UA 2nd roundtable transcript


Please Note!
If you would like to add your own additions to the transcript, please do so on the Google Doc here. ANYONE can edit, so please be courteous.

So, I went ahead and transcribed some 15 minutes from the second half of the last roundtable. I did only the questions and answers, trying to leave out any banter not directly related to UA, and I also prettied it up a bit, trimming some repetition and filler words (“like”, “you know”, etc) that are common in spoken language. Whenever possible, I copypasted the questions directly from chat in order to give the most context for the answers.

There were also some places I couldn’t make out what was said due to audio quality or people talking over each other or just my lack of language skills probably (English is not my first or even my second language). I marked them with a [???] and a timestamp, so if anyone can make out what’s said there, that would be great.

[size=18pt]Underworld Ascendant 2nd development roundtable[/size]


First hour, from left to right: Chris Siegel (senior designer), Will Teixeira (lead engineer), Justin Pappas (senior level designer), Sam Luangkhot (community manager), Parker Davis (executive producer)

0:02:15 — 0:03:55

Sam: I just realized that I could give some quick updates. I know there’s a few of you who haven’t checked in with us since the last Roundtable, and a lot has happened. So the first thing is, you might notice, the setup is quite different from our first Roundtable and that’s because… we’re in our new office!

Chris S: We’re real boys!

Sam: We’ll have an office video coming out in the next 2 months or so. Also, for some of you who aren’t aware, we have a publisher! 505 Games is publishing Indivisible, has published Brother: Tale of Two Sons, ABZU, Terraria, and Payday 2. For those of you asking when the game is coming out, we’re aiming for the second half of 2018. Remember to check your emails, especially now, because you should be getting some reward questions. And the next newsletter is coming out this month, hopefully before the holidays.

1:00:06 – 1:15:40

Q: Can we expect some HUGE areas? Modern game areas are too tiny!

Chris S: Huge areas. Hmm…

Will: The huge areas thing, this is something we were talking about before. We’d rather have a small area that has lots of good interactions instead of spreading our paintbrush out so far and not being able to make every spot really fun. So there’s a big balance of: we don’t want to make enormous areas, because it will take a lot of time to make every section very fun. Also, there’s the performance considerations that this is actually an extremely physics-heavy game. So we don’t really want to make enormous areas where there’s dozens of crates lying around and you interacting with the crates and doing all these spells on them and all these AIs moving around that are also fiddling with objects.

Chris M: That said, something that Justin has been talking about working on is making large areas where you can get a view of the whole thing, so you get some space to plan and see your options. They are not Skyrim sized open areas or anything. These are designed to be large and visible.

Chris S: Right, they are not as tiny as Thief 3 levels. They are, you know, they are modest.

Will: They are pretty good.

Chris M: They are visually impressive. They feel big, though.

Q: Classic games used to have cheat codes and other fun metaactivities when the game was completed, due to a depth satisfactory to the gamer. Would Underworld Ascendant benefit from such things in any way?

Will: So the modern thing for cheat codes is… you’ll see this in Grand Theft Auto… is that you can put in cheat codes in Grand Theft Auto, but it flags your savegame and you can’t get achievements. That was pretty much the fix, because achievements were the reason that everybody moved away from cheat codes, because you could just put in a cheat code that says, “Give me every achievement” and then you got every achievement, so we’ll pretty much be doing the same thing that once you put in the cheat code, you can do command line or other stuff, cause, whatever, might as well give you the command line, who cares, and then your save game will be flagged as a cheater and obviously you just can’t get the achievements if you’re cheating.

Chris M: And of course we take no responsibility for whatever dumb stuff you do with those powers.

Will: And please share any videos you make when you’re spawning hundreds of things, cause that’s awesome.

Q: What is the status of fast travel? Is there any? Moon doors? Or bs Skyrim “click on fast travel and be there”?

Chris S: Fast travel… no. Well, something like moon doors.

Chris M: Isn’t this the Underworld 2 thing, the portals?

Chris S: Yeah.

Will: So we’re talking about that or…?

Chris S: Yeah…

Sam: So that’s that answer.

Will: Yeah, I’d say Underworld 2 is the closest setup to it, because in Underworld 2 you didn’t really need fast travel, because the portals would just kind of take you where you needed to get. We are close to that, I guess, I don’t know. Calling it fast travel is a weird way to…

Chris S: So, fast travel – no, there’s no such thing.

Chris M: And that system is also still kind of…

Will: We are still building it up, in the end.

Chris M: It’s not done. I don’t know.

Chris S: Classic Otherside design right there. “It’s not done. I don’t know.” “What are you building?” “I’m not really sure yet.”.

Chris M: It works right now, but we could definitely pretty it up.

Sam: Just ship it.

Q: Will there be a hardcore mode? Where you can only save at the sapling?

Chris S: So this was an early debate that we are going to have to come back around on. I’m more than happy to just do the UI elements of hardcore mode and iron man, however you want to put it. There are some others that have fought against that, but I think we should make it official and just be like, can you beat the game without killing anybody and actually put that in as a mode.

Will: I’d be curious to find out how many of our backers would want that.

Chris S: Well, it’s just a checkbox, right?

Will: You can enforce hardcore mode on yourself by not saving…

Chris S: And that’s the argument, right? One mode I wanted to… we actually talked about putting into Thief 2… was a hardcore mode that if you died in a mission, we just deleted that save file. Back to the beginning, baby!

Sam: That’s hardcore.

Chris S: That is hardcore.

Will. Awesome! Just delete.

Chris M: Something that we talked about a lot, actually, is UI elements and how many of them there should be and how much they should help you out. You know, a lot of games these days will have quest markers where if you’re looking at the quest there’s an icon on the screen that tells you what direction to run and that kind of thing. And it has come up in playtest if people are getting lost, so there’s been some discussion on if we should have systems like that. Obviously, a lot of people here are opposed to that, because it’s too easy. It sounds like how we are probably going to end up is having some of that stuff, but then letting players disable it, but, I don’t know, that stuff is complicated too.

Q: When you replay, can you skip certain things?

Chris S: No comment. Again, it becomes… The way we are lining things up, that’s sort of not an accurate way to put it.

Will: I don’t want to skip the tutorial.

Chris S: Yeah, well, we are definitely… We will fight that one to the ends of the Earth.

Will: Yeah, I think so.

Q: Can you use rope arrows to pull objects towards you?

Chirs S: There are no rope arrows. Sorry, folks. But there are ways to pull objects towards you, so you… We didn’t want to go down the road of, if there’s a spell for something, to duplicate the effort by making it like a thief-flavored one or a fighter-flavored one. So fighter skills do one thing, the thief skills do another thing and magic kind of fills the rest of the gap. So, that way we weren’t duplicating work, basically.

Q: What tools/commands are going to be to help Testers report bugs in a concise way…for reproduction/finding/squashing by the Devs?

Will: We already have a bunch of command line commands. We just put in a really useful one: that repeat command where you can repeat whatever command you put in. We can pretty much create any item in the game, spawn any monster, you can write down your location… I also have all the other ones, like getting your system info, up and running, so there’s that.

Chris M: I think they had a command to dump the console to a text file too if people want to see stuff like that.

Will: That would be cool.

Chris S: That’s just easier for me to read. My biggest complaint about Unity is it’s not made for 47-year-old developers. Freaking text is so small.

Chris M: We probably should have it upon reporting. A window or something, actually.

Will: I can add in something like that. I had that on a few of my games in college that you’d open up a window and submit a bug report and then it would go and…

Chris S: What’s nice about if you do that is that then there’s the next step that we can do it then after ship and leave it in there so people can just send us stuff.

Will: Because the game is… Since it’s heavy physics based, it’s kind of been buggy. Whee! So, having a player bug-reporting thing…

Chris S: Although… there’s a couple really common ones that I haven’t seen in our game yet. Like enemies just flying into space and stuff.

Chris M: I have seen that.

Chris S: Oh, have you?

Chris M: Because of work I have been doing. Water physics.

Sam: You were able to jump on… You were able to jump pretty high on certain things.

Chris M: Oh, there was that bug where you…

Will: Where you jumped on the rippers? Yeah. The best was when the skeleton AIs were like…

Sam: 50 feet into the air.

Will: …on top of the rippers being like boing boing.

Q: Is there going to be any combat based on the player skill, or will it just be working through skill trees to unlock abilities?

Chris S: Okay, so this is the Deus Ex versus the Thief question. We are not going to be gimping the player’s natural ability. He might not have the ability to do certain actions, but we are not going to artificially ruin your aim or artificially make you fatigued for swinging your sword or whatever. We are starting at 0 and going up. We are not starting at negative 58 and going to 0 and then up.

Chris M: Have we talked a little about the skill unlocks and that stuff at all? Should we talk about that?

Chris S: I don’t know. I don’t even know what you guys [the engineers] are doing. [laughs]

Sam: You could explain at a high level.

Chris M: At a high level… instead of just getting experience… grinding for experience points and using those to unlock skills, we are going to try to have a system where when you do cool actions that will be reflected in the system of unlocking abilities related to that cool action and give you skill points to accept it.

Chris S: Hope it works.

Sam: We’ll find out.

Q: If you had to sum up this game into one sentence, what would it be?

Will: See if I can do this. Underworld Ascendant is a… let’s see… immersive sim RPG sandbox where you are underground in a dungeon and interact with lots of things. It kind of broke down half-way through.

Chris M: Now do that with one word.

Will: I would say immersive.

Chris S: I’d say simulation.

Will: Ooh, simulation. Okay, yeah, I’d lean more towards the simulation…

Chris S: The thing that I always keep in the back of my head is I just keep thinking of this as a dungeon simulation.

Sam: That’s true.

Q: Will there be rewards for not saving frequently? Such as enemies that only pop up after x minutes of not saving, or items, etc?

Chris S: Hah, so like another version of hardcore, yeah that’s interesting.

Will: Oh, [??? 1:12:26] going to be done.

Chris M: No, just not [??? 1:12:27] anything.

Q: Will there be puzzle weapons, like in Bards Tale IV?

Chris S: No. No puzzle weapons.

Q: Will there be toggle switches in the options menu for things like object highlights for interactive objects?

Chris M: That’s actually basically what I was talking about, right? How much UI help are we going to give players. Hopefully the answer is some and we let you turn it off, but we are still figuring it out where the line is.

Will: Yeah, there’s a lot of us here that don’t want a bunch of crap on screen. Like I don’t want the health bar to always be on screen, because you don’t always want to know how much health you have and a lot of us have been coming to the conclusion that it’s… any time you look at an item and it tells you what name it is, someone in the room is like, “Can you add that as an option in the options menu to disable that?” So yeah, rest assured: you have a voice in the room.

Comment in chat: Tried to play the latest Mordor with UI disabled - just does not work.

Chris S: Yes, you are absolutely correct. Mordor was not designed to be played with the UI disabled. I tried to do the same thing. There’s a couple of them that have to be on, unfortunately. They were a little lazy on some of their reactions and stuff, so it was really hard to tell like… I’m in stealth or I’m not or guy can see me, but not really see me yet. They really rely on that chevron quite a bit.

Q: But apart from a fast travel mechanic a portal with a to the player unknown exit point could be fun, one way perhaps?

Chris M: I really like that teleport spell idea.

Sam: You just see a random portal and take a leap of faith.

Chris M: I think Tim would really like that. That would really play well into the creative spell system

Chris S: Yeah, alright, we are writing that one down.

Chris M: So maybe not a random place, but we try to guess and then maybe it’s interesting or maybe…

Will: …maybe it’s in lava. I like that. It’s cool.

Sam: Do you really trust a random portal you see? Maybe.

Chris M: Always.

Q: I suppose there will be swimming, but what about diving?

Chris S: We haven’t played too much around with swimming and water interaction too much yet, so…

Will: Diving? I wouldn’t expect that much from the swimming. Think about Half-Life 2 and how much swimming was in that. I don’t think we are going to get much more in depth than that. It’s like, yay, you’re in water and you’re swimming.

Chris S: I guess diving would be like falling with style, right?

Will: In first person, diving is like, okay, your arms will go like that I guess? [makes diving motion]

Chris M: I really love in Far Cry 3, if you’re jumping into water and if there’s enough distance between your jump point and the water, you actually do…

Chris S: That’s great. It’s actually funnier in Primal, if you do that, because you’re a cave man and haven’t figured out swimming yet, you just start screaming. And your arms will go like this. [waves arms frantically]

Will: That’s amazing.

Chris M: That game, out of the Far Cries, it’s pretty underrated. I really enjoy it.


Good work Starker. Thankyou.


Nice job.

I’m not quite sure what exactly is said at some of the [??] parts, but I believe the word at [?? 1:12:58] is “much”, and the words at [?? 1:14:37] are either “in water” or “and water”.


The big spaces thing (and others)…

I’m okay with the no-single-enormous space megadome-opolis…but I hope there are long labrynthine passages, and that the levels can be physically long, narrow and twisting…basically the exploration elements running wild.

The packing-in of-physics-elements and ‘packed with interesting things areas’ comments sound an alert …like too many Aladin’s caves scenarios, where you’re aways feasting, never fasting. The key here is balance.

There has to be sparseness to this game in places, to spike the thing. Famine and feast etc. You don’t want a this is a glorified screenshot generator,for example. Also, I hope it’s not visually over-saturated.

Athough not addressed directly in this session, I’m also hoping the shaping and storyline are front and centre to about the same extent as the first two, and that the simulation aspects are fully integrated into that, rather than the story being in the background as a way of showcasing all the other elements. In other words, not an accessory. Player-authored, yes, but fundamentally story-driven…

I’m also always surprised at how much is casual and still up-for-grabs…unless that’s the house-style speaking. Still, it seems to be bubbling along nicely.


These are all very nice answers. Considering how many of the questions I asked, I probably should help with this. Unfortunately, my current rig is broken, and I am in the middle of setting up a new one. If the transcript is not done by then, I’ll be happy to type. Also, I am glad they are taking my “teleport to a random location” spell seriously. It might help if we had a chat transcript, and not just the video replies, but the feedback from the entire forum on these ideas is going to be great. Also, some great answers from the team. I am getting more sold on their vision the more data they breadcrumb to us players.


Thank you, Starker.


Damn, just noticed that I’ve misspelt Will’s surname. My kingdom for an edit button!

Thanks! That makes sense.


Great resource, Starker! I hope you don’t mind, I edited in some of the missing words for your post (and fixed Will’s last name; no one has to know! :wink: )

I know Sandro was also working on transcribing in the second hour, so I think I’ll tackle transcribing a segment in the first hour if I have time. Should we post our transcriptions separately here and then I edit them into Starker’s first post so everything’s in one place?


…Yup, one place and ‘stickied’ would be good.

Ah yes, a random teleport spell, Dawnrazor, not a bad idea. There needs to be an element of risk with it.


This is cool stuff. I am interested in how the skill system is going to work.

I had to miss the roundtable due to finishing my PhD dissertation and look forward to those that are coming up.


Yup. In my original post I suggested an object or a spell that could teleport you to a random location. The downside would be you could end up in hot lava. :wink:


1:15:40 – 1:30:00

Q: Other than wall-running and mantling, will there be other parkour abilities?

Will: You can slide. Depending on how deep the angle is of the floor that you are sliding on and what kind of surface it is, you can slide down it. Definitely tell me any ideas for other parkour things, because that would be awesome.

Chris S: You can slide, you can mantle… We should probably come back around on hurdle.

Chris M: Hurdle?

Chris S: Hurdle is like mantle, but over…

Will: Yeah, automatically, without having to press the…

Chris S: That we could put in jersey barriers everywhere.

Chris M: [??? 1:16:29] now, if you’re holding forward you’ll go up to a thing, go up and then just keep going.

Will: Yeah, but if you compare that to a… There’s a game, one of the Bethesda games, I think, where depending on where you’re looking… If you’re looking up, and run into a table that’s about this height, you’ll just automatically slide right over.

Chris M: The thing we have been talking about is not taking control away from the players and that would be a situation where we don’t want to just be… Okay, now you’re locked into this sliding animation. You take your hands of W, that’s it, you’re done. You can just be standing there.

Sam: Right.

Will: Yeah, yeah.

Chris S: That theory and reality sometimes don’t…

Q: Will getting yourself wet / swimming have negative consequences? I.e. will it make sense to look for a place where one can avoid getting into water?

Chris S: Probably.

Sam: Avoiding water for sure.

Will: Probably. I never thought about the wet status effect. Especially… So I’ve been playing the Divinity 2, recently…

Chris S: Alligators at [??? 1:17:34].

Will: Divinity 2 has like the Fallout mental system and they have status effects where you can be wet or soaked, or you can be cold or frozen. And if you’re cold and you take more water damage, then you become frozen and if you’re wet and take lightning damage, then you take way more damage. So that actually brings up a lot of ideas. We don’t have tons of lightning and stuff in the game, but maybe wet would give you a resistance towards fire. I actually kind of like that.

Q: Double jumping!

Chris S: It’s not… Is it in anymore?

Will: Yeah, it’s still in. We still got double jumping.

Chris M: It’s a skill that you [??? 1:18:15] a skill.

Chris S: Triple jumping? [laughs]

Will: You guys made me take out the triple jump, because you were hitting the ceilings in every level!

Chris S: Triple jump got taken out because my 12-year-old son told you it was dumb.

Will: [laughs] I thought it was awesome.

Chris M: You can wall jump into a double jump, so it’s like…

Will: And your double jump gets reset every wall that you wallrun on, so you can wallrun, do a double jump, wallrun again, do another double jump…

Q: Quest logs? Q: Quest at all?

Chris S: That’s all still being hashed out.

Will: Yes, we are building a quest system. There will be quests. You will have a quest log. You can see what quest you are currently on. We are still debating what we want to do in terms of showing in previous quests that you completed.

Chris M: I think it would be really interesting to show them. And then also show how the world state changed after a quest is complete, but it’s a lot of data to keep track of and also just to display.

Will: Yeah. I think at the very least we can show it a bit like in Skyrim where it shows: hey you completed these and then cross out. It would be a good starting point.

Q: Will inventory be based on weight, or on inventory squares (how many squares each objects takes up)?

Will: We are not going to base that on weight. Encumbrance is annoying.

Chris S: Yeah, we’re not doing inventory tetris. It’s just squares with the icon of the thing in it.

Q: What about the Breath Bar while “being” underwater ?

Sam: Underwater areas.

Chris S: Right now we have… We don’t have any thought of doing expansive underwater stuff.

Will: Underwater is like… I wouldn’t expect anything interesting down there. We are designing to make it really dark under there, because we are not going to spend lots of art time to make underwater plants and all this stuff when we could be spending that art time to make plants above water that look awesome.

Chris M: Have you guys talked about the environment alteration stuff at all? Is that stuff in?

Will: Nope.

Chris M: I have no idea what we have talked about or what we are about to talk about. We are trying to build a system where you can raise or lower the water level. So, areas that are inaccessible normally, you can raise the water level and then swim to. That’s kind of the interesting stuff we are trying to do with water, rather than making swimming and doing puzzles in the water and that kind of stuff. I’m sure we all remember in Deus Ex where there’s a swimming skill and you can make frogman builds and that’s great, but there’s, like, two levels with water in it. You don’t need to go super far down that road. It’s not a game about water.

Will: There’s also the water level trope thing, which is: the water level in games is always the worst level. It’s always the worst level, because in Mario you learned how to jump and you learned how to land on enemies and then you hit the water level and everything you learned is now out the window and you’re playing a totally different game that’s not even fun.

Chris M: Trying to control a third person character that’s swimming always feels weird.

Will: Yeah, that’s true.

Q: Lava - are there different types? And one sentence with UU and Lava in it plz

Chris S: I’m not sure where we have landed with lava at this point. One sentence with UU and lava… In Underworld Ascendant we are not sure we are doing the lava yet. There’s my sentence.

Q: Will there be a nemesis system?

Chris S: Oh my god, I wish, but no.

Sam: Wouldn’t that be hilarious?

Chris M: There is, sort of. It’s not a direct, “Oh this guy doesn’t like you,” but there are consequences to your actions within quests that will make enemies [??? 1:21:54].

Chris S: Yeah, it’s on a faction level, it’s not on an individual level.

Q: Eco system – food supply – is it possible to run out of supply, or will it grow endlessly?

Chris S: Is it possible to run out of food? Yes. Will it grow? No comment. It might, it might not.

Sam: We’ll see.

Chris S: There’s a plant system that Will prototyped that has been in and out four or five times now. Right now it’s in. So, finish building it. [laughter]

Will: Yes, DDO’s admin fly ability was off the swim stat. I don’t even know if we have a fly command yet.

Chris S: I love water too. [raises glass] [reaction to comment in chat]

Chris M: No, we have a ghost camera, but the speed is fixed right now.

Will: And honestly, since there isn’t a lot of swimming and water stuff in this game, swimming and water skills… I think we are going to pretty much throw those out the window, sadly, but if there isn’t a lot of interesting things to do in the water, who’s going to want to spend a skill point on swimming.

Q: The silver sapling – is this the respawning thing?

Chris S: The silver sapling is a respawning thing.

Q: What is the quest log going to look like visually?

Chris S: I have no idea.

Chris M: I’m a big fan of diegetic UI, so personally what I would love to see is an area in Marcaul where you walk in and there’s literally a book with all the quests you’ve done and you can flip the pages and see stuff and maybe there’s some other representation. Trophies and that kind of thing. That’s probably way out of…

Chris S: And you just… maybe you just made some artist cry.

Sam: I’m sooo upset.

Chris M: For me, that would be the ideal. I think what’s more likely is there will probably be UI that looks like a scroll or a book.

Q: Since there are water arrows, what other arrow types can we expect?

Chris S: The only arrows that I have as definites right now is a water arrow and an explosive arrow and a broadhead arrow. There are a whole bunch of others we could go down, but we are starting conservatively with those.

Q: Is it save at any point or savepoints right now?

Will: Right now I think we are doing… you can only save in the town center area, the quest hub area, whatever you want to call the village or whatever.

Sam: [reading comment in chat] Bear-tip arrows.

Chris: Which shoots bears. [growls]

Will: There’s a big reason we are doing that and one of the biggest reasons is a technical thing that we don’t want to see, if… we don’t have to… I don’t have a ton of engineers to be writing down all the stuff that’s…

Chris S. Like savestates.

Will S: Yeah, savestate is now this big file and this object was right here with this much velocity and all that. That’s just… yeah, we are not that big of a… little place.

Chris M: Something I do want to do with arrows, and I tried to prototype this a while ago and it didn’t work great, is that I’d love for the arrows to be basically just physics objects that are like a [??? 1:24:58] your bows. You can go set them on fire and you can shoot something with it.

Chris S: We thought about that. We thought about attaching the rope to it and all sorts of stuff

Chris M: Attaching glue to an arrow and shooting something with it.

Chris S: Yeah, we thought about all this and the answer right now is no.

Chris M: The answer right now is I’m going to be here some Saturday night and …

Chris S: Yeah, I’m not saying never, but… That was definitely one of the earlier goals with it but right now just to get it in and get it going is like… we got the water arrow, something that can create a fire is the next one and everything else is sort of off the table at the moment. But if we can come back and if we… You know how it is, if we do something cool, usually it ends up in the game

Chris M: Right, and that’s the thing – I hit a technical limitation with it and that’s the reason it’s not in the game right now and I haven’t had time to go back to it.

Q: Will most core systems be simple and independent, or are you leaning more toward lots of interconnections and surprising second-order effects?

Chris S: Core systems are… they are not simple and independent, they are all interconnected just the way the real world is.

Chris M: That’s really our design mantra.

Chris S: Yeah… traps are mechanical and they work by mechanical means and they are not just some scripted event.

Chris M: There are pushback physics forces, you can block them…

Chris S: Hit them with a hammer, whatever.

Chris M: They can hit you.

Chris S: Which of course has put us in a place of… now what does the thief do? [laughter]

Q: Only save in town. And experience points for not saving.

Will: Oh man. That’s a good idea. Like if you’re doing hardcore mode.

Chris S: You can only save in town and you get more experience points if you just take the next mission and go.

Will: Oh man, that’s so evil.

Sam: Hardcore.

Chris S: That’s kind of awesome.

Will: Some of the old games I was playing there was this evil thing that would give you ten saves total and you’re like, “I don’t even know how many levels are in the game! Should I use my save?” So evil.

Chris M: The problem that I have I think with permadeath and hardcore modes and not saving and that sort of thing is that it really discourages you from trying weird skittles out and saving [??? 1:27:22] experimenting. It’s another… sounds good on paper, but it’s a fine line to walk.

Chris S: Again, if it’s optional, then… kumbaya, right?

Sam: Yeah, let them do it.

Chris S: We are doing that as the baseline. [laughter]

Q: Can you kick enemies into spiked bear pits?

Chris S: We do not have spiked bear pits at the moment. We are [snap snap??? 1:27:46] puppy.

Will: No bears.

Q: Arrows coated with supernatural poisons :stuck_out_tongue:
Q: Yeah, I that’s a great question. Will there be poisons?

Chris S: Status effects are still up in the air.

Will: Yeah.

Chris S: If we did poison, I really want to go down the poison cloud route more than tipping weapons in poison route.

Chris M: Yeah, I don’t think gamers ever find it super interesting.

Chris S: No.

Q: Random thought: would it be possible to freeze mechanical traps so they can’t be triggered temporarily?

Chris S: If we had freezing stuff in right now, yes, that would work.

Q: Can you tell us about the different character types, like fighter/warrior, sage/wizzard, etc. Will there be more types, like a shepard?

Chris M: We don’t have specific character archetypes. I guess we are planning around roughly fighter warrior [probably meant to say wizard] rogue, but as a player you can take skills from everything or one thing or nothing, I guess. We really want you to figure out what you like and build your character in that way.

Q: Where are you at with weapons/armor breaking over time or not?

Chris S: Weapons break. Armor breaks. Named magic items do not break.

Will: You were saying that they break differently, though, than in Zelda.

Chris S: Yes.

Will: In Zelda they are deleted if they break, but I think you guys were talking about…

Chris S: We added a degrade system. Very simple one, though.

Will: …you can always swing it, but now it’s a broken sword.

Chris S: Right, so what you [??? 1:24:27] getting out of this, if you have a long sword and you swing it and it breaks, it’s now broken sword, which is actually our lowest tier of equipment. Like… femur, wrench, broken sword, rusty dagger. So when you break your sword, it becomes broken sword and it won’t degrade past that. We didn’t want to put the player in a place where it was completely useless. Just mostly useless.


AHh, another great addition Starker!

Just discovered that one post on our forums can’t exceed a certain amount of characters, so I can’t add your new addition to the first post… should I make a google doc or something?


Yeah, that’s a good idea. That way anyone can download it without having to copypaste it all and losing the formatting.


You are a godsend Starker. Two thoughts: since areas are smaller, I am counting on them having more density of detail. This includes the visual aspect. Second, since armor has conditions and breaks, any chance of having spells which break armor? For instance, that fireball spell you failed to dodge lights up your broadheads, and makes your steel weapon too hot to handle.


Hoping inline comments are OK…

[b]Q: Will most core systems be simple and independent, or are you leaning more toward lots of interconnections and surprising second-order effects?[/b]

Chris S: Core systems are… they are not simple and independent, they are all interconnected just the way the real world is.

Chris M: That’s really our design mantra.

Outstanding. I think there are a couple of related pleasures that come from playing with a simulation: 1) perceiving the patterns behind the visible effects, and 2) being surprised by new emergent effects.

Building plenty of connections between systems enables chaotic effects; enforcing fencepost settings clamps those effects to prevent game-breaking stuff. You get the surprise of simulation within the rules of gameplay.

So this sounds great to me.

[b]Q: Is it save at any point or savepoints right now?[/b]

Will: Right now I think we are doing… you can only save in the town center area, the quest hub area, whatever you want to call the village or whatever.

…say what? I think this must of have one of the parts of the roundtable I missed, because WHOA.

Unless there’s some hard technical reason that forces this kind of limitation on saving in normal (not hardcore) mode for UA, I strongly hope the team will reconsider this decision.

There are two reasons for this. One is what Chris S said:

Chris M: The problem that I have I think with permadeath and hardcore modes and not saving and that sort of thing is that it really discourages you from trying weird skittles out and saving [??? 1:27:22] experimenting. It's another... sounds good on paper, but it's a fine line to walk.

I agree with this in full. Exploration-friendly games – and I count the Looking Glass-type games as among the greatest of these – don’t punish the player for trying crazy ideas. (Note that “exploration” means a lot more than just “visiting new locations.”) If you get yourself horribly murderized, you just reload and try something else.

But not being able to save before trying a new idea significantly increases the risk of losing accumulated state. Deliberately not implementing free saving in normal-mode play is IMO a form of punishing the player because it’s not a necessary means of increasing the challenge level of gameplay. There are plenty of ways to increase kinesthetic or intellectual or emotional challenge that don’t require artificially gimping players from saving their current state.

The second reason is that the developers who choose to restrict saving in normal mode play of a CRPG (i.e., not a hard technical limitation, and not a kind of game that shouldn’t have free saving such as a multiplayer game) are imposing their idea of “how the game should be played” over the player’s.

I would honestly be shocked if a Looking Glass descendant, making a game that hopes to capture the feel of the original Underworld games, and that clearly is trying really hard to deliver a “play your way” experience, would insist on a design choice (in normal mode) that is all about restricting player freedom.

If this does turn out to be the case, I’d genuinely be interested in an explanation for how discouraging players from experimenting – by restricting saving – is consistent with spending so much effort on building the Improvisation Engine and game content that showcases it, and with letting players freely select character skills rather than limiting them to character class-specific skills. Not to argue about it (although I might, a little :wink: ), but because I’d like to understand it.

Sorry for jumping on this. Virtually everything else sounded great.


A quick spell to rewind time would help you undo most mistakes. And try alternative solutions.


Assuming OtherSide want to copy a Prince of Persia mechanic, it’s still the case that this would require implementing an extra feature versus saving/loading gamestate being something that’s already required for a CRPG. The only question is whether access to these required capabilities is restricted.

There is the technical/implementation concern of designing the saving and loading to be relatively fast, which gets into how game world data is structured. But assuming that’s done with some efficiency, whether to enable it everywhere or not is not a technical decision, it’s a design decision.

I’m not a complete absolutist on this, though. If a “rewind” was functionally similar to reloading, then that would reduce my objection to restrictions on saving/reloading.

The thing is, since saving/reloading are already implemented in the full game (because they have to be unless everyone must play in Super-Hardcore-One-Life Mode), a rewind feature would be extra work. If you’re going to do both save/reload and rewind, then to get value out of implementing rewind it probably ought to be implemented as a key, active, PoP-like gameplay feature… which might actually tie in with the “memora” concept of UA. Maybe.


I’m assuming that’s just the current state of things and it will be save anywhere in the released game. If not, that’s certainly a big departure from what has been said earlier.


Added a link to the Google Doc at the top post of this thread, but I’ll also paste it here just in case:

Please Note!
If you would like to add your own additions to the transcript, please do so on the Google Doc here. ANYONE can edit, so please be courteous.