Tri Wing Developer Talks About Creating Fun Card Combos In Their Deck-Building Robot-Battler

By Joel Couture . June 18, 2018 . 1:00pm

Tri Wing is a deck-building game of cute, tiny robot battles on digital battlegrounds, with players using a variety of cards to control the field, lay traps for their foes as they move, and damage their opponent until victory is won. With many different card possibilities and combos, there will be a large variety of options on how players can whittle their foes down, letting payers get really creative with their deck-building.

Siliconera spoke with Vincent Veak, developer of Tri Wing, to learn more about the thought process behind card creation and how these cards create interesting opportunities for tactical decisions by both players and their opponents, how positioning became a key part of how the cards functioned, and how the game builds upon its inspirations to create something new.

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What drew you to make a game inspired by Mega Man Battle Network? What made you want to create Tri Wing?

Vincent Veak, developer of Tri Wing – I’ve always been drawn to competitive games and I’m also a huge Mega Man fan. I LOVED the battle system of Battle Network, and when I was younger I actually tried to modify old ROMs to make a balanced version of the games to play with friends. I remember at one point we literally carried Gameboy Advances around school with us in 2015. Around that same time, I just decided to make my own version of the game, and thus, Tri Wing was born.

How did you want to differentiate your game from its inspirations? What makes it your own?

Tri Wing is a culmination of mechanics I love in fighting games, card games, and Battle Network, but it’s my own spin on it all. The goal was to evoke the feelings I love the most each genre and tie them together while still keeping the game accessible.

The first and and most unique aspect of Tri Wing is the battle system, ironically enough. Of course it was derived from Battle Network, but many of the mechanics that made it into the game came from other genres, specifically fighting games and MOBAs. Battle Network had this “dimming” system that froze time to do an attack, which was fun in single player, but less interactive in a multiplayer scenario. The Focus mechanic in Tri Wing was created to give off a similar effect, but more importantly it assists in the ability to create strings of combos by putting opponents in bullet time.

Auto attacks with cooldowns similar to MOBAs were added as well, with the ability to switch them on the fly by equipping Auto Attack cards. Auto attacks and the EX system also both contribute to speeding the game up as the match progresses. By adding these two core mechanics, the game’s pace changes into this system where every turn is a little puzzle where the player is focusing on stringing cards and auto attacks together to create combos of their own.

The other major mechanic is the card system. Comboing cards is fun, but only if you can reliably execute them. Tri Wing has a system called the “CMD Prompt” which allows you to Collect an extra card slot, Manage (mulligan) a card for a different one in the deck, or Discard a card for extra Fuel point (the point/mana base of the game). Both my favorite and least favorite thing about card games is the consistency aspect and deck management. This method was the most reliable way to manage a deck while maintaining that glorious feeling of a sweet top deck.

Also my game is not an RPG haha.

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Did the visual style affect how you designed the game? How you wanted it to play?

The visual style has a pixel art style because I’m honestly a terrible artist and like many indie devs, this was the best solution. It also lends very well to the retro game inspiration and the lightheartedness of the game overall. Kirby was actually a major influence for the main character because I wanted the visuals to still have this technology-themed flavor, but also have a cute mascot.

What drew you to have positioning as a concern for the card game? What does battling on a grid add to your card battles?

Positioning did originally come from the Battle Network battle system, but as I played around with the system itself, I quickly realized that cards and grids lend to one another very well. The grid system also illustrates a simplified concept of spacing in fighting games without punishing players too heavily (or at least giving the players time to react accordingly). The ability to see how powerful it can be to back your opponent into a corner, string combos together, or zone your enemy out of a specific lane is much easier to execute when confined to a small grid. It makes decision-making easier for casual players and also creates an experience that is still very much a card game.

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What thoughts went into creating your various card types and styles? In creating a good system for cards battles?

Card making is easily my favorite part of the design process [laughs]. When designing cards, I had three major rules I made myself follow at all times:

1. Cards must be unique in some way. They can have niche applications, but there cannot be cards that are objectively better than one another.

2. The card system itself must allow for cards to be balanced easily to preserve a healthy meta.

3. Cards have to be fun to play with AND against! This means that cards must force both players to interact with one another, and they must have a check or counter in some way.

I’ve played a fair amount of card games in my life, so I drew influences from all over. Of course you have the essential cards to start with. You’ve got your cannons and your swords, but after those were out of the way, I started to have some fun with it. I looked to other card games and asked myself "What made this enjoyable?" and the conclusion I came up with was that a lot of card games let you play your own style and stretching the limits of the rules the game defined for you.

Tri Wing has cards that affect the board with cards that stick on the field, obstruct opponents, or change your movement options. There are cards that alter your player for the remainder of the round, like enchantments of sorts. Things like health regeneration, card discounts, and damage boosts are things that players can add to their decks. Of course you also have things like status effects, knockback (and forward knockback), powerful moves that require a damage meter to be filled called EX Attacks, and so much more. The game also has Deck Archetypes which adjust the cost of each card in your deck to reflect the style you prefer playing.

I plan on adding many more cards that change how players interact with every system. Things like trap/secret cards, tile effects, and many other ideas will also be explored. I want players to have the ability to have a deck do almost anything players can think of in this game, similar to how you can build the wildest decks in Magic the Gathering. That’s gonna take some time and feedback from community members, but ultimately it’s a game with a million outcomes, and in the end we should all have fun playing how we wish to play.

What challenges did you face in designing many different cards for many different play styles in the game? What kind of work goes into really giving players a variety of possible strategies with cards?

The biggest problem is that with every new type of card interaction, something is guaranteed to break on me! This isn’t a traditional card game where I just plug in some new numbers every time. Hitboxes have to be adjusted, new logic is applied to things like projectiles, and objects have to be spawned in. Heck, I’ve created an entirely new system just for one card in the Focus mechanic. The nice thing is that once the foundation is created, it gives me new tools to make new cards. In doing so, these new submechanics also create little mini-games for the players to engage in. The end result was 100% worth it to me, as I see several styles arising from the various cards in the game.

Can you suggest some good strategies for beginning players to try out with their decks? What goes into building a solid deck in Tri Wing?

Solid deck building really boils down to a basic game plan. You have to ask yourself "Do I want a deck that will burst my opponent down, play the long game, or something totally different?" Deck building in Tri Wing should feel very familiar to those who have played traditional card games. You keep a good mix of offensive and defensive cards. There really isn’t any sort of removal in this game, and instead it’s sort of replaced by the idea of stabilization on the board, and attention to how your deck handles board control is also very important. There will be a preset deck of each archetype when the game launches to Open Beta!


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