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[iOS] Give Me Fuel - Asynchronous Turn-Based Card Combat you can play in seconds

TubeTube Administrator, ClubPA admin
Hello, PA -

Our game, Give Me Fuel, is turn-based card-combat game you can play in seconds on your iOS device.

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I’ve been a gamer my whole life, and developing games since 2000. I’ve worked on things like Seaman, for the Dreamcast, and my last company’s game, Word Ace, was mentioned in a PA post way back in 2009. As a dad with two young kids, I recently found that while I might love The Witcher, or Destiny, it’s really hard to find a huge block of uninterrupted time to dive in. Hell, it’s even hard enough to find time for an uninterrupted Hearthstone or Vainglory match. The alternative seemed to be short time-wasters, but I didn’t want to just kill time - I wanted to have fun. And fun, for me, was using actual strategy, playing against my friends, and clutch wins or losses. Things that were hard to get in the time I had.

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So we made a card-combat game you can play asynchronously in just a few seconds. Jump in, take a few turns in a handful of games, and then jump out. There’s often a tension between, “I’m in the middle of a Hearthstone match, but the real world is calling.” Quitting in the middle of a match screws you, it screws your opponent, and over time, just becomes a source of frustration. If you’re a parent, you know that feeling for sure. We wanted to capture the strategy and depth of a game like Hearthstone, but without the need to commit a block of time to it, where you can walk away any time, no stress, no penalty, and just pick up where you left off later. A game that fits into your life. Around your crying baby, or your busy job, or whatever.

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We also wanted to make something that didn’t feel like a card game on a table on your tiny phone screen. After all, it’s a videogame - we can do anything. The game’s about two characters fighting, so let’s show two characters fighting!

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So it’s an animated asynchronous turn-based card-combat game. But wait! There’s more!

The thing is, we’re putting this out there now because I think it’s fun as-is. But you’ll notice it’s … missing some stuff that you might expect in a game like this. And there’s a reason. It’s not done. Our games are meant to be live, continuously-evolving services, and we launch them really early in a pretty rough state (GMF has been live since April, but it’s only now really polished enough to point new players at). And when I say “continuously-evolving,” I don’t just mean “we’ll add more cards & do some balancing.” I mean, new features are going into the game all the time.

The card game is the foundation for something bigger we’re working towards. Think of it sort of like “clicking on monsters in Diablo.” It’s the core combat mechanic, stripped out of the rest of the context of the game. But narrative, character progression, customization, and some really new stuff that you haven’t seen in a mobile game before - all those things are coming, and they get added seamlessly to the experience over time.

We hope you’ll consider this sort of like an Early Access game - it’s fun as-is, but we’re continuing to improve it with feedback from players, and you’ll see it change. The game’s really different than it was a few months ago, and it’s going to be different still in a few weeks.

One last note - it is “Free to Play”. I hate that term. You’ll notice that the Power Cards in our game are consumable. This may initially seem like a cynical money-grab, but honestly, it’s not. One of the core things we wanted to avoid was a static metagame, like what you get in Hearthstone and Magic. We also wanted to avoid deckbuilding, which while it’s fun in the right context, isn’t right for a game that you can play in really short bursts. The reason the cards are consumable is so that as we introduce new cards and older cards cycle out, the strategy of the game changes over time. It also has to do with long-term plans for character evolution & progression, which we’ll clarify more if folks are interested.

Our whole team (4 of us, working out of my basement) are gamers. Long-term gamers. We *only* want you to spend money if you value the experience you’re having. So we have a way to double passive currency accrual & remove ads. But if you play regularly, you’ll get enough free fuel to keep your card stock up to snuff with no effort. I know people see F2P and immediately think “pay to win” or “they’re being exploitative”, and I just wanted to say that yes, there’s a business element to things, but we’re committed to trying to build something you’ll *want* to spend $ on, not something where we beat you over the head with a hammer and you pay us to stop for a while.

Wanna learn more about us? Check out our website at Wonderspark.co, or follow us on Twitter @1derspark. If you have feedback & want to get in touch with us, drop me a line at the e-mail listed on my profile (user “helava”, somewhere in this thread).

Thanks for checking us out, and I hope we’ll see you in-game!

(I’m “helava” in-game - there’s a good chance you’ll end up in a match with me after you go through the tutorial, so just say “hi”!)

Posts

  • helavahelava Oakland, CARegistered User new member
    Hi! Just wanted to let folks know I'm happy to answer any questions, and really appreciate feedback of any kind. Thanks!

  • helavahelava Oakland, CARegistered User new member
    Also, I'd mentioned in the OP that I hope folks will approach this like an Early Access game, even though it's an F2P game on iOS. Part of the reason is that we approach our games as "live services" that are intended to keep evolving over the span of years. So we release the game super early, with just the "core mechanics" - in this case, the basic card combat + animation, and over time, we iron out the things that aren't working, add more stuff, etc. etc. But the game's never "done."

    As an example, within the next two weeks, we'll be rolling out a more robust "Adventure Mode", where you get some narrative stuff - mostly text, but with more single-player content and more of a "campaign" with your persistent character. That's also going to include integration with "Motion Data" - step trackers and stuff - to give you additional content based on how active you are throughout the day. That's just the start of a much bigger (and hopefully weirder) feature set, but we're starting there because it'll give us an idea of how people use it.

    We're also going to be doing a significant graphical polish pass over the next month, and if you started playing even just a few days ago, you've probably seen a.) new cards, b.) loading improvements in the main lobby, and a handful of other smaller details, like finally getting a handful more SFX/UI audio in there. We've got another "client update" in the pipe that'll drastically reduce the initial load times as well.

    So it's a constantly-evolving kind of experience. Obviously, we hope you'll find the game fun as it exists now, and if you do, I hope you'll stick with it to see where it goes from here!

  • helavahelava Oakland, CARegistered User new member
    We just released an update with a very early version of "Adventure Mode", which is a single-player campaign that uses activity tracking to create content from your real-world activity. It's very rough at the moment, but we wanted to get it out into the world. To access it, start the game, get to the main menu - click on the "news feed" icon at the top (it'll be badged), then read the update, and opt-in to the beta. Once you've done that, you'll have a little Adventure Mode button at the top of the main menu.

    If you get a chance to check it out, please let us know what you think!
    Thanks!

  • helavahelava Oakland, CARegistered User new member
    Over the last few weeks, we've been steadily improving Adventure Mode. We've added Parties - you can select up to 4 friends to be in your party. Your "party stats" are the max of all the members of your party, so if you're clever about it, you can have a much stronger party than any individual can be on their own. You have "persistent health" across any given day, as well - so you've got to be strategic about how you fight your battles. Even seemingly easy ones. Shields recharge between every fight, but the only way you regain Core Health is through resting at the end of the day, and very rare "Repair" events.

    As you fight opponents, you "tier up" and gain better rewards. If you're in someone's party, they get a reward every time you "tier up" as well, so the more active you are, the more you can benefit your party members (and your party members can benefit you).

    We've also added a ton more content into the Adventure Mode feed, and over the next few weeks, we'll be going from just using pedometer data to using much more interesting real-world data to populate the feed.

    If you check it out, please let us know what you think. Visually, it's still super rough, but content-wise it's really starting to take shape.

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