Hello! Sorry for the big delay on this month's dev update. In fact it's been so long that I've decided to bundle up both the late October update and the upcoming November recap into one bumper issue! Since the last update I've been exclusively working on adding natural resources to King under the Mountain chosen by Kickstarter backers as part of their rewards. At least, that's what I've been doing in terms of gamedev, it's been another super busy month otherwise!
Thankfully, this task is now complete so I'm going to spend this month's dev update going through what has been added with some of my thinking or future planning for each one. Those eligible for the reward were asked to pick a real-world type of rock, ore, gemstone or tree to be added to the game, and I also ended up adding the option of a type of mushroom which didn't have to be constrained to a "real world" choice for some more fantastical elements in the game. Here's what people came up with!
Some of the resources that have been added (in more detail below) tend to necessitate other new additions, such as metallic ores that can be smelted (or not) into new metals. This is not the case for gems, particularly when jewellery and decoration has not been implemented yet. That makes the list of new gems uncontroversial and simple enough, so I'll simply list them here with their in-game tooltip descriptions (anything in italics is an explanation for this dev update only):
- Morganite - A rose-coloured variety of beryl. It was named after being popularised by a particularly wealthy merchant in the age of myth. The particularly wealthy merchant is a reference to the real-world naming of Morganite, which is named for the banker J P Morgan.
- Ammolite - An opal-like gemstone which has a red to green iridescence. It is known as the “hunting stone” and amulets made from it are meant to bring good luck to a hunt. This description is in reference to the following from wikipedia: The Blackfeet tribe know ammolite as iniskim, meaning "buffalo stone", and have long believed it to possess amuletic powers; specifically, the gem is believed to aid in the buffalo hunt, and to draw the buffalo within tracking distance.
- Painite - A very rare gemstone which is often identified as an off-colour sapphire. The crystals are naturally hexagonal in shape and a favourite of tacticians. The "favourite of tacticians" was an addition of my own as a reference to hex-based strategy games.
- Rhodochrosite - Found in varying shades of red to pink. It is not as hard as most gemstones making it a poor choice for rings and other high-impact jewellery.
- Bixbite - Also known as red beryl, it is a very rare gemstone. It is often confused for a red-coloured emerald.
- Opal - A form of silica infused with the magic of the oceans, which makes this a favourite of sailors and fishermen.
- Lapis Lazuli - A rock with a brilliant deep blue hue which is used as a precious stone.
- Amethyst - A violet-hued variety of quartz. Ancient humans believed it could magically protect them from becoming too drunk. For this reason it is not very popular in dwarven culture. The name "Amethyst" itself comes from the Koine Greek for "intoxicate" as it was indeed believed to prevent people from becoming drunk.
- Labradorite - A rock which shines with a typically light-blue iridescence. Rarer specimens can reflect a wide range of colours.
- Sapphire - Often believed to protect the wearer from the attention of daemons, sapphires are much sought-after by mages for use in sky and air-based magic.
- Quartz (Rock crystal) - The purest form of quartz. Rock crystals often feature in magical artefacts as they are a condensed form of the element of ice.
Adding new trees was a surprisingly popular choice, I'm assuming for backers to include some of their favourite (local?) species based on what was chosen. Currently, each woodland area on the map has 1 or 2 randomly chosen species. I'm hoping that later in development, tree placement will be based on the biome of the map, perhaps taking into account the latitude of the map location and local climate. At the moment there is no rarity to any type of tree which should be addressed when different types of wood are worth more or are otherwise superior to "standard" wood types.
This is Diospyros crassiflora (aka African ebony) which has extremely dark heartwood, and much like in real life, is extremely valuable due to its appearance and durability.
Bull-oak (or buloke) is a species of ironwood tree from Australia. It was only upon implementing this that I realised/remembered that trees in King under the Mountain are currently only described as "(name of wood) tree", and the wood material harvested from this is listed as "Ironwood". This means that in-game this is currently labelled an "Ironwood tree" which is acceptable, although I realise now it would be better to have individual tree descriptions rather than relying on the wood material name. This would also allow trees to have their own tooltips, which is one major type of entity in the game that do not currently have tooltips.
The request for this tree was for the Spruce tree. As you can see from the image, I've opted to lean into the blue spruce (AKA Colorado blue spruce) for the blue-green colouration to distinguish it from other evergreens.
This is the Australian Christmas tree, also known locally as moodjar. Uniquely, it blooms into a bright yellow/orange colour over summer, unlike most deciduous tree types in-game which turn green to yellow to red during autumn.
This is much more commonly known as Norfolk Island pine, although I'm aiming to avoid names that use real-world locations so they can fit better into the lore of King under the Mountain, despite these backer rewards requiring the selection of a real-world species. As with most of the items in this list, ideally this would use more unique graphics than the existing pine sprites, and hopefully there comes a point where that can be added (or even modded) in!
Ideally this tree would drop or at least have harvestable pecans (the nut), but in the interest of getting this much-delayed update out, extras for backer rewards such as this have been put on a future to-do list.
Rosewood can refer to several types of tree, but simply "Rosewood" was requested and as the tree description uses the name of the wood material, "Rosewood" it is!
A tree from eastern North America, "Eastern Juniper" is what was requested however this is currently listed in-game as "Red cedar" due to the material of the wood harvested as described above.
Out of all the trees listed here, this is probably the one most in need of unique graphics to convey the iconic African baobab - particular the giant baobab. I've based this on the Suarez baobab. The baobab also really highlights the issues that come from just randomly mixing different trees together on a map, this should probably only show up on maps that have a biome similar to the real world locations it is found.
Again, the name here can refer to several types of trees but it's simplified to just sycamore for the moment.
And again, aspen covers several tree species, usually defined by the area of the world they are found in, so this continues the interest of removing real-world locations from names.
The request here was for the Japanese maple, which is also known as the Red Emperor maple which feels ambiguous enough to me that it can fit into the world of King under the Mountain.
Also, bamboo was requested as a new type of tree to be added. While most others can get away with some re-use of the existing assets, bamboo is definitely too distinctive to do the same so this will be added at a later point.
Adding new ores to the game was interesting, because it usually ends up implying that there's a new metal that can be smelted from it. Here I'll go through the ores that have been added and any extra resources that they have led to, or any plans for the future.
A metallic ore which complicates the smelting of tin.
It has too high a melting point to be smelted with normal processes.
Tungsten has a melting point of 3422 °C (the highest of all discovered elements!) so it is not feasible to smelt ingots from it. Perhaps it may be of use when alloys are added (as it is often produced in reality by forming an alloy with nickel), or perhaps dragonfire or magic can be used to produce tungsten. For now though, Wolframite is effectively useless so it is also marked as being very rare so you won't be left with many useless ores on your map.
A mineral which can be polished into beads for use in jewellery.
These beads can by dyed into many different colours.
Magnesite can be burned to produce magnesium oxide which is used as a lining in blast furnaces, and this may be an in-game use in the future. Magnesite was requested (quite correctly) as an ore, but as it is also used for jewellery, right now it's been added as a new type of gemstone as that is how it will be used (when jewellery is added).
A silvery metallic ore which turns black when exposed to air. It is strangely warm to the touch.
The "strangely warm to the touch" is a reference to the fact thorium is weakly radioactive. I've not yet planned any uses for thorium, and in the real world it is very rare. Let me know if you can think of any uses which would be appropriate to King under the Mountain!
Often confused with turquoise, it is actually an ore of copper.
This is a simple one, being an ore of copper, it is much the same as malachite, but in a more pleasing colour!
Naturally-occuring platinum which must be smelted before use.
Joining native copper, silver and gold, expect this to be particularly valuable once trading is implemented!
Fool's gold (pyrite)
Also known as Pyrite, its pale-yellow appearance causes some to mistake it for gold.
It has several uses when crushed, but care must be taken as it sparks when struck.
Look out when fire is added as this may be an explosion risk! It can be processed into green vitriol (an archaic name for iron sulphate) which has several real world uses, these could be be reflected in game as a soil supplement, and perhaps an addition to leatherworking and medicine.
Pollucite is an ore of Caesium, which is currently too dangerous to produce.
Particularly crazy dwarven metalsmiths are currently trying to find a reliable method of production.
Caesium ignites spontaneously in air and explosively when in contact with water, so if and when that applies, it will be a very dangerous material to produce! I would like to introduce some method of producing caesium from pollucite, it feels like it would have some fun uses in traps and mechanisms.
An ore of mercury which is often used in jewellery due to its deep-red hue.
It is also used to produce the dye known as vermillion.
As the tooltip states, this is an ore of mercury. As mercury probably won't be implemented (unless we find a good use for it?), it'll stay as a gemstone for use in jewellery.
Ilmenite is the primary ore of titanium. Unfortunately,
a means of titanium production is yet to be discovered.
An ore of titanium, which requires slightly more advanced processes than the dwarves currently have available to them to produce. Surely something can be figure out though, perhaps with the aid of magic?
Bauxite is the primary ore of aluminium. Unfortunately,
a means of aluminium production is yet to be discovered.
As with ilmenite, this is an ore of a metal which requires more advanced processes to produce. There will be a way of doing this in the future though!
It should be pointed out that the less useful of these new ores will be very rare in-game until they have a use, at which point they'll be a little more common. Dwarves in titanium plate armour would be quite something!
Unlike the other resources added by backers which were constrained to real-world examples, I also added the option for backers to invent their own fantasy mushrooms leading to some interesting additions.
A mushroom with a pink-red cap bearing white spots.
It has hallucinogenic properties which warriors sometimes use in preparation for battle.
This is the iconic "toadstool" species of mushroom. It is technically poisonous and a hallucinogen. It is thought that viking berserkers would ingest these mushrooms to send them into the classic trance-like fury depicted of barbarians in fantasy. As dwarves are from Norse mythology, I wanted to keep this link, so as well as the descriptive text, these are labelled as "Berserker mushrooms" in-game.
A bright yellow mushroom which glows with the appearance of sunlight.
It loses this glow the moment it is harvested.
As the description suggests, this mushroom glows and literally acts as a yellowish light source in the game world, illuminating the deep, dark caves it is found within.
A round orange/yellow mushroom with a white underside.
It is said to have been used by mages long ago, but for what purpose, nobody knows.
Requested as "Syrup's powder" in reference to the magic powder produced by the witch Syrup in The Legend of Zelda in exchange for a magic mushroom, which usually has a bright yellow/orange appearance that this mushroom is an homage to.
A magic-infused mushroom that gives off light and changes colour with the seasons.
The backer that requested this actually let his kids choose what would be added to the game. Specifically that it has "changing colors of the rainbow (Red Orange Yellow Green Blue Purple Pink, according to my daughter)". This inspired me to extend the way certain items can act as a light source, and I'm happy to announce that this mushroom does indeed cycle through all the colours of the rainbow (across a year) and gives off light in-game according to that colour. You can see this in action in the video below.
A white and black spotted mushroom. It has been known to affect the appearance of those who ingest it.
I don't know where the name of this comes from so there's not much I can say on this one! The backer requested that it could have a harmless cosmetic effect which hasn't been implemented yet, but has been added to the to-do list and is something I'd like to get around to eventually.
Once thought to exist only in the Hudds region, it is now found throughout the world.
I believe this is a reference to Huddersfield, at least the colour scheme being based on the football kit, although I don't know what the significance of the name is.
A black-blue mushroom with a metallic taste. It is named for a group of bards from the age of darkness.
This is a reference to a heavy metal band, with the description tied a bit more to the lore of the game world.
The glow mushroom is a bit special in that it cycles through many colours, each of which it also applies as a light source. Here's a video of it in action (with days and seasons shortened so everything is very sped up, normally the transition would be much more gradual):
Only one backer decided to nominate a new type of rock to be added to the game - Icelandite! I've been trying to avoid direct references to real-world locations and names from things in the world of King under the Mountain (although if you're very picky about it this is impossible as names of things are deeply rooted in their real world history). Icelandite is named for Iceland and there's not much information on it, not many other names that I could swap out instead, so I had a look at alternative names for Iceland itself.
Dwarves, at least the dwarves in King under the Mountain and most fantasy settings, owe a huge amount to Norse mythology and history. "Frón" is apparently the old Norse word for land or Iceland, and so Icelandite has been named "Frónite", which I suppose means "mineral of land" which is appropriate if a little vague.
It's quite rare compared to the other rock types (so it will be a bit more valuable too), keep an eye out for its pleasing blue appearance in your maps!
New alpha released!
There's a new alpha build with these resources out... now! As always it's available from rocketjumptechnology.itch.io/king-under-the-mountain which all Kickstarter backers and pre-orders should have access to. Please get in touch if you're a Kickstarter backer but think you don't have your game key yet.
This update actually removes a small number of the existing resources which unfortunately means it is not backwards-compatible with saves from the current version (Alpha 2.7), except on the off-chance your save's map does not have any of those resources.
Onto the next update
Finally, with all these in place, it's finally time to move on to opening up mod support. Now that these new resources, their tooltips, and the many hundreds of words in other tooltips that were added in the last update are in place, I also think the time has come where the main body of text is ready for translation. I didn't want to get people involved with translating the game while I knew I had quite a large number of words to be added in the short term. Now this is done, I think it makes sense to allow for translations to be the first types of mods to support before going on to more general content-type mods that should be possible. I might even be creating a few tools to help with translation support. A number of wonderful people have already contacted me offering their help with translation to their native language, but if there's more of you out there in the community it would be great to have you on board! The best place to start is to join up to the King under the Mountain Discord server and either drop me a message directly or say hello in the #translations channel.
Until then, see you next month for the December update!