Dev Log


Version 0.1.11.0 released
Tuesday, 15 April 2014 00:00

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.

Underrail - Arc Furnace

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:
  • Item
    • Added new metal type for crafting
    • Added taser blueprint so electronics experts can protect themselves from hooligans and stalkers
  • Tweaks
    • 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.
  • Interface
    • 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.
  • Bugs
    • 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.
 
Foundry
Monday, 03 March 2014 08:41

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:

Underrail - Foundry Underrail - Foundry Underrail - 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.

* * * * *

In other news:

 

  • Tweaks
    • 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
  • Bugs
    • 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
  • Feats
    • Changes
      • Changed the AP reduction of Tranquility to 5 (down from 10)
    • New
      • 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.
  • Items
    • 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)
      • Siphoner leather
      • Psi Beetle armor plate
      • Burrower armor plate
    • Super secret stuff

 

 
Energy Shields
Sunday, 02 February 2014 14:28

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.

Underrail - Energy Shield

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.
* * * * *
In other news, here's the other stuff I've been working on:
  • Tweaks
    • 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
    • Boot springs now reduce stealth (will add stealth speedy boots later)
    • Aluminized cloth heat resistance increased and crafting requirements changed to 1 per quality (down from 1.5)
  • Bugs
    • 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.
  • Items
    • 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)
* * * * *
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). ;)

 

 
Version 0.1.10.0 released
Thursday, 16 January 2014 10:27

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.

Underrail - Rail Crossing Underrail - Rail Crossing Underrail - Rail Crossing Underrail - Rail Crossing

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.

 
Alternative Experience System
Sunday, 12 January 2014 12:40

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.

Underrail - New Game Options

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.

 

* * * * *

 

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.

Underrail - Protectorate Propaganda oddity item

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.

 

* * * * *

 

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.

 
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