Finally, the first major graphics overhaul is live! I’ll let the screenshots speak for themselves, and the patch notes can be found on Steam. There are also updates to the UI, the battle system, bug fixes, entirely new terrain types, and some more stuff.
A fellow indie who goes by the moniker of Bobby-Two-Hands has put up a Kickstarter for his game Shadows Behind The Throne. I encourage you all to try out his prototype and back the game if you like the idea.
This is a small interim update with some important bug fixes, but also a few new spells, mechanics, and user interface improvements. The next large update will focus on battle resolution and is expected to be ready within a week at most.
- Splash screen added to replace the black screen when the game is launched.
- Extended the “showing-all-characters-but-unavailable-ones-are-dimmed-out-and-have-text-explaining-why” functionality to cover all character selections.
- Conquering a settlement from an independent realm will give control of any adjacent resource sites, not adjacent to a fortress or other settlement of that independent realm.
- Added modifier tool tips to additional city stats: unrest, tyranny, squalor and fortification.
- Spell: Scales of Justice implemented. It decreases crime, unrest and decadence in a city.
- Spell: Depravity implemented. It increases crime and decadence in a city, but decreases unrest.
- Spell: Demonic Strength implemented. It gives a damage and toughness bonus to the affected unit.
- Bug fix: Non-blight hex conditions were being incorrectly saved.
- Bug fix: Multiple hex conditions in the same hex made save files unable to load.
- Bug fix: Lesser Mass Mutation gave no error message when trying to select an invalid worker.
- Bug fix: Beseech Dark Patron spell was unavailable.
- Bug fix: Spell cooldowns were not applied correctly.
- Bug fix: Modifiers could sometimes cause stats to violate minimum and maximum values (e.g. negative unrest).
- Bug fix: Spells targeting workers with no valid targets gave an empty window. A message is now shown instead.
- The Ruler tab on the Quests and Objectives Window now shows any researched Spellcraft.
- The Wizard Tower window now lists effects affecting the site (with details and duration as tooltip).
- The City window now lists effects affecting the site (with details and duration as tooltip). For non-player cities, only effects caused by the player are visible.
- Improved Unit effect display in the Army window to include all relevant effects and details/duration in the tooltip.
- The selection info panel now shows effects if a player-controlled army or site is selected.
- When in selection mode on the map, left-click cycling will adapt to the selection type. For example, when prompted to select an army, sites will not be selected when clicking in a hex. This saves some unnecessary clicks cycling past irrelevant items.
- Cleaned up some more blurry text.
- Clicking on a unit in the Army Window list now acts as a shortcut to go to Unit Details.
- Tags are now shown under Unit Details in the Army Window and in the Military Window.
- Spells with not yet implemented effects are now clearly marked as such in the Spellbook.
- A mastery increase now gives a notification listing new spells, units, mechanics, etc.
- Spellbook now has icons for each spell. If there is no icon defined for a spell yet, the icon for the most relevant mastery will be used.
- The Mastery table now has tooltips. For the progress and usage columns the tooltip will show some mechanics info for these.
- All Masteries now have unique icons
- Air, Earth, Fire and Water Mastery now allows researching summoning of Elementals with the “Summon Elementals” spellcraft as a pre-requisite.
- There is now support for Wizard Research projects being enabled by multiple sets of prerequisites. Previously this required duplicate projects, which was confusing if several prerequisites were met, causing the duplicates to all be researchable. For example, “Spirit Hounds” requires the following masteries: Death 1 + Beasts 1 OR Necromancy 2 + Beasts 1. Thus a Wizard with Death 1, Beasts 1, Necromancy 2, would get two research “Spirit Hounds” options.
- Mastery now increases from casting spells and controlling units.
- Added more Unit Research projects: Lesser Elder Spawn, Demonic Siege Beasts, Lesser Angels of Hope, Lesser Angels of Unity, Hellhounds, Soulgorger Vultures, Skeleton Mages, Imps, Greater Imps.
- Abyssal Mastery now unlocks the following units at the indicated level: Tormented (1), Demonic Spearmen (2), Demonic Macemen (3), Demonic Crossbowmen (4), Demonic Armored Swordsmen (6), Demonic Armored Greatswords (8).
- Added the Bad Moon spell, which doubles the chance of (negative) random events in a province for 4 turns. During the Bad Moon, the caster gains 25 mana for each such event which occurs.
- The Lesser Arcane Ward, Arcane Ward and Greater Arcane Ward spells are now mutually exclusive, but the latter two can replace a less powerful ward.
- The Empower Undead spell has been renamed to Necropotence. It can only target (friendly) Undead units and gives +2 Movement, +1 Melee Skill, +2 Melee Damage and +2 Toughness for 2 Turns, after which it has 50% to deal 1%-20% damage (of maximum unit strength) to the unit. It cannot be dispelled.
- The Iron Skin spell now grants the Metal type to a unit for it’s duration (in addition to the other effects). It can now only target units which are not of type Spectral or Air.
- The Incite Unrest spell can now only target settlements with less than 75 Unrest, and cannot increase it beyond this value.
- The Barkskin spell now grants the Plant type to a unit for it’s duration (in addition to the other effects). It can now only target Living and Non-Plant units.
- The Stoneskin spell now grants the Earth type to a unit for it’s duration (in addition to the other effects). It can now only target units which are not of type Elemental, Spectral or Earth.
- Implemented the Flash of Insight spell. It can target friendly characters of level 4 or less. A character cannot be targeted more than once every 24 turns.
- Implemented the Feral Strength spell. It can now only target units which are Living and not Magical.
- implemented the Hurricane spell (reduce movement next to turn to 1, damages flying units on land/most units on water, 50% to blow fleets into an adjacent hex). Spectral units are immune. Aquatic and Water units are immune on water.
- Implemented the Rain of Fire spell. (it deals Fire damage to all armies in the Hex. Site damage part NYI).
- Implemented the Empowered Furnaces spell (Settlement Target: +2 Industry Growth. Any Target: -50% Recruitment Time (Armored Units).
- Implemented the Reaper’s Due spell (damages Undead units in a hex).
- Implemented the Curse of Rot spell (gives -2 population growth, -2 prosperity, -1 industry, +1 sprituality and adds to squalor 5+10% of existing value, and destroys 25% of any stored food).
- Implemented the Dark Rituals spell (requires a follower to assist who will be fatigued, and may suffer death/injury/possession, gain 6D6 mana and 6D6 mastery progress).
- Implemented the Blood Sacrifice spell (sacrifice city population to gain 6D6 mana and 6D6 mastery progress).
- Implemented the Mend Constructs spell (it replenishes losses suffered by a Construct unit).
- Implemented the Dispel Magic spell (it removes magical effects from the target, potentially skipping positive/negative effects if a mix is present and as relevant if the target is friendly or non-friendly).
- Implemented the Entangle spell. It can be cast on an army in a Forest, Swamp or Jungle hex. It reduces the movement speed of non-Flying, non-Elemental, non-Spectral units to 1 during the next turn. Units with Pathfinder have a 25% chance to resist the effect, and if affected only suffer a 50% reduction in movement speed.
- Implemented the Call to Arms spell. It can target a Settlement, Fortress or Wizard Tower, and reduces the time needed to recruit/train new units by 25% (does not affect Bind, Summon, Create, etc.). Settlements also receive a +1 bonus to martial.
- The spell “Create Mongrel Men” is now “Lesser Mass Mutation”, and the created unit is now “Mutants”.
- Added Nereids, an Ocean-based faerie similar to Dryads.
- Added Medusae, humanoids with serpentine features and a petrifying gaze.
- Effects can now be marked as Positive, Negative, both or neither. This is relevant for various mechanics and the AI.
- Custom Constructs now have relevant material-related type tags assigned (Metal, Earth, Bone, etc), as well as the Construct type.
- Silk has been added as a resource type. It is tradable on the Market, but there are no production sources yet.
- Optimized some core text routines increasing world generation speed and turn processing speed.
- Optimized some of the core content generation code increasing world generation speed.
- Refactored the way pre-defined unit types are stores and accessed, improving performance and robustness.
- Wizard AI now makes use of research projects.
- The Slave Uprising event can now occur in Cities with a Slave Market *or* a primary culture which has the Slavery trait (previously required both). Where it previously only gave Unrest, it now also has a chance to spawn an army of Escaped Slaves. In addition for 24 turns, the City suffers +2 Crime,
-2 Industry, -2 Prosperity and -1 Populace.
- The Superstition event now gives a City +1 Spiritual and -1 Learning modifiers (for 12 turns) in addition to the Unrest.
- The “Theft” event now has the loss of gold capped at 2000 gold.
- The “Scarecrow Incident” event can now be triggered by all three levels of Scarecrow units, and not just Lesser Scarecrows.
- Fixed issues with terrain analysis during world generation.
- Fixed an issue with some aspect ratios and resolutions having incorrect row layout in the Wizard Mastery table-view.
- Fixed Slave Uprising event sometimes being resolved as a Tournament.
- Disease events which only affected a City and not a Province had no effect. The effects are now aligned.
- Unit upkeep was calculated in two subtly different ways in the user interface and during turn processing. This has now been unified.
- Fixed issue with Unit upkeep and cost modifiers from Summoning and Binding mastery not being applied.
- Fixed an issue with negative time required to summon or bind some units.
- Fixed an issue with the Next/Prev buttons in the Spellbook panel.
- Fixed an issue with the No Upkeep unit effect never expiring.
- Fixed armor stat not being listed in the Army Window.
- Fixed wizard project list view retaining scroll offset when changing category, causing contents to be not visible in some cases.
Building on the new magic system, a lot of spells have been implemented, mastery can now be increased (unlocking new spells/units) and more research options have been added (units, spellcraft).
The update also has bug fixes (mostly related to the systems introduced in the last patch) and a couple of user interface improvements.
In the coming week focus will be battle resolution and battle magic. The next update should also feature improved visualization of research options, being able to see what options are not yet unlocked and what the prerequisites are. Finally, being able to copy blocks of text to the clipboard (for translation, bug reports, taking notes, etc.) is also planned to be enabled for all text areas/windows.
As previously mentioned a graphical overhaul of the map is also being worked on, but still in too early a stage for sharing.
Please note that there have been large changes to fundamental systems during the last two updates, and despite heavy testing, it is highly likely that there are still bugs lurking. These will of course be fixed as soon as possible when they are reported and/or found internally.
This update focuses on warfare. Two features in particular warrant a more detailed mention:
Pillage allows armies to plunder and/or raze resource sites (farms, mines, vineyards, etc.) This will result in loot and damage to the site – or complete destruction in the case of razing the site. Damage reduces production output (and plunder) and is repaired over time, with any dedicated worker units improving the rate of repair. Plunder is handled differently depending on what type of faction the army belongs to: the player (and rivals) will get the plunder as additional resources; nomads and marauders will have the loot assigned to the army. If another faction defeats this army, the plunder can be reacquired or looted (if was from a third faction originally). This will need to be tweaked, as it is somewhat odd that rampaging manticores will grab and carry around slabs of granite from a quarry after they’re done destroying and chasing off any workers. When the choice is given between plunder and raze – the mechanics behind the calculation of the effects are more explicitly stated than usual. This is part of the effort to make the game mechanics less opaque and make it easier to find bugs and imbalances.
Scouting is still in an early stage. Each army has a scouting value and a visibility value generated, based on the army composition and command. (These are not displayed in the UI yet). In this build you only get information on armies where you have an adjacent observer. The amount of information depends the stats mentioned above and can range from no info, to numerical estimates, to a full unit listing including size, etc. The scouting mechanics will be expanded in future updates. The information is shown in tool tips and the context panel.
[*] Armies can now have a Scout Captain to improve the scouting/reconnaissance ability of the army.
[*] Basic scouting mechanics have been implemented.
[*] Resource sites (farms, mines, etc.) can now be pillaged and razed. The mechanics modifying the loot and damage are shown in the event dialog to help make the results more understandable.
[*] Armies from non-civilized/settled factions will carry the loot from any pillaging, and it can be recovered/gained by defeating those armies.
[*] Major faction units can only replenish losses if adjacent to an owned or allied city, fortress or wizard tower.
[*] Units now replenish losses at half rate if they have moved.
[*] Army window now starts in overview mode.
[*] Marauder AI is now capable of razing and pillaging resource sites.
[*] Wizard AI and Warlord AI now declare war on most aggressive actions taken against them, and will declare war themselves more often.
[*] The remnant armies of a defeated rival will no longer auto-disband. Instead each unit is either disbanded, becomes a marauder or joins the mercenary pool. The chance of each depends on the unit type. Only marauders stay on the map as army.
[*] Terrain type now affects food production of farms.
[*] All food values (production, costs, etc.) have been increased by a factor 20 to allow greater granularity of values.
[*] Independent settlements can now construct resource sites.
[*] In non quick-start games, the player can now force a certain race/culture to be generated in proximity to the player’ starting location. The player will also tend to start with units of this kind.
[*] Several additional music tracks added.
[*] Fixed “Worker Make Demands” event text to show the correct gold value (it was off by a factor 100). Made the demands a bit more reasonable at the same time.
[*] Fixed a bug where terrain changes due to the machinations of an Ancient Evil were only partially propagated to the game state, causing instability and inconsistencies in the UI and map.
[*] Fimbul Winters can now end (much to the relief of the poor inhabitants of affected provinces).
[*] The auto-buy toggle on the construction window now works as intended.
[*] Fixed issue with button text in Army window not being refreshed when it was reopened.
[*] Fixed a bug causing units to have increased upkeep costs if they have suffered casualties or have been split into smaller detachments.
[*] Fixed a bug causing requirements for conditional unit unlocks to not be listed. E.g. Minor Water Magic unlocks Nymphs for Faerie Wizards only. The UI made it look like the unlock was for all wizards. (non-Faerie Wizards need Advanced Water Magic).
[*] Most special factions (Ancient Evils, Dungeons, Organization, Nomads, Marauders, etc.) no longer pay unit upkeep, as they don’t have income and resources in the same way as Wizards and Warlords.
[*] Fixed a bug where new sites were not always discoverable by the player as expected.
[*] Fixed a bug where saving with an in-progress construction project in a City could break the game when loaded.
[*] Fixed a bug where units would not have their numerical strength capped properly, resulting in rather large numbers of monsters roaming the world.
[*] Fixed a bug where disbanded armies would end up in a bugged and non-interactive state, empty but still present in the world.
[*] Fixed units replenishing losses at a fixed rate instead of a portion of their max size, which led to small units instantly replenishing.
This first post-Early Access update (discounting the emergency fix for issues affecting Linux and Mac) contains mostly Bug Fixes and User Interface improvements. It’s been a great experience launching the Early Access, and I’m truly humbled and actually a bit surprised at the reception the game has gotten. It’s been almost naught but intelligent, patient, encouraging and insightful feedback and bug reports. I hope to do this justice by delivering quality EA updates and eventually a great finished game.
The patch notes for 0.9.79 can be found on the forums or on Steam, so I won’t repeat them here, but instead focus on what is coming. There are two main areas that improvements will be focused on during the coming updates (apart from addressing the known issues and any new bugs that pop up):
The ‘New Player Experience’:
There is little to no help for a new player when it comes to figuring out the UI, the goal of the game and what the mechanics are. Especially as it is not always obvious if a mechanic is fully, partially or not at all implemented.
A Steam user, AlguLoD, has been awesome enough to make a guide on Steam which goes through the fundamentals: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=886192013.
I’ve been adding tool tips and “NYI” tags (which indicate not-implemented mechanics and/or content) in some places for this latest update, and will continue to do so. But this is of course not enough, and there needs to be a proper tutorial-like experience for new players. Rest assured, this is very high on the priority list, but for this update I’ve had to focus on various game-breaking and/or very annoying issues.
To make the game more approachable while waiting for the tutorial to be added, I’ll do my very best to get a video up soon where I go through the various elements of the user interface and how to play the game. I had hoped to have this ready by now, but the work of getting .79 ready took more time than expected.
Wizard Trait Mechanics:
There are a lot of traits that need work, and I’ll try to do a mix of small, gradual improvements across the board combined with focused, bigger improvements of specific traits.
The Warlock Dark Pact mechanics will be expanded, building on the work done in a recent update. The Favor gained from completing quests will be translated into various gifts. The various actions required to complete the quests will also have a bigger impact on how the various factions view the Warlock. The diplomatic landscape should reflect that most cultures are not particularly fond of blood sacrifice, holy sites being defiled and dark powers being fed morsels of arcane energy.
On that jolly note, I will end this update. The next you hear from me should be a Video update with some guidance on how to play the game.
- Tooltip added for battles fought during the previous turn on the world map, with a brief display of the sides and the result.
- Dark Pact details added to the Ruler panel in the Quests and Victory Conditions window. It shows the name and nature of the dark benefactor and the current favor and wrath stats.
- Beseech Dark Patron now generates a quest that when completed gives favor and reduces wrath. The quest objective is randomized but based on the type of dark benefactor. (note that the effects of Favor and Wrath are not yet implemented, but will be in a coming build).
- New Cheat actions: gain 10k gold, gain maximum mana (up to cap).
- Units can now be disbanded.
- When researching Worship, the follower gained will have a religion which better fits the player faction traits: Demonic wizards will receive demon worshippers, warlocks with a religion-related dark pact will receive a follower of this religion.
- Distribution of religions in a city has been added. The break down can be seen on the City window, in the same panel as the Ruler and Notables are listed.
- Cultural affinity for various religions has been added. This is generated based on the cultural traits and spheres/power of the deity. These affinities are used when determining the religion of the inhabitants of a city and other relevant entities during world generation.
- Followers who have the Religious type can be sent to Proselytize their religion or cult in a city. The success chance (and risk of injury or worse) depends on the cultural affinity for the religion, various cultural traits and the attitude towards the character carrying out this task.
- Destroyed or routed units are now removed from the unit list during battles to make it easier to identify the remaining combatants.
- The leader of a site being attacked will now take command of the defending armies, if no other general is present.
- Further balance tweaking of damage calculations. Ranged attacks are now slightly stronger, and damage has been increased for most weapons – especially against armored opponents.
- Fixed Army General and Site Leader assignments not removing the character from their party.
- Fixed issue with < 0.9.76 save games not loading properly.
- Fixed some Ancient Evils being displayed without a space in their type in the Dark Pact summary.
- Fixed issue with Tyrannical taxes on a city sometimes giving less gold than intended.
- Fixed issue where conquering a city did not trigger the Conquest event/choice.
- Fixed issue where multiple battles in the same hex during a turn (and the previous for AI initiated battles), would be “stacked” in the same message, preventing the player from watching the battle report for any but the first.
- The text in the battle report window now moves to the top when clicking next round after scrolling the text of the current round.
- Fixed issue with battles where they sometimes continued past one side retreating, with the winning side having unit lose morale despite no opponents remaining and suffering no damage.
- Fixed next party button not reacting to clicks on the entire area of the button.
- Fixed selection of recruitment sites after the first not highlighting the selected site in the list (despite being selected).
- Fixed issue where many unit types incorrectly had 1 hit point per member. This also required some rebalancing of damage calculation, with further balance passes to come.
- Fixed issue where cultural traits were not always being applied correctly to generated cultural unit types.
- Added Hit Point display to Army window. Previously only the Military window showed it.
- Fixed issue with flickering tool tips if the sources were very close.
- Fixed issue where predefined cultures and religions (ie demons, elementals, demons worship) were re-created on game load, causing them improperly be treated as randomly generated cultures/religions and not equal to the predefined ones. While schisms within demon worship would be a cool feature, having an automatic schism every time you load the game was unintended (and caused erratic event and task resolution).
- Added more context-specific tool tips.