14th November – Perry
It’s been a year since we first released The Dwarves of Glistenveld. The time has flown by, and I can’t help but feel a bit of apprehension by the fact that chapter 2 still isn’t here yet. We have faced a lot of setbacks, but we at least don’t have a particular deadline we need to stick to. I just hope the wait will be worth it!
We have released many small and reasonable-sized updates in this time, each with their own patch notes, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to recap on some of the more significant new features and design changes since first launch!
Building walls on stone or dirt used to require mining the wall out beforehand, but now engineers will gather the difference in stone and simply build over the top. There are a number of design changes like this, motivated by the fact that certain tasks felt too slow going, but this is probably the most significant.
There are many more ambient and active sounds in the game than at launch. Although we cannot yet boast a sound for every object, many more will have sound when clicked on, and things like campfires, fireflies, unstable walls and rushing water also provide ambient sound effects. Assembling buildings and foraging also had no sound at launch.
Moving storage buildings will move all their items as well, making rearranging your base less of a headache. Careful not to cancel the instruction too soon though, or the engineer might collapse in a heap with all the weight they’re carrying!
Tutorials & Level Design
Some of the tutorials have had major refinements, and we believe the controls are much clearer now compared with at launch. All of the campaign levels have also undergone many small design changes and refinements over the months. Both of these will continue to be refined the more we learn about our player’s experiences.
Around mid-December an update rolled out that allowed you to choose the abilities for each dwarf as they leveled up. We were initially hesitant about throwing too much at the player, but it did not outweigh the significant strategic opportunities that you get from this change. This past year, we’ve realised how important it is to give the player the freedom to create the type of clan they want, and this is one of those changes that promotes that.
This originally had 6 techs and began with a very different design. As of today, there are now 13 techs, and it is a much more intuitive design. You can also see now how much room there is for expansion.
Naturally as the tech tree has developed, new unlockable buildings come along with it: doors, lamp posts, bed-rolls, farming plots, minecarts, and wells!
New minerals, granite and coal, were introduced. Granite was intended as an early barrier for sequences in the campaign that had to take a linear course. However, we always wanted it to eventually be mineable, once you’ve unlocked the relevant technologies. Granite can also be used to build granite walls, which are unmineable without upgraded tools. Coal already has a few purposes, to fuel the forge and as fertiliser for saplings, but we also have plans for a new defensive building for which coal will be used.
In the first build, units could only carry meals. Now they can carry tools, helmets and potions. In the near future, we will be adding weapons, new armour types and other magic items.
The popular caverns mode wasn’t even conceived of at launch, but it holds its own as a very fun mode, especially for players seeking exploration, dynamically developing stories and endless base-building. Caverns mode might not have existed without our players’ suggestions!
New Enemies & Behaviours
Believe it or not, goblin warriors only showed up after caverns mode was released, and after that, spiders. For us it’s hard to imagine the game without them! Unlike other features, we had already planned out the goblin classes long before launch, and were just waiting for the character assets and AI to be finalised. We also have one other enemy in the game now, but we’ve chosen not to say anything about it. This is just one of those things you’ll have to play the game to discover.
We like to give our creatures an ecosystem. When a creature has real needs and goals, and isn’t just moving around aimlessly, the game feel more alive. For example, bats avoid light, spiders need corners or crevices to make webs and feed.
There were 30 dwarf traits at launch; 10 positive, 10 neutral and 10 negative. Many of these have been tweaked or redesigned, but we have also introduced 10 brand new traits, bringing the total now to 40, with plans for more still to come. (There are also 6 temporary traits that take effect depending on the unit’s circumstances, like hungry or aggravated.)
We released an update a couple weeks ago, in part to celebrate Halloween. For more info about that, check out the update log here: Halloween Mode, The Tomb & New Difficulty Settings (Patch Notes 12).
That’s all for now, see you next month!