Spirit Fire Update #17: Gameplay and Production Dev Update!

Spirit Fire Update #17: Gameplay and Production Dev Update!

How do I Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin blandit lacus sem, quis malesuada nibh laoreet rutrum? 

Heyo and ohey to you!  

<Writes and deletes half a dozen cheesy lines about 'the spirit fire burning over here' and various fire puns, and, honestly, it's just…it’s too much. We can’t. It’s too cheesy. Even for us. So. Instead, this is your intro. Enjoy.>

Anyway! Let’s update!

Nothing really. The pledge manager is open. It will be for a while. Statistically speaking, you’ve likely completed it already. Check out your pledge with this link, if you haven’t already: https://gamefound.com/en/projects/orange-nebula/spirit-fire/yourpledge

If you have any questions at all, please email us at groundcontrol@orangenebula.com. 

We don’t have a set date we'll be closing the pledge manager. When we do, we will loudly announce it. 

Retailers, Please Read: 

We are still working on our retail-focused pledge-manager/retailer portal. We are building something outside of the Gamefound/Kickstarter ecosystems to make life easier so you can focus on running your business and not navigating . . . <does hand flurries at “all of this”>. 

Thanks for your patience as we take the time to get it right. For now, just do your thing, resting easy knowing there’s no action needed from you. We’ll reach out by email and update you when the time comes! 

So much has been happening on the gameplay development front! 

On the more technical side of things, this month let’s take a look at a key development in the area of card play: auras.

Expanding on Auras

We’ve talked about auras fleetingly in some videos, but their importance has grown throughout development, so we thought today we’d dig into them in more detail. Don’t worry if you don’t know what they are, the following paragraphs are gonna give you context that explains.

Here you see a standard discipline card—they’re in dark mode now (the design shown here is not final, it’s been tweaked at least once since), but that’s not the point, just, stay with us here, alright. Anyway, this is a discipline, it’s what your deck and hand are primarily made up of. 

Recap about disciplines: you play these from your hand into the two columns in your capacity. Playing a discipline lets you trigger a “resolve” effect (basic actions like move, draw, etc) regardless of which discipline you played. Then, in addition, if you have the requisite spirit fire burning, you can also resolve the played card’s “burning effect” (All the card’s text. In the above example: “Peek at the top 4 cards…”). All these details of how disciplines work remain the same as they did during the campaign. 

Here though, we have an aura card, which is different from a discipline, because it’s an aura card. It is distinguishable by its white text box and, you know, the way it says “aura” in its little card-facts bar. These live in the same deck as the disciplines, are drawn into your hand in the same way, are played in the same way, and activate resolve effects in the same way. However, where a discipline has a one-time burning effect that triggers when the card is played, an aura has an ongoing effect that remains active/available as long as two things are true: 

1. The aura card remains uncovered (you haven’t played another card on top of it). 

2. You meet that card’s attunement requirement (the little glowy 4 at the top of the text box). This is explained more below.

So, in the above example, as long as this card is uncovered, and your intensity attunement is 4 or higher, then that aura is active, granting you access to its effect.

A quick, helpful aside: “attunement” is the number of spirit fire icons present on your in-play cards (the cards played into your capacity columns, your conduits, your active spark). So, in the case of this aura, you would need to have a total of at least 4 of the green intensity icons in play for that aura to be active. Because this card provides 2 of the 4 icons needed, you’re well on your way. 

Here’s another example: 

In this image, you can see the Aura “Mental Breakthrough” is uncovered and has an illumination attunement requirement of three. Because there are three orange illumination icons in play, that aura is active.

Auras add many layers to the gameplay, and the more we lean into them, the more interesting the build-crafting aspect of the game becomes. So, we’ve like, done that. And it’s great. Many combos and creative synergies can be built around the auras you choose to include in your deck, and the fact that auras trigger off your attunement encourages extra thoughtfulness regarding which spirit fire types you want to focus your deck on. But, you’ll have to resist the urge to just make your deck a single color, as each spirit fire aspect provides access to different types of effects, all of which you’ll be wanting in your build.

An additional element auras add that is specifically unique to this game: the presence of auras means anything that lets you manipulate your columns of played cards becomes super compelling. Effects that let you move cards between the columns, clear cards from columns, or otherwise do stuff to the columns allow auras that are buried to still be accessible with the right card play. With clever usage of your effects, you can manipulate your field of cards to turn auras on and off as you need them to trigger your combos and efficiencies. 

More examples of how these work and the types of things they can do will come up in future content, particularly the guide videos the team is still working on. But suffice it to say that these have begun to reveal the depth of their role in the game and we’re having a really fun time digging into them further as development continues. 

Speaking of development continuing . . .

Delving into Danger

On the non-technical game development front, one of the things we’re focused on right now is bringing out the sense of danger in the realms. Exploration is a big part of this game, and there’s a tension in the ominous unknown that only works if there’s actual threat in the world. When you encounter something you can’t fully get your hands around, when you pull at the threads of a mystery, when you step into a dark place, we want your imagination to play an important emotional role in the experience. So lately we’ve been combing through the world-building and narratives and asking ourselves, “Where in this space is the threat real? Where does the world use its teeth and give weight to the little voice inside you that says, ‘Be wary here, this feels dangerous.’” The voice won’t always be right, but the experience of not knowing that as you step into situations is important and powerful. 

On that front, as a total context-less share, here are some design explorations for a creature that shows some of the concepts and vibes we’re exploring.

Now, just to be clear, this spread of ominous creature designs does not convey the full experience of Spirit Fire (see any image of an adorable conduit companion for reassurance on that front), but it does reveal some of the more surreal aspects that await you in the mysterious corners of the world.

On the non-gameplay side of things, we’re currently in the midst of a lot of very exhaustive technical back-and-forths with our manufacturing partners, ironing out every little nitty-gritty on weights, thicknesses, sizes, and countless other very detailed detailings of each little in and out of the actual physical thing we’re working on here. A lot of this is very boring and doesn’t lend itself to interesting update fodder (think: lots of spreadsheets full of millimeters and counts and other numbers doing number things). 

The coolest thing we have to share are some photos of prototypes for the optional metal kit as we work out some of the details regarding these. Details like how deep the details are cut, what color metal, how heavy things are, and so forth). So, nothing you’re seeing here is final, but you can see the direction these are heading in. 

Probably the most interesting thing to note in these is the concave bottom of the cylinders. You can see the underside of one of the cylinders in the next photo below, and how it has a sort of indent and lip underneath.

And then, in this next photo, you can see how this enables the cylinders to stack on one another. This is a key feature because if you’re playing multiplayer, you may find situations where you’re occupying the same space on the map as someone else or traveling as a party. What better way to signify partied-up status than being in a big ol’ pile? 

Also, how cussing fantastic do those spheres look? They’re even better in person somehow.

Standard outro stuff! 

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As always, your presence here makes us feel all the feels. Thanks for being you, we’re so grateful it overlaps with us being us, so we can all be part of this being this. Remember that “if you need us” is a very wide-open phrase around here, feel free to stretch it to its limit if you’re on the fence about emailing. We’d love the opportunity to connect and take care of you. :-)

We'll talk to you soon. Keep being awesome,