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Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: May 01, 2019, 08:02:26 AM »

And we're kicking off the fun with another Develop with Ross episode, LIVE NOW on Twitch.

In this Episode:


Today's episode is going to be HOT (literally) as we'll be playing with FIRE as we create several new fire-themed creatures and implementing a ridiculous fire VFX that takes the hilarity of playing with fire in Summoners Fate to a whole new level.

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: April 24, 2019, 07:53:57 AM »

And we're kicking off the fun with another Develop with Ross episode, LIVE NOW on Twitch.

In this Episode:
Last week, I failed to achieve my intended outcome of creating nested definitions within our game editor. I don't stage or plan the streams; it's just me working and encountering unique challenges each time. While it isn't fun to fail (especially for an audience) it is one of the best ways to learn and grow. That failure helped me discover new and better ways to achieve me desired outcome, and today I'm going to share that.

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: April 17, 2019, 08:02:00 AM »

And we're kicking off the fun with another Develop with Ross episode, LIVE NOW on Twitch.

In today's episode, I'll be sharing a recap of our Pax East experience and doing some work on our tools and our upcoming client release.

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: April 04, 2019, 11:44:11 AM »
“Go all in” to Succeed as an Indie Dev at PAX East 2019

PAX East was a lot of fun and I'm excited to share our experience showcasing as indie devs within the Indie MEGABOTH.

Check out Dev Log #9 for the full writeup! This was also a featured article today on Gamastura.

Game Updates & News / Re: Dev Log
« on: April 04, 2019, 08:02:42 AM »
Dev Log 9: “Go all in” to succeed as an Indie Dev at PAX East 2019

The camaraderie and brotherhood shared among fellow indie devs at events like PAX East never ceases to lift my spirit. Indie game development is the gem of the games industry where your market competitors passionately root for each others success. It’s a badge of honor to share our experiences with each other, openly and honestly, to solve our paramount problem of discoverability: what works and what doesn’t work to capture an audience? Who do we need to be speaking with to secure funding or publishing support? What crazy new ideas haven’t we tried yet?

PAX East 2019 marks my third major event showcase of Summoners Fate, and my second time showcasing as part of the Indie MEGABOOTH. I continue to learn from others with each experience and pay it forward by sharing here. So, here’s three things we did different to stand out as an indie at PAX East this year and the data we have so far on how it compared to our previous showcases:

1. Demo Hydra
A key take-away I learned from showcasing last year at PAX West with the MINIBOOTH is that a single screen demo heavily bottlenecks potential plays. Space at the MINIBOOTH is limited to a single monitor kiosk, but exhibitors are allowed to embellish it with decor provided it respects the space of your fellow miniboothers. So, I expanded on the existing idea of lateral signage by substituting mounts that could support tablets and phones. Each of the devices connects to a 15 foot braided charge cord which allowed us to extend our reach into crowds that would gather to play and simultaneously keep everyone engaged and entertained.

The Summoners Fate “Demo Hydra”. Cut off one head, two grow in its place!

I lovingly named this concept the “Demo Hydra” for its likeness to the mythological beast of many serpent heads. In total, we had 8 screens with us including our personal phones which we handed out as needed to keep the hydra fed. It should be considered a scientific fact that “success breeds success” and likewise “a crowd brings a crowd”. Whereas folks previously breezed past the MINIBOOTH, our perpetual crowd pulled them in, curious to discover what all the fuss was about. By virtue, this had the collective effect of drawing more audience for our fellow indie MINIBOOTH showcasers as well, allowing us all to share in the success.

Our demo tracks telemetry so that we can learn and improve from our experiences.

All in total, we had 149 sessions and 42 total email registrations for a total budget under $2660 (including booth, hotel, travel, food and marketing materials). By comparison, our PAX West showcase had 76 sessions, 37 email sign-ups, so the hydra had the effect of doubling our total sessions. Our conversions are more similar to our Dreamhack showcase. There we had 142 sessions and 49 sign-ups, but with a 10x10 foot booth over 3 days instead of 2. My theory is that a more crowded booth creates a less intimate experience where folks are less inclined to register their email. However, I prefer to let the game speak for itself. Time spent with us is an investment that raises brand awareness and breeds familiarity and likeness with our game. In aggregate of all three showcases, I believe our data may also suggest our demo is about 2 levels too long and that we could increase completion and conversion by shortening the experience and adjusting the difficulty on the earlier levels.

2. Branded Marketing Theme
Not unlike the vast ocean of games released daily on Steam, the waters of PAX are overloaded with games all competing to get prospective player attention. Showcasing with the Indie MEGABOOTH supports the first step of marketing by putting us in a school of fish strong enough to have a presence from afar and allowing folks to find us. The second step is creating a memorable impression that stands out and will last with players following the conference. Our previous showcases taught us that players respond well to a mix of familiarity and weird, and our signature hook became “Would you like to throw a squirrel at some orcs?”

We don’t want to be typecast as a game just about squirrels, though, so we expanded our marketing with a broader theme of “WE LIKE WEIRD.” and showing how our game connects emotionally to the characters and cool things you can do in the game. Varieties of these messages were looped constantly on a dedicated screen in the hydra. Here’s some examples:


My teammate, Peter, took the concept a step further by devising a way to make an immediate personal connection to passerbys. Honestly, I was hesitant when he first shared his plan… “Hmm, that might be perceived as offensive, no?” but the real shocker was that it was actually extremely effective. Peter casually approached folks walking past the booth and said “Hey, you look weird.” ...pause… “We like weird.” … smile… Players considered it an honor to be recognized for their weirdness, and why not, right? What is PAX if not a celebration of the weirdness in all of us? Bonus tip: Bring a new teammate with you to showcase. Their perspective may lead to the discovery of the most effective way to connect with your audience.

3. Player Testimonial
A key benefit of showcasing with Indie MEGABOOTH is their Mixer event where you get to party and network with key industry folks including reps from Sony, Microsoft, Kongregate and more. One of the most interesting folks I had the pleasure of meeting that night was Alex Engel, a product manager with vast experience releasing AAA games in the industry. Word of advice: If you ever have the opportunity to strike up a conversation with a PM, listen carefully and absorb everything. They are among the most brilliant minds in the industry.

I asked Alex about how to make a wave connecting with our audience and a key piece of advice he shared was to use the convention as an opportunity to give our players a voice: let them communicate what excited them about the experience. That is what will excite new players, and that is what you should focus on. Real simple: Ask them what they enjoyed, then, create a compilation of their responses. So, the next day we did just that:

If you’re using Google Photos, you can create a clip like this in about an hour using your phone. Select the all the clips, then use the auto-assist to make a movie. Then, adjust the clips so they reflect the most interesting parts of the interviews. To improve this in the future, I would bring personal mics to help filter out the background noise of the convention and have the voices be more clear. Even with just basic phone audio capture, though, I think this is a powerful takeaway of our experience.

What unites us all as indies?
Regardless of the tips, tricks and luck we all hope for, one sentiment was constant throughout all the fellow indies I spoke to: we “go all in” giving every ounce of strength and energy we have. Failure never deters us. We never consider the consequence of “What if this game doesn’t succeed?” because we perceive every opportunity we have as a gift from which we can learn and grow. Perseverance is the standout character trait of those who ultimately succeed because every moment of life is lived passionately to its full potential.


Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: April 03, 2019, 11:40:02 AM »
Summoners Fate: Player Reactions at PAX East 2019

Our PAX East showcase was a blast! My favorite part was meeting new people and witnessing the joy and excitement you had playing Summoners Fate. Here's what players had to say about their experience ;D

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 27, 2019, 07:57:45 AM »
Develop with Ross - Episode 12

Staring our development stream NOW on our Twitch channel Today I'll be making another DLC update before I head off to PAX East. Here's the cards I'll be working on:


In addition, I'll also be implementing the following balance changes:
  • Change Sibylla's ally boost power so it only works on summoned units, not starting guardians.
  • Decrease Skeleton Hounds starting stats from 2/3 to 1/1
  • Increase Soul Harvester's life from 5 -> 6

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 20, 2019, 07:58:45 AM »
Streaming Game Development NOW!

Streaming game development of Summoners Fate NOW on Twitch at Today I'll be programming the Dragon Hatcher card along with several other exciting selections from our Discord community.

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 19, 2019, 06:42:59 PM »
Develop with Ross - Episode 11: 8 Awesome Cards to Make

I've got another developer stream planned for tomorrow Wednesday March 20th (9AM-11:30AM MT) on our Twitch channel Our community Discord helped me decided the following agenda of cards for tomorrow. Maybe I went ahead and threw in a few I wanted as well ;)


In addition, I'll also be implementing the following balance changes:
  • Increase cost of Swarm from 3 -> 4
  • Decrease cost of Your Soul is Mine from 4 -> 3

Events / Develop with Ross - Episode 11
« on: March 19, 2019, 06:42:22 PM »
Develop with Ross - Episode 11: 8 Awesome Cards to Make

I've got another developer stream planned for tomorrow Wednesday March 20th (9AM-11:30AM MT) on our Twitch channel Our community Discord helped me decided the following agenda of cards for tomorrow. Maybe I went ahead and threw in a few I wanted as well ;)


In addition, I'll also be implementing the following balance changes:
  • Increase cost of Swarm from 3 -> 4
  • Decrease cost of Your Soul is Mine from 4 -> 3

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 18, 2019, 02:05:46 PM »
Single Player Update

Wanted to share a concept I'm exploring for our single player everchanging adventures - the dungeon minimap! Initially, I'd considered linear-only dungeons, but I'm seeing the potential for a lot of added value being able to explore a dungeon room-by-room, particularly when coupled with calculated decisions to avoid major threats and find alternative paths to achieving an objective.

We like weird.
We've also been exploring new ways to help get attention on our on-going prerelease efforts. Kelly and I came up with this concept of "We like weird" and have been exploring ways to showcase how the characters and mechanics you encounter in Summoners Fate will be unique and stand-out from other games. Here's our latest creation, what do you think?

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 15, 2019, 10:04:45 AM »
Summoners Fate is Going to PAX East!

We're an official selection of the Indie MEGABOOTH! We'll be showcasing on Saturday and Sunday 10AM-6PM in the MINIBOOTH. Come and meet us, play our PAX demo and have an awesome time!

Here's Summoners Fate in the IMB lineup trailer!

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 13, 2019, 04:28:35 PM »
NEW DLC NOW LIVE (v0.31.3)

Greetings everyone!

Today I did not 1, but 2 developer streams! Well, I had to because I left my first attempt on a cliffhanger, and I really wanted to deliver some new cards to our prerelease players today. That being said, new DLC is now LIVE (v0.31.3) - just boot up the game and you'll discover some new cards waiting for you including:

Dark Elf Sorcerer (New Summoner) <- A necromancer that can drain life and heal allies
Antarus, Battle Mage (New Summoner) <- He can make all damage spells cause knockback!
Your Soul Is Mine <- A pre-emptive necromancy spell
Celestial Barrier <- Equipment that lets you block magical projectiles, matrix style!

Plus a whole bunch of balance changes, read details here.


The episode recordings are up on our YouTube channel, or just watch below!

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: March 06, 2019, 09:00:10 AM »
Develop with Ross Episode 9 - Single Player FIRST LOOK

Hey everyone! We're going live on Twitch now with episode 9. Today, I'll be creating and adding new cards to the game, making a few balance tweaks, and, for the first time, showing off our single player development.

Watch LIVE on Twitch here.

Here's a recap of last week's episode:

We completed 6 new Summoners and successfully added them to the game with an OTA DLC update:
  • Clik'Clik, Impaler
  • Sibylla, Conjurer
  • Rugged Mage
  • D'Orc Slayer, Orc Chief
  • Serpenta Deceiver
  • Kailyn, Valkyrie Mage



I've updated the card images to reflect the player-suggested changes that I incorporated:
  • D'Orc Slayer's power of 5, reduced to 4, but we gave him the ability to summon a goblin whenever he attacks.
  • We removed Kailyn's gain 1 mana on attack in favor of making her completely disarm her enemy so that they can not attack until end of next turn.

We discussed some possibilities for Dark Elf Sorcerer. Here are some of the notes from my design backlog we can discuss further next time:
  • When you cast a Void or Arcane spell, enemy units get -1/-0 and ally units get +1/+0 until end of turn.
  • Summon Spiders when injured or after attacking
  • Could have some abilities that allow merging of spiders and dark elves to create mutations
  • Support: Sacrifice a spider to gain 1 mana.

Here are possible Warlock abilities:
  • When Chaos spell is cast, gain +1/+1
  • When Chaos spell is cast, Dreadnoughts get +1/+1 until end of turn.
  • Gain 1 mana when attacking (from Kaiyln's previous possible ability)

Here are possible Botanical Sage abilities:
  • Ally plants get +0/+3
  • Support: Summon Brambles next to an ally.
  • Inflict Poison

Check out the other Summoner cards here.

Game Updates & News / Re: Daily Updates
« on: February 28, 2019, 12:08:36 PM »
UDEN #21 Showcase

Last night Peter and I showcased at UDEN#21 at Game Tyrant in North Salt Lake. Utah is an awesome place to work in the game industry because we've got great community and support from groups like UDEN that hooked us up with a free expo at this amazing venue. Check out some of our highlights.

This incredible dragon statue and Peter posing in front of our signage.

Jon Dean, former EA GM and head chairmen of UDEN talking up the excellent prospects of Utah's digital industry.

Attendees playing the game

New fans!

And me, excited to meet so many awesome people!

Learn more about the event and UDEN here.

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