Dev Log


Combat Initiative
Sunday, 01 December 2013 15:51

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.

Underrail - Surprise Attack

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:

 

  • UI
    • 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
  • Tweaks
    • 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)
  • Items
    • 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.

 

 
Expanding the Business; Balance Changes
Thursday, 24 October 2013 23:06

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:

 

  • Changes
    • 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)
  • Bug fixes
    • 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)
    • Added missing female riot gear spritesheets (sorry ladies)
    • Fixed the bug that would cause the old man in GMS level 3 to repeatedly initiate dialog with you
    • Fixed the bug in Abram's questline where you could give Garren information you didn't actually receive
    • AP should now correctly be deducted when stacking up utility items during combat
  • Other
    • Added transition error log; it will be generated in Documents\My Games\Underrail every time there's a transition error. This should help us pinpoint any remaining transition problems
    • Removed Media Player requirement by popular demand (you will no longer have to have media player windows feature installed in the next version of the game)
That's all for now. Be sure to let me know what you thought of the balance changes so far.

 

 
Steam Achievements
Saturday, 14 September 2013 23:02

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.

 
Version 0.1.9.0 released; also Greenlit!
Thursday, 29 August 2013 18:46

The long overdue update is finally ready. Also, in other news the game got greenlit for Steam distribution!

Underrail - Brawling

Okay let's cover the update first. It's currently up on Desura and GamersGate (soon to be available on Groupees website as well). Here's the list of what I've done since the last dev log, also be sure to also check out the previous three dev logs for other stuff that's new in this version.

 

  • Added TNT explosive charge that can be used to clear rocks. Many passages still don't lead anywhere even if you clear them just so you know though
  • Did bunch of AI work, enemies can now do the following
    • Use more special attacks: kneecap shot, pummel, crippling strike, execute, heavy punch, dirty kick
    • Use "yell" special ability
    • Use more drugs: adrenaline, morphine
    • Throw grenades: frag, HE and flashbang
    • Use more special bolts: acid, shock, incendiary
    • Use offensive and utility psi abilities
    • Kite their target (like psi beetles do)

 

Here's a summary of what I focused on in this update: I've added a bunch of areas to Lower Underrail (the place where the SGS metro station is). These are just "wilderness" areas right now so there are any new quests, but monsters to fight, traps to step, loot to collect and that sort of stuff. I also add a number of items and blueprints (gloves, riot armor) which should give you more options in building your character, as well as improved the arsenal and the AI of the existing enemies.

In the next couple of weeks I'll mostly focus on Steam integration and fixing some technical issues with the game before I move back to building content.

* * * * * *

Which brings us to other topic of this dev log. So the game has finally been greenlit. It's been up there just two days short of a whole year which is longer than I've hoped, but shorter than I feared. I want to send out a sincere thank you to everyone who voted for the game and helped spread the word. With the Steam distribution secured, the future of the game is looking brighter than ever. :)

Anyway, to answer the questions that a lot of you have been asking me:

 

  1. I am aiming to release the game for Early Access on Steam. When exactly - I don't know. It depends on how long it will take me to integrate it and what the rest of release process is like. What I can say for sure is that this will be my priority in the coming weeks.
  2. If you've purchased the game through Desura I would very much like to give you a Steam key as well, but I'm not 100% sure what the rule on this are and I'll have to consult both distributors involved before I can commit to anything. Please be patient and I'll let you guys know as soon as possible. Same goes for those that purchased the game through the Groupees bundle.

 

 
Combat Gloves
Saturday, 10 August 2013 20:17

As promised I've added a new combat option to the game for people who want to focus on brawling in form of combat gloves.

Underrail - Combat Gloves Crafting

Combat gloves can be crafting from leather or metal. The type of material used will determine the AP cost / damage payload, while the quality will determine the overall damage. You can also attach spikes, blades or more metal plating which will add extra damage in different ways.

Gloves can also have power modules, which will drain energy while performing a special on hit effect. The two modules currently available are electroshock generator (which functions in the same manner as when attached to a sledgehammer) and pneumatic hammer which, when combined with heavy punch or similar feats, can dish out quite a bit of burst damage.

When it comes to unarmed feat bonuses, some will transfer to fist weapons, while others won't. I think that currently going for gloves as opposed to pure unarmed will always be better, but I plan to change that in the future by adding more stuff for the pure martial artist type of character through feats and psi. Gloves/fist weapons should not make the pure unarmed obsolete, but rather provide an alternative path and also allow unarmed characters to overcome some of their big weaknesses such as lack of AoE and burst damage.

Other minor changes:

  • Added more lens types for goggles (+crit chance, +special attack damage, +detection)
  • Damage from spikes and blades from boots and armor should now apply on special attacks
  • Reduced the damage of electrokinesis (it will still do more damage than pyrokinesis against smaller number of targets, but less single target damage other single target nukes)
  • Changed the way shock sledgehammer is made, will now require a power core
  • Junkyard surprise nerfed (+1/2 to a stat, -1/2 to a stat) and made consumable on use
  • Repairing broken equipment while worn or getting the worn equipment broken will now always correctly update armor and special effects penalties
  • Fixed bunch of spelling errors

Next I have one more item to add and bunch of AI stuff to do before I can release this version.

 
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