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-   -   Underrail, formerly known as Timelapse Vertigo (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=16165)

Styg February 6th, 2012 23:53

Underrail, formerly known as Timelapse Vertigo
(continuing from here)

Changing the name of the game

First, I’d like to apologize for the silence of the development log in the past six months or so. There have been some setbacks, but the development of the game hasn’t stopped. I promise to put more effort into providing info on the game’s progress on a more regular basis in the future.

Secondly, I’ve decided to change the name of the game to “Underrail”, which is the name of the underground metro system the game takes place in. While there is a greater, sort of background plot that concerns the nature of time, the game is largely about the Underrail itself - its inhabitants, politics, strife, dangers, mysteries, as well as the player’s place within all this.

The new website is http://www.underrail.com (or will be once DNS kicks in).

Human character models

Of course, this isn’t the only thing I did in the past six months of silence. With the old title I also got rid of the placeholder human and creature sprites - so no more blockmen and disproportionally large head quadrupeds.

Here’s a sample of what the new human models look like.


Unlike the tileset graphics, these are modeled in 3D and then prerendered as spritesheets. While they may not blend perfectly with the surrounding graphics, this is the best way for providing all the armor-weapon variations graphics while keeping the art budget in check.

Styg February 14th, 2012 03:31

Weapon Classes and Skills

There are essentially eight weapon classes in Underrail: pistols, SMGs, assault rifles, sniper rifles, crossbows, knives, sledgehammers, and miscellaneous melee weapons (such as a crowbar).

The last three are covered by a single skill – melee - which also includes unarmed combat.

Crossbow is a class of its own. I intend it to be a different kind of weapon from the rest of the ranged weapons; one that makes up for its lower damage output with additional utility and shield mitigation.

The rest of the weapons mentioned above are the usual ranged firearms (though some will have energy based variants as well). Originally, they each had their own skill, but after a while I realized that wouldn’t work well for two main reasons:
  1. I want to introduce different weapon classes gradually during the early game, but the player would be asked to invest skill points in a certain weapon class immediately which would often leave him with two options: waste skill points in the early game to be proficient in a weapon you might not use later or spend skill points only in the chose weapon class and struggle until you obtain that weapon.
  2. Some weapons (assault and sniper rifles) will have naturally higher damage output than others (pistols, SMGs). The latter will still be viable damage-wise in the late game and might bring additional utility; however, for a character that wants to max out their pure weapon damage, rifles will be superior. So these should require more training to be used, but with originally, it’s just as easy to spend points in rifles as in pistols.
So I decided to merge these four skills into a single skill called ‘Guns’. This solved the first problem.

Then I introduced minimum weapon skill requirement for using different weapon types. This requirement is based on the weapon class (pistols - requirement, SMGs - low, rifles - medium) and weapon level. This will ensure that only those characters that spend a lot of points in Guns will be able to effectively use the most powerful weapons, while other characters can decide how much they want to spend in this skill to supplement their other damage sources.

By the way, not meeting the minimal skill requirement for a weapon will not prevent you from equipping the weapon, but give you an increased chance to miss (which increases with skill discrepancy).

Styg February 27th, 2012 03:33

Hacking Computer Consoles


Throughout the Underrail the player will encounter a great number of computer consoles. These consoles will have multiple security access levels that the player can attain by finding the required key card or by hacking.

The consoles have various purposes, such as:
  • Store documents (general texts, blueprints, messages)
  • Control electronic doors and storage lockers
  • Control automated turrets, sentry bots, etc.
  • Provide view through remote cameras

So investing in the hacking skill will allow you to change the environment to work to your advantage in combat, or avoid the combat altogether. In some cases it will also be an alternative to persuading/bribing/fighting your way to the key card in order to progress in some locations because you’ll just be able to hack your way through.

Dean February 27th, 2012 07:40

Wow, I gotta say this is looking pretty interesting. I'll have to keep an eye on this.

Styg February 28th, 2012 01:18

Thanks. :)

Btw, you can subscribe to the RSS feed if that's your thing:

hishadow February 28th, 2012 02:03

Nice progress from the sketch-ups!

bjon045 February 29th, 2012 10:54

Looks amazing man. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this.

Lurking Grue March 1st, 2012 09:42

Looking good! Thanks for the updates. Please, keep on updating as you progress, it's very interesting to read.

Styg March 6th, 2012 03:19

Thanks for the support guys. :)

Styg March 6th, 2012 03:20

Lower Metro

I've been mostly working on graphics for a new area in the previous week.



The are two major metro networks in the Underrail: Lower and Upper Underrail.

Lower Underrail (shown on the screenshots) is sort of industrial/military zone that back in the days of its prime housed a number military training grounds and production facilities, power plants, warehouses, secret research facilities, prisons and more. Some of these locales are abandoned now and some are inhabited and adapted by small groups or independent mid sized colonies.

While everyone protects their own station and the immediate surroundings, no larger faction has a decent grip on the Lower Underrail so it remains largely unpoliced. Wondering its long dark sprawling tunnels is dangerous business, especially if you venture unprepared.

txa1265 March 6th, 2012 11:45

First off, the game looks great and I can't wait to hear more.

Second … well, I was reading stuff about a new font for dyslexia sufferers, and the research talked about how typical fonts had too many letts that looked way too similar, such as lower case "i" and "l" … and suddenly Underrail becomes Underrall … and we're back in the 80's …


Dean March 6th, 2012 11:51

Nice. You've got some good atmosphere going on in yhese screen shots. Looks dark and dank.

Styg March 6th, 2012 23:44


Originally Posted by txa1265 (Post 1061130925)
Second … well, I was reading stuff about a new font for dyslexia sufferers, and the research talked about how typical fonts had too many letts that looked way too similar, such as lower case "i" and "l" … and suddenly Underrail becomes Underrall … and we're back in the 80's …



Still got an extra 'r' there, though.

blatantninja March 7th, 2012 00:03

This game looks really amazing. I have a huge backlog of games to play, but when this one comes out, I think its going to be a day one purchase!

txa1265 March 7th, 2012 10:47


Originally Posted by Styg (Post 1061131075)

Still got an extra 'r' there, though.

I know - it is funny what your mind does with things on quick glance!

Again, love the look of the game - great work!

Styg March 8th, 2012 12:46


Originally Posted by blatantninja (Post 1061131080)
This game looks really amazing. I have a huge backlog of games to play, but when this one comes out, I think its going to be a day one purchase!

That is certainly encouraging to hear. :)

Styg March 17th, 2012 18:46

Weapon Ammo

Ranged weapons now use ammo - bullets, energy (recharged from energy cells like other rechargeable items) and bolts for firearms, energy weapons and crossbows respectively.

First two also have limited magazines (depending on the weapon) so once you're out of bullets (or used up all the energy in case of energy weapons) you'll have to reload. The crossbows do not need manual reloading as you're effectively reloading it after every shot.

I've added magazine indicator to help you keep an eye on when you need to reload.


When the firearms are concerned you'll only be able to load the bullets of matching caliber into a gun, of course. There's also specialized ammo types such as armor-piercing and anti-personnel rounds.

http://www.underrail.com/images/DevLog/5mmJHP.gif http://www.underrail.com/images/DevLog/5mmW2C.gif

This will effect the gameplay in two ways.

First, it will allow more tactical options of what ammo type to use against which opponents. For example, you'll want to use anti-personnel ammo against various critters and unarmored humans, while using armor piercing rounds to more easily destroy sentry bots and turrets. And because you're allowed a primary and a secondary weapon, you can load different types of ammo into each if you're facing a mixed crowd. Also, when out of combat, you'll be able to load your firearm bullet by bullet, setting up your magazine just right for the coming fight.

Secondly, because ammo is another resource you have to manage now, you'll be required to use it more sparingly and more intelligently. For example, you might not want to kill off each rat with your high caliber sniper rifle if whacking it with a crowbar can do the job. Remember, bullets will both cost money (or equivalent value goods) and be in limited supplies.

txa1265 March 17th, 2012 19:08


Originally Posted by Styg (Post 1061129540)
Thanks. :)

Btw, you can subscribe to the RSS feed if that's your thing:

Thanks! I love viewing via RSS!

Styg March 26th, 2012 02:30

Radial Menu

The different loading options for weapons (full magazine, single bullet) resulted in a need for items to have multiple 'capabilities' as I call them. This in turn required some sort of context menu to appear when using these items from your inventory, so I created a radial menu control.


You can also use this control to set the active 'capability' on the item you've dragged onto the action bar. An icon representing the currently assigned capability will appear alongside the item icon in the lower left corner as well.

In the process of doing this I also fixed a number of interface bugs and tweaked a few things I meant to for a while.

Making changes to UI and producing new types of controls is one of my favorite stuff to do. Perhaps because it's easy and I get to see the results quickly, owing to the solid and versatile UI framework I wrote as the part of the game engine way back at the beginning of this project. I can't remember exactly anymore, but I think I wrote it even before I set the foundations for the isometric rendering component. It's likely because the rendering component is a UI control itself (that is, it derives from the base control class).

Anyway, in some future iteration I intend to implement the radial menu as the context menu of usable objects for invoking alternative actions. So you'll be able to, say, right click the door and choose between opening them (default action), locking them and picking the lock, instead of having to invoke these stuff first and then target the door.

Click if you'd prefer to keep an eye on Underrail dev log through an RSS feed.

Styg April 1st, 2012 23:57

Turn Based Combat Mode

I wasn't happy with how the combat was working out, so I was playing around with damage to health scaling, combat speed and other parameters. But I couldn't strike the comfortable middle between too quick and hectic (narrow corridors, obscuring walls and other isometric stuff didn't help much here) and too dragged out and unnatural. So last week I set down and implemented a turn based combat mode.

I considered doing this before but I was reluctant due to some real-time dependent (not necessarily combat) features I have planned. But I gave it another thought and I think I can still manage it despite the combat being turn based.


So about the combat: Not all skills and abilities are implemented to work with turn based combat yet, but it's coming along nicely. The system I'm currently using is action point based with separation between action (all purpose) points and movement points (green and yellow on the interface respectively). I'm still deciding on how much of each a character should have and what stats should influence them.

In the following week I'll be mapping the rest of the stuff to work in turn based combat as well. As for the future of the real time combat in the game, it will still stay for battles that don't include the player character, but the player combat will probably be exclusively turn based as I don't want to have to balance all the encounters for both. Have too much stuff to do as it is.

Click if you'd prefer to keep an eye on Underrail dev log through an RSS feed.

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