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RPGWatch Forums » Games » Indie RPG » Malevolence: Sword of Ahkranox public beta is live!

Default Malevolence: Sword of Ahkranox public beta is live!

February 4th, 2013, 04:00
For the dungeon crawlers out there - the Malevolence: Sword of Ahkranox beta is now open to the public. You can download the game directly from their website or get the official torrent. The only thing you can't do in the demo mode is save your game. Kickstarter backers and pre-orders have full access to saving.

I've been playing around with it today (I backed the Kickstarter), and it's pretty fun so far. The game can be brutal - so you've got to be careful when crawling through the dungeons. There are lots of traps and some of them are insta-kill. Luckily there is a way to detect and disarm traps if you're careful. I like that there are also secret doors to be found. Still figuring out how things work…

The game world is infinite and heavily uses procedural content creation. I think of it as a mix of Dungeon Hack, Might & Magic, roguelikes, and Elder Scrolls (Daggerfall especially). Movement is step / grid-based like M&M / Wizardry / Grimrock, though you can free-look around with the mouse. Combat is turn-based.

The game is still a bit rough around the edges. In particular some of the graphics / fonts don't scale very well to different resolutions. Hopefully this is improved in a later bit of polish. But the core gameplay is intact and I'm having fun with it.
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February 4th, 2013, 05:03
Yeah, a bit more then that is missing:

Magic items
Some shops
Random magic spell system
travel system
a bunch of the monsters.

But it is playable, just missing some fun stuff.

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February 4th, 2013, 15:32
Installed and played it very briefly. I made it to the dungeon in the cemetary before I fell into a spiked pit and died. Didn't get to experience combat because I didn't encounter a single foe up to that point. Very pixely even on the highest detail setting.

The intro video won't play correctly for me. It stutters badly and the audio cuts in and out. Any ideas?

What is "Alpha Level" for in the launcher settings?
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February 4th, 2013, 22:03
About the traps - there is a purple gem that lights up on the interface when you detect a trap nearby. When you see that light up (it also makes a soft bell sound) - start clicking the ground in the nearby squares - that's how the traps can be disabled. Some require a trap kit though.

It is indeed very pixelated, especially during outside travel. I'm kind of baffled why it looks like that - it's almost like it's rendering internally at a very low resolution. I think they are working on supporting higher resolutions.

There are many reports on the official forums about problems with the video. I'm having stuttering on mine too. I think they haven't worked out the bugs with that.

I figured out what Alpha level does - basically it determines how dark the dungeons will be. If you set it to 255 you'll see clearly in dungeons even without any light sources. If it's at 0 you won't be able to see anything unless you have a light source or there are light sources built into the dungeon. Setting it in the middle will determine how far your vision goes before it gets pitch black.

I hope that helps some. There is a lot of useful info on their forums if you're interested in digging into it more.
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February 5th, 2013, 11:06
Played for a little longer today. This time I chose the second option when speaking to the hooded woman at the beginning, and she teleported me to the middle of nowhere. After wandering around aimlessly for awhile, I found an underwater entrance to a dungeon in a lake. Fought a minotaur and killed it, but was left with very little health and was killed by a goblin shortly thereafter.

I'm guessing that choosing not to stay in the starting area was a bad idea. I assume the dungeon near where you start out probably has weaker enemies and some better weapons/armor to find.

This game seems like it could be a lot of fun when it's finished, but right now there's too little content in the world for it to be very interesting to me. It seems like the only time you encounter/find anything at all is when you're underground.
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February 5th, 2013, 13:11
Yeah the second option when you talk to the starting NPC is basically if you want a fresh area to explore. It's possible you'll find level-appropriate stuff that way but since they send you to a random location there's no telling what you'll find, or if there will be any towns nearby. The advantage to the default starting area is the town pretty close by (just a couple sections to the south). And there are several dungeons in the area. By the way, checking the maps often is key to finding points of interest - towns and dungeons have distinct icons in the local area map.

I got a quest in that town to clean out one of the dungeons. There must be several floors because I'm only on floor 3 and still have 50+ monsters to kill. It's been fun though - I'm steadily upgrading my gear with things I find, and occasionally the blacksmith has something interesting. I've found a couple of spellbooks as well, which added to my spell choices.

You are right there isn't much in the overworld to do except explore to find towns and dungeons - though you can also find items hidden around, in urns for example. They have plans for adding roaming monsters outside at nighttime soon. But yeah, most of the action is in the dungeons for now.

I'm starting to see the missing features the more I play - it's definitely not feature-complete. For example I have a ton of random items I assume are intended for crafting (alchemy I guess?) - but I see no way to craft yet. But the game sure has potential if they get everything implemented, and polish up the graphics a bit. It's strangely addictive even in this unfinished state.
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February 6th, 2013, 09:06
Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
I got a quest in that town to clean out one of the dungeons. There must be several floors because I'm only on floor 3 and still have 50+ monsters to kill. It's been fun though - I'm steadily upgrading my gear with things I find, and occasionally the blacksmith has something interesting. I've found a couple of spellbooks as well, which added to my spell choices.
The quest given to you by the guard in that first town? South and West of the starting area right? I played around in there for awhile today. Seems like a pretty big dungeon to start out in. I hope all the dungeons don't look the same, because I can see myself getting burnt out on them real fast. I got to level 2 and found a helmet and a better sword, but I ended up quitting while still on the first floor.

One thing I definitely like is the music. In particular, that piece that plays during the load screen when you're entering the town. It's *very* similar to something from a older game, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

This game has tons of potential, but I think I'm done for now. It's not grabbing me hard enough to pay to unlock the demo. I'll pick it up again after a few updates to see how it's progressing.
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February 6th, 2013, 12:04
Originally Posted by JDR13 View Post
The quest given to you by the guard in that first town? South and West of the starting area right? I played around in there for awhile today. Seems like a pretty big dungeon to start out in. I hope all the dungeons don't look the same, because I can see myself getting burnt out on them real fast. I got to level 2 and found a helmet and a better sword, but I ended up quitting while still on the first floor.

One thing I definitely like is the music. In particular, that piece that plays during the load screen when you're entering the town. It's *very* similar to something from a older game, but I can't quite put my finger on it.

This game has tons of potential, but I think I'm done for now. It's not grabbing me hard enough to pay to unlock the demo. I'll pick it up again after a few updates to see how it's progressing.
Yeah that dungeon is massive - many floors and each floor is huge. There's definitely some balancing issues they need to work on if this is a starter quest. The original kill count I needed was something like 80+ monsters, and there are sometimes maybe 10 at the most per floor. As for the dungeon looks - I've seen one other dungeon variant so far (a mine) but really haven't been around enough to know what other variants there are. I think they are working on some more dungeon sets.

I'm very impressed by the music as well - to the point where I copied the mp3s to another folder so I can listen to it while doing other things. Some of it reminds me of Elder Scrolls stuff - I could see maybe a Jeremy Soule influence on the composer. The ambient dungeon tracks are suitably creepy and atmospheric too.

I can understand waiting on purchasing - the game needs some fleshing out for sure. The developer seems very active with adding changes and features so hopefully things improve pretty quickly. I'll keep this thread updated.
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February 6th, 2013, 14:00
Originally Posted by Myrkrel View Post
I'm very impressed by the music as well - to the point where I copied the mp3s to another folder so I can listen to it while doing other things. Some of it reminds me of Elder Scrolls stuff - I could see maybe a Jeremy Soule influence on the composer. The ambient dungeon tracks are suitably creepy and atmospheric too..
Cool, I didn't realize the music tracks were in MP3 format in the game folder. The track I was referring to is TownLoad.mp3.

And yeah.. keep us updated. I definitely plan on returning to this game in the future.
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February 7th, 2013, 02:51
You guys do realize it is procedurally generated right? Many features are not yet implemented, mostly an early beta or late alpha of the game. You are not both going to get the same quest from the same guy. Also, equipment is generated the same way.

I'm really waiting to see how the magic system turns out with magic weapons and crafting and such. It is meant to play a lot like a rogue. It is also a kickstarter game.

They already have plans for an expansion.

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February 7th, 2013, 03:14
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
You are not both going to get the same quest from the same guy.
Actually world is same for everyone procedural generation is used to make it infinite.
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February 7th, 2013, 03:57
Originally Posted by rune_74 View Post
You guys do realize it is procedurally generated right? Many features are not yet implemented, mostly an early beta or late alpha of the game. You are not both going to get the same quest from the same guy. Also, equipment is generated the same way.
I'm well aware it uses procedural generation (as I said in my first post)! All that I've said still applies. Procedural doesn't necessarily mean random - though they do randomize some things like loot. It's still up to the designer to balance the procedural system out, depending on the game design vision.

I didn't know if the quests are generated randomly - I just assumed we got a similar kind of quest / location. Dungeon / world layouts are definitely the same for every player though, as stated by the developer.
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February 7th, 2013, 06:35
The way I understand it, is that the location of certain things are the same but the actual layout of say a dungeon is randomly generated to an extant, meaning we may see the same dungeon at said location but it won't be the same inside. I may be wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is the way it works.

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February 7th, 2013, 07:56
Oh hmm I thought I had read a while back that the dungeon layouts were not randomized each playthrough, but maybe you're right.
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February 7th, 2013, 20:53
Well I think I figured it out now about the dungeons - they are indeed the same layout for all players. I was watching someone's "first impressions" video in which they were in one of the starter area dungeons. Comparing the layout he was getting with the one I had of the same dungeon - they were the same.

Monster and loot placement is random though - maybe traps as well, though I didn't confirm that.
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February 8th, 2013, 03:16
I was wrong

http://www.malevolencegame.com/forum…/dungeons.714/

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February 13th, 2013, 01:45
Here's an interesting podcast interview with Alex Norton (developer of Malevolence): http://zedgamesau.net/podcasts/episode-155

Lots of insightful info about the game and how it came about.
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February 18th, 2013, 07:05
Hey guys just wanted you to know an update went live with a bunch of fixes and additions….

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March 31st, 2013, 00:40
A new major update is out:
In a nutshell, the major features of this update are as follows:

- Procedural spells
- Procedural weapon enchantments
- Procedural armour enchantments
- Procedural scrolls
- Play in windowed mode
- New graphical compatibility mode for older computers
- Changed the way that saved games work to make them more backwards compatible
- You can now take screenshots! Press PRINT SCREEN to do so, then check inside your SCREENSHOTS folder in your game directory
- Al-aeks will always start you near a town
- Smeggit has been immortalized
- Difficulty balancing is COMPLETELY different and poses more of a challenge in certain situations, such as going deeper in dungeons
- Lots of new voicework
- New things to find in the countryside (abandoned shacks and corpses and other lovelies)
- If you load a saved game that's in a dungeon, you'll load back at the door to the floor you were on, not at the start of the dungeon.
Haven't had time to really dig into it yet - have you played the update rune_74?
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April 1st, 2013, 01:29
yes, as a matter of fact…today even.

Pretty cool they have slowed down leveling by a lot and added the magic weapon and armor to the game. Really makes a difference. Now it really feels more like a game now.

Still a lot to add, but definitely interesting now.

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