Stoneshard Update - Dungeon Generation

Last time we heard from Ink Stains Games, they revealed an updated roadmap for their turn-based RPG Stoneshard that's been stuck in early access for a couple years now.

Which now brings us to this Steam announcement informing us that due to the team's peculiar composition where parts of the studio are currently at war with one another, it's pretty much impossible to predict when we'll be getting the next major update.

Still, we should be getting some new stuff in the near future, namely an overhaul of the Drunkenness mechanic, new speech lines, and assorted balance adjustments. As for the major "Rags to Riches" update, we get a quick preview of the dungeon generation overhaul it's going to introduce and some sample screenshots.

Here are the text bits:

Hello everyone!

It’s been a while since the last devlog, so we’re here to tell you about the current state of affairs and our plans for the near future.

Let’s just say the workflow has been less than ideal - the Ukrainian part of our team experiences blackouts and disrupted internet access due to the constant shelling of the country’s infrastructure, and the part of the team that formerly resided in Russia needs time to adjust in a new place. Nevertheless, we’re still determined to continue working on Stoneshard.

The main focus right now is on the next major update, “Rags to Riches”, which will both introduce and expand upon a number of key gameplay systems, namely the Caravan, the dungeon generator, and the economy.

Unfortunately, we’re in no position to announce even approximate release dates, definitely not within the next few months. But it doesn’t mean there won’t be any new content until then - we plan to release a few small patches, mostly focusing on fixing bugs, implementing some long-awaited QoL improvements, tweaking the existing ability trees, and fleshing out certain minor mechanics that we kept on the back burner. This approach will keep the game from getting stale while simultaneously giving us an opportunity to clear the accumulated backlog and resolve some technical issues.

For instance, in the near future we’ll release a hotfix that will improve the Drunkenness mechanic and add a few hundred new speech lines - both for the main character and the enemies - to cover a much larger number of scenarios.

Now back to Rags to Riches and the progress we’ve made so far. Many of you may remember that the dungeon generator was already reworked in the “Way Forward” update. But even though the result was much better than the original iteration, the last couple of years brought us enough experience and feedback to realize that we can do better. After all, dungeon-delving is one of the most prominent mechanics in the game, so any improvements to it will serve the betterment of the experience in general.

The dungeon generation rework is meant to achieve the following:
  • Move away from the boring and predictable dungeon structure that consists almost entirely of small rooms separated by doors.
  • Get rid of single-tile doors and hallways, as they promote the repetitive tactics of funneling enemies into the same choke points over and over again. New rooms will have a more engaging design, giving you more reasons to reposition and interact with the surroundings.
  • Add more distinguishing features to each dungeon type: the Bastion should differ from the Crypts - and the Crypts from the Catacombs - not only in terms of decorations but also their overall layout.
  • Make dungeons and room structure more logical and believable: upon entering a room, you should be able to get a basic idea about its function.
  • Make dungeons’ visuals consistent with their difficulty and loot quality: high level dungeons will boast richer decor and additional room types that you won’t be able to encounter early in the game.
  • Add dungeon modifiers that will shake up the established routine and make you adjust your usual preparations - we’ll share more details in future devlogs.
  • Change enemy spawns to make fights more fair and interesting.
While our game designers are busy conceptualizing the Contracts rework (and all the new mechanics that come along with it), our artist and level designers are working on gradually transitioning the Crypts to the new generation ruleset - of all the dungeon types, it needed a facelift the most. For now, here’s some of the results[...]

The next step is to use the Crypts as a testing ground for the entirety of the reworked system, which includes new contacts, modifiers, and certain other additions - after that, we’ll make the necessary adjustments and apply it to the remaining dungeon types as well.

That’s all for now. Until the next devlog!