Copper Dreams - Alpha Progress Update!

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The Alpha Progress update for Copper Dreams has plenty of details on systems progress.

Alpha Progress Update!

Greetings everyone! We wanted to do a quick dive into some of the stuff we've been putting into alpha builds since we started having folks test them the past few months! Next week we'll be doing a play-through of a testing arena map to give you a better look at gameplay in action, but figure it could use a primer first.

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The remainder of the alpha builds will be these various arena death-match maps to continue testing combat and companions, as well as the remaining milestone features we'll be hitting this month before the beta!

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keeping a sharp lookout for the beta
Since launching the alpha, integrating companion gameplay with the step-by-step turns had begun to be the primary focus, and a lot of these changes will be stemming from that.

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now with party!
Skill UI Change from Feedback

One of the early things some of the alpha players found clunky was the action selection, so that has been streamlined. All actions for an item are now clumped together in the action button area, instead of filtering them through individual skills. These are located in the middle of your action bar, with non-item skills located on the left and some formation stuff on the right.

Skills on the left, when selected, repopulate the middle area with actions for them, so no further in-game world space is taken up.

Friends

Fully controllable companions have been added into the tick-tile system, as most of this update will pertain to. We've added their health, medical snapshot, and inventory to to the HUD. We've also integrated nested bags, so if characters are hoarding they have a place to put their garbage!

Micro-sized Line of Sight

We've integrated the line of sight visual into the micro-tiles, getting a much smoother and easier to understand line-of-sight. This occurs per-character, who additively overlap sight visuals. As before, your characters can still hear NPCs outside the line of sight range (represented by footprints).

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It could have been someone friendly, but it's usually not...
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A great escape. The local wildlife doesn't like our agents.
We've also integrated the Followship(tm). This design was meant to convey the feeling of safety exploring as a group. Copper Dreams, the actual campaign, is a dungeon crawler where you'll be creeping around a war-torn city filled with lots of other things that are creeping around trying to kill you. The Line-of-sight visual has always been the backbone of the visual identity in creating that tension. To add to that, characters exploring on their own have a personal sized vision radius. However, when selected together and worming around as a group, the radius is combined and larger, focused on whoever is lead.

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The Life of the Party

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Our intention was always to remove the idea of Hit Points and replace them with wounds that individually reduce stats of a character. Getting that into a simple system that both feels organic during gameplay, and allows players to reasonably survive and enemies to be killed in predictable ways has been a challenge. With the newest tweaks in the last month of alpha testing, we think we've found a solution.

For an overview, here's a splash menu from the alpha going over it:



Characters accrue wounds specific to body parts. Different damage rolls do 3 tiers of wounds -- lesser, greater, and mortal. In the alpha, we've introduced the SHOCK stat to make sure they all work together nicely, which acts sort of like a negative armor modifier.


  • Light wounds still just deter some stat points somewhere on your character, respective of body part. The higher end rolls of these can cause SHOCK.
  • Medium wounds deter stats respective of body part as well and always cause SHOCK.
  • Mortal wounds destroy/disable whatever limb they happen on.
  • If a character's torso or head is destroyed, they're dead.
So that's easy enough -- destroying legs make enemies unable to move, arms reducing any ability to fight, and the vital parts are the torso and head (or non-humanoid equivalent, for you to find out). Rolling mortal wounds is required to do that, and that's where SHOCK comes in. Every SHOCK point a character has, regardless of what body part it was on, adds those points to any incoming damage rolls. This would allow rolls to be either more potent within their tier or jump from light to medium, or up to Mortal.

This allows a few gameplay features we struggled to design for with previous iterations:


  • Characters can be 1-hit killed.
  • No matter how armored a character is, they can we chipped away at with SHOCK.
  • Aiming for mechanical parts of the body (arms/legs types) is still viable toward reducing character abilities as well as helping towards finishing them off.
As we mention below, you can now automatically aim for body parts with any action, so you can always have some agency on what you're going for.



Bringing the Pain

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healing menu!
The wounds your players accrue are now visibly seen on their person. Giant nails, gore blobs, embers, bone fragments -- the locational damage of the wounds you get can be seen appropriately on your characters body parts.

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Now those blood decals or arrows that stick into characters have some actual importance -- check out enemy damage locations to see what to focus on or what's currently damaged.

[...]
More information.
 
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Couchpotato

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My poor eyes those new graphics are still cringe worthy.:p
 
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azarhal

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My poor eyes those new graphics are still cringe worthy.:p

The style is kinda cool but the color palette is lacking which makes it hard to distinguish things. Too much grey, green and red, it must be especially awfully for colorblind people.
 
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Capt. Huggy Face

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I like healing menus and detailed healing systems.
 
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Darkheart

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It is art, no question. Although, I'm not sure if I can look at that for longer times...
 
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DarkOzric

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No, this is not art, it's some serious pretentious hipster shit. I've never seen so ugly graphics in my entire life. Even Amstrad 6128 games had better art and graphics from this.
To the creators : Go seek mental help immediately.
 
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Ripper

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I once had a dodgy VGA cable that produced similar graphics.

I really hope they have a rethink, because that is, as Joxer would say, a design crime.
 
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screeg

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Why is the girl's revolver bigger than her head?
 
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lackblogger

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As someone who is a staunch defender of gameplay over graphics, I have to say that these guys really do try their absolute best to make me feel stupid.
 
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joxer

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No, this is not art, it's some serious pretentious hipster shit.
Actually, being art or not doesn't make hipstering over it impossible. :)

Looking at visuals above my reaction is WTF. It's not deliberately ugly, it's not deliberately confusing and it's not a deliberate sattire on current gaming industry sins.

I have absolutely no idea what the developer wants to make really except they did bold the word "shock" for perhaps too many times. Well I'm not shocked.
In fact I'm not impressed. If that up there was made by my friends I'd criticize it in detail (and would do betatests if needed). If was made by my 5yr old kid I'd perhaps care even more. It's neither, so sorry but I'm gonna use my time on something else.
 
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TomRon

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I actually like the style, but think it looks bloody confusing at the moment.
 
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Ripper

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Yeah, if we leave aside aesthetic tastes, I think there's still a case that it's a design problem, just in basic terms of clarity of what's going on.
 
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Carnifex

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Speaking as someone that is colour-ly challenged visual-wise, it is a bit difficult to make out what's going on, but based entirely on their last game, I'm still full in for this new project. If I get burned, well, shocker here, it won't be the first time, nor likely the last!
 
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screeg

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Unfortunately has nothing to do with your visual challenges regarding colour. We're all seeing the same smear.
 
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suibhne

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I'm surprised by the level of vehemence about the graphics. I can see some frustration around lack of variety, but I think this looks pretty great at this stage in development. Very Mignola vibe, and might be dramatically more usable with brighter character/object outlines.

I find it looking far better in the full-resolution screenshots, like this: http://whalenoughtstudios.com/commu...9/04/CopperDreams_Alpha_screenshotMapBoat.png

My only disappointment is around the size of the chrome - the UI takes up a lot more space than it should need to. Some contextual show/hide could fix that.
 
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Ripper

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For me, it's a well-meant vehemence - I like those two at Whalenought. I do think strong negative feedback at the development stage can be very helpful, if it helps to avoid a poor reception at release. I'm sure others might see it differently, but to me it's bad enough that I think it will hurt their success.
 
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