribing to our "Daily Updates" thread here on our forums. This will ensure you have an opportunity to see each update. To subscribe to Daily Updates, click this link or browse to the Daily Updates topic select the "Notify" button (it looks like a bell) and you'll get emailed whenever a new post is submitted. Unsubscribe at anytime by clicking the "Notify" button again. You can also manage your subscriptions to threads in your forum profile.

NOTE: If you do not receive a welcome email after registering on the forums, be sure to check your junk email inbox and add permission to receive future forums related emails from us. Also check your junk email settings if you do not receive notifications.

The other great benefit of our forums is that we'll be keeping things organized so that desired content is easy to find. For example, we have an entire board dedicated to characters. You can also use the "Search" feature to find immediate answers to your questions or specific content you may be looking for. We'll also have daily discussions, polls and more here that everyone can access and enjoy regardless of which social media platforms you use.

Our Complete List of Communication Channels
As we expand our channels, we'll add them to this list.

Read our comprehensive gameplay description and support our development by visiting our Kickstarter page and backing us today.

D20Studios Channels:
Social Media Channels:
Game Community Forums:
If you've created a topic on your favorite game community and would like us to include it here, please let me know by sending me a direct message at

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