Hey guys, the new version is available on Steam now and, as before, it will be available on other platforms as soon as we stabilize it.
In this update we added new factions with their optional questlines, namely - Free Drones, Protectorate and the super secret one. We added most of the remaining areas that we planned for the game, which include Upper Underrail and Lower Underrail passages, so speaking geographically most of the game is complete. If you want the full list of what's new, check out the previous two dev logs before reading further.
One thing to note, however, is that if you want to experience the new questlines you'll probably have to start a new game, unfortunately, since we had to make some changes to existing areas and quests in order to fit them in.
Before I insert the obligatory list of miscellaneous changes, here's a little sneak peak at some of the new areas, focusing primarily on the mighty Protectorate war machine.
Screenshot unworthy stuff:
Creatures immune to fear are no longer immune to Engrage (unless they are immune to all mind-affecting effects)
Eviscerate bonus damage per bleeding would changed to 50% (down from 100%)
Taste For Blood now stacks 10 times (down from 20)
Damage resistance provided by laminated fabric ballistic panel now scales with quality (though it's still weaker than the other one) and the damage threshold is increased; these changes will not apply to stuff that has already been generated in ongoing playthroughs
Melee resistance bonus of riot gear armor changed to 75% (up from 50%); also not retroactive
Maximum number of oddity XP required for leveling now caps at 25 (up from 15)
Maximum number of studies and/or amount of XP per studying reduced (or rebalanced) for a number of oddities; overall, less experience is available through some oddities now
Classic XP required to level changed to 1250 (up from 1000) * level
Base classic kill XP bonus per target level reduced
XP from a number of quests reduced
Lockpicking/hacking XP per required skill reduced
The leveling/XP changes introduced here are just the first step. I'll be tweaking leveling speed and level cap stuff further in the next update. From those that start a new playthrough with a new character in this version I would appreciate any feedback that they can provide on the leveling speed, time they hit level cap, and just general leveling experience (of both classical and oddity systems).
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Now I want to talk a bit about the future development plans. I won't be giving you a release date, though I can safely say it won't be this year as I initially hoped. However, know that the end is in sight.
When it comes to mechanical stuff, there are still stuff like components, items, feats, abilities, etc to be added. However, there are currently no plans to add any more major mechanics (gas and fire should be the last). From the content side there are two parts of the main quest left that, as it happens, take part in two locations that are yet to be added - Institute of Tchort and Deep Caverns.
So here's what going to happen.
The next content update that we release will feature Institute of Tchort part of the main questline. This will be the last Early Access release. Afterwards, only the Deep Caverns are left before the game is complete. When we finish those, we will take extra time to polish up the game (we won't release Deep Caverns right away), especially the older areas which are no longer up to par with the new stuff. We will also take extra time to test the game to stomp out as many bugs as possible. Then we will release the game in full, make lots of money, retire to a tropical island and live happily ever after. That's the plan at least.
How long will this take? As long as it needs to. It would be pointless for me to give you a release date estimate, since I will gladly ignore it for the sake of the game as I did before. The quality of the game is my primary concern and in the long run that is best for everyone. We're nearing the end, though, so stay patient, dudes.
Hey guys. I've put the game mechanics aside for now and we're all focused on churning out content for the following update.
In this update we will be rounding up almost entire game world outside of Church of Tchort and Deep Caverns. Player will be able to learn more about the Protectorate and Free Drones and the conflict between them. Optionally, player can decide to throw in their lot with either the freedom loving partisans or the imperialistic lawbringers. There's also another secret faction offerring more opportunity for those observant enough.
In other news, I finally took the time to fill some long outstanding holes in the presentation department.
Firstly, I hired an artist to do the portraits. There's lots of them to be drawn so don't expect them all to be finished in the next update. In the screenshot above you can see the portraits are lit in the same manner as the characters on the map. I find that this adds to the atmosphere, but this can be disabled in the options for those who disagree. Players can also make their own custom portraits and the game will offer them on character creation if they have been placed in the appropriate folder and are of appropriate format.
Secondly, it was time to expand the musical repertoire. With only four tracks covering the numerous and diverse locations of Underrail, the music tended to get quite repetitive. As with the portraits, don't expect us to be able to cover the entire game with new music immediately. The sample above is the music for the Foundry. Enjoy.
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Finally, here's the obligatory list of minor stuff:
Enemies will now threaten and taunt you in combat. Currently all have the same collection of phrases, but we plan to customize these in the future for different characters/factions/locations. We'll be looking for feedback on these - do the taunts occur too frequently/rarely, is there some particular taunt that is repeated too often, etc. Of course, for those who don't like this sort of stuff, it can be disabled in the options.
Electrobolts will no longer jump to passive objects that are completely immune to them (e.g. destructible rocks)
You can no longer load individual bullets during combat as stated by the tooltip
Removed various leathers that were way too high quality for their type from certain stores
Burst fire will no longer trigger hostilities against secondary targets caught in the burst cone unless they actually take damage
Arena commentator will no longer order everyone in Core City to kill you if you happen to aim your burst in his general direction
Crawlers buffed and their AI has been slightly tweaked
Let me know what you thought of the new stuff, guys. Cheers.
Hey guys, we took a couple weeks off in August/September to recharge our batteries, but we're back now and we're kicking it into high gear. While we're also working on new areas and quests (we'll get to that in some future dev log), I'm taking this time to finally implement last of the game mechanics (not quite done yet). In this case that would be fire and gas.
You will now be able to create fire bombs (such as Molotov cocktail) that set character, creatures and the ground on fire as well. The burning ground is very dangerous as it deals both flat and -percentage of max health- damage so you cannot ignore it even on high levels. The amount of damage dealt depends on the intensity of the flames (which depends on the power of the fire bomb, but can also stack if you throw multiple bombs).
You'll now also be able to craft gas grenades. The only type of gas grenade at the moment is "Toxic Gas Grenade" which deals flat bio damage. The damage dealt depends on the density of the gas (it's more dense at the source). While toxic gas doesn't deal damage quickly, the grenade does last for a long time and also bio resistance is currently not present on standard combat armors and if introduced later it will not be in generous amounts. Specialized equipment to deal with this and more powerful bio-hazzards will be added in the future. Also, players will encounter permanent sources of toxic gas in certain places (such as the one on the screenshot).
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In other news, I've taken the time to do some UI improvements. This is probably the definitive list of the UI changes as I have tons of other stuff to get done before we release the game so I hope I answered most of your complaints/suggestions:
Added larger font options for everything (object labels, tooltips, quest notes, pop-up dialogs, combat log, etc)
Moves the combat log window slightly so it won't interrupt scrolling anymore
Added an option to auto-end turn when the player is out of MP and AP
Added more hotkeys (swap weapons, toggle shield, etc; might add more if necessary) and added keybinding options
Inspected containers that are empty are now marked as such
Increased the font in Combat Stats Overview window
Available component for a given blueprint will now be highlighted in the same manner as when trading
Double clicking (or ctrl clicking) a component will automatically transfer it to the crafting screen if appropriate blueprint is open
Clicking a crafting slot will automatically fill it with the first available component if empty, or clear it if full
ESC/ENTER and other intuitive hotkeys (such as Y/N) will now work inside confirmation boxes
While holding SHIFT player will not be able to issue move command as to prevent people from accidentally moving when they meant to shoot; keep in mind though that you'll still be able to issue a melee attack command that might require movement even when SHIFT is held
Hey guys, the new version is up. We're all very happy to have finally released this. It's the centerpiece of the game, our Athkatla/Sigil/Neverwinter. The main story still has places to go and we still plan on introducing more factions and sideplots, but expect the future updates to be a lot more focused and a lot less spacious.
We showed you bunch of screenshots already, so for this occassion we decided to make a short teaser trailer instead.
As before, we're releasing it to Steam first until we're sure it's stable and any potential major bugs that we missed during internal testing are fixed.
And because no dev log would be complete without a bullet list, here's an incomplete list of minor tweaks and stuff that were done since the last dev log:
EMP mine blueprint component requirements changed to be the same to that of the EMP grenade
Increased the amount of bear traps crafted when not applying poison to 10
Increased the amount of caltrops crafted when not applying poison to 10
Reduced the cost of metal plates and, by extension, some items that are crafted from them
Added an option to turn off automatic door opening
Removed the cooldown of Burst attack (don't know why it was there in the first place)
Hopefully finally fixed the bug(s) that caused the factions to get all messed up after the Junkyard showdown event
Merchants will no longer roam while in bartering mode
Game will no longer crash when saving while mining
Chemical pistols have weight now
Action point counter fixed to work with extreme amounts of action points
Adrenaline shot will now always properly grant 20 bonus AP
Execute will no longer deal extra damage even if the target is not stunned/incapacitated
Enjoy the update folks, report bugs and let us know how you liked it. Cheers.
Hey guys. We've been quiet lately, but that's only because we've been working hard on the biggest and the most difficult section of the game, center of the game world, the metropolis that is Core City.
The Core City is the place of extremes. On one hand we have the oligarch families and their associates who live lives of luxury (or at least what can be considered such in the world of Underrail) while on the other hand the slums are filled with the poor that perish daily from hunger, disease and gang fighting.
The masters of Core City know how to keep the masses complacent though. What started as place for gangs to settle their disputes has grown to become the most popular form of entertainment in the city and the whole of Underrail. We're talking about the Arena, the Roman style field of combat where they pit men against various deadly creatures as well as gladiator against gladiator. All for the viewing pleasure of the numerous Arena fans. Watching people die violently is the favorite pastime for the oppressed masses of Core City.
People from all over the Underrail pay for the privilege to watch direct broadcasts of these fights as well as take trips to Core City to watch the matches live, if they can manage to get hold of tickets which are always sold out quickly. The Arena and the its betting office have made the oligarch families rich.
Players will, of course, be given an opportunity to test themselves in the Arena and see if they have what it takes to climb all the way to the top and claim the title of Invictus.
Beyond that they will also have an opportunity to enter the Gauntlet, and new blood sport where the contenders race through series of rooms, each containing a unique challenge, to be the first to reach the finish line and claim the prize, or die trying.
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This update will be taking us a bit longer than we expected, but in many ways this is the hardest section to develop. It encompasses more intractable NPCs than any other update, way more urban areas than any other city so far as well as multiple quest-lines. All this stuffs had us stretched a bit thin, but if we get this part of the game right it should be more or less smooth sailing to completion.
Hey guys. The development of the next city-state in the world of Underrail is in full swing. Core City, the metropolis of the South Underrail, is the largest of the urban areas this game will feature. Here's a little sneak peek:
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I've added more firearms: one new pistol, one new SMG, two more assault rifles and two more sniper rifles. Also added two new crossbows. One model from each of the weapon categories (pistol, SMG, crossbow, etc) will be only available through crafting. This doesn't mean it will necessarily be stronger than the others, just different.
I've tweaked the base stats (damage spread, crit chance, crit bonus, precision, etc) of each of the firearm and crossbow models to diversify them further and make the choice between them more meaningful when crafting or purchasing. I won't be adding any more craftable firearms or crossbows to the game (though we will be adding unique ones), instead I'll be adding more weapon enhancements you'll be able to add to the mix when crafting your weapon of choice. These new enhancements will only be available through crafting, meaning, they won't appear (or will appear extremely rarely) on randomly generated gear.
Additionally, in the future I will be adding more character feats that will play on strengths of thoughtfully crafted and enhanced custom weapons. E.g. if you make a character build that gives you a number of ways to perform on-demand critical hits, you'll want to stack critical damage bonus and use a slow hard hitting weapon; while on the other hand if you have feats that give you extra on-hit effects (such as flat damage bonus) with critical hits and have high dexterity you'll want to use quick light weapons with high critical hit chance.
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In other news:
Added throwing knives - they are fairly inexpensive and their damage scales with your throwing skill. While they are unlikely to replace your primary offensive skill, they do act as a nice ranged supplement for high dexterity characters, especially when you use the poisoned ones.
Added electrical pistols - a type of energy pistol that shoots electrical bolts that stun the primary target and jump a few times (similar to electroshock bolts)
Added two energy weapon enhancements - only applicable through crafting; one increases the critical damage bonus, while the other increases the special attack damage
Added 5 new crafting only meds and appropriate organs and chemicals that are needed to produce them
Added the deadly coil spider
Added Thermodynamic Destabilization (metathermics) - You tag a creature with a debuff. If you kill it within 2 turns, it will explode, dealing heat and mechanical damage to everything around it. The amount of damage dealt scales with the metathermics skill and the amount of health the creature had when it was tagged
Added Enrage (Thought Control) - Enrages a living target for up to 4 turns which causes it to turn hostile to everyone.
Reworked Force Emission (Psychokinesis) - No longer provides extra range, but works with fist weapons as well.
Added Telekinetic Proxy (Psychokinesis) - Moves the telekinetic proxy from its current location to the specified location, dealing mechanical damage to everything in its path. If the proxy is not present, is too far away, or doesn't have a clear straight line path to the destination, a new one will be spawned. Telekinetic proxy will mimic your single target telekinetic psi abilities and effects (currently Telekinetic Punch and Force Emission) if the target is within its radius. The proxy lasts 3 turns, but the timer refreshes with each move or mimic.
Fixed the overly heavy boots (will only affect the newly generated/crafted items, the old ones will remain heavy)
Crawler poison component now correctly named (was "Cave Ear" poison)
Plot items can no longer vanish when attempting to transfer them to the trading window (oops)
Opportunity feat now works with wrestling/tacklling (they are considered slows)
Balaclava repair category changed to fabric
Armor penalty calculation rounding errors fixed (Nimble feat should now apply properly in all cases)
Bleeding wounds from boots/armor enhancements will now stack as they should
Weapons of wheeled bots and turrets now considered firearms so vests should work correctly against them now
Dirty kick now triggers hostilities as it does in real life
You can now reload chemical pistol from the quick reload bar like other weapons (cannot unload, that's inteded)
Combo feat will now properly stack when using armors or boots that provide extra damage
You can no longer use Expose Weakness to kill The Beast or other stuff that's immune to mechanical damage
No longer possible to beat up some creatures to the point their "armor" degrades
The new version is here. It took a bit longer to release than planned, but I think you guys will be pleased with the amount of content added. The game now features two more urban areas (one major and one minor) and lot more Lower Underrail and cave areas. We also reworked some of the starting quests to make the early difficulty curve smoother. For the full list of changes see the text below as well as two previous dev logs.
We will initially be releasing the new update only on Steam until the version stabilizes (we fix any glaring issues you guys find that we missed) after which we'll deploy it to other platforms as well. I'm sorry for the inconvenience this might cause to some, but it's just way too much overhead to deploy hotfixes on multiple platforms.
Aside from new areas and quests, we also added the following since the last dev log:
Added new metal type for crafting
Added taser blueprint so electronics experts can protect themselves from hooligans and stalkers
Throwing nets made more useful now (no longer completely ineffective against opponents with decent or higher strength).
Carrier vests made more common as loot/merchandise.
Reduced the damage scaling of bilocation, neural overload, cryokinesis and electrokinesis. These abilities should be roughly the same power early game as they were before, but the idea is to prevent them from scaling out of control mid-late game. Also keep in mind that with all the buffs to psi-related feats they might end up even stronger than the last patch so further balancing might be required.
Completely most quests in oddity mode now grants some (usually small: 1-3) amount of XP. This should make completing quests feel more rewarding (especially those quests that don't involve exploration) without significantly affecting the XP balance in this mode.
Improved item management mechanics by adding sort button to containers and "transfer all" button to player inventory that can be used to transfer all the items to the currently opened container.
Fixed the bug with certain secret monoliths not recognizing character's psi empathy
Increased the bear trap triggering radius so characters cannot pass in between two adjacent traps
We put a lot of effort in improving the narrative, quest hub area quality and game world cohesion, which I believe were up to this point the weaker aspects of the game. I hope you guys enjoy the update. Let us know what you think.
Hey guys. We're still working on the new update and it will be a while longer because some of the new areas require quite a bit of graphical work. Here's a little sneak peek at the new major urban area - the Foundry:
In addition to that we're also adding a new minor quest hub in the cave areas south of SGS and couple more quests in SGS and Rail Crossing. Also, we reworked the order in which you receive the early game quests to avoid sending people to GMS too early and added some early game oddities.
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In other news:
Reduced electronic crafting requirements for galvanic vests
Increased drops rates for all types of carrier vests
Boots now require a pair of rubber soles to craft
Fixed the bug that caused the game to crash when attempting to set up the fishing rod on certain spots
TNT charges will now go off properly after loading a game in which it's been already set
Changed the AP reduction of Tranquility to 5 (down from 10)
Vile Weaponry - Whenever you cause a bleeding wound with a cold weapon, armor enhancement or trap you also apply infected wound which increases the damage taken from all sources by 10% and reduces healing effects by 25%. Stacks 3 times.
Expose Weakness - You can preform a special melee attack that deals normal damage and reduces target's mechanical resistance and threshold by 50% if it lands for 2 turns.
Steadfast Aim - Increases critical hit chance with a pistol by 1% for each base action point required to fire it above 10.
Spec Ops - Reduces action point cost modifier for burst attack from 300% to 200% when using SMGs. Also reduces cooldown of flashbangs by 1 turn.
Supressive Fire - Enemies caught in your burst attack cone (regardless of whether they've been shot) have their ranged chance to hit reduced by 10%, action points reduced by 5 and movement points reduced by 10 for 1 turn.
Quick Tinkering - Grants you an ability that when activated will allow you to arm your next trap instantly, even in combat in which case it will cost no action points.
Fancy Footwork - When you land a melee attack you gain up to 8 movement points, depending on your armor penalty. This can exceed your movement point maximum.
Taste for Blood - Whenever you attack a bleeding target with a melee weapon, you increase your melee damage by 5% and reduce action point cost of melee weapons by 0.2 for each bleeding wound the target has. This can stack up to 20 times. Expires after 2 turns if not refreshed.
Eviscerate - Grants you a special knife attack that removes all bleeding wounds from the target and deals 100% bonus damage for each bleeding wound removed.
Hypertoxicity - Increases damage done by poisons you apply by 100%.
Wrestling - When you strike a living target with fist weapon or unarmed attack you have 50% chance to reduce target's movement points by 8, action points by 3 and chance to hit with all ranged weapons by 7%. Stacks 5 times.
Combo - If you land three consecutive damage dealing unarmed or fist weapon attacks against a single target in a single turn, the third attack will deal 100% bonus damage and stun the target for 1 turn.
Pack Rathound - Increases carry capacity by 50.
Last Stand - Grants you an ability that when activated it will temporarily reset your health to your maximum for 2 turns. After the effect expires, your health will be reduced to 1.
Salesman - Increases the amount of goods merchants will buy from you by 1% per mercantile skill.
Tabi Boots - lightweight boots that can be crafted from leather or fabric components
Components (these are all crafting only; that is items made of these cannot be found or bought)
This has been long overdue but I finally got around to implementing energy shields. The main purpose of energy shields is to provide the player with kind of a health buffer, particularly against ranged opponents, so they can get into the fight and survive long enough to establish the control over the battlefield.
So the way the shields work is they block a certain amount of damage from each direct attack based on impact speed (very slow to very fast) rather than on damage type (mechanical, heat, etc). The amount of damage a shield can absorb in total is equal to its max energy times conversion rate. Shields also dissipate over time, so you won't want to keep them running unless they are needed to block damage. They cannot be recharged in combat.
The amount of damage blocked for each impact speed depends on the modulators used to craft/generate the shield emitter, but overall shield emitters are much more effective against higher impact speeds, so melee characters and, to a lesser extent crossbow users, will have an edge when fighting shielded enemies. Additionally, most types of melee weapons will ignore certain amount of shield (and some special attacks ignore it completely) so we can balance out their usefulness against the hard hitting sledgehammers - knives ignore 60% of energy shielding, fist weapons 80% and unarmed attacks 100%.
Concerning what attack has which impact speed - it's displayed for the weapons, but most other stuff (psi, grenades, etc) don't list it. I'm not sure how I'm going to handle this, because I don't want to clutter the descriptions so maybe a better solution would be to list it somewhere else or have an NPC educate the player about it. We'll see, I haven't made up my mind yet. But until the, here's how it works basically:
Very low impact speed - Melee attacks
Low impact speed - "slow" projectile attacks, that is projectiles considerably slower than bullets, such as crossbow bolts and cryokinesis
Medium impact speed - bullets, shrapnel (from frag grenades)
Fast impact speed - super fast projectiles, such as those fired from sniper rifles
Very fast impact speed - lasers, plasma, electrical attacks
We still haven't done much balance testing regarding how effective shields are right now. I did some number crunching, but until we put it to test in a real playthrough and also have you the players have a go at it, it's hard to balance it out properly.
Also, characters skilled in electronics will be able to craft shield emitters and, with enough skill, they will be able to attach secondary modulators (which run at 50% efficiency) giving them a bit of an edge against character who have to purchase or find their own since those very rarely have the said secondary modulator.
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In other news, here's the other stuff I've been working on:
Increased the block chance of riot gear shields to 30% (up from 20%)
Firearm ammo weight now varies depending on caliber
Indirect damage no longer removes incapacitation (e.g. poison)
Electroshock primary target damage, pneumatic hit damage and force emission hit damage no longer remove incapacitation in order to better synergies with Cheap Shot feat
Minimal hit chance for melee and ranged attacks is now 10% (down from 20%)
Increased the amount of item categories most merchants will buy per reset, included the missing categories and also changed certain categories to always be included for specialized merchants (not in the unlimited amount though)
Added more psi boosters to early areas to ease up the early game for psi characters who need those rather than bullets
Telekinetic Punch, tazing and pneumatic strike are now resisted through fortitude, instead of resolve
Melee skill now scales up with either Strength or Dexterity, whichever is higher
Aluminized cloth heat resistance increased and crafting requirements changed to 1 per quality (down from 1.5)
Doppelgangers should now properly ignore target's resistances with their attacks
Fixed a very serious bug that caused ranged attacks to mostly ignore evasion rating of the target. Evasion should have much the same effect in avoiding ranged attack as dodge has for melee attacks. This will definitively affect the game's balance, both by increasing the difficulty of high evasion enemies and by buffing agility based player characters, so I'll be keeping an eye on it.
Advanced Health Hypo added
Balaclava added (+10% cold resist, +5 intimidate, +stealth when crafted out of black cloth or +hear resist when crafted out of aluminized cloth)
Also, I re-balanced bunch of feats, mostly buffing those who were in need of a buff and maybe nerfing one or two overpowered ones. I tried to hit all the feats that needed love, but there are still a couple I'm not sure how to fix or just don't have the mechanics in place to do so yet. Anyway, here's the list of changes:
Dirty Kick - now works regardless of the current weapon, the damage is equal to 200% of unarmed damage
Premeditation - now also reduces AP cost of the next psi ability buy 100%
Psychosis - psi cost increment changed to 20% (up from 10%)
Tranquility - reworked: now reduces AP cost of all psi abilities by 10 while the invoker is at full health
Cerebral Trauma - reworked: now increases Neural Overload damage by 25% (up from 20%) and burns 15% of the target's max psi points when Neural Overload lands
Force User - now increases Telekinetic Punch damage by 100% (up from 20%) and Force Field duration by 2 turns (up from 1)
Lightning Punches - now works with fist weapons as well
Pyromaniac - doubled the chance it will trigger across the board and the exact chance is now shown for each individual psi ability; also the bonus damage has been increased to 100% (up from 80%)
Crippling Strike - damage increased to 150% (up from 125%) and it no longer costs additional action points, but has 1 turn cooldown
Grenadier - now reduces standard grenade cooldown by 2 turns (up from 1) and special grenade cooldown by 3 turns (up from 2)
Hypothermia - now reduces constitution by 1 (down from 2) and stacks up to 5 times (up from 3)
Thermodinamicity - instead of psi cost, now reduces action point cost by 50%
Evasive Maneuvers - now grants evasion equal to three times your movement points (up from x2)
Uncanny Dodge - now allows you to dodge next three melee attacks instead of just one, but cooldown is increased to 3 turns (up from 2)
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As far the content is concerned, we're working on new areas, quests and creatures. One of the goals is to add more side quests to SGS (and surrounding areas) and Rail Crossing which we feel are most in need of those. We'll also be adding a major new station with the next update, but more on that in some future dev log (won't be Core City just yet, though). ;)
Hey guys, the new version has been released. It's available now on Steam, soon to be available on Desura, GamersGate and Groupees. For a preview of what's new you can check out this and past four dev logs.
You will now be able to travel a bit through Lower Underrail, either on foot or by train, and explore the town of Rail Crossing and the surrounding areas and face new types of enemies. The main story of the game starts in earnest with this patch, but I'm not going to spoil anything regarding that in this log :).
I also did a lot of polishing of existing game mechanics and added some new ones, as well as did a fair amount of economical re-balancing. After these couple days of internal testing I feel quite content where we're at now in that regard and while there surely be some more tweaking done in the future, I don't expect to do any major work on the existing mechanics in the future. With the future patches we will mostly be focusing on adding more content at a faster rate, which will as always include more areas, quests, enemies, items, feats, etc.
Anyway, have fun guys and let us know what you thought of the changes and the new stuff. Cheers.
The new version is complete and the build is running as I type this. Tomorrow we'll be starting the internal testing so you can expect the new patch to go live sometime next week. In the meantime, I want to present you with an alternative experience system I implemented and the reasoning behind it.
Before we even begin I want to make it clear that, even though I consider the new system to be the "default" way to play the game, the old system is still available for those who prefer it. Upon starting a new game you will be able to choose which experience system you want to use and you can also choose between easy and normal difficulty. On easy difficulty player character will have twice the health and the healing consumables will heal for twice as much and have a lower cooldown.
With this change, I'm only trying to re-balance the experience economy and not anything else regarding the character progression. The experience economy concerns the way the player gain experience and how does that affect his character build and play-style.
Since the early development phase of the game I was set on the game utilizing this old-school linear level/skill progression system. I'm fond of this kind of system and I had a pretty good idea how I would handle various combat calculations within it. What I never liked about it, though, is how the games that implement it handle experience gains. The problem is similar to that presented in the previous dev log in regards to the trading economy. Most of experience you gain by completing quests and killing enemies. So in order to get as much XP as possible and progress through levels as fast as possible, the player is encouraged to resolve most situations by combat. With Underrail being a challenging game as it is, there exists a very real need for the player to maximize their power level at any stage of the game.
One of tweaks I did in the past of ease this up a bit was to increase the XP gain from quests and reduce the XP gain from kills. It did help a bit, but in a game which involves a lot of combat you'd really have to go to the extremes when shifting the XP gains (from kills to quests) before they actually change the nature of level progression. Otherwise, it will still be heavily based on XP from kills, you'll just slow the progression down. You could go to one extreme and say, let's only award XP for quest completion. This is one way to go about it, and certainly some games have utilized this or something similar. I personally I don't like, though. I find it a mostly boring and non-dynamic way to progress and it also encourages you to complete as many quests as possible, instead of just those you want. In my opinion, you should only have to do quests that progress the story (or alter the game world) in the way you want or have other in-game rewards you desire, and not because it's the only way to become more powerful. For me, playing RPGs is about making choices based on preferences. Anything that limits this is bad.
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What I wanted to do is reward player with experience for exploring Underrail, fighting new types of creatures (as opposed to farming easy ones) and just generally discovering and experiences more of the game world. Without them having to make optimal combat builds or finish the quest branch that gives the most experience.
The way the new experience system works is you only get experience from collecting and studying "oddity" items. These items are scattered throughout Underrail, mostly at points of interest. Some of them are gained by killing critters and other specific types of enemies, but since each oddity item can be studied a limited number of times, you can only farm XP from a single creature type to a certain point. Also, there are generally more instances of an oddity item type placed than you need, so you don't have to have 100% exploration score to get them all. Though, some of them will be unique and only awarded for discovering special areas or defeating bosses.
The main purpose of this system is to allow players to level at a similar rate regardless of what their build and play-style is. Going through the world stealthily, guns blazing (or in some cases diplomatically) or anything in between should now earn you similar amount of experience. People who build their characters better to their respective play styles will still naturally have an easier time and be able to venture to more dangerous areas. They will still do better than those who are still getting the hang of the game - the purpose of this is not to make the game easier, just more inclusive for different play-styles.
For those who like to race ahead of the difficulty curve and like to visit higher level areas early to amass experience quickly, let me assure you that the purpose of this system is not to prevent that either. Higher level areas will hold oddity items that give more experience, so skipping ahead to those will still accelerate your leveling, though admittedly not as much as the previous system.
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So, in any case, the new update is coming soon and you'll all be able to check out all these major changes and let me know how it's working out for you. Our focus in the months to come will remain on providing more content to the game and less so on new mechanics, but I am still dedicated to making this game as mechanically and economically sound as possible, as I feel this is just as important.
The level design is mostly complete for the new areas, but there's still some scripting and lots of dialog to be done, so it'll be a couple more weeks. Alongside working on the new content, I'm also doing major re-balancing of some game mechanics in order to improve the game economy, both in monetary sense and in other aspects. I'm going to talk about the former now and we'll leave the latter for another dev log.
The first big change I made is I limited the type and amount of goods merchants are willing to buy from you. Merchants will now only buy certain type of goods depending on what their store deals in and they will require only a certain amount of each, with exception of certain goods they will always be looking to buy (such as bullets for example). The type and amount of goods they require at the moment is randomly selected from that merchant's "market demand table" so to speak and it's reset every time the merchant restocks their inventory (typically every 90 minutes). So you will no longed be able to sell all the junk you hauled from your latest raid to the first merchant you see.
And speaking of hauling junk, I've also implemented item weight system. You'll get the progressively higher movement speed and movement point penalties the more you carry above your capacity and if you carry way too much you will actually get rooted into place. This is something I've put off implementing for quite some time because I wasn't sure it'll actually add any value to the game. I dislike these mechanics in most RPGs, especially the party-based ones because more often than not they only result in more inventory management chores without having (or needing to have) much impact on the game economy. But in certain games where exploring and scavenging are the main concepts of the game and where economy actually matters, and I believe Underrail to be such a game, I feel that liming the player inventory in some way (either through weight or space) is beneficial to the overall gameplay experience.
And finally, to go along with these changes, I've reduced the price multiplier when purchasing items. I'ts currently at 175% (down from 350%), but might change further by the time the update is ready depending on how it works out when I get the time to do a real playthrough. I've also reduced the item durability penalty to its cost and have increased the durability range of items looted from corpses (they won't be near broken all the time now).
So why all these changes? Well here's my take on it.
The way the economy works in the live version of the game is like this: loot everything, get every piece of junk. No matter if you need it for crafting or not, no matter the price, just as long as it can be sold - pick it up (basically always hit "loot all" on every container). The more people you kill, more loot you get which directly translates into more wealth so you're always encouraged to handle every situation by killing as many as possible. And if you do not play like this you will get way less loot, and because the merchant prices and item durability penalties are balanced more towards this "optimal playstyle", you can easily run into money problems.
In the new system, you'll only want to hold onto the valuable stuff and the stuff you actually need (for crafting or consumption) because you can carry a limited amount and because can only sell so much in a given time frame. You might wonder won't the weight system just encourage power gamers to make multiple trips to a dungeon to get all the stuff out and store it somewhere to be sold later when the market demand resets? Well, they can do that, yes, and it will work to a degree, but in the time it takes to make multiple trips to the same (possibly remote) place you can do more fun stuff such as exploring new areas, doing new quests, gaining XP and by doing this, you will also get new loot to sell for when the merchants reset.
There will still be more efficientand less efficient ways to make money - it is not my intention to try to prevent that. Accumulating wealth is one form of power gaming and for a lot of people power gaming is one of the major motivations for playing RPGs. I believe this new system will be more fun to play with for everyone. People who want to get as much money as possible will now try to find the most expensive stuff to sell as opposed to as much stuff, while those who take the more casual approach to the economy won't be left hopelessly behind either just as long as they scavenge intelligently.
In any case, let me know how you guys feel about these changes.
Hey, guys. We're still hard at work at producing new content for the next version. And while I'm not ready to show the new areas yet (except the attached teaser screenshot), there are a couple of smaller changes I wanted to talk about.
The most significant change to the combat mechanics is the addition of initiative. Character's base initiative is determined like this: 5 + agility + dexterity. At the start of the combat, each combat participant randomly adds 1-15 points to the base initiative and the modified value is used when sorting the turn order. The only exception is when the player initiates combat manually (by pressing ENTER) or by simply attacking. In this case the player will always act first, but because of this, the AP cost of the opening attack/action will be deducted from his first turn. Additionally, this also applies to some other non-combat action performed just before entering combat, such as opening doors.
Also, player will no longer be able to quickly initiated combat manually when exiting a dialog to get a jump on their enemies, but I will be going through all situations that involve dialog initiated combat to make sure the player receives appropriate initiative bonus depending on the situation. That is, if you are having a dialog with someone who is already wary of you (such as GMS hostage situation) you do not get any initiative bonus (though you still "roll" standard initiative and may in fact play first), while in situation in which you surprise attack someone through a dialog you will get a substantial initiative bonus, effectively granting you first strike.
I think it's pretty clear what the purpose of this change is - I want to remove the ability (and the need) to "cheese" your way into attacking first, while providing a game mechanic that will allow you to do this in a more meaningful way instead using your reflexes. I think these changes will particularly benefit non-stealth characters who are often hard pressed to survive when ambushed by multiple attackers. For now the initiative is only dependent on the start mentioned above, but later on I plan to add feats/abilities/psi that will allow you to increase this base value. I'm also considering adding initiative modifiers to weapons.
In other news:
Added a confirmation box when changing video settings
Added an option to scroll with mouse while holding the right button
Added an option to lock the mouse to screen in fullscreen mode (doesn't work perfectly though, sorry)
You can double click on your (non-existing) portrait to center back to your character
Game window will no longer process input while inactive
Shroomhead feat now restores 15 psi points each time you pick a mindshroom
Reduced base trap arming time to 7 seconds
Reduced the range at which the traps trigger when you step into their tile (should be more consistent with visual collision now)
Added electrical knives (same crafting mechanics like with sledgehammers and gloves)
Added more belts (belts have fixed stats and are not craftable)
Added bear trap - a cheap early game trap that deals mechanical damage, roots the target and inflicts a bleeding wound; like caltrops, it can be envenomed
Added serrated crossbow bolt that deals additional 100% of original damage dealt through a bleeding wound over 3 turns, but incurs even greater damage threshold penalty than a regular bolt
Weapons can now have varying base critical damage bonuses (for now only depending on the weapon base type, but in the future modifiable through enhancements)
Let me know what you think about the balance changes and the new mechanics. Sorry that I can't give you guys a date of the next update, but what I can say is that development speed is picking up again and we're planning to release a new town in the next update as well as bunch of new enemy types.
Hey guys, here's an update on what's been happening since the Steam release.
It will be a while longer before a new version is ready, sorry. The reason for that is that I've been somewhat busy with trying to expand the business. The game did well enough on its Steam (pre-)release that I can now afford to hire some people now that will assist with content creation. Unfortunately, this means interviewing, office space hunting, taxes, logistics, and other stuff that's cutting into my development time. So while development is a bit slow until all this settles down, it will pick up pace and go even faster afterwards.
However, I did manage to add some more Lower Underrail areas and I also made a number of balance tweaks, bug fixes and the like:
Players will receive better armor at the start
Added more meds, ammo and such to the starting areas
Reduced explosive barrel health to 1
AP cost of using light weapons (knives, pistols, SMGs or fist weapons) or unarmed attacks is reduced by 4% for every dexterity point above 5. This is very much subject to change depending on how it works out. I want to make high dexterity builds feel more rewarding and this is just the first step.
Dogs now have 50% chance to apply Tackle effect on hit (down from 100%)
Skill requirements for recycling items reduced
Item durability increased, particularly for higher level items. This will make it less profitable (hopefully not profitable in most cases) to repair them for sole purpose of selling them. Also, crafters will be able to recycle them for more scraps them previously since the amount of scraps gained is based on current and max durability of an item. Rate of item degradation should remain about the same
Mark 2 repair kits now fix 500 durability points (up from 400). Cost increased accordingly; repair kit crafting requirements and components remain the same
Durability span of items looted from slain enemies increased to 5%-50% (up from 5%-20%)
Bandits in the "package delivery quest" nerfed
Minimal stealth requirements (below which player is automatically spotted) reduced
Increased the amount of special ammo that can be found as loot
Reduced the cost of amuples and syringes
Reduced the amount of explosive required to craft traps (it's now same as grenade recipe)
Increased chemistry requirements of Hexogen explosive to 50 (up from 22). Secondary explosives difficulty modifier in grenade and mine blueprint increased to 125% (up from 100%). Mark 3 grenades/mines are now crafted from 1 hexogen and mark 2 are crafted from 2 x TNT instead of vice versa. Reasoning behind these changes is that crafting high level explosives was way too easy and allowed you to obtain grenades that were meant to be used against level 20 enemies as soon as level 7 if not earlier.
Player character will no longer obscure targets behind them when issuing offensive commands (such as attacking or invoking offensive abilities)
Exporting a character while trading window is open will no longer crash the game
Save/load window will no longer lose focus after deletion confirmation pop-up
Fixed the bug that would cause optional components to give different crafting requirements depending on order they are placed in
Galvanic vest added to random loot table (and hence the stores too)
In the last two weeks I've been working on Steam integration, primarily implementing the achievements.
There will be 50 of them initially, but I plan to keep on adding more bit by bit with each future update. A lot of them are your usual "do something X times", but there are a number of more interesting ones and I'll also be focusing on those more in the future. Kinda wanted to get the basics done first. For those of you who are interested in Steam trading cards, I do hope to implement those at a later stage, once the character and creatures portraits are done and I have more graphical assets to work with as those require a lot.
In other news, I've also fixed a couple of bugs (along with some spelling errors, per usual):
TNT blueprint will no longer consume excess components
Tungsten steel boots icons added
New lens types will now be correctly generated with quality (all the current ones in the game are base quality; I'm sorry about that, but hey, at least their crafting requirements are low :P)
Crafting window will now remember what blueprint you had selected when you last closed it
Next I need to take care of some technical stuff and finish Steam release preparations. I'll let you guys know when it's coming out as soon as I have a confirmed date.