Thank you for your continued support of Underworld Ascendant!
We have been hard at work on Update 2 and have focused our efforts on the overall structure of the Abyss, the player journey, AI and other gameplay improvements. We believe these changes will significantly improve the overall player experience, especially when starting a new game.
We hope you enjoy this update and please continue to provide your feedback.
The Stygian Abyss renovated
The world is now a series of interconnected levels, accessible through The Grand Staircase. Updated quest flow now focuses on important narrative quests that highlight both new and refined story and content, while allowing the player to freely explore the environment and optional side-quests.
As a result of this major change, we highly recommend that you start a new game to experience it. That said, if you want to start from where you left off, your old save games will still work and you will start at a roughly similar place in the new story progression.
Player experience improvements highlights
Updated enemy patrol paths and lighting pass in all levels to enhance tactical stealth gameplay, and enemy population overhaul/refinements on all main quests.
New and streamlined story elements along main critical path, with supplemental story elements moved to explorable space.
The Vault of Nyx, the final level encounter, gameplay and clarity improvements.
Meta Game updates
The Doom Counter has been refined to better ramp the type and difficulty of creatures that appear, and now allows players to complete the game without having to set it back more than once in an average playthrough.
Players no longer need to gain Faction Favor or Influence to trigger the final encounter of the game, though Faction Favor still provides benefits in trade.
New games can now choose a difficulty level. All old save games will be treated as "Normal" difficulty.
Save Game System
We made some additional enhancements and refinements to the save game system based on your feedback:
Players can now use F5 to quick save and F9 to quick load said quick save.
Players are now asked for confirmation if they are about to overwrite an existing save.
Clarity pass on the text in the Save menu to improve usability.
Also a load game panel clarity pass. It will also now show difficulty of each save game.
Updated enemy patrol paths and AI behavior models to improve their reaction to player actions
Enemies will no longer do more than one in-combat emote in a row, which makes them much more aggressive.
Enemies will flee less often than before.
Animuses now alert all nearby undead when they are being attacked.
Lizardmen casters will no longer cast while on the ground or getting up.
Lizardmen will now be more aggressive.
Better wandering for deep slugs and rats.
Skeletons will no longer attack torches that damage them. Also reduced torch damage radius for when creatures walk by them.
Enemies now have more personality in their idle time.
Loot and Items
Standard trunks are now smaller to reflect that they don't hold treasure on the level of the mighty Typhon chests. Removed the sparkly "treasure" effect when you open a trunk. Celebrations are for actual treasure chests.
Trunks that are too low-level to hold much loot will now (rather than being so empty) have more filler items such as pots, which will sometimes contain coins.
Clarity pass on item descriptions to make it easier to understand what they do.
Magical items now have a different color name so they stand out more in your inventory.
Player's speed percentage is now listed in the inventory screen so you can tell if items you have equipped are slowing you down (or speeding you up).
Item tooltips for equipment that improves the wearer's armor percentage now include a notation about that.
Updated Aelita's trade menu to make it easier to understand how much silver you will get for a trade, and how much silver Aelita has available to trade.
When you mouse over an item, it will be compared to the same type of item you have equipped, if any.
Right clicking on items in your inventory behaves the same as double clicking. This also applies to trade where it will move it to/from the offer table.
When moving a stack of items within their inventory, the player is no longer prompted to pick how many they like to move. To see that pop up, hold down shift and click on the stack of items.
Anthem - Live Action Trailer
Posted: Feb 15, 2019, 08:23 pm by RPGWatch
DSOGaming reports on a live action trailer for Anthem.
Electronic Arts has collaborated with Oats Studios and Neill Blomkamp for a live-action trailer for Bioware's upcoming multiplayer title, Anthem. This trailer showcases a story of survival set in the world of Anthem, decades before the events of the game, and looks absolutely phenomenal.
Vagrus: The Riven Realms - Character Design
Posted: Feb 15, 2019, 02:22 pm by RPGWatch
On IndieDB the complete character design development blogs (four in total) have been posted for Vagrus: The Riven Realms.
The vast majority of the characters you see revealed are enemy characters, even if sometimes they can be allies in the game for short periods of time (or versions of them, anyways). Although Events will involve these enemy characters often, you will mainly see them as shown in the artwork in turn-based combat. All of them have their unique combat skills and synergies with other enemies.
The other category is Companions. Companions in Vagrus are full-fledged, named characters with varied backgrounds, skills, alignments, and personalities (for example, Javek or Sedarias). Each of them can join your comitatus and do various things for you:
They can fight for you in combat. Each of them have combat skills that you can use to defeat your enemies. Their stats and skills can be upgraded using your own Insight, essentially levelling them up. With each level up, you can give them new perks and improve their combat skills.
Each companion has their own personal storyline you can follow. These stories can go in different directions, eventually upgrading the companion and driving the overall narrative. You can also talk to them at camp and learn more about them, their goals, dreams, past, and so on.
Companions can also fill special roles in the comitatus, becoming what we call Deputies. Essentially, Deputies are your officers and most trusted traveling companions. Each of these positions can be filled by a single available Companion and the filled position provides you with passive and active boons. For example, having a Companion as a Scout Master gives you bonuses to Movement Points, raises the chances of successful scouting and improves the quality of information gathered from scouting.
Each Companion and Deputy position also allows you additional choices in certain Events you come across, widening your chances to successfully navigate these stories.
Edge Of Eternity - Plains of Solna
Posted: Feb 15, 2019, 02:22 pm by RPGWatch
Plains of Solna is the second chapter of Edge of Eternity, which is currently in Early Access. Plains of Solna will be made available on March 6th.
The Plains of Solna is the second out of the four major expansions currently announced for the game early access. It will add hours of new story content and massively expand the game world. Edge of Eternity is currently in Early Access and will fully launch and come to consoles next year.
The Plains of Solna - Chapter 2 update highlights:
The tale continues: Hours of new story content await as Daryon and
Selene confront both the ghosts of their pasts and decade-old rivals as
they try to reach the Priestess' elusive master, Alpharius
Explore the parts of the world: Visit new landmarks like the Lighthouse and the Cave and discover new areas that will double the size of the game world to 18.000 square m2
Ride a Nekaroo: The cute companion Nekaroo makes its debut and can carry you through the world
Many more surprises: New monsters, new weapons, new quests, new characters... and a few surprises along the way.
The Plains of Solna update will be released for free for all owners of the Early Access version of Edge of Eternity.
Blue Bottle Games - Announce Ostranauts
Posted: Feb 15, 2019, 02:22 pm by RPGWatch
Blue Bottle Games, the makers of Neo Scavenger, have announced noir spaceship-life simulatorOstranauts. The game is due late 2019.
Ostranauts is a detailed simulation of owning and living aboard a spaceship, in a solar system where honest living is a slow death sentence. Set in the NEO Scavenger universe, where Earth has suffered cataclysmic collapse, the rest of the System lives on in a state of capitalistic dystopia.
Players will create their captain, build or customize their starting ship from the spoils of their career history, and find ways to keep their motley crew in line, fuel in their tanks, food on their plates, and the debt collectors at bay.
Detailed Custom Ship Design
Players can build their ship, in any shape, from functioning modular parts. The parts have physical properties, interact with each other, and can wear out over time.
Crew members have physiological and emotional needs, ranging from basal needs like food, water, oxygen, and temperature, to more esoteric needs like privacy, security, intimacy, and esteem.
Ostranauts is a detailed simulation, with many interdependent systems. Players will have to manage supplies, emotions, power grids, finances, security, social ties, and more to keep their enterprise alive, both literally and figuratively.
Each crew member runs an AI that is constantly making choices based on their current needs and past experience. If one colleague is consistently comforting, and another threatening, an AI will seek out the former when they need security.
Rich, Drip-Fed Lore
Just like in NEO Scavenger, the game is rich with hidden lore for those who want to seek it. Colonies and factions have long histories. Everyday products have brands and marketing. Unexplained phenomena have rumors echoing through the media and hidden files. And for those that don't care, it doesn't get in the way.
The tech-level in Ostranauts is near-future, but plausible. There is no faster-than-light travel, no sound in a void, no dogfighting, nor force fields. On the other hand, some ultra tech exists for the purposes of aesthetics and storytelling. E.g. fusion efficiency, cooling, and shielding are enhanced. FTL texting is possible (albeit expensive and low-bandwidth). And the unexplained supernatural events seen in NEO Scavenger are not limited to Earth.
Low-Stress Controls and Pace
The challenge of Ostranauts is in the decisions it presents, not the player's endurance or reaction time. It plays in real-time with pause and fast-forward, to allow players to play at their own pace (similar to other management sims). Players should be able to take a break when they need to, and resume later. Similarly, players can fast-forward if they get bored, with the game auto-stopping when something requires the player's attention.
Original Soundtrack by Josh Culler
Josh Culler, composer of the haunting NEO Scavenger soundtrack, is back again with an all-new body of work, specifically crafted for Ostranauts.
Most of the game's data is in plain-text files for easy access. Modders who want to make their experience more unique will be able to edit a wide variety of game data.
We are back with another patch for Phantom Doctrine, this time introducing Update 1.1!
You will finally be able to alter the foundations of your spy agency by meddling with our declassified parameter sheets, and include some of your own ideas, based on a guide we've put together for you. Update 1.1 also includes additional Investigation Board content, improved support for ultrawide resolutions, minor improvements and bugfixes listed below.
As always, we sincerely hope that you'll enjoy the new possibilities, and the entire Team wants to express its gratitude for your ongoing support. Stay vigilant, Agents!
A plethora of game parameters can now be accessed and modded via .csv files to provide new gameplay experience with Phantom Doctrine
Custom agent portraits can be loaded into the game
Standard enemies can have their outfit presets changed
You may modify images, texts and parameters of the existing sidestories or even create your new sidestory events to add some interesting context to the main plot
You may modify all in-game text or create your own localization, however, it will be a bit more tricky
All the details concerning modding and localization can be found here.
Improvements & added content
Additional variants of Investigation Board snippets and new satellite photos
Improvements to the already available names and surnames for Agents of various nationalities, and addition of new ones for more variety
Cabal and Beholder Agents were subject to some body engineering treatments and had their stats balanced
The Point of Interest popup on the World Map now displays the maximum number of Agents that may embark on a given Assault Mission
Agents carrying bodies have been trained to open and close doors on demand
VFX tweaks for weapon muzzle flashes and explosions
The "plant explosives" mission type is now always loaded with the appropriate non-story levels
Bargain ability Damage Threshold tooltip is now consistent with the actual boosted value (50DT instead of 200DT)
Alt-tabbing while having the gamepad selected as the primary input device no longer causes the game to receive additional input from the mouse
Workshop's crafting assignment button states should now be more consistent with other facilities
Tiles no longer guarded by enemy units after the effect of the Distract ability fades are not marked as dangerous anymore
Fixed: The issue of agents being sometimes blurred out in the Forger's Agent Customization screen
The game can now be launched also in 3840x1080, 3440x1440 and 2560x1080 resolutions, providing proper access to the Main Menu
All loading screens should be now properly displayed in ultrawide resolutions
All Investigation Board files and snippets regardless of the chosen language are now properly displayed and accessible also in the 1280x1024 resolution
Fixed: A rare occurrence in which enemy agents who were supposed to enable the CCTV systems were not only disabling them, but also hijacking the game camera altogether, resulting in a softlock
An open world with its own lore and hand-crafted, detailed and diverse landscapes - explore deserts, heathlands, forests, jungles, mountains, and more.
An unconventional story with believable characters and psychological undercurrents.
German and English voice acting by professional voice over artists.
Multi-faceted, believable characters with own ambitions and motivations.
Overhauled gameplay with classes, experience points, survival mechanics and challenging combat.
An overhauled skill system with classes and new special abilities.
A housing system allowing the player to design their own homes.
30 to 125 hours of expected playtime.
Added in Forgotten Stories
Two "crafting classes" that utilize alchemy and enchanting for combat - use potions to shapeshift into a werewolf as the Lycantrope, use enchanting to craft spirit companions as the Phasmalist.
Improved performance and stability for a smooth experience.
Twelve new sidequests and two non-linear guild questlines: Work your way up the Golden Sickle, Enderal's merchants guild and infiltrate the ranks of the Rhalâta, the enigmatic cult ruling the Undercity.
Reworked and improved crafting, spells, and much more.
Kickstarter Games - Crossroads Inn
Posted: Feb 14, 2019, 02:02 pm by RPGWatch
Crossroads Inn is a real time management sim set in an original fantasy world of Delcryson. The game is currently on Kickstarter and already has a Steam page.
In Crossroads Inn, you play as an owner of a tavern located in the heart of a fantasy land of Delcrys. Your tavern is situated directly next to borders of three powerful kingdoms, on the crossroads of the biggest trade routes. You face quite a challenge - how to survive in these difficult economic conditions and transform this run-down dive into a prosperous business? How to make your tavern become the topic of conversation not only for juicers and drunkards, but also rich men and nobility?
You will be able to freely build and expand your tavern, offer services for the guests, manage the workers, fight for prestige and renown. Only you can decide, if you want to create a natty harbor for scheming "Seers" and exquisite aristocracy, or a nasty den for thieves and assassins from the "Aviary".
RPGWatch Feature - Vigilantes Review
Posted: Feb 14, 2019, 02:02 pm by RPGWatch
Here is RPGWatch's Forgottenlor's take on Vigilantes, which he found to be competent, but limited in scope.
The new X-COM (2012) showed that there was a market for turn based tactical games, and since then a number of indie developers either inspired by the remake of such classics as the original X-COM and Jagged Alliance have tried their hand at tactical games with varying degrees of success. Vigilantes is one of the latest of those attempts. To its credit Vigilantes tries something a little different, as its cast of protagonists aren't soldiers, but a small group of private citizens who have declared war on the gangs which have control of their city. Vigilantes avoids the apocalyptic mood that runs through a lot of tactics game, preferring a pulp fiction approach with a set cast of characters. Vigilantes was made by a small dedicated indie team, who managed to put out an extremely competent game, but one limited in scope.
Tokyo RPG Factory - Announce ONINAKI
Posted: Feb 14, 2019, 02:02 pm by RPGWatch
Action RPG ONINAKI has been announced for Switch, PS4 and PC.
Players assume the role of a Watcher named Kagachi, doing battle by "manifesting" the souls of Daemons, which act as the classes found in traditional roleplaying games.
Each Daemon has its own unique weapons and skills, and players can shift between them in real time to gain the upper hand in battle. Moving between the Living World and the realm of the dead known as the Beyond, Kagachi must save the souls of the Lost, as the story of life and reincarnation in this wondrous kingdom unfolds.
Druidstone - Randomness
Posted: Feb 14, 2019, 07:53 am by RPGWatch
A new update for Druidstone: The Secret of the Menhir Forest focuses on randomness.
Petri HakkinenFebruary 13, 2019Uncategorized
First of all apologies for the long break since the last blog update. Unfortunately the realities of game development, or really the crunch mode where we have been for the past months, has meant that we had to sacrifice updating the blog in order to concentrate fully on development. Now as we are gearing towards beta and finally the launch, we'd like to get to blogging more often... Well, let's see how that goes!
Ok, that thing sorted out, let's talk about today's subject, which is randomness as a game design concept and how it affects Druidstone. Randomness can be found in many places and in many forms in a game. For example, are levels fixed or randomly generated (tried that, didn't work for us)? Are combat values such as hit chance, damage, damage reduction and so on random numbers or fixed? Are enemies in levels randomized? What about loot drops and items? Is enemy AI based on random behavior or do they follow strict deterministic rules? Each of these questions can be answered independently, so you end up with a design space with a large number of different combinations, each with their own feel and effect on gameplay.
Even if it would be feasible to test every possible combination (it's NOT), it's not clear cut which particular combination is the best. So at this point it's the job of the game developer to put the game designer hat on and apply some good game design principles... which usually really means making "intelligent guesses" based on the game designer's preferences and experiences!
One interesting thought experiment is how far can you push on the extremes. What if everything was purely random? That would probably be a very chaotic experience, and a poor match for our goal of making a deeply tactical game. A more appropriate question in our case would be: what would a game without any random factors be like, where everything except the players input is basically predetermined? On the surface several games seem to be like that. For example, games like Into the Breach (an absolute masterpiece btw!), chess and Solitaire seem to have no randomness. But looking deeper even these games have randomness. In Into the Breach enemy moves seem to be randomly determined, which leads to surprising moments. In chess the decisions of the opponent, how he or she moves the pieces, while not necessary determined by a random process, provide unpredictability for the other player. In Solitaire the deck of cards is in a random order. The point of randomness in games is to produce unexpected events because unpredictability and being surprised is fun. I believe all games have some sort of randomness built in. If they don't they cease to be games and become pure puzzles. In fact, a definition of a puzzle could be "a game without random elements" (this definition is problematic though: defining a game is even harder problem).
Ok, what does this all got to do with Druidstone? Hold on, we are getting there! For Druidstone the most important design decisions we have to make regarding randomness are:
1. Are the levels fixed or randomly generated?
2. Combat values (hit chance, damage, etc.): fixed or not?
3. Fixed or random loot?
4. Should enemies follow strict rules or be based on random numbers?
There are others but I think these are the most important ones, which have the biggest impact on gameplay.
Random level generation we have already scrapped and this has been covered in previous blog posts.
For the combat rules, we have actually tried both random and fixed variations. The initial design, following our initial gut feeling, was to make combat values, like damage and to-hit, randomly varying like in most RPGs. But once we tried constant values and set hit chance to always be 100%, the nature of the combat changed. Most importantly combat without random modifiers support planning and tactics better and using hero abilities in combos is more practical because you know the outcome of your actions. Druidstone does not have an initiative system, so you can activate your heroes in any order and interleave actions of your heroes any way you want. This combined with the no random numbers approach to combat rules turns the battles into sort of mini-puzzles, which we find more interesting than statistical approach. Using your limited resources and abilities becomes an integral part of solving these puzzles. For example, the thought process while playing could be "Ok, gee, there's no way I can defeat that Dark Knight with high armor value... Hmm... maybe if Leonhard first charges and pushes him to Oiko's range, then Oiko can teleport the Dark Knight on that trap, which explodes at the end of heroes round. But wait! To do that Aava needs to clear these critters first because they are blocking Oiko..." And so on. Written like this it may sound complicated, but with aids such as visualizing the outcome of attacks, enemy statistics being open information and being able to see enemy reaches, it becomes intuitive and natural.
System Shock 3 - Still Publisher Interest
Posted: Feb 14, 2019, 01:52 am by RPGWatch
VG24/7 reports that there is still publisher interest in a System Shock 3.
Update: VG247 reached out to Otherside Entertainment for comment on the ongoing development of System Shock 3.
"Thanks for reaching out and for your concern," studio director Warren Spector said via email. "That being said, I'm not sure how concerned you ought to be. Tumultuous times are pretty common in the game business - tumultuous isn't so bad! We parted ways with Starbreeze (amicably) which means we are in the process of lining up a new publishing partner. Happily, given the pedigree of System Shock and the progress we've made so far there's already a lot of interest.
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