Dev Log


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.

 

 
Blood Sucking Frogs
Tuesday, 12 February 2013 02:45

Underrail - Blood sucking frogs

Right now I have 3 more creature models ready to be programmed into the game, but with everything else that needs to be done first they'll have to wait. For now you guys will have to settle with "Siphoners", which are essentially blood sucking frog-like creatures that can be found in the underground lakes and streams, waiting for their unsuspecting victims to come close to the water before pouncing on them. Their basic attack applies anticoagulation which reduces all healing effects, prolongs bleeds and increases the effectiveness of their blood sucking attack which, as you might have guessed, transfers your health to them. They also have head ramming attack that imbalances you and has a chance to stun you as well.

 

I've also implemented fishing. Actually, this was functional long time ago but due to some major changes to the game I had to disable it for a time. For now you'll only be able to fish for blue eels for a quest, but I'll add more fishing goodies later and probably some blueprints that make use of those. You also have a chance to fish out other random (and some not so random) stuff in certain places.

 

I've added a couple of new areas, a couple of new quests and a mini-dungeon with burrowers in it.

 

I've also made more some changes to other mechanics (I know I said I wouldn't for a while, but I lied):

  • Grenades and pyrokinesis will now deal their full damage near the center of the detonation and less and less damage the further you move from it. Something like this was already in place with frag grenade shrapnel (you'd get hit with more shrapnel the closer you are to the detonation), but now it affects all grenade damage
  • Pyrokinesis has a chance to miss the targeted tile in the same way as grenade do; the targeting precision is derived from metathermics skill

 

Next on the agenda: more quests and a couple more areas.

 
Grenade Changes and Item Durability
Friday, 25 January 2013 22:25

Two important changes to game mechanics in this update.

 

Underrail - Throwing a grenade

A lot of you have been complaining of how overpowered and game changing the grenades are due to how easy it currently is to deploy them exactly where you want even with no points invested in the skill, so I made some long overdue changes:

  • "Grenades" skill has been renamed to "Throwing". It will now be used when calculating precision of all throwing actions (such as tossing flares and using throwing nets).
  • Grenade cooldown no longer decreases with skill. A cooldown reduction feat will probably be introduced in the future.
  • Grenade range no longer increases with skill.
  • Throwing precision now increases with skill and decreases with throwing distance. The less precise you throw the farther the grenade will land from the targeted location (up to 3 tiles away).

 

Underrail - Mechanical Repair Kit

 

I've introduced item durability for weapons and armor pieces (helmet, torso armor and boots). Now, some of you might not like this but hear me out first.

 

My main motivation for introducing degradable equipment is to reduce the amount of money the player can accumulate past the early game. As you start delving into "dungeon" areas of the game, you start finding more and more loot. And there has to be plenty of loot because different characters need different things and you have to give every type of character a decent chance to find a weapon/armor that he can use. Furthermore, whenever you kill an armed NPC (or a bunch of them) you get to loot their weapons and armor.

 

So very quickly you find yourself with a bunch of spare weapons and armors sets that you can just trade for a heap of money and whatever your heart desires. It's not supposed to be that easy. So now whenever you find a weapon or armor in a dungeon or loot it from a corpse it will have reduced durability and hence the cost. You can then repair the item and use it yourself, you can sell it for a percentage of its total value depending on how damaged it currently is, or, if you are crafty enough, you can recycle it for "scraps" that you can then use to create repair kits. You can also purchase repair kits from merchants, they will be plentiful.

 

There are three types of durability - mechanical (firearms, crossbows, metal armors, etc), electrical (energy and electroshock weapons) and fabric (leather armors, tactical vests). Depending on the item's durability type, the skills used to recycle the item (and then create repair kit from scraps) are mechanics, electronics and tailoring respectively.

 

* * * * *

 

And now I'm done messing with game mechanics for a while. Next up, new areas and quests.

 
Version 0.1.6.0. released
Sunday, 13 January 2013 23:54

The game is updated to version 0.1.6.0 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 two dev logs.

 

Underrail - Len's Shop

 

  • Added creature respawning. Creatures in most places will respawn every two hours. Some bandits will also respawn, but most of the human enemies in the current areas will not respawn (since it wouldn't make sense in the context of these areas).
  • Merchants will now refresh their inventories every 90 minutes.
  • Reduced the frequency of base stat point gain. Player character will now gain an extra base stat point every four levels, instead of every two.
  • Fixed the problem with indirect kills not giving the player XP - all damage over time effects, ground effects and explosive barrels will now properly credit the player with XP.
  • Experience gains are now calculated against character's "potential level" which takes into account all XP gained to that point even if you stayed off leveling up.
  • Opening and closing doors in combat now cost 25 action points (up from 10) so no more open-shoot-close tactics!
  • Locked doors and containers will now display the difficulty rating on attempted use. Lockpicks and haxxors will display the max. lock difficulty they can handle in hands of the player character.
  • SGS merchants will now accept stygian coins (charons).
That's it for this patch. Be sure to drop by the forums and let me know what you think of the changes and the new stuff once you get the chance to check it out.
 
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