First, there is a new dungeon available: Lock and Key, which features a pair of new spaces. Most of the map is sparse for treasure except for an optional room in the middle that become available about 2/3 through the map. I'm worried that on its own the treasure hoard is available too late to matter, but it could be just right for any meta-game rewards that are incorporated later.
The rules have been made more explicit in some cases, and the relic deck has been increased from 16 to 20 cards. The card "Drill Relic" has been replaced - see patch notes for details.
I've made some changes to Kudzu's presentation intended to make it scale up more smoothly.
- First, I've split off each dungeon into its own document. Each dungeon module includes the playable map for that level, a guiding layout, and an explanation of spaces found on that map. If there are any cards specifically for that map, they will be included.
- Generic Kudzu material such as rules and cards, however, are only found in a separate document. This way, updating the rules means changing one document instead of several. It also reduces legacy issues with players applying older rules to newer versions of the game.
- The card "Drill Relic" has been removed from the game for now. Having the ability to place tiles on walls is exciting, but has the potential to ruin any map where a major barrier is a single wall thick, as in Lock and Key. Cards with wall-breaking abilities will appear later, but attached to specific maps as starter cards.
Other thoughts and plans:
- The next module, Ulee's Pitfall, will not introduce new tiles, but will focus on more challenging uses for letter tiles. Players will start with a Pillar Relic, which allows them to turn letter tiles (and other tiles) into walls.
- Another possibility is 'portal' tiles that allow the player to start a crossword at one portal location and continue it at another. However, there may be memory issues with that. I want to experiment more with "Lock and Key" and tracking which keys have been collected before I try that.
- The logistics of a print-and-play game are more involved than I expected. Making things portable is taking more time than I expected, but hopefully the modularity changes will improve the development flow and allow more time for the creative aspects of the game.
- To my knowledge, nobody is testing the game at the moment, and neither am I. Most of my energy is going into thesis work at the moment, so playtesting and finding other playtesters is going to have to wait until the defense.
- I've been investigating the prospects of making Kudzu an Android game, again after the defense. I want to make the game a net good for the environment, and it seems like the best way to do that is by having a running advertisement bar on the bottom of the game, with a large portion of the revenue going towards either planting trees or buying up carbon permits and letting the permits expire unused. There are some other ideas involving in-game currency and 'cashing out', but the logistics of that are a distraction from game development at the moment.