Salutations, Delvers, and welcome to the newest update!
Thank you all again for your support, encouragement, and patience as we continue to make progress on the game. It is a huge morale boost to us when we hear from each of you, and we really enjoy discussing the game’s mechanics and hearing your thoughts. We appreciate each and every virtual high-five, and continue to look forward to your feedback.
For this update, we decided to focus on enemies since they had not been featured in quite a while. Our character designer has been working to create several new designs and refining some previous artwork. And with the addition of the new universal improvements to the bipedal character skeleton, we’re excited to create a few more humanoid characters for the player to combat — especially those that wield weapons and offer a greater tactical challenge. We’ve also been refining the enemy groupings in various levels and habitats in order to provide a unique and challenging balance of tactics in each zone. Below is a selection of some of our most recent artwork.
(Above) Mire Wolf and Rupture Boar
In the world of the Delvers, most creatures have descended from several ancient races of celestial beasts. The family trees of the major species have intertwined over time, creating cross-breeds, and resulting in smaller and less powerful creatures — though they are still quite a threat to humans. The oldest living ancestors of the beasts are enormous, and often feature unique (and powerfully magical) characteristics.
Most enemy beasts that the Delvers will encounter in the dungeons of the Drop are mixed-breed mongrels that have been affected by the Spoil Swamps. These seeping bogs alter the beasts born in or near them, causing mutations and introducing features of Murk and Spoil-born beasts into their physiology. This Spoil influence is evidenced by reptilian, amphibious, or aquatic features in otherwise mammalian or avian creatures — such as scales, fins, spines, webbed toes or wings, and poisonous blood or breath. The more chimeric the beast, the more likely its bloodline has been tainted by the influence of the Spoil. Others like the races of boars still carry some of their elemental heritage, and in the case shown above, can unleash thunderous explosive energy.
(Above, top left to bottom right) Gobeling, Gobel Brute, Gobel Harrier, Spoil-Sorcerer, and Gobogre
The Gobels represent one of the greatest threats to the world of the Drop, and to the player. They are not exactly intelligent or cunning, but they have an unnerving determination that results from an inability to experience pain or fear. These creatures grow from the remains of humanoid lifeforms in the spoil, multiply incessantly as they are spawned from the bogs, and then grow unchecked as they continue to eat. They have no survival instinct, and when threatened or opposed (or when they are simply hungry), they will attack the unwary in swarms of hodgepodge bodies. They tend to begin life as small round blobs with only eyes and a mouth, and then grow legs, a sensory protrusion that looks like a nose, and other appendages from there.
The larger they grow and the more human or animal flesh they consume, the more they begin to assimilate the properties of other beasts. They do not gain the ability to deduct or learn, but they may begin to exhibit traits through absorbed instinct. Smaller Gobels with arms will begin to use shields, and larger gobels will don armor and wield weapons. Their use of these implements is clumsy, and they will never duel the player like another human, but these traits are unsettling at best, and cause the Gobels to represent an even greater threat. Their connection to the Spoil also allows them to tap into its elemental magic naturally, so a Spoil-Sorcerer Gobel can be quite a threat.
More Coming Soon
(Enemies above are not final, and may be changed)
We’re planning to work on even more enemies this month, so we’ll be in touch again soon with even more images!
On the technical side of our art efforts, we are attempting to finalize the updates to the characters’ animation skeleton using our animation software, Spine by Esoteric (esotericsoftware.com). This will not only help us to continue animating the remaining characters efficiently, but will also allow us to add further animations to all characters simultaneously. As mentioned above, we also look forward to using a (slightly modified) version of this improved skeleton rig to animate humanoid and bipedal enemies, such as all of the Gobels above. Only the smallest Gobel uses his own simpler, unique skeleton; the rest will be driven by the same framework that will animate the player characters, but with more interesting animations to give them a different posture and style of movement.
On the programming front, our main efforts are still centered around dashing, and differentiating quick evasive dashes from sustained, straight running charges. We’re continuing to work on functions relating to combat, and have been cleaning out some older aspects of the codebase in order to continue implementing new features efficiently. We are also working on an updated (and unified) state list for the player and enemies, which will allow for more unique states when one receives damage.
Previously, any amount of damage was likely to result in knocking the character back and causing them to remain stunned for short period, which was always a fixed amount of time. This led to some frustration during gameplay, since it made the game feel more “old-school,” like the knockback in NES games like Castlevania. Due to our physics system, this knockback still felt somewhat natural, but it could be frustrating when a very small amount of damage resulted in a significant amount of “input loss” and interrupted play just as much as a heavier hit. Therefore we’ve been working toward having more gradations between fully stunned / knocked down and simply clipped by minor damage. We’re taking a page or two from games that handle it well, such as various fighting games and the Dark Souls series. If you have thoughts about our previous implementation in the demo on Humble, please let us know! (Or if you haven’t played the demo, send us an email at email@example.com and we’ll get your key to you!)
As always, we look forward to your feedback on the art, game design, play, and story. Please keep in touch and drop some thoughts in the comments! Thank you for reading!