Dev Log


Lower Underrail and Mad Hattering
Monday, 27 May 2013 21:53

I'm currently in the process of building the Lower Underrail.

Underrail - Lower Underrail

For those who don't know the Lower Underrail was the industrial/military zone of the big underground metro system before things went to hell, as opposed to the Upper Underrail which was the residential zone.

I have it mapped out on paper and am now going through each zone and constructing it in the editor. It's a lot of work without much to report so bear with me as I grind through it. At first, there won't be any quests or special points of interest (just containers, monsters, bandits, traps, and that stuff), until later I start adding the stations, dungeons and occasional random encounter. The metro train is also on the way. It will be connecting the aforementioned stations.

In other news, I've added psionic headbands to the game along with blueprint and components required to make them (creating them will require electronics and a bit of biology). These headbands can enhance one of the three psionic schools, but there are also universal ones that enhance all three (though those are generally weaker). Depending on what components are used, they can increase skill levels, critical chances, critical modifiers, and psi costs. I will add more components in the future that will have other effects or have greater effects (per quality) but with certain drawbacks.

 
Version 0.1.8.0 released
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 00:36

The game is updated to version 0.1.8.0 on Desura and GamersGate, soon to be updated on Groupees as well. You'll find all the new stuff listed here and in the previous dev log.

Underrail - Pyrokinetic Stream

As promised, I've added a number of new feats and psi abilities. With feats I mostly focused on melee combat and grenades, both of which were sorely lacking in that department.

In regards to new psi abilities you'll notice I've added an extra thought control ability. This means that there's now an equal number of psi abilities across all psi schools. You can learn most of the new psi abilities from the existing teachers (this might change in the future), with the exception of Bilocation for which you must look elsewhere (those who played through the whole game before will have a good idea where to go ;) ).

So without further ado, here's the list of changes since the last dev log:

 

  • New feats
    • Heavy Punch - Unarmed attack that deals 200% for 250% AP
    • Bone Breaker - Critical hits from your blunt melee attacks break ribs if they deal at least 4% of target's maximal health through mechanical damage. Targets with broken ribs receive additional 25% mechanical damage from all sources. This effect stacks up 2 times.
    • Cheap Shots - Increases critical damage bonus of your melee attacks by 50% and gives your unarmed attacks 15% chance to incapacitate the target for 1 turn.
    • Paranoia - Detection increased by 20% and chance to get critically hit reduced by 3%. Also your weapon damage is increased by 20% against stealthed targets (will be useful at one point).
    • Uncanny Dodge - Grants you an ability that when activated will cause you to dodge the next regular or special melee attack targeted against you.
    • Evasive Maneuvers - Converts all remaining movement points into twice the evasion for 2 turns.
    • Grenadier - Reduces the cooldown of fragmentation and high explosive greandes by 1 turn and special grenades by 2 turns.
    • Three-Pointer - Gives your damage dealing grenades 10% chance to critically hit. This chance is increased by 2% for each point in dexterity above 7.
    • Trap Expert - Reduces time required to arm traps by 70% and increases the detection difficulty of the traps you set by 25%.
  • New psi abilities
    • Pyrokinetic Stream (metathermics) - Creates a stream of fire towards the targeted location, damaging everything in its path for X heat damage every tick. The stream lasts for three ticks plus an additional tick for every 10 spare action and psi points remaining after the initial invocation.
    • Electrokinesis (psychokinesis) - Deals X electrical damage to the primary target and stuns it for 1 turn before jumping to a nearby target. It can jump up to four times, but the damage decreases by 15% of the original amount with every jump. It can strike the same target multiple times, but it needs at least two targets to jump between. Only the primary target is stunned.
    • Bilocation (thought control) - Creates a doppelganger of a human target bent on their destruction. The doppelganger is immune to all physical attacks and deals X mental damage that bypasses all shields and resistances. Last for 4 turns.
    • Mental Breakdown (thought control) - Incapacitates the target for up to 3 turns and reduces its resolve by 50%. If a detrimental thought control psi ability is invoked against the target during this period it will have double the effect, but will end the mental breakdown.
  • Changes
    • Game generates a crash log now in Documents\My Games\Underrail folder when it crashes.
    • Increased the amount of health hypos, bandages and ammo the player receives at the start of the game. Player can also find a mechanical repair kit in its room at the start.
  • Fixes
    • No longer possible to place the fishing rod on top of yourself
    • Game will no longer crash when attempting to disarm triggered traps
    • Game should work properly with windows on-screen keyboard now
    • Junkayrd gambling house staff and nearby Black Eels will no longer turn hostile after the attack on Scrappers
Let me know how you liked these changes and the new stuff.

 

 
Pickpocketing and Feats Changes
Wednesday, 17 April 2013 16:27

Hey, guys, sorry for the delayed update. I was out of country for a while on a vacation of sort. I'm back in the development chair now and here's what I've been doing.

Underrail - Pickpocketing

First of all I revamped the pickpocketing mechanics as I promised. The way it works now is that when you are stealing items from an NPC you are filling up their permanent "suspicion meter". If you fill up this meter to the max you will be detected and the combat will ensue. The game will indicate how much stealing a certain item will raise the suspicion meter.

The rate at which you fill this meter will depend on the ratio between your pickpocketing skill and the victim's detection. Since the detection scales off of character's level and perception, this basically means that you'll have to continue investing points in the pickpocketing skill (and ideally dexterity as well) in order to be able to steal (or steal more) from progressively higher level NPCs. Also, some items are harder to steal than others (e.g. heavy weapons and armors in comparison to smaller stuff like ammo and hypos).

The way this system is set up it means that, unlike lockpicking and hacking, the outcome is not binary. Depending on your skill-to-detection ration and the difficulty modifier of the item, you may be able to steal zero, one or more items from a given target. So investing more skill into pickpocketing will always be useful. Because there's no dice involved in the calculations, this will also eliminate the need for save scumming.

Pickpocketing does not require stealth, unless of course you're trying to steal from a hostile NPC.

* * * * *

The other major change I made is reducing the frequency of acquiring feats from one every level to one every two levels. The reason for this is that when I originally decided that you should get a feat every level I was planning on having the max character level set to 20, which would put you at 22 feats (+ some story extras), and since the total number of feats will be around a hundred having 22/100 feats seemed about right. It would mean you wouldn't be able to get every feat in the game you wanted/needed in one playthrough and the number of feats per character to the total number of feats ratio seemed like it would allow for a variety of different builds.

However, since I've increased the leveling rate a bit and decided to eventually change the max character level to 30, that would put the character at the max level up to 32+ feats. Now this is no longer a comfortable ratio, especially considering there might be expansion packs and the like that could raise the max character level. You'd be practically able to take every third feat in the game.

So now you get two feats at the start like before and one more feat each even level, which will put you at 17 leveling feats which is much closer to what I originally intended. I've also went back and buffed/reworked existing feats that were somewhat lackluster in order to make them a more desirable choice in this new feat economy:

 

  • Burglar - Reduces the time it takes to pick and hack locks by 75%, but also add +10 bonus to stealth when in controlled areas
  • Nimble - Reduces encumbrance by 15%, but also grants 15% bonus to dodge and evasion when on zero encumbrance
  • Ninja Looter - Reduces pickpocketing time by 50% and also reduces suspicion raised when pickpocketing by 25% when hidden from the target
  • Conditioning - Increased the damage reduction to 10% + 1% per constitution above 5, but also added requirement of having at least 5 points in constitution
  • Opportunist - Upped the damage bonus agains slowed targets to 20% (up from 15%)
  • Recklessness - Grants 10% increased critical chance with all weapons, but also increases the chance of you getting critically hit by 3% (up from 3%/2% I think)
  • Yell - Reduces enemy offensive skills by 35% of your intimidation skill (up from 25% I think)
  • Snipe - Increased the base damage bonus from 100% to 125%
* * * * *
And here are some other smaller, but not necessarily less significant changes I've made:
  • Bugs
    • Fixed the game crashing when loading 0.1.6.0 saves. It's still not recommended to play the old saves, but it shouldn't crash now hopefully.
    • Fixed the problems with Cliff's quest when he would die at inopportune times
  • Tweaks
    • Reduced weapon degradation significantly. The starting pistol should now be good for over 100 shots
    • Melee weapons no longer degrade on missed attacks
    • Reduced the cost of energy pistols
    • Dexterity now increases critical chance of melee attacks by 1% for each point above 5
    • Added "Already known" label to blueprints you... already know
    • Added more items to the SGS commoners to be stolen!
    • Reduced the pickpocketing cooldown to 5 seconds (down from 10)
Let me know what changes you guys like and disliked and why.

 

 
Version 0.1.7.0. released
Friday, 22 March 2013 21:37

The game is updated to version 0.1.7.0 on Desura, soon to be updated in other places as well (GamersGate and Groupees). You'll find all the new stuff listed here and in the previous three dev logs.

Underrail - Cave Bandits

The new patch is ready. As mentioned in previous dev logs, I focused on re-balancing the economy and area of effect attacks (primarily grenades). But I've also added new quests and areas, mostly in the vicinity of the Junkyard.

These quests should hopefully paint a clearer picture of the Underrail politics and tell you a bit more about some of the major factions, while still leaving many questions to be answered later in the game. They will also allow you to actively take part in faction struggles.

Without wanting to spoil too much for the players, I'll just say that one of the quests results in a larger scale combat encounter. I'm not particularly happy with this event for a number of reasons. First, the AI isn't very good in handling multiple enemies, it's been written so far to simply fight the one character that is the player and not to coordinate group fights. So you will see your companions and enemies alike to stupid things from time to time. Secondly, waiting time are just too long because I control only one characters in a fight with many participants. And lastly, in the real time sections before and after the fight there's too much pathfinding calculations going on that it can stagger the game a bit.

But despite all of this, I'm still including the encounter because it's a nice change of pace and because omitting it, or automatically resolving it somehow, would be very anti-climatic. But don't expect these sort of fights to be common in the future. The game was built with single character in mind and it shows.

Anyway, here's the full list of changes since the last dev log:

 

  • General
    • More quests added to Junkyard areas
    • Two new mini dungeons added
  • Economy
    • Toned down item degradation a bit
    • Melee weapons no longer degrade faster than ranged weapons
    • Reduced the base merchant price modifier from 425% to 350% to better suit the other changes to the economy; so basically everything will be a bit cheaper
  • Mechanics
    • Caltrops have a chance to miss the targeted tile in the same way the granades do
  • Balance
    • Change the mutants and mutated dog health up, down and all around; can't tell if it's more or less than what it used to be but it's balanced now I think
    • NPC natural dodge/evasion changed to 1 per level
    • Off-balanced, stunned, frozen and incapacitated enemies have their dodge and evasion reduced to zero
    • Rooted enemies have their evasion reduced to zero
    • Increased the damage of crippling strike and reduced the AP cost
    • Critical crippling strike applies 2 stacks of the debuff
    • Restored health modifier to all commoners to 100% (up from 50%/80%)
  • Fixes
    • High-density foam padding price now scales with quality and quality is also made relevant in all its crafting recipes
    • Fixed Telekinetic Punch to scale off of Psychokinesis instead of Metathermics
  • UI
    • Disabled Trade button when nothing is set to be traded
    • Turn-based combat path visualization should now work properly in all cases

 

 
Taking from the Rich
Thursday, 28 February 2013 23:17

Underrail - Blood sucking frogs

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.

 

 
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