Mar 12 Weekly Update


Hey everyone!

I almost forgot to post today since I had just made one last Friday… thank you for the reminder @Flug!

So the first is a Mac and Linux update, which I posted about in this thread.
Here’s the quote:

So I know what I’m doing this week :’) I also mentioned that we’re nearing the end of Alpha and getting everything to rough Alpha draft or better. This means ALL the systems are in, ALL the characters are in, ALL UI… etc. We spent so much time on the mechanics and physics that we’re finally catching up on other systems and roughing those out. (I mentioned hunger, trade, quest system, and the hub system last time, I believe?)

Of all the levels we have finished, the one we’ve spent the most time on recently is the “Basic Training” area/“Tutorial” space. It’s been really important to us to make sure that systems, controls, and paths are clear, since this will be an introduction to the game. A lot of amusing feedback has come up, as well as fascinating “shortcuts” that we’ve decided to keep in. (Without spoiling much, one example is that about half the office plays “aggressively” and the other half likes to play “craftily,” which has led to different approaches to testing the level. “I didn’t have any trouble with this part, I just shot the lever with the bow & arrows I found after breaking down a pantry door.” “I thought we had to trick the Skeleton into opening the door for us! Where did you find the bow?!”)

Our status from last Friday hasn’t changed much, but here’s what you can look forward to:

  1. Our SXSW panel will bring some new shots and a reveal that I know Joe and I are REALLY excited about. We just finished wrapping up the final cut for that teaser today, and we hope you’ll all visit the panel if you’re able to in person!
  2. After SXSW, we’ll be posting the first of a series of videos that we made in collaboration with 505 Games. I won’t spoil what it is, but it’s been fun to make!
  3. I’m polishing up the first draft of the newsletter, which I’m aiming to get out by the end of next Friday! There’s a lot of topics we still want to cover before release, so I’m still coordinating with Joe on what we want to focus on, especially after some of our reveals after SXSW.

After all this filming, I’ve also been gathering some footage of areas and bugs I’ve come across recently. I just posted one on social today, in case any of you missed it! (Also… how’s the darkness?)

Build-wise, we’re working on finishing up some “secret stuff” (cough cough MAGIC SYSTEM) and the usual pipeline of “make a level, throw in some characters, tweak the animations, refine combat, make sure the level feels RIGHT, and then throw the level off to art to do an art pass, followed by a narrative eye”. The next milestone coming up is due by the 23rd, so we’re really nailing what’s going into the final game at this point.

On a BackerKit-note, those of you who have Figurine access will have your BackerKit locked down on the 30th! Don’t forget!!

I’ll also be reaching out to more backers soon regarding rewards that require your input, so I’m in the midst of juggling forms and outline for that too. (ex: Custom Tabard, Statues with Your Likeness, Lordly Abodes, etc) Should be coming in the next month, if not sooner? fingers crossed that everything gets approved quickly

FINAL NOTE, I’ll be posting our updated UA logo (and OSE logo!) either today or tomorrow. Phew!! I think that’s my entire plate for today.


I was going to comment on that video in another thread. That’s very much the kind of setting I like to see, and the background ambiance sounds like it could have come right out of Thief’s cathedral level (that’s a compliment of course). One does have to wonder what a barrel was doing hanging there from a rope.

The bit about a skeleton opening the door is interesting, or rather that you can trick it into doing so. I look forward to all the upcoming news and those new logos.

In the last update thread you asked for any screenshot requests. I’d like to see a space with water, if water’s ready to be seen.


Audio is great in that clip, light levels and cramped space is good. The only thing missing based on what we know is with portal warping to different dimensions the sense of depth is lost.

That space is nice and cramped. If they player knows they are 5 levels down, it feels all the deeper, darker and menacing. Can you give a progressively oppressive feeling when you portal to various places? Maybe but the narrative would have to create the sense where stairs do so naturally.


I agree with other posters. Light, ‘crampedness’ and darkness levels (gamma, contrast, saturation) and shadows all look good. I’m assuming it’s the exact same area that appeared in the recent pic?

Hard to gauge exact scale without denizens and actions happening, but looks about right in terms of torch, brick, barrel proportions etc

The skeleton stuff sounds intriguing. The end of the year sounds…quite close, though? :wink:


I can’t comment on the darkness–I’d need to see more of it to get a “feel” for the area. But I wanted to mention the sound design is phenomenal. I am really happy for the dense atmosphere. I suggested the underworld could be influenced by drone music, and it’s nice to hear that hollow howling filling the backdrop. It definitely feels influenced by Thief (in a good way.) I would like a similar sound snippet detailing how civilization sounds–the music and backdrop of Marcaul. I want to hear how it contrasts with the isolation of lone exploration. And any bizarre environmental noises you could provide snippets of would also be welcome–bubbling lava, ambient sounds, hammers banging. I am really digging the sound design of this game.


Thanks for all the great feedback about the level, audio design, and atmosphere. There’s still some work we want to put into it, but we’re happy to hear we’re on a good track!

I don’t think we have an official track for Marcaul yet, and that may be further down the line, once Marcaul is really fleshed out. Music gives a lot of soul to an area, so I believe our audio director (Jim Bonney), will want to have a good sense of the level before he starts crafting his magic. Sound-wise, we’ve been pretty preoccupied with making sure the soundscape makes sense. Since we want to give players the opportunity to try a variety of play styles, the world needs to be properly reactive… and noisy. (Or in some cases, silent.)

For example, our current Skeletons aren’t as scary as they seem once you get up close to them. Their AI is currently set to detect your velocity, rather than your current proximity/visibility/soundscape. Obviously, this will change soon as we adjust their alert states, but it’s always funny to stand perfectly still next to a Skeleton guard without aggro’ing him. (“Don’t remember this human statue here before… oh well.”)


I like the darkness … the sounds are pleasently disturbing but I never listen to asoundtrack (unless on my 5th playthrough and my cd player is skipping).

however, I want to discuss the controlls.

you seem to be using a keyboard only interface. the movement is archaic like I hate with a game-station style button tap-tap-tap… (till you get there) or tap-push-overshoot-and-then-tap-tap-tap… I would like to see video of the fluid motion of how I intend to operate through the game, with a mouse-move-till-your-pointed-in-the-right-direction.

can you give us some of that ? or better yet, describe the controls and how we interact our character through the game as 10 digit wielding humans (well, most of us anyways).

tell me the motion is fluid; show me the controls are fluid; introduce the handicaped options if any. and please let it not be like a game console. I really dislike tap-tap-tap-overshoot-tap-tap-tap-oh-close-enough of a hand held game controller … like I was back in some colleco-vision mario-land buttons -vs- a mouse’s fluid motion.



edit (that does sound harsh now that I reread it … I’m not trying top be overly negatively critical, but I really, really, really hate game console “lack of fluid” motion and view control, which is more like binary motion, limited, choppy, unruly, and generally weak compared to mouse movements).


New screenshot detected.
More natural lighting than what we’ve seen so far, textures as detailed and rough as one would hope, wood actually looks like wood instead of plastic. I dig it.


You know Otherside has done well when I can’t voice a single criticism against their art direction.


Glad you like that shot! Can’t wait for you to see the next batch.

And also I’m really glad you like the audio ambience in that short bug clip. I’ve been doing a lot of work in that level lately and, honestly, it never gets old. Like Sam mentioned above, it’s the stellar work of our audio director Jim Bonney (who was responsible for the old-timey covers of modern songs in BioShock Infinite). He’s a phenomenal talent and one of the nicest people I’ve ever worked with. It’s amazingly fun to collaborate with him and I’m really confident that he and the rest of our audio team are going to make the game sound great.

We also have some interesting updates coming about darkness and light, by the way.


I agree, the art is fantastic. and this effort (totally on OE’s part) has shown me not just the world of game development but also game authoring. I’ve been hanging on the edge of my seat for this and the ride alone was worth more then the cover charge.

my best recollection from the prealpha was the magic visuals. the sounds of the spell was also ‘unique’.

would you let us see some of the magical displays and hear their sounds?



I’ve had my fair share of criticism along the way but I’m rather satisfied with the way it’s turning out. The thing is there are so many games, kickstarted ones and not, where the devs promise certain improvements after the alpha, and then after the beta, and then before you know it the game’s out and the improvements were never made. So even though I still have reservations about other areas of UA, it’s encouraging that OSe has been true to their words regarding art direction.

It’s great when a game lets ambience come to the foreground.


OK, do NOT make me break out my Stephen Russell impressions on you, taffer. :smiley:

(I’m actually getting ready to do my first Audible novel narration, and it’s all I can do to avoid making the protagonist sound like Garrett…)

That said, “darkness and light?” And Jim Bonney doing audio…?! Holy moly, this just keeps getting better…


Thanks for the updates team, things are looking (and sounding!) really good now. I can’t wait to see more - although I keep telling myself I’m going to stop looking at updates as I want to keep things fresh for the final release! ;D

The audio in the clip posted to Twitter is really impressive, as others have mentioned there are some real Thief vibes coming through. Also I think the audio is absolutely a huge part in conveying that feeling of being deep in the Underworld - there is just a particular quality that sound takes on when you are in that kind of environment, in terms of the way sound travels and reflects through the thick walls of a cave, the way things can sound distorted compared to who they would on the surface, and how you can feel you are surrounded by noise even when there is no visible source in the local vicinity - it has travelled through the earth to reach you!

Speaking of which is all the audio in that clip just ambient - or is any of it attributable to a specific source?


The team has been really focused on nailing lighting recently. Definitely something we need to get right from gameplay (stealth) and art perspectives. The Unity team has been really engaged with us on this, helping us see our vision I hope in part because they see this as a game that can show that Unity games can look really nice. The team has also been looking at and tweaking the PBR shaders to tone back some of the shininess and get the materials looking the way we want them too.

More new screenshots coming at SXSW in a few days and we deliberately included some of the tighter spaces :slight_smile: The new Key Art is also pretty much done and hopefully we’ll have it for Friday’s panel as well. Fingers crossed!


Dang, you guys are quick to notice my small updates! How often are you all checking the site?! :stuck_out_tongue: As Walter mentioned, we’ll have more to show starting this Friday!! SUPER EXCITED!!

As of right now, it’s ambient that’s meant to approximate what we would want the level to sound like once everything has its own “real” sound. Ideally, you’ll be able to actually hear parts of the environment before you see it; maybe some running water, a splash, the echoed footsteps of a Skeleton rounding the corner… etc. I think the organic sounds currently “in” are the Skeleton’s various noises, torch flames flickering, the gurgle of the Deep Slug, and any collision noises. (Metal on metal, wood on wood, metal on wood, etc. This covers things like “sword hitting wall”, “crate hitting other crate”, etc).


That all sounds great sluangkhot, can’t wait to hear how the soundscape turns out once all the elements are in place!

I still long for something which can match the level of power offered by the sound in the original Thief. The atmosphere generated through the audio in Thief 1 was, and remains, phenomenal. For me the sequel didn’t quite match up in this regard, but is still far better than most other games out there!

Can’t wait to get the next round of info from the Underworld!


This seems to be coming to the boil very nicely.

That screenshot, for instance, a big improvement in any number of areas…not least the foliage colour and stone texture…much less cartoon-like and saturated than previously, it seems.

I like the ‘plastic stone’ look personally in many places…notleasst because it’s actually true to certain types of stone, and doubly so for floor stones that have been polished by decades of feet…and this reflectivity adds to the eerie glow overall, and therefore the atmosphere. A light director-touch here and there, and you can work wonders.

Yes, visuals and sounds currently looking/sounding great. Glad to see they’re both getting alot of attention, not just the graphics.

Count me in for skeletons-clonking-about-the-place-with-some-rattling-chains…


Skeletons rattling chains you say?



Now that you mention it…

This pleases me greatly. There are so many games that look like they’re covered in grease, it was worse back when everyone was using UE3 but it still happens.
Interesting what you say about the Unity team. Unity certainly does have a reputation for not being as good as other options. Whether that’s because of devs making poor use of it or the engine itself, I don’t know (probably some of both). But I have seen people comment that there is a “Unity look” that pervades games running on it, with an inappropriate sheen being part of that. That said UA already looks a cut above most other Unity games I’ve seen, and it looks better with each batch of screenshots. The other half of Unity’s reputation has to do with performance, so we’ll have to wait and see about that.