I’ve been working on the next KeeperRL update at full steam for the past few weeks. The changes have all been oriented around gameplay and not very hard in terms of programming, so they were great fun to work on. I’m happy to say that the development of the game has recently transitioned more into adding smaller features, polish and content, as opposed to revolutionary changes.
Let’s take a glimpse at the new goodies. 🙂
Constructing arbitrary water or lava channels is an important tool in the hands of a Keeper, so it had to find its way into the game sooner or later. An important issue to solve was how enemy AI should deal with players who completely surround themselves with a moat. As you may recall, I faced a similar problem when allowing to freely fill up tunnels, and the solution was teaching AI to dig into sealed-off dungeons. A similar strategy will be used to breach moats: enemies will simply build bridges over them. Everyone knows that dwarves carry spare wood planks on their backs in case they encounter unexpected bodies of water in their way.
Portals are great dungeon feature that allows instant travel between distant locations. Up until now they could only be used when manually controlling a creature, because KeeperRL’s finely optimized path-finding algorithms didn’t play nicely with such abuses of the laws of physics. However, I was able to find a reasonable compromise between speed and the use of portals, so now all your minions (and enemies!) will include them when calculating their shortest paths around the dungeon. Even complicated arrangements will work! Also as you can see, connected portal pairs will be color-coded.
At the urge of the most dedicated KeeperRL fan, SoftMonster, I added the ability to craft so called “ego items”, which are items with special effects, like a flaming sword or a helm of telepathy. To craft them you’ll need a minion with crafting skills above 90% and with high morale, which will drop after the act of creation. With these changes I also modified the underlying architecture to make it much easier to add new item and effect combinations, so your minions will get a lot of new shiny toys!
Special minion traits
Having new special items, I decided to make minions a bit more special, too. Every new immigrant will have a small chance to possess one or more special traits, not necessarily positive. So now and then you’ll attract a goblin with an unusually high crafting skill (necessary for ego items, btw), an orc with night vision or a harpy that’s straight insane (watch out for her). A lot of interesting traits are in development, and I hope they’ll add a nice twist to the immigration system. It’s possible that special traits will come with special requirements, too.
“Stand ground” and “ignore enemies” team orders
This is a nice quality-of-life improvement when controlling teams. Outside of full-control mode, team members have always had a mind of their own, chasing unimportant enemies or blindly charging at a dragon while you are trying to get your whole team to retreat. Switching to full-control to get them to do what you needed was a very tedious option. The “stand ground” order forces the whole team to stay in place even if the leader moves away, and “ignore enemies” stops them from chasing anyone (they will still attack adjacent creatures). The first one is great when you create a formation that you don’t want your minions to break, and the second one is best used when retreating or when you don’t want your minions to get distracted while traveling.
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