Hello there Backers!
We have been very busy with Balrum in the past few months. The next update will be a big one. Another mega update! But you need to wait a little more for it. It's not ready just yet. (this means the new version is not available yet) Anyway we would like to talk about the new features and changes.
We have written a completely new renderer that uses modern OpenGL. The old renderer is still in the game and will be in the final game to preserve compatibility with really old video cards. The new renderer allows us to use smooth zooming and gamma correction. Lighting is a bit smoother too thanks to the new tech. You don't have to do anything to enable this new feature. The game will determine if your system is capable to handle the required OpenGL. (if you are having problems with the new renderer you can revert back to the legacy renderer using the config file option: modernOpenGL n="false"
This was a really big challenge, but we felt that this is an absolutely needed feature. The new zoom is much better than the legacy zoom. With the new renderer we rewritten the display creation system. This system has better compatibility with Linux systems and tries to find alternative methods to start up the game if something goes wrong.
The new renderer in action:
We had to completely rewrite the input system for the game. Finally there are no unintended behaviors (clicking outside of the spell book while the spell book is displayed does not start a “walk that way” command..etc) and “tap” clicking is working consistently. Also now you can use double keystrokes to trigger the always walk feature and you can even adjust the delays between individual keystrokes and mouse double-click recognition. Pretty much everything input related is reconfigurable. The new input system in conjunction with the new input part of the GUI enables much smoother cursor movement and an altogether much smoother GUI interaction. The annoying buggy shift/caps-lock detection is a thing of the past.
Main Game Features:
The GUI pretty much has been rewritten too. Not all of it but at least 60-70% of the code has been altered. Everything feels better. There are new fade effects on the panels and interacting with the GUI is much better now. The new GUI allows you to open up more than one container in the world so now you can more easily manage the contents of your chests. The new system allows us to zoom the GUI, but this feature is not complete yet. Items that have state variables (like a durable pickaxe that is usable multiple times until it breaks) have a small indicator next to them for you to see their states immediately without the need to hover on them for their tooltip. Sliders are easier to use now. There are dozens of small new GUI features which we will talk about below.
Building is totally new. The new building uses scrollable lists. Panels have been repositioned for easier usage. Building your home is easier and faster now. Also we doubled the objects that you can build. Now you can even plant trees or bushes and other foliage using the power of the wisps in the world. (you have to figure out how to use the power of the wisps) You can build mannequins that you can dress up with the armors that you found or crafted. Also there are a few new really useful objects to build like the healing obelisk or mana regen obelisk so now you can regenerate from a long battle faster if you teleport home. You are now able to have chickens and cows at your farm! The building panel is much smarter now. It won't allow you to place down items at invalid spaces.
Notification Center / Combat Log
We implemented a new system to handle important floating texts in the game. Now you will be able to read every text that the game throws at you. (finally special quest floating texts won't disappear forever before you had a chance to read them). You can of course disable this panel if you wish.
You might get cold if you don't wear the appropriate clothing. If you receive a critical melee hit your bones might fracture so you need to find a way to bandage yourself. If you eat questionable food you might get sick (raw meat..etc).
The house that you build will have a comfort rating. Based on this rating you will regenerate faster and you might even receive a special rested buff because you have fully rested at your nice and cosy home. :)
This is probably the hardest part of development. The balance in the previously released beta version of the game is bad to be fair. This is why we cannot release the update just yet because we are still balancing things out! Balance is really important for us, but this does not mean that we want to make everything balanced! A little imbalance is not a bad thing. :)
The farming system received a pretty big update. It has been rewritten. (you might have noticed a pattern by now, :) a lot of things have been rewritten) Now your crops won't be diseased that often and other small bugs are fixed thanks to the rewrite. Although every type of seed describes how to plant them in their tooltip, now the game even shows you where you can plant the seed.
Once again new buttons on the main Bar
Your safe-place teleport rune is now integrated into the main bar and there is a new button for the notification system next to it also! When in combat and you have a selected target a threat meter pops up. This meter only shows itself if your pet has attacked the target and you also have already attacked your target.
We have added new AI for the NPCs who live in Balrum. Now you will see them plant their crops, visit their neighbors, and have a drink in the nearby inn. They even visit the nearest outhouse when nature calls. :)
The map hasn't changed much but we marked the four main teachers in the world (there are many more teachers besides them). We would like to keep the map as simple as possible because we think that if everything is on the map that hurts exploration quite a bit.
When you go to sleep you have a chance to have a nightmare. You actually play through these nightmares and sometimes you even find out interesting things during them. There are bad nightmares where you have to find a way out of the nightmare!
Teachers now inform you if you are more knowledgeable than them. They will simply say that they are not able to teach you anymore!
More Complete Crafting
We are still balancing and updating crafting. The new armor crafting panel now shows how your crafted armor will look like. You can even select the design you like! Cooking is now similar to armor/weapon crafting because now you have to select your base ingredient. Critical crafts are sortable out from piles of items. When hovering on an item the tooltip will tell you that the item stack contains a special critical craft item and with Shift+Click you will be able to see where that item is in the stack.
There are a lot of new monsters in the game! We will discuss them in a minute, but now we would like to talk about the monsters that were already in the game. Pretty much every monster immediately attacked you when they saw you. This is not the case anymore. Rats, larvae, and giant frogs won't attack you when they see you. They are neutral monsters now. (not everything in the world wants to kill you)
Basic Combat Mechanics
Most of us know or have a feeling about what intellect or strength..etc does, but every game uses these attributes in different ways. Balrum is no different. Now you will see what your main attributes actually do (finally..) if you hover on them in your character panel.
There are a lot of new spells. Spells that heal your pet. Spells that create a barrier around you for a few turns so you can heal up or buff up without having to worry about being attacked. Spells that are only usable if certain special prerequisites are met. The new spells really spice up the combat.
There are new buffs in the game! Speed buffs that allow you to run. Buffs that act like special talents. For example if a certain buff is active your melee attacks have a chance to reset the cool-down of a random melee ability, or if a certain buff is active a specific spell of yours might cause AOE damage instead of single target damage..etc. These buffs with the new spells add another layer to your tactical arsenal.
Every potion has a description now. Previously there were no descriptions on a lot of potions.. You can find new potions like the speed potion, random teleport potion, predator senses (see in the dark) potion..etc. (the speed potion actually allows you to access otherwise inaccessible places in the world, much like the transform to rat potion :) )
Put Items On The Ground
Previously you weren't able to place items from your inventory on the ground (except seeds and traps and other things that actually should go into/be placed on the ground). Now you can put anything down. It will be placed in a small bag and you will be able to find it where you left it. So from now on if your inventory is full you can simply put the item on the ground and come back for it later.
New Armors, New Weapons
There are a number of new armors and weapons in the game! Most importantly we finally have shields and staffs! Take a look at some of the new items:
New Monsters and NPCs
25 new monsters/NPCs have been added into the game. We are really proud of our graphics team. They did an amazing job on the new art. We won't spoil things for you but we will show you a few of our new models:
New World Objects
There are more than a hundred new object in the game. Including new wall types, boxes, outhouses, market stands, flags, hearth/house fireplace, lots of new foliage and a lot more. Take a look at some of them:
Our composer Matt has been busy. He made three new tracks for Balrum and they are amazing. It's incredible how much music matters in a game like Balrum. We hope you will like the tracks as much as we do!
New Sound Effects
There are more than a hundred new sound effects in the game. No longer does your character get damaged without even letting out a small howl. :) These new effects were really needed. The game is much more alive now.
You can create new items with combining. Now once the combine panel is open your inventory will highlight the items that are combinable. Once you have found a working combination the recipe will be automatically written to the new “known combinable recipes” panel so you don't have to memorize them all.
New Options Menu
There are a number of new options in the options menu. From gameplay options to input options you will find that Balrum is much more customizable now!
New Tactical Grids
You are able to configure the tactical grid. You can choose the old grid or a faded grid. Your pet sometimes is far away so it has a combat grid of it's own now.
Other small things but still worth mentioning
-There is a Continue button in the main menu now.
-Hitting ALT+F4 or CMD+Q now brings up a dialog panel for exiting the game instead of immediately shutting down Balrum.
-The large cursor is new. The old one was too big and ugly.
-The stripes in some tooltips have descriptions now so you know what they are.
-When you go to sleep the selection menu tell you how many hours of sleep you will get.
-Cure Plant potion is now usable multiple times.
-Roads and lakes have better graphics now.
-Multiple hundreds of fixes.
New Config File
The new config file is located in the root directory of the game. We added a lot of new switches to it so if you run into problems be sure to check it out.
Save games won't be compatible. Mainly because the new balance, but from many other reasons too. Sorry for the inconvenience!
Linux and OSX
Compatibility with Linux and OSX is better now. We were able to test the engine on multiple systems for multiple weeks.
There are so many small changes (again) that the list could go on and on. This is the first time we feel that the game is in a near feature complete state! We truly needed the extra time, but we think that it was well worth it. We would like to thank you for your kind patience that you showed us. Development goes on and we hope that the update will be available soon!
Here are our houses, both built with the new building system :)