When we started our first shot at an iOS game, and there were a lot of expectations we had for ourselves. Things like “oh yeah, we’ll have time to make it everything we want it to be” and “of course our tutorial will be awesome and explain everything, we’ll get to it right after this list of things!”
As a tiny indie studio with 5 guys in a garage, time turned out to be not be on our side, and the demands of having a product to show outstripped our wish list of awesome features and standard kind of features that we woefully undervalued (tutorial and scoring, I’m looking at you). What came out of our tight schedule was Shifts, and we’re all very proud of our warty, little baby. Did it end up the way we dreamt? Nah, but it’s fun to play, looks nice, and delivers a solid experience, flaws and all.
David Neumann at Board Game Geek had some very nice words to say about Shifts, and he also raised some very valid issues that we might not have done the best job addressing in our help screens. So where better than our company blog to go through them point by point?
1) Leveling up. Oh yeah, that goes by almost completely unexplained in our help call outs!
Whenever one of your officers successfully resolves a crisis (or one of their crises gets resolved with BRObots) they gain a level. Max level for an officer is 9, and each level adds to their effectiveness in crisis resolution. The amount that a single level adds isn’t enormous, but as those levels rack up, you’ll notice the time that it takes to resolve those things dropping like a rock.
2)What do I get for resolving a crisis?
Well, the only awesome bonus you get is the aforementioned level up for your relevant officer. Other than that, you just don’t have to suffer the (potentially debilitating) effects of that crisis at the end of each turn. Each active (unresolved) crisis in your queue will hand out some kind of negative effect at the end of your turn. Each Hull Breach that you have up and active in your queue is going to cost you 5 hull integrity at the end of your turn. Resolving those is the only way to stop the bleeding, and even that’s no guarantee that you won’t just spring another leak that needs to be fixed!
3)How do I lower my ARKS corruption rate, or energy usage, or hull damage?
Power loss and hull damage are direct results of crises (Navigation Error and Hull Breach, respectively) that you have piled up in your queue. Resolving those is the key to keeping your ship in working order. 1 reactor power is also consumed each time you move, so keep an eye on that. You can gain more power through the Calibrate Reactor Core action, and even more if you use it with your engineer interfaced. Hull integrity can only be recovered with the Repair action that interfacing the engineer gives you access to.
ARKS corruption is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. Each turn that you have an active Nano Corruption crisis up, your ARKS corruption rate will increase by 1.5%. Once it’s up, there’s not much you can do about it! (Though there are rumors of corruption reducing radiations on mysterious planets out in the galaxy.) Both Nano Corruption and ARKS Sabotage deal damage to your total ARKS supply in different ways, and since there’s no way to get ARKS back once they’re gone (Earth is dead, after all) you need to be extra cautious about keeping them safe!
As for finding colonizable planets being a challenge, I’m going to leave that in the capable hands of you captains to plot your best courses. I believe that humanity is in capable hands.