After releasing a few bug fixing patches to Alpha23, I got right down to working on the next major update. I’ll give you a summary of things that are already implemented, and in future posts I’ll talk about more plans for Alpha24.
The first thing I decided to work on was polishing the full-control mode. It has become an important feature of the game, so fixing the very rough edges is high priority, especially that I got a lot of complaints.
The first issue was the chaotic move order of team members. The movement system in KeeperRL was very flexible, allowing varying speeds of different creatures. Unfortunately this made team members “overtake” each other in the movement queue in a very unpredictable manner. The only way to solve this issue was to change to a proper turn-based system, where every creature normally gets one move per turn. This allows processing creatures in a “stable” order, which can be altered by the player, for example if they want to postpone one team member’s move (without them losing their turn). As another “win”, a player-controlled creature that has a speed buff and gets two moves per turn can perform them in sequence. The “slow” debuff makes creatures skip every second turn.
What are the disadvantages the new system? Creatures lose the fine-grained speed attribute, and almost everyone moves at the same speed. I don’t think this will have a negative impact on the game, but if it’s a major issue then it’s possible to add more speed levels, where a creature gets an extra move every other turn, every three turns, etc. This emulates the old system very well, while having an advantage of being much more predictable.
Having that change out of the way, I added the UI to manage team members, where you can see and change the move order and can decide if a minion is controlled manually or by AI. This also makes the way for UI for giving orders to the AI, which many players ask about, although this feature will likely not come in Alpha24.
I have big hopes that these changes will make the full-control mode much easier to use and more fun.
The screenshot above reveals another new feature. Every creature now has a set of intrinsic attacks, which by default are active when it is not wielding a weapon. Each attack is attached to a body part, and is made unavailable when the body part is lost or injured. If a creature has multiple attacks, then one is chosen randomly when attacking. It is possible to make attacks active even while wielding a weapon, which is useful if a creature can inflict a poisonous bite, for example.
The feature gives me a lot of new options for designing creatures, and should result in some new interesting gameplay. Note that every attack can be inherited by a doppelganger!
Here are the intrinsic attacks that have made it into the game so far:
Every attack can have an optional extra effect, for example inflicting poison or insanity (by the ghost), or something more magical by the unicorn horn.
A slightly related feature that I plan to add is that some creatures, when killed, will drop a body part with the corresponding attack, which can be used as a conventional weapon. A unicorn horn and dragon fangs come to mind as examples. This should be fun!
One more feature that I’d like to present is related to world generation. Until now, the home of every villain was generated almost identically, which got boring very quickly. But now, the game can generate a villain on the “bones” of another one, as if they conquered and captured their home. In the screenshot below, the dragon is occupying a castle after having killed all the knights. It functions as a normal dragon villain in the game, and having the castle and knight skeletons is just a way to mix things up, without changing the gameplay in a major way. The dragon can also be generated on the top of an elementalist tower or in the dwarf cave. There are all sorts of combinations possible for various villains.
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