Dev Diary #4: Powers
A Powerful Addition
Sure, grabbing fireworks is fun, but wouldn’t it be more fun to have it count for something after you’re done with a level? We thought so too.
In the rapidly approaching Test 2, we will be introducing the main progression system in Duple Dragon, the Powers system. This system will allow you to train and unlock new abilities for your characters simply by playing the game. Let’s take a look at how it will work.
Ian here, Lead Game Designer for Duple Dragon. Today I’ll be giving you an overview of the new Powers system. This is a big feature, and we’re excited to finally show it off.
Passive or Activated
Powers come in two main categories — Passive and Activated. Passive powers are always on, and you gain the benefit just by having them equipped. Activated powers must be used by pressing a button at the bottom of your screen while playing. Once used they must be recharged by collecting Mana Potions, a new item.
Acquiring a power is a two step process. First, train the power. Second, unlock the power.
You can select the power you want to train from the Powers Menu. All the points you collect while playing stages in Duple Dragon will turn into experience points (XP) for your power-in-training. Once enough XP has been collected, the power is ready to unlock.
Once a power is trained, you can spend Lucky Envelopes to unlock it for use. You can collect envelopes while playing, and you also get a large bonus for winning a stage. If you don’t have enough Lucky Envelopes to unlock the power right away you can start training another power while you collect more.
Once a power is unlocked you can equip it, gaining its benefits in every stage you play. You can have a total of three powers equipped at a time. You have one power slot to start, and two additional slots can be unlocked for a small cost. Only your equipped powers will benefit you while playing, and finding a powerful combination is part of the fun.
Leveling Up Powers
When first unlocked, powers start at Level 1, but each power can be improved up to Level 3. Powers gain more effectiveness or even new abilities each level. Getting to Level 2 and 3 works just like Level 1. You can choose to keep training your power after it’s unlocked, and when it gains enough XP you can upgrade it to the next level for Lucky Envelopes.
Let’s See Some Powers!
Enough preamble, let’s get to the good stuff. What do these powers do, anyway? Here is a preview of some of the Powers we have planned for the game.
Activated: Burn up negative items touched for 5 seconds.
Passive: The length of speed boosts (and speed reductions) are increased.
Activated: Summon a speed ring for an immediate boost of speed.
Passive: Your activated powers steadily recharge.
Is that a negative effect on my power?
Some of you might have noticed that on the power Ring Master, the effect is not completely positive. It also increases the negative effects of cursed rings. So what gives?
Most runner-style games and many casual games in general treat upgrades as a purely positive ladder to climb. Everything is beneficial, so it’s just a matter of how fast you can gain the upgrades and which you want to get first. We want to break this mold, though.
We are strong believers in creating meaningful gameplay trade-offs in our games, even casual ones like Duple Dragon. Getting rewarded is fun, but being rewarded because of decisions you made — which powers to equip, and how you use those powers — is much more satisfying.
By giving some of our powers trade-offs, and by limiting how many powers you can equip at once, there are suddenly decisions to be made. Ring Master can be entirely positive if you manage to avoid all the cursed rings in a level, but having that risk makes your power choices and skill level at the game meaningful.
Why the Two-Step Approach?
Why did we make it so you have to train a power, and then unlock it? Why not make it a one-step process?
In the release version of Duple Dragon you will be able to purchase Lucky Envelopes directly. This means that if Powers only cost Lucky Envelopes you could simply whip out the credit card and unlock everything in the game immediately. We don’t want paying players to be able to skip the game, so by having the training phase of acquiring powers there is a journey to acquiring each one that can’t be skipped through real money.
We also want there to be a legitimate road to unlocking items without paying, which is why there is no premium currency in Duple Dragon. You can collect Lucky Envelopes entirely by playing the game if you choose to.
You now have a thorough overview of the Powers system as it currently stands in development. This system will only expand with time as we add more powers to unlock. We can’t wait to hear what you think when you try them out for yourselves in Test 2!
Have a question about Powers?
Join our Discord server and ask us directly. We always love hearing from you.