Dev Log


Mixed Update
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 22:24

Hey guys, been a while since the last update. In the mean time I've got a lot of things done. Unfortunately, a lot of those things are under the hood of the engine and have no shinies for display, but there are some that do.

 

New Toolbar icons

 

I actually call it System Bar. Whatever the common term is, it's updated with new icons, so let me know what you think. If you want to compare it to the old one, check out this image.

 

Crossbows!

Crossbows have been added to the game. So how do they fit into the future that is TLV? Well, while they do not do as much damage as firearms and energy weapons (and are particularly ineffective against heavily armored targets), their bolts travel at a relatively low speed which allows them to penetrate energy shields more easily. You will be able to coat their bolts with poisons or rig them with explosives which makes the crossbow a versatile weapon. Also, there will be feats that will make the crossbow an attractive weapon for a stealthy character.

 

Sound effects

Another thing I've been up to is mapping sound effects for all the stuff I implemented so far, so the game is no longer mute. It was somewhat tedious process, mapping them retroactively like that, but it's done now. No interface sounds or music yet though, I'm holding that off until I get more content in.

 

* * * *

 

This was by no means an extensive list of everything I've done in the mean time so expect more (short) updates to follow soon.

 

I've started working on a new area. It includes an underground lake. This will be my focus in the coming month and I'll be sure to post screenshots of it as soon as I have something presentable.

 

By the way, I changed the RSS feed. The old one was spawning duplicate entries in Google Reader, so if any of you were subscribed to the old one (or even if you weren't :) ) resubscribe (link is in the upper right corner). Thanks.

 
Trading
Sunday, 23 January 2011 19:51

When trying to decide how to implement trading on one side I thought of what would make the most sense in the given social settings, while on the other hand I didn't want to make it too complicated or tedious to manage.

 

Underrail is basically a loose network of station-states (there are plenty of them, more than the player will be able to visit in this game). Though they share some common infrastructure of the metro system, most of these stations are self-governed and independent from one another.

 

In this environment simple exchange of items is the most natural form of trading. But also there is a place for commodity money here – such as pure water and quality food, which are no longer abundant. Growing food underground is hard work and contaminants are plentiful.

 

However, a number of stations have made a security/economic alliance which allows for more advanced forms of trading, such as the use of fiat money. The value of this money is guaranteed by the abovementioned alliance, but not all merchants are willing to accept it yet.

 

So the economy in Underrail is mixed of all three methods of trading mentioned above.

 

 

Because then there are number of ways to measure item value, each item (or stack of items) will have its value listed in the tooltip in a form of fiat money it is objectively worth. This will allow the player to know which items relative worth to one another, for example.

 

 

On the trading interfaces, however, I decided not to put the sum of these values for offered and requested items, but instead use a slider (the break-even point that separates the acceptable and unacceptable trade can shift to one or the other side to indicate the merchant's reaction, the middle is the default reaction). The main reasons for this are that I don't want to clog up the interface and (back to what I said at the start of this post) I don't want to make it look complicated. It's not set in stone, though, so I might change my mind later.

 

 
Stealth
Saturday, 08 January 2011 13:49

 

Like in many other RPGs, in Underrail you'll also be able to sneak around by the use of Stealth skill.

It is implemented in such a way that when you enter the Stealth Mode you are actively attempting to hide from every other character in the vicinity separately, and each of them is trying to detect you separately. What I mean by this is that there's a separate indicator of how well you are hidden from each of the characters that appears above them when you enter the stealth mode.

This eye shaped indicator keeps filling up if you are being detected and empties out if you are well hidden to a point where the detection level of that particular character changes. The four detection levels are:

- Oblivious (green) – enemy is totally unaware of your presence;

- Suspicious (yellow) – enemy suspects that someone might be around, but is not sure exactly where;

- Alert (orange) – enemy is certain that there is someone stalking them (or they have seen and fought you but you've managed to restealth somehow). The enemy will also have a general sense of the stalker's location;

- Aware (red) – enemy can see you (you are a valid target now).

Different enemies may react differently to each of these states. For instance, if a 'civilian' finds out he is being stalked he might panic and run, while on the other hand an experience soldier might throw a stun grenade in your general direction in order to pull you out of stealth. That is how you are destealthed, by the way, by suffering some hostile action such as taking damage or being stunned.

The speed at which these detection levels will rise or fall in your enemies as you sneak past them depends your stealth skill and their detection (which is derived mainly from their perception stat), but also on illumination, distance and engagement angle (being behind your opponent is much safer, while being directly a few feet in front of your opponent will almost always result in them detecting you no matter how good at sneaking you are).

 

Also, you cannot start hiding from someone who has you in their sight. You'll need to dodge behind a wall or use one of these:

 

However, stealth in TLV is not just a (situational) utility. Investing in stealth skill will also affect different aspects of combat (such as increasing damage of your stealth attacks and providing new defensive mechanisms), but more on this some other time.

 

 
Still no playable alpha demo
Monday, 11 October 2010 00:45

Back in June I said I was planning on making a playable demo available for the public. I was a bit behind on the schedule due to some personal matters, but even that aside, I've decided to postpone this. There are still some interface/controls issues that I wish to resolve before I'll let others play it, but the problem is these changes will have to wait until I get some more important features done (the ones important for further content making). Ideally, I'd like to have this demo out by the end of the year, but don't hold me to it!

In the meantime I will be posting more screenshots/videos of new features and art; more regularly as well.

 
Removing charisma, Alpha 2 demo
Sunday, 13 June 2010 23:03

I've decided to remove charisma from the base stats pool. I did this for two reasons:

First, currently there's only a single skill based on charisma (persuasion). While I could make the social skills more granular, that's exactly the thing I want to avoid. In fact, persuasion was originally separated into three skills, but I decided I don't want to offer too many non-combat skills as I suspect they wouldn't be used much over the combat ones anyway. Which leads me to the second reason.

I think that having a non-combat base stat in a heavily combat oriented game is bad design, and since I can't and won't incorporate charisma into combat, I'm removing it.

Persuasion will now be based on wisdom. I guess I could base it on intelligence as well, but since another social skill (mercantile) is already based on that, I think this would allow for more variety.

* * * *

In other news, I'm planning to release a playable alpha 2 demo sometimes mid to late august. It's still an alpha build, so it won't include that much: just a few missions with some dialogs, trading and combat. Below are screenshots of a few areas I was working on recently:

 

 
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