We have recently received many questions as well as negative feedbacks which made an emphasis on the fact that it’s been long time we do not post any updates and news on game development. This is actually true, the silence remained for a quite long period. However, we would like to say that there is nothing to be preoccupied with for the development is underway, and such update pauses mean nothing but total team absorption in the process of development. In our staff we do not have any PR/community manager, but working on updates as well as communicating with players do take a lot of time. Therefore, right from the beginning, we have been trying to provide you with new information only when we have something important to share. It’s not like writing several messages on Twitter, but rather gathering huge blocks of information altogether and presenting it all to you. We hope that you find will this update interesting and it will manage to dispel all the doubts which some of backers have.
On one hand, we wanted to preserve the same principle of rare updates posting, but including detailed information on all development news. On the other hand, we feel that there is a certain lack of communication between community and the team, and therefore, we are ready to do our best to fix it. Quite long time ago, we got our own small subreddit (thank you guys for creating it!) and we thought that it could become a perfect communication platform to keep in touch with our community. Thus, if you have some questions which have not been answered in our updates or it seems that the silence has dragged on again, you can get to us there. Apart from it, our Twitch-channel has been active for all this time. There you can observe graphics development process and pose different questions to our designers & artists.
Okay, let’s get to the principal part of this article. Let’s see what has been done during these several months. The progress is really significant for we have finally got a fully-functioning prototype in which the major part of key features and technologies have been implemented that are necessary for further project development.
Level generator. Currently, we have completed a great part of work on level generator, allowing to gather new unique levels from randomly-selected macro-tiles. (To get detailed information on macro-tiles, please follow the link). We are extremely glad the way it functions as well as the opportunities and freedom it brings to level designer. Now, it’s time to extend the macro-tiles pull. And this is the task we are going to be focused on the following several months. Local level map. Having completed the level generator, it allowed us to incorporate right away the reflection of local level map in the game. It might seem like an elementary component, however, taking into consideration the scale of generated levels, the appearance of such a dynamically-generated map significantly simplifies the orientation.
(Local level map example. Please, consider that it is a draft version of the graphics.)
Besides, level generator completion allowed us to make a significant contribution to the development of enemies generation and allocation mechanism as well as loot system.
Quests. Perhaps, it is the most important part in the whole list. During these last months, we managed to incorporate a quest system in the game, and, currently, we are actively testing it, gradually adding new tasks which Herald might face on his way as well as fraction system.
Certainly, there are still lots of things to be done to develop the system, however the current progress gives hope and foresees great results.
Support for gamepads has been integrated. Don’t ask why we did not do it earlier - we do not know it either. We conducted various tests in this direction, but the full-fledged work unfolded relatively not long time ago. However, we should point out that it was worth waiting - UnDungeon feels way much better with gamepad, even though keyboard usage does have its own pluses as well. We are trying to make these 2 types of controllers equally usable. A new class of neutral creatures and animals which inhabit the game world has been added.
As it’s been pointed out in the previous update, we are still working to optimize the combat system. ( full screen sample ) It does not make much sense to describe all changes made, nevertheless, we would like to emphasize 2 important details. First of all, the accent has been shifted onto melee and close range-abilities, which, in their turn, changes the balance, makes the character more actively apply its mobility abilities. Secondly, we made some alterations in AI and enhanced a major part of enemies with new skills, which allow them to better attack and defend, considering a new force layout. Thus, for example, Hazmats, well-known to you for we demonstrated them in previous materials earlier, now are able to run and jump, avoiding attacks and projectiles.
In general, the game is becoming less arcade and more demanding to player’s skills (but it still does not mean that we are creating a ultra-hardcode game!). The development process is going on... And, of course, we are filling the game with the content - new abilities, items, enemies, quests, events, and so on and so forth...
The project is developing and gradually evolving towards the direction which has been initially determined. Unfortunately, this process is not going as fast as it’s been planned. UnDungeon - is our passion project which grew out of the dream to develop a good and original game. At the initial development stage, the majority of us were not experienced enough and, therefore, made a great number of mistakes as well as inappropriate decisions, but, we always tried to fix them, thus, step by step, gaining valuable experience. Now, we are way much better at planning and implementing our ideas, but still, we are not perfect. Like many other indie teams, once we got trapped by overestimating our own capabilities and underestimating the amount of work to be done. What does it mean? Basically, we have 2 event course options: either cut a major part of what has been planned and already done from the game in order to reduce the time necessary for development or carry on working to finalize the plan, but slightly postponing the release. We love UnDungeon and that is why we want to deliver the game the way it was conceived. Therefore, we choose the second option. As regards a new release date, you will be notified very soon. We would like to assure you that there is nothing to be worried about: we are not going to be stuck in the development for years.
However, we have good news for you. At the beginning of the next year, we are planning on releasing a demo-version for our backers. It will be limited in its content and quite raw, but it will represent the significant part of game mechanics and core gameplay. We hope that the things which you see will appeal to you and we’ll will be looking forward to your feedbacks. Also there is a plan to regularly deliver a new builds for backers. We do not want to drag on the demo-release, as the earlier it is available, the more time we’ll have to gather your feedbacks as well as fix all the issues and bugs. Apart from it, we are discussing the possibility of releasing a public demo-version several months later the demo for backers. As regards survey and physical rewards. As it is usually done for Kickstarter projects, survey and sending-out rewards will occur closer to the date release. It is all for today! Soon, we are planning another update with important news on development progress. Stay tuned!
Ri Ra, Laughing Machines gamedesigner