Are you ready for a massive devlog update? Here’s the news from the front.
Awesome Key Art
First of all, I’m proud to present the official artwork for Neverlooted Dungeon. The illustration was produced by David Alvarez, a specialist in role-playing and fantasy illustration, among other things. Personally I love it, David did a really great job! And you, what do you think?
David also worked on different particular formats, including variations on the positioning of the characters and other elements, for the steam page, for the cover, for wallpaper, etc.
Full Localization of the Demo
After having programmed everything that was necessary, I called on a translation company specializing in video games to translate the entire demo into German, Russian and Chinese, as well as a proofreading of the English version.
Thanks to Aurélie for proofreading the French version.
A Japanese version was courtesy of one of the discord members, Toyoch. A big thanks to him!
I still have to analyze the statistics of the demo to see if these new languages have brought in more people, and decide which languages I will keep for the release. Localization is expansive so I can not simply do it for all languages.
Improving the Levels
Since the last devlog, I have made good progress on improving the different levels of the game, especially with a lot of level design work.
The idea is to make each level contain a wealth of traps, puzzles and physical obstacles, to make the most of the different unique mechanics of the game. I also worked on the topology of levels, multiple paths, secret or unlockable passages, verticality, to offer interesting levels to explore – and re-explore.
With this in mind, the first level has therefore been completely reworked, with now a real entrance worthy of a Legendary Dungeon™. I am particularly happy with the result and my objective is to rework all the levels to obtain an equivalent richness and quality.
You can already test it yourself by playing the latest version of the demo!
Level 3 required a lot of work, because I had decided to rework and merge two previous levels to make a unique and very rich one.
The first playtests are very positive, and I can’t wait to have it tested more. The finale of this level is really cool, and it contains a surprise that you won’t soon forget…
Level 4 is almost done. The idea behind this level is to offer something short but very rich in surprises (narrative, gameplay) to revive the dynamics after a somewhat long level 3.
Fire Propagation and Deep Water
In parallel with my work to improve the levels and existing features, I am working little by little on new features, to get ever closer to my initial vision – very ambitious. The idea is not to pile up features, but to create rich systems which interact with each other, to offer even more variety on traps, problems and solutions.
For example, it’s all physics-based, and any physical interaction can trigger a trap, like throwing a crate with a gravity wand, or kicking a rat. The idea is to add more systems to interact with, like Fire and Water.
Fire Propagation Experimentation
I wanted to add a fire propagation system to burn objects and spread the flames to nearby objects. Indeed, in some advanced levels, several traps were based on fire, and I didn’t like that you could block flames with simple wooden crates. I hesitated to remove these fire traps, but I wanted to first try quickly the fire propagation, to see what it brought and its advantages and disadvantages in terms of technique and game design.
So I set up this feature, which is currently enable in the demo, and I want to continue to explore the possibilities it offers, in terms of traps, obstacles, and interactions.
Now the crates will ignite, and will also be able to spread the fire to other objects, to monsters, to the player … You can also ignite objects from other objects of the scenery, such as chimneys or campfires. It’s great fun setting an entire room on fire and watching the flames spread, or to use it to kill monsters. Be careful thought, you could also be burning valuable items, like JumpJump™ Boots!
I will therefore continue to explore possible interactions with fire, fire-based traps and obstacles, and other possibilities and interactions with other game systems. Based on the playtest feedback and my own design experience, I will decide if I keep it or not.
Deep Water & Swimming & Water Physics
Another feature that has been close to my heart for a long time is the addition of deep water, water physics, and swimming. Indeed, a big fan of the very first Tomb Raider, I particularly like everything that water can add to exploration, in particular diving to find secret passages, swimming in underwater mazes, or simply the atmosphere provided by flooded rooms.
Along with the physical system, floating objects also add new possibilities for obstacles and physics-based solutions, such as making floating bridges, using water to move heavy floating objects, etc.
Finally, I have a large list of water-based traps, and it would be a shame if the game came out without a little trap or two based on flooding a room whose door suddenly closed behind you ;)
There are still plenty of other features that I would love to explore, but to avoid spending all my time on them, my focus remains on levels and traps, and improving existing content. However, I always keep a little time to explore certain things.
In small teasing, breaking more stuff, flaming oil, explosive gas, electricity, a better monster detection system to enable stealth, especially in the dark, more magic wands, even more magic equipment, … ;)
October Events Update
The last few months have been very busy in terms of marketing events, which is an important task and one that should not be overlooked. I participated in the Steam Next Fest at the beginning of October and at Game Made in France at the end of October.
Steam Next Fest
At the beginning of October, the Steam Next Fest took place, the Steam event that highlights the next Steam releases, in particular games with demos. So for the occasion I had prepared a new demo, and I performed several live streams. I had also set up a small contest to win keys, bravos to the 5 winners! I am happy with the visibility that has been provided, but there is still a lot of work to do.
Games Made in France
At the end of October, I participated in the Games Made in France event, a four-day streaming event on Twitch and Steam, featuring the selection of French games on Steam. I had the pleasure of participating in a live interview with MisterMV and DamDam as they discovered the game live in front of thousands of spectators. I am very happy with the visibility and the feedback from the spectators.
When I set up the Steam Next Fest demo, I added a feedback form for players to give me their opinion on the game. I received over 350 responses, and I thank all the people who took the time to answer them. I spent a lot of time reading all the comments that were left, sometimes very, very long, sorting them, ranking the items by importance.
Overall, the responses are very positive, and I have noted the remarks on what pleases and dislikes. I have a long list of things to correct and others I could add :-).
The negative comment that comes up the most is that the fights are a bit boring and not very inspired. I wanted to keep them simple because the focus of the game is on traps. Despite this, I have plans to improve some points of the combat system, for instance I am investigating the possibility of parrying hits with a shield, to offer another approach of fighting.
Be Part of the Private Alpha Test
I quietly started to set up a private alpha, where I give access to an alpha version of the game to a handful of handpicked people. The more weeks go by, the more people I will add to test more and more levels. I prefer to give keys little by little so that I can improve the game between each wave of new users. I have set up a dedicated form to be able to register and participate.
So I will continue to improve the different levels, while improving the existing features, in order to have the most fun game possible for its release. After a slower pace of development due to my focus on marketing, development restarted faster and I can’t wait to tackle the next levels and have you try them out.
Oh Wow, that was a very long dev log. Thanks for reading, and see you soon,
I am very happy to announce that Neverlooted Dungeon will be part of the Steam Next Fest, from October 1st to October 7th 2021.
There will be LIVE STREAMS, a CONTEST to win keys, and the DEMO is playable !
Dev Live Streams
Several live streams are planned. Between the live streams a continuous stream will be broadcast.
October 1st – Dev Live Stream Q/A, demo presentation
Starting at 9pm UTC+2 (2pm New York, 11am Los Angeles)
Come and chat with me, ask me anything about the game, and discover the demo, and more.
October 2nd – Dev Live Stream Q/A, kick only challenge
Starting at 9pm UTC+2 (2pm New York, 11am Los Angeles)
Come and chat with me, ask me anything about the game. I will play the demo and do the “kick only challenge”, i.e. completing the demo only using the foot kick. It will be fun! Try it too!
October 3th – Dev Live Stream Q/A, cheat code fun
Starting at 4pm UTC+2 (10am New York, 7am Los Angeles)
Come and chat with me, ask me anything about the game. I will play the demo and use cheat code to get some cool items and play with the game.
Contest to win game keys
5 keys can be earned, in 5 different ways
Finisher: random choice among all those who completed the demo and posted a screenshot of their score.
Completionist: random choice among all those who found all the relics and posted a screenshot of their score.
Speed-runner: the player who will complete the demo with the best time and posted a screenshot of his score.
Most beautiful screenshot: we will chose the nicest screenshot of the game(choice will be subjective).
Most fun screenshot: we will chose the most “fun” screenshot of the game, use the game creatively! (choice will be subjective).
How to win a key
To participate, you can either:
Post your screenshot and player name on TWITTER, using the hastags #NeverlootedDungeon and #SteamNextFest.
Post your screenshot and player name on the Wild Mage Games DISCORD in the #steam-next-fest-contest channel.
Contest ends October 7th 7pm UTC+2.
All details here: https://www.wildmagegames.com/steam-neo-fest-2021-contest-details/
Play the Demo
The demo is available. Have you tried it yet? Most people playing it tell me it was “awesome” and “amazing”. So you really should try it to. Try your luck now, loot and glory await!
Please report any bug you encounter.
You do not like it? Give me your feedback too!
Join the Discord
You like the game, you want to join the community? Then join the discord and come chat with us!
The last few months have been very productive, the development of Neverlooted Dungeon has progressed well. The new features are complete and integrated into the game, and bring the hoped-for richness to the gameplay. Let’s see all of this in detail.
Still at the prototype stage during the last devlog in February, they are now complete and integrated into the game. From now on, beware of the lurking monsters when exploring the dungeon.
There are several types of monsters, each with their own ambush specialty, to better surprise you. I won’t reveal them all so as not to spoil the surprise, but here is at least one: the giant rat, a monster essential to any self-respecting dungeon.
The most interesting thing about these monsters are the new game possibilities and situations they bring, thanks to their interaction with all the other game systems, especially with traps and physics. Your sword is broken, are you running low on health? There are many ways to get rid of these monsters …
The goal of adding these monsters is not so much to add combat like in all classic RPGs, but above all to add a different type of trap, the living traps, where the monsters wait in various types of ambush.
This did not prevent me from further improving the weapon and combat system to make them interesting, in the event that a fight takes place with one or more monsters.
The combat has therefore been reworked. It is based on dodging and endurance management, while remaining very dynamic. The different types of weapons have been enhanced, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.
Kicking, a feature that I wanted to do for a while and that I finally took the time to do, and pretty quickly too! Now that it’s in the game, I wonder how the game could have been released without it. For a game where all of the gameplay is physics-based, being able to kick things is a must have. It is therefore a new way to interact (violently) with the world, in particular to push obstacles, open doors, or push monsters into holes.
I finished reworking the graphic style of the game, in particular by completely redoing all the textures of the floors and walls. I also reworked the lights and colors. I must say that I am very satisfied with the result. When I compare the current game with its previous versions, I’m glad I did, as the graphic and artistic improvement is important.
The game’s composer, Alexandre Sciré, continues to create great ambience tracks for Neverlooted Dungeon for exploring the dungeon. I made him a rather particular and difficult request on these tracks. The idea is to have dynamic music, using tracks played on several layers, with their intensity depending on the location and the context.
For example, a basic track sets the mood, a little melody is added when you are near a campfire, a dramatic track is played in particularly deadly places. The changes in the game are very subtle, but they help to subconsciously reinforce the tension or on the contrary to release it, to avoid monotony and to make the experience even more intense. And you, did you notice these changes while playing the demo?
Demo and playtests
Thanks to everyone who tried out the new private demo which featured monsters, combat, and kick. Thanks to the feedback I continue to improve the game in its entirety.
The next public version of the demo should be released soon. I still have to decide on its content, because the first level alone seems a bit short to me, but the first two levels seem a bit long for a demo.
In the meantime, if you are interested in testing the latest alpha versions of the game, do not hesitate, join the discord and join the playtesters!
In the last few months, an important step has been taken, I find that the game has finally reached its maturity in gameplay, narrative, visual and audio. My efforts having been mainly focused on the first levels, especially those of the demo, I now have to rework the rest of the game to offer a rich and interesting experience on all levels. A first full alpha release should go to testing in a few weeks, and I’ll be working hard to get the game released before the end of the year.
It’s been six years since I started this adventure, time flies so fast! The pessimists will say “six years and still no game, what a failure!”, the optimists will say “awesome, six years, what perseverance!”, the choice is yours.
Anyway, happy six years to Wild Mage Games, 2021 will be the release year of Neverlooted Dungeon, I hope the first of a long series of games!
Steam Game Festival Review
In October 2020 took place the Steam Game Festival. It was an opportunity to show Neverlooted Dungeon to the world with a public demo.
Lots of people have played the game, I got quite a bit of positive feedback, a few streamers even posted videos of the game, I got a few new followers and people on the Discord which is really cool. I also did my first streams, showed some secrets and did some live speedruns.
Despite this, the results of this festival are rather mixed. There were about 500 downloads, 355 people completed the first level, and only 137 the second level. It’s both extremely exciting to have had so many players and positive feedback, and at the same time that number is rather low for a demo launched on Steam during this festival.
On the one hand, the game was immediately “buried” in the RPG page, at the bottom in the “Dungeon Crawler” part, which meant that it was hardly visible. Since my community is still very small, there was no significant discovery phenomenon as I had hoped and the game has remained invisible. This aspect will have to be greatly improved before the game’s release, because under these conditions the release would be a failure, regardless of the quality of the game.
Then there might be a little something missing from this demo (and the game), or something to improve, to make people playing it so excited that they talk about it and create an organic community growth.
Demo Feedback Analysis
I am analyzing the user feedback I received, to understand what works and what does not, to define the priorities, in order to make the best possible game.
I also analyzed the game’s stats, especially the deadliest traps, to try to understand if these first two levels had any major flaws. I think after analysis that the very first trap of the first level is a bit hard for new players and has led to a lot of misunderstanding and frustration, I’ve lost quite a few people here.
The first trap of the second level is even harder (the plank that breaks and throws you into a pit) and seems to have created a lot of “quit rage”, for the frustration of losing the accumulated inventory from the start. It is possible to retrieve your inventory but few people have understood it. Over forty people died in this trap and then left the game:
I also watched the majority of streams to analyze what was working and what was not. For some who directly understand the concept, the game seemed to be really enjoyable, I enjoyed seeing them avoiding traps, playing with physics, trying original solutions, etc. For others it didn’t seem to be so obvious.
The difficulty in creating a game based on treacherous deadly traps therefore remains to take into account beginners to give them time to grasp the concepts, but without degrading the experience of more accustomed players and offer them an interesting challenge. I’ve already added a difficulty mode that makes traps more or less visible, but it hasn’t been used a lot. I have idas for improvements that I will try for the next demo version.
Give me your feedback!
Did you play the demo? Don’t forget to give me your opinion, on what you liked but also on what you didn’t like!
The demo is private again until the next version, but if you want to play it now, ask me and I’ll give you a key!
One of the things I’m working on right now is improving the graphic style. After a few tests, it seems important that I rework the textures of the floors and walls, to break up the monotony a little. Obviously, it’s not that easy because I also need these textures to work with the hidden traps and not make them too easy to detect.
The first visual tests look rather promising, here are some previews. On those pictures I added a texture to walls and grounds, what do you think ?
I am also working on a prototype with monsters!
When I started Neverlooted Dungeon, I had set myself the constraint “no monsters or non-player characters”, to avoid exploding the development time. Despite this, I had already felt the need to add a few characters to talk to, while limiting interactions to dialogues, to bring more storytelling, more humor, and take short breaks between stressful phases of traps. I’ve been thinking about adding a few monsters for a while, and user feedback on Steam has confirmed that it might be worth it to add that little something that would make the game unforgettable.
The idea is not at all to make a “classic” rpg where monster combat is the main activity, the deadly traps remain the heart of the game. The idea is rather to add a few treacherous monsters, used as living traps, a bit like certain monsters in Dark Souls, which add tension to the player, who must in addition to paying attention to the traps, watch out for monsters and prepare to flee or to fight. For example, a monster that attacks from the back while you are examining a treasure, a monster that falls from the ceiling while you observe the ground a little too much, etc.
Currently, the player is mostly in control of the situation and the rhythm, he can calmly observe the situation and avoid the traps, a bit like in a puzzle game. Over the entire duration of the game, this creates a rhythm that is a little too monotonous. Adding a few monsters provides short phases of tension when the player gets caught. It also adds new trap triggers, “visibility” or “proximity”, which add variety to the triggers that are mostly activated by the player (by stepping on them, opening a chest, door, etc.).
Plus, there are lots of cool things to do with monsters, including their interaction with physics, items, traps, and even with other monsters. For example, luring a monster into a trap, getting trapped by a monster, getting pushed into a trap, etc.
The monster prototype is well advanced and I can’t wait to have you try it all out. The aims of this prototype are to test the concept of deceitful monsters, to determine their production cost to see whether or not I can make them in a reasonable time, to test if they degrade the unique concept of dungeon based on traps, or on the contrary make it possible to enrich it by adding variety and interaction between the different systems. After makeing you test the prototype I will decide if I continue or not working on them.
Below are some images of the prototype (the 3D models of the rats are temporary, just for testing).
Since monsters bring combat as well, I also spent some time reworking the game’s combat system, especially the weapons variety (speed, range, damage), and animations.
My idea is to provide a simple combat system that is little more interesting than simply doing the same attack without moving. This system will make the fights with the monsters more interesting, in the event that the player is surprised and must fight for his life. Without going into a complex combat system, and without focusing on combat because the priority remains the traps, I reworked the combat system. Each weapon now has a fast attack, which can be chained, and a slow attack. Swords slice quickly, maces slam slowly, spears attack from afar, knives cut fast and stab, crossbows fire from a distance. Attacks consume stamina and you have to manage it correctly, you have to choose your weapon, your attack, predict and avoid the attacks of the monster.
We will test this on the next demo, and feedback will help me chose the best system for Neverlooted.
Here is a small video preview of this new system in the dungeon training room:
That was a long devlog. So, I’m going to finish this new demo with monsters and let you test it soon. I will also continue to improve the demo, to offer a new version that will be really appreciated, and hopefully help to increase the community.