Path of the Djinn

Recap of a Steam page announcement & Prayer System

First of all, I kinda need to apologize to the few (but much appreciated) blog and newsletter readers, it's been a really long time, and lots of things have happened since the last post. The newsletter mentioning the Steam page announcement stated a "soon to be coming" wrap-up post that ended up taking almost exactly a month!

I'll use this paragraph to come up with some excuses: we were super tired due to the Steam page push, then there was Christmas and New Year's Eve, so we pretty much took one week off then worked in slow/chill mode for another week and finally resumed working full time a couple of days into 2024. Then I kinda procrastinated for another couple of weeks while trying to wrap up a feature that we couldn't include in the page announcement, surprise surprise!

Steam page announcement recap

Alright, now that my conscience feels better let's start with the real content of this blog post, first of all, how was the announcement? It was NOT great, slightly above 150 wishlists, about 25 followers, and a bunch of people being confused about the game's genre.

While working on the aforementioned feature (soon to be explained in this same blog post!) we reserved a good amount of time for reviewing our marketing approach and, even more, trying to understand why our game gave off a "nice turn-based RPG you got there!" vibe.

We believe that, partially, the poor wishlist number and the game genre being misjudged by random people both stem from the UI, especially the combat one. There is very little in there that screams "I'm not an RPG!", or better, there is little in there that clearly and barefacedly says "this is a roguelike!!". Let's be honest, the UI also kinda sucks, we weren't really happy with it but we really wanted to put the page online.

When we initially chose a pixel art UI for our 2.5D game, we debated between this style and a minimalistic design with a black background, transparency, and non-pixel art font, similar to what most other 2.5D games use.

We now think we picked the wrong one, the pixel art one turned out to be difficult to make nice, was a strong reason why we went with pixel art fonts (another bad decision, many people are complaining about readability), moreover, we feel like simplicity mixed with transparencies will give the game world more room to breathe. We'll be experimenting with a high-fidelity UI and fonts, stay tuned.

But that's not what we are limiting ourselves with to improve our wishlists, we'll also try to dip our toes in tik tok, and we're working on combat subsystems that integrate with the existing ones (e.g. skill perks, resources, etc.) to push the roguelike aspect and make the game (and the UI!) more interesting mechanically. As I mentioned earlier, one of these subsystems is actually already here, the Prayer System!

For the TLDRers out there: prayers == skills that belong to the party rather than any individual character and that cost water.

Prayer System

What we aimed for with the Prayer System was to expand the player agency during combats by increasing the choice surface each turn, integrating with the resources system while doing so.

When starting your journey, you'll be prompted to pick a prayer, that is, a bundle of two or three skills that belong to the party rather than any individual character. These skills can be used during any character's turn, but can also represent passive perks that affect the journey in different ways, like expanding dialog options or making particular locations more appealing than others.

Prayer skills require a sacrifice in water, something players will have to manage during their journey, continuously seeking a balance between the now and the later.

You can read more about the Prayer System in our Steam Announcement.

Be sure to wishlist! :P