Hello everyone! Absolutely massive update today, probably the largest I've ever done in terms of sheer content. As is generally the case, some of this stuff falls into the "changes or additions in preparation for future changes or additions" so I'll try to make it clear when this is the case. Also, as always, a ton of bug fixes, quality of life improvements and general polish. With that out of the, on to the update!
This is the biggest piece of the update and also the piece that falls most into the "preparation for future updates category". I'll be slowly increasing the size of the game in the next couple of updates so this is mostly just laying out the backbone for this expansion.
- Extended the length of tier III zones (Orc Fortress and Dark Temple) to 6 levels. This gives more room for the entrance vaults, special levels, special branch levels etc. described below.
- Temporarily removed The Dark Temple from the random rotation (it needs a whole set of content to bring it up to the level of The Orc Fortress, which will be coming next update).
- Added entrance vaults for The Sewers, The Core, and The Ice Caves into The Orc Fortress with appropriately themed terrain and monsters. (Entrance vaults for the 2nd set of branch zones coming next update.
- Added a special 'gate' level to Orc:5. Basically a big, challenging fight. There are only 2 of these right now in random rotation, but I'm planning on adding lots more including ones that are linked to the branches. These branch linked ones would be things like giant walls of fire that are disabled by destroying some Totem or Altar in The Core.
- Added new "special branch levels": The Ogre Caves and The Archery Range. Again, the plan here is many more of these in rotation, and many variations of each.
- Added new special branch level: The Orc Kings Hall. Same idea as above, will need more types and more variations within the type in the future.
The idea with these special branch levels is to eventually have a whole set of these per zone that randomly select. I'll be using these special levels to insert highly specific, and highly challenging levels that will tend to require some additional consideration on the part of the player of what order to tackle them in. This could be stuff like bosses, environmental challenges, or just big fights with a specific enemy type. These will sort of merge with the existing concept of the "end levels" that the branches already have and will become the highest level areas outside of The Vaults of Yendor. In the future there will be some sort of gating mechanism requiring the player to clear say half of the special branches in order to gain access to Yendor.
Looking forward, once I have enough of these special branch levels created, I'll be pulling some of the code over from the experimental test branch so that rather than a confusing mess of upstairs/downstairs, I can layout each zone on a flat plane with levels connected north, south, east west, while maintaining the ability to insert stairs where it makes sense. Note that we would be maintaining the overall layout of the dungeon i.e. linear with branches in the mid-game. This change would simply effect the layout of levels within a zone. I think this will:
- Generally make the dungeon layout more readable.
- Give the player more options (within a zone) as far as which level to tackle next.
- Open up the possibility of gating within a zone ex. finding the switch in one level to unlock a gate in another.
For now though, with the increasing complexity in layout, I'm definitely starting to notice the lack of a 'world map' and quick travel system in my own play throughs. So this will be a priority for the next update.
New Level Content:
Tons of work here, tons of work still to be done. I'm maintaining a big spread sheet of content counts for each zone so the following 'stuff' is mostly centered in the zones that needed it most. Rather than listing out every single thing (its a massive list) I'll let you guys discover these for yourselves and leave it at:
- 28 new special vaults spread across the zones. Lots of tricky little challenges and traps here.
- 13 new static levels spread across the zones. Some are just 'generic' layouts that the generator would otherwise be unable to produce. Some are, like the vaults, tricky challenges.
- Dark Temple - Arcane Archer: fires a volley of 3 slow moving arcane projectiles. Will likely do a number of different elemental themed versions of this later.
- Yendor - Fire Lich: powerful undead spell caster that can flame shield his allies (making them resistant to fire) and has a powerful new spinning flame attack (not sure how to describe it :P).
- Yendor - Storm Lich: similar to the fire lich but storm themed.
- Yendor - Vault Chaos Priest: end game priest type that casts group heals and torment (deals 50% of the players remaining HP). I've been immediately burning everything I have to get a quick kill whenever I run into one of these suckers.
- Ice Caves - Gnoll Warrior: mostly used in special vaults right now
- Ice Caves - Gnoll Archer: mostly used in special vaults right now
- The Ice Caves - Frost Vortex: uses a cold melee attack and has a powerful cold based damage shield.
- The Core - Fire Vortex: uses a fire melee attack and has a powerful fire based damage shield.
- The Sewers - Sewer Rat: spawns in swarms, has a poisonous bite.
- Enemies in The Orc Fortress, Yendor and The Dark Temple will tend to start spawning more in groups in the later levels.
A lot of my focus moving forward is going to be going into uniques, bosses, and rare monsters that only spawn in specific special levels, so this is just the tip of the ice berg really. Also working to make sure all the uniques have special drops, have a number of different vaults they can spawn in, sometimes spawn in unique special levels etc. Will omit some of the details here so everyone can be "discover" them for themselves :P
- The Under Grove: Centaur King
- The Swamp: Witch Doctor
- The Swamp: Swamp Siren
- The Arcane Tower: The Arch Magi of Flame
- The Arcane Tower: The Arch Magi of Storms
- The Ice Caves: Grax The Frost Shaman
- The Orc Fortress: The Crystal Captain
- The Ogre Caves: Thurg the High Shaman
- The Archery Range: The Archery Captain
- Added drops and new vaults for: Corrupted Ent, Spider Queen, Kasic the Mosquito Prince.
- The player will now take damage when falling voluntarily jumping down or being knock down a pit (not trap pits). Damage is 50% of your remaining hit points and will never kill you.
- Added a new enemy "meta-ability": curses. A curse will be some detrimental effect that will be maintained until you either kill the caster, or break LoS for a few turns. Currently only being used for The Archery Captains "Bulls Eye Curse" but will be adding more of these later.
- Enemies can now have elemental damage melee attacks. Used for fire and frost vortices, slimes, etc.
- Enemies can now have elemental damage shields. Used for fire and frost vortices, slimes, etc. These also now scale in damage in accordance with the monsters level.
- Reduced LoS distance from 8 => 7. This is in preparation for a future rework to stealth mechanics but generally just means the player tends to be a little further inside rooms when he 'spots' enemies.
- Tomes will now go into the player inventory and must be 'used' to make the talents available. This helps to keep the available talent list from becoming cluttered with talents you don't want and also allows you to sell tomes.
- Enemy trample attacks will now crunch crit the player if you have your back against a wall, making positioning critical.
- As part of cleaning up the character stat menu: Reflection has been removed as a base stat and made a tiered 'status effect'. Reflection I = 20%, Reflection II = 30%, Reflection III = 40%.
- Resistance also moved from stats to status effects.
- Removed the +fire magic +storm magic etc. from items and talents and replaced with a tiered status effect i.e. Fire Focus I, Storm Focus I etc. with a % based bonus to magic power. Again this helps declutter the stats menu and also makes focus effects more valuable all the way to end game.
- Hidden enemies will now alert their hidden buddies resulting in a proper 'Ambush!'.
- Charging enemies will eventually come to a stop after passing the player (I'm intending to have them damage themselves if they run into a wall before stopping).
- Charging enemies can now fall down pits.
- Flying characters can now pass over platform walls (I'm thinking of some kind of dex based mechanic to allow characters to climb these as well).
- Increased the hitpoints of higher level enemies to keep up with increasing player power caused by all the new unique items, special levels, additional levels etc. Balance, as always, will continue to be one of those ongoing things, so I'll be continuing to adjust this as I build up the dungeon.
- Reduced the number of monsters in some of the later levels to reduce absurd swarms and balance against the increasing power of individual enemies.
- Piranhas are now 'fast'. There are a couple 'fun' swamp vaults to take advantage of this.
- Slimes are now resistant to toxic waste.
- Turtles now deal all critical hits when they are hiding in their shells.
- Trap door spiders now spawn in groups and, using the new agro mechanic, will actually ambush together.
- Charge now requires at least a single tile run up and has had its base range reduced by 1 (there was no real need to upgrade it to get more range).
- Reduced the scaling on consumable (wands, scrolls etc.) damage at high levels since it was getting out of hand.
- Storm orbs are now shock resistant. Higher level monster casters have resistance to their element.
- Duelist now starts with a Small Sword w/ 5DMG and upgraded the rapier to 7DMG in order to align this weapon class with the others.
- An enchanted wand now has a lot more charges then it did before (part of a long term project of trying to get a +1mod on the different item types to be roughly equal in value).
- Player will now receive a talent point EVERY level after level 10. This is just a minor, temporary tweak to char build since I'm intending to do a massive rework of this in the next update.
- Disengage and Lunge are quite a bit weaker now to start (they were crazy OP compared to other talents), but scale to the same damage when adding ranks. Also, a short term tweak before the char build rework.
- Opening doors now takes a turn.
- Chaos Portals now spawn an imp every 3 turns and have a longer duration (makes them a much higher priority to kill quickly).
- Slimes now split to 75% of their total HP (instead of 50%). Generally makes them a lot more nasty to deal with.
- Bloats now shoot bolts of toxic gas (still burst into gas upon death).
- Smite now deals 'Magic Damage' which is not blocked by Protection.
- Water now reduces fire damage by 75% instead of 50%. Fire magic will be getting a bit of boost in raw damage with the upcoming character build rework to compensate.
- Wolf spawners now spawn 3 wolves instead of 2.
- Lava and toxic waste damage now scales correctly with dungeon level. This generally results in higher damage.
- Now using bitmap fonts everywhere to reduce a slight blurriness on text that has been driving me crazy for a looong time.
- Reworked the character menu a bit, just cleaning things up a bit. The character menu interface is going to definitely be one of those constant work in progress things pretty much up until release. I'm very hesitant to devote to much time to this right now before the char build system gets finalized. That being said, its quite a bit cleaner and less cluttered now.
- Detrimental status effects like constrict, curses, charms etc. will now highlight the 'casting npc' when you mouse over them. This makes it easy to see who you need to kill in order to remove the effect.
- Mousing over the poison status effect now shows the total amount of damage it will deal.
- Added the option to switch back to text based HP (instead of bars). Note you will need to restart the game for these changes to take effect.
- Fixed: canceling a scroll of domination or blinking would previously lose the scroll.
- Lots of enemy abilities now have better descriptions when mousing over the monster.
- Lots of player abilities now have better descriptions when mousing over the ability.
- A giant list of bug fixes that I'll omit so that this post isn't an extra 100 lines long.
- A bunch of little tweaks and improvements to graphics, spell effects, sounds etc.
- A whole bunch of behind the scenes improvements that will allow me to make more interesting vaults, static levels etc. This mostly involves triggers, bits of scripting etc. to add special traps or encounters.
Well that's it for now! The next update will be focused on a big rework to character development, classes, builds etc. that I've been thinking about for awhile. I'll also be getting The Dark Temple up to spec with its own set of special levels, new uniques etc. Will likely also start working through some of the special levels for other zones, adding new uniques and monsters along the way. So generally: lots more dungeon content and some changes to character development.
As always, thank you everyone for your support and encouragement! I've being going pretty hard for the last 6 weeks so will be taking it easy for the remainder of the week (if I can manage to contain myself) and then its back to work for the next one!