The Game Development World Championship (GDWC) is an annual competition that includes multiple indie-friendly categories. This year’s competition is for evaluating games which were released in 2022, so we submitted Duality: An Era of Stone for evaluation… and we qualified! So we made a page on the site:
Like & Share
If that page gets enough Likes and Shares, we will advance to the next round where judges will play and evaluate the game. How cool would it be for Duality to have an award that we can show off?
Improving The Game
So we rallied our troops (and there are only five of us so it was more of a mental troop rally) and made a new build with a bunch of features we originally wanted but didn’t have time for. We wanted this build to be about improving gameplay rather than new content (new content will be coming in the next update!) to make the base experience juicier and richer. Ergo the juicy patch notes…
✔ Pinch zoom is now in! You can zoom in and zoom out using pinch controls.
Use pinch controls to zoom in and see more details like the Cave Home decorations!
✔ Food levels now play differently: now you play until you either run out of moves or manually exit the level, and any matches increase your Goal count. This gets added directly to your Food Meter!
Now in Food levels, you get to decide when you’re done generating Food resources.
✔ Several Match-4 effects have been heavily revamped, some with entirely new behaviours! Plus, they still get more powerful the more tiles are included in the match.
Cloud used to push adjacent tiles one level up. Now it floats the top row of tiles off the grid, eliminating them.
Sea used to push adjacent tiles one level down. Now it sinks the bottom row of tiles off the grid, eliminating them.
Fire used to burn away a random adjacent tile and select another random tile to jump to and burn away. Now it burns away all adjacent tiles.
Mammoth used to push adjacent tiles left or right by one column. Now it stampedes in the direction of your swipe and clears all tiles it tramples over.
Sabertooth used to pounce in the area of the match and scatter the tiles outward. Now it seeks and devours a tile elsewhere on the grid, hunting goal tiles if possible (except Match-4 goals or Prohibited goals).
Bone still shatters random adjacent tiles, but now tiles shattered by the Bone effect also count toward Bone goals (except Match-4 goals or Prohibited goals).
Chaos used to convert adjacent tiles to other types randomly. Now it randomly affects each adjacent tile by destroying, flipping, shuffling, or converting it to another type. Chaos! Muahahaha!
✔ Population now ponder visibly, with thought bubbles containing custom emotes.
Your population know what they need
Emojis say so much more
✔ In between tutorials, we now display the Realm in its various stages of construction. Try a New Game and check it out!
Start from the beginning!
✔ Avatar customization now has all of your unlocks sorted into categories for easier browsing.
✔ Tech levels now indicate which tiles are your goal tiles by adding a glow effect to them. This should make it easier to see what you need to match, and help visually distinguish these levels from Main or Food level types.
✔ The Realm Map now has an animated treeline (for Forest realms) and animated coastline (for Coast realms). The coast looks especially cool at night 😉
Life to the Realm
New animated contour
✔ Previously, when the Food Meter depleted, it reset itself by climbing back up. This may have looked confusing, so now it reduces down instead.
✔ Particle effects have been added to the tiles affected by match-4’s, whereas previously the effects would only appear on the matched tiles.
✔ Some Realm Map assets lacked shadows. We added shadows to a bunch of stuff to give the map more depth.
✔ Avatar unlocks are now carried over when starting a new game so that you see them again when you eventually unlock the same category.
✔ Loading screen now has tips and fun text instead of the boring old “Loading…” text.
✔ “Blinky” (the shopkeeper of the Deity Shop) now appears on text boxes. Yep, they were the one talking to you all along!
✔ The Population vocalizations got repetitive pretty quickly, so we turned them into local audio nodes instead of global (so you shouldn’t really hear the ones off screen), and randomized the pitch.
✔ To balance the new Food level style, the way we do Population increases has been tuned.
✔ To account for the new Match-4 behaviors, some levels have been tuned.
✔ Frozen tiles can now be restored to their un-iced state by matching anything adjacent to the frozen tile.
✔ To account for zooming in, some of the Realm Map assets have been replaced with higher-resolution versions.
✔ You can now see what your Population count was at the end of any given period in your Timeline.
✔ The goals now pulse in size a bit at the start of tutorial levels to help draw attention to them.
✔ The Population limit has been increased from 8 to 10.
✔ The tile grid was not always centering nicely due to the way we were reserving space for things to show up. Now the grid should do a better job of centering with the available space.
✔ Subtle UI improvements to improve readability.
✔ The hint highlight on tiles is now more powerful – If you can’t find a move, look for the shiny!
✔ New map assets have been added for several more level unlocks, including a farm (which appears during Neolithic), and a dormant volcano.
✔ The final period (with the free play extra hard level) did not have Food levels, so if you kept playing the final level, you’d eventually run out of food and have no way to replenish. We’ve extended the Neolithic food levels to this period so you can stay and play as long as you like.
✔ Deity Powers are now only able to fire one at a time – we used to let you queue one power and fire off another, but this was leading to some usability issues so unfortunately we had to scale it down.
✔ In the first tutorial level, if you matched Coast without first dismissing the text box, the hand would remain onscreen until leaving the level. Fixed!
✔ The particle effects for Fire tile match-4 and for the Explosion effect (when using a Special tile) were both smaller than intended. Now they are full size and glorious! (Is it getting hot in here?)
✔ The Duality Counter flip was slightly desynchronized from the flipping of the tiles. Fixed!
✔ In the level “Stomping Grounds”, the Calamity threshold was hidden, so you couldn’t know how to avoid it. Let it be seen!
✔ If you turned sound effects off but kept other volumes up, you would still hear the cascade pop sound effects. Now these only play in the SFX channel, as expected.
✔ The ‘Prohibited’ target overlay was slightly misaligned with the goal underneath. Fixed!
With GDWC underway and our awesome new build ready for it, we’re looking for other venues to show the game. Our next target is IndieCade Festival! Submissions are due in April, so we’re already going back to our Godot workstations hammering on the next update to Duality: An Era of Stone.
Because update 1.2 was primarily gameplay-focused, we will put more emphasis on content in 1.3. I can’t divulge too many spoilers just yet, but I’ll just say there will be new levels and ways to interact with the Realm Map!
To keep up with our progress, make sure you are subbed on our socials and email list. Thanks for reading! Until next time, Deities! <3 <3 <3