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.


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!

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