Visions of Zosimos is a Tactical Online CCG based in Hermetic Alchemy, Gnostic Mysticism, and real-world myths. You play as a student studying alchemy and the afterlife in a game created by an academic group that was created to study and analyze a manuscript called “The Visions of Zosimos”.
The game itself is designed around the resource system which we named the Flux System. It consists of each player having access to three major Dice Pools that represent the Body, Mind, and Soul. Within each of these Pools, there are two polarities: an attack polarity and a defense polarity. Each game starts with one die in each polarity resulting in two dice each pool with a total of six dice altogether. During every turn, the player is required to assign two additional dice to any pool and polarity they wish, albeit not the same pool, e.g., one to Attack Body and one to Defense Soul, not two to Attack Body. Players also have the ability to move two dice from one polarity to another, e.g., moving dice from the Attack Mind to the Defense Mind. When all dice have been assigned and moved, the player can use them for either casting a Card from their Deck to the board or fight with another creature. Using dice in any manner transfers the dice from their current polarity to the opposite polarity, e.g., Attack dice are moved to the Defense polarity and vice versa. This fluxation of dice forces the player to think tactically about their actions since their dice might not be there when they need it most.
Like most CCGs, or Collectible Card Games, the game revolves around devising a strategy using cards and competing in matches with other players. Before competing the Player needs to make a central character, known as a Homunculus, to represent the Player and a Deck to be played through the Homunculus on a hex-based board. You craft both the Deck and Homunculus using cards.
A Deck was created using a combination of Minions, Spells, Enchants and cards like Ambushes, Glyphs, and Terrains, which affect the board making the board more treacherous for other players. Each card requires the player to use either Attack or Defense dice from a specific pool depending on their card type. Physical Cards like Minions require Body Dice, while Mind Cards such as Spells and Enchants require Mind Dice.
The Homunculus uses special cards known as Materia Cards which represent a Mind (Memory), a Body (Construct), and a Soul (Essence). Each Materia Card is designed to grant the Homunculus an explicit ability, more health or access to a specific set of cards. For example, a Light Earth Memory Card would grant the player the ability to use Light Earth Spell cards in their Deck. This last factor intertwined the Deck and Homunculus in such a way where neither could be created without the consideration of the other.
Matches in VoZ, as mentioned above, are played on hex-based boards set in different environments, each with their own layout, tactical advantages and disadvantages, and even NPC monsters that attack the players. The focus of the board to cultivate deep tactical gameplay. Monsters and players can have a limited amount of movement and a directional facing mechanic that limits who they can attack and creates an opening that makes them vulnerable. The player is also limited by the casting range of each card type, further reinforcing the need for tactical awareness.
Ultimately, the game becomes a balancing trick between multiple variables. On a high level, the player needs to balance the high strategy and the tactics they build into their Deck and Homunculi combination. In the game, they must also balance their resources in a manner that allows them to take actions while at the same time disrupting their opponent’s ability to do the same. A good player will be able to manage the balance perfectly.
On a general note, I was with Forever Interactive for 9 1/2 years, spending 8 of those years on the Visions of Zosimos Project. I learned a massive amount about the game industry, leading a team of creative members, how I like to design and develop games, and a lot about myself and my limitations. Most of what I learned was through rapid experimentation, in-depth research, and guided tutelage.
The following are roles I held while at Forever Interactive as well as some so of the responsibilities and some examples of work:
Chief Product Officer
Responsibilities: Maintained the company vision and transparency, worked with Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and C-suite members to continuously improve the company and the project, coached Product Owners and Scrum Masters, basic team member recruiting, directed development direction of the project.
Responsibilities: Maintained Project Vision, Groomed Project backlog, Customer Engagement, Release management, Gave feature feedback (Art, Animation, Sound, Design, Tech), Coordinate feature team leads.
Responsibilities: Personal troubleshooting and tracking, solve project impediments, employee motivation, maintain project transparency, train new team members in company Agile methodologies, Coordinate company and projects meetings.
Lead Game Designer
Responsibilities: Maintained Game Design Documentation, Iterated on Core Game Designs, Level-Environment Designs, User Experience Designs, and Lore Creation with other designers and developers. Iterated with developers to create new tools and product functionality, Iterated with Artists on asset creation. Gave Feedback on other Designers work.
Examples of Work:
What Went Well
- Was able to spearhead several initiatives to revamp several in-game systems
- Was allowed to experiment with my management style and found what works with me.
- Coordinated with various team members to create that has a lot of potential with gamers.
- Devised multiple methodologies and tools that I now use to develop games.
- Motivating a team to continually work on a rev-share project.
- Finding ways to improve our development cycle and development process.
- Team Hiring and training.
- Learning to work within your limitations as a team member and as a project.
What I learned
- How to manage a creative team
- The importance of team motivation
- How to utilize different perspectives in every design.
- How to apply advanced game theory in a development company