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Author Topic: King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy  (Read 30883 times)

Zsinj

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King under the Mountain - Fantasy simulation-based strategy
« on: August 31, 2016, 01:48:39 am »




Concept art of a dwarven settlement

Concept art of an underground dwarven settlement

Hey Bay watchers, I'm creating King under the Mountain, it's a game very heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress (primarily), mixed with The Settlers, Prison Architect and Dungeon Keeper. As a longtime fan of DF this is my dream gaming project, to take the elements I love of that game and others in an attractive, approachable package.

I don't think I need to tell you how the game plays for the most part - you have a small band of dwarves and attempt to build up a functioning settlement. Where it differs is that there'll be an opt-in, kind of asynchronous multiplayer mode - your fortresses will be uploaded to a central server for other players to view and explore. Similar to adventure mode and reclaim fortress in DF, you'll be able to take a party of your brightest and best dwarves/other settlers on an adventure to a site created by another player, for the opportunity to collect otherwise unavailable loot and resources.

I'm also writing the game to be completely open to modding - everything is to be as data-driven as possible. You can see more about that here. Here's a gif of the UI I'm currently working on in-game:


I've made a lot of progress in the last month, mostly in getting trees to have procedurally generated colours for their trunk and leaves, where the leaves change colour throughout autumn/fall before eventually falling away. You can read more about that in the latest IndieDB dev log update.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jpeownrTEw0

Concept designs of different professions

Yes, it'll have mostly useless nobles to babysit :)

Procedural generation of as much as possible is also a big focus. You can play around with the area map generator, directly in your browser here, with no plugins required.

Area map generator output

The game is being developed for PC and Mac, with the roadmap to have a minimum playable alpha by the end of the year. If you're interested and you'd like me to let you know when it's available in some form, you can sign up at http://kingunderthemounta.in/download/ which is a mailing list to only email you that information once - no weekly/monhtly update spam, just a one-off email when the game's available. Better yet, I'm giving it away to 1/10 subscribers to that list to help generate some interest.

For more regular updates, tune into my Twitter account at https://twitter.com/RocketJumpTech, or if you're not a fan of Twitter, there's also a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/kingunderthemountaingame/. I'd love to hear any feedback or questions you might have right here!
« Last Edit: January 29, 2019, 12:01:47 pm by Zsinj »
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Shadowgandor

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Looks interesting! I wish you the best with the project. Hopefully it'll turn out as a success :)
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kulik

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This is not a "OMG another DF clone" post!!!

But, we already have DF and numerous DF-lite clones some better than others, do we need another one? Sure, yours may end up as one of the better ones, it certainly looks good, but why don't you do some out-of-the-box thinking and explore a wholly new concept? You seem to have the creative potential to make something unique for yourself. The asynchronous multiplayer mode is new but I don't think it's enough.
 
Good luck with the game and sorry for the rant. ...actually it ended up as "OMG another DF clone" after all.  ::)
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Niveras

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Does it have to be dwarves? It's incredibly common at this point - always the traditional tolkienesque industrious hill/mountain dwarves. Why not try something different, just for the aesthetics? Go for the evil bent and make them deep dwarves (bonus for exploring how their civilization works even if the world considers them 'evil')! Some kind of illithid expy (WotC is touchy about its property but it should be easy enough to design a race of psi-orientated deep-horrors inspired by mindflayers; feeding/caring for/managing an elder brain equivalent would also give players a slightly more focused goal than "survive"). Morloks, troggs (in the latter case, could be a more 'noble'/evolved offshoot of troggs, versus the more animal/tribal versions that populate the world). Orcs (though that race tends to favour war over industry). Even just mountain-living humans would be fairly unique at this point.

I guess at this point it may be too late to re-do all the visual assets you have planned, and general gameplay design to shift focus from the "traditional" dwarven colony.

Good luck either way. I apologise for the rant. I hope this coming so closely after the above post doesn't further sour future readers to your idea.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 05:09:58 am by Niveras »
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LoSboccacc

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Does it have to be dwarves?

from a development perspective dwarves are the best: their home is subterranean and their architecture is generally squared. if you're on limited resources they require way less art than, say, Towns. Unless you accept your colony is one level only and you'll never get a nice view of your buildings, like Rimworld/Prison Architect.

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Zsinj

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Thanks a lot for the feedback guys - in response no it doesn't actually have to be dwarves, I was probably playing up the DF similarities for the benefit of the audience here. I was originally drawn to Dwarf Fortress about 10 years back as part of the hunt for a worthy successor to Dungeon Keeper (and what I found was a lot more than that!). The whole "be the bad guy" vibe really struck a chord with me and it's something I'm aiming to recapture. While I'm initially focusing on dwarves as the first playable race (mostly for people's familiarity), I plan to branch out into other races with their own gameplay mechanics and features. While I'm aiming at an initial release of dwarves, humans and orcs, what I'd really like to do is push it further than that and have the following "races":
  • Play as a lone wizard building a "tower" or secret lair to conduct your magical research, using constructs such as golems and summoned familiars to do most of the grunt work
  • Play as a necromancer researching the secrets of immortality - raise your minions from dead and you don't need to worry about feeding them, but they'll have their own maintenance issues to deal with
  • Play as a dragon amassing a hoard of treasure deep in the mountain, with an army of loyal kobolds to do your bidding
  • Play as an invasion of demons (think Dungeon Keeper minions and playstyle) secretly building up your power base or else fending off parties of adventuring heroes
I'm wary of letting these ideas bloat out to too much scope creep, but this is the rough long-term plan for what the game will end up involving.

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Silverthrone

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Lookin' good. Lookin' very good indeed.

To be frank, "DF but accessible"-games don't tend to be very engaging projects, but I think this might be an exception. I haven't seen much, but your game seems to catch a lot of the same spirit of DF. And extra credit where it's due with the early emphasis on modding potential.

Don't worry too much about originality, do what you do and do it well. Traditional aesthetics keeps engaging for good reason. There's more elbow room for more novel fancies later, with a sturdy framework. Take it in good time.

It's a really nice art style, by the way. Nice and colourful, and it compliments the setting.

EDIT: All of those things sounds lovely. And I like that you try to avoid the feature bloat that a lot of indie games struggle with. It seems to be a pretty well-managed venture, all in all.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 06:02:46 am by Silverthrone »
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Niveras

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Thanks a lot for the feedback guys - in response no it doesn't actually have to be dwarves, I was probably playing up the DF similarities for the benefit of the audience here. I was originally drawn to Dwarf Fortress about 10 years back as part of the hunt for a worthy successor to Dungeon Keeper (and what I found was a lot more than that!). The whole "be the bad guy" vibe really struck a chord with me and it's something I'm aiming to recapture. While I'm initially focusing on dwarves as the first playable race (mostly for people's familiarity), I plan to branch out into other races with their own gameplay mechanics and features. While I'm aiming at an initial release of dwarves, humans and orcs, what I'd really like to do is push it further than that and have the following "races":
  • Play as a lone wizard building a "tower" or secret lair to conduct your magical research, using constructs such as golems and summoned familiars to do most of the grunt work
  • Play as a necromancer researching the secrets of immortality - raise your minions from dead and you don't need to worry about feeding them, but they'll have their own maintenance issues to deal with
  • Play as a dragon amassing a hoard of treasure deep in the mountain, with an army of loyal kobolds to do your bidding
  • Play as an invasion of demons (think Dungeon Keeper minions and playstyle) secretly building up your power base or else fending off parties of adventuring heroes
I'm wary of letting these ideas bloat out to too much scope creep, but this is the rough long-term plan for what the game will end up involving.

All of these sound like better ideas to start off with versus just another fort sim. Especially the dragon-sim, which I would certainly like to see myself, especially if you as a dragon alone can raid settlements to grow your own horde of treasure. Bonus points if you allow different lineages access to different powers, both flavour-wise and functionally (for example, a white dragon might be based on ice and necromancy), and different gameplay options (some dragon flavour might instead grow their horde through tithes or providing services and wisdom to supplicants).

This seems especially true to me since they're going to function slightly differently from the standard fort. You're going to have a primary important unit with special powers, and working in mechanics built around that would be easier if you go with that in mind from the beginning than trying to add new mechanics and build into it once you have your basic sim running.

You do have a bit of competition in terms of wizard and necromancer sims with KeeperRL. (Now that I think of it, I wonder if it is possible to mod KeeperRL into 'dragon-hoarding-sim'. Haven't kept up with that.)
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Zsinj

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Thanks Silverthrone, much appreciated :)

All of these sound like better ideas to start off with versus just another fort sim...

I really appreciate this input! My feedback so far outside of the DF community has been that there's still quite a demand for another DF-a-like in this style, and the majority have been more excited about it being like Dwarf Fortress than they have with the similarities to Prison Architect or Rimworld. That said, I'm really excited myself at this idea of a single important character acting as your avatar, perhaps like in Evil Genius though a lot more in depth than the avatar there ended up being.

As for dragons, I definitely plan to have different colours/types with different abilities, but I hadn't considered having your own lineage, that could be a great idea! Perhaps after building your horde enough you have to find a mate, and after a period of hibernation carry on as your child with a mix of or improved abilities, coming into an older world that no longer fears you :)
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My Name is Immaterial

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Looks very cool! PTW!

Also, how much are you planning on selling it for?

Retropunch

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Looks very cool, but I have to agree with the above - this needs a much stronger niche - dwarves/gnomes/demons have been done to death.

I love the lone wizard or necromancer idea, and I feel that could be fleshed out to be AMAZING. As you're relatively low on resources, you can get away with a re-skin and stat shake-up and have two completely different factions to play as.

You can always add in more 'vanilla' races later on, but being a wizard fighting against a necromancer (or vice versa) just screams cool.

EDIT: In response to what you said about the demand for another DF-a-like: I've only seen the opposite. DF does complexity better than anyone else is going to even approach in this lifetime, and for a 'lite' version with fancy graphics and more actiony then War for the Overworld and Dungeons 2 manage to do that very well. With the best will in the world, I can't imagine what you could add that hasn't been already done in that vein.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2016, 01:50:11 pm by Retropunch »
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With enough work and polish, it could have been a forgettable flash game on Kongregate.

Zsinj

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Looks very cool! PTW!

Also, how much are you planning on selling it for?

Thank you! Nothing set in stone at this point, though it'll be less than what Rimworld retails for. I'm definitely planning to make sure that anyone who purchases or backs it early on will get the most value for money!
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Zsinj

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Looks very cool, but I have to agree with the above - this needs a much stronger niche - dwarves/gnomes/demons have been done to death.

I love the lone wizard or necromancer idea, and I feel that could be fleshed out to be AMAZING. As you're relatively low on resources, you can get away with a re-skin and stat shake-up and have two completely different factions to play as.

You can always add in more 'vanilla' races later on, but being a wizard fighting against a necromancer (or vice versa) just screams cool.

If that's what the fanbase wants then that's what I'll end up doing :) I'd love to get this kind of feedback to help steer development towards what people want the most. For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of the wizard or necromancer idea too :D
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Folly

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  • Play as a lone wizard building a "tower" or secret lair to conduct your magical research, using constructs such as golems and summoned familiars to do most of the grunt work
  • Play as a necromancer researching the secrets of immortality - raise your minions from dead and you don't need to worry about feeding them, but they'll have their own maintenance issues to deal with
  • Play as a dragon amassing a hoard of treasure deep in the mountain, with an army of loyal kobolds to do your bidding
  • Play as an invasion of demons (think Dungeon Keeper minions and playstyle) secretly building up your power base or else fending off parties of adventuring heroes

All of those ideas sound amazing. Also, your artwork and GUI look extremely promising. The multiplayer component sounds like it could help breathe some new life into an existing genre.

The main thing I would like to see however, is some sort of over-arching objective. Are we trying to survive against increasingly deadly enemy sieges? Or trying to build up enough wealth to unlock all the fancy construction pieces so we can make a big elaborate castle that will impress visitors? Or struggling to satisfy the demands of nobles so that we can attract a king? Base-building is a great foundation for creative minds, but if you want to hold their interest you'll need some sort of objectives for them to pursue.
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Retropunch

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If that's what the fanbase wants then that's what I'll end up doing :) I'd love to get this kind of feedback to help steer development towards what people want the most. For what it's worth, I'm a big fan of the wizard or necromancer idea too :D

Sorry I just edited my last post to hammer it in more - apologies! I just really feel like it'd be a shame to see your obvious talent and dedication go to something that's just absolutely saturated.

In terms of niches, I prefer a wizard/necromancer idea to a dragon, as - whilst it's very cool - I think it'd be difficult to pull off. It's always something you could pull in later, but it might be very difficult to give the dragon the power it needs to be well...a dragon, whilst still keeping it half way balanced. It might also be a difficult thing to display in a way that conveys 'massive dragon' whilst till keeping to tiles. Imagination can carry you so far, but if you basically just look the same as a normal dwarf, it can ruin the effect a bit.
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With enough work and polish, it could have been a forgettable flash game on Kongregate.
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