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Passive Auras Discussion

A topic by benedictfritz created 306 days ago Views: 272 Replies: 16
Viewing posts 1 to 6
Developer

With alpha 0.5a we've added passive auras to TumbleSeed.

Some thing I'm curious about:

  • Feelings on frequency of acquisition
  • How valuable do they feel?
  • Which auras have you found to be overpowered (there definitely are some right now)
  • Aura ideas
  • Should we even have auras in the game at all?

I've only played a few rounds but here are my initial impressions.

Just got myself stuck in a wall with Timed Teleseed aura, but was able to teleport myself out of the wall. Still seemed like a bug though. Even without the bug, I don't see myself picking up that aura next time I see it. It kept interrupting me and getting me hurt. I guess I'm kind of a risk-averse roguelike player.

I think roguelikes like TS are all about the decisions when it comes to "upgrades" like the auras. I'm curious why you decided to only give one option for the auras rather than making it a choice like the crystal rooms. To emphasize that picking up the aura is optional?

Developer

Just got myself stuck in a wall with Timed Teleseed aura, but was able to teleport myself out of the wall. Still seemed like a bug though. Even without the bug, I don't see myself picking up that aura next time I see it. It kept interrupting me and getting me hurt. I guess I'm kind of a risk-averse roguelike player.

Yeah, that's a bug, sorry. Honestly, the timed teleseed is probably one of the worst auras there is. Or, rather, one of the most jarring and bizarre. Maybe give it a shot with some others.

I'm curious why you decided to only give one option for the auras rather than making it a choice like the crystal rooms. To emphasize that picking up the aura is optional?

We were initially testing auras as something that you'd pick in a crystal room or shop -- on the same level as seed types. I was playing with this for a while and it just never felt right. In the end I realized that auras just aren't as important as seed types and placing them at the same decision-level as seed types made me not use them, and made them seem bad. However, when I just dropped them in a room in each camp, they were immediately shaping my runs and I was having a lot of fun with them.

Right now it's sort of just giving you one since it's the simplest way to test auras as a gameplay system that doesn't interfere too much with the systems that already exist. In the end if we do keep auras in the game we could very well do more interesting things like choices between auras, sacrificing resources to get auras, etc. So yeah, mostly for simplicity, testing, and isolating the experience.

The crystal shield aura seems really powerful. Combining that with a bomb seed that gave me (probably too many) gems got me a full two stages further than I've ever been, finally dying on the boss when my gravy train ran out of gems.

I also got the thorn aura which seemed more fun than actually beneficial, but I don't think that's a bad thing.
Developer

I also got the thorn aura which seemed more fun than actually beneficial, but I don't think that's a bad thing.

Yeah, this is my feeling on the randoseed as well -- interesting to hear your take

Aura's feel like something that should absolutely be in the game, it incentivizes not getting hit and adds a ton of variance to gameplay.

My main experience so far has been with the Thorn Aura (Crystals -> Thorns, in case that's not what it's called). That was incredible amounts of fun and I picked it up when I had 1 crystal and 1 heart, and it carried me all the way through the second biome in a terrifying glass cannon fashion. If I had more health when I picked it up I would've felt like a god. It's definitely overpowered at the moment, in my opinion. Maybe make it truly a glass cannon item where you cannot gain HP while you have it?

I also came across the aura that's supposed to give you two free seeds, I believe, but I was confused about how to use it, if I needed to get hit? I ended up dying immediately so I didn't get to find out.

Developer

It's definitely overpowered at the moment, in my opinion.

Yeah, I'll say that there are a bunch of them that are probably overpowered right now. The design process that has been most successful for us has been "make a thing too strong so that we find out if it's fun and then tone it down".

I also came across the aura that's supposed to give you two free seeds, I believe, but I was confused about how to use it, if I needed to get hit?

If you go into a crystal room or shop there should be a little circle with the arrows-in-a-circle emoji. If you roll over that with it it should work. Though, now thinking about it, I'm realizing there might have been some changes that broke it in crystal rooms. It is... very alpha right now.

Love the Thorn Aura story! Playing with variables like health gain will definitely be tools to pull out to make these crazy things more balanced haha

So I am not sure how I feel about aura's, after a bunch of runs they are not adding enjoyment for me. They feel like in most cases they are diminishing the strength/reason to care about many types of seeds, duplicating them, or could be implemented more cleanly as seeds rather than auras. That if the goal is to expand the value of tactical choice there is lots of opportunity to make what seed you are playing at the time more valuable with the same end impact that auras have.

I can understand wanting to explore ways to add more layers of resource management, but I think the game probably doesn't need it? I think there is a strong set of systems in place without auras, that depth can be achieved through additions and balance within those systems instead of though adding new systems, at least in this case.

Hope I don't come off as too negative, is just one opinion :)

Developer

Not coming off as negative at all! We share a lot of the same concerns and are definitely worried about muddling the design with extraneous systems. So it is super valuable to hear this, thanks!

(Edited 1 time)

I think part of the thing I have with auras is there are already a lot of seeds in the game that purely add to the noise and need some balance. Aura's feel like they are just adding more noise to the background of things I don't really care much about. A normal run for me goes like this:

I try to stay around 10 crystals

I try to stay around 5 thorns

I grab any shield type seeds and keep them active

I plant maybe 1 checkpoint per zone when I remember

I stay on hearts otherwise and get as many as possible

All other seeds etc I ignore as they are not as valuable in most situations, and are actively bad in many.

All the shields in general I think are very very powerful, they greatly impact the distance of a run. They are just automatic takes and I always hope to see them instead of anything else.

For all weapons, homing enemies render them somewhat useless. Once the enemies are thick enough to justify using weapons in the first place instead of going around them, you have to keep moving all of the time to avoid the homing types. Moving into your own weapon fire is bad, moving away from weapons that need to be aimed is bad. Thorns take care of enemies in a way that protects you more in general, and is not possibly harmful to yourself.

So to summarize again, right now the starting seeds are all incredibly important, but after that I only care about shields, which make a huge impact, and any other pickups seeds/auras are mostly noise.

Maybe there are some types (especially of auras) or combos I haven't seen yet, but if they are that rare to get then I would say the vast majority of players will never see them.

Maybe the problem is thorns, hearts and shield are too powerful?

Like if there was a limit to 1 thorn, and a limit to 3 hearts, and the shields were only very very small areas and cost a ton, like 10-15, I would probably care about the other weapons a whole lot more.

Developer

this is really interesting. thanks for this perspective.

for me (and i suspect us) it's very different and i personally find shields to be one of the least useful seed sorts with nearly all other weapons preferable to thorns. i wonder if that's because you don't get time/opportunity to practice with these other seeds and so you'll never risk trying them out enough to feel comfortable whereas you get to try thorns out every run guaranteed.

that said, i'm going to try and give this strategy a shot. my guess is that it's a very survivable build while i think we try to maximize and "thrive" by getting tons of crystals, buying up a lot of suits, hearts and etc.

the more of these looks into "this is my strategy" the better we can reveal our complete blindspot of what it's like for an intermediate/advanced TumbleSeed player, so if this changes please update us! hmmm, maybe this warrants a fresh thread about this specifically...

Developer

Seconded

As a concept, I approve of auras.

As for the particular auras, here are some of my impressions:

  • After trying a few out, I'm starting to get really choosey about which auras I grab since they have such a massive impact on the overall experience of a run. I start getting a groove with a build, and then come to a Teleport Aura and I nope out of the room. There are so many auras that actively take away freedom and force me into particular decisions (like forcing me to stop dead so I can risk teleporting into a wall / hole, or risk getting hit by an enemy while I'm teleporting). In theory, this sounds exciting, but in practice, it adds such an unknown variable to an already chaotic game. I seem to enjoy auras when they are truely passive, and work completely in the background.
  • The Teleport Aura.....I detailed in my last bullet.
  • Thorn Aura: Seemed like a fun idea at first. I got it in two consecutive runs and it feels massively OP in the Jungle, and then actively ruins me in the Desert. There are 3 things in particular that ruin me in the Desert:
    1. By that time, I have 10+ thorns around me and it obscures the ground, making it really really difficult to avoid holes, etc.
    2. It's useless against ranged enemies (which is good).
    3. Due to all of my crystals going to thorns, my economy is comepletely wrecked, at this point. I've invested so much into this thorn bush of a seed that I'm practically helpless in the Desert. Upon grabbing this aura, my game completely transforms into "Maintain thorn bush," and all the other interesting choices that this game provides completely fall away since I can't gain crystals past this point.
    • Suggestion A: Yellow and Green Crystals only give you one thorn and the rest goes to your crystal stash. (Encouraging me to focus on bigger enemies)
    • Suggestion B: Have some way of dumping the aura without hurting yourself. Once I've invested 15+ crystals into a thorn bush, I really don't want to chuck myself into a hole and lose all that if I want to get back to working on my economy. Besides, once you hit the Desert, this arua is way less usefull, anyway.
  • Mushroom Aura: I've literally only seen this in practice once, despite grabbing it mulitple times (due to the randomness of getting things like Bullet Seeds). I liked it, though...
  • "Syringe" Aura (gaining quarter hearts when killing enemies): I just got this and I love the shit out of this idea. It ecourages me to be way more aggressive, which also will make me lose more hearts, but I don't care. I'm getting hearts. (I wasn't able to get a feel for the balance of it, since I died pretty quickly after getting it.....See Thorn Seed rant)
  • Bomb / Claymore Auras: I really like these, but I stay the F away from them. They be deadly, yo.
    • I whole-heartedly believe that they shouldn't be active in camp. Camp should be a safe place, free of barbarism and violence. I need a break.
    • I approve of these, though.
  • Ghost Aura: I like this idea, but it hurt me in town when I went into a shop.....I left it in the shop. It's bad enough when I'm being relentlessly pursued by enemies. Definitely a very high-level aura (obviously...)

That's about as much as I can remember. In general, I feel like auras are best when they augment your play, rather than revolutionize it. When I grab one seed, that doesn't necessarily make my entire run about THAT seed, but that often happens when I grab an aura. All of a sudden, the entire run is about THAT aura, and every other choice I've made in the game becomes secondary.

In the end, I'm starting to shy away from auras in general. Maybe once I've played a ba-jillion hours and I'm a TS Master that kind of augmentation will be welcome, but for now, I just want to master the Bullet Seed.

Developer

Thanks for such detailed thoughts on auras! I feel similarly in a lot of cases. If you have any ideas for auras I'd love to hear them!

If I come up with anything interesting, I'll be sure to write it down for you. :)

Developer

ah cool i like the idea of the gold/emeralds giving you 1 thorn and the rest goes into the bank.

there's also this bounce friend aura that i dig, here's alpha member omnigryphon playing with it to pretty interesting/cool effect: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvi5bxDAF0w&feature=youtu.be&a (i haven't gotten it in natural play yet)

That one looks pretty fun! Seems like a good stepping stone to the Ghost Aura (keeping an eye on a perpetual enemy).