After a looooong wait, we finally have Build 43 ready to play! I’ll take you through what’s new!
The old builds had a few different scenarios that your team would have to tackle during tactical encounters, but I wanted to dramatically increase that in Build 43, and I think we succeeded. We’ve got a few more coming in 44 and 45 but here’s the current list:
- Find Item - The familiar mission from the alpha builds will have you searching a facility for an item of value.
- Hostage - similar to find the item, you’ll need to find the hostage and get them back to your sub. They will probably want to join your quest or possibly will be meet you back at the Republic HQ.
- Escape - sometimes we just don’t see a threat coming and get trapped deep in a facility. With enemies on high alert it can be a challenge to survive these missions.
- Distress Signal - trapped civilians will sometimes be able to trigger a distress signal. Enemies know this and sometimes use them to lure you into a trap. Be careful!
- Hack Terminals - when you run across a Rogue AI that has taken over a facility, you’ll need to weaken them by shutting down their secondary terminals before you can shut them down permanently. Beware though, the AI has complete control of the facility and will deploy turrets to try and stop you.
- Disarm Bombs - When terrorists rig up a facility to explode, they do it right. You’ll have to disable the smaller bomb nodes and then shut down the main bomb.
- Shut down reactors - each reactor in a facility has power nodes that must first be deactivated before the main reactor can be shut down.
- Find the Sub - in some missions, you’ll be finding a new sub type to use. You’ll have to get to the sub bay and one of your team members will have to pilot it back while the rest get back to your sub.
Raider terrorists seem to have left something for you
A rogue AI
New Tactical Concepts
We’ve got a new concept in Build 43: Intel. This determines whether you get a marker for the scenario goal on your mini map. Intel can apply to a number of mission types, including Find the Item, Find the Hostage and Distress Signal.
Another new concept is Facility Defenses. At some point in your travels, you’ll find that the facilities start to fight back. Before you can open that loot box or hack a terminal, you might need to disable the facility defenses. Not doing that can result in turrets being deployed. We’re going to continue iterating on this over the next two builds with the first change being to have an element on the HUD to show you the facility defenses status.
The entire encounter system was overhauled in Build 43. We added a lot of complexity to the system and dramatically improved the writing. The new encounters will help you understand the lore of the DOE world a bit better and greatly improve the atmosphere of the game. Encounters can have a ton of different outcomes depending on what happens. Having the right character class in your party can also be beneficial to getting out of scrapes intact.
The Republic is a tough place to live (but the best option we’ve got) and so there are always problems that require an experienced team to solve them. Enter the objective system. In each main area of the world, you’ll have available objectives. We’ve got several types planned for the final game (and possibly content updates) but only a few are in Build 43:
- Story Objectives - New in Build 43, you’ll get one story objective per main area of DOE. These are generally very tough missions, so you might want to take on some easier ones first to build up your team. COmpleting one of these objectives advances the main story of DOE and unlocks the next area.
- Procedural Objectives - these return from the alpha builds, but we’ve greatly improved them. There are currently 6 different base scenarios that will have some differences (characters, locations, difficulty) but be similar. These range from kidnappings, bounty hunting, distress signals to disarming bombs and stopping rogue AIs.
- Unlockables - in each main area of DOE, you will have special unlockable objectives that can give you a powerful weapon, a new class type or a new sub type. These objectives will each appear only once per game and are not in Build 43 but should be in a future build.
- Unique Objectives - these objectives are tied to the zone and tell a unique story about that Zone. They are of course optional but might be interesting to try.
As part of overhauling the objective system, the objective screens have also been given a makeover. Hopefully it’s now easier to choose your objective and set up your sub loadout.
Our artist @vakerics has really outdone himself with the new character portraits that you’ll see sprinkled around the UI in our latest build. These work in a very similar way to the character sprites in that they are layered and each piece of (visible) equipment is represented. So when your character equips that gas mask, you’ll see it in their portrait.
We’ve also got all of our enemies represented and they look awesome! Here’s a look at every enemy in the game.
Increased Level Loading Performance
We heard you! The loading times were a bit obscene in the old builds, especially as you got into the larger facilities later in the game. We’ve made some major strides in optimization, and are happy to say it has greatly decreased the time it takes to load up a level.
Cleaned Up Level Generation
We’ve really overhauled the level generation as part of adding the new objectives. There are a lot more variations in the levels and they look much more polished. We’ve also added some new room types to the interior facilities.
Another important change that came from feedback from our First Access players was cleaning up the backgrounds to improve visibility. We’ve change a lot of the floor and wall colors to try to make it very clear what is what. We’ve made the cover shorter so it’s easier to see what is cover and what is a walkable tile. We’ve tried to make the level layouts less cluttered and make more sense.
Mission Loadout Screen
One thing that has been missing for a while was a loadout screen to let you make changes to your team or perform a level up prior to launching the tactical missions. Now that this is in the game, it seems like a glaring omission from the alpha builds.
The AI system has been dramatically overhauled for Build 43, giving us options to easily tweak an enemy’s AI settings to make their attack patterns unique. Enemy grenade use is also vastly improved as they will now save them for situations when you’ve grouped your characters together, so be warned!
We’re also in progress on adding an AI follow mode to the player characters. You’ll be able to switch a character into follow mode which will let the AI perform their movements, following the closest manually controlled character. The AI character will stay in cover while moving and exit follow mode when encountering enemies. This was not quite ready for Build 43 but expect to see it in Build 44.
Many UX Improvements and Bug Fixes
So many improvements and bug fixes were made that it would be a challenge to list them all, but we’ll try to do it!
- Auto camera not panning back to active character and start drawing the path
- Manual camera doesn’t pan
- Hovering over enemies or cover brings up the “flag” showing their health, etc
- Map icons sometimes not changing after mission
- Character HUD modal redesigned
- Stats on active character weapon enlarged and relevant stats display for heavy weapons (min/max hits)
- Merchant shows characters that would get an upgrade from an item
- Money and fuel icons updated and made more consistent across all UI screens
- First level up requires choosing a class
- Fuel and credit adds/removes animation fixed to always appear above box
- Current mission objective can be toggled off and on in the HUD
- Minimap can be left open while playing and toggles with the M hotkey
- Tactical actions can be triggered by pressing hotkey twice (rather than by hotkey and space in alpha builds)
- All UI screens made in more consistent style and UX updates
- Music artist/title on pause screen
- Level up screen shows skill details for stats
- Skills icons updated
- Level up icons animated
- Lots of small bugs addressed
We've still got a few known issues in Build 43. We'll try to get a small patch out to address them prior to Build 44.
- Turrets not always being added to a battle and the character alert level doesn't always change with them in battle so characters have the movement advantage
- Sometimes can't click to target an enemy (seems to happen rarely)
- Wrecker skill Big Blast not doing +1 damage with grenade
- MInigun not firing correctly
- Wildcat skill Bullet Hell not firing correctly
- Loading screen stutters on OSX (seems to not affect windows and linux)
- Possible Linux crashes on into and when switching areas on objective map (possibly fixed)
- Need to remove critical hits from overwatch
- Some scenarios where you can fire on an enemy that seems like they should be obstructed and vice versa
What’s Next in Build 44?
We've already talked about most of what we expect in Build 44, but here's a few more items:
- Easy Mode - basically a "retry" option on failed tactical missions. we could also do some slight rebalancing on easy, like giving more health.
- Improving ambient sound
- Fixing the drag camera
- Adding real cutscenes to story missions and dialog back into the other missions.