GAMEPLAY DETAILS! Part 2 of 3
Welcome to our Mechanics breakdown, part #2 of 3. This one is all about...
Items and Dungeons
So get ready for a ton of info about loot, weapons, randomization, puzzles, and more!
IMPORTANT: Please remember that the game is still in development, and the features and systems listed below are (mostly) not 100% final. We may have to make changes to ensure the best experience possible. But we’ll let you know as things are adjusted, and we hope you can help us find the best solutions through early Alpha Access! ($25 tier and up)
- Primary weapon for the class type — will be reflected on the animated in-game character.
- Wearables — they player can equip things like boots, belts, and other clothing that may alter their movement or physics.
- Shield Modifiers — these alter how your shield (and shield bashing) function.
- Accessory or Relic - like rings and amulets. Typically improve the class's perks / skill tree.
- Up to 5 Sub-Items, including bombs, expendable wands, potions, etc. Some can be used indefinitely, but most are limited use.
Since we are going with a no-grind approach, a skilled player could complete the game with the lowest level items, or by only using sub-items. We might even offer achievements for doing this! But choosing a loadout is always fun, and gearing up allows you to customize, and improve your perks and abilities.
- Range — how far the weapon will reach, or the distance a shot will fire before dissipating.
- Sweep / Spread — how wide a sword slash will cover, or how large of an area a hammer strike will affect, and so on.
- Speed Stats — Includes wind-up, speed, and recharge. How long the charge up lasts before an attack; how fast a weapon slashes (or its projectile fires); and then after an attack, how quickly the character “reloads” or is prepped for the next attack.
- Knockback — how hard the weapon knocks enemies or objects backward on impact.
- Elemental / Special Properties — Some weapons may have a percentage chance of causing elemental damage, or other unique effects. Want a sword that causes explosions like it has as freakin’ stick of dynamite on the blade? We thought so.
When you start a new character, you will have no items, weapons, or equipment! A bit of flimsy shield is all you get. You’ll have to learn to survive in the dungeon with that shield and your wits... until you find a randomly dropped item or three.
These items will be discovered in treasure chests, in piles of rubble and refuse, or by killing enemies. Some will be specifically designed rare items, while others will have some randomized properties for variety. We won't have fully randomized generation to the degree of Diablo or Torchlight. But we will offer a large variety through stat variance. And the more unique items will spawn both on lower dungeon levels, and based on the higher level your character class is!
You will also randomly find Secondary Items that go in your usable item slots. These will be generated based on what you might need in the current dungeon... or they may be generated for no reason at all. But you should find a way to use them anyway!
You can hold 5 Secondary Items in your Sub-Item queue. These are almost always expendable, and will display the number of uses in the interface. One item will always be in the “active” slot, and can be activated or used by pressing the X Button. You can “rotate” the queue with the controller triggers, sliding the active item left and right to swap it for another.
You may drop a currently carried item if you don’t have an available slot and you want to pick up a new item. Or if you expend all of an item’s limited uses... poof, it’s gone. These randomly dropped, limited-use items will keep the player on their toes. You’ll have to conserve your "ammunition," constantly altering your strategy based on what’s available.
Something you’re probably wondering: What if you find a weapon that isn’t meant for your class? Good news: you can still use it, but they will usually be limited use. So a Rogue can use a Sorcerer-style wand, but since that isn’t their specialty, they can only use it a few times before breaking it. Wands are delicate like that. Or maybe rogues are clumsy. So stick with your primary weapon for most attacks, but swap out for a secondary weapon from another class when you need to!
Some items will also affect the player instantly, like a power-up. This will keep the pace fast and give a lot of unpredictable variety, while also keeping your equipment streamlined.
We want it to feel like a true dungeon dive: If you were in an ancient labyrinth, you wouldn't always find the exact tool you needed at every turn. So we want players to be inventive with what they do find. Remember that your items are (usually) limited in use, and since death is semi-permanent... you only have one shot with the items you've got. So sometimes it's worth it to use up an item to get out of a tight spot.
We're designing the game so that there won't always be a single tool for a single problem, and some items have unexpected results. Players will have to use items in spontaneous and inventive ways, or leave behind a favorite item because it won't work in the current situation. So in other words: be cautious, but be inventive and take a few risks!
And if you have to throw that rare Rune Tome across the room to kill a minor baddy... well, that’s probably better that than dying.
We're also developing some more mysterious item functions, meaning you won't always know exactly what an item does until you use it for the first time. Some items may have unintended side effects or passive properties when in your inventory. You’ll have to discover these properties as you go! Think of it like unidentified items in a Roguelike - sometimes you have to try the item out and see what happens.
We will be creating a large number of hand-crafted rooms ranging from horde-combat arenas to mind-melting puzzle areas. These rooms will contain internal random generation, including random placement of crates (and their contents), a random number and type of enemies, as well as placement of other obstacles or traps.
But the primary randomization will occur when a dungeon level is generated, by combining a set of rooms from our existing pool of designs, and using algorithms to structure them into a continuous dungeon with meta-puzzles and interesting navigation. So for example, keys will be generated in some rooms that unlock doors elsewhere in the dungeon — and this process of key / locked door generation is dynamically generated when a dungeon is created by the game. The layout of the floor, the rooms in the floor, and how you find your way through the floor will be different every time you die and replay it.
We are also adding overarching dungeon navigation puzzles to the mix by allowing the player to manipulate the structure of some dungeon levels. In the story behind the Drop, the dungeon system you're exploring moves and changes based on mechanics within the mountain that it’s built into. Since these rooms move and the floor is randomized after a character dies, it makes sense that occasionally the player would be able to find a switch or other mechanic to alter the layout from within the dungeon.
What if you found magical keys that generated a different room on the other side of a door every time you changed keys? You’ll have to use a key on different doors to navigate through them, find other magical keys, backtrack, and then swap the keys to different doors to change the room layout, therefore changing the pathway through the dungeon. Yeah, that probably didn’t make much sense in text form... but that’s what puzzles are all about!
We will introduce different mechanics in different zones, so that dungeon navigation itself becomes a progressively puzzling endeavor.
So yeah, expect to die a bit. But don’t worry! Like we mentioned a few times, the game has “semi-permadeath.” So you lose a little progress, the current dungeon level re-randomizes, and you lose whatever items you were carrying. So you just try, try again. Pretty easy right?
What we haven’t told you is that whenever you die, and depending on how you die, you may create a greater challenge to contend with. Dead adventurers might, just maybe, usually, unfortunately... come back as super dangerous undead skeleton warriors with their last carried weapon. So every time you drop down after a failure, you’ll have to be wary of an undead version of your previous character incarnation.
Oh, and what if you pick a character and decide that they really suck for the current dungeon level? Well you could just jump off a cliff. Or... you could use a “suicide booth” (well, really an iron maiden) near the Drop entrance. The benefits of this are that you can collect all of your currently carried items... but you’ll generate a particularly nasty skeleton to contend with later. That’s a huge risk, but it might be worth it to keep your items or swap your class!
The Drop is sealed at each level, preventing you from moving on to the next zone below. But as you progress you’ll solve puzzles, defeat bosses, and move mechanisms in the dungeons to open the Drop.
Even if you die after a level has been unsealed, you can drop from the Jail at the top of the dungeon down to the last unsealed area. But of course that level will have been re-randomized, possibly leaving a few previous rooms, but mostly exchanging them for new ones. Just remember that if you die, you’ve just set loose a killer undead warrior, so the level just got harder!
If you die too many times, the Drop will eventually re-seal itself, causing your progress to backslide. You then have to replay the previous level to unlock the Drop again. You can also manually reset a level by using mechanisms in the Jail to seal the drop, totally randomizing the level and removing any undead adventurers plaguing it. But you can’t undo this action! You’ll have to just play the previous level again to unlock the Drop seal that you just closed.
So what do you do after you’ve opened the Drop, faced your fears, equipped lots of awesome weapons, and used up a lot of cool items? And what will keep you playing even after you beat the game? Check back soon to read part 3, on Extended Play!