Back from the holidays and already busy at work, it is time for another development update! In this update I’ll talk about changes to the item system that ended up having a pretty big effect on the combat mechanics as well. Did I get your attention? Read on!
Let’s take a look at a familiar weapon the dagger (see below). As you can see we have changed some of the item statistics to reflect the underlying game mechanics better. In the Grimrock 1 a bigger value was always better, but unfortunately the values were quite abstract. For example, the graphical interface showed an abstract statistic called “attack speed” and the player probably had no way of telling how attack speed was internally translated to a cooldown value. One of the goals of the new system is to make it less opaque, so that’s why instead of abstract “attack power” and “attack speed” statistics, the item tooltip now display a damage range and a cooldown value in seconds.
However, a much bigger improvement is the addition of secondary actions. Many items in Grimrock 2 will have two actions. The first one is the primary action that is most natural for the item and it can be activated quickly with the familiar click on the attack button. For example, the primary action of the dagger is a melee attack, but in Grimrock 2 you can also throw a dagger by holding the attack button down briefly. The buildup time for secondary attacks varies per action, so that simple actions such as throwing can be executed very fast, but more powerful attacks and abilities take considerably longer.
Some secondary attacks can be very powerful. For example, the longsword (see below) can deliver mighty Thrust attacks that have improved damage and much higher accuracy. It can also bypass enemy’s armor to some extend — enemy’s armor value is reduced by 20 points for the duration of attack so it’s much more effective against armored foes. To keep you from spamming special attacks and increase the importance of tactics, the special actions usually have an energy cost and sometimes a limited number of charges. We are also toying with ideas of level and skill requirements for some of the most powerful special attacks.
Talking about charges, the problem with items with charges, is typically that the player saves these items for special combats. Usually this means that these items will actually never be used and just pile up in the inventory. That’s why most items with charges will have another use in Grimrock 2. For example, the Meteor Hammer, a new weapon for Grimrock 2, has a melee attack in addition to its devastating Meteor Storm attack. This way a front line fighter can still use the weapon even after all charges have been used. Also, its much more convenient to shoot a fiery storm of death from an item held in hand than go rummaging through the backpack in the middle of hectic combat.
We are still toying with the secondary attacks and things might still change considerably. We have some pretty interesting abilities planned for new items, and there are other things in the plans as well, for example, to make certain monsters resistant and weak against certain attacks. But the addition of secondary actions has already made a big impact on the feel of the combat. More choices, more tactics. Buildup times of special attacks affect the rhythm and pacing of combat. Combat in Grimrock 2 will be different affair than in Grimrock 1!