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Wasteland 2 is a sequel to the amazingly popular 1988 RPG Wasteland and the post-apocalyptic predecessor to the Fallout Series.
Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts! Thanks to all our backers for helping us make this game a reality!
Wasteland 2 has been released to great acclaim, earning Game of the Year from PCWorld, and reaching #1 on the Steam sales charts! Thanks to all our backers for helping us make this game a reality!
61,290 backers pledged $2,933,252 to help bring this project to life.

We’re Still Listening

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Good day to you, Rangers,

It’s Chris again to talk some Wasteland 2. We received a lot of feedback from the demo video of the Prison with many strong and important opinions that continue to help us craft Wasteland 2.

Our philosophy on this project is to put out videos when we have a decent amount of new features to show off. That way, we can follow the discussion threads and see what elements are working and what needs improvement. It allows us to see the most hotly discussed topics and react before the game is too far along to modify systems that might not be as good as they could be. Sometimes this means we aren’t able to iterate and polish as much as we want before it goes live, but we feel it’s well worth it for the valuable feedback you’ve all provided.

We will note a few below and let you all know our plan of attack for the ones that received the most comments.

Graphics and Animation

First and foremost, many of you had notes on the graphics, or more specifically animations. There were some obvious issues that we fully plan on fixing. We have to balance the trade-off between showing something that looks good enough while not impacting our schedule and production pipeline negatively. In a normal game production process, there is a HUGE amount of time wasted creating demos. We opted to instead show an actual snapshot of the status of the Prison map. Our fans were clamoring to see another update which means we weren’t able to get to some of the more detailed polish items. We know they’re there and we will continue to iterate and polish.

The floaty look of the rangers running was oft-noted. This is a height mesh issue that we are taking care of. We identified this as a risky item to fix prior to the demo as it affects multiple areas and didn’t want to slow down the teams working on other areas. The choice was made to not delay the video for some of the graphical fixes. In a wider sense, these aren’t “final” graphics. The Prison is a more polished area relatively but we’re still several passes from “final” on geometry, normal mapping, textures and post-processing.

As for the UI, the main game HUD is on its fourth pass and we will continue to make improvements. In particular the AP counter is a point we agree needs some work and it has already been updated. Other UI elements will get some work too. Consistency amongst menus is something we are working on right now. The dialog UI in particular is a work in progress. In the last video we showed, it didn’t have a field to type in keywords yourself, but be assured that mechanic is still in.

Combat Systems

On to some of the gameplay points. One often seen discussion was the change from hex grid to squares. This is one of those points where crowdfunded games are unique; in a standard development cycle you would not get to see how mechanics like that work until they’re fully tested, iterated on and polished.

Here is a little backstory on the change. Originally, we didn’t intend to have any hex or square grid during combat. It was going to be more free form movement. One of our engineers added a hex grid as a debug test to approximate spacing of characters in combat encounters. When we saw that grid turned on, our mouths watered. A few days prior to recording the first video, we made some tweaks to get our movement working with the hex grid. It worked great for our early combat. One unfortunate side effect was that since it wasn’t in our original design, we didn’t account for it from the beginning of development. We had already done tests and created our tile set sizes, including doors and surrounding props. We could have redesigned the size of the tile sets and doorways (which would have been a huge amount of work since we had grey boxed many of the levels) or look into other options. Squares came next. We had introduced cover at this point and squares lined up nicely with the doors and cover.

Of course, while the advantage in positioning, production time and map layout is there, many of you justifiably pointed out you’re losing flexibility in movement, from a grid’s six-way movement to a square’s four-way movement, and that creates undesirable situations where you move four squares east and four squares south to move to a relatively close position. With the help of backer suggestions, here are two points we have already implemented to improve the mechanics and feel:

  • Moving around the world in combat is much more free form. Your player won’t just follow the exact grid, which created an unnecessarily artificial look. They will take the shortest unblocked distance from the point they are standing to the point you are moving to. Movement is still calculated based on an underlying (optional on/off) grid and is displayed to you in your AP cost.
  • Moving diagonally in the calculation costs 1.5 times as much as a straight movement. Do note that your speed attribute changes the AP cost used as movement for all characters, so the calculation is never very simple.

Another pattern we saw discussed had to do with stances as a tactical choice in combat. Stances may not seem like a big deal to implement, but it is a deceivingly large amount of work to do correctly in our game. There are a few issues to consider when evaluating this as a feature. First, is the amount of work necessary to get it done vs. how much it will add to the game as a whole. It involves additional code to simply implement the base feature, UI work to get the HUD elements, a large amount of AI to have enemies react to it differently (assuming we don’t just have the rangers use it…which would be lame), design work to fit it on to all applicable humanoid enemy NPCs, gameplay balancing, bug testing and the finally largest risk comes from animation. Our animation system is pretty robust. We’d essentially be adding 2 additional states (crouching and prone), which need to have our full suite of animations related to all weapon skills. 9 skills (or 7 without melee skills) doesn’t seem like a lot but when you break them down, it gets unwieldy quick. Each weapon has firing, jamming, equip/unequip, reloading, aim up/down, multiple player damages from that pose (i.e light, medium, heavy, crits) plus all of the blends in and out that make them smooth from different player states. In all it turns into around 15-20 animations per skill, per stance. Finally, there would be visual issues from our 6 foot tall rangers with a 3 foot long sniper rifle lying prone. Weapons would clip through the world props all over the place. As we continue iterating and polishing, we will evaluate all options as they are available, but as you can see, this is not a particularly easy decision to make.

Exploring Environments

And as a final note, a few said that this early part of the Prison in the demo gave an impression of linearity. This is mostly due to it being a demo run, with us having a specific path and sequence in mind. Wasteland 2 is incredibly varied in regards to the feel of the levels. Some are more town based, others are underground maze/cave-like areas. We have large interiors of buildings, huge canyon areas (like prison) and more desolate plains. There is no template that is universal to Wasteland 2.

We’ve made sure to design a ton of missions that will take you all over. Many are optional, meaning that you will be able to do them or not do them as you wish. Others will open up (or be shut down) based on decisions you’ve made before. There will be no lack of exploration and discovery.

And more!

I’m going to link to this page on our tumblr, where you can find all the GamesCom previews rounded up as they come in. GamesCom is a very international event so you can find previews in a huge variety of languages: English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Hungarian, Danish, Japanese and Dutch!

And finally, we’re still loving what Mark Morgan is doing for the Wasteland 2 soundtrack, so here’s a new piece we wanted to share.

Chris Keenan
Project Lead

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Comments

    1. Creator Heffaklump on October 11, 2013

      Take your time! Dont litsten to guys like Stephen! I´ve been waiting for a game like this for years, ever since I played Fallout1/2, KOTOR 1/2 and dragon age. And you guys must have waited even longer to get this game made.

      PS I miss Van Buren though, wish it were finished and not canceled right before the goal line...

      Turn based RPG here we go!

      Take your time, I´ve been waiting years. I want you to deliver the best you came in regards to your budget, don´t worry about time I can wait longer :)

    2. Creator Robert Wolf on October 3, 2013

      Any chance that novella's coming out soon?

    3. Creator Stephen M Weeks on October 2, 2013

      This project was supposed to be done this month! Quit lollygagging and get the product out! Snap out of your analysis paralysis and get the product out when you promised! The idea was top stay true to the flavor of the original Wasteland with upgraded graphics, can't be that hard! DO IT!

    4. Creator Chris Patterson on October 1, 2013

      Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

    5. Creator Paul Smith on September 30, 2013

      Demo looks good, but would love to get my hands on a build and test it out, only so much you can see from a video.

    6. Creator Thomas Higgins on September 19, 2013

      Thanks for the update. Glad the game is going well.

    7. Creator ☆ dlux ☆ Weresheepbat of Original Sin on September 16, 2013

      Sounds pretty good. Don't forget to fix that god awful inventory too though. :)

    8. Creator Eric Kolb on September 14, 2013

      Love to hear Mark Morgan's work coming along -- it sounds fantastic!

    9. Creator Lars H on September 14, 2013

      @Ben Fisher: That would be great. Or even more: A "switch" where you can save AP for shooting, etc. so you can not go to far.

    10. Creator Ben Fisher on September 13, 2013

      How about something like what Shadowrun Returns did? They display a grid that tells you "Moving to anywhere in this section will cost you 1AP. Moving anywhere in the next section will cost 2." and so on. maybe with an option that highlights "moving up to this point will leave you with enough AP to make one attack with your currently equipped weapon. Move beyond this line and you can't attack."

    11. Creator Anthony Gosselin on September 13, 2013

      good good, I see that you've indeed taken the time to read feedback and discussions. What you do about it is 100% up to you obviously but it's good to know you remain open-minded

    12. Creator The Echo Inside on September 13, 2013

      @meganothing dread hamster of torment

      I'm afraid, I don't think you understand what my concern is, but thank you (no snark) for trying to explain. Have a good one. :)

    13. Creator twincast: Eternally Tormented Mangy WoOS on September 13, 2013

      Oh, and: lovely if stances make it in, no biggie if they don't.

    14. Creator Giovanni Manca on September 13, 2013

      It seems that the dialogue between backers and inXile will remain open and clear till the end, so it's likely we'll have a perfect game. inXile has experienced designer, we have experienced gamers. I'm pretty sure a lot of great things will come out from this synergy. And please, don't listen picky people ;-)

    15. Creator twincast: Eternally Tormented Mangy WoOS on September 13, 2013

      1.5 AP for diagonal movement mitigates the problem, it doesn't solve it, but like I said, I can deal with it.

      Part of me wishes, though, that I'd never learned that you had originally planned for vector-based. D:

    16. Creator Silver on September 13, 2013

      Thanks for the update, it's good to remind everyone that this is still WIP material we're seeing. Love the new track from mr. Morgan!

    17. Creator Eugene on September 13, 2013

      The main problem I have with graphics is not animation but rather cartoonish happy bright-colored gamma, I am hoping it will be much grittier on release, Fallout 1 & 2 esque

    18. Creator veryblackraven on September 13, 2013

      >Moving diagonally in the calculation costs 1.5 times as much as a straight movement.

      As far as I understand, you have considered 1.4 (approximate square root of 2), but changed it to 1.5 so it will be easier to calculate how much AP is needed for movement (3 AP for 2 ticks; instead of 7 AP for 5 ticks, which is awful to implement).

      Fine, I'm ok with that. :) Keep up the good work guys. You rock!

    19. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on September 13, 2013

      @someone - because of limited resources. i understand where you're coming from and you're right in so far as i don't know whether they can do both. if they can, if they have surplus resources where at the moment they say "hmm...we got 100k $ and dunno what to do with them because all that is important to us is fine" - then rock and roll for stances. my argument is indeed only valid if it is, in fact, a question of where the existing, limited resources should go to.

    20. Creator Chris J Capel on September 13, 2013

      I'm quite happy for no stances if it'll be that much effort. As someone else said, this isn't Jagged Alliance, the straightforward-ness of the combat is really appealing to me. I also won't mind if they ARE introduced either!

    21. Creator mabec on September 13, 2013

      First of all, why didn't i get this update towards my e-mail as usual? (Only just notice it thru FB)

      Second, put the music at the top of the post so we got some atmosphere while reading :)

    22. Creator meganothing dread bard of torment BOSB on September 13, 2013

      @The Echo Inside: To make it really circular you would have to work with 1.414... which would make calculating movement costs while looking at the grid nearly useless.

      Without a grid the computer would calculate the cost and you would often be fine-tuning the walking distance to leave you enough for that shot you want to do. Lots of mouse-shifting. Grid-based means you often know how far you can go with one short glance.

      In short grid and gridless both have advantages and disadvantages, 1.5 fits grid better.

      @Motik: No project can please everyone. You might have the wrong expectations, WL2 was never planned as the successor of FA Tactics (or JA).

    23. Creator someone on September 13, 2013

      @ Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) - Why does it have to be a dichotomy? Why can't we have more polishing and stances? Is Tim Cain right about it being impossible to animate grappling an Ooze?

    24. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on September 13, 2013

      @dungeoncrawl - exactly!
      @Alan - Beta testing is set to begin in October. After the beta tests they'll set a new release date. more info in update #32 http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/inxile/wasteland-2/posts/544063

    25. Creator AJ on September 13, 2013

      So, are we still on track for a (October, was it?) planned release date? I've not read anything official yet to say otherwise.

    26. Creator Jabberwok on September 13, 2013

      I think my main concern in the demo was the unrealistic amount of blood that leaves a character every time they take a hit. Personally, I prefer to imagine that most bullets are damaging their armor or grazing them, rather than leaving a huge hole, but the character is still walking around somehow.

      Nice to see these things addressed, even though I wasn't too worried. Still a little confused about the grid system, but my impression is that units can move diagonally for 1.5 times the cost of moving in a cardinal direction. Makes sense. Hexes might have offered even more flexibility, though my main reason for wanting hexes was simply aesthetic. But when it comes to grid or no grid for the underlying movement system, I definitely prefer a grid. Even if it is less flexible, I think it makes for more tactical gameplay, because the system at work is very transparent to the player. It's much easier to judge distances, and quickly get an idea for where each character will be able to move in an engagement, and how many AP they'll have left when they get there.

      I think I would prefer no stances. I thought it was cool in Fallout Tactics, but that game seemed visually more sloppy in some ways in comparison to the originals, and perhaps stances had something to do with that. As stated, the amount of work to do it right seems excessive.

      Love the new track. Most of the music so far sounds exactly like what I would imagine it to sound like, which is a good thing.

    27. Creator dungeoncrawl on September 13, 2013

      I think the guys at inXile do this for a living and stuff. Whereas all the rest of us just play the games. I'm glad they listen to us and I can see the improvements. I'm also glad they ignore us at times too.

    28. Creator Andrew C on September 13, 2013

      I don't quite understand why you have to go grid based anyway. The grid, whether hex or square should just be an optional informational tool and not the basis of your movement and combat system. I would be far happier for you to drop it entirely than be constrained by the inherent limitations of a grid based system.

      I also see that our hero's seem to suffer from that strange affliction that seems to affect everyone in RPG's, the inability to scale a knee-high fence, wall or rock.

    29. Creator easy82 on September 13, 2013

      Yeah guys, I recommend that the AP used for diagonal movement should be instead 1.414213562373095, or even it could be a little bit more punctual. That would make this game great! :D

      Seriously though, I supect the number is 1.5 because you make 2 of this steps and you have no wierd remainder! It's also more easier to calculate when playing.

      Thanks for the update, and the audio is truly awesome! :)

    30. Creator Grenville Wilson on September 13, 2013

      You actually listen to us whiney ingrates? That's not how this is supposed to work!!!

      ;)

    31. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on September 13, 2013

      @inXile: i do not care at all for stances. if the choice is more polishing/missions/content OR stances - then by all means don't do stances! this is not jagged alliance!!! if you feel that many people want stances then make a survey and tell all those people that it is not just about "are stances important to you" but that it's about "do you want us to use a big amount of resources that could be spent elsewhere (content/ploshing etc.) to implement this totally new, untested feature?".

    32. Creator Tobi (Crusader Kickstarter pls!!) on September 13, 2013

      @Motik / Turk - also it's NOT "almost 3 mil" it is "almost 3 mil" minus 10% for kickstarter and amazon minus the costs for pledge fullfilment.

    33. Creator M. Alan Thomas II on September 13, 2013

      Also, ditto the comments that diagonals should be 1.4 AP.

    34. Creator M. Alan Thomas II on September 13, 2013

      In the demo, the characters already take a knee when behind half-height cover. Surely, then, you already have that animation available; I was just watching it! I can see how prone would be too much work, but I'd like to see being able to take a knee (and gain a small accuracy + ranged evasion bonus / melee evasion penalty) for 1 AP (and the same to stand again). Yes, it will take some extra time and effort, but I'd rather the game be more full-featured than soon.

    35. Creator alesak23 on September 13, 2013

      The biggest issue for me was the lack of lighting and no environmental effects. I hope it gets attention eventually.

    36. Creator RJSebastian on September 13, 2013

      Sounds good. Started to wonder that can you flee from a battle or do you have to go thru the battles?

    37. Creator Acid on September 13, 2013

      Liking the music, its got that fallout 1/2 sound. Good stuff.

      Nice to see there improving the animations.

    38. Creator Turk on September 13, 2013

      @motik you have never worked on a development project have you? COD 4 had 100 MILLION dollars are is still a regurgitated FPS with more updated textures. Money is not everything, Are you willing to wait for the devs to move the timeline back 1 year just so you can see your character crouch ?

    39. Creator Мирзиёд Мирусманов on September 13, 2013

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and explanations with us, it's covered all those questions that popped out in my mind while watching the last video. Anyway, you guys have my full confidence as professionals:).

      And about new Mark Morgan's piece: oh, ambient, acoustic guitar, beats - it's just awesome!

    40. Creator Gubb Jonas Jonsson Lundblad on September 13, 2013

      @JackDandy 1AP Diagonally wouldn't work I'm afraid. Imagine walking 2 squares north and 2 east. That would equal 2 diagonal moves to the north-east. So everyone would use diagonal movement at all times :)

    41. Creator JackDandy on September 13, 2013

      Great update. Glad to read about these subjects, I was really wondering about them as well.

      Although, having 1.5 AP for diagonal movement just sounds kind of strange. Wouldn't it work better like in the boardgame Descent, where every step is just 1 AP, diagonal or not?
      But, if you say it makes sense gameplay-wise in the game, I can take it.
      Glad to hear you're aware of the demo\animation issues too.

      Anyway- PLEASE do an update on overworld movement soon! I really wonder about that.

      (And as always, the music's awesome)

    42. Creator Gubb Jonas Jonsson Lundblad on September 13, 2013

      @Cefu : Good feedback, and I agree. Maybe move cost could even be calculated using Pythagoras, at all times?
      @Motik: What excuses? Those were perfectly good arguments for not jumping head-first into what may not seem like a big decision, but could create visual problems and add quite a lot of time to development.

    43. Creator Motik on September 13, 2013

      Almost 3mil dollars ( three times the original budget ), no stances and a lot of excuses. I wonder what the money is used for.

    44. Creator Court on September 13, 2013

      The music continues to be pitch perfect! ;) It so evocative to me, while also making me slightly wistful for Fallout.

    45. Creator Cefu on September 13, 2013

      +1 for using SQRT(2) instead of 1.5. You guys obviously did the math back in Wasteland 1 to come up with the 14' distance of enemies standing diagonal from you.

      Even better would be just make the AP cost based on the actual center to center distance of the start/end squares. I understand needing a nice, pre-determined place to land (the squares) but why should movement costs be based literally on moving iteratively from one to the next? I know calculating real distances is slightly more expensive than adding (e.g. 1+1+1.5+1+1) but it's not like the engine is doing it over and over for thousands of objects so the difference is NOT significant.

      Another way to look at is for X number of AP diagonal=1.5 gives you a "star shaped" reach, diagonal=SQRT(2) gives you a mostly circular reach and real square to square distance calculations give you a reach as close to perfectly circular as possible. Computers are good at math, shoot for perfect.

    46. Creator Chet on September 12, 2013

      I really like the idea of stances, if you're prior military like myself, you certainly realize the difference a proper stance can make in staying alive and with hitting your mark.

      If more time is needed to make it right, then more time is needed.

      I can wait.

    47. Creator Jim on September 12, 2013

      I posted a question on the dev video on YouTube from the last update, but I guess those posts aren't monitored so I'll post it here too. It was mentioned in the dev video about the situation where you were attacked by the kid in the first Wasteland game after killing his (rabid) dog. This got me wondering if there will be children in Wasteland 2, and if so, will they be killable? I don't intend to go around killing kids in the game, I didn't kill that kid in the first game, I just evaded him until I got far enough that I could leave. Recent games like Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas and Skyrim have kids in them, but they're magically invincible. Fallout 1 and 2 had the kids removed in certain regions because they could be killed.

      Even though the game is crowd funded, it will still be distributed by various digital distributors, so I assume it still has to be reviewed, rated and classified in various regions. I would hope that this won't mean that children are removed from Wasteland 2. It would be nice to have situations like in the first Wasteland where you may have to make the decision to kill a kid.

    48. Creator The Echo Inside on September 12, 2013

      @meganothing dread hamster of torment

      I understand the math of it, but in application it seems like it would be awkward... But, maybe I don't understand how they're implementing the grid/speed attribute then. I assumed cost was related in AP (with the speed attribute effects being a constant between straight/diagonal) and that it was basically a chess board.

      In which case, an example would be:
      Straight: 1 AP = 2 Blocks movement
      Diagonal: 1.5 AP = 2 Blocks movement

      If you have 4 AP then:
      (AP divided by ratio/cost times distance)

      Straight: (4/1 x 2), 8 blocks of movement.
      Diagonal: (4/1.5 x 2), 5 (rounded down) blocks.

      Which would create sort of a star pattern (as the radius would differ), rather than a circle. But, maybe I'm missing an element of the application. (If it does end up being a circle, then, that's fine, but that's not how I interpreted the description)

    49. Creator Erik Harris on September 12, 2013

      I know this is a really picky math point, but with a square-based grid, shouldn't diagonals cost sqrt(2) as many action points? Since that's about 1.4, the 1.5 multiplier results in a small penalty for going diagonally. With this penalty removed, the result is a movement system that's arguably MORE flexible than a hex grid, because instead of getting 6 directions to move, you get 8 directions, with AP costs equivalent to proper euclidean distance.

      I know in Fallout 2 (which I'm replaying right now thanks to Killap's recent release of the Restoration Project v2.2), the hex grid results in moves in certain directions costing a lot more per unit distance than others. A square grid with properly weighted AP factors reduces this problem.