Battle Log - Faith in Despair Devlog #26

The new version of Faith in Despair now allows you to look into the past via the battle log.



The battle log was made possible by the "save & resume" feature, because it made it possible to save the state of a card as an in-memory class, so I could easily read it and render it again when hovering over any line in the battle log.

The battle log was suggested to me by multiple people pretty much from the beginning. It is needed to answer certain questions, such as why creatures died, why the player got damaged, or why a run ended. All of these should be possible to figure out now.

It also lets me see how the game operates. I already had a bunch of debug outputs, but the battle log makes things much clearer. So this will probably help with finding and fixing bugs as well.

I've also started working on a new music track, and I might just collaborate with a musician again for this one.

What's next? Something that I've wanted to do for a very long time: Adding a second deck.

You can play the current demo on Steam or in your browser on itch.io.

🧙‍♂️ To be continued...

Improved Inventory - Faith in Despair Devlog #25

Recently, a person called NowOnTest suggested a new inventory layout on the Faith in Despair discord. It was similar to an idea I had, but had an improved layout and sort functions.



In general, the inventory has several problems to solve:

1) It can't be overwhelming to new players when they open it the first time, but it has to scale when your deck and your collection of lacrima grow.

To solve this, I decided to only show the first 6 lacrima slots, and as you collect more, additional satchel cards get displayed. I also hide the next/previous page arrows if you only have one page of cards to display.

2) There are basically two lists: Cards and lacrima. Scrolling two lists can be awkward, so the challenge was to display all lacrima on screen, while making it possible to scroll through the cards as conveniently as possible.

The solution was to increase the displayed cards to ten per page, and display all lacrima at the top in up to 5 satchel cards with their names displayed.

3) Changing cards: This is the main theme of the game, so swapping out lacrima from cards needs to be easy and feel good. By displaying the names of lacrima in the satchels, you no longer have to move your mouse over each individual lacrima, and can basically just have the inventory open to plan your deck.

4) Sorting: Cards and lacrima need to have sort functions. I decided to just add one general sort button for lacrima, which orders them by type, name, and value. For cards, I added several buttons in the lower right.

A special case is the sort option for kills. If you have a modifier lacrima that depends on total kills of a card, you need to see the information. Previously, this was just displayed below each card, which was overwhelming and unnecessary. You only need this information in rare cases. The new "Kills" sort option displays total kills on the cards, until other sort options are chosen.

5) Multiple input options: The inventory needs to work with mouse, keyboard, controller and touch. I always felt that scrollbars don't work that well (especially without a mouse) and are a bit ugly in terms of visuals. That is why you can turn pages with mousewheel, keyboard keys, shoulder buttons on controller, or just touch the arrow buttons. It's quick and you don't have to wrestle with a flimsy scrollbar.

With all these solutions in mind, the inventory currently looks like this:



Apart from inventory changes, the new version of Faith in Despair also includes an improved rarity system. Funnily, the rarity system was already implemented, but overruled by other functions that basically just chose lacrima randomly, without any rarity in mind. After fixing that, I finally got to see the rarity that I set up in a json file in action. Common lacrima like Weak and Shield appeared way more often, and rare ones like Random Buff were much shier. I believe this improves the game a lot, because it also helps with onboarding new players: They will see simple lacrima in the beginning and more complex ones as the run goes on.

Rarity has its own set of issues, though. One problem that came up was that there is currently only one "ultrarare" trigger, namely "On Attack". Which means that, when the game looks for a trigger, decides on ultrarare rarity, then it will always be "On Attack". So, there will have to be more options to choose from in a future update.

As always you can play the free demo on itch.io or Steam.

🧙‍♂️ To be continued...

Circles of Hell - Faith in Despair Devlog #24

A new update is live, and you can play the free demo on Steam or directly in your browser on itch.io.

This update introduces Circles of Hell, which are difficulty modifiers. Lots more will be added later (I've got 25 planned), but I wanted to release the first 5 to see how others feel about it.

I've also done the groundwork for adding the second starter deck. I don't know if I will be able to release it with the next patch, but it should be doable. Can't wait to show what I have in mind.

I want each deck to feel different to play, which is a challenge because you don't want to add complexity just for complexity's sake. This is something that I've seen with the different jobs in Final Fantasy 14. You always have to press a certain amount of buttons to do the same amount of damage-per-second as other jobs. But some jobs have to press more or less buttons to end up with basically the same output. You can't really make one job stronger than the other, or the playerbase will not want to have these jobs in their parties.

But I think the new deck will be fun. We'll see how it goes.

Oh hey, this is the first devlog entry on The Farm, since I've closed my Patreon page. At some point in the future I will carry over all previous posts too.

But for now, I'll just keep focusing on Faith in Despair.

🧙‍♂️ To be continued...

2024

Normally I want to start a year with big plans and a new year's resolution. But this time, nothing needs to change. I'm already on the path I've chosen back in May 2023.

Faith in Despair will be my next game, and I'm already working on it. It is available as a demo right now, and it's still in its early stages.

My list of things to do grew again in the past two weeks, but it all feels like it will improve the game, nothing feels unnecessary.

So, this is my plan for 2024: To keep focusing on one project. Faith in Despair. Nothing else. All energy will continue to flow into it.

I want this to be the most fun game that I can make. Every decision builds on the question whether it is fun, and I feel like I have seen early signs that I'm on the right path.

I can't wait to see how it all plays out. I believe 2024 will be an exciting year. Let's see how far we can go.

One Year Without Caffeine

The first time I drank coffee as a kid, I threw up all night. I was like five years old, and I must have taken a sip from a cup from my parents. A dozen years later, I met Auri and I started drinking black tea and coffee with a lot of milk and a lot of sugar.

Over the years, we drank coffee while having a “Jause”, it’s an Austrian thing for just putting a lot of things from your fridge onto your plate, like cheese, meat, pepper, tomatoes, bread, and just eating it with your hands. Or with cake and other sweets, like Blattlstock or Sachertorte. Then we started drinking it in the mornings, especially during Winter, because it was a warm start to the day.

Slowly but surely it turned into a habit. One coffee in the morning, one after lunch, and one after dinner. We switched brands to a sweeter one because we noticed stomach issues from the brand we bought at the grocery store, and we slowly put in less and less sugar. I also reduced the amount of milk I put into it, until it was just a spoonful. At this point I drank it basically black.

Then we started noticing our sleep getting worse. There was a lot of anxiety and stress from our jobs too, but something was off. And of course, we knew it was the third coffee before bed. You might say, that’s obvious, but the third one just felt really cozy for some reason (maybe because of the dopamine?).

We found a coffee replacement - a dandelion coffee, which has zero caffeine and you can prepare it just like filter coffee and drink it with milk. So, for the third cup of the day, right before bed, we switched to this one. And I believe we slept a little better, can’t say for sure.

Then, last year, I got covid. I was practically dead for almost two weeks, no appetite, and I couldn’t smell anything for a while, and everything tasted wrong. I couldn’t drink coffee for two weeks. This was basically my rehab.

Normally, you can’t just quit drinking coffee. Usually you get headaches from withdrawal, it’s a very specific kind of headache that feels stingy and particularly annoying. Which is why coffee is such a nasty addiction. The easiest way to get rid of the headache is to just drink another cup.

But now, I accidentally escaped its firm grasp. When I got better, I tried drinking a cup, and it felt like my heart burst. I was still recovering from covid, so my body felt a bit weak overall, and a lot of things like exercising or taking walks would increase my heart rate more than usual (or at least it felt like it).

So, one time, when my taste was more or less normal again, we sat in a café, I just asked if they had decaf coffee. They did! I drank it and to my surprise, it… tasted just fine.

We looked up the brand that we drank at home and discovered that they also offered a decaf option. Auri bought it, thinking we’d never get through the whole package. When it arrived, I tasted it and it was just like the one with caffeine, only without the increased heart rate and anxiety. It was honestly such an awesome feeling! I could have my coffee again, but still sleep well.

One year later, it’s kind of boring how normal it feels to not have the usual coffee anxiety. I feel like I can have moments of calm throughout the day a little bit easier. Work can still be stressful, but I do wonder how much worse it would be with caffeine.

And best of all, I don’t depend on it. I can just not drink it if I don’t feel like it. There’s no more headache looming on the horizon if I don’t get my caffeine hit. And honestly, that is quite freeing.

As with other substances and media, it makes you wonder why this is socially accepted. Everybody does it, right? That’s what people say. I know I’ve gotten looks and questions whenever I order decaf coffee in restaurants. But, it tastes the same. Why wouldn’t I drink it without caffeine?