Copper Dreams Updates #5-6, $30,843 and Counting
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Since the last time we checked, two more updates have been published for Whalenought Studios' Copper Dreams, a cyberpunk RPG that promises to bring the same philosophy behind Serpent in the Staglands to a more modern and grimy setting, and turn-based combat. Update 5 highlights a recent feature from Kill Screen and notes that the project has been greenlit on Steam, while update 6 offers some details on the leveling and sneaking systems.
A generous excerpt from the latter:
Sneaking is a largely viable way to get through a lot of the game, even if all agents aren't skilled in it. Prancing around with skull fractures and lungs filling with bile can take its toll, and unless you're armed to the teeth, slipping away under the cover of shadows or jumping into a duct is a bit more predictable. We’ve made sneaking a combination of simulation and dice rolling, giving characters and enemies the ability to hone various aspects of stealth.
Enemies can be alerted to your presence from your noises, including footsteps, throwing items, jumping, doors and gunshots. As you get closer, you are more likely to be heard, although if there is a wall or some other obstruction between you and the enemy they receive a negative modifier to their roll.
This one is obvious, but the player is detected from a certain distance away via a vision cone from enemies. Crouching is a good way to hide behind smaller objects if you know an enemy is coming your direction. Being in light gives a positive hit modifier in combat, and being in a darkened area gives a negative one.
Once detected, enemies will engage in combat. They instantly roll for initiative after seeing you, and if they can will call for backup. Their call can be interrupted with an attack. If they can’t call for backup, either by word of mouth or radio, they’ll begin to engage in combat.
If you run out of combat your enemies will remember your last known position and pursue you. Remain hidden long enough (or continue to outrun your opponent), and they’ll give up and enter an alerted patrol stage.
If more than one enemy is engaging you, they’ll attempt to flank you. They’ll also utilize their abilities and equipped weapons responsibly. This is a large part of the engagement combat system we’ll be working on for your alpha for testing! In a more simulationist system like this, smart AI is paramount, so we aim to have scripts for enemies that are lethal and appropriate. Enemies will have wide ranges of intelligence, including flushing you out with grenades, suppressing fire to stall you for other enemies to get into position, and mind-hacking your crew to fire on each other or walk out into the open.
A player's character growth instead is determined by thematic gameplay intervals when completing open ended missions that your employer has given you (not dissimilar to finding pentagrams in Wizardy IV). We internally called this method the Oregon Trail method of leveling up. It gives you stat progression when you reach a milestone (like resupplying at landmarks in the DOS game) so you don't have to worry about selectively gaming XP during gameplay, rather just surviving, outfitting your crew effectively and solving puzzles (having fun any way you want). It’s very simple, but rewards any type of play style equally. Someone who completes a mission bloodlessly receives the same benefit as one who takes down every enemy in sight.
How this all works
Completing one of the large missions from Wolffz Bay is essentially hitting a level up milestone. This nets your characters stat points to distribute amongst your Virtues, Aptitudes, and Proficiencies. Missions can vary either subtly or drastically depending on how that narrative has branched, but there’s a set amount of primary ones that span the game. The stat points you receive can be distributed at any time.
To improve your party in the short term between these level up milestones, your exploration and various jobs around town will be rewarded as you collect chits (currency) to trade for new items, find or buy better hardware for your characters, and purchase cybernetics. You'll also be able to train for new abilities for your items (like new weapon uses) during rests, which require anything from favors and chits, to the rare (untraceable) US dollar.