I am currently working on main base customization in my roguelite strategy game Citadelic. This feature, like gameplay modifiers, is another meta-progression element in the full version of the game. That means the player has to earn experience points by playing the game, and later spend them to customize the base for future runs.
It's important to note that customizing a base doesn't necessarily make the game easier. There are no permanent upgrades that can be bought to help the player in the future runs. As I've explained in my previous post about gameplay modifiers, all of the meta-progression in Citadelic is there to give the player more options and add variety to the game, while keeping it challenging.
To customize a base, the player has to spend some experience points to buy components, which can then be used to build a base with unique stats. There are 3 types of components, which can be mixed together to suit different play styles.
The component types affect different characteristics of the main base:
- Protection level: affects the max hit points of the structure.
- Structure type: affects the max augment slots of the structure.
- Tech supply level: affects the amount of tech resources that are available at the start.
There are 4 components of each type, which means there is a total of 64 unique bases that can be made using these components. No component is necessarily better than another, because each one affects how much ore the player gets at the beginning of the game. For example, the Reinforced protection type gives the main base 7 hit points and 2 additional ore. The Sand protection type, on the other hand, gives only 1 hit point, but the player gets 14 additional ore.
The player has to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each component and build a base that suits their play style specifically. For example, selecting a Sand Fortress is risky, because it only takes 1 hit from an enemy to end the game, but the bonus ore can be used to build more defenses or production buildings at the start of the game, which could be very useful in the long run.
Depending on the player's strategy, some base types may be especially effective when used in combination with certain modifiers.
For example, the Reinforced Citadel (Tech 3) base type uses the most expensive components and provides 7 hitpoints, 5 augment slots and 4 units of each tech resource type, but all of that reduces the amount of starting ore to just 6. Under normal circumstances, this is enough to build only one turret, chemical launcher or emitter at the start of the game. This may not be enough to kill all enemies in the first wave, especially on higher difficulty modes, and that means that the player may have to take some hits in the beginning, and may have to spend more ore on repairs in the next waves.
However, the player could enable the Cheaply Built modifier: "All turrets, launchers and emitters cost half as much ore to build, but their hit points are reduced to 1."
With the Cheaply Built modifier enabled, the 6 starting ore is now enough to build 3 defensive structures at the start. This gives the player much better chances to perfectly survive the first few waves, but may force them to change their strategy to account for the fact that each tower can now only take 1 hit from an enemy.
Another extreme example: if the player chooses the "cheapest" components, they'll end up with a Sand Spire (Tech 0), which only has 1 hit point, 2 augment slots and no tech resources, but gives the player 42 ore at the start. This lets you build 7 defensive structures right away. Or you could use all that ore to build a lot of production buildings, which become even more effective when the Industrialism modifier is enabled: "Ore income from production is doubled, but there is no ore income from kills."
It's going to be really interesting to watch players come up with their own combinations and strategies when the full game comes out. If you haven't tried the game yet, check out the free demo on Steam and let me know what you think. Add the game to your Wishlist if you liked it!