Monomyth Update - Current Progress and Beta 1

The latest Kickstarter update for Rat Tower Software's dungeon-crawling RPG Monomyth brings us a fairly encouraging progress report and talks about Beta 1, which, when translated from programmer-speak, means the game's upcoming second beta that should feature more content, fewer bugs, and a number of new systems.

Here are the text bits:

Hi, dungeon-crawling fans!

Another month, another update! Beta 1 is just around the corner and in the last few weeks, plenty of significant improvements have been implemented. So let's take a look at those!

Current Progress

As you know, Monomyth's beta has been out for about a month now. In this short period of time, there have been numerous hotfixes. Beta testers have been very busy reporting various problems and as a result, both major and minor bugs were corrected. One particularly nasty bug involved the functionality of NPC navigation, which, luckily, could be tracked to a simple, incorrect engine setting.

Besides fixing bugs, I have also been adding various features that would improve the overall experience of the game. NPCs will now greet the players via text messages over their heads. The same system is also used for idle chatter and combat taunts.

I have also re-introduced Offhand Actions, which were sort of a last left-over from the old codebase's feature list. This means you can now, again, press the middle mouse button and use your torch to light other torches in the game world (and set certain inflammable objects on fire as well).

Some of you may have been unaware of it, but the Kickstarter demo also featured a shield-bash that could be activated in the same way. This feature is back as well, however, this time it is far more impactful. It can be used to knock enemies down or push them off ledges.

Combat AI has been improved as well and while it still needs work encounters are now more balanced. The rebalancing in the latest version of the game also affected weapon durability. A frequent feature request from the Kickstarter demo was the possibility to pick up the weapons dropped by enemies. This was an option in Arx Fatalis and Ultima Underworld. However, in Monomyth, this feature devalued some weapons, because of their sudden high availability. More precisely, it had an effect on the urgency of keeping an eye on your weapon's durability. This called the necessity for the durability feature into question (at least with regard to highly available weapons). Ultima Underworld circumvented this problem by permanently breaking weapons. This introduced an element of resource management into the game and reduced the effects of readily available weaponry.

I have been experimenting with a similar system in Monomyth's early game now. You can still repair your weapons at a forge, but if you don't pay attention to their durability you will risk losing them permanently. So far, at least in my experience, this little change makes the early game significantly more exciting. Obviously, this feature will be somewhat less relevant for rare weapons. These aren't readily available in the first place and some of them are indestructible anyway (they still wear off over time though, so they have to be repaired to fulfill their potential).

I have also been thinking about the save system during the rebalancing process. At the moment free saving is the standard game mode on the basis of which the distribution of level-up shrines is balanced (these were originally used to save). I might actually turn this around and balance the distribution around the classic system from the Kickstarter demo. People will still have the option to turn on free saving during the character creation though.

I have also reworked the object carrying/placement system since I have noticed that players kept having problems with putting bread near a fire or into an oven. Therefore, I implemented a feature with which they can drop items from the inventory directly into their character's hands. Players can then precisely rotate and place the item with the help of a "ghost object". This is also very useful for stacking boxes.

Beta 1

The rest of the time, I have focused on closing the gap between the actual beginning of the game and the current beta content. This required a rework of the "Serpent's Bastion", an area you already know from the Kickstarter demo.

The patch integrating this content should be ready within the next few days. With its release, Monomyth will enter the "Beta 1" phase. Just like after the release of "Beta 0" I will then shortly focus on documenting and fixing various bugs found by the beta testers. Afterward, I will shift my focus toward working on the next beta patch. Going strictly by the plan from last month's update that would include the game's main settlement, I might, however, switch Update 2 and 3 around, since the latter still requires more work.

Either way, there is still a lot to do. I will keep you posted!

Best wishes,