Update #29 - On C&C and Storytelling

As you probably know by now, Choices & Consequences are more than just a feature for us. It’s the foundation on which the game is built and a concept we’ll continue exploring and evolving as long as we stay in business. The reason it’s so important to us –and hopefully to you – is that the players need a steady stream of choices to craft their own tales and it is the consequences that give meaning to those choices and alter the tale. 

AoD was our first attempt at C&C and I’d rate this attempt at 6/10. We did many things right and – predictably - we did many things wrong. We also learned quite a lot in the process and we hope that The New World will take C&C to the next level, offering a less restrictive and more engaging experience. 

Essentially, there are 3 types of choices:

  • Multiple quest solutions to let you handle quests in a manner fitting your character. Keep in mind that you will not be able to handle every situation (aka side quest) with brute force or clever words, so some exceptions will apply, but you will be able to beat the game with combat, stealth, or diplomacy.

  • Taking sides in various conflicts, big and small, thus leaving your mark on the gameworld and defining your character through actions (aka role-playing). These decisions aren't based on skills but on your opinions, allegiances, beliefs, past decisions, etc. It works best when there’re plenty of double- and triple-crossing opportunities, like going to kill Lorenza in one of the assassins quest in Maadoran and letting her talk you into killing Darista and Gaelius instead, which affects your options with Hamza when you run into him in Ganezzar.

  • Big Decisions that alter the story (i.e. branching), affect the gameworld, and have far reaching consequences.


Since Big Decisions are appropriately rare (you can’t alter the storyline every 5 min) and multiple quests solutions are often determined by your build, the meat of the game is taking sides in conflicts, which is a lot more complex than pointing at some ruins and saying ‘there be monsters’.  

First and foremost, the player has to give a damn. Obviously, it’s a very subjective criterion and a major risk factor, especially in a non-fantasy game. Fantasy, ancient mysteries, sword & sorcery hold a certain, deeply engrained appeal. The sci-fi does not, unless it’s reskinned fantasy. However, since we can’t do much about it, we’ll put these concerns aside for a moment and focus on things that are actually within our control:

  • The conflict should be properly designed, meaning it should have a past and a future. The player should see how the conflict came to be, all the factors that led to it, and how the events might unfold after the player’s interference. 

  • Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. The player should feel that he/she is doing the right thing. Whoever the player sides with are the good guys fighting the good fight, the other side automatically becomes the evil that must be stopped (i.e. good and evil shifts with perspective). 

  • Since the player will take sides, both sides should have strong positions and offer compelling arguments. Unlike in a traditional or reskinned fantasy setting, there is no "good" or "evil" faction; every faction presents the upsides to its strategy, and players will be able to see the downsides as well. Once you pick a side, other factions' beliefs become obstacles that amplify the downsides to your faction. As Mark Yohalem said it, “in a world where you can only make an omelet by cracking eggs, they keep trying to knock eggs out of your hand on the floor, mess with the heat on the stove, or slosh the pan.”  Players shouldn't feel like paladins, but they should feel that they’re doing the right thing under the circumstances.

  • Handling the conflicts in different ways must have different consequences, ideally ripple-effect style. The player should see the short-term consequences (hooray, we won!) but not the long term effects as the player wouldn’t have all the info (especially on the first playthrough) to consider all the angles. Well, Luther could hardly imagine that his fiery proclamations would eventually result in a bitter divide and a 30-year war…


Now back to the above-mentioned concerns: 

We don’t expect everyone to like the conflicts and the themes we offer to explore, but we hope that our core audience would enjoy and appreciate the attention to details. Unfortunately, hope is not a very reliable tool, so we have to seek feedback to make sure we stay on the right track. 

Since I talk to Mark Yohalem (the developer of Primordia who’s currently working on Fallen Gods, one of my most anticipated RPGs) quite often, I casually dump my files on him every chance I get. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I praise him, he praises me, everyone’s happy. It’s not like that at all. While I do praise his work and think that his Fallen Gods updates are really awesome, he is merciless, relentless, and tenacious in his criticism. You guys should see him tearing into my work like a fucking chainsaw. It’s a sight to behold. 

Recently I did manage to score some positive points and I’d like to share them with you:

* * *


A few weeks ago, I had the painful pleasure of reviewing a small dialogue from The New World.  I say “painful” because I adored The Age of Decadence and had managed, despite its very public development, to go in without knowing much about its story or setting.  Every time I learn more about TNW, I’m taking a usurious payday advance against when I finally get to play it in a few years.  Sure, it’s fun to have a little something now, but I’ll be destitute when the release roles around.

And now I get to offer the same bitter pill to you, dear reader, because Vince asked me to share my analysis of the dialogue for this update.  This is doubly brilliant, since it not only lets Vince put up a long-winded pretentious discussion about narrative themes while maintaining his own laconic reputation, but also will make his future posts seem even more practical and modest in contrast to this one.  Given that Vince is basically a real-life Miltiades, I’m not sure why I keep following him into these alleys…

The dialogue at issue is a quest and mirror-quest where the player meets Lord’s Mercy, a gunslinging lady at the head of a gang of toughs.  Mercy is currently in the employ of one Jonas Redford, the owner of a brothel and the de facto boss of the Pit.  A powerful outsider gang, called the Regulators, was recently brought into the Pit to help keep out another faction, The Brotherhood of Liberty.  But now the Regulators are themselves trying to take over the Pit, and their leader Jeremiah Braxton (erstwhile Faithful Gunner of the Church of the Elect) is hoping to take down Jonas.  (Anyone familiar with the television show Deadwood should have an immediate sense for Jonas and the interlopers trying to give him the boot.)  The player winds up on one side or the other of this conflict and needs to either make sure Mercy stays loyal to Jonas, or flip her to Braxton’s side.

At the outset of my conversation with Vince about the mechanics of the dialogue, I gave him my thoughts on what I understood the dialogue’s themes to be.  (That’s because Lajos Egri’s The Art of Dramatic Writing persuaded me that when the writer knows what thematic significance a dialogue has, it helps him keep the dialogue lean and focused.)  Now, with a little bit of editing, I share my thematic assessment with you.

  • The struggle over the Pit is, like in Deadwood, basically a story about frontier independence being swept away by powerful forces from back in “civilization.”  Also, as with the overrunning of Greece by Rome (or any other of a hundred historical examples), it's about how the shortsightedness of internal factions in inviting outside powers leads to all the insiders losing their stature.

  • This struggle is taking place against the backdrop of a failing colony ship, so there’s also an undercurrent that as the world breaks down, power can perversely become consolidated into a few factions’ hands because the middle-class prosperity and law-and-order that maintain individual freedom are lost.

  • Jonas is a stalwart of the frontier/insider old guard: a rough and ugly man, but ultimately an exemplar of rugged/ruthless independence.  Braxton represents the more sophisticated, more cultured, more connected, more powerful, more modern outside/civilized strength.

  • Being a Badass Lady, Mercy already starts halfway off third base in terms of player sympathy.  She values her Word, her God, and her Gun, which is to say, she's an All-American Hero.  Given that she's an All-American Hero, she's naturally on the side of rugged independence, which is where we find her.  

  • The effort to flip Mercy to Braxton is thus about the prostitution of Lady Liberty to wealth and power, no?  It's Arthur Miller’s Death of a Gunswoman in one short act.  (Ironic that her prostitution should entail abandoning a pimp in favor of a churchman, but life is rich with such little ironies.)

  • Conversely, the mirror interaction with Mercy is a matter of saving her from such prostitution.

  • Because a huge part of AOD's appeal, and I think TNW's appeal, is the squalid bargaining the player is tricked(? enticed? invited?) into carrying out, it's excellent that the interloping powerful faction should be in many ways more appealing than the local independence faction because that lets the player think, for a while, that he's doing the Right Thing when helping Braxton and the Wrong Thing in helping Jonas.  And in neither case does he come off clean, since it's not like Jonas is George Washington and of course Braxton is a straight-up warlord.

  • So, with this set-up in mind, helping Braxton to subvert Mercy’s loyalty to Jonas should be about humiliating Mercy and/or undermining the values that are important to her.  It’s about getting her to trade her code of ethics for blood money, cheap status, or personal safety.  Logically, helping Jonas to keep her loyal should be about the flipside, but in order to make it work within the bleak message of AOD/TNW, Braxton’s men should have an opportunity to point out what kind of scum Jonas is.  Ultimately, the proviso to “fight for the American dream” given by The New World is “on behalf of an aging pimp who beats his whores and slits kids’ throats.”  The game is set at a point where the gangrene has gone too far—mutilation, death, or mutilation followed by death are the three options for the colony ship.  There’s neither a Flood nor a Redeemer coming.

  • If I'm right on these themes, I think the dialogue could use just a little bit more length (probably one more node's worth) so that you have more room for Mercy to waver and falter.  And rather than having her persuaded in a way that makes her decision seem increasingly reasonable and confident, I would do it in a way that makes her seem increasingly weak and fearful, or at least compromised.  My suggestion would be that the two roleplaying paths you’re offering the player (other than just fighting Mercy) are: 

    (1) You establish an awful Et tu, Mercy? in which you show that even the steely-eyed, gang-leading, gun-slinging, hand-over-the-quickdraw-holster, views-the-scripture-like-Sam-Jackson-in-Pulp-Fiction-before-he-goes-soft lady can be bent and broken by the shabby corruptions of the world.

    (2) You carry out the grim work of convincing a good woman to lend her gun to a petty pimp so that he can keep the Pit as his fief, which is really another way of saying that we are doomed to have at best the devil we know.  And, of course, having bumped off the Protectors and having lost a good swath of his own gunmen in the process, Jonas has simply exposed the Pit to domination by some other outside faction down the road.

    (3) You might also offer a “player is also naive” path in which he persuades Mercy to side with Braxton because he’s a Good and Noble Man in contrast to Jonas, leading to the inevitable discovery that actually Braxton is simply a better class of bully bastard.

    Ultimately, I think this early quest will pull of the neat trick of simultaneously establishing that the player is a free agent capable of tilting the balances of power in a world of deadlocked factional struggles and establishing that there isn’t really room in this setting for a “good guy with a gun” to drive out the bad guys.  After all, Mercy is the good guy with a gun, and at the end of the day, she’s just a trigger lady for one or another of the bad guys.

 

* * *


You can convince Mercy to join your cause, whatever this cause might be. If you aren't much of a talker, you can kill her (either in a more or less fair fight or via stealth assassination) to weaken your enemies. Alternatively, let Mercy convince you to side with her when she makes her own play for power (she will help Jonas defeat Braxton, then you'll help her take out Jonas). Thus, the outcomes are:

  • The meddling carpetbaggers are defeated, the Pit remains independent ... but virtually defenseless. Now that the Regulators are gone, the Brotherhood might will surely come knocking on their door again.

  • The Regulators take over, bringing much needed law & order. Being a realist, Braxton knows that he must make an alliance with a major faction. The question is which one but we can leave it up to you. It will be relatively easy to make a deal with the Protectors of the Mission, the hardest with the Church as you'd have to convince Braxton to make amends and do some groveling for the greater good. 

  • Lord's Mercy takes over. Maybe now is a good time to tell you she's an Old Testament kinda woman. Her God is a vengeful God and said so Himself in the Good Book. He's all fire and brimstone to His enemies, never thinking twice when it came to righteous retribution. If that’s what her name means, Mercy does her best to live up to it. 

Hopefully, this update will give you an idea of what to expect in terms of quests, conflicts, and themes. Your comments, questions, and complaints are always welcome.

Update #28 - Power Armor

There isn't much to report at the moment (we're making good progress, the combat AI is now taking the first steps and attacking the player with extreme prejudice; the starting town is looking better and better; Joao is working non-stop on the assets which helps us tremendously, Mazin is working on randomizing portraits*, Ivan is making armor models, etc), so let's talk about the power armor and armor in general.

I dislike linear progressions in all forms, which is why we went with damage resistance vs chance to dodge (the heavier the armor, the harder to dodge attacks) in AoD, instead of generic Armor Class, whatever that is. Still, two key stats would only take you so far, which is why we added different types of damage: melee, ballistic, energy. Now you can have great ballistic armor, for example, but if you let some bersekers get into your personal space, you'll find yourself at a major disadvantage. 

Anyway, the problem with power armor is it has to be awesome, which isn't bad in itself, but this awesomeness tends to make all the other armor obsolete (not to mention that *traditional* power armor should be pretty good against all types of damage, which would make the different types of damage pointless the moment you get your hands on such armor). 

So we decided to explore a different direction. The power armor isn't really 'armor'. It's a device that creates a defensive field around you. As such it doesn't have any damage resistance whatsoever.

Medium armor, rough sketch

 

There are 3 basic types: light, medium, heavy. You wear it like a vest. You can't wear other vests, so it's a trade off: damage resistance vs shield vs deflector. More on that in a moment. You can wear a jacket or a trenchcoat with it, so you will have some DR, just not as much as with a tactical vest. 

At the moment the armor comes in two varieties: 

- an energy shield that absorbs all damage until depleted (no DR). Essentially it grants you immunity for the first couple of turns, then you're on your own. If you can't use this immunity wisely and kill a couple of enemies fast, the armor isn't for you. The other energy shield (the gadget one) is weaker and doesn't absorb all damage (i.e. has DR), and can't be moved (i.e. you 'cast' it on a tile). Light, medium, heavy - 20, 40, 60 HP.

- a deflector that turns a critical into a regular strike, a regular into a graze, a graze into a miss. The deflector will lose power with every turn, so we'll need to count turns and reduce %. For example, a heavy model will start with 90% chance to deflect at turn 1, 80% at turn 2, 70% at turn 3, 60% at turn 4, and so on until the deflector is out of juice (0%). Medium will go with 90, 75, 60, 45, 30, 15, 0. Light - 90, 70, 50, 30, 10, 0

Since it's non-linear we can easily expand it and add more properties and different defensive abilities. While we're at it, here is the targeting mockup that gives you the full picture without listing all the different THC individually:

5% chance to score a critical, 45% THC, extra 10% chance to graze, 40% chance to miss


   

The Dalton brothers The Dalton brothers The Dalton brothers

 

“The Dalton brothers,” says the Chief Magistrate, shaking his head as he reviews the data. “Showing a poverty of imagination matching their actual poverty, they decided to strike out and plunder the riches of the Wasteland. By all accounts they were lucky to survive, but unlucky to return empty-handed. This is after running up a substantial debt to finance their venture, said debt causing our business community undue hardship and financial burden. Which of course must be rectified.”

“Anything else I should know?”

“Yes, there’s a note appended to the file: the Daltons petitioned the Court to provide them with means to defend themselves, on account of losing most of their belongings during their unsuccessful enterprise. They were issued an axe and two knives, so my guess is they’ll come at you hard and fast. A shotgun would be handy in this situation. “

Update #27 - First Animations

Our train seems to be speeding up. Here is what we managed to scratch off the list in the last 3 months:

- Loot screen
- Trade screen
- Character appearance customization (the system is in place, all we need are the art assets)
- Options menu
- Char creation screen
- Attack effects / Status effects (different effects can be assigned to attacks and applied on hit)
- Clothes and weapon items visual mechanics: showing/hiding, opacity masks
- Visual attack effects: muzzle flashes, sounds, particles
- Party inventory
- More animation states: more characters' body poses and better transitions between them
- Attacks of opportunity, interrupt attacks, reaction shots
- Combat AI (in progress)
- Grenades (in progress)

And now some pistol animations for your amusement:

Snap Shot:



Regular Shot:



Aimed Shot:



Fanning (revolvers only):



While suggestions are always welcome, keep in mind that the in-game size will be much smaller:



We have fifteen unique attacks (at the moment). Each attack has many different animations. Plus knockdowns, dodging (melee only), crouching, idle, a variety of death animations, etc. Overall, the combat system alone has over 200 animations, so hopefully you won't be bored.

Update #26 - The Monks

Exploring and dealing with different groups and societies is the main focus of The New World. The core political factions (representing totalitarianism, revolutionary democracy, and theocracy), along with the freemen and various armed groups, are familiar enough from our real world. More science fictional are the mutants and the monks, as they’re commonly known.

The former are the result of an evolutionary mutation that allowed the first “mutants” (those born deformed due to radiation) to adapt to highly toxic and radioactive environments. The latter represent not a biological change but a technological one: cybernetic augmentation.

Keep in mind that augmentations are fairly common on the Ship, and you’ll be able to outfit your own character with up to seven implants, if your body can handle that many. So sporting a datajack and a shiny new eyeball won’t make you stand out. Much like having an artificial heart valve or a titanium knee today, such implants don’t make you any less human.

The monks, however, went far beyond that. Out of necessity, they found a way to overcome the limits of the flesh, becoming something more – and something less – in the process.

* * *

/infodump

When the Mutiny broke out, the Chief Technical Officer promptly sealed the Environmental Control and Life Support System center, declaring that neither side will use the ECLSS in their war. Those who wished to leave were allowed to do so; the rest remained with CTO Miller, committed to supporting life on the Ship.

Miller knew that the warring factions would be coming for ECLSS.  They might come with guns, they might come with butter; ECLSS had always depended on outsiders for both its safety and its supplies.  There might be a promise to keep providing that help, but at a price.  Or there might be raw force.  Either way, the outsiders would want control, power over life and death on the Ship, something their enemies could never permit. The fight for ECLSS would make the fight for Mission Control look like a border skirmish, and Miller knew how it would end:  with destruction of the Ship’s essential systems, the failure of the mission, the death of every man, woman, and child aboard the Ship.  That, he could not permit.

The only hope lay in true independence.  But how?  They would need strength of body, to resist force.  They would need strength of will, to live apart from all society.  And they would need all the intelligence they could get, not only to maintain Ship systems put under terrible pressure by both the civil war and the mere passage of time, but also to navigate the Ship’s shifting politics.  Outsiders would need to believe the inhabitants of ECLSS to be above petty human concerns; and inside, they would need to be above petty human limitations.

The answer lay buried in the Ship's databanks: augmentations meant only for the most extreme circumstances, for small or even individual deep-space maintenance missions, augmentations that would make a man more than a man, and less – able to survive alone, smart enough and strong enough to deal with any challenges that might arise on years-long expeditions.  

These augmentations went beyond the artificial eyes and reinforced bones common to the Ship, and amounted to a fundamental reworking of the human body.  Functions inessential for long space missions, such as reproduction or immune response, would be removed altogether, freeing the body’s resources for more practical needs. A person who underwent this process would not really be a human being at all any more, but something as much inorganic as organic.

With this transformation, the ECLSS crew would become what they needed to be:  just as the God of Ecclesiastes was above human struggles for power, for fame, for wealth, so too would the superhumans of ECLSS be above the Ship’s passing struggles, devoted solely to its survival.  Outsiders would be able to see them as something other than a foe or friend; and they would have the strength to carry out the heavy task before them.

* * *

Due to their extensive augmentations, the monks are stronger, faster, tougher, and smarter, at least when it comes to data processing, than any human. Yeah, that’s a lot, but keep in mind that they are few in numbers so need a “natural” edge. A human’s natural stat limit is 10. A ‘monk’s stat limit is 12. If you start the game with STR10 and then get yourself a high-end Exo-Spine implant, your strength will also go to 12, so the monks don’t have access to tech that you don’t (whether or not you manage to get your grabby hands on such tech is a different story). They’re just wired differently (literally) and can handle more implants without having to worry about their bodies rejecting them.


Ava Miller

On the design end, our goal was to create a very different faction with a very different culture, unique place in the Ship’s ‘ecosystem’, and an existential threat:

Over the decades the conditions slowly worsened and by the time Ava Miller took over, most systems operated far below their capacity. The length of the voyage had exceeded the ECLSS capabilities a long time ago and it was a miracle that it was still operational.

Thus Ava faced a dilemma. The ECLSS needed help fast but requesting it, let alone accepting it, threatened everything her family built. She knew enough of the outside world to know that such help would come with strings attached, that whoever helps her will control the ECLSS whether she wants to or not. On the other hand, doing nothing like her father had done will doom both the ECLSS and the Ship sooner rather than later.

The monks will be directly affected by the main quest, which can bring either doom or salvation to ECLSS. Choosing salvation will put you at odds with everyone else but gain you a Liaison Officer who will show you how to make friends and influence people:

Liaison Officer 1st class Eli Brown’s augmentations were geared toward combat and communications. To Eli, the Ship's inhabitants are a volatile cocktail of 27 distinct emotional ingredients, a naked chemical equation to be balanced or imbalanced as the situation requires, whether with a word, or a look, or a bullet.


Eli Brown - scholar, gentleman, vermin exterminator

* * *






PS. Special thanks to Mark Yohalem for his endless suggestions and invaluable contribution. After all, who understands all things robotic better than the creator of Primordia?

Update #25 - Weapons, Armor, Attacks

Since we’re implementing the combat system, let’s go over the weapons, armor, and attack types.

Notable changes from AoD:

  • In AoD all combat skills had a passive effect which grew stronger with every point you put into the skill (i.e. Dodge’s passive ability is Counter-Attack; the higher the skill, the higher the chance to counter-attack when you dodge an attack). The problem was that all dodgers of equal skill level had the same chance to counter-attack, regardless of the weapon or stats. We added a bonus to passive chance for certain weapons to differentiate them more, but it didn’t go far enough. In The New World we move the passive affects to feats, weapons and attack stats, so if you want to have a good chance to counter-attack you’d have to pick proper feats and equip weapons with a high Reaction stat. More on that later.

  • In AoD we had a traditional, linear progression: an iron sword replaced a bronze sword, a steel sword replaced an iron sword, etc. Same weapon model, higher damage (+1 per tier). The New World has 4 tiers representing the overall quality (crude, decent, good, excellent; these are internal tags, so you’ll never see a ‘crude revolver’ in-game) with multiple weapons per tier and different stats (so you can pick whatever weapon that fits your combat style better). To give you an idea, AoD has 40 unique weapon models, The New World has 87 unique weapon models, so you will have plenty to choose from.

  • The downside is that there’s no crafting system. It’s much easier to tell the player that he/she forged a sword that’s better balanced and properly hardened. It’s more complicated with guns as it’s unlikely that your tinkering will add +2 to damage and +1 to penetration.



^ tier 2 pistols: an all-purpose revolver with a good interrupt chance, a low-accuracy multi-barrel pistol for 'up close and personal' situations, long-barrel pistol for those who favor aimed shots.

Weapon Stats

The stats will include already familiar Fast, Regular, and Power damage (Regular-only for guns, more on that later), attack AP (action-points) cost, range (an important gun stat but two-handed hammers have a longer reach too), ammo type, magazine size, and reload AP cost for guns, and modifiers (bonuses and penalties) affecting your:

-   THC (to-hit-chance), some weapons are more accurate than others
-   Aimed THC (bonus or penalty given only to aimed attacks; best but not the only example is a scoped rifle)
-   Critical chance
-   Graze range
-   Reaction (your chance to perform counter-attacks and attacks of opportunity)
-   Penetration (%-based)
-   Stagger (reduce enemy’s AP for the next turn)
-   Knockout

The higher the tier, the more modifiers a weapon has (i.e. there's a difference between a pipe pistol made by some thug and a pistol made by a proper gunsmith from machined parts).

Melee combat

Melee combat is mainly the same as in AoD, minus block, spears, and whirlwind (too fantasy). You’ll get the already familiar Fast, Regular, and Power attacks, Aimed attacks, and special attacks like Swing, Double Strike, and Flurry.

The main 3 weapon classes are Fist (brass knuckles, punch daggers, and various combat gloves), Bladed (knives and survival axes), and Blunt (maces and hammers) weapons. Blunt weapons, for example, have the highest Stagger and Knockout modifiers, whereas Bladed weapons have the highest Graze and Critical Chance modifiers. Fist weapons are the fastest and most versatile due to vastly different design.

Compared to Ranged, melee weapons have higher damage (a crude machete will do more damage than a pipe pistol, 6-10 vs 5-8) to compensate for the need to close the distance and make yourself an easy target in the process. They’re also a bit faster (same attack speed but there's no reload), higher chance to score criticals, no THC penalties, but low penetration, penalties instead of bonuses for aimed attacks, and no reaction fire.

Ranged combat

It’s a new design, so let’s go over the key concepts first

  • Unlike melee , your effort doesn’t modify damage, so fast, regular, and aimed attacks do the same damage, which puts the focus on accuracy (i.e. the longer you aim, the higher your accuracy). Thus unlike melee Fast attack that gives you a THC bonus, ranged Snap Shot gives you a THC penalty; similarly melee Aimed attacks give you a THC penalty as they are easier to dodge, whereas ranged Aimed Attacks give you a THC bonus, so the concepts are reversed.

  • Range is an important stat for balance purposes (shotguns do a lot of damage up close but lose their accuracy fast, rifles take longer to aim and fire than pistols but have a long range). For example, the famous Sten SMG was described as wildly inaccurate beyond 30 meters, so weapons with short effective ranges are certainly realistic.

  • Each tier (i.e quality) increases damage, accuracy, and modifiers, representing better quality and precision, but not by far. Whereas in Wasteland 2 the starting pistol does 5-8 points of damage and the endgame pistol does 100-135, in The New World a pipe pistol does the same 5-8 points of damage and the best unique pistol does 9-14 points of damage, but the overall quality increases accuracy, range, penetration, which are equally important stats.

  • So while all pistols of the same tier (i.e. same quality) that use the same ammo do the same damage, we ‘randomize’ the system via bullet types:
    - 9mm – generic, no modifiers, cheapest
    - 0.45 – heavy bullet, damage +1, packs a strong punch (bonus to stagger), higher chance to cause critical
    - 5.56 – light bullet for high velocity guns (rifles and long SMGs), - 1 to damage, +10 to magazine size, +10 to penetration
    - Shotgun shell – high CS, high graze, penalty to penetration
    - Energy cell – its own group, doesn’t mix with the rest. The unique trait is that each cell contains 10 charges; pistols take 1 per shot, so 10 shots, rifles take 2, so 5 shots, cannons take 5, so 2 per cell but they do massive damage. Mechanics wise it’s like a burst where you fire several bullets at once.

  • Penetration – instead of going with a vsDR value that reduces enemy’s DR by a fixed amount, we’ll go with % that would either increase or decrease the armor DR value, similar to how different arrowheads worked in AoD.

  • As mentioned in the past, there are 3 firearm types (pistols, rifles, and SMG) and each type has 3 subtypes. For example, rifles include one-handed guns like sawed-off shotguns and “mare’s leg” type short rifles, shotguns, and proper rifles, ranging from bolt-action to sniper rifles, so if you specialize in rifles, you won’t be stuck with the same type of weapon doing the same thing.

  • Attack types: Snap Shot, Regular, Aimed: Head, Central Mass (torso), Arms, Legs, Bullseye (+6AP, highest bonuses if hit), Fanning for revolvers, Double Shot for multi-barrel guns, Short Burst, and Long Burst.

  • Graze range – As mentioned previously, I wanted to implement it in AoD but we were out of time and the fast attacks were basically grazing attacks, doing a lot less damage. The ranged combat is perfect for it. Let’s say you have 80% THC (to-hit chance). You roll the dice and as luck would have it, you’re 1 point short but the binary miss-hit system doesn’t reward your near excellence and treats it as you weren’t even close. So, we’ll change that and go with 4 roll 'ranges': miss, graze, hit, critical hit (instead of rolling for critical separately). This will give us some flexibility with damage ranges and allow you to trade damage for THC.



A tier 2 one-handed shotgun, damage 8-11, THC -5, Aimed THC -10, CS chance +10, Graze range +15, Penetration -20%,  Stagger +15%, Knockdown +5%

Attack Types

Attack types will modify:

-   AP cost
-   Damage (melee only)
-   THC
-   Graze range
-   Critical range
-   Effect (stat penalty, penetration, knockdown, etc)
-   Critical damage
-   Critical Effect

The stat/skill, feat, weapons, and attack type modifiers add up and increase the desired effect. For example, if you pick up a shotgun with high graze range and use attacks that increase this range even more, you will rarely miss. Similarly, Prizefighter (feat) goes well together with brass knuckles and reinforced, tactical gloves, which in turn are better for Aimed: Head attacks than knives, greatly increasing your chance to knock ‘em out.

Armor

There are 4 armor slots (which brings us a step closer to a multi-piece armor for a future game): helmet, tactical vest, jacket or coat, boots & leg armor (kneecaps and such). Plus goggles and breathers. Aimed shots will target individual body parts and thus armor that protects them, general shots will have to get through vest’s and jacket’s combined DR.

There are 3 damage types (which brings us a step closer to a more complex damage system in a future game): melee, projectile, energy, which means there are 3 different DR types and different upgrade materials, each with its pros and cons: metal, synthetic fiber (i.e. Kevlar), ceramic plates.


A scav in full gear, a rent-a-guard, a thug with a fashionable welding mask and ballistic armor, a raider dressed for success.


A fully upgraded raiders' coat with a powered pre-mutiny chest armor.

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