Jan 22 Weekly Update


#1

Afternoon, everyone!

This week, we continue to work on improvements to the game for Update 2, coming early February.

Some of these improvements include:

  • Making the Abyss one cohesive dungeon

  • Streamlining the first level of the game to include runic spell-casting and adding more narrative context to Marcaul

  • Continued improvements to AI

  • Improved main quest system

  • Improved Doom Counter and faction favor system

  • Adding in quicksave key bindings

  • & more that we’re still working on.

It’s been quieter from us as we keep our heads down on our work, but I’ve been keeping busy forwarding along your bug reports, crashes, and feedback. Mac and Linux playtesting and porting is estimated to start after Update 2, and we will continue to share Kickstarter updates on physical and digital goods as we receive them.

I’m pretty excited for a lot of the changes coming with Update 2… that’s the most I can share for now. Hope you’re all doing well! (The East Coast has been getting hammered with snow and ice recently).


#2

Cool, I’m gonna dive back in after this update. I’m curious where the game’s at.


#3

…one big continuous cohesive dungeon? Either way…big news.

Also, how is this dungeon to be connected? UU1-style, or…?

If big steps like this are being undertaken, what else is afoot I wonder?


#4

On paper, they had certain talents that obviously did not either make it into the game, or get any of the polish and refinement it needed. A simple example of what I am saying is this: They had Stephen Russell. Based upon what I have heard, he was barely used. Another example. They had Austin Grossman, and yet… no story or dialogues.

I guess I am hoping for two things at this point, having still not invested even a single peek at the game. I hope they had a good original vision that simply was nowhere near being fleshed out (most of it missing!). I also hope that they are able to get as close as possible to that vision.

They had that arsenal of talent, lets see the fruits! No offense to anyone involved, fans or team, but it sounds like mister Tim Stellmach is the hero of this story. lol sigh


#5

Looking forward to the improved updates on this game.


#6

Wow. These items appear to be directly addressing the “cohesion” feedback from players and reviewers. Depending on how they’re implemented, they could go a long way to bringing UA closer to delivering the immersive-world experience of the original Underworlds.

Y’all stay safe (and warm) up there!


#7

Why are you doing this? The game is as dead as a doornail, it didn’t hit 10 concurrent players yesterday.


#8

Sandro…Stephen Russell was certainly not under-used…the opposite. Plus, the fit here is just not good to be honest…way too hammy…as if being the ‘house voice’ for this and previous games, and the marketing pull was somehow guarantee in its own right . It is a giant distraction, taking you out of your own head and into some limbo with enchoes of Thief etc…in my ungrateful opinion anyway. It’s largely down to directing I suspect…and fairly woeful dialog. It sits uneasily between tongue-in-cheek and cod-serious, depending which voice he’s doing. I felt sorry for the poor man after this. Richard garriott, your time is yet to come (okay, maybe not ;))

The story is not really there…it was made subservient in the end to ‘player-driven’ this, and ‘emergent’ that. We don’t know how much was stripped out with when the physical factions were furloughed. The graffiti dialogs are much too obvious in placement, and remind you of the System Shock discovery dynamic…there being no NPCdialog trees (still the stand-out omission).

I am hoping pride plays a part here…that no-one wants to be saddled with this around their necks in its current incarnation.

I don’t think these features alone will somehow turn it around into an Underworld great game…but, well, we haven’t seen them in action yet, and they are certainly a step in the right direction (depending how well they are implemented).

But dialogs…dialogs with NPCs…what a difference they would make. It would be an entirely different game, and experience.

It would be nice to see one or two of the older devs who used to comment here. There has been enough time to lick wounds and reflect a little…?


#9

I dont know why it has taken me this long, but it has finally sunk in, I think.

The team has NOT abandoned their game!

I wonder if there is anything anywhere on the table about a possible Update 3… If Update 2 goes a long way to improve this game, in everyones eyes, surely the remaining “issues” would be finished up??

The other question in my mind, relates to overall TONE. Will these updates, including a possible 3rd, allow the game to capture the proper tone as originally presented in the first game? Can enough of the core problems be resolved through these (3?) updates, to allow for proper pacing and tone?

As updates continue, and these old gaming ideals continue to make their way back up to the surface, what does that do to the % of “improvengine” stuff? Does it diminish it, or even help to highlight it? One thing is for sure, the team has not given up on this game! There are still MANY people out there, who have not only stayed oblivious to the game for whatever various reasons, but there are more folks who have never even heard of the game yet!

The absolute final product of this game is not here yet. The people who played this game at launch may very well end up having a much different game in the end?

I have not given up on this game at all, why would I? It isnt even done yet. The updates are bringing massive change, and it sounds like they arent done rolling out these changes yet. After Update 2 is released, will the team still be open to another update, if fan output demands it?

I can imagine this team sticking it out to the end!

Even if, it is way too late to change certain things, it would still serve any and all members of this team, to go back and read the early input of members of this forum. For you would see, MANY aspects of achieving that magical atmospheric quality of the original, are still easily within reach… :wink:

Of course, you would hafta… radically alter the way the game is initially presented. For example: rather than doing it the way they did, you could instead have a different opening to the game.

You wake up in the dark, no idea where you are, or why you are here. You are alone, naked, and in the dark. You hear ONE booming voice… “Ascendant, you are alone, naked, and in the dark. Now… SURVIVE”.

You dont hear another single voice in the game, as you are scrambling around attempting to find the coveted food, clothing, a light source of some kind. After doing all this, and battling some rodents along the way, you finally hear the next human voice… soft, and off in the distance. As you move towards the voice, the path is more worn in and travelled, and signs of civilisation become apparent…

Of course, at this point, you would need some sort of dialogue and story features, and all of the canned VO booms could be used at more appropriate points. :slight_smile:


#10

Sandro, I think you’re in for a monumental shock when/if you fire-up this game, even with these patches. Changes, yes, but not all massive. The entire conception is so very different, and the game philosophy so radically dfferent…that it’s not a case of one or two more steps. It is very different in virtually every aspect (barring the spell system, and the player having physical momentum) from the originals. And that’s with what is included, not those many features which did not carry over from the first two games.

It’s not a matter of developer intent so much, but what is achievable with this overall game design, and its inherent limitations. What is really required is radical overhaul (if a sequel is what you want).

I’m curious - why haven’t you peeked at it since release? It isn’t going to going to be magically transformed (I don’t think). Or are you just waiting until they take it as far as they can in terms of features/polish? Personally, I would be careful about expecting a Lazarus-style resurrection.


#11

Simply put, every one of us involved since the start have had checklists of things they wanted. Mine was pretty different from most, more narrow in scope if you will.

It was fun going over the nostalgia of the original game, and even in the beginning, hoping for some of these aspects as well. But in the end, a deal breaker for me is a completely realised and coherent game from start to finish.

This item has not been checked off the list, yet.

However, I am also waiting until they finally “call it quits” on any further work. I just feel that after all this time, and especially the crash landing after the bumpy roller coaster, it makes sense to wait until the team says its time to move on. Then I will get the game and check it out.

Lets see what Update 2 brings. :smiley:


#12

…Ok, but that depends on what you call ‘game’.This is not a managed ‘game’ in the usual sense,and it is not an experimental sandbox nirvana either. It’s bits of this and bits of that, with nods here and there, and wholesale imports. It is not a self-contained logical world that you feel at home in the way you did in the two earlier versions (and this is nothing to do with polish and everything to do with design choices/cuts)

It is not ‘realised’ either (because many features, like the factions, were cut and are only alluded to) and, consequently, coherence suffers (badly). As for the polish, that will help,but you cannot polish systems that are not there…orthe interraction between those systems.

Still, as you say, let’s wait and see.

One thing though. Given games generally, and this dev process so far…do you think it is likely that there would be a formal announcement of down-tools (even of true)? I can think ofoneor twoposters whowouldbe onlytookeen to scream ‘Look, they’ve abandoned it, so soon after bait-and-switch…I TOLD YOU’.

It’s more likely to be a reading between the lines, as we’ve already had elsewhere. I’m not saying it’s good or bad, just unlikely.


#13

???

Must be a steam thing to be able to track other players.


#14

Correct, I believe this is based on Steam live statistics. I believe that many of these numbers are accounted for by region (?) since we recently discovered there’s currently more Russian players than American… funny how that works out.

Just following up on thoughts here, the world is currently leaning towards connected more like UU1 style. Each floor is consecutive, so descending deeper becomes riskier in both physical proximity to the safety of the more explored areas and in terms of difficulty. I say “leaning towards” because we’re still hammering out some bugs and making sure this doesn’t tank our performance numbers.

As another side note, we’re opening up playtesting again for Windows users to focus on AI, such as combat / pathing / reactions / etc. If you’re interested, please make your way over to the Playtest board if you have the proper role.

If you’re interested in playtesting instead, please email us at support@otherside-e.com with your Otherside forum name and your computer specs. We’ll most likely start in the next 2 weeks, but more concrete updates will be sent out once we have more playtesters.


#15

Grand Staircase? tie it all together with some cardio?

maybe the marcaul portals can be something tied to plot by means of an accomplishment, where you get direct access as you proceed through achievement gates, kinda like in UU2.

thought of a continuos dungeon, although more realistic, seems to draw out travel. traversing through levels 1-7 to get to level 8 is great for reality, but time consuming.

how about a door at the far side of each level that is blocked from the inside, that when unblocked, provides an entrance to the grand staircase. this gives a feeling of continuos and vast dungeon, but provides quick access as needed.

for example, I can get to level 1 from staircase door, it’s not blocked. I would then travel through level 1 to get to level 2 entrance and traverse level 2 to the blocked door, unblock it and have quick access to A. level 1 beginning via stair; B. level 2 beginning (via level1) ; C. level 2 end via staircase. etc. etc. etc.

you have the feeling of an expansive dungeon, having to retrace some steps to get to the next levels entrance but unblocking the staircase doors provides an ease of access to return for other missions.


#16

I fully agree with what Trenchknife said. We need to have openable shortcuts for backtracking.


#17

The layered continuous level descent sounds ideal. Some shortcuts might be earned, but by definition that deep slog is atmospheric if it means possible reasons random encounters, and health management’s

Mad hat on… Is there the remotest chance of dialog NPCs and factions being considered if improvements lead to more sales and a revival of sorts?