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Thread: Underworld Ascendant Playable Prototype

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004

    Underworld Ascendant Playable Prototype

    https://underworldascendant.com/news/1123_update.php

    Available to high-tier backers since Tuesday.


  2. #2
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    It's difficult to get much out of watching this given the barebones nature of the graphics and other assets (although admittedly I didn't perservere with watching it in its entirety). Have you played it yet and if so did you find the cause and effect and emergent gameplay mature enough yet to comment on how it currently plays? I didn't see anything that looks particularly new yet.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    Have you played it yet and if so did you find the cause and effect and emergent gameplay mature enough yet to comment on how it currently plays? I didn't see anything that looks particularly new yet.
    I guess, in my opinion, no it isn't mature enough yet to comment on how it plays. But I guess I'll do so anyway.

    Honestly, it's neat, but it's really clumsy and glitchy. I kind of wish they had released an earlier prototype of nothing but the real basics of movement and object handling, polished those elements, then released a second prototype where they introduced the simulated physics and the spell system.

    Also, this is clearly an isolated playground of experimental stuff, not at all a part of the game. If you were to create a big box room in Thief and throw a bunch of Garrett's tools in there, with a few rooms off of it that can be reached in different ways using Garrett's different tools... that's pretty much all this is, except all implemented with "programmer art" and placeholder objects instead of real assets.

    One thing's for sure, though: it's incredibly ambitious.

    They really are going for a fully simulated world with all kinds of crazy interactions between spells and all the objects in the world. I mean, everything is fully simulated (even if sloppily at times, at this early stage). For example, if gears provide the function for a door that can be opened and closed, all the individual components of those gears and the door they operate are simulated and functioning independently. The door and its functioning isn't at all scripted in a conventional, artificial sense.

    For Underworld fans, the spell system is a direct descendant of the spell system in the original Underworld games. You have runes you place on a shelf in an inventory screen, then close the inventory screen and cast that spell. But they don't tell you all the spells that are possible; you have to experiment with the provided meanings of each rune and try different combinations to create different, and sometimes exotic, spells. Again, it's glitchy as hell at this early stage, but that's to be expected, and I'd say it looks really promising.

    For Thief fans, there's a spell that provides almost the exact same function as rope arrows. I felt very Thiefy finding ways to climb ever higher into dark nooks and crannies to find the collectible bunnies they hide throughout the prototype. Also, you can light or quench fires and torches, with this having an obvious impact on the lighting of the environment.

    I worry a little bit about their ambitions. There's a real risk of all these interacting systems creating a bug-fixing, exploit-eliminating nightmare when it comes to crunch time. I mentioned Trespasser on the UA forum because all of these elaborately simulated, interacting systems could result in unpleasant clumsiness and tedium in the moment-to-moment gameplay if they don't tighten and polish it all well enough. And I think polishing it enough is a legitimate concern given their small team and small budget.

    Edit: Also, if you watch the whole video Infinitron posted, I can say I accomplished all those tasks in completely different ways, so as far as their goal of having different solutions or paths through or around different obstacles... mission accomplished.
    Last edited by Twist; 1st Dec 2015 at 19:32.

  4. #4
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    The prototype is now available to the general backer population on BackerKit, for a $5 fee: https://underworld-ascendant.backerk...s?editing=true

  5. #5
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    New prototype arena:


  6. #6
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    Thanks for sharing. This is the first chance I've had to see this and a little surprised to see that no one else has commented yet.

    Regarding the video, the parkour looks pretty sweet already and I'm relieved to see that the player movement appears to already be smooth and reasonably well developed, even if it is still a work in progress. To be honest I was a little worried when I heard the term "body awareness " in the most recent update as it is not a term I've heard since TDS, a game where it wasn't done particularly well in.

  7. #7
    Member
    Registered: Aug 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by twisty View Post
    To be honest I was a little worried when I heard the term "body awareness " in the most recent update as it is not a term I've heard since TDS, a game where it wasn't done particularly well in.
    Hmm? Body awareness was terrible in TDS, but it's become quite common since.

  8. #8
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    True, but I don't recall it being described that way since then.

  9. #9
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: the Sheeple Pen
    Hmph. What's with all the sliding in that video? It looks really stupid. It's like the player does that to move faster, which makes no sense at all to me. It reminds me of speed hopping in Thief 1, except that it looks a lot more stupid. I don't know what to think of wall running and all that either... I'm not feeling too bad anymore that I missed out on all the early prototype stuff.

  10. #10
    Member
    Registered: May 2004
    Well, it's typical work in progress prototype stuff. What it will hopefully end up as, though, is smooth parkour for rogueish character builds.

  11. #11
    Moderator
    Registered: Sep 2000
    Location: Australia
    I actually think that the parkour style of movement (if done well) could really enhance stealth gameplay. For example, a player could use wall run to get around an opponent such as a guard when he/she is turning around and would not be noticed as long as the player chose to wall run against the wall that their enemy's back is against. This could provide another alternative to hiding in shadows which becomes stale if it is the only hiding mechanism used.

  12. #12
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    A new update has added a rudimentary perk system:


  13. #13
    Member
    Registered: Jun 2004
    Video of the new pre-alpha prototype:

    Last edited by Infinitron; 26th May 2016 at 12:05.

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