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Post news RSS Crimson Keep News: Polishing, tutorials, and a boss!

Ian talks about improving the ui, polishing the game, and adding some new static areas.

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Hey everyone, Ian here. It's been an exciting several weeks since the last article. In that time we've really started to sand off some of the game's rough edges. It's starting to feel like a fuller experience, and finally has a bit of (not too much) tutorial-ization to help get players up to speed.


The tutorial area I made is the first of what I'm calling static zones. These are areas of the game that are not randomly generated. This could include temples (full of many god shrines) boss arenas, shops, etc... The tutorial area serves as a bit of a playground for the player to get their bearings, figure out the controls a bit, before they are thrust into combat. And it is of course short enough that the experienced player can skip through it in a matter of seconds (but there's 5 barrels and a ghoul that are probably worth killing for experience and loot).

Tutorials are a tricky thing, but hopefully our controls and interface are simple enough that the player learns it quickly. Tests have been going well so far, and it hasn't taken people very long to get accustomed to the UI and basic controls. Rest assured that the tutorial and help related things in the game will be option and unobtrusive for the seasoned player. There will be no "Hey Listen!" in Crimson Keep.

Speaking of UI you'll notice that we now have an ability bar to the left of the hot bar. We've scaled down the number of abilities the player will have access to at one time, but more or less kept the total number of abilities. Each time you achieve a level in which you earn an active ability you'll be selecting from a large number of tactics, each suited to a different play-style, and synergizing with different builds. Plan to play a bow using Berserker for some reason? The ability "Smolder" will be of little use to you, as its main perk is making enemies more susceptible to melee damage.

In the end the player will have access to 5 abilities (3 class abilities, 1 weapon ability, 1 mobility ability (dodge)). Dodge also received an upgrade recently, Ben thought it would be easier to use, and feel better if it could be used during another abilities animation, as it's for getting away in a pinch. It definitely feels better now. More tweaking to do with it and every ability of course, but we're making good progress in that department!


This week I finally got around to populating the crypts with some enemies. The first of which that actually has some significant differences from other enemies is the Battlecage Skeleton. Necromantic magic of the crypt has erupted deadly bone spikes out of the ribcages of these fellows. Naturally causing them to damage the player if caught in the line of fire when they charge.

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The demo for this month really felt a lot more complete since it's the first time we've been able to share the game with items, equipment, and all those goodies. So I felt the demo really needed an end, something to achieve. So we finally have a boss room, a door that remains locked until the boss is defeated, and of course, a boss! One of the many gripes people had playing the game before was the lack of motivation to kill the enemies, when you can simply run past them. Now with the introduction of boss arenas we have enemies that must be killed to progress. I think this is a better solution than doing the Binding of Isaac style (kill all enemies in each room to open doors) or Zelda style (Kill miniboss to get boss key to kill boss). I think it works for those games, but wouldn't necessarily work for ours. Instead we've opted to do it more like Diablo or Dark Souls, where there are certain boss enemies that are required, and all the minions are optional (But it's a pretty good idea to kill those minions in preparation for the bosses.)

Anyways, the game's had a good couple of weeks and it's been a lot of fun working on it! We're looking forward to getting some good playtest feedback and improving the game even more. Thanks for reading, and as always, please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts or critiques on the game's systems, or the footage.



It's really nice. But will not be the fight system boring, just to run forward hit and run backward?

Just asking as I'm big fan of DarkSouls and their combat system.

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IanAtherton Author

Thanks for the feedback OmoroteHideoshi. I'm a big fan of Dark Souls as well, (I've only beaten the first one though). A lot of the variety in our combat system comes from class abilities (stuns, projectiles, buffs, debuffs) and weapons. We'll be adding different types of weapons soon which will have their own ability (Similar to Dark Souls movesets). We're also working on implementing a parry/block system. I think once all that comes together, in combination with more enemy variety, we'll have a pretty fun and interesting combat system.

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