Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Ultimate ADOM vs ADOM Classic - Complexity and Details

Some of the comments we've been receiving about Ultimate ADOM is that it seems to lack complexity, and it's easy to see where that perception might come from. Unlike ADOM's multiple dungeons and expansive overworld, in UA there is a single dungeon (though with several branches both optional and mandatory), and we have gamepad support.

Being seemingly confined in a single, deadly environment and being more accessible when it comes to controls does not limit the complexity of the game however. Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos' underlying logic engine allows it to simulate things that have never been possible with ADOM.

Play with fire


Interact with anything. Extinguish torches and candles, light them (if your character has the tools, the skill or the appropriate magic) or destroy them with raw physical rage. Open fire has a variety of uses not fully implemented yet, but which will come when elemental combination effects hit our Early Access roadmap.

Bumping into burning braziers will cause the oil to spill to neighboring spaces depending on the direction of the bump, potentially setting poorly positioned enemies aflame. Please note that monsters will occasionally also stumble into these things, making fighting near braziers a dangerous but potentially rewarding tactical choice - unlike in ADOM Classic, monsters now have access to exactly the same skills and actions as the player character.


Potions

Like in ADOM, potions can still be used in a variety of creative ways apart from drinking them. For example, you can pour orange juice into a river or coat an iron maiden with poison if that is what you wish to do, because Ultimate ADOM is not going to stop you from doing that. You will even be able to coat your weapon with a healing potion, in case an enemy disarms you, picks up your blade and decides to pummel you with it. It's all about being prepared, and while these are all instances which had to be hard-coded in ADOM, UA's logic engine will just allow you to do all of this because it's possible to simply interact with all the objects in the game.

There's one major change though - we will not have any "unidentified" potions or scrolls anymore. While some players enjoyed the challenge of finding out over and over again if a certain potion is poison or healing this session, most did not enjoy experimenting over and over again and we decided that in the Caverns of Chaos, potions are clearly labelled this time.


Grafting, Limbs and meaningful critical hits

Here's something that also hasn't been possible in ADOM, and best of all: It's already in game when we hit Early Access on February the 11th. While every character (at least, for now) starts out with two arms, two legs, a torso and a head, they do not need to remain so for long. Powerful enemies skilled in wielding bladed weapons (especially axes) may score a lucky hit, sending limbs flying.

Additionally, some characters specializing in this may graft monster bodyparts to themselves, because what's better than wielding two axes? Wielding four axes, one for each arm you could eventually run around with. Found a really cool helmet but it's too small for your regular head? Kill a kobold, butcher its corpse and graft its head onto your shoulders. You now have a slot for wearing a smaller helmet.



Animate everything

Playing a White Necromancer in ADOM was quite difficult, because clay was hard to come by. The Animancy school of magic in Ultimate ADOM will allow your character to animate anything she desires. Spare weapons, coffins, corpses or even the walls of the dungeon itself - as long as you have enough power points spare, a wizard specializing in Animancy will never truly have to be alone.


You might even cut off a minotaur's arm in combat, animate it and then leave it to fight its original owner if you are feeling particularly cruel.


So while the dungeon's scope itself is a bit smaller than all the different locations of ADOM Classic (for now, at least, because developing roguelikes is something one does not simply stop just because it's feature complete), we feel we have added all the fun, complex bits we couldn't add to ADOM due to the code simply not allowing for it. And there's a lot more to come!

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Ultimate ADOM vs ADOM Classic - The new skill system explained







As we're nearing Early Access for Ultimate ADOM: Caverns of Chaos, we want to shine a light on the different approaches to game design for old ADOM players. What can you expect to see in the sequel? What are the changes to the game concept you all love and play?

In this mini-series, we want to highlight the differences between the original ADOM and its sequel, and what the thought processes was behind the decisions.

If you want to see a specific question addressed, drop a note! Yes, diagonal movement is going to be answered.


Why are there only five classes? Considering that ADOM has 22 classes, that's a net loss of 17 classes. Quite significant, if taken at face value.

First of all, we're heading to Early Access for Ultimate ADOM for a very simple reason: It's not done yet. There'll be more classes incoming, though the final number is still up for debate.

Second, and more importantly, classes in Ultimate ADOM are not like classes in ADOM. Let's have a look at Alynna the elven archer up there. They can Sneak, Butcher things and Cast spells among other standard actions from the very beginning - because they decided to spend their skill points in these trees:

Grafting


As an Elf, Alynna receives additional skill points in arcane skills. The elf decided to put their arcane talent into Grafting, to make the best use of the many, many corpses they will leave behind. A different elf archer might have invested into Hydromancy to improve their defense or hurl icy bolts at their enemies. An investment into Animancy might have been worthwhile too - turning the very dungeon around you into allies, allowing your archer to keep their distance as they rain down missile attacks at the monsters.

There will be new arcane categories in the coming weeks, so it's not just a choice between these four schools, but many more.

Archery

The Archer class will receive extra skill points to be distributed to missile weapons. Right now we have a selection of Bows (Alynna's choice), Crossbows and Slings in the game, but there are plans for including throwing weapons, too. There are advantages of specializing in a single category of missile weapons, as this makes unlocking powerful skills and boosts more easy. A different archer might decide to spread evenly between crossbows and slings, though, remaining versatile and ready to deal with monsters that are more resistant to being peppered with pointy sticks.


Stealth



Alynna has also opted to invest a point into the Stealth skill. They could have become stronger and faster, improve their chances for loot from monsters and chests or invest points into literacy to cast spells from scrolls, but a sneaking archer knowing where the nearby traps are and dealing extra damage while being hidden is a very powerful combination.




And that's just the archer class. Let's look at Fira, a female human wizard. She specialized in Animancy (turning objects into companions) and Hydromancy for attack and protection. As a Human, she occasionally gets extra skill points to distribute wherever she wants, and she decided to put some into Literacy and Crossbows - remaining dangerous at range even when out of power points.

Instead of having Necromancer, Elementalist and Wizard classes, there's only Wizards now - but they offer so much more customization than ever before.
 



So, yes. Right now, there's only five classes - but no Wizard, no Fighter, no Adventurer, no Priest and no Archer needs ever be the same.

We can't wait to read about your favorite combinations and the adventures they will encounter!

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Life keeps changing... significantly

Dear ADOM community,

while I never have been known for regular updates and timelines keep changing I today would like to talk about a major change in my professional life that also will have profoud effects on my ADOM activities.

As some of you know I am one of three CEOs of a German IT company called QuinScape. QuinScape specializes in enterprise software development in the areas of data & analytics and business applications for large companies. I have been joyfully working in this position for the past 18 years and just recently we decided to make the next big move forward by onboarding a growth investor into the company (link to German page, only, sorry - but Google Translate should be helpful). This investor will allow us to grow the company to the next level and ensure that we can sustain our unique culture, deeply humane view on people and energetic approach to innovation and progress for a long time onwards.

Despite IT markets being pure gold right now, competition for small- and medium-sized companies becomes harder and harder and there is a big trend towards concentration and consolidation rocking the markets.

Often this means being devoured by much larger companies who wreck your own unique culture, just look at numeric ressources and cost synergies. This can ruin a life of work spent on building a unique company culture in a matter of months. We decided that QuinScape is not going to be a company someone else will devour. Instead we want to build a truly unique company group of similar minded organizations that also subscribe to our core company values of openness, competence, fun and loyalty.

With out new partner Auctus we have found a growth investor who takes the same view on how to develop healthy and growing companies while deeply understanding the benefits of a strong employee-oriented culture and holding to values we believe in.

So QuinScape now is facing a very unique opportunity to grow from a single location in Dortmund, Germany, to many locations spread over Germany and the nearby foreign countries... and maybe much further in the more distant future.

I am very happy for myself, the company and our employees that we have been granted such a unique opportunity and want to take it with all my energy.

Both me and my two founding colleagues now are very much focussed on continuing to grow the company to new dimensions - together with our new partner.

But this has a downside: I will have to focus my energy and resources even more and will have to get rid of distractions faster. Also I do not want to sacrifice my family - both my beloved wife and our daughter Hannah, almost 18 months old by now, deserve all the time and love I can give. So focus really has become even more important in my life.

Is ADOM a distraction? Not by any means - it is one of my three big loves (family, company, ADOM) and thus ADOM will not be sacrificed to this new development. But I will have to focus my activities to get by doing a satisfying amount of work despite more limited time resources available to me - which in turn will affect ADOM, ADOM RPG and Ultimate ADOM.

As this is the ADOM blog I will lay out the consequences for ADOM Classic immediately:

  • Updates (which have been scarce in fecent months) will remain scarce. But they will continue as the investment into QuinScape also means that I have more personal funds at my disposal that I can invest privately into Team ADOM. Still pace will remain somewhat slow.
  • Communication will also remain on a somewhat barren level until we have big things to announce.
  • Our prime focus will be the development of Ultimate ADOM (which has made huge progress internally - we just need to be able to finally start showing things).

Feel free to ask questions. I'm deeply committed to the ADOM community and will try my best to keep the flame burning. As this whole situation is new to me, too, I will use the next three months to sort out matters and see where we can take this with my new life arrangements.

Both the ADOM RPG Kickstarter and the Ultimate ADOM blog will receive separate updates.

Thanks for listening & Axes High!
Thomas Biskup
ADOM & Ultimate ADOM Maintainer