State of the Game August 2022

Welcome to the 2022 Q3 edition of the Emergents TCG State of the game!

Today we officially transition into Public Beta. It is an exciting milestone that allows anyone with a passion for TCGs and web3 to jump in immediately. It also allows for more direct feedback from you, the players, to help us move boldly forward and make Emergents TCG a prime contender for the best TCG crown.  

As we move into the future, we invite everyone to take stock of what we have accomplished in the past quarter and share our plans for the next two quarters.

Quick Index of topics:

  • Super booster flash sale
  • Progress since May 2022
    • First-time user experience improvement
    • Hand interface redesign
    • Initial free set experimentation
    • Card aesthetic evolution
    • VFX and animation enhancements
    • News center addition
    • Game transitions upgrade
    • Technical improvements
  • Emergents TCG short and mid-term roadmap
    • Card set – Free set enlargement and expansions
    • Core gameplay – Quest system
    • Game modes – Async tournaments
    • Main menu – UI redesign
    • Cosmetics – New types and selection menu
    • Social – Friend list and emotes 
    • Platform expansion – Android and WebGL
  • Closing remarks

Super booster flash sale

To celebrate our transition to Public Beta, we are releasing the Emergents TCG Super booster flash sale starting August 18th (pre-sale) and August 19th (general). 

It is a limited edition of cards with alternative art and cosmetic avatars that will never be re-released. Features card art from renowned comic artists like Amanda Conner, Colleen Doran, Juan Doe, and many more. This is not something you will want to miss! Head down to https://emergentstcg.com/ for more information.

Progress since May 2022

The team has made tremendous progress in the past three months, moving from Closed Alpha at the start of May to Closed Beta and Public Beta.

It is even more impressive considering that the first (internally) playable game version was only completed in June 2021. They say that one image is worth a thousand words, well… In a little more than a year, we have gone from this:

Screenshot from the first playable version of the game (June 2021)

And more recently, this:

Screenshot from a development build (February 2022)

To this:

Screenshot from closed Beta build 0.32.06 (July 2022)

First-time user experience improvement

I closed the last state of the game article by mentioning that our primary goal for this quarter was to design, develop and release a tutorial system that could successfully introduce new TCG players to the game. We achieved this goal in July and have since continued to iterate to improve the experience.

Tutorial Mission 1 on beta build 0.32.06 (July 2022)

We even took the game on the road to San Diego Comic Con 2022 to test the tutorial!

Senior Game Designer, Corey Burkhart, at InterPop’s San Diego Comic-Con booth to show off the Emergents TCG

This is not the only aspect of player onboarding we have been working on. We have continuously been tinkering with our two main sites: emergentstcg.com (informational site) and play.emergentstcg.com (account and game site). We have introduced a new interface, several bug fixes, and improved functionality throughout the period. 

Expect to keep seeing more updates around new player onboarding and account management in the coming months.



Hand interface redesign

A responsive and elegant interface to parse and manipulate the cards in your hand was one of our biggest priorities on Q2. This was especially important after card titles were moved under the fold.

Our redesigned hand interface allows for easy browsing of your cards and something that few other digital TCGs allow: the ability to re-order your hand. Also, re-ordering is not shown to your rival, thus keeping card tracking as an option for high-level competitive play.

Hand interface on beta build 0.32.06 (July 2022)

Of course, there is still room for improvement. As a result, we will be performing minor calibration updates to improve the touch experience, especially as we look to release a mobile version of the game.

Initial free set experimentation

Throughout the Alpha and Beta, we’ve experimented with adding/cutting/changing cards in the free set to better understand the varied play experiences the Emergents TCG has to offer.

Now, as we’re moving into the public beta, our big point of focus for the free set is:

  • Onboarding new players in an approachable way.
  • Allow for varied strategies across the faction pairings.
  • Allow for cards to spark new archetypes and ideas.
  • Have each card in the collection be the intended final art for the card.
  • Test out different cadences to release cards as we move towards selling NFT cards later this year.

With the above in mind, we decided to narrow down the initial free set and experiment with expanding it via regular weekly expansions of five cards a week for an extended time.

We believe these mini-expansions will serve to continuously refresh the meta, bringing new opportunities to discover exciting combos and archetypes. As well as help onboard new players as they join a game that is not “settled”, leveling the field between someone who has played since Closed Alpha versus someone who just joined the party.

Card aesthetic evolution

As we continue to work with our artist partners to produce new original art for the Emergence TCG we’ve honed in on some of the unique qualities we are designing for.

Filling the Frame

Most TCG art is designed with more horizontal space, generally a rectangle that is wider than it is tall. The nature of our full art cards means you get a lot more image, but we have to design for a space that is more vertical than horizontal. We are getting more accustomed to working with these dimensions, getting a better grasp on how closely we should zoom into a scene, and how best to balance the elements within the frame

Our Comic Book Origins

Emergence TCG is based on the superhero world presented in our Emergence comic universe. We believe comic book style art captures this world best, and we are working with a variety of artists experienced in the comics industry. Working with different artists means there will still be variations in the styles from card to card, but we will retain our superhero comic book look and feel. Producing this style of art specifically for the game lets us stand out amongst some of the other more digitally rendered offerings.

Quality

Lastly, as we produce more art the artists we work with are becoming more familiar with our world and more aware of what we are looking for. With each card we get in closer alignment, refining our communication to more directly hit the target.

VFX and animation enhancements

It is not secret that TCGs are notoriously complex games to get into, and they are usually not the first choice of many to watch as a stream. However, we firmly believe that exciting visual effects and animations can dramatically increase player comprehension and make them much more of a treat to watch. 

With that in mind, we have added new animations for wildcarding, player damage, player death, character damage, healing, turn change, and many more. 

News center addition

We introduced the news center in our last public release of July 2022. It allows us to dynamically publish “news posts” and the ability to redirect the players to relevant external links.

News center in-client as of 0.32.06 (July 2022)

This simple feature is handy to keep players in the loop on the latest happenings in the Emergents TCG world. It will become invaluable when we start ramping up our expansion releases and organized play operations.

Game transitions upgrade

The unheralded hero of movies and games alike, good transitions allow players to remain engaged in the game and aware of what is happening even when the game is loading up a completely different scene. 

Before Q2, the only existing transition scene was our “looking for match” screen for players in a PvP queue. Every other time, players came face to face with an ugly gray screen or loaded a screen while it was still loading assets piecemeal.

We have created three more transitions: one animation (loading data) and two splash screens (loading game and versus). As well as improved the looking for match screen, victory animation, and defeat animation.

Loading game splash screen

Versus splash screen

Technical improvements

We have spent considerable time quashing bugs, improving matchmaking and server capabilities, and pushing the envelope on what our game rules engine can parse for new game mechanics. 

However, our most significant breakthrough in this period has been to read a player’s linked wallet for “known” NFTs. This is the first step towards using premium and promotional cards in-game and a necessary step for us to start the game economy. We expect that players will be able to start playing with their promo cards in the short term.

Emergents short and mid-term roadmap

Our relentless improvement during this period is a testament to the team’s quality, experience, and passion. And we are just getting started.

Card set – Free set enlargement and expansions

As we said, we will start expanding the free set with frequent drops of new cards in the upcoming weeks. These free cards will become available to all players soon after release. 

One of our objectives through this enlargement process is to test how progressive drops affect the meta and optimize every aspect of our release strategy. 

After that, we’ll begin releasing premium cards in larger story-driven and mechanical-driven themes that players can purchase. We’ll likely test out a few different release cadences at this time, but each of these cards will be building off of that free set foundation. In an important sense, the free set is intended to be the building blocks of the Emergents TCG experience, one in which we’ve spent a lot of time cultivating and improving to give a runway for the cards and mechanics for many years to come.

Core gameplay – Quest system

Our quest system is the first proper gameplay loop and the first play-to-earn (P2E) feature of Emergents TCG. 

The system revolves around card-specific quests that, after completion, unlock cosmetic enhancements – what we call “chrome”. We expect to launch this feature with two main types of chrome unlocks frames and titles. Eventually, we want to push the envelope to include alternative (non-promo) art, unique character logos, alternative animations, and more.

Importantly, chrome unlocks care bound to cards, not players. Therefore, cards traded with unlocked chrome will retain their status. As a result, we expect that cards with unlocked chrome will sell at a premium in the secondary market.

Quests are individually created per card by our game design team and designed for variety and fun. We trust players will have a great time finding clever ways to complete some of the most challenging ones or try to be as efficient as possible, clearing several simultaneously.

New “chrome” frame design – Unlocked through quest completion

Game modes – Async tournaments

Asynchronous tournaments, async tournaments for brevity, are simply game modes in which players go on “runs” that end after a pre-set win or lose condition. They are common in the digital TCG space, allowing players to simply jump in and play at their convenience. 

We tested an async tournament mode already in closed alpha: Limited pool – where players would get a random card pool of sixty cards and then go on a run of games until they hit five wins or two losses. We are currently iterating and testing both limited and constructed formats async tournaments. 

Main menu – UI redesign

Followers of our project will know that we have executed a significant style update on the “battle” UI in the last two quarters. Now it’s time to give the same treatment to the main menu UI.

We already have advanced design mockups that revamp the style and expand functionality we have long wanted to include.

Main menu UI mockup

Cosmetics  – New types and selection menu

Updating the main menu is the perfect opportunity to expand the player’s collection with non-card cosmetics and create a UI to select their loadout.

The player will eventually be able to select among a multitude of free and premium avatars, boards, card backs, and stickers.

What are stickers, you say?

Social – Friend list and emotes 

Great you asked! Stickers are our emotes, and it’s part of our plan to expand the social features in Emergents TCG. Stickers will work similarly to emote systems from other digital TCGs: you select a loadout pre-game and can use them to taunt or banter with your rival. This is one cosmetic we are very excited about. It allows us to introduce some classic comic humor and youthful irreverence that is the core of the Emergents IP. 

The other feature we plan to introduce in the mid-term is a friend list and the ability to challenge directly from the friend list.

Platform expansion

Since our first white paper, it has been our stated desire to make Emergents TCG playable on as many devices as possible. 

We are currently exploring WebGL and Android as potential platforms. 

Closing remarks

The future of Emergents TCG is bright, and we couldn’t be more excited to walk this path with you all. 

We hope you are pumped for what is coming soon to this game and work with us to take it to the next level. So join our Discord community, get in touch with us, and tell us what you are most excited about and what features you’d like to see in the future. We want to hear it all!

Thank you, and I hope to see you soon in the streets of Culverton!

Leonard Perez 

Senior Product Manager – Emergents TCG