Claim and defend the Tomb of Tyrants against greedy adventurers by matching tiles to build a deadly dungeon full of traps, minions, and more!
All Reviews:
Very Positive (134) - 85% of the 134 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date:
Jun 25, 2015

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Recent updates View all (95)

July 29

[Beta] 2017.07.29 - Shader Changes

First off: this isn't the beta you're looking for. Many of you have been patiently awaiting the big beta overhaul, and while this is a beta release, it is just the standard build with a couple of potentially volatile items that I need tested.

This update contains changes to the launcher and primary fragment shader, which are two things that can cause a lot of unforseen headaches on different OS and hardware setups, necessitating a beta release before pushing these changes out to everyone. You can opt to receive beta releases at any time by looking for the betas tab of the game's properties in your Steam library.

So why am I pushing these volatile changes out now instead of holding them for the big beta? This shader change aims to address one of the more common complaints I've seen: why does the game have to look so retro? I get it, you like pixels, but these ones are too big, or the pixelated fonts can be hard on your eyes, or you're just not in the mood to have sharp, saturated blocks of color pumped into your retinas. I've done things in the past to assist with this: various filters and the "double-res" fonts, but it seems nothing has quite done the trick!

So I'm introducing new "smooth" and "artsy" pixel filters (leftmost section of images is "hard" pixels). The "smooth" setting is replacing the default "soft" pixel setting (which was virtually indistinguishable from "hard" at most standard resolutions), while the old, rubbish "artsy" filter has been completely discarded in favor of a much smarter smoothing algorithm of my own design (I had a great vacation this year!).

The "smooth" filter intelligently rounds the corners of non-contiguous pixels to create a subtle softness without compromising sharp pixel edges. It even helps improve the double-res fonts:

The old "artsy" filter was a poor attempt to disguise the game's pixels, but it ended up a mess; the new version, on the other hand, is very playable. However, the double-res fonts are not usable with this filter (it makes them look worse, while the low-res fonts actually look quite smooth and legible).

Other changes: the double-resolution fonts are now the default, and the launcher no longer keeps a console window open while you're playing (an inadvertent side-effect to launcher fixes from this past spring).

Changing the default shader and font set is a significant design change for me, as most of the game was developed to adhere very strictly to the grid (no rotating, scaling, or offsetting pixels), and compromises were available but never pushed in the past. Development on the beta has me re-evaluating a lot of priorities, though, and I need to offer the best default experience I can. Please let me know whether you feel this is a step in the right direction, and of course, please report any issues you have with this release so I can prepare the standard release quickly.

Thank again, everyone!

  • "Artsy" filter is completely different, no longer sucky
  • "Soft" filter (the default setting) replaced with "Smooth" filter with slightly rounded corners
  • Double-res font set is now enabled by default (for new players)
  • On Windows, launcher no longer leaves a console window open while the game is running
3 comments Read more

May 31

Beta Progress Update - Inventory

I am sorry to say that I still do not have a beta release date in sight, but I feel I owe you all some insight into the changes you can expect when it arrives.

First off, for those who are unaware, my last few months have been spent working on some massive changes to the game's mechanics which I will eventually release in a beta form, for additional workshopping. Progress has been slow on account of this now being a part-time gig for me along with having had a new child recently, but I am trying to make more time available. My relative silence is mostly due to difficulty justifying talking over working, but I really do want to keep you all in the loop, so it's about time I share some more.

My general goals for this beta period are to:
  • Reduce the number of core mechanics and types of interaction
  • Increase the clarity and depth of remaining mechanics
  • Introduce end-game content and victory scenarios
  • Emphasize an escalation in complexity over time

This post will be focusing on the first couple of points, but I want to make it clear that while some of this may sound like "dumbing down" the game, this beta is really about growing the game's scalability (and enjoyability) from casual to core. The aim is to achieve this by distilling the early game into fewer essential elements--so it is more approachable and well-defined--, and then ramp up the complexity and interplay of those elements through the unlocked content (increased minion synergy, advanced items, and layered late-game rules).

Possibly the largest mechanical change going into the introductory beta release is the removal of the traditional inventory and refactoring of item functionality. In the beta, you will no longer have a ten-slot inventory of passive and usable items; instead, each resource will now have an assigned item--chosen before the game starts--, and these items will relate more directly to their associated resource.

In conjunction, the current resource-specific matching bonuses are being removed. These are the effects inherent to each resource--like healing when matching Flesh--, which were introduced to give resource-matching a little more weight beyond buying things.

At face value, these changes may sound alarming, but here's my reasoning:

The game's inventory and item mechanics went through a lot of iterations before settling where they are today, but most items currently fall into one of two categories: static items that give you a bonus in exchange for an inventory slot, and usable items that you have to remember to click every so often. I suppose this system works fine, but neither of these options are really engaging; many of the usable items encourage immediate re-use over careful planning, and the passives are essentially a trade-off that keep you from having another usable.

The matching bonuses were poorly explained and easily ignored; by design, they were rewarding even for players who did not pay attention to them, but that didn't make them feel relevant. Even if you did pay attention to them, it was easy to dismiss the resource effects you didn't care for. It was all about saving those Bone matches, right?

The resource/item changes are designed to address these shortfalls, while maintaining the benefits of both mechanics. At the start of a game, you will be able to swap freely between any unlocked item (between games, the hoard area has been changed to offer options for this and banner selection), with each item retaining the level it was last at, so you can level each item across multiple games, then trade it out for a round without feeling punished for trying something new.

Each item is now tied to its resource in a deliberate fashion, and currently, they fall into five basic categories (category names are, as any of this, subject to change): Artifacts, Contingencies, Potions, Conduits, and Modifiers.

Most of the game's passive items are becoming Artifacts and Contingencies; these are passive categories, but with a minimum or maximum required resource threshold, respectively. For example, the holy damage reduction from the Helm only remains in effect so long as you maintain an indicated level of the Gear resource. On the other hand, the Punji contingency now offers a bonus trap on all trap floors whenever the Growth resource is low.

The previously usable Potions now function similarly to the past matching bonuses; the item's effect is activated per every so many points of the target resource. The key difference is that partial progress toward the next activation carries between moves. For example, the new Lazarus Lotion requires (currently) 10 Bone to activate, resurrecting a minion for free; this is steeper than the old bone-matching bonus, but it can be activated across multiple matches. (If you are concerned about timing the larger quantity to coincide with the loss of a minion, check the miscellaneous updates below for a relevant change to resurrections).

Conduits are similar to Potions, but offer a bigger bonus that require larger single matches to activate; progress does not carry across moves, and while a potion can be triggered multiple times in a single move, the conduit's effect is detonated once per move. When gathering a large quantity of Ruin, the Balding Bomb now detonates any remaining Ruin tiles (explosion size scaling with Bomb level), gathering neighboring tiles and building upon the current move's multiplier.

Finally, we have Modifiers, which create different Hoard matching behaviors when grabbing tiles of the same color. The Magnet, for instance, will now cause all Scrap drags to have a range within which Gear matches with Scrap; the Gear will gain an orange Scrap background, but be collected as Gear--of course, the increased multiplier will also benefit any Scrap gathered. These items are generally the most experimental, but everything here is subject to change based on how the beta plays.

So there are more types of items than before, but I've removed several forms of interaction (clicking usables, managing inventory items, selling items, etc.), and these new mechanics don't rely upon any new interactions. Aside from possibly some Modifiers, none of these effects strictly require player knowledge, either; they are bonuses that can simply occur through standard play, but the new model should reward strategy far more than before and allow players to better customize the mechanics to match their playstyle. The thresholds will also make it easier to balance passive items--I am aware that there are some rather OP items in the current release...

This is the WIP Hoard with composite sample resource bars taken from multiple sessions--I thought you all may be able to chime in on your preferred layout for the min, max, and resource icons. The first six bars use a 30-pixel height to represent any maximum; notice how the 17 Growth appears higher than the 20 Gear. The last two resources use a different bar with a 1:1 pixel:unit height, where the total max possible is 40 but the meter's level is a truer representation of its value. I am leaning toward that sizing, but I'd like to have others weigh in. The entire Hoard frame and background should be receiving a facelift, as well, but I can't really work on styling things until these other decisions are settled.

I would also love to hear your thoughts on which items should become the new default for each resource. I am thinking the four pillar Potions (Cordial, Quaff, Adamantiserum, and Magi-jack), a couple of Contingencies and a couple of Conduits, but I am not sure.

Other things you may notice about this image: the rituals are missing and the moving tile queue is gone. The rituals were temporarily removed from this build, because I have been experimenting with reserving them for another mechanic; this is not likely to be in the initial beta release, so you can probably expect those to appear on the edges, as before. However, the moving tile queue that catches falling tiles and reserves cleared rows is out, because in this build, I have removed the clearance requirement for new floors. You'll be able to build any floor you can afford without clearing room, and there will instead be an overall space constraint that increases with the wave count (this rule will itself change later in the beta).

There are a lot of other things going on, too; here are some of the other changes slated for the initial beta release:
  • All characters are receiving stat and ability revisions
  • No more resurrection time limit on minions; minions always resurrect to their previous selves (so long as they are not dead when the dungeon crumbles), but this means minion purchase prices go steadily up as the game progresses and your minions increase in level
  • Heroes no longer build checkpoints but instead establish them on undefended floors
  • Floors are "fortified" by placing three defenders on them; each floor bestows a different bonus when fortified
  • About a dozen new items to build variety
And there are many other changes (and additions!) planned for this extended beta period. It is just going to take longer to get there than I had expected.

Of course, throughout all of this, the standard release will remain the standard release. The beta is open to all, but requires an opt-in from the game's properties in your Steam library; you can actually opt-in right now to receive the beta branch as soon as it goes live, and it will replace the standard release in your library.

Please let me know what you all think, either here in the comments, or over on the thread I've set up for more in-depth discussion. Thank you again for all of your ideas and patience !
10 comments Read more

About This Game

The Hook:

Claim and defend the titular Tomb against waves of greedy adventurers by matching tiles to construct and fill your deadly dungeon with traps, minions, and more! In an unorthodox blend of Tetris and Dungeon Keeper, clearing tiles rewards you with resources and space for vertical expansion, putting distance and dangers between invading hero-types and your squishy Tyrant.

The Rundown:

  • A unique blend of tower-defense strategy, simulation, RPG, and puzzling!
  • Slick, simple, and frenetic matching mechanics, where reflexes and planning are both rewarded!
  • Lovingly pixeled characters, settings, and items!
  • Single-sitting sessions with long-term unlocks, gradually taking your game from newbie-friendly to deep and cerebral!
  • Tons of diverse floors, items, minions, heroes, and more, to discover and exploit--And more to come!
  • Tactically emergent gameplay, spawning new strategies and builds as your game evolves!
  • Frequent updates and direct responses to player feedback!

The Future:

Tomb of Tyrants is a mechanically refined and creatively flexible title with a lot of room for expansion. It may no longer be an Early Access title, but it remains in a very active development cycle, which has drastically improved mechanics and more than doubled the game's content since release! I, Jake Huhman, have been listening and responding to your posts, screenshots, reviews, and friend requests, because I want the community to continue to hold tremendous influence over the game's future! Thank you for all of your comments, suggestions, and support!

System Requirements

Mac OS X
SteamOS + Linux
    • OS: Windows XP or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6
    • OS: Windows XP or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6
    • OS: 10.7 or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6
    • OS: 10.7 or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6
    • OS: Ubuntu 12.04 or Later
    • Memory: 1 GB RAM
    • Graphics: Pixel Shader 2.0
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
    • Additional Notes: Java 1.6

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