King under the Mountain - Will be re-launched! (Canceled)
A simulation-based settlement-building strategy/management game set in a fantasy world, for PC, Mac and Linux.
This campaign has been cancelled, to re-launch soon! You can read about the reasons and upcoming changes in the update, or if you'd like to be notified of the new campaign, please sign up to our newsletter!
King under the Mountain is a game about designing and managing a settlement in a fantasy world.
Gameplay is based around high-level management of your settlers to harvest resources, build rooms and furniture, craft items and manage your economy. Your settlers are deeply simulated characters with their own wants, needs, thoughts and emotions who will go about their daily lives carrying out your instructions as well as looking after themselves.
Once you have a working base of operations, you can take a small party of your best and brightest characters on "adventures" - tactical combat-driven dungeon crawls to randomly generated locations or even the settlements of other players!
Now we need your help to turn this game from an initial prototype into the dream project we've always wanted to make.
Although it is still quite early days in the development of the project, we thought it important to share a playable build, both to act as a proof of concept of the basics of the game, and to show that the team has the skills and knowledge to make it happen. Playable on both Windows and Mac, you can download it from indiedb.com/games/king-under-the-mountain/downloads
Please note this is very early in development so most features are missing - we would definitely *not* call it a complete game at this point. However it should give a good impression of where we're going, and more importantly, prove the game actually exists and is something we're capable of developing.
Currently the prototype supports English, German, Spanish, French, Italian, Danish, Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian, Polish, Hungarian and Portuguese.
Here we'll go into a bit more detail on the major features that make up King under the Mountain.
A simulated world - The game is built on a series of interlocking systems which combine together to simulate a living, breathing world. As night changes to day, trees and plants will grow (or not) based on sunlight, rainfall and what season it is. Animals will graze, roam and interact with each other depending on the environment your settlement is in. Your settlers and other characters have their own social and physical needs that you’ll have to fulfil to keep them happy (or at least stop them from breaking down and going insane!)
Play as several fantasy races - As a minimum (if we don't make any stretch goals), players can choose between playing as a society of orcs, dwarves or humans.
- Dwarves are the masters of working with stone and metal, organised into clans and happy to work together for the greater good of society. They make up the easiest race to learn how to play the game as.
- Orcs are a tribal, martial race, always looking for a good fight to keep them happy! Playing as orcs is a bit more challenging as they have a relatively short-lived population and need to be kept from fighting amongst themselves.
- Humans are ruthlessly capitalist and will only work when paid with money! The player will have to manage taxation and spending and are designed to be a bit more of a challenge for advanced players.
Procedural generation - No two settlements will ever be the same. Every map is randomly generated and can be created from a specific seed (much like maps in Minecraft), and this use of procedural generation extends into many areas of the game for an interesting variety in content where appropriate. You can run an early version of our map generator directly in your browser at mapgen.kingunderthemounta.in
Economy and crafting focus - Inspired by The Settlers series of games (particularly the first and second entries), setting up production chains to turn basic resources into usable crafting materials and items is a major part of King under the Mountain. For example, producing steel involves: mining iron ore; producing fuel by turning mined coal into coke or wood into charcoal; roasting and washing the iron ore to make it usable; producing sponge iron by combining these in a furnace; working the sponge iron into wrought iron on an anvil; heating the iron along with a flux (such as mined limestone) in a crucible to finally produce steel.
Deep character simulation - Characters will have their own personalities - a brave or foolish guard captain may rush his squad into battle while a cautious one will hold back and wait for the right moment. As well as basic needs like food, drink and sleep, characters need to stay happy or else risk a spiral of depression into madness! Your settlers will react with positive or negative thoughts to their environment and each other, influenced by their personality and mood.
Adventures! - A key features of King under the Mountain is that you’ll be able to take a squad of your most skilled combatants (think of them as heroes from an RPG) onto an “adventure” to an off-map location - be it a monster’s lair, a long-abandoned fortress, a classic fantasy dungeon or similar. This will be to collect rare, valuable or otherwise unavailable resources and items (perhaps as loot from chests or directly from the corpses of your enemies) as well as the fun of taking a bunch of characters you’ve prepared onto an adventure elsewhere. The adventures are best described as a pen ‘n’ paper RPG-style dungeon crawl.
Player-driven content and exploration - As you play, your settlement can be uploaded to a central server listing of maps for other players to explore and conquer. This is only a copy of your settlement, someone attacking it won’t cause you to lose anything, instead it’s there to provide much more varied and interesting locations than procedural generation could do alone. As part of managing your settlement, you’ll have to designate guard posts and patrols which will populate the map with defenders ready for a party of adventurers to cause mayhem.
Mod-first philosophy - Everything you see in-game is data-driven and designed to be easily moddable. We'll be releasing guides and instructions on how to mod nearly every aspect of the game, though in a lot of cases modders can just look at how the current game is configured (mostly using JSON data files and PNG images) and provide their own files to override the defaults and change the game. The game engine makes heavy use of re-colouring sprites to provide a lot of variety from a small number of assets.
Wondering what else we have planned? Take a look at the roadmap for the current plan of game features.
Here we're listing the extra features we plan to commit to if or when the project brings in enough funding. Even if the Kickstarter campaign doesn't hit these goals, we'll apply later funding through sales to them so they should eventually be hit which is why we're including them all here - to give you a view on where we're planning to go with the game.
£55,000 - "Nemesis system" - Inspired by Shadow of Mordor, players will be attacked by recurring villains and enemies, procedurally generated with their own appearance and personality to make every player's story unique.
£70,000 - Online settlement browser and community features - With the headline gameplay feature being the ability to upload your settlement for other players to discover and explore, this stretch goal expands upon that by adding a web-based preview of your settlement for you to send on to friends and strangers.
£80,000 - New game mode: Reclaim a settlement - Did your town or fortress succumb to invasion by a hostile force? With this game mode, you can jump straight into an epic battle to kick out the invaders and reclaim your home, with victory allowing you to carry on playing (with the characters that survived!)
£90,000 - Monster hunting adventures - This feature expands upon the adventures and random dungeon generation allowing you to put together a hunting party to track and kill a selection of rare and dangerous monsters, for rare loot and crafting materials!
£100,000 - Full soundtrack by Jordan Chin - This level of funding will allow us to commission a full soundtrack by talented composer and musician Jordan Chin of jordanchinmusic.com to really bring the world of King under the Mountain to life. Here's the first track by Jordan written for the game, Start Anew:
£100,000 Bonus stretch goal! East-Asian language support -Additionally, we'll commit to overcoming the technical hurdles of adding translation support for Chinese, Japanese and Korean.
£110,000 - Mythical beasts - Much more than just monsters to discover, this feature adds randomly-generated legendary creatures, relics of ages past which are much more powerful than the other denizens of the world.
£120,000 - Alchemy system - This adds the ability to brew potions from many ingredients for weird and wonderful results to give your adventuring parties an advantage (or not!)
£130,000 - New game mode: Play as a lone wizard - Taking a different approach from playing as a community of orcs, humans or dwarves, in this game mode you'll have a single avatar of a mage or wizard who can cast powerful spells. Shunned by society for the dangerous use of magic, you'll have to build your private lair with the help of constructs and golems to ward off invaders as you develop your mastery of the arcane arts.
£140,000 - Community API - We'll develop, release and maintain an online API to access our community features such as the player-created maps, mods and other data. This will allow developers to access our server data to build some really cool 3rd party tools!
£150,000 - Spellcrafting system - rather than learning and using a set list of defined magic spells, this feature will allow mages (and the player) to create their own inventions of magic by combining different elements. Just be warned - the more powerful a spell is, the more likely it will attract the attention of a demonic invasion!
£160,000 - New game mode: Creative mode - Build and design your perfect dungeon without the constraints of the main game, just place rooms, items and even monsters as you see fit. When you're finished, delve into the dungeon with a party of adventurers or upload it for others to experience for themselves!
£170,000 - Secret cults - Immigrants to your settlement may be part of a secret organisation planning a hostile takeover from within. Ensure your law and justice is carried out or else you may find yourself fighting a civil war for control!
£180,000 - Fear the undead - In a world where necromancers exist, any corpse can be a potential threat. Beware reanimated creatures and deal with the ghosts and spirits of your deceased population.
£190,000 - New game mode: Play as a necromancer - Similar to the lone wizard stretch goal above, this mode sees you play as another powerful magic user, but this time using the dark art of necromancy! Raise undead minions to do your bidding as you secure your fortress from do-goody "heroes" looking to take you down, all while building up your forbidden knowledge in pursuit of the ultimate goal - immortality!
£190,000 - Bonus stretch goal! Managed mod repository - We'll build a platform to upload and distribute mods to make sure they're as easy to use as possible. This will allow us to mark specific mods as "balanced for gameplay" to allow them to be used in shared player-created maps rather than restricting all adventures to "vanilla" unmodded games.
£200,000 - New game mode: New game plus - Rather than having to embark on the creation of a new settlement with just the basics, this feature allows you to send any number of settlers and resources from an existing settlement to pastures new, founding a new colony with a greatly enhanced starting position.
£210,000 - New game mode: Play as a dragon - Another game mode where you play as a single avatar, in this case you design and play as a dragon, amassing a hoard of gold and treasure as you instruct kobold minions to build up and fortify your lair.
£220,000 - New game mode: Zombie apocalypse survival - In this mode a necromancer's magic has gone horribly wrong, infecting the world with a deadly form of zombies able to kill with a bite and raise more undead! See how long you can survive in a world when a death by any reason could lead to a deadly outbreak!
£230,000 - New game mode: Observer mode - Watch the game play itself in a completely AI-driven settlement, with the ability to jump in and take control at any point.
Here we'll run through a short description of each of the rewards listed for backers. Note that nearly all rewards from lower tiers are included at the tiers above them, so nobody has to miss out!
Alpha access to the game and all future versions - Backing this Kickstarter at any level will provide you with a copy of the game which will be continually updated as we release improvements and more content. We plan to have the first release at 6 months after the closing time of the Kickstarter campaign, and from there expect to publish a release with new content every 1 or 2 months, with smaller bugfixing releases inbetween when necessary.
Early access and all future versions via Steam key - We plan to start publishing the game via Steam's Early Access program only when there's a reasonably complete level of content. In addition to the earlier builds of the game as described above, we'll be providing all backers with a key to redeem the game on Steam if they wish.
All future DLC packs - While we don't have any concrete plans for any DLC At this point (though it might include some of the stretch goals if they're not met as part of the Kickstarter campaign), we promise that any and all DLC we do release for the game will be provided free of charge to all backers of the Kickstarter. It's you guys that are making this project possible and we want you to get the maximum possible benefit from your early involvement. Note that pledge tiers that include multiple copies have this bonus applied to every copy.
Original soundtrack - As a bonus, all backers will receive a copy of the original soundtrack to the game (which we plan to expand upon over time) as another way of saying thanks.
Name a settler - Backers at the "apprentice" level will be able to submit a name to be used in the random generation of settlers at the start of or during a game. Note that this reward is replaced by the "Design a settler" reward at all higher tiers.
Design a settler - In addition to naming a settler, you can fully design and customise every aspect of character creation including hair and skin color, hair and beard choices, as well as which profession your settler always starts the game as. This character will then potentially show up in every other player's game at some point! We might continue to offer this reward to early purchasers of the game, and if we do, we'll make sure that some of the fancier profession options (such as a noble or merchant) are exclusive to Kickstarter backers. Note that you'll be able to change and update your selections as we add more content, as only dwarves are in development currently.
Design a legendary artifact - Sometimes one of your crafters will be hit by a stroke of inspiration and work furiously to create a unique, named item with much more powerful stats and abilities than normal equipment. Similarly, these legendary items can be found in dungeons and ruins around the world on adventures, and this backer reward will allow you to specify the design, type, look and backstory of one of these items which may show up in another player's game (or your own)!
Choose an animal - Pick a real world animal or creature and we'll make sure it's added to the game! Perhaps you have a favourite that you want to make sure is included in the world of King under the Mountain? This is your chance!
Design a non-playable race - Come up with the background and concept for a race of creatures to inhabit the world of King under the Mountain and we'll add them to the game, while keeping you updated with early in-progress work as a sneak preview.
Be immortalized in song - Travelling bards or minstrels may visit your settlement, bringing joy and music to your population for a brief time. This reward will see our musician and composer, Jordan Chin, produce a folk-style song about your in-game character to be played and sung in-game! Note this is at the same reward tier, but exclusive with, the design a non-playable race reward above.
Signed canvas print of concept art - Pick any of the pieces of concept art produced for the game and we'll sign and post it to you as a HUGE thank you from the team.
Here's some (but not all) of the games that have inspired the creation and development of King under the Mountain.
- Dwarf Fortress - First in the list has to be this deeply unique simulaton of dwarves, the influence of which can be seen throughout many of the game's systems and design choices.
- The Settlers I and II - We really want to recapture the "peaceful ant farm" feeling of the early Settlers games, where the player can take a lot of satisfaction and joy in watching their settlers industriously working away.
- Dungeon Keeper - The forbidden joy of "playing as the bad guys", as well as the simple creative fun of digging out rooms in a subterranean lair, are what started off the very first concepts and design of what is now King under the Mountain.
- Prison Architect and Rimworld - Fans of these games can see we've carried on the legacy of what they've started with a visual style that is extremely well suited to the genre.
- Harvest Moon and Stardew Valley - Evoking some of the peaceful joy of The Settlers, you'll see a lot of influence from these games in making the growing of crops into a pleasing game in its own right.
- Ultima Online - The rules and systems based world of Ultima Online, and in particular its classless "be anything" character progression system, are a big inspiration in making a living, breathing world the player can take part in, without characters fitting in to pre-determined "classes".
- Sid Meier's Colonization - One of the later game goals is to claim independence ol your fledgling colony on your way to becoming the one, true King under the Mountain.
- X-com - We're big fans of both the originals and modern reboots, and the board game-like design of modern XCOM in particular, feeds in to the design of our turn-based tactical combat.
- Blood Bowl - Perhaps an odd one along with everything else on this list, but we think there's some key lessons to be learned about intersting movement and zones of control from Games Workshop's Blood Bowl to really make turn-based tactics shine.
Meet the team who have helped make King under the Mountain into what you see so far!
Ross Taylor-Turner, Lead developer and designer - Ross has been both playing and designing games for as long as he can remember, and developing software for nearly as long. Being a huge fan of Dungeon Keeper and other Bullfrog classics in the 90s led into discovering Dwarf Fortress in 2006, and it's this path that has led to the creation of King under the Mountain. "I'm incredibly lucky to be working with such talented individuals on the rest of this team, and I'm hoping for a successful Kickstarter campaign to turn this dream project into a reality!"
Anthony Avon, Concept artist - "I find it difficult to put into words just how much our co-operation meant to me and how big of an impact it had on my career as an artist. So I've decided to put that feeling of gratitude into art. Within these colors you might see my path through uncertainty, a deep dive into a career of my dreams, navigation through thick forests of challenges and competition, a wall put before me to hinder my effort, my rise above the line of bright new opportunities, a steep climb towards perfection, my ambitions still hidden in the mist, and my goals too far and too high to be known at all. This would not exist in this form, or maybe not at all, if I didn't have your support. Thank you!" You can view the artwork Anthony is referring to here.
Jordan Chin, Composer and sound design - When he was just a young boy, Jordan watched his first Studio Ghibli movie. Moved to tears by the music, he looked up toward the sky and shouted, "One day, I'll become a composer, just like Joe Hisaishi, damn it!" Twenty years have passed, and Jordan has explored the use of music as a narrative tool in games, film, and original songs. He's produced music and sounds for titles such as Puzzle Raiders and ViPR Strike, and is the founder of the cinematic prog-rock project, Chemical Skies. As an original member of Materia Collective, Jordan has also reinterpreted music from game franchises like Final Fantasy and Sonic the Hedgehog. Working with Rocket Jump Technology on King under the Mountain has been a real treat, and he hopes to see the game fully realized.
Derek Restivo, In-game artwork and design - Derek is an illustrator based in Canada who has several years of experience creating art for games, album covers, shirts, and other mediums. Within the last two years, he worked extensively on three Steam games, two of which are still unreleased but coming soon.
Inspired by his first console, a Sega Genesis, Derek has always had a love for 2d visuals in games. The relatively recent surge in indie games has been his favourite development in gaming from the last decade; both because of the abundance of 2d art, and because of the creativity and risk-taking inherent in indie game design. Derek plans to continue to hone his art skills within this market for as long as the wave lasts.
Joe Gempton, Developer - Joe has been a PC gamer since the age of 8 when he got his first Windows 98 PC for Christmas. Soon after, he got his hands on games like Total Annihilation, Civilization and Sim City. He's grown a passion for games that leave the player to build their world and have it tested by the mechanics of the game's AI. He's excited to take the skills from his 7-year software development career and apply it to developing King under the Mountain. "I've been eager to help out with the development of King Under the Mountain since Ross first told me about the concept. Ross is a passionate software engineer and gamer, I know he can lead this team to build a great game."
Charlie the Cavapoo, Moral support - "Woof"
It looks like Prison Architect, or, it looks like Rimworld, why is that? As Rimworld has proved, the visual style pioneered by Prison Architect is an ideal fit for this type and genre of game. It's also, most importantly, achievable for a small indie team with a limited budget which is why we've decided to use the same styling. We're not in any way affiliated with the teams behind either game and don't share any code or assets. We do however owe them a lot of thanks for pioneering the genre in modern times and we think you'll be seeing a lot more games with a similar style in the near future.
Why Kickstarter? King under the Mountain has been in active development for the past year on a very small budget to get the basics in place and build towards the playable prototype that's available with this campaign. You can follow the last year of dev updates here. We're now at the stage of needing to add a lot more content both in code and artwork, both of which are very expensive to do well, so we're on Kickstarter in the hopes of a successful campaign to both make that content possible and massively speed up development time.
How do I know this Kickstarter will deliver an actual game? Far too many games on Kickstarter run a successful campaign only to end up never actually delivering a playable game into the hands of its backers. The great majority of these are usually impressive concepts and mock-ups without a "real" game behind them. This is why we've worked hard towards releasing the playable prototype with this campaign - to prove the game already exists in a playable form, that the team is capable of building it, and as a proof of concept for the basics of gameplay.
When will the game be finished/released/done? We're going to have the first "alpha" release to backers around 6 months after the end of the Kickstarter campaign. From there, we'll be releasing new builds of content and features every 1 or 2 months. At this stage it's impossible to say exactly how long the entire development lifetime will last (a lot depends on stretch goals being hit or decent alpha sales) but roughly, we have a plan to keep updating the game and adding more to it for the next 5 years.
Will there be multiple levels per settlement or "Z levels"? No, primarily for game design reasons - we think it's more interesting to impose the design constraints on the player of having to build a working, efficient settlement on a single level. Also, introducing "Z levels" could make things very confusing for a player exploring another map split across many different levels. There will however be "entrances" to other levels within your settlement, such as discovering a stairway into a dungeon or forgotten realm within the caverns of the mountain, which you'll have the option to explore with a party of adventurers.
Can I play multiplayer (online or co-op)? While we don't have any plans for "direct" multiplayer, you'll be able to visit and explore the settlements of other players in a kind of asynchronous, indirect multiplayer mode. This is not exactly a player vs player mode - if someone attacks your settlement (or rather a copy of it) you won't be at risk of losing anything, instead there will be bonuses for participating in the system. We also have plans for more peaceful exploration of the creations of other players, particularly via "friend" features which we have as one of our stretch goals.
Are there any restrictions on naming my settler? Yes, we'll ask that you either use a "real world" name or a fantasy name in one of many styles, which we'll be providing further details on as this backer reward is fulfilled. This is to avoid any immersion-breaking modern gamer slang names or inappropriate content for others. Similar rules apply to the naming of legendary artifacts.
Which platforms will the game be released on? Desktop Windows PC, Mac and Linux. We also don't have any plans for any kind of console or mobile release, but never say never. Thanks to the platform-independent technology, we'll be releasing on all desktop platforms at the same time.
Risks and challenges
The main risk with most games on Kickstarter is running a successful campaign only to never actually deliver a working game into the hands of backers. We've already mitigated this problem by building and including a playable prototype at the top of this page, which we're going to continue to work on and improve into the full game as development continues.
The other major problem with most gaming Kickstarters is that sometimes the funding runs out before the game is finished and the project dies off without meeting backers' expectations. We've chosen the visual style of King under the Mountain to be relatively cheap to produce so that development has progressed to its current point with minimal funding. If for some unforeseen reason the Kickstarter funding runs out before meeting all the promised rewards, and the game does not sell well enough in an "early access" model, we'll continue development in the same way it has worked so far - with a small team on a reduced budget supplemented by side jobs and contract work. We're on Kickstarter to remove the need for these side jobs which massively slow down the development and focus on King under the Mountain, so we can get the final vision to you as soon as possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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