Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 17, 2012.

Update #37

Revealing the Map

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Hello Rangers,

I’m Montgomery Markland, a producer on Wasteland 2. We’ve got three major items today. World Map, Early Beta and Rewards.

The World Map

Like Fallout or Arcanum, the basic experience on the world map is one of exploration and discovery. 

Your travel on the world map is limited by both physical geography and clouds of deadly radiation. Within those constraints, you can travel anywhere in the region depicted on the map. You have two alternative means of exploration while in this game mode.

[Running out of water and trapped by Raiders]
[Running out of water and trapped by Raiders]

Primary exploration occurs in a 3D map that shows your immediate surrounding environment with representative scale and geographic features of the region. Significant locations, settlements and sites reveal themselves as you scout around. The 3D exploration is in the same style and pattern as Mount & Blade and Neverwinter Nights 2: Storm of Zehir.

[As you discover radiation zones they are marked on your map]
[As you discover radiation zones they are marked on your map]

While in the 3D world map, you can press “M” to bring up a 2D map displaying the entire region. This 2D regional map automatically updates with locations you have either explored yourself, or have been informed of by another Wastelander. The regional map has been handed down from ranger to ranger over the previous century, each adding their own details to what was originally an old-fashioned roadmap from the 1990s.

As you discover radiation zones they are marked on your map In Arizona, locations generally match their canonical layout from Wasteland 1. The map is filled with key locations you will discover through regular playthroughs; but significant sections of the map are side exploration opportunities. There is plenty of space to wander around, discover hidden resources based on your character’s build, fight random encounters and discover minor sites that may be explored in normal game mode.

Exploration

As you explore the region, you’ll discover three primary things on the world map: settlements, sites and resources. Settlements are major locations, such as Ranger Citadel and the Ag Center. Sites are minor locations such as an abandoned mine or a highway roadblock. Resources include oases where you can refill your canteen and hidden caches where previous Wastelanders have stored ammunition, weapons or other goods.

Exploration is the primary activity; but survival will demand some attention as well.

Survival

The Wasteland is a dangerous place, and there are several threats that can end your Ranger career prematurely.

Dying of Dehydration

In Wasteland 2, water management is challenging and important. Your water supply is based upon the number of rangers in your squad and the number of canteens among them. Depending on the type of terrain you are traversing, your water supply is consumed at varying rates. Desert terrain requires the most water, while grassland and highland are more forgiving.

If you run out of water on the world map, you do not immediately die, but over time your rangers will begin to take damage from dehydration. You will eventually die if you do not find a new source of water. Your Outdoorsman skill adjusts the overall water consumption rate as well as the length of time your squad can last without water before suffering from dehydration.

You will find water at hidden oases throughout the region. Oases are discovered as you travel the 3D map; you will discover them from greater distances with a higher Outdoorsman skill. Like settlements and sites, oases will reveal themselves in the 3D world map as they are scouted.

Other water sources are also available throughout the game, inside of major locations, such as Ranger Citadel and Highpool. These in-level water sources are automatically accessible if the level is a friendly location. Water sources in neutral or hostile locations generally require a mission or task to unlock. Once such a water source is available, it is always free. 

Dying of Radiation Poisoning

You'll want to pay attention to your Geiger counter. Clouds of deadly radiation, remnants from the war, drift throughout the American Southwest. Your Geiger counter measures the radiation level in your immediate surroundings in Sieverts (Sv).

You will encounter varying levels of radiation. The lowest rad levels do not damage you, but rather warn you that higher levels are likely near. Damaging levels of radiation poisoning begin at 500 mSv and can reach exposure levels that are instantaneously deadly. Except in these extremely high doses, radiation will not immediately kill but it definitely packs a bigger punch than dehydration. Saving is recommended when exploring the unknown, far reaches of the region.

Equipping your squad members with rad suits will allow them to survive certain levels of radiation. You can also upgrade your rad suit later in the game to a higher quality version to survive higher doses; but remember that there are pockets of radiation in The Wasteland that are at such high levels that no one can survive, regardless of a rad suit. Proceed carefully.

Dying of Murder

 You’re not the only survivors in The Wasteland.

Our random encounter system will throw a wide variety of dangerous animals, mutants, raiders and robots at you. Encounter chances are based on an overall percentage depending on terrain type and the general level of danger in the zone you are travelling.

Certain parts of The Wasteland are populated by particularly dangerous enemies. You are more likely to trigger high-level encounters while travelling in those areas. We do not conduct any form of level scaling in this regard; so if you wander off the beaten path you better be ready for a tough fight.

When a random encounter begins, you will have the option to either attack or attempt to run away. Your chance to successfully flee the fight depends on your Speed, Luck and Outdoorsman skill.

Random encounters draw from a wide pool of scenarios. Animals, mutants, raiders and robots will attack from a variety of positions and depending on your skills and abilities your squad may possess the high ground, if any, or your opponents may begin in an advantageous position.

Random encounter zones will match the terrain type you are travelling through and each terrain type has several different encounter layouts. Encounters generally consist of between one to six enemies, though that does not necessarily inform you of the difficulty; one Slicer Dicer will tear through your ranger squad well after you get to the point where six Supaflies are merely an inconvenience.

Skill and Abilities

Your rangers possess a variety skills to help you brave these many dangers. Outdoorsman is the most important for the world map, affecting water consumption, dehydration survival distance, scouting range for new settlements and sites, starting position for random encounters, your chance to run away from said danger, and more. Outdoorsman is the key skill for travel, but you will find uses for it in various other areas of the game as well.

Luck is likely the second most important ability or skill while travelling on the world map. Luck impacts what kind of hidden caches you discover in The Wasteland and how much loot they contain, as well as your likelihood of escape if you try to run away from a random encounter. There are also certain resources and events on the world map that you will only be able to discover if you are extremely Lucky.

Finally, Speed has obvious impact in relation to random encounters, as mentioned above, and several of your other abilities and skills will reveal hidden caches, high value items, unique encounters and undiscovered oases with greatly increased water supplies.

Difficulty

As with all of the challenges facing a ranger on the wastes, we modulate difficulty according to your settings. We provide a specific Travel Difficulty slider, which controls the overall challenge of the world map as well as the level of hinting and signposting present in the HUD and on the map. In easy mode, navigating The Wasteland is simple and does not require much thought. In hard mode, a simple factor like water management can be brutal and challenging. Medium strikes a balance; challenging but with enough freedom to wander and explore.

Early Beta

You’re all no doubt anxious to get your hands on the Early Beta and we’re anxious to get it to you! We’re now in the stage where we have distributed standalone copies of the Early Beta to a small group of external individuals as a test run. This is the final stage where we ensure it is up to our standards and runs on a variety of machines, and we’ll then be ready to get it to you.

Early Beta will only be distributed through Steam, as called out in the original Kickstarter reward tiers. The final release will – of course – be available through a wide variety of channels; but running the Early Beta through Steam is the optimal option. Any other solution would require a non-trivial investment of resources into Early Beta distribution; we feel those resources are better spent on the general quality, stability and scope of the game.

Rewards

We’re seeing steady progress on the various rewards you’re due. We’ve got specific information on Wasteland 1 and T-Shirts today. We’ll have more detailed information on other rewards, such as the coins, medals, patches and miniatures very soon.

[The original Wasteland 1]
[The original Wasteland 1]

Wasteland 1

We noted back in Update 33 that Wasteland 1 would be getting a standalone release.

Where is it!

First, we’re ensuring it runs on modern machines, higher resolutions, faster processors, and all that jazz. We’re also giving it some polish for rerelease including a Mark Morgan music track, integration of the original paragraph texts into the game, and optional paragraph voice over & uprezzed portraits (both of which may be toggled on and off). We've spent a very limited amount of time on the WL1 portrait uprezzes and if possible we'd like to open up the ability to customize the WL1 portraits to the community themselves. We’ve also added support for multiple save games – now you don’t have to wipe the game clean to start over.

Wasteland 1 will be made available for free to all backers (including late backers as well as people getting it through the rewards associated with backing Torment: Tides of Numenera or Project Eternity), and sold as a separate title on GOG and Steam.

[The optional settings menu]
[The optional settings menu]
[Uprez comparison shot]
[Uprez comparison shot]
[Wasteland 1 paragraph text integration]
[Wasteland 1 paragraph text integration]
          

T-shirts

Responses to the t-shirt survey have been processed and shirts will be shipping out very soon. We’re also switching to a new system for any t-shirt stragglers; you’ll receive a code on Ranger Center which you can redeem at the J!nx website.

Thanks for reading. Thanks for backing. And thank you for your impending feedback and bug reports during the Early Beta.

Montgomery Markland
Producer


Update #36

Honing Our Skills

102 comments
15 likes

Hello fellow Rangers!

Chris Keenan here to talk about the most recent progress on Wasteland 2 and what to expect in the upcoming months.

We last spoke about skills in Update #20 in December of last year. Since then, our team has made incredible progress on all fronts. I can say, without a doubt, that we’ve been more efficient as a team than on any project I’ve ever worked on. Much of this has to do with a clarity of vision and getting feedback early and often to make sure we’re focusing on the most important things.

Now is a good time to talk about the core character systems (attributes and skills) since in the very near future, you will be playing with them during the early beta. Some functionality of the attributes and skills have changed during the iterative process and will continue to do so as we get more feedback from you, once the playable is in your hands.

Attributes

Attributes are the starting values that define your character. You allocate them at character creation and while they can be upgraded during the course of the game, opportunities to do so are sparse. Attributes are key in determining the core characteristics of your ranger. They affect things like how many action points you have, how much movement each action point allows, how many survival points you gain per level, your carry weight, and many other variables. We’ve always said choices and trade-offs are a main design focus and character creation certainly supports this. Attributes have a cap of 10 and you will start with a smaller attribute pool than you may be used to. Each attribute point has a dramatic effect on your ranger, which leads to some very different feeling rangers based on how you distribute them.

If a specific attribute is very low, that may cap the related skill or could mean the character is incapable of using some items with attribute requirements. Of course, we will be balancing attributes and skills throughout beta, so some of these might be modified further. Outside of the core uses, NPCs in the world will react to specific characters based on their attribute make-up.

The attributes are (with some but not all uses listed):

  • Coordination (CO): General coordination and ability to operate firearms. Determines action points (AP) and increases your critical hit chance at range.
  • Luck (LK): Luck of the roll. Improves crits with weapons, gives you a chance to get an additional AP during your turn and affects many other interactions throughout the wasteland.
  • Awareness (AW): Ability to notice events happening around you. Increases initiative in combat (turn order), increases evasion rate.
  • Strength (ST): Pure physical strength. Increases your maximum constitution earned per level, increases close combat damage, increases carry weight.
  • Speed (SP): Physical speed and movement rate. Increases movement per AP in combat, reduces length of skill usage progress meters.
  • Intelligence (IQ): Knowledge, wisdom and general problem-solving. Increases skill points gained per level.
  • Charisma (CHR): Charm, personality and swagger. How NPCs perceive your likeability or persuasiveness. 

Also making a return from Wasteland 1, but still not exactly an attribute, is maximum constitution (MAXCON), or the maximum number of hit points. MAXCON is derived from strength and upgradeable when you level-up.

Skills

After selecting attributes, you will be able to place Survival Points (SPs) into your many skill options. Skills start off at a zero value, meaning they are unusable. After unlocking a skill with SPs, you can place additional SPs into the skill to increase its level and functionality. Skills have a maximum cap of 10 similar to attributes. Skills are upgraded in tiers, with a total of 10 skill levels. Roughly speaking, skill levels 1-3 mean novice, 4-6 mean competent, 7-9 mean proficient and 10 means expert. Each skill level allows you to take on more significant challenges, increasing your chance of success and level of rewards as you use the skill. Skills can also be increased from use. Some skills provide additional bonuses as you reach the various levels of competency.

Combat Skills
Increasing skills here will increase your chance to hit with that specific class of weapons. In addition, mastery of those weapons increases with your skill level, allowing you to manipulate and clear it quicker when jams happen.

  • Blunt Weapons: Generally have higher damage but a tighter damage range.
  • Bladed Weapons: Have lower damage but a greater range and higher crit max.
  • Anti-Tank-Weapons: Generally do massive explosive damage but ammo is rare and blast radius makes them hard to use in certain combat situations. Can also be used to get through some pesky doors.
  • Submachine Guns: Have a lower range and lower critical chance, for a more hail-of-bullets approach. Ammo tends to be cheaper and more plentiful than for the higher caliber automatics.
  • Shotguns: Have shorter range but great stopping power.
  • Energy Weapons: Usefulness varies based on your opponent, as energy weapons are less effective against flesh. If your opponent is heavily decked out in metal armor the weapon heats up his gear. The higher the armor of your target, the more damage it will deal. Think pressure cooker. It’s nasty.
  • Assault Rifles: Are very versatile and powerful weapons, but ammo is harder to find. Assault rifles use higher caliber rounds with more penetration value than smaller arms.
  • Sniper Rifle: Ideal in open fields due to their long range and heavy damage, but not necessarily stellar in cramped corridors. Ammo is very expensive. Make your shots count as the AP cost is very high.
  • Handguns: Includes pistols and revolvers. Like SMGs, ammo is common enough to make this the go-to weapon for many rangers, but they are single shot only, trading that for a higher crit value.

Information / Knowledge Skills
Your chance of success with non-combat skills depends on the difference between the challenge and your skill level. For an expert at lock picking facing a door with a very simple lock, there is almost no chance to fail. A novice surgeon may find it very hard to remove the effects of a dangerous strain of toxin or a serious injury that renders your ranger in mortal condition. If the skill difference is too significant, especially for untrained rangers, it may simply not be possible to accomplish the task.

  • Picklock: Chance of success and speed at picking conventional locks.
  • Safecrack: Chance of success and speed at picking safe locks, including on vault doors.
  • Alarm Disarm: Ability to disarm alarms, but also to fix faulty wiring on security doors and open them directly.
  • Toaster Repair: Fix broken toasters and who doesn’t need that?
  • Computer Tech: Skill at hacking computers, which gives access to a variety of possibilities. You can gain information you couldn’t otherwise, or remotely activate a security system or camera. Some computers may give you the ability to activate or reprogram security doors.
  • Synth Tech: With synth tech you can repair and reprogram synthetics and other robots, turning them to your side in combat.
  • Demolitions: The ability to use demolitions in and out of combat. Out of combat, its most common use is to break down doors or clear barriers that do not give way to picklock or brute force, but this unsubtle means of entry is sure to be noticed. In combat, lots of destruction.
  • Brute Force: Determines your skill at applying your raw strength to break some things. Lacks the subtlety of picklock and the raw force of demolitions.
  • Move Silently: The ability to sneak around unnoticed.
  • Salvaging: How effective you are at finding usable items in what would normally be considered piles of junk. A ranger who is good at salvaging can find many useful items that might be skipped over by a normal person.
  • Kiss Ass: Dialogue skill involving flattery, seduction, and well… ass kissing.
  • Hard Ass: Dialogue skill involving intimidation and aggressive speech.
  • Smart Ass: Dialogue skill involving persuasion. ***The “Ass Trio” names are placeholders but somehow they’ve taken hold around the office.***

General Skills
General skills have a variety of uses. Some involve breaking down materials that you find in the Wasteland, while others provide much needed medical care. These tend to be support skills and help you manage and solve problems.

  • Barter: Ability to negotiate for better purchase prices and higher sales prices for your goods.
  • Outdoorsman: Primarily used on the world map to determine your ability to conserve water as you travel, as well as expand your options for when you spot random encounters.
  • Leadership: The ability to lead a team, best used by a single PC who gives a buff in combat to PCs and friendly NPCs around him. Multiple leaders around the same skill level can cause a negative reaction. Also determines how much companion NPCs will listen to you vs. doing their own thing.
  • Cliff Clavin Backer Skill: The skill exclusive to the early backers of this project, it adds flavor text to the game world.
  • Animal Whisperer: The ability to influence animals into staying passive, running away or following you.
  • Field Medic: This skill lets you quickly patch up guys during combat, recovering some CON by using medical equipment.
  • Surgeon: Allows you to provide help to rangers who have major status effects or have gone unconscious or worse. Can be used in combat but due to the amount of time it takes, will force you to protect your surgeon from being overly exposed.
  • Weaponsmithing: The ability to craft and mod weaponry to increase its performance.
  • Field Stripping: The ability to strip weaponry you find into parts to use for improving your own weapons.
  • Perception: Can be used actively to notice enemies through thin walls, uncovering them for a short period of time. The skill also shows you the perception cone of enemies to help you sneak or get to a better starting position prior to combat. As a passive, it helps to identify things that might be out of the ordinary, including finding booby traps.
  • ?????? - A few other skills that can be unlocked throughout the game.

What may stand out to you is the variation in the perceived level of usefulness of skills; animal whisperer is unlikely to be used as much as handguns. We purposefully designed skills that would not be used universally. Each skill has a variety of uses throughout the game and various levels of rewards. Lockpick might more often used, but you never know when something like Alarm Disarm will give you a huge advantage (or reward) that would be otherwise unobtainable. This level of granularity is an advantage of party-based systems and we fully intend to exploit it. We want you to build a varied, multi-skilled group of rangers who play off each other’s strength to become a kick-ass team.

New Screenshots

Here’s a few more screenshots we wanted to share with you. As you can see, there is a wide variety of diversity amongst the environments you will travel through, both in aesthetic and environment design (full size here and here).

Early Beta

It is now October and we are close to getting this game into the hands of our beta-eligible backers. We’re currently cleaning things up, fixing the largest issues and working on a first pass of balance across Arizona. Have we mentioned that this game is massive?

The short-term plan is to continue iterating and fixing bugs found by our internal QA until the game is stable and playable through the sections we are opening up for early beta. This process will take a few more weeks. Once we get there, we will have a very small group jump in to get a feel for if it’s ready to release to our patiently waiting beta backers. The plan is to distribute the beta for Windows PC, as we know we can get standalone builds to work in Windows. We have not forgotten about our Mac and Linux backers and will soon do some tests to try to get a standalone executable for those versions as well. Many months back we tried a Mac test in Unity and it built great with about 30 minutes of clean up. If history repeats itself, those versions will be available as well for the early beta (what’s the worst that can happen, right?).

To prep for early playable, let’s talk a little bit about what we hope to give and get from you. The game will be in an early beta. Much of the systems and content will be in and working but it will be crude in some areas. Some systems won’t be fully polished, there will be weird bugs, and balance will be far from final. We will be fixing these things throughout the beta – we promise the game won’t be released before the game plays beautifully. It’s been difficult for me to get used to personally, but we’ve fully embraced getting screenshots and demo videos out before we feel they are truly ready and polished. I’m much more at peace with it now as this has helped us get great feedback early, and give us time to pivot when necessary. This early beta is no exception.

There are two major goals for us here; bug-hunting and gathering feedback on everything from mechanics to mission design to level design. We’ve enlisted the help of the great people at CenterCode to facilitate this process and make sure that we get the best feedback possible, and are able to effectively cull the large amount of information into an actionable format. It won’t be mandatory for you to opt-in for generating feedback, but we hope that you will participate as it will only improve the final product. More info on that will come as we get closer to the early beta launch.

For us, the most important thing you can do is provide us feedback. What elements do you like? What things need more work or, in your opinion, just aren’t fitting properly? We want to know what you think of our game, the writing, the flow, the mechanics…everything. We will be updating the game on a consistent basis (approximately every 2-3 weeks) and continuing to improve Wasteland 2 throughout this process.

Initially, we will be releasing the first 4 large areas and all associated COPS maps. COPS maps are smaller scenes that can be accessed through the world map and tie into the main areas. We won’t be putting the full game into beta to prevent spoilers that would become widely known before Wasteland 2 is finished. We’ll implement game-wide changes stemming from your feedback from the first areas, and continue our extensive internal bug-testing during this period.

Ranger Center

We surveyed all our backers for their addresses soon after the Kickstarter, but a lot of you have moved or are moving since that day. We also received messages through Kickstarter about address changes. Please be aware we do not change our address listings through Kickstarter messages. All backers, whether through the late backer store or Kickstarter, have an account on our Ranger Center pledge management system. You can keep your address updated there, and the address listing on your account at the time of shipping is where we’ll ship to. We’ll send more reminders about this, but please make sure to check your address and make sure it’s up to date as we get closer and closer to release.

If you’ve gotten this far in the update, thanks for giving us your time! We will provide more info on when the early beta will be ready in the near future. The team is excited to get the game in your hands and show off what we’ve been working on!

Chris Keenan
Project Lead 


Update #35

We’re Still Listening

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1 like

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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Update #34

Visiting the Prison

Hello backers,

Chris Keenan here for another update. We promised you a new video, and here it is, a twenty minute video walking through the Prison area:

We know there are a few hitches in the video, unfortunately we weren't going to be able to get rid of them without delaying the video, so we prioritized getting this video to you.

The Prison is the 4th or 5th area in the game depending on how you approach it. Wasteland 2 is an open game so potentially, you could travel straight to it if you want a real challenge... but it probably won’t go so well. This area was not built purely for demoing purposes and it is a straight video capture. While the level will be further polished and improved (we’re missing a bunch of sounds among other things), it gives you a sense of the final game flow. The level was the winner of an internal competition process (as mentioned last update). This is only a tiny fraction of the game which is very hard to show in a 20 minute update. It represents about 1/3rd of the prison map and isn’t even one of the larger levels, so you can imagine it can be tricky for us to share enough without too many spoilers or overwhelming you.

Another particular focus of the video is showing the game’s progression, which highlights the back-and-forth communication with you, our backers. From the renaming of the characteristics into the CLASSIC acronym to our multiple iterations on the UI based on very direct but very useful feedback from our fans (and it is still customizable to your tastes, for example you can configure the text window depending on how much you want it to show). It’s safe to say that even apart the crowdfunding that started all this, the game would not be in the state it’s in without your input!

But internal and external feedback aside, it is absolutely key to us to stay true to the game as described in the Vision Document we released early in this game’s development cycle. This video is only a short look at one area, but if you watch it with the Vision Document side-by-side, I think you’ll find we’re touching on every point we promised. We hope you’re as happy with our progress as we are.

First Dev Diary Released

As part of the Kickstarter tiers $30 and up, we promised a four-part development diary, where our team talks about the game’s development. Part one is available now, with CEO Brian Fargo, president Matt Findley and myself talking about the game’s design and writing processes.

If you backed during the Kickstarter for $30 or more, you’ll be able to find the video by logging into your Ranger Center account. Go to the Rewards tab and scroll down to find the video.

And more…

There has been a steady stream of previews based on our demoing the game at GamesCom. We have been rounding these up on our tumblr. GamesCom is a very international event so previews can be found in English, German, French, Polish, Spanish and more. You can also find a few screenshots of the demo area there.

There are a couple of new interviews with Brian Fargo to read: [a]listdaily talks indie and game production with him, and Rock Paper Shotgun rounds up its coverage of inXile by digging back to our earlier, publisher-driven days.

The limited Wasteland 1 art print will start shipping to people this week, if you ordered one look for it this week or next for US and within a few weeks for international. New orders will ship as they come in.

And finally, we’d like to give a shoutout to the Video Games Live: Level 3 Kickstarter, where longtime Interplay and inXile composer Tommy Tallarico is looking to do a world touring of a video game concert event.

Until next time,
Chris Keenan
Project Lead


Update #33

You Asked For It

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Howdy Rangers,

Chris here. There’s a lot to talk about for this update: the level-off, Wasteland art print, tiers $1000 and above closing, and we have some screenshots and portrait art to share. But first, some really good news:

Wasteland 1 getting a separate release!

As you may know, we had a deal in place with EA to give all our Wasteland 2 backers (including late backers) a copy of Wasteland 1, which was to be integrated and launched from the game’s menu like the original Bard’s Tale trilogy into the new Bard’s Tale. We very happy about that, as we’ve always wanted to enable people to get back to the original, and it serves as a good refresher for the sequel.

We recently went to talk with EA to try and get it out in a different, separate format, and they accommodated our idea. We’ve now inked a new deal where we’ll be able to release Wasteland 1 separately. After getting the game in our hands and ensuring it runs on modern machines, we plan to distribute it FOR FREE to all our backers before Wasteland 2’s release, as well as sell it on GOG.com and Steam for anyone else interested in trying out this classic RPG.

The Level-Off

We’ve been asked to show the game off to a plethora of press in Cologne, Germany later this month. Brian, Matt, Thomas and myself will fly out there and demo one area of the game for around 150 members of the press in 3 days. That may sound like a lot in a short period of time, but don’t worry…German beer will keep us going.

Once we learned the show date, we figured we’d get a little friendly competition going. 2 levels were chosen to have a level-off. The teams would work for 2 weeks straight, making it as great as possible during that time. We’d then select the level that showed the best and spend the next few weeks polishing it up. The level-off winners would then not only get to see their handy work in many (hopefully great) previews of the game, but also be featured here. Our winners were Joby Bednar (level designer) and Gavin Glenn-McDowell (environment artist). To get it ready, they both worked more hours than should be humanly possible and showed a passion that is only getting stronger as we start to see all of our hard work coming together. Of course, they were supported by many other great people on the team as well.

The winning level is…The Prison. In the original Wasteland, the prison was home to the Desert Rangers and was called Ranger Center. When the Rangers conquered the citadel, they moved in. The prison was now open, which allowed the Red Scorpion Militia a chance to call it home. The RSM are not too fond of the Rangers, for reasons that you’ll learn in a few months time.

We’ll showcase this area not just to the press, but we will also create a video based on the area to showcase to our backers.

Joby is on the left caressing the mannequin in the inXile beanie while Gavin is showing off the guns that got him the job in the first place.

Wasteland Art Print

Late last year we managed to track down the original art for the Wasteland box. This box art is one of the most iconic ones in videogame history, a showdown among the ruins of a city bathed in a hellish red light. We convinced Barry E Jackson - the artist of the original - to sign a limited run of high-quality prints of the art. This piece of video game history is available for $320, the edition is very limited and will only be made available for this run of 500.

The print is 14” x 14”, which is the size of the original art, with a 1.25” border an all sides, printed on Crane Museo® Max™ 365gsm Archival Fine Art Paper using Archival Pigment Printing. Each print is signed and hand-numbered, and you can order it now right off our website.

Tiers Closing

As the game is progressing, we need to finalize the in-game backers content. As part of the process, tiers $1000 and up are now no longer available in the late backers store, and backers can no longer upgrade to tiers $1000 and up. Backers eligible for in-game content can put in some of their information in their Ranger Center account. If you were part of those tiers and provided your name, chances are pretty good someone with your name is walking around in our latest build. We do still need some more info to finalize the backer content, particularly on the shrines and statues, so expect us to contact you during this month as needed.

And more!

We’ve been getting some great press coverage of late. GameStar’s August issue has Wasteland 2 on the cover (on the regular version, not on the XL version) and has a multi-page spread detailing skills, factions and more. Our official fansite Wasteland 2 Guru has summed up much of the info from the preview.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun’s Nathan Grayson visited our studio in Newport Beach and offers some extensive coverage. First, an interview with Brian Fargo, Matthew Findley and me that focuses on reactivity. Second, a preview of the game describing combat, skills, locations and quests. And third, a write-up with quotes from Findley about Wasteland 2 acknowledging gender and discrimination.

Last but not least, time to share some more screenshots and art with you guys. First off, a set of screenshots from the Rail Nomads camp and Highpool, some of which you may have seen before if you follow us on social media (full size: Rail Nomads 1, Rail Nomads 2, Highpool).

And finally, a new piece of art to share, another portrait piece for one of the denizens of the wasteland (full size)…

Chris Keenan
Project Lead


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