I’ve been trying to write a post about our impressions from the alpha launch for quite some time now, but it’s proving pretty difficult as my thoughts go running all over the place, so in the meantime here’s a rundown on what we’re working on:
Alpha 2 brings a remade inventory, world generation and culling systems. As cool as it may sound, these changes are unfortunately (apart from the world generation, which is detailed below) only visible in the back-end, namely in better stability, memory management, removed stuttering and framerate drops, and faster world generation.
Pacing, difficulty curve
While Darkwood is supposed to be a constant struggle for survival, we’ve seen too many players confused about what to do at two moments in the game: at the very beginning after the prologue, and sometime later when advancing through the storyline means a visit to the dark, more dangerous parts of the woods.
Darkwood’s world is currently totally open, with fluid borders between the different biomes, meaning you can find yourself in a mutated forest totally by accident, which is a VERY bad idea at the start of the game (resulting in a confusing, painful death).
We hope to address these issues with a new way of generating the world, making the biomes more distinct, forcing you to work to advance to the harder (but more rewarding) ones, giving you a better sense of progression.
We’re working on adding more content to the parts of the world between the locations, so that they’re more varied. Loot gathering will also be less reliant on pure chance to find chests, bodies or whatnot.
Fighting in Darkwood is made to be slow and tactical, but lethal. Given it’s perspective, the combat system is unintuitive for a lot of people and takes time to get used to, to the point where we’ve seen quite a few posts on the forums stating that combat is “broken”. We have no problems with it and can defeat any enemy in the current version of the game with the weakest weapon, but we had a lot of time to get accustomed to it (we designed it, duh), unlike the first time players, which get torn to shreds by a wild dog because they haven’t familiarised themselves with how fighting works in the game. Alpha 2 will have gentler enemy pacing and improvements to responsiveness and balance.
That about sums it up! Sadly we don’t have a ETA yet on the update, so stay tuned.