Annnd we're back!
Welcome to another Labyrinthine developer update! This update is going to be focused around the upcoming Procedural Generation mode which we’ve talked about briefly in the past few dev updates.
Remind me again, what is the procedural generation mode?
It seems a lot of players still don’t quite understand the concept behind the procedural generation mode. Procedural generation is our answer to replayability. It is a fully standalone gamemode (i.e. separate from the story) that allows players to take on procedurally generated levels. What that means is that you will have a unique map generated for you each time you take on a “case file”.
Case file? What's a case file?!
To give you more of an idea of how this works, check out the picture below.
So as you can see, the game selection is broken into two groups, “Story” and “Cases”. The story side functions as before, allowing you to play the story mode. The cases are the procedural maps. Each time a case is completed, another one generates in it’s place. Case files also persist between games so you can “bank” good case files that you want to play with friends.
That's cool and all but what do they actually mean?
Right now, users will see the following information:
This information may change down the line as we bring in more features but for now that is what is shown to users. Let’s go through each option!
The Maze type is relayed to the user as a clipped photograph in the top left corner of the case file. There’s currently 16 planned maze types, each with their own unique feel, areas and challenges. Some monsters will only appear on certain maps as well as map-specific customisations (more on that later!).
Make sure to check out the maze types that are planned on the Labyrinthine Pipeline! Also worth mentioning, maze types will not have equal chances to be selected, so some maze-types will be rarer than others..
The mapsize is determined by the total volume of the maze. Upon generating the case file, a random size for both the width and length of the maze is chosen. These multiplied by each other gives you the volume, so if you had a 25 x 25 maze (the smallest possible), your volume would be 25 x 25 = 625. There are currently 4 sizes of maze:
- Small: 625 -> 2499
- Medium: 2500 -> 5624
- Large: 5625 – 9999
- Giant: 10000+
Obviously throwing a level 1 player into a giant map would be a horrible experience for them, so the players level is used to determine the maximum size a maze can be. As it is right now, you should see medium mazes begin to appear from level 25 onwards.
Difficulty is a representation of several different factors.
As mentioned in the last developer update, we now have a more robust death system that features lives. When generating case files, a random number of team lives is chosen. Again, to make it easier on new players, lower levels will always have a high number of lives.
The total number of lives, combined with the danger level and mapsize determines the difficulty of the maze.
The different levels of difficulty are as follows:
- Very Hard
The danger level of a map is determined by both the type of monsters as well as the amount of them. As part of our difficulty scaling system, leveling up will increase both the chance you will have more than one monster as well as which monsters will appear.
For example, Wickerman is fast and difficult to avoid in the random mazes. He begins to appear around level 5 and is of a higher danger level than Smiley who will appear at level 1. Having two Smiley monsters in a maze isn’t particularly dangerous so the danger would remain low. However, having multiple wickermen in a maze is much more threatening, so the danger level would be medium.
The different levels of danger are as follows:
Finally, rarity. Case files have a small chance when being generated to be “Rare”. In these case files, the maze will generate slightly differently and will also include a guaranteed piece of customisation (More on that later!). You will also receive a considerable XP boost upon completion.
Okay so now we understand case files, let's see a map!
The first place you load into in a maze type is an entrance piece. These areas are completely safe and are the respawn point for the entire map.
Wandering around the maze, you will come across “landmarks”. Landmarks are what we call areas of interest which differ from the usual landscape. Landmarks could be something as simple as a large rock with candles or a statue, all the way to a complete multi-story building.
You may also come across landmarks that contain puzzles. There are new types of puzzles being added for the procedural mode and all of them are randomised.
Maze-types also have their own objectives, for example, you need to find seals in the hedges while you need to find levers in the crypts.
We also have safe houses. Safe houses, much like their story-mode counterpart, offer a brief respite from the horrors within the maze. While inside, players are fully protected from monsters, so they’re a great place to hang out if you need a bathroom break. Players will need to utilize them to escape monsters. You can also find objectives inside of them, so make sure to pay them a visit!
These are spread throughout the map so you should always be relatively close to one, though you may need to search for it!
And finally, when you’ve collected/interacted with all of the objectives, you need to make your way to the end point in the maze. This, like the start point, is a safe area. You may need to insert your collected items before you can proceed.
At the very end of the maze, you will be given a completed case file with a breakdown of the XP.
You will receive more xp for harder case files as well as taking less time. You will also receive an xp boost if your team has no deaths. The XP will then be added to your total level.
Looks good, when can we play it?
For those not on discord, we gave everyone a sneak preview of the procedural generation along with a developer Q&A a few weeks ago. Since then, we’ve opened the new gamemode up to over 150 private testers who have been working hard to find bugs and relay their feedback. We’ve been incredibly busy fixing bugs, implementing new systems to help the maze feel more dynamic, bringing the customisation system up to scratch and fine-tuning the monsters.
There’s still balancing and features to be done and we also want to have at least four maze types ready to go before we release it to a wider audience. At the time of writing, we have three mazes with a fourth nearing completion;
- Unkept hedges – Similar to the story mode, appears at level 1
- Kept hedges – Unique to procedural generation, more traditional hedge maze, appears at level 1
- Crypt – Similar to story mode but much more open, appears at level 5
- Forest – Unique to procedural generation, appears at level 1 (Almost complete)
We’re making progress quickly though so you can expect procedural generation to hit public_testing soon and for those not wanting to switch to the public_testing branch, we’re aiming to have it fully tested and out on the live branch by early October.
What's this about customisation...?
We talked about it in June’s dev update but as a refresher, we will be implementing a customisation system that ties in with the procedural generation mode. Hidden within the maps, you’ve got a chance to come across an unlockable customisation item. As stated, rare cases have 100% chance to have a customisation item so keep an eye out.
We plan to include a healthy selection of items so that people can dress unique and stand out from the crowd. There will also be items tied to achievements, for all those achievement hunters out there!
Awesome, what else is new?
Aside from a whole heap of bugs that we fixed along the way, we’re also bringing out a new lobby.
The old lobby was looking dated and was a little too restrictive for what we wanted to do with customisation.
We’ve also nearly finished reworking the animations, AI and sounds for all the monsters in game. They’re now looking and feeling a LOT better.
And Chapter 5?
Chapter 5 is still coming along nicely. While we don’t want to show too much of the level off, here’s a few dead animals to set the tone!
If you haven’t seen the images from the last devblog, we recommend checking them out here June 2021 Developer Update
Well that just about sums up the August developer update. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably quite excited for everything to come. If you don’t mind experiencing bugs and other issues, we welcome you to show your interest in joining the private testing branch on discord. We’re looking for players who are interested in sharing their opinions and feedback as well as those who are good at breaking things in-game. Feel free to ask for access in the #discussions section.
We hope you all like what you see so far, it’s something we will be expanding upon!