Dev Log

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.


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:


Crafting System
Tuesday, 04 May 2010 22:21

When I started thinking about the crafting system for Timelapse, I knew I wanted to make something that would allow creating a great variety of items, but without getting into a situation where I’d commit to creating just a bunch of crafting blueprints for completely custom items.

So I thought that well since I’m already planning to implement a random item generation, I could leverage that in making the system more robust. So here’s how it goes:

Instead of creating a blueprint for every single item you’d be able to create, I’ll be implementing just one per every type of craftable item, such as: one for each weapon and armor type, one for every gadget / medical item, etc.

Now while some of these blueprints will define very strictly the components they need, most will just require an item of certain type and allow you to provide any variation of such. This will allow you to vary the crafted items in two ways: first, you can provide any of the subtypes of the item available, each contributing different bonuses/penalties; and secondly, the provided item can be of varying quality which allows for item scaling and, basically, reuse of the blueprint throughout the entire game by just providing the required components of greater and greater quality.

So, for example, let’s say we have a blueprint that creates leather armor from a hide of some genetically mutated beastie. So let’s also say that there are a few different types of these beasts, each of which hides provide different bonuses; and also, the quality of the hide is tied to the level of the beast itself, so as you are able to kill tougher beasts, you obtain better hides, and this allows you to make better armor.

Now let’s also add another component to this blueprint and let’s make this component optional. For example, you could be able to create an overcoat for your armor suit that would perhaps grant you some additional damage resistance, or a stealth bonus. So basically this component would also have similar variations as the first.

So you can see that adding components to a blueprint increases the number of variations of the resulting item exponentially.

As for the crafting requirements, they will be tied to the components used. So each component will have certain technology skills related to it, and the component’s quality will determine how high the skills have to be to use this component in a blueprint.

Mind you, this is not set in stone yet, and implementation details may evolve and change over time to balance it out, but the general idea will remain.

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