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Underworld Ascendant Update #17: Melee Combat Info, Playable Prototype Available to All Backers

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Underworld Ascendant Update #17: Melee Combat Info, Playable Prototype Available to All Backers

Game News - posted by Infinitron on Mon 21 December 2015, 23:47:09

Tags: OtherSide Entertainment; Underworld Ascendant

OtherSide Entertainment promised that the Underworld Ascendant playable prototype would be distributed to all backers eventually, and in today's bi-weekly update they've fulfilled that promise. However, there are a few catches, the most important of which is that the prototype isn't free - not exactly. The update has the details, along with a description of what OtherSide have planned for the game's melee combat system. I quote:

The foray into combat has begun! We've got an internal Prototype where you can now smack things with... well, at the moment, a stone axe. Not glamorous, but does the blunt work.

As with the other game systems, our goal with combat is to give the player a range of interesting choices on how to approach a problem. At the same time, we don't want seventy-five buttons for the player to memorize. The trick is in striking the right balance between tactical depth and keeping the system streamlined enough so that players can readily get a handle on combat.

We also realize there are different types of gamers out there. Some love moving though a 3D space like an over-caffeinated ninja. Others prefer to be more careful and slower-paced about their actions. On the team, Chris is a twitch gamer. His idea of perfection of movement is Ninja Gaiden or running around in Mirror's Edge andTitanfall. Tim isn't as much a fan of twitch gameplay, preferring more paced and tactical thinking in his combat.

Since we're a role-playing game at heart, we'll be leaning more towards tactical pacing for Underworld Ascendant.

A good example of more tactical pacing would be the sword fight from the film Princess Bride. In it, two masters use both their skills and the environment in an intense match, but don't fly around a la Iron Monkey.

One way to introduce some twitch gameplay into the system is to have a handful of 'twitchy' abilities deeper in the skill tree. This way, players who enjoy these aspects can get it, if they work for it.

One concept we're diving into is "running combat": battles that span across spaces, where terrain, elevation and obstacles play into the tactics. Objects can become part of the fight; from picking up and throwing a wine bottle to causing a stalagmite to fall on your enemy. Sometimes disengaging and moving off is the best idea. What we're trying to avoid is what we call "chopping wood" combat. Where you stand there, click the button and... whack, whack, whack, the enemy dies.

Like with all of our design elements, this is an iterative process. We build the foundation, then start adding on layers. The initial core is mostly complete for basic combat. After that, comes testing, refinement, and, if needed, redesigning parts that don't pass the fun test. We plan to have a playable build featuring core combat for backers to try out early next year.

Prototype Early Access

As you know, we released our early Prototype "Playground" build to high level backers last month, and have made a number of updates and bug fixes to it since then.

Starting today, we're offering early access to the Prototype build available to all of our backers who pledged at the Pioneer or higher tier as a $5 Add-On. With this Add-On, you'll also earn a $5 credit good towards a future pledge. To learn more details, go HERE.
Now, you might remember that people who backed inXile's Bard's Tale IV in addition to Underworld received $5 of credit to use on BackerKit. Handy, right? Except for some reason the prototype add-on doesn't appear on backers' personal BackerKit pages - only on the public "hosted preorder" page linked above, where those credits aren't available for use. I do hope they intend to fix that.

Update: The issue has been addressed. Now we wait for the keys to be sent out.

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