The Finer Details

New caverns mode biome

There will be a new game update in the coming weeks. We’ve been working hard on introducing more visual and auditory feedback, but also trying to fix some logic issues and irritations with the AI behaviour. Today however, I will be discussing the myriad of smaller updates we’re adding, plus the introduction of the “Dwarf’s Guide to Glistenveld”. The following features will appear in the next patch.

More SFX

Until now, mining a rock, or picking up a key had no audible feedback. You will hear sounds in the game for most of the actions you take! There is still plenty of SFX missing, especially for tech-tree buildings, but there is a significant difference since the last update.

Icons & visual feedback

All level 2 class abilities now have 3 icon states, depending on what tier the ability is at (all except Keystoning which only has 1 tier). This will also appear in the dwarf-list, which allows you to scan over how skilled each dwarf is (click Show Abilities). We have also updated each of the trade-stall sprites to show all the items they sell.

Trade stalls’ updated sprites, and tiered ability icons (in the bottom right)

The combat abilities really lacked visual feedback. Instead of some arbitrary red outline, the icons of combat abilities will appear above units’ heads when they’re active (at least those that are vicinity-based for now). Fumbling also has an icon that appears, to show when a unit is vulnerable to critical damage.

Supply & Repair

In a large caverns-mode base, it can be hard to keep track of what needs repairs or supplies. After deliberating on how to ease this burden, we’ve made the following improvements:

  • The supply instruction has been modified to persist even once the ballista is fully-stocked. Any time the ballista then fires, someone will restock it automatically, until you remove the instruction.
  • A new building has also been added (page 2 of Infrastructure) called ‘Repair Zone’. Similar to how the farming plot automatically issues gather instructions, the repair zone will automatically issue repair instructions. Both of these buildings will now show a yellow radius marker.
Warrior abilities and the new Repair Zone

Tutorial Continuity

We’ve done some polishing and fixes for the tutorials. They were a bit disjointed. Using smarter narrative and a bit of engine work, we were able to make them more succinct and flow better. The dwarves in the first tutorial will continue to appear throughout the following tutorials, instead of swapping out for a new ‘dwarf-batch’ each time. This allows the player to develop more of an attachment to them and the tutorial journey, even though it’s short.

Caverns Mode Update

Caverns mode has undergone many small improvements. Roots, springs and schematics aren’t as hard to find anymore, there are some new cave types and some new biomes. One of the biomes is a bit more dangerous, but holds greater riches (see cover image).

A Dwarf’s Guide to Glistenveld

We have begun work on an in-game guide or.. glossary? Lexicon? Bestiary? I’m not sure which term is the most appropriate, but this is something the game has warranted for a while. The risk with building a guide like this is that the information provided quickly becomes obsolete or outdated, as content changes. That being said, it has become clear that some form of ‘go-to’ manual is a good idea.

There are a lot of subtle mechanics in the game that aren’t apparent without closer inspection. For example, mushrooms don’t just grow back from nothing, you need to leave some behind to spore. Or that bats will avoid buildings that emit light. Or that ores tend to appear in small clusters. Or that goblin scouts know to avoid your caltrops, if they can help it. We love building small ecosystems, anything that gets you strategising about what your next move should be.

The Guide explaining Roots, partially unlocked

We are very much in favour of hints and tutorials that are at the player’s own pace. Most of the tutorial elements in TDoG rely on signs that you choose to click on yourself. That does mean however, that some things are going to get missed, and we can’t keep putting signs everywhere… This guide is the ultimate safety net, that whatever the player might miss, they can still find out in their own time by checking the guide.

One interesting feature of the guide is that sections will be unlocked as you explore and work. A building for example won’t unlock all its sections until you’ve built a certain number of them, or a patch of mushrooms won’t unlock all sections until you’ve harvested enough of them. Later sections will provide more specialised information.

We will experiment with how the guide behaves through time, and it won’t be complete in the next update; we’re pacing ourselves for the amount of information that needs added.

That’s all for now. The next blog will probably talk about the changes in AI behaviour, so stay tuned for that next month!

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