It is time once again for the Chopping Block. This is a series of blog posts dedicated to discussing a game function or feature that ended up being scrapped. This week, we’ll be talking about the ability to play cards by simply double clicking them. Though this may feel like a small change, it actually changed a lot within the gameplay experience.
After a decent prototype was built, we began exploring some different quality of life changes. It was here that the idea of playing a card by simply double clicking it came up. This would prevent the need for a player to drag and drop a card every time a move is being performed. Though we had mixed opinions on the function, we decided it was worth trying out and coded it into our build.
When looking at the list of moves, most cards in a player’s hand would only have one viable place it could go. Attacks and traps represent the majority of the moves and they can only be played in one way. This lends itself perfectly for the double click function. For moves with multiple targets, however, the system could consistently select the default target of each card. For example, Skrill’s Bone Cage move can choose one of the opponents in the back row and lock them in place. By default, double clicking the Bone Cage card could always lock the opponent in the bottom space.
When brought up, the idea simply started as an efficiency consideration. It seemed useful and time saving to double click a card. Though it may seem silly to save the time it takes to click and drag a card, playing the game shows that there could be clear benefits. By allowing players to react quickly, they could effectively counter moves and attack chains. For example, if Player A is watching their opponent’s hand emptying out, she/he will have a chance to counter it. Because each card has its own animation, all of Player B’s cards go into a queue. In between each animation, Player A has a window to play their own card. If that card happens to switch out the attacker, all of the queued cards get wiped out.
This would actually be quite helpful in raising the skill floor for our game, allowing for players to break up big attacks more easily. Despite this, adding the function came with its own set of problems.
As of now, we have chosen not to implement this function for a few reasons. First off, we were worried about players accidentally playing cards they didn’t intend on playing. This consideration is extra problematic if our game end up being ported onto a touchscreen platform and I imagine this is a reason why other digital card games use the drag and drop method. Our game also boasts the Forge mechanic, where players put different cards together which adds to the problem as cards may get played instead of forged or vice versa.
From a pacing perspective, we also felt that dragging individual cards slowed down the game and felt better to play. Being a real-time game, this pacing is very important to how the game feels. If cards start flying out of a player’s hand, they will in turn be stuck waiting for more cards to be drawn. To combat this feeling of waiting around, the game would then have to draw cards faster. The end result would be a much more frantic feeling game, which would cut down on the strategic nature of Sigils. Not only this, but the ‘feel’ of dropping a trap or laying a powerful move onto the enemy characters add to the overall experience.
Unlike some of the other topics we have and will approach on the ‘Chopping Block’, I feel that this decision has a potential to change as we move forward. Both implementing or omitting the double click feature will come with its own set of positives and negatives, so testing for the final product will show which works better.
That is it for this post on the Chopping Block. As you can see, I haven’t been posting the audio version of the blog as it turned out to be pretty time consuming. If there is a greater demand for it in the future, it’s something I may take a look at again, but until that happens I’ll be retiring my microphone for a bit. Please check in regularly and follow us on our various social medias!