Author Topic: Underrail Infusion Fan Suggestions/Ideas Megatopic.  (Read 252 times)

Vagabond

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Underrail Infusion Fan Suggestions/Ideas Megatopic.
« on: June 09, 2022, 08:59:48 am »
Warning! This will be a huge gigantic 2-part topic and it won't have a TL;DR.

First thing's first, let's start with what will be written below, and how to approach it. Here will be all the suggestions and ideas that I want to be added in Infusion, including explanations and simple examples (for most) of how I see it being implemented. Since Infusion is in what I assume pre-alpha/alpha, I am going for the most part off basic guesswork and logical assumptions, plus the very little information I do know about Infusion. Therefore judge it according to that. As a side note, some ideas have been written before by others, so credits go to their respectful OP. I won't be adding more to this, but I assume others want to in the comments, and generally that is what I am expecting to happen. So think of this topic as an unofficial collection of fan ideas,

Anyhow, the very first suggestion that I consider to be of key importance for Infusion is mods and mod support. I would put it into priority number 1 above everything else, simply because mods can add everything that can't/won't be added listed below, making it the ultimate addition.

The length to which modding is allowed should be that of Doom 1 and 2, STALKER, Fallout/Skyrim etc. This means giving modders the ability to make all types of mods, from simple dynamic portraits to total conversions, to adding DLC Expansion Pack level new content. Mods, as proven many times over, give longevity to games beyond initial support and in some cases act as free promotions to increase sales, if they are of superior quality and fame. Modding also allows potential talent to be hired into the official team too. Needless to say I can go on and on with endless examples on the benefits of mods.

That being said, there is a downside to modding, particularly in indie games and games in early access or beta testing. As an example we have the notorious Project Zomboid. A game which on paper is amazing, but the absurdly long dev time (which did speed up slightly at the time of writing) and pre-release added modding support, made the devs look like amateurs in comparison to modders, from cars, to guns, to maps, to features and bugfixes. And unlike Fallout 4 or Skyrim, which are buggy, but feature finished games you can play vanilla, PZ is not. This is something I assume Styg is aware of, therefore I'd like to openly say that it's best to add modding support at the very last development cycles.

Using OG Underrail as an example (which is something I will be using a lot), I'd say modding support should be added around when the main regions are mapped out, excluding Deep Caverns. Key word mapped out, i.e. having the main layout be built, but all the smaller details still to-be-added. Why then? Because I do not know how exactly Infusion is being developed and what is done first. But I do know that you don't make a map and not have anything in it to play with, so I guess by that time Infusion will be more or less fleshed out and have a solid gameplay core with basic story in place. Imo this is the perfect moment to add partial, or even full, modding support. Players by this time would've already posted on the forums all key issues and suggestions, leaving everything else as burning blueballed ideas to be added as mods. So while the main dev team is working on finishing the game to it's 1.0 release, players are working at their own pace, while having a bases to work off from, the kind that won't brick, break or make their mods obsolete.

That's all for moddings, onto next one.

Character Building And You.

Strength, Dexterity, Agility, Constitution, Perception, Will, Intelligence. As these are the current Base Abilities and I don't know if it will be changed, I will be using them as a bases, same thing with skills.

Underrail is a CRPG where your build matters, and is mainly focused on combat, that being said, some builds are better than others, which also includes meta builds. While a more experienced player can min-max, gear grind and win with a crowbar, the general, average player amongst the targeted audience won't go into such masochistic meme builds, which makes character building a issue of wasting time and trial & error (the near universal experience of "played for X amount of time before ditching and starting a new game"). The reason for that is usually "oh no I thought it would(n't) do that" or "I should've picked another thing". And while there is a website specifically for character building, you still need to test it from square one in-game. (I'll address this a bit lower.)

Then again, the beauty of Underrail is that every challenge, probably aside from the final boss, can be solved with any build, since the game provides all the tools necessary, at least to the extent to not have save scumming be an irritating solution, meaning even mistakes in builds can be mitigated with proper tool usage. This rises the question of balance, meta and OPness. Dropping any pretense of tryhardism, elitism and puritanism, any build should be equally able to finish the game on an equal footing, i.e. with _proper_ investment and execution all builds should be good at killing _everything_.

Some will say that you aren't suppose to be good at killing everything, to which I say read on.

So, how exactly do you do it? "If everything is OP, nothing is." Starting from Base Abilities, maxing into a core Ability should be rewarded with in-world actions. For example, a character that is maxed out in Perception, could find a secret, stealthy clan/group/faction that specializes in this Ability, which in result may give a build that utilizes Perception as it's main stat additional bonuses/feats/items unique to that. Strength main? A group of bodybuilders somewhere in the City will accept you and teach a secret thing or two. Agility? Parkourers, who you first need to catch, for them to acknowledge your aptitude. These additions should give your maxing an extra umph to make it that much better.

Same thing with Skills. All skills, not just a small handful, need to be able to affect a wide range of things in the world. A stealthy char can slip past guard speech checks with additional gear (Fallout New Vegas does this in the casinos). A thrower can play a game of basketball or baseball to get buffs, or be able to toss a gas grenade into an out of reach ventilation system. Just a few examples. And at maxed out skills (which should be a base, non-effective skill check), all should provide access to additional bonuses.

Generalization should also be rewarded. A jack of all, master of none build should be rewarded with unique rewards specific to these builds, like a "Swiss Army Knight" feat where you get a +5 bonus to specific skill groups when using X item. Obviously, they shouldn't be better than specialized builds, but they should be noticeably enough to reward players that want to play such builds.

Now, on to addressing the testing part. Hypothetically, assuming all builds are equally balanced and that is a public fact (notice that I excluded previously said ideas), how exactly do you test it? Under you I mean the player. Well, luckily we have Seeger from Expedition who gave us a very nice hint at a very special VR place in Hexagon.

That's right, in Hexagon (and AFAIK it will be one of the locations in Infusion) there is a Matrix level simulation room, and if Seeger did not mistake his explanation and experience, it means it can replicate _anything_. By now you understood what I am getting to. This is basically an in-game build tester, which can be integrated into the gameplay, story and exploration mechanics on such a level, it's hard to even start explaining, but I'll try.

Lets start from a simple data gathering experience. On your journeys you can start collecting experiences (the non game kind) which can later on be downloaded into the simulation, so the more you experience, the more you can download into it, from enemy types, to locations, to hazards. Or you can buy/find these data from specific places. Lots to work with.

Builds? Did you start off with a meh build, and don't know what to expect or how it might work against certain things? Do you want to imagine how it's like to be a psi char? Now you can! Pump your char level to 30, pick all the feats you like and test to your hearts content. Min-max or not. That being said, it does kill the difficulty somewhat, as you can just test out all the builds and key encounters, and be done with it.
One way to tackle this is to carry over from all playthroughs all saved data (making the simulation room a universal saved data room), meaning you can't test out any and all builds without either finding the information for it, or having built into it initially. This way you can still future test your current build, while rewarding players for exploring and trying other builds, and at the same time NOT wasting their time, in a way this also promotes replayability. (Hint-hint, one of the rewards for going a jack-of-all-trades build).

Best Defence is a Good Fence.

That's all fine and dandy, but what about balance? Surely if everything is OP, then it doesn't matter what you fight, there won't be a challenge, it'll all feel the same! I disagree. There are many factors outside a characters build that can affect it - be it's weakness, that is the balancing part. So while you can one-shot everything, it doesn't mean YOU can't be countered. Again, I only said that every build should be good at killing everything, I never said about being killed. Then what does kill you?

In general Underrail has for every build a counter and a hard counter, something that will make your day a nightmare, but it also works the other way around. But there is also environmental dangers and (dis)advantages, there are positioning and preparedness. I'd say having a scout build that is aimed at intel gathering (and promoting such builds) should be a powerful strategic choice. This includes being able to figure out weaknesses, armor types, resistances etc., but I digress.

The problem with hard counters and counters is that you need to go out of your way and sometimes build to be able to defeat them. Like for example a pure TC can't do anything against robots, leaving only EMP as the only solution, but what if you didn't put points into traps, crossbows and throwing?

Each and every location should be built around every key offensive and mobility stat*. What does that mean? It means that by putting points into any of these stats, you have the ability to figure out on your own how to solve the problem at hand in every location, no matter what, preventing a theoretical softlock, hence the title: "... a Good Fence", a hypothetical escape route out of a sticky situation.
~
* In Underrail, what I call key offensive stats are your offensive skills (including psi), your main maxed Base Abilities + secondary Base Abilities, while mobility stats are your stealth, pickpocket, lockpicking, hacking, persuasion, intimidation, mercantile, electronics, mechanics skills + Agility, Strength, Dexterity (mainly Agility).
~
Let us jump over all fences as agility monkey boys, or let us break open a locked door as protein jacked jocks, let us in or out one way or another, but make it so we have to earn it. Give us multiple solutions to an encounter depending on what build we have. If we can't kill something/get through a location, then send us on a tough ride to solve it another way. The point is that players need to be given options that reward being prepared, observative, creative when dealing with combat encounters. While not on immersive sim levels like Prey (as much as 2.5D allows), there are still many ways it can be done. Yes, it's more difficult to make, but it's more worth it, you can always bump HP, DMG and enemy quantity after.

Take the aforementioned TC vs Robots situation. How exactly does a TC kill a Robot? By manipulating other more powerful creatures into fighting for him. About to fight those 4 Nagas? How about TC a Sea Wyrm to break the window and flood the room, short circuiting the robots. Obviously, this works if a companion system is in place... and swimming... and it's actually a window into the Black Sea, and not an aquarium.

And if save scumming as a means to bypass a challenge is something you want to punish, make it so you can only save at specific spots (i.e. campfires, beds).

Damage Types For Every Type.

Considering what kind of new enemies we can potentially encounter, I am more interested in the types of damages that will be. I myself propose a few new additions to the existing system in Underrail. DR/DT apply as usual.

Mechanical damage should be split into several types: Slashing(i.e. blades, claws), Piercing (i.e. guns, spears), Impact (i.e. blunt weapons, thrown, beyond-armor effect), Explosive/Pressure Wave.

Heat, Cold, Electricity, Energy stay as usual. So far I haven't come up with anything to add to them.

Psionic/Psychic Damage. TC uses this, so do any psi hazards.

Biological, Acid Damage gain two types: Liquid (Poison, Acid Vials), Gas (Toxic Gas, Corrosive Clouds).

Radiation Damage.

Pure Damage a.k.a. Unresistable damage. Think of it as a God like damage type.

I didn't go overboard with more new types and only added what imo made sense, both as a natural addition and expansion to existing ones. Obviously certain damage sources can have several of these combined, since the purpose is to give two things: better clarity/readability and more options, as strange as that may seem, mainly for Mechanical Damage.

While a Toxic or Corrosive Cloud can act different, it just needs two different approaches, but Mechanical Damage is a bit more nuanced, as it's the most common type. With these additional types, certain old skills can have new ways off application, which previously would've been impossible or too far gone to happen. Take for example Cryokinesis, a shard of ice is sent flying into someones face, dealing Cold and Mechanical damage, with DT/DR negating as usual. But apply the new types, and now the ice shard can gain Impact and/or Piercing damage, making it more versatile in application to different enemy types. Too basic? Sure, but it's effective. What about guns? Beyond-armor effect exists, from broken bones to internal hemorrhage. An up close shotgun blast might not kill the target, but it can debuff it enough to make it a viable kiting tactic. Speaking of debuffs.

(De)buffs And Where To Get Them.

More of them, both permanent and temporary. Disable, disarm, knock-out, maim, blind, suffocate, empower, motivate, rally etc. I could go on listing more, but I think the point is made. As long as they are unique, useful and give an extra layer of suffering tactical application of force, I am all for more of it. This is pretty much the smallest suggestion.

Having a Role in a Play.

What isn't small is this however, and the suggestion is a bit divisive. From one side we have a combat-first character progression and the RP element comes second in Underrail, whether that is a financial or development time issue, or just a personal preference, I don't know. On the other we have those that want to have more value given to their choices.

I, however, would rather not have RP elements and, lets all say it, romance, unless it actually had a meaningful gameplay result. Whether or not co-op or companions will be added (discussed lower), the roleplay part is something that could either make or break Infusion, and I would rather enjoy having a semi-limited, but well written dialog options like we have in Underrail, than being "whoever I want to be" like in (*insert generic bloated RPG game*).

The way I approach this issue is going from the get go to the extreme. Genocide runs, pure evil options, joining bandits as the most obvious, or being Jesus Christ himself. If the gameplay and story will suffer from those approaches, then I'd rather not have them, as by including options for those kind of runs, you'd have to include for everything else in-between, which is far more difficult than balancing the gameplay for immersive sims imo. I also don't want to romance Vivian, Ethan, Amelia, Theodore, The Rathound King, Evelyn or any other potential partner through a generic persuasion check just to go downtown for a boon. A personal quest, sure, but what exactly beyond that? The Ferryman is original in that he gives an exhilarating philosophical dialog, which you have to earn by having a high enough intelligence, and yes, I do consider it a quest, as after it you bond a little bit like grandfather and grandchild, and gain a feat. As for actual romance, it's very rarely done right, and without a companion/squad system, the usefulness of it goes down the bare minimum.

That being said, completely limiting player choice is also something I'd rather not see. A good example is actually the Institute of Tchort. While they are a bunch of fanatics, they do have structure and purpose. While working for them, I did have a thought of actually joining them for real, abandon SGS, the main quest and kill all the Faceless, but because such an option isn't given and I'd have to eventually face the Faceless on their territory, I always went with helping Tunnelers, as the benefits far outweighed the negatives.

 In Expedition this was given note, by being able to join the Pirates, unfortunately not the Natives. It's done properly, both narrative and gameplay wise. You have a small introduction to the flora and fauna combat of the Black Sea and at a key moment given a story changing choice. The fact that this is given in the DLC gives hope that such option would be expanded upon to the main storyline or even sidequests affecting main storyline in Infusion, because that is cool.

The key point from this is not being afraid to break the main storyline and give meaningful story and gameplay affecting options, be they big or small, where it actually matters. A backup save file always exists otherwise.
« Last Edit: June 13, 2022, 11:36:21 pm by Vagabond »

Vagabond

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Re: Underrail Infusion Fan Suggestions/Ideas Megatopic.
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2022, 09:00:15 am »
Part 2.

Gameplay. Feats. Skills. Items. Bucket List.

Continuing off the previously said. Companions/Squads and Co-op. Both are pretty much two of the same thing, it's just in one case you play with another person. When I say Co-op, I mean 2 players, no more.

So, two things from the get go: Balance and Story. It's not so much the issue of adding co-op and companions, as the headache of balancing and building everything else around it, which means having any detailed explanation on how to add it is almost impossible for me.

The only thing I can say (and only if it will be added) is what I think may work and might fit better.

For companions/squads, it should be a leadership/commander feat/skill based. Meaning you need to spec into it to give orders to your subordinates. They act on their own and your commands are used as guides, the effectiveness of which is dependent on your specs. How far and detailed this can be done, especially with an invoker window, is up to the devs.

Co-op is a bit more tricky, as it is more about the story, but, here it is: EXP is split no matter what; if one dies, it's gameover; certain quests are changed to account for 2 players, be it dialog, skill checks, quest goals*; additional RP Character Creation features**; fixed minimum difficulty.

~*e.g. During Oculus questline you can act as the prisoners wife, a similar option to this can be disabled if certain criteria are met. Or you can't silver tongue your way out of a difficult combat encounter.
~**Having more RP options beyond sex, portrait, name, would be nice. Nothing fancy, just simple things like previous profession, phobias, family status.

Ironmode. Pretty self explanatory. A small tick option at the start. No need to balance around it. Only needs an achievement for beating the game with it.

Espionage. Allow us to dress up and infiltrate any "base" by wearing proper armor.

"Day/Night" Cycle and Sleeping. A simple routine for NPCs, during certain periods they are awake, merchant working hours, while at others the majority are asleep, "streets" go darker, gangs wake up. Same for outside the "city", during certain hours, different creature appear and act differently. And to utilize it properly - sleep. I won't add hunger and thirst mechanics, as that is bloat to me, and if some people really want it - mods.

Dark AF locations. I mean really dark. I am talking full blown, Native Graveyard, Lizard Wizard, Nightvision only locations, and a lot of them. Actually, this could be a part of the difficulty. Make it so that tunnels are near pitch black at the highest difficulty.

To top this off. Horror. Seriously, hallucinations, hazards, creepy sounds, even if you turn off the music audio, spawning out of sight unique enemies.

Filler missions, Timed missions. These are for getting money on the side when not spec-ed into being a trader.

Export/Import Underrail Chars. I would give my left ballsack for this to happen. Allowing us to play or even fight with or against our character from South Underrail would be gold. Not sure how exactly it can be done, technically wise, I only assume you need a reader for the files with feats, skills and abilities having tags to correspond to what they should be changed into.

Bigger locations and elevations. Climbing up a watchtower should give an advantage to sniper builds/enemies, while bigger locations would give a better reason for them to exist. In addition to this I could add intertwined locations, meaning if you exit one location, action doesn't suddenly stop on the other side, and you will be chased if need be.

Fortress Infiltration. This is a personal biased wish. I for some reason really want to infiltrate a huge ass fortress with multiple levels, entrances for different chars, different rooms and hazard environments. Just this deadly big gauntlet with high end enemies, similar to how you can infiltrate the Pirates Base only cranked to 11.

Better AI. Teamwork. Not exactly asking for deep learning AI, just want to see different groups and types of enemies apply different kind of tactics. Animals rush you. Grey Army assaults with heavy troops, while snipers and support stays behind, where as grenadiers try to smoke you out. Lurkers hit-n-run. Ironheads go Dakka-Dakka. Lunatics are chaotic. Robots are Skynet, probably.

Tripwire Traps. A simple, yet effective way to use closed door tiles as traps, or use as an area denial, or as an ignition for a bigger boom.

Environmental hazards. The more the better, and even better if we can cause them.

Thermal Vision Googles. Anti-stealth equipment.

Item Quality. Personal taste, but I prefer if there are less numbers and more of a general approach. i.e. Quality: Very Low, Low, Medium, High, Very High, Superb. Or a simple, but more unique version, where you have Standard Quality, but there are different versions, such as Military, Scientific, Scrap, Biotech, Unique, Legendary etc. Similar to how Jetskies have different components, with a clear hierarchy and progression, yet no quality number whatsoever.

Skinsuits. The stealthy kind. Which also comes to the topic of armor, or more precisely - modular armor. In one of the devblogs I did notice how there are different armor pieces combined, including a new one - carrier vest. I don't know if it's part of an existing armor set, or an addition to one, but it does tie in to why I opened with skinsuits.

The reason being is that a skinsuit is just a bases for more armor or gear to be put on top if you think about it, with a caveat of course. A stealthy skinsuit is good until there is nothing added on top, which leads to a dilemma. Do you wear a light carrier vest only and sacrifice defense or ditch the stealth bonus and plop several layers of heavy armor? This is actually several additions being implied. Starting from dynamic armor stats, to modular armor, to a more expansive outfit customization.

Speaking separately about carrier vests. Since I haven't seen any in Underrail, and a bullet belt seems illogical in giving a reload bonus to magazine type weapons, I assume it's added as an alternative or substitution, or maybe different weapons have different requirements to accept bonuses. I doubt there will be a Tarkov magazine system, where you load magazines and shove into required slots. It would add a layer of strategy and difficulty, and is cool, but I don't think it fits Underrails gameplay. But who knows.

Adding to the topic of armor, yet also including another one.

Crafting. Upgrading truely OP, Unique items. I do like how my idea for upgrading unique items was implemented in Underrail. This is basically that, but more and better alongside what I wrote in "Character Building and You." Using skinsuit and the Lemurian Marine armor as an example, with the presumable modularity, a spec-ed craftsman can make a "Sam Fisher/Solid Snake" suit.

In Underrail, sound is a guesswork thing and in some cases it's hard to tell without trial and error if your action will alert nearby enemies. So you can install an advanced "HUD" into your goggles, which you can then attach to a stealthy helmet (or not), put it on and get a new indicator, which show just how much noise you are making. I doubt there will be a Chaos Theory surround noise muffling type of thing. But it will be cool if you can install or reverse engineer different HUD aids, like in the Lemurian Marine armor description. Then you can craft/modify the skinsuit to have exotic flexible armor plates, adaptive camo textile, add a nice pair of tabi boots made out of dragon's left buttcheek, some combat gloves out of the right buttcheek, an invisibility cloak and etc. And I do agree that gloves need to be an armor thing, not a weapon. Madness: Project Nexus did it right. You can wear gloves and use a gun, but you are less proficient with it.

But in the end, by investing into crafting, it can and should go beyond what it is in Underrail, by giving players a choice in how they want to make their gear, I think that is more important than striving for raising the top-tier quality loot ceiling.

LMGs, GLs, Chem, Energy Rifles and Flamethrowers.
LMGs have a move and shoot penalty equal to Sniper Rifles, but don't have a Close Quarter penalty. Special Feat: Deploy. Increases Accuracy, Limits angle of fire, Roots user (can't move while deployed).
GLs. Rare, expensive. If it's a revolver type, then every consecutive shot decreases accuracy.
Chem/Energy Rifles, a bigger version of Chem/Energy pistols. Could have unique ammo.
Flamethrowers. Flavor text: "Excessive use of "Fortunate Son": Granted."

Different Bursts & Body Group Targeting. 2-round, 3-round. Controlled Burst Feat. Center Mass Aim. Arm/Leg/Head Selective Aim. This is something that should in theory allow for other types of gun builds, aside from going full burst commando, but at the same time compliment existing builds, if they will be relevant. This ties in with another idea, stacking multiple actions. Having the ability to selectively aim at a body part and hit it with either a single shot or a burst also opens a venue for more types of enemies that require a different than usual approach.

More "realistically" chambered weapons. It is funny when a pistol fires a rifle round, but come on.

Expanded ammo crafting. Dragon Breath shotgun shells, or Explosive Slugs. Maybe Flechette? Wait, that's all for shotguns. How about Sabot rounds? Or Depleted Uranium rounds. Or just Uranium rounds. Or Depleted Uranium Sabot rounds? Maybe Sonic rounds that rupture eardrums? Nah, that's best for GLs. Shotgun shells have it easier, but judging how there are Acid, Shock and Toxic bullets in Underrail, I can see there being Cryo Rounds or even Poison Darts... Dart Guns, adding that to the list too. Maybe some Exotic ammo can be crafted out of limited material unique to Underrail's lore.

Critical Power needs to stay, but should be changed. You do get the usual bonus, but to achieve it you need to either debuff the enemy, or buff yourself, or meet certain criteria to activate it, like having 100% accuracy, about which.

100% accuracy. It should exist, but just like any other powerful feature, it should be a reward that is earned, like using Stasis.

Stasis should accumulate projectile damage. It's not like it magically teleports all items to another dimension, you are just stopping the flow of things around the target. Meaning everything that is flying will resume it's trajectory without change. Assuming Stasis will return, this is a good way to fix this skill.

Enemies that can affect certain actions. This is something I've picked up from STALKER NLC 7. In it a normal blind dog can give minor psychic damage if left for too long, a boar gives off constant radiation, a flesh is nigh immune to bullets unless they are AP and a pseudodog messes up your aim down sight if you look at it. The last one is actually the thing that gave this thought a more rigid form. How do you kill a relatively nimble enemy without aiming down sights? You hip fire. Now take into account that there is no reticle in NLC 7 and it becomes not so much a challenge, but rather a unique approach to tackling an enemy compared to others. What if in Underrail there are enemies that you can only accurately hit if they are at a certain distance? Or you can't use specific feats against? What if there was an enemy that required a player to act differently in comparison to how he usual does it?  This is something that can be a difficulty level thing.

Cybernetics. Briggs, Balor, not sure who else has it, maybe Ezra. But yeah, the ability to augment yourself, the sky is the limit on this.

Raids. This is based off Random Events. But random raids on safe locations which you may or may not attend to. Not required, but it does make visiting an old location more risky if there are bad guys at the gate.

I think this is all, tried to add as much as possible. Again, I have taken ideas from other people and added them here, so credit goes to those unnamed people.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2022, 09:02:23 am by Vagabond »