Author Topic: Frozen Depths (now at v1.06~)  (Read 4875 times)


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Frozen Depths (now at v1.06~)
« on: August 29, 2014, 07:02:06 PM »

Frozen Depths is a traditional, combat-oriented roguelike game that takes place in a cold fantasy world.

The land of Glacia has started to freeze all over. The surface people will perish, should the temperature drop much lower. The high council has selected you to go to the Frozen Depths of Glacia, find out the source of coldness and get rid of it. If you return to the surface, you'll be executed as a coward, if you die on the way, another poor one will be sent down through another entrance to the complex, but if you succeed in your quest, you'll become a hero. Many have failed and many will fail... Now you're all alone in the Frozen Depths. Will you make it?

    A strong theme of coldness.
    Four different dungeon generators and three different level themes: normal, snowy and icy.
    Flexible character development.
    No spell system, instead the warriors, rangers and archers can learn special skills.
    The shop system is a bit different compared to the other roguelikes: services instead of items are the focus.
    A freezing system instead of the traditional food system. The coldness increases steadily as you travel deeper.
    Clothes are an important part of your equipment. They increase your natural cold resistance, but they can get wet.
    No elemental resistances, instead your gear has to be up to date if you want to survive.
    Visible durability. All equippable items can break, excluding rings, amulets and throwing weapons.
    Easy for new roguelikers to jump in with an easy beginning, relatively small number of keys to remember and straightforward gameplay.
    35 floors of persistent dungeon, which includes a lot of ice, randomness, five cunning bosses and a steadily increasing difficulty level. No town level.
    A pool of 50 handcrafted floors, 5 of these are picked for every game for you to explore.
    The game is combat-oriented, which means there are no puzzles. There's only one thing you can't handle with a sword: the temperature.

Hello everyone! This is the day! Frozen Depths version 1.05 has been officially released! I did say August would be the month, though admittedly this took a week longer than I planned. No worries, thanks to the extra time I managed to squeeze in descriptions for all the monsters. The testing phase went well, many small corrections were made, but no big bugs were found. The game proved to be more stable than I dared hope, and the business with OS X went rather smoothly as well. Good.

So, 1.05 huh? What's actually in it? I'm glad you asked! Here's the full list of changes: click. The main theme for development was this time playability improvements, which can be further broken down to the areas of polishment, learnability, usability, and the general goal of cutting unfun parts of the game. There was already quite a lot of content in version 1.04, but it required dedication to learn how obscure things worked to get deep into the game. Now if this was ADOM or Nethack it would be tolerable, but Frozen Depths isn't a heavy-weight roguelike, so I wanted to teach the game better, make earlier opaque information more transparent and help the player play the game better. This is why you see a lot more advice, transparent info, an in-game tutorial and UI improvements in 1.05 compared to earlier versions.

Another big thing for me was to drop the number of floors from 50 to 35. When I first started developing Frozen Depths I had no idea how large the game would become. So I just decided to make it 50 floors deep. Now that my vision of the game has been pretty much fulfilled, I realized that 50 floors stretches the content too thin and makes the game feel a bit grindy at times. The solution was to cut 3 regular floors from each dungeon section. This was the first goal I had for this version, as I felt that the game could be a lot more fun. And I'm really happy with the result. To me this pacing feels perfect: there are moments when you can relax a bit, but you're looking forward to something all the time. Even gaining levels is faster now, which is a nice bonus.

While new content wasn't the first priority for this version, I managed to add new things to almost all content categories. The only exception was the handcrafted special floors, of which 50 is enough I believe. The new cold related mechanic, wet clothes, is suitably annoying and adds spikes of warmth loss to the otherwise linear curve. The overall balance felt very good in playtesting as well: finally I can say that an experienced player can beat the game consistently and not only thanks to lucky accidents. We shall see how many players other than me manage to beat the game. Of course there were many bug fixes, hopefully all the crash bugs have been wiped, as well as other miscellaneous additions that you can check from the version info file if you're interested.

I've been hinting that version 1.05 could be the last major release of Frozen Depths. While this may be true, I've reached my vision for the game and the amount of time I have for hobby development grows shorter year by year, I'm not abandoning the game. I like to receive feedback, bug reports and feature requests, and I'm planning to release a silent upgrade to version 1.05 some weeks after the release if you guys find more bugs or have ideas how to teach the game even better. But I probably won't release a huge new version 1.06 any time soon. Smaller fix updates, perhaps a version 1.05b is more what I'm thinking. So do send that feedback if you want to see a better Frozen Depths.

This August isn't only the release month for 1.05. It's also the month when Frozen Depths goes to the double digits: I've been developing the game for 10 year now! What an appropriate time to release the long awaited new version. Exactly 10 years ago I was developing the first draft of the then nameless roguelike game. I had just learned my first programming language, C++, thanks to a friend who was into programming. I liked ADOM a lot, I had no way to get graphics and I wanted to create a game with my new skills. A roguelike was the natural choice. Fast forward six months and I had decided to scrap all the crappy code I had written and start over from scratch. At that time I created these pages, as you can see from the ancient news section. It took me one and a half years to release the first version of the game. I got a lot of good feedback on RGRD and decided to continue the development. And here I am now, many moons later. I would have probably laughed if someone had told the 15-year-old me that I'd be still developing the game after 10 years. But here we are, and I don't regret it!

So, there you have it. Head to the Downloads page to see for yourself what the fruit of 10 years of development looks and feels like. And don't forget to drop me a line if you like what you see. Or especially if you don't like what you see. The next update will be several weeks from now after I've gotten an idea how many bugs were left in the release version. Until then, see you in the dungeon, good luck and remember to dress warmly!

The Big Changes:

* The total number of floors in the dungeon has been dropped from 50 to 35! This makes the game feel
  faster and less grindy. This has affected a large number of features, so the balance may be different
  now, though I've tried to rebalance and bug fix these changes as much as possible

* Clothes have their own prefix now: wet. The clothes you're wearing can get wet from a number of
  sources, and some of the clothes you loot are wet already. It takes time or special arrangements to
  dry out wet clothes. Naturally wet clothes don't protect you as well against the coldness

Playability improvements:

* Added a short tutorial, which is shown the first time you start a new game, after dungeon generation.
  The tutorial replaces READ_THIS_FIRST.txt, and the troubleshooting section is now on the game's site
* You can now examine identified potions/wands/accessories and prefixed pieces of equipment in the
  inventory screen to get an explanation what the magical effect does
* You can use enter to confirm selections in most situations now. Enter selects the default command
  in menus with multiple options, for example in the inventory screen enter is use
* Numerous small usability and learnability improvements, unworthy of this list
* Clarified the meanings of many messages and added more informational texts
* Some descriptive texts were also changed completely to add more consistency
* When you stumble on an item in the snow, it now says what the found item is in the message
* The help screen is a lot clearer now
* The message buffer is longer now and can be scrolled up and down
* The load game screen doesn't quit anymore when you mistype the save file's name
* The statbar arrow indicator A: was changed to Arw: and it's only displayed while using a bow
* The active fighting style is displayed on the statbar now
* Changing fighting styles is faster now as you don't need to cycle through all of them anymore
* Some default keybindings were changed to make playing and using commands faster
* You can see your progress towards the Goddess now as a percent when you sacrifice items
* You can now see your piety toward the Goddess as a percentage in the character screen
* You can now see your ailments in the character info screen
* You can now see your regeneration stats in the character info screen
* You can now see your thrown weapon damage in the character info screen
* There's now a third page in the character info screen: A floor memory of sages, smiths and altars
* In the level up screen, you can now open the skill learning menu to check the skill requirements
* You can now sort skills in the learning menu by attainability, level requirement or default order
* Changed the color highlighting in the learning menu depending on what requirements aren't met
* Added tier classifications for the strike/shot skills in their descriptions
* The maximum durability of an item is shown next to its current one in inventory and equipment screens
* Item weights are shown in the inventory screen now. Beware, they're rather abstract
* You can now ready and swap shields with one-handed weapons
* You can now examine monsters when you look at them. This shows a stats screen for the monster

New content:

* All the bosses got an alternative special power and an alternative floor design now. In both cases
  only one of the two possible picks is used per game. This means 2*2=4 possible combinations per boss
* There are now two possible endings. The better ending is naturally harder to achieve
* Added a new dungeon feature: a strange hovering light. Go find out what happens if you touch it
* Added a new dungeon feature: a mask waiting just for you to touch it. Go find out what happens then
* Added 3 new equipment prefixes and modified one of the existing prefixes
* Added 2 new special floor effects
* Added 4 new random events
* Added 2 new traps
* Added 3 new monster specials
* Added a new potion, wand, ring and an amulet. The wand is definitely my new favorite item!
* Added 4 new skills:
   *Taunt, which changes ranged monsters temporarily into melee monsters
   *Warrior's rending strike, which makes the struck target take bleeding damage over 6 turns
   *Archer's rending shot, which makes the shot target take bleeding damage over 6 turns
   *Ranger's rending throw, which makes the thrown target take bleeding damage over 6 turns
* The 3 training specific skills above are now the starting skills, replacing the stat boost skills
* The stat boost skills are now easier to learn for characters with the corresponding training

Bug fixes:

* Fixed knockback to work even when the target can't move the maximum push range
* Fixed a bug where you could swap weapons into a non-weapon item (trouswords!)
* Fixed line of sight refreshing when a monster knocks you back
* Fixed cosmetic bugs where the dungeon wasn't redrawn correctly after menu exits
* Fixed some possible infinite loop situations in the dungeon generation
* Fixed possible crash locations in random events
* Empty wands remember they're empty when dropped now

Other changes:

* A bit of routine balancing here and there, as well as tiny changes to certain effects
* A lot of minor polishing like fixing typos and cosmetic bugs
* Added articles to item names where they were missing and fixed the grammar of plural item names
* Revised some item names to make them clearer and a little more realistic
* Revised monster names, symbols and specialties to make them more serious and balanced
* Monsters are now either living or not, and only the living bleed and can be *killed*
* Renamed the fumble ailment to clumsy
* Changed the too-religious-sounding shrine feature into a "spirit veil" to reduce player confusion
* You can now sell stuff to smiths too
* Smiths have a new service now: they can destroy your cursed equipment for a price
* Now a sage OR an altar is guaranteed in every dungeon branch
* The maximum depth between new sages/altars/smiths is now 14 floors
* The Goddess no longer accepts ammunition as a sacrifice
* All characters start with a few throwing weapons now. The number depends on your training
* The dungeon is now colder even early on, but you start with some firemead
* Rebalanced skill requirements and SP costs, generally making them lower
* The aggressive fighting style is now weaker for ranged and thrown attacks
* The bosses are a bit more aware of stair dancing techniques now
* Sleep traps are more potent now
* Frostbite isn't as damaging anymore, and it can be healed with food
* Greatly reduced freezing/boiling damage and removed regeneration while in these conditions
* Dungeon features are more positive in their effects now
* Added more gold loot to dungeon generation
* Changed the structure of post-mortem file names and added a bit more info to the post-mortems
* You can now generate characters randomly
* Updated the manual and took some useless sections out
* The last boss hits a lot harder now
* All the monsters have descriptions now, shown in the examination screen

The grand release at long last!  8)
« Last Edit: October 04, 2021, 11:29:43 AM by getter77 »
Brian Emre Jeffears
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Re: Frozen Depths (now at v1.05!)
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2014, 06:29:04 AM »

Probably not as many people know this one any more. I remember. :-)


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Re: Frozen Depths (now at v1.05!)
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2014, 09:52:46 AM »
Nice improvements!

I always liked Frozen Depths but the main reason I didn't play it more was that I didn't comprehend a lot of the magical effects, etc. I always wanted a little bit of tutorial and/or just more information in general. It sounds like those are here now, so I expect to spend more time with the game now. 8)


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Re: Frozen Depths (now at v1.06~)
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2021, 11:30:24 AM »

Hi there! You may be wondering what's up with this news entry on the website of a game whose last release was more than 7 years ago. I'm a bit surprised as well, and yes, something unexpected has indeed happened after this long period of silence. I've just released a minor update to the game, version 1.06!

A long time player happened to send me a mail at the exact right time, asking for a 64 bit build for Mac. I happened to be on my paternity leave so I had some extra time on my hands, and promptly decided to do some some minor development based on my old notes and some bug reports I've received since the release of 1.05. About a month ago I had no idea I'd be working on Frozen Depths.

Nevertheless, here we are, so what's changed? Not much to be honest, but you can check the list of changes here: click. No new major features or content, just some polishing, fixing and balancing. And of course the new 64 bit (Intel) Mac build, along with a new 64 bit Linux build. The Windows build is still 32 bit so it works everywhere. If there's need for a 32 bit Linux build, send me a message. Or if you'd play an ARM Mac build, and could compile it, feel free to send me a message about that as well and we can arrange it. I won't have access to the new ARM Macs in the near future.

This will be a stealth release, I won't be posting anything to Reddit (but I definitely won't object if you want to do that) or anywhere else. The release is so minor and I'm not planning to continue Frozen Depths' development. Definitely not in the near future, and probably not later either. The source code just isn't maintainable anymore. But I promise to keep a working build on the website, or if I can't do that, I'll just finally release the source code at some point. But not yet.

And even though I don't intend to continue development, I will try to fix any reasonable bugs that people report to me. So if you find something, especially in the next few months, don't hesitate to contact me! I don't want to have a buggy build out there.

That pretty much covers it. Head to the downloads page and have fun in the depths!
Brian Emre Jeffears
Aspiring Designer/Programmer/Composer
In Training