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Default Underlair - A co-op, party-based, dungeon crawler

June 29th, 2021, 10:16
Excellent gameplay video with the stone-UI. This easily looks better than awesome M&M X: Legacy

All Gameplay videos so far.

WOW!! Congratulations! Art direction, lighting - the amazing torch flame intensity vs. surrounding dungeon darkness is flawless, doesn't strain the eyes -, map structure, monster idle anims are excellent! Monsters are a little bit sci-fi / Half Lifey, but who the hell cares, if the combat will be good?

Need to see the combat, tho: How the monsters attack, do they have hurt animation, when hit? Do they cry out in pain when hit and do they emit satisfying blood spurts / particle effects? Do weapons have swing particle effects or can we see the weapon being literally swung on screen, before our eyes? We don't need the adventurers hand visible, just the weapon being swung.

Ideas:
+ You should place moans in dungeons: zombie moans A'la Daggerfall, or ghost sighs.
+ If there are prisoners in the dungeon, they should scream, moan. For a good screaming, panic sound reference - Martyrs (2008) - is a good movie.
+ Monsters in-place or walking in the dungeon should make grunting / threatening sounds, which gets stronger, if the monster is near. A walking monster grunting loudly - the big freaky things you have already - should scare the hell out of players in these dark lairs.
+ Rats, small bug critters should make sounds, scurrying away.
+ You could place glowing little red eyes in the dark: on the floor if its a rat. Blinking in and out, as the "small creature watches you" then the red pair of eyes blinks out for good, fleeing away.
+ There could be zombie / monster arms / tentacles coming out of the ground and dragging you down a level / or into a monster pit. There zombie arms from walls attack the party and everyone must wildly swing all weapons and attack in panic to be freed from the "Monster-Pit"-trap. A panicking party should make screaming male and female sounds, while this frantic hacking is taking place: the party takes damage faster while in this "Monster-Pit"-trap, as if standing in a fire.
+ Large shiny worms - the size of big anacondas - should flee from your torchlight in the dark. They don't attack, but the player sees the large worm body slithering away / out of screen, one step away in the dark. This happens occasionally.
+ Green poison gas, lingering in a "one-step-area". Party steps into it, everyone starts to cough and takes some damage. Party steps back, but then the green "swamp-gas" is gone, dispersed by the air-movement caused by the party stepping into that one "step-cube-area".
--
SSI Gold Box-style game, we are working on.
Last edited by mercy; June 29th, 2021 at 10:56.
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June 29th, 2021, 10:42
Originally Posted by Ularis Badler View Post
Thanks for showing interest.

I've actually have been receiving some mixed feelings regarding having a realistic approach for light during dungeon exploration. Light will be extremely important for dungeon exploration and has been boosted a bit since the video showing it was first released.
There is a recent, excellent dungeon-crawler on Steam, like yours. Very good atmosphere, superb graphics. However the game doesn't allow saving. So multiple players commented that they can't play without saving.. they have families, they must leave the PC often, etc.. We need to be able save at any step, out of combat.
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June 29th, 2021, 11:57
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Definitely very interested in this game!
Thanks!
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
Always wanted to play a co-op blobber similar to Wizardry where you're nervous about pushing deeper into the dungeon because you might not have enough spells to make it back out again."!
The strategy elements also consider tiredness & provisions. You really need to prepare yourself before venturing exploring the world, especially when exploring Underlairs. Having a large rope will also be key, as its length will decrease with each use.
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I think only being able to save in town or on the exit is how you get this tension. Save scumming is cheating. Many here will tell you they like being able to save anywhere and why not let them play their own way? Let the ironmen apply their own save rules and have the willpower to follow them. But how does the conversation go back at the forums? You'll have most casuals scumming through and making out like the game was easy while the ironmans feat gets ignored!
Underlair is about challenge: strategic combat, exploration, and survival, featuring character progress with classic RPG elements into the mix. The game is planned to have an automatic save system that kicks in every X minutes for backup purposes only. The roguelike side of it features permadeath and you will need rebirth stones (consumables) to save your characters' progression countering the permadeath.
If players want to turn Underlair into a classic RPG game saving at any time, they can do it out of the box. It's just that it will destroy the game's premise. It's like playing Chess with a house rule, where you can undo your previous move when you notice that a particular piece of yours is about to be captured.
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I forget what I said in the thread where this game was first mentioned but it was something about a torch lighting simulator. Is it fun or a chore, does it just get in the way of the fun part? I don't think anyone wants to have to run back to town for more torch lighting items. I think you could just light up the tiles as you enter them to help with exploration. Sort of like revealing the fog-of-war in other games like Baldurs Gate. That will help people not miss something but also not have much of an impact on navigating the labyrinth on the way back out.
Light plays a very important part in exploring underlairs. Liting torches are completely optional but will provide tremendous help when exploring such dark places. All you will need will be an oil vial and cloth. A single oil vial and a roll of cloth will be enough to lite dozens of torches. You will only run out of these resources if you don't prepare yourself for this. There is a mutator you can use to disable this mechanic, but again, it will penalize the intended gameplay. The idea is that exploring takes resources, something that most games simply ignore. I'm not saying that this is the right way to do it but it's a way that can be considered without too much hassle. If you are just exploring the surface, you will probably leave behind all items related to underground exploration in your stash. This will free your inventory for other things.
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
To comment on the screenshots, I think the graphics are good but the new game setup looks a little verbose. I don't really like having that many options because I tend to feel like I'm cheating by tailoring the game settings too much. I'd prefer to have some simple pre-sets like Normal, Hard, etc. Something where I can say "I beat the game on hard!" and not "I beat the game on a custom map with [full page of options]". But it is great to have custom map "advanced" settings like that available!
The screenshot in the map setup will feature presets and you see that the 'Recommended' preset is already there so you get to experience Underlair the way it was intended with - no configuration is needed. It would be pointless letting the player set up the game without any knowledge of its mechanics. I anticipate that players will venture to tweak the settings only when they get familiar with the game's mechanics. I'm very curious which setups they will come up with, because they will be able to make combat rare and extremely deadly, and rewarding.
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
I do love a good roguelike but really random maps don't do much for me. I prefer the rogues with auto-explore so I can just get to the encounters. Finding prefabricated special areas is much more exciting than the random map part. You'll find in the old blobbers its full of random encounters but also set encounters like maybe a boss fight but the map design is a lot of the genius. It probably wouldn't hurt to do a proper campaign AND have random maps for replay value.
Custom campaigns are not off of the table but it would be something I will explore only after release. Underlair is not a scripted adventure that you get to exploit with each playthrough. The idea is that each game gives you a fresh start providing a challenge each time you replay it. As I mentioned several times to other people, Underlair is not about story, nor about hand crafted experience, dialogs, events, nor about solving puzzles. Underlair is all about strategy, challenge, decision making, risk vs reward, exploration, and survival. When I play 7DTD, I'm completely unable to play on the same map twice; it feels like cheating. The game is primarily designed for people that share this feeling of mine.
Originally Posted by SirJames View Post
What other details do we know, so far? Will there be any character persistence between games? Any roguelite style persistance? How long will a game take to play through.
When you start a new game, it's a fresh start; all is reset, except for achievements that will provide bonuses in distinct ways. The game's length is something that still requires some serious thought. I have no answer for that at the moment.

Anyway, I really need to work on the website's Encyclopedia. there is a ton of things already established that people are not aware of.

Thanks a bunch for your insight and questions, it's always a fine opportunity to discuss and reveal details about the project. Cheers!
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Forging: Underlair A co-op, party based, first person dungeon crawler.
Last edited by Ularis Badler; July 5th, 2021 at 15:47.
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June 29th, 2021, 12:34
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Excellent gameplay video with the stone-UI. This easily looks better than awesome M&M X: Legacy

All Gameplay videos so far.

WOW!! Congratulations! Art direction, lighting - the amazing torch flame intensity vs. surrounding dungeon darkness is flawless, doesn't strain the eyes -, map structure, monster idle anims are excellent! Monsters are a little bit sci-fi / Half Lifey, but who the hell cares, if the combat will be good?

Need to see the combat, tho: How the monsters attack, do they have hurt animation, when hit? Do they cry out in pain when hit and do they emit satisfying blood spurts / particle effects? Do weapons have swing particle effects or can we see the weapon being literally swung on screen, before our eyes? We don't need the adventurers hand visible, just the weapon being swung.

Ideas:
+ You should place moans in dungeons: zombie moans A'la Daggerfall, or ghost sighs.
+ If there are prisoners in the dungeon, they should scream, moan. For a good screaming, panic sound reference - Martyrs (2008) - is a good movie.
+ Monsters in-place or walking in the dungeon should make grunting / threatening sounds, which gets stronger, if the monster is near. A walking monster grunting loudly - the big freaky things you have already - should scare the hell out of players in these dark lairs.
+ Rats, small bug critters should make sounds, scurrying away.
+ You could place glowing little red eyes in the dark: on the floor if its a rat. Blinking in and out, as the "small creature watches you" then the red pair of eyes blinks out for good, fleeing away.
+ There could be zombie / monster arms / tentacles coming out of the ground and dragging you down a level / or into a monster pit. There zombie arms from walls attack the party and everyone must wildly swing all weapons and attack in panic to be freed from the "Monster-Pit"-trap. A panicking party should make screaming male and female sounds, while this frantic hacking is taking place: the party takes damage faster while in this "Monster-Pit"-trap, as if standing in a fire.
+ Large shiny worms - the size of big anacondas - should flee from your torchlight in the dark. They don't attack, but the player sees the large worm body slithering away / out of screen, one step away in the dark. This happens occasionally.
+ Green poison gas, lingering in a "one-step-area". Party steps into it, everyone starts to cough and takes some damage. Party steps back, but then the green "swamp-gas" is gone, dispersed by the air-movement caused by the party stepping into that one "step-cube-area".
Thanks for the praise but I don't take the credit for any creature design or any 3D model for that matter. I can take credit for the light, post effects profile, map design, and character controller, which includes the torch animation and physics as well as the animated doors. Some models I did assemble, like the houses - each piece of wood was carefully placed and resized and each plant and tree was placed by hand, which the exception of the grass that uses Unity's brush tool for quick placement.

As for the sound, well it's pretty much all paid or free assets I edited, distorted and mixed together to create unique sounds.

Anyway, thank you for the ideas. I already have many of the creatures in my head but unfortunately, they won't see the light of the day, unless Underlair provides income once it gets released in early-access.

The creatures you see in video #2 are out of place, mostly because they belong to a particular biome that is identical to how they look. It will be a hazardous place and very dangerous but with fine rewards. The sound design is incomplete and doesn't represent what I have in mind. Underlair currently features a dark atmosphere in the videos but not dark enough to the level I'm aiming at.

Thanks a lot for your insight! Cheers!
--
Forging: Underlair A co-op, party based, first person dungeon crawler.
Last edited by Ularis Badler; June 29th, 2021 at 12:45.
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June 29th, 2021, 12:35
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
There is a recent, excellent dungeon-crawler on Steam, like yours. Very good atmosphere, superb graphics. However the game doesn't allow saving. So multiple players commented that they can't play without saving.. they have families, they must leave the PC often, etc.. We need to be able save at any step, out of combat.
I urge you to read my long response to SirJames above. It covers some aspects of permadeath and saving.
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Last edited by Ularis Badler; June 29th, 2021 at 14:13.
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June 29th, 2021, 14:04
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
There is a recent, excellent dungeon-crawler on Steam, like yours. Very good atmosphere, superb graphics. However the game doesn't allow saving. So multiple players commented that they can't play without saving.. they have families, they must leave the PC often, etc.. We need to be able save at any step, out of combat.
Mercy, which dungeon-crawler you are referring to? There aren't many good ones around.
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June 29th, 2021, 18:09
Then I'm going to set starting rebirth stones highest possible, so I can always save, A'la Wiz 8. There is a fantastic old-school game called Demise: Rise of the Ku'tan, where you can pre-run the dungeons with an early character in order to create advantage for your subsequent - real - party.

In light of your described intent for design, and because I love Wizardry 8, I could imagine a possible version of your game, which would allow character progression via retaining a permanent character between runs. So a 'new game plus' run could be selected with a previous character and we could progress that character further by venturing into a more dangerous NewGame+ Biome. Essentially this would mean continuing a procedural "storyline". [sorry]
Since the game isn't about story, we could still have a persistent character - a sort of fantasy mercenary - who could *risk* more dangerous biomes that may or may not be set up to be only available to advanced characters. So we could have the illusion of a hero descending into the 1-9 circles of Hell. Sort of.. Gathering equipment and items to make the [optional in setup] persistent hero more powerful, for more dangerous biomes in the future. This NewGame+ harder biomes sets would also support CO-OP, since a pair of more prepared, already experienced adventurers, who successfully beat one biome together, could *risk* venture into a harder "NewGame+" biome.
It would be like learning about a legendary location in the tavern and fully knowing no adventurers returned from there, the co-op pair could risk venturing into the more dangerous biome. Thus continuing their virtual "storyline" a adventure together. Somewhat like World of Warcraft "raids" in this game.


Sorry for bending you original concept out of recognition.
Its just, what would attract me in a hypothetical, unique Underlair setup.
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June 29th, 2021, 18:13
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
Mercy, which dungeon-crawler you are referring to? There aren't many good ones around.
I played it, then complained to the dev, then deleted the bookmark from my browser. But the game is so atmospheric and good that I'm looking for that game on steam ever since and cannot find it. 3D blobber, just like M&M:X or Grimoire. Accidentally found it again with help of glorious RPGCODEX member Chris Koźmik from Silver Lemur Games.

Dungeons Of The Deep
Excellent atmosphere! See its already mixed, but that's expected nowadays.. building up frustrations, helped by 'no save' feature.
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Last edited by mercy; June 29th, 2021 at 18:35.
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June 29th, 2021, 19:33
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
Then I'm going to set starting rebirth stones highest possible, so I can always save, A'la Wiz 8. There is a fantastic old-school game called Demise: Rise of the Ku'tan, where you can pre-run the dungeons with an early character in order to create advantage for your subsequent - real - party.

In light of your described intent for design, and because I love Wizardry 8, I could imagine a possible version of your game, which would allow character progression via retaining a permanent character between runs. So a 'new game plus' run could be selected with a previous character and we could progress that character further by venturing into a more dangerous NewGame+ Biome. Essentially this would mean continuing a procedural "storyline". [sorry]
Since the game isn't about story, we could still have a persistent character - a sort of fantasy mercenary - who could *risk* more dangerous biomes that may or may not be set up to be only available to advanced characters. So we could have the illusion of a hero descending into the 1-9 circles of Hell. Sort of.. Gathering equipment and items to make the [optional in setup] persistent hero more powerful, for more dangerous biomes in the future. This NewGame+ harder biomes sets would also support CO-OP, since a pair of more prepared, already experienced adventurers, who successfully beat one biome together, could *risk* venture into a harder "NewGame+" biome.
It would be like learning about a legendary location in the tavern and fully knowing no adventurers returned from there, the co-op pair could risk venturing into the more dangerous biome. Thus continuing their virtual "storyline" a adventure together. Somewhat like World of Warcraft "raids" in this game.


Sorry for bending you original concept out of recognition.
Its just, what would attract me in a hypothetical, unique Underlair setup.
Hey, no problem. I'm always fond of having different insights on the subject. I'm providing some option sets for flexibility so players can generate sandboxes suitable to their preferences but this also means that unbalancing issues will be guaranteed to happen. Persistent character progression is not planned at this time as it would be incompatible with the game's premise.

If you are going to play Underlair with save-scumming, you might as well just turn invulnerability on. Underlair is not designed to be played like Gothic 2 or Wizardy 8, so I doubt you will find joy playing it that way. Nonetheless, I could be terribly wrong. You could come up with a specific game setup profile that more people could be found of. Once a demo becomes available, people will be able to try it. I'm curious to see the results.

Cheers!
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Forging: Underlair A co-op, party based, first person dungeon crawler.
Last edited by Ularis Badler; June 29th, 2021 at 20:18.
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June 30th, 2021, 02:25
Originally Posted by mercy View Post
I played it, then complained to the dev, then deleted the bookmark from my browser. But the game is so atmospheric and good that I'm looking for that game on steam ever since and cannot find it. 3D blobber, just like M&M:X or Grimoire. Accidentally found it again with help of glorious RPGCODEX member Chris Ko┼║mik from Silver Lemur Games.

Dungeons Of The Deep
Excellent atmosphere! See its already mixed, but that's expected nowadays.. building up frustrations, helped by 'no save' feature.
Thank you for the rpgcodex blobber Steam list link - this is brilliant!

Thanks as well for indicating Dungeons of the Deep - saw this on Dungeoncrawlers.org previously and moved on due to (1) Unity and (2) mixed reviews about UI.
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July 3rd, 2021, 05:50
Originally Posted by SpoonFULL View Post
Thank you for the rpgcodex blobber Steam list link - this is brilliant!

Thanks as well for indicating Dungeons of the Deep - saw this on Dungeoncrawlers.org previously and moved on due to (1) Unity and (2) mixed reviews about UI.
I really like Legendary Journeys as I enjoy most blobbers if they're not grid-based. I can even play a grid-based once in an Ambermoon.
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July 3rd, 2021, 17:30
Hey everyone, I just finished creating the Psycaster classes:



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You can read more about this post here

Stay safe and let me know your thoughts.
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Forging: Underlair A co-op, party based, first person dungeon crawler.
Last edited by Ularis Badler; July 10th, 2021 at 16:19.
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July 10th, 2021, 16:19
I've concluded the last class set: The Scholar. The scholar focus on knowledge and utility.



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Stay safe and let me know your thoughts.
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