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Default Underrail, formerly known as Timelapse Vertigo

August 2nd, 2012, 16:00
Originally Posted by crpgnut View Post
Goody, so you're ready for some beta-demo testers, right?
Not quite yet. Soon.
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August 2nd, 2012, 18:44
Add me to the short list of beta-testers, please.
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August 4th, 2012, 18:08
Title Screen

I present you Underrail's title screen. Drawn by Diego Candia.

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August 4th, 2012, 20:35
That's a nice shot!!! Can we play with it now? =p



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August 8th, 2012, 18:06
Optimized and Packaged

I've got the remaining audio stuff done rather quickly. I've added a few more atmospheric drones so that each area type (caves, lake, metro…) has its own now. They are not perfect fits, but they'll have to do until I get someone to do a real soundtrack. The only thing that is sorely missing is the main theme music, though I guess it's forgivable for an alpha version.

Next, I cleared up that pile of minor bugs that was sitting in the corner, and I also did significant optimizations in couple of areas in the engine:
  • I optimized the isometric renderer so it works a lot faster now and should have no problems rendering at higher resolutions where there's a lot of tiles on the screen
  • I've optimized the way the processing time is distributed between sight, lightning and pathfinding components; the major CPU hogger, the pathfinding, should now properly use the time unspent by the other components; this, coupled with freeing up more time by optimizing the renderer, should have game running smoothly at all times
  • The NPC now move near-instantly while out of sight of the player during turn based combat, so this should speed the combat up a lot in areas where there are patrolling NPCs

I've also got all the deployment stuff out of the way:
  • I've got the release build running once again and did some smoke testing. It works just fine and I only found a couple of bugs, which makes me a bit uneasy because I was expecting more problems considering how long it has been since I last ran it (my release config looks quite a bit different from the debugging one).
  • I've also made an installer and tested it on a clean WinXP SP3 install and it works (downloads and installs all the .NET prerequisites automatically).
Now that I've got all this technical stuff out of the way, I can get back to finishing that last bit of content for the demo which includes:
  • one more creature
  • couple of more quests
  • some AI stuff
This should be done by the next weekend (17th) when I have dedicated testing marathon scheduled. By the end of that weekend the alpha demo will be ready, but it will not go public until later that week.

In any case, it's on the home stretch now.
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August 12th, 2012, 15:02
I'm impressed how quickly you've gotten this all together. Looking forward to it

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August 12th, 2012, 19:38
Originally Posted by ToddMcF2002 View Post
I'm impressed how quickly you've gotten this all together. Looking forward to it
Thanks. I was kind of expecting it to take longer as well.
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August 16th, 2012, 19:06
The title screen looks very nice, its an attention getter for sure.
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August 16th, 2012, 23:16
Originally Posted by Toff View Post
The title screen looks very nice, its an attention getter for sure.
Thanks.
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August 16th, 2012, 23:17
Forum is online

This is just a quick update to let you guys know I finally got around to setting up the forum. So if you have any questions hop over to http://www.underrail.com/forums. I would especially appreciate if you take your time to report any bugs you encounter in the upcoming demo and, of course, provide feedback on various game aspects.

Speaking of demo it's now content complete. That is, I got all the content I planned for the demo done. Tomorrow, I'm having some friends over and we'll be play testing it throughout the weekend to ensure there are no showstopping bugs or glaring imbalances and also that the game and its individual parts are not too hard or too easy.
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August 23rd, 2012, 17:47
Demo is out Downloading it now http://underrail.com/forums/index.php?topic=12.0.
I am surprised styg didn't post yet but he probably got he's hands full.
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August 23rd, 2012, 17:58
Sorry about that, guys. I was mailing press left and right and forgot to update my own threads.

Here's a link directly to the download site: http://www.indiedb.com/games/underra…lpha-demo-v041

Let me know what you guys think once you get the chance to play it.
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August 23rd, 2012, 18:03
I saw that also, but didn't have time between uploading review videos this morning on the Mac to grab my PC before work …

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August 23rd, 2012, 18:04
Originally Posted by Styg View Post
Sorry about that, guys. I was mailing press left and right and forgot to update my own threads.

Here's a link directly to the download site: http://www.indiedb.com/games/underra…lpha-demo-v041

Let me know what you guys think once you get the chance to play it.
Hey - can you send me one as well so I can post about it on Gear Diary?

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August 23rd, 2012, 18:20
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
Hey - can you send me one as well so I can post about it on Gear Diary?
I don't have a fancy press release if that's what you're asking. If you want me to give you a heads-up in the future, just PM the email address and I'll be sure to do so.
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August 23rd, 2012, 18:22
Awesome Styg! I'll try to give it a shot this weekend.

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August 23rd, 2012, 18:24
Originally Posted by Styg View Post
I don't have a fancy press release if that's what you're asking. If you want me to give you a heads-up in the future, just PM the email address and I'll be sure to do so.
Oh, no worries then! I stalk your RSS feed as well as this thread so I will be good without you having to worry!

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August 23rd, 2012, 18:29
Excellent! Downloading now.

Note: On the Indie DB site, it's said to be a version 0.4.1, but the file itself is titled v0.1.4 (or 0-1-4). Not a biggie, just FYI and all that.

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August 23rd, 2012, 18:35
Originally Posted by Lurking Grue View Post
Excellent! Downloading now.

Note: On the Indie DB site, it's said to be a version 0.4.1, but the file itself is titled v0.1.4 (or 0-1-4). Not a biggie, just FYI and all that.
That's a mistake, thanks. It's v0.1.4, I was just tired and permuted them numbers. Will fix later.
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August 26th, 2012, 21:10
Demo Feedback and the Future

So it's been couple of days now since the alpha demo was released. People had time to play it and provide lots of feedback. So now is a good time to start addressing that feedback.

I'm happy to say that the impressions were very positive overall, but there are certain aspects that a lot of people felt could use some improvement. Here I will try to summarize the commonly recurring complaints that I gathered from forums (the official one and some others), direct feedback and from just watching other people play live and on the internet.

Technical problems:
  • Game crashes on starting a new game - The problem here is that during the development it was easier for me to just store the save games and other user data in the working directory of the game. This is bad practice because of the User Account Control feature of the newer operating systems prevents you from writing in the Program Files unless you explicitly run the application as an administrator. I completely missed this because every computer I tested it prior to the release had UAC disabled. I will definitely change this so that the future builds use My Games folder or whatever is the appropriate location on the three operating systems I'll be supporting (XP, Vista, 7). Currently, the workaround is to just run the game with explicit administrator rights.
  • Sometimes game would crash on transitions in the lake area - This is a semi-rare bug that can be fixed by applying this patch - http://www.indiedb.com/games/underra…mo-v0141-patch.

Gameplay feedback:
  • You can get rich easily - With the exception of the very start of the game, money and other resources very quickly become a non-issue. This is mostly due to the fact that you can sell the stuff you scavenged at a very high cost. Also, some resources, such as ammunition, are currently too cheap and abundant. Resource management is an important aspect of the game, so be sure that I will be re-balancing the economy to make the players poor again.
  • There is no running option - The main problem here I think is that backtracking through the areas you already explored, as well as moving through the non-hostile areas, such as the SGS, is too slow. I'm not quite sure yet how I'll address it. Just adding a running option is not that easy as there's a lot of stuff to be consider there and it would also need new animation on all those character models, etc. I'll have to think on how to address this one.
  • Item usage issues - It was not clear enough on how grenades, special bolts and other utility items are equipped and used. I did add a quick tutorial screenshot that could be accessed from the upper right menu (or by pressing F1), but that usually got overlooked as well. I'll be sure to make it more clear what goes where in the next release (highlighting the equipment slots where you need to equip it when you mouse over an item, or something similar).
  • Object highlighting - You can press TAB or Z to highlight all usable objects on screens so you can pickup loot or open containers obscured by walls, but some people missed this. As with the previous point, it's somewhat an issue of not having a proper tutorial. However, I'll also attempt to make this stuff a bit more intuitive, probably by having the loot show behind walls even without pressing TAB and such stuff.
  • Selecting NPCs - It's usually overlooked that you can actually select someone by right-clicking on them. this allows you to see their exact health and what buffs/debuffs they currently have. I'll see what I can do to make this more apparent.
  • Lack of melee feats - Sorry. There will be more in the future.
  • A way to regenerate health and psi points - Because of the imbalanced economy in the demo, this wasn't too much of an issue. Once I fix the economy, I reconsider adding something of the kind. However, keep in mind that resource management is an important aspect of the game, so don't expect to just be able to rest and heal after every encounter or some such.
  • Bartering interface - "Auto" option needs a bit more work. People didn't like it using their ammo as currency, for example, so I'll do something about that.
  • Same items with different qualities - It's not really obvious before you start reading the stats on different weapon/armor items that you can actually have, say, two "5mm Hawker" pistols that do different damage, or two "Rathound leather armors" that have different resistances. So I'll probably be adding a quality indicator of some sort to the item to make this more obvious.
  • Murdering - In games, people want to murder people and get away with it if no one is there to report the crime. I'm one of such people, so I'll definitely make this possible. Actually, there will be optional assassination quests that will require just that. Stay tuned to the development log to learn more about how this will work.
  • Pickpocketing - This skill needs rebalancing. It's way too hard to pickpocket right now.

Quest feedback:
  • Shooting range quest - This quest needs to be redesigned. It's one of the quests I made quite a while back when the game wasn't yet turn-based.
  • Retaking outposts quest - Doesn't specify the total number of outposts there are. Will fix this.

There's probably more stuff that I can't remember right now, but it'll pop up eventually, don't worry.

* * * * *

Another thing I wanted to briefly touch on is the prospect of the game being crowd-funded. Some may remember that back in June when the demo video was released, and after being pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive feedback it received I said that a crowd-funding campaign is likely to follow the playable demo release. Unfortunately, things got a bit complicated. Because of where I live, a lot of crowd-funding features are not available to me which limits the kind of campaign I'm able to launch.

I'm currently looking into other forms of crowd-funding, such as alpha funding on Desura.

No need to freak out, though, Underrail is still due to be released in the second half of 2013. even if I have to self-fund it all the way. It's just the matter that being able to secure some form of funding at this stage would really help me make the game as big and as diverse as I would like; and I guess that's something that a lot of you would like as well.

In any case, I'll get back to you guys soon to let you know how it all worked out.
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