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The new Kickstarter update for Whalenought Studios' cyberpunk RPG, Copper Dreams took a while to get to us, but now that it's here, it's quite a substantial one. The biggest takeaway from it are the news about the upcoming alpha test mission that's currently aiming for a July 27, 2017 release. Apart from that, we get treated to some tunes from the game's soundtrack and a couple of lengthy segments on the current state of development, and the in-game character models and portraits. An excerpt:
Alpha Mission Date
Our plan for an alpha release this summer is still on track. We’re at the most exciting time of development for us which allows content to start going from paper to the game very quickly. During gameplay iterations the past half-year we’ve gotten various systems, art and mechanics we wanted for the alpha completed to ~75%. In addition, they're all flexible with one another as we changed things around constantly, and now that everything is set we’re finally able to check them off one by one. We initially planned on showing individual systems off in these updates, but decided to clump a lot of these finalized things to show you a more comprehensive look at gameplay features together. But about that alpha — Alpha backers, you’ll be getting the alpha-mission to test July 27th! That entire month is devoted to bug and content polish, so we'll let you know how things are progressing and show additional parts of it off.
We have some very exciting things to show off before that, including the final iteration on the core system, which details how all the systems converged into the final version you'll be getting in the game, as well as showcasing the beginning of the alpha. A brief overview of that below.
Our core systems have had one last pass, and this is really the culmination of the best we've innovated with for the gameplay. Simulation-based systems are a lot of fun on paper, but in practice and through our iterations it's been a constant flux of how much of it is filtered through the ruleset and gameplay to make it more playable, and more importantly, fun for the player.
The main systems (not including the very GURPS oriented ruleset):
Creating an abstraction for time to bring more clarity ended up being the answer we needed for everything. Time is represented by modular ‘ticks’ now (representing a quarter second each), and is much easier to visually analyze and react to. Every action of anyone in the game happens on a tick, sort of like tiles for movement, but for time. Tiles for moving are again visually playing a bigger role to make that more concise and are the primary 'target' to click or attack. Between these two, all actions, movement, or trajectories can be predictable at-a-glance.
- Height-based world
- Party based gameplay
- In-world combat
- Actions take a time element
- Characters able to react to other actions in-combat, instead of actions being performed in a bubble
So for instance in some p&p rulesets, a 'round' for a turn is sometimes considered a representation of roughly 6 seconds. While there aren't static round durations, you can now see the amount of time an action will take in a timeline and compare it to others — each of your characters and any nearby NPCs doing something have a small timeline feed (sort of like a set of keyframes in a video editor). This is persistent in and out of combat and replaces the old combat bar.
It should look and feel both familiar and completely new, somewhere between the original Kickstarter video and the most recent updates, in a very bullet-proof design. In the end, with the ease of ‘ticks’ representing time for actions and now tiles being involved again, the gameplay is theoretically now translatable to pen and paper, to elaborate on how solid the core is. We're very happy and confident with it all, and we'll be showing that off in detail soon.