Author Topic: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich  (Read 10588 times)

Styg

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Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« on: March 01, 2013, 12:35:43 AM »


I'm still working on the new content for next release (v0.1.7.0), but I also took a break from that to address more balance issues.

Now, before I hit you with a big list of changes, let me give you a brief intro about the subject at hand.

Looking at the current release version, the biggest issue with the game currently mechanics-wise is that it gets increasingly easier once the player gets past the early stages. One of the main reasons for that, which I've already addressed in the previous dev logs, is the (over)power of grenades and other AoE attacks. The biggest issue, however, is the game's economy. Namely, that the player quickly gets rich from the insane amount of loot that he can acquire. This dev log focuses primarily on that, as well as on re-balancing some other abilities/items that I've found to be a bit too good.

The biggest change here is that I've reduced the amount of loot that is available through scavenging significantly. The biggest offenders were mid-late game dungeons (I didn't mess with the starting areas, they are fine) and also somewhat corners of urban areas that were way to easy to plunder with impunity. For the most part I haven't removed any stuff from the loot table, but have rather reduced the amount of items you get (ammo, weapons/armor and especially components) and significantly reduced the chance. So basically most places that you've looted before still have some chance of holding loot in future games (very few containers are fixed to be empty), but they won't give you large amounts of loot every time like they do now.

This, coupled with item durability cost penalty should make the game more challenging and force you to manage your resources more carefully as you should no longer have unlimited amounts of grenades, special blots/ammo, psi points, batteries, etc. When it comes the time to release the new version, I'll have to test this new economy carefully with a couple of playthroughs, though, to ensure that I haven't gone too far or not far enough. After that, I'll be very interested to hear from you guys as to what your experience was in this new economy.

Also, I've increased the difficulty of some encounters in the Old Junkyard (Depot A) and also did some bug fixing. In any case, here's the full list:

  • Economy
    • Reduced the amount of loot significantly (mainly from dungeon areas and lightly guarded urban areas)
    • Wheeled bots and turrets leave loot now (ammo, scraps and sometimes more valuable things)
    • Reduce leather drop chances across the board
    • Reduced the value multiplier for certain crafted items (e.g. leather armor) in relation to their components; purchasing components from vendors and crafting them into finished items and reselling them should not be profitable (this would either force me to reduce the amount of components the merchants have or to reduce the restocking frequency and I don't want to do either); finding components and crafting them into items before selling them is profitable
    • Increased the cost of special bolts
    • Item cost penalty based on durability changed from linear function to power function; meaning that lower less and less durability and item has, the faster its value drops
    • Psi boosters now cost 5 mindshrooms to make
    • Increased deterioration rate of melee weapons by 50% to somewhat balance out them not requiring ammo
  • Misc
    • Added more mutated dogs to Old Junkyard because why not
    • Player now leaves a corpse after dying instead of turning into a backpack
  • Balance
    • Reduced the amount of skill points the player gets (-15 at the start, -5 per level)
    • Added activation cost to night vision goggles
    • Increased value of distance factor when calculating weapon to-hit chance
    • Weapon precision penalties (melee, on move) will now correctly be deducted at the end of to-hit chance calculation (it's no longer possible to mitigate these penalties through skill)
    • NPCs now have natural dodge and evasion bonus equal to twice their level (factor subject to change pending testing)
    • Reduced damage of shock, incendiary and acid bolts across the board; they should still be good but won't 2-shot most things in the game anymore
    • Precision bonus with special bolts removed from Marksman feat
    • Increased Pyrokinesis cooldown to 3 turns (up from 2) and reduced damage slightly
    • Premeditation now reduces the cost of your next psi ability by 50% instead of 100%
    • Increased the health of Mutated humans and restored them their normal movement points (was too easy to kite them)
    • Mutated human's AI tweaked to correctly use acid spray even when close to player if something is preventing them from engaging in melee
    • Increased mutant dog health
    • Resist chance calculations for everything (stun, entangle, etc) was previously bugged and couldn't drop below 20% no matter how powerful the attack/ability was and how bad the defense was. Also capped all resist chance at 65% (down from 80%), might change pending testing.
    • Reduced Neural Overload the damage that can be mitigated through resolve. It's also capped at ~40%.
    • Increased base psionic power of psi beetles and their synergy bonus; also their armor and health a bit (hopefully I get to watch them actually kill someone now)
    • Added some acid resistance to wheeled bots and turrets
    • Change trap detection mechanics to favor players investing in Traps skill in addition to having good perception; traps are also not revealed automatically if you beat the skill check but instead have a chance to be revealed every "tick" in real time / end of turn in turn-based mode; this will make traps a bit more dangerous than they are now for all characters
    • Changed stealth detection indicator colors for NPCs again: slowly fading in-and-out silver eye again means true-seeing again, while slowly fading in-and-out red eye means "stealth too low to hide from this NPC"; should be more intutive this way. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check out the stealth changes I made a while back (http://underrail.com/forums/index.php?topic=128.0)
    • You can no longer set traps, disarm traps, lockpick or hack in turn-based mode
  • UI
    • When placing traps with AoE effect, their range will also be displayed; this should make it easier for players to prevent chaining their own traps and blowing themselves up Wile E. Coyote style.
    • Toggling between all feats and only available ones should now correctly update the scroll bar
  • Bug fixes
    • Fixed the bug that caused players to die during transition and return as vengeful undead if they transitioned in turn-based mode with a damage over time effect that is about to kill them
    • Fixed lightning in some areas (GMS, Elwood's house)
    • Killing someone in a single turn will now correctly propagate hostilities to their nearby friends

Alright, this is about all the major balancing, bug fixing, etc, I was planning to do for this update. Unless I come across something major, of course. The economy will probably need more balancing closer to new version release, but until them I'll be focusing on new content.

maheusz

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2013, 06:22:34 AM »
Welp, so it seems like we've to get used once again to being poor. Snap. And ending encounters will get even harder.

At least it seems like more viable alternative to invest into traps now and high 'run away' skills in order to kite enemies. I might do just that in the next build. I wonder if it's economically viable.

WolveNZ

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2013, 08:33:49 AM »
Quote
Reduced the value multiplier for certain crafted items (e.g. leather armor) in relation to their components; purchasing components from vendors and crafting them into finished items and reselling them should not be profitable (this would either force me to reduce the amount of components the merchants have or to reduce the restocking frequency and I don't want to do either); finding components and crafting them into items before selling them is profitable

Dont really like this at all, dosnt sound realistic to me and will prevent characters based less on gains though combat from progressing

Quote
Added more mutated dogs to Old Junkyard because why not
Quote
Increased the health of Mutated humans and restored them their normal movement points (was too easy to kite them)
Quote
Increased mutant dog health

Was I the only guy that really struggled to face off against these guys, even with the best gear I could get my hands on? I remember multiplier saves, traps and grenade spam :/
Might it be a bit much having more Mutant dog health, more Mutant Human health and more dogs?

Quote
When placing traps with AoE effect, their range will also be displayed; this should make it easier for players to prevent chaining their own traps and blowing themselves up Wile E. Coyote style.
This will be useful, used to have to use a Grenade AoE UI to setup mines as a work around

Quote
Increased base psionic power of psi beetles and their synergy bonus; also their armor and health a bit (hopefully I get to watch them actually kill someone now)
This should be nice, I hope. I remember them being easy prey on their own but if you got cocky and chased after one, and got a few on you you were in for a decent fight. But I think a slight boost will really help but might make the silent isle a bit tough'er

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2013, 12:19:20 PM »
The game is not really balanced around having a complete non-combat character, nor is that in the plans. You should still get plenty of benefit from going crafting, but you won't be able to generate money from nothing.

As for Old Junkyard areas, I never really saw anyone struggle there. I think the major problem was the low movement speed of mutants and some glitches in their AI so that should change now. Btw, what build were you use when you fought them?

Ruvon

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #4 on: March 01, 2013, 03:33:05 PM »
As for Old Junkyard areas, I never really saw anyone struggle there. I think the major problem was the low movement speed of mutants and some glitches in their AI so that should change now. Btw, what build were you use when you fought them?

I must say I'm in the same situation, these scumbags gave me hell of a fight and I was relieved when I killed the last one.

It wasn't a struggle, it was a nightmare.

So in my opinion you don't need to buff them too much :) please ^^

To answer your question adressed to someone else, my build was guns, guns and guns. With few points in traps and a lot of grenades.

screeg

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #5 on: March 01, 2013, 05:34:42 PM »
I like challenging combat, so I'm glad it's going to be tough.  I said before I don't like the degrading armor/weapons thing, but since it's going to be in, I'm hoping that you don't go the Elder Scrolls route with reduced functionality (weapon damage for instance) for partially degraded equipment.

If you use a sword or whatever until it's broken or at 50%, and then it does less damage, that's fine.  But in Oblivion, if your weapon was at 90%, it would only do 90% of its potential damage, which is just bloody awful.

I have to say again, if you want to fix the economy one sensible way is to cut down on merchants buying ingredients and other crafting stuff.  A metal spring might be useful to a mechanic.  Doesn't mean a merchant is going to buy it.  To him, it's just junk.

Quote
Increased deterioration rate of melee weapons by 50% to somewhat balance out them not requiring ammo
This sounds terrible.  IMO, melee weapons are already balanced against ranged in that your enemy is standing right on top of you when you use them.  When you have to chase down five different guys with machine guns with your sledgehammer, you're not going to be patting yourself on the back for conserving ammo.
« Last Edit: March 01, 2013, 05:40:17 PM by screeg »

Major_Blackhart

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #6 on: March 01, 2013, 07:10:39 PM »
The acid dogs don't bother me much with their health buffs, as my PC, Mortimer, didn't get messed up by the acid. However, the mutants messed him up in close range combat like a goddamn fiend.
If you're goingn to improve their health, at least make them worth more experience points, and pack in more normal gun toting mutants as well. That stuff is always fun. Or some different types of roving robots (if you've got them). I'd like to see a boss-type mutant somewhere as well wearing metal armor or maybe some regenerative armor.

Anyway, the degrading equipment I'm not a huge fan with regards to melee weapons degrading faster. And the damn psybeetles messed me up like crazy when they synergized man! But again, I was pure melee, with no ranged capability.

I'd like to see a reduction in some requirements for making stuff, but also I'd like to see cost bonus based on higher skill requirements - i.e. you create something that has a requirement of 60 vs 20, then the selling price should be MUCH higher.

WolveNZ

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #7 on: March 01, 2013, 07:49:41 PM »
The game is not really balanced around having a complete non-combat character, nor is that in the plans. You should still get plenty of benefit from going crafting, but you won't be able to generate money from nothing.

As for Old Junkyard areas, I never really saw anyone struggle there. I think the major problem was the low movement speed of mutants and some glitches in their AI so that should change now. Btw, what build were you use when you fought them?

Running with a 8.6mm AR, Mk.IV Grenades, Mk.II traps, No points in PSY skills. about 40:40:20 Ratio of points spent in crafting : Combat : Other

JohnyCrown

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2013, 03:21:52 PM »
I agree with a couple of the others that the Old Junkyard was really tough and I had a terrible time there.  IMO they should get a tad weaker and not stronger or at least keep them roughly the same.  Before this point the game is manageable and about the right difficulty then once you start fighting mutants and mutated dogs the difficulty skyrockets like a slap in the face.  In a sense it also forces the player to HAVE to have acid resistant equipment just to make it through there which in turn forces the player to need high crafting skills to make them as none of the shops sold anything like that.  IMO a game should never force a player to use a certain build just to make it through a certain area.

Many of the other changes/updates seem fine but I'm still lukewarm on the devalued crafting and weapon/armor degradation but will have to actually play the newer version to see how it all pans out.  I know you want to make the game harder and that's fine since its your game and all but I think having at least a couple different difficulty modes will cater to more players.  Maybe have a normal mode and a hard mode and award the players who choose hard mode and make it through a better ending or something. 

Just my two cents.  Excited to try the next version to see how it all works. 

Styg

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 02:27:17 AM »
Alright, guys, I'll be careful with buffing the junkyard encounters. I will test the changes thoroughly with some less optimal builds before release. I never had problems with those myself, nor anyone I've watched play.

WolveNZ, I find it kinda strange you had trouble with AR build. Did you get full-auto feat?

Screeg, item degradation only starts affecting combat when below 35%. With weapons it reduces chance to hit and with armor it reduces the resistances it provides.

JohnyCrown, difficulty settings are a possibility in the future.

Major_Blackhart, items made from higher quality components (which also means higher skill requirements) do sell for more.

LazyMonk

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2013, 03:45:24 PM »
Will you be adding weight to items and character weight capacity as well? (sorry if i missed it)

That might help the economy a little bit since you wont be able to carry all the loot from one area in just one trip.
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WolveNZ

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2013, 05:59:52 PM »
Oh god, please dont do that...

I remember playing STALKER, running back and foward for ages picking up guns and ammo and selling them.

if anything was to be done, I would have it so you have a set number of tiles in your Inventory, and some things take up more tiles. Would also allow for some cool looking flashy sprites for the bigger items as well. This would also work in well with having the accesable shelfs at your 'appartment' as well, being able to store items. But it may be a bit iffy and could cause the game to be bloody annoying


Ill just have a look at what i had Styg

Ok, no rapid fire perk

my guns were at 50, Grenade at 15, crossbow at 31 and melee at 44.
Strengh was at 6, Dex at 4, Aglity at 4, Con at 6, Perception at 7, Will at 7 and Intel at 8
« Last Edit: March 05, 2013, 06:21:45 PM by WolveNZ »

LazyMonk

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2013, 08:30:17 PM »
Oh god, please dont do that...

I remember playing STALKER, running back and foward for ages picking up guns and ammo and selling them.

Hehe was that on Shadow Of Chernobyl? I imagine you got the greed ending.  ;D
Forgetting STALKER, how did you feel about weight limits in other games, like: Fallout, Arcanum or any D&D based crpg?

if anything was to be done, I would have it so you have a set number of tiles in your Inventory, and some things take up more tiles. Would also allow for some cool looking flashy sprites for the bigger items as well. This would also work in well with having the accesable shelfs at your 'appartment' as well, being able to store items. But it may be a bit iffy and could cause the game to be bloody annoying

Do you find the tile limit superior to a weight limit? I usually prefer the later because adds more realism than the first.
With the tile limit carrying 17 Assault Rifles or 17 Syringes is exactly the same. With a weight limit there are more strategical approaches on how you manage your inventory. Imagine you are 15.kg away from going above your weight limit and you have to consider if you want to go for an extra 15.kg item or 3 5.kg items.

Without any limits to what you can carry, we can empty a whole dungeon into our Santa Claus bag and off to the shops we go.
And this feels kinda weird. I sometimes surprise myself with what i found on my inventory. "Oh i have one of those?"
When i open a container i dont have to bother to see what it is, or if it is even worth it. In the bag you go.

I can see how it can be annoying to some, as it is annoying having to repair my weapon and armor from time to time but this little annoyances help balancing the game's economy.
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WolveNZ

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #13 on: March 06, 2013, 03:27:55 AM »
Haha, So true, and yes, I got the Greed.

I hated it though, I just felt really bad leaving all those guns out to rust!. Most of the time when I picked up Guns and ammo I didnt need I sell it off to NPC's to be nice! "Like heres a new gun dude, would give it to you but I cant 'cause game mechanics"!

But I think tile based systems are less annoying. and Weight limits arnt all realistic, unless you add stages of encumbrance due to weight.

But to be honest, I played Fallout.2, I didnt like it at all, the only other RPG games like UnderRail Ive played was Dink Smallwood, and fuck that was a great game! Dont remember a weight limit in that game.

Its all about balancing fun and realism. I know I just cant stand leaving stuff lying about. And having weight limits just makes it so you have to visit the same area time, and time, and time again to clear out any stuff gets bloody annoying.

LazyMonk

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Re: Dev Log #14: Taking from the Rich
« Reply #14 on: March 06, 2013, 02:25:08 PM »
Oh boy, Dink Smallwood that brings back good memories. It was very fun indeed.
No, it didn't had a weight limit and i cant remember if it had a tile limit on your inventory.
The game didn't had many items, so unless you were picking nuts inventory management wasn't really an issue.

But I think tile based systems are less annoying. and Weight limits arnt all realistic, unless you add stages of encumbrance due to weight.
Yes encumbrance stages add depth as well. Many of the D&D based crpgs i played had this. You would become lightly encumbered, heavily encumbered and immobile as the last stage. The several weight limits were based on your character strength. The stronger he was the more you could carry.

Fallout's weight limit didnt had any stages as far as i remember. You would go from fine to immobile.
The weight limit was also based on your character strength and influenced by some traits and perks.
I remember that picking the trait small frame would reduce your carrying limit and picking perks like pack rat or strong back would boost it.

But to be honest, I played Fallout.2, I didnt like it at all...

Really?
I find Fallout to be very similar to Underrail. Even one of the characters i am playing on Underrail was based on a character i played with on Fallout. High Str and Con some heavy armor and a big sledgehammer  8)
Fallout 2 is somewhat a parody, a spin-off of Fallout 1. (At least that's how i see it.)
Mechanically Fallout 1 and 2 are basically the same with just some very minor differences.

If you have time, and interest, give the 1st Fallout a chance.  :D
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