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Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #25: Summer Progress Report, Beta Coming Late September
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Tue 10 September 2019, 00:21:14Tags: Mechajammer; Whalenought Studios
That's right, Copper Dreams is still alive. The game has been in alpha since last November, and the last time we heard about it was in April. What have Joe and Hannah been up to since then? It turns out they spent the summer both adding new features to the alpha build and working on a new beta scenario that's supposed to be released later this month. Oh, and they also moved again and are currently on their way to Austin. But yeah, the new Kickstarter update has the details on those new features, which include a new streaming implementation that makes the game world seamless, swappable modular armor pieces, dual-wielding, and a new combat round mechanic to allow players to directly control companions. It's actually not clear which of these features are going to be added to the currently available alpha and which ones are only part of the beta, but I suppose that won't matter for very long. Here's an excerpt from the update:
Over the summer we finished implementing the remaining systems and code we designated for the alpha at this point. We’ve been doing some Alpha updates throughout the past few months and are posting the last combat testing map soon with a lot of new stuff that we'll be balancing and improving until the beta. So if you're an alpha backer check it out!
We wanted to do a preview of more gameplay but packed up and moved out of Seattle abruptly after we did that last update. We’re drifting somewhere in the wastelands of dairy farms and corn in the middle of the US at the moment, but will be hanging out in Austin soon! Fortunately we've had ample time to finish all this stuff and decided to show off more beta material when it was done. That's this month!
There will be an gameplay walkthrough video soon with a lot of these updates from an area early in the game, and we'll be releasing the Beta by the end of the month.
A part of the summer upgrades was a new pathing/streaming system — the city map is being welded together to be seamless — that's indoor, outdoor, city towers, underground and underwater are all linked together without map changes. This provides a more immersive city experience where you get a feel of scope and direction, and shows off a lot of the gang patrol and loose in&out of combat scenarios. And you can grand-theft-auto (and boat?) your way around quickly.
Plus we can advertise No LoAd TiMeS! like sweet games from the 90s where they streamed levels in while opening doors.
We'll showcase parts of the map as we finalize the art in them. The beta takes place on the south-eastern outer wall of the city where you "land", near a fishing wharf and an Ellis Island-esque inspection station turned gang hideout you need something from. The map location that has been most exciting to make is the block you do shopping and civilian shoulder ramming — a floating market near the middle of the city. The Calitana mining station turned city is sort of cobbled together via various platform-rigs on top of the water, and a floating market was a really fun cyberpunk visual for encapsulating slummin' in a high-tech world.
Unfortunately this area takes the most fine-tuning with civilian AI, driving, and Arms Guild, gang, and MFI patrols throughout. Getting from A to B throughout the game involves going through the market in some capacity, so it's receiving the most attention early on as we seam the other factory and spelunking maps. We'll post update pictures as we get through it.
More Action Choices
Oh yeah, dual wielding! We probably should have led with that. Most of the design philosophy for Copper Dreams and the ruleset comes from trying to accommodate what a player would like to reasonably roll to do in any situation, anytime. The player asking to hold two weapons at once is kind of an obvious ask, so we created an extra row of actions, one for the right and one for the left hand. The off-hand item is the item your character will use to defend/parry with if it exists, and there's a small negative balance modifier for having two out that will influence aiming, so there's a trade-off.
You get the unique actions of each weapon, so you can have some interesting combinations. For instance a throwing javelin in one hand for melee reach and an SMG to burst spray in the other. There are combo attacks you can do with items of similar types, like two knives, two pistols, two clubs, etc where you can attack back-to-back with no prep time for the second attack.
Through the alpha, Turn-a-Tile movement and combat plays essentially like a fast-paced roguelike — and that always left companions pretty open ended as to how they could work. We initially had companions as AI you could give directives to, like an RTS, but that wasn't as fun as we wanted it to be. Backers playing the alpha saw a couple other implementations we tested. We really wanted to keep the easy to play, fast paced, simultaneous, and loose flow of combat while also using companions for an environmentally strategic element. Our solution was keeping what we have because it was working so well, and dividing companion play in combat via round groups and combat risk.
When combat starts, characters involved are sorted into 4 different rounds via an initiative roll. You can have one party member per round. NPCs roll to be sorted and weighted into the 4 rounds as well. Each round can hold any number of enemies. Every character (PC and NPC) play like usual inside a round simultaneously turn-by-turn until they all finish, then recover through the next 3 rounds. Rounds without a character just play out NPC turns.