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A CRPG featuring cyber-espionage and horror. Turn based combat with timed actions, stealth and chainsaw arms.
A CRPG featuring cyber-espionage and horror. Turn based combat with timed actions, stealth and chainsaw arms.
1,074 backers pledged $43,038 to help bring this project to life.

Detonating the room with tile effects

Posted by Whalenought Studios (Creator)
In the distant future, the year 2000, pills and computers are wicked cool.
In the distant future, the year 2000, pills and computers are wicked cool.

We wanted to follow up the last update to show off something else we've been finishing up on: the framework for the tile effects for environmental hazards.

Tiles in Copper Dreams are part of the active simulation in and out of combat, and one of the last big systems we needed for the alpha to add to the sandbox of rules and systems for the player to abuse.

All the tiles on a map can have quite a few variables that change during gameplay:

  • Occupied/Unoccupied
  • Lit / unlit / shadow
  • Sound emission
  • Light color
  • Line-of-sight hidden or visible
  • Projectile or Damage range traveling through

And now featuring state effects like:

  • fire
  • blood
  • water
  • smoke
  • electricity

There was a lot of reactive parts to these effects to work into the wide variety of other sensory systems, not just medical ailments but sound emission and enemy AI paths so they can track effects like dripping water or unusual noises.

Stunning an entire room with smoke or fire works as you'd expect it to with our ailment system, so players should make as good of use of that as enemies will on them. A smart tactic for fire-fights is luring opponent(s) around the corner until out of sight, where they will last-known-position you, and then track you blindly — allowing you to get the upper hand pretty easily. To counter that, if they have grenades of some sort, an AI path for certain enemies for the alpha will be to just flush you out. The tick-tile movement coordinates well with that. If you see a grenade coming toward you and can ready your turn, you can get a chance to run from it. And you'll want to. This guard survived the initial blast and courageously ran through fire to hunt our agent down. He'd later go on to regret this.


Trackable and Ailment Tiles

Should you (or an NPC) walk over water or blood tiles, the character will get a 'wet' or 'bloody' ailment, and track that liquid for ~10 tiles. If these footsteps are seen by an NPC faction who is hostile against another NPC (Guards at a compound see thug patrolling), they'll initiate an AI path similar to last-known-position, and track those footprints until the last one, and then do a wary-state check of the area. They obviously also do this to you, so watch where you step! You can also use this to your advantage, toy with NPCs by luring them away from an area, out of sight and hearing of others.

Water Tracking
Water Tracking
Blood Tile
Blood Tile

Running over smoke causes your character to take on a coughing ailment, which interrupts them for a ~tick (more if you have other chest ailments) and causes them to cough, making noise. Not great for being sneaky or on-the-run. This ailment re-rolls every 10 ticks.

Smoke Tile
Smoke Tile

Electrical tiles on the ground stun your character for 3 ticks, and re-rolls that every 6. There are low and high-voltage electrical tiles, the former just stuns you, and higher ones can drain batteries on equipment, short-out cybernetics temporarily, or on higher rolls cause burn damage. That kind of electrical damage is caused by weapons, while environmental ones are less lethal.

Electrical Tile
Electrical Tile

Fire damage takes its ailments from the FIRE damage spreadsheet, and that's not a table you want associated with your character's health. For fire-grenades you'll take an initial blast-damage ailment, and that could cause a burning wound which procs every 4 ticks for a duration.

Fire Grenade
Fire Grenade

This was also the first ailment to cause more ailments we've readied for the alpha, and it's a pretty slick system. Another one for alpha is impact weapon damage causing bones to break and getting bone-splinters which proc a bleeding damage.


Tile effects are automatically caused by some weapons. Like displayed in the previous update, shooting a gun causes tiles around you to light up for a light mod, as well as cause the sound of the gun, and lastly firing some bullet. Adding to those systems, weapons like flamethrowers can pour fire down hallways and leave fire tiles on the ground, and smoke grenades fill a room with smoke tiles.

Since the Burning Candle ruleset leans simulationist, there's no balance needed for things like this, but there are some odd ways we can allow to deter it. For the alpha we'll have fire extinguishers for clearing fire tiles or dousing yourself. For tactical drying action, keep a one-time-use hanky or towel on hand to pat your butt dry.

If you've caught on fire, you can use your roll action (if you have the Grace for it) or our very own implementation of stop-drop-and-roll to extinguish flames by crawling/crouch and standing in sequence. Each of those stance changes take a tick, and burning damage procs frequently, so you'll want to exclusively and quickly do a dance like that or extinguish yourself other ways if you want to keep yourself from getting too well-done.

Stacking Tile Effects

At the moment tiles are tiered to only have one per tile, like you can't have fire tiles on water. After the alpha is released we'll work on the final step for them which is just augmenting them together — fire on water tiles converts the two to vapor (which will just dissipate), an electrical attack on a water tile can travel to all other touching water tiles, and so on. It isn't a design focus nor are we trying to make this into chemistry class, but there is room for some puzzles and fun gameplay for that, so we'll be getting to it later.


We also added the backpack into the main HUD on the right side. This allows the player to instantly swap active items without needing to go into the backpack first and equip them into quickslots. You've also got all the tools your character does at your disposal up front and center now in a full, glorious frame.

More updates to come soon!


Borja LS, Andrew Pam, and 22 more people like this update.


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    1. Daniel Eskildsen on

      Will redeeming the alpha key on steam lock me out of getting a copy on GOG in the future?

    2. Missing avatar

      Jabberwok on

      Question about footprint tracking:
      It makes complete sense for guards to track bloody footprints, but water seems highly situational. It doesn't seem credible that a guard would track wet footprints in most outdoor areas, or anywhere unless they are already alerted to your presence. If they already know there's an intruder, and it's a dry indoor area, having a guard follow wet footprints might make sense, but in other places, it doesn't seem like a detail they'd be likely to pay attention to.

      Um, I guess the question is, will any of that make a difference?

    3. Whalenought Studios 2-time creator on


      We haven't! Kind of hijacked that one from MGS "who's footprints are these" and made it tile-based and more systemic to work in other systems. There are for sure breakable objects that create sparks/electricity tiles and water tiles. Water bottles or something as an item would be sweet though, especially once we have it combined with electricity, good idea! Maybe a kid's water gun for long range and utilizing pistol skills.

      @Andrew & Daniel:

      Thanks guys, next update we'll get some actual gameplay footage, I don't think that dark scene and making them into gifs did the art any favors. This week we finished a custom realtime shadow on characters to match the palette-knife aesthetic, it both grounds the characters to the map a lot more cohesively and lets them pop off of it. We've also amped up the hex-lighting for sun-lit and shadowed tiles to make the map more visible, which was a great improvement. I think we often make things dark because we're looking at screens all day and its easier on the eyes — so thanks for the suggestion! Let us know what you think of the improvement when the next update is out.

    4. Andrew Tuckett on

      I like all the footprint effects stuff. Mechanically it looks good. Graphically the characters are a bit blobby to me and indistinct.

    5. Daniel Leslie on

      Looks good!

      Except... Please make it so we can disable or tone-down that full-screen blur effect; I'm an old guy, and that low-contrast look makes it really hard to make out the shapes. It's straining to look at.

    6. More_Badass on

      Wow, that footprint system looks awesome. Have you played Shadow Tactics? It has a similar mechanic (walking through snow leaves footprints that enemies will follow), but this sounds like it’ll be way more systemic, since it works between NPCs.

      Will you be able to empty water bottles or damage pipes to make puddles, so you can track enemy footsteps?

    7. Inca on

      There is so much great stuff!

    8. Whalenought Studios 2-time creator on

      Thanks Andrew!

    9. Andrew Pam on

      This is very impressive work!