Being able to play early access games is like being transported back to the proterozoic prehistory. There are no lush continents or breathable oxygen. Instead, there are surging seas of molten and superheated gases. Imagine yourself standing on the edge in a lake of spitting Magma. Your eyes pop like overboiled eggs in this acrid atmosphere. Your lungs are liquifying in you chest. Your skin is blistering and peeling under the unbearable heat. A piece of nice melon.
However, melon is not here in the year one million BC. This is because melons haven’t been invented yet. There are no less tasty varieties of melon than honeydews or cantaloupes. To get melons, first you must develop trees. Bees are also needed. A hot pot of green sludge with big ideas is the closest thing to a tree from ancient times. You are now cursed with knowledge about melon and its taste, but no other way to enjoy it than waiting for nature to get its act together for several hundred million millennia.
About The King Under The Mountain Game
King under the Mountain It is a simulation-based settlement building strategy game set in a fantasy realm.
These are the core pillars that make up the game.
- Simulation world This game world is built using a series of interlocking system that work together to recreate a living world. According to the weather and sunlight, plants and trees will grow or not as night turns into day. The native fauna and flora are affected by the changing seasons and the local environment. You’ll need to take care of the individual needs of your settlers as well as other characters in order to keep them happy.
- The procedural generation is where every map is randomly generated. This means that each map will be unique - except if you choose to use the exact same seed. The game engine has created art assets that can be used to create a wide range of colour variations. Every character, tree and plant will have their unique combinations of colours.
- Peaceful extension- It’s important that you are able to play the entire game, without becoming involved in armed conflict (if you wish). Although combat and weapons can be very important, we wanted to make sure that you could peacefully build your town. You can then enjoy watching the settlers go about their daily business in an “artfarm” style.
- There are multiple ways to play. Do you farm? Crafting? What about buying and selling goods? King under the Mountain offers a variety of races and factions that each have their own gameplay elements. You could build an orc tribe raiding other tribes or a fortress built by the dwarven dwarven. We are looking for new play styles that allow us to represent more than the different races. A lone wizard might build their own lair, with golems and other items, or an evil necromancer raise an army, or a dragon may amass a lot of gold in giant cave systems, or even an invasion demons.
- Player driven content – Have you ever spent hours designing something and then had it go unused on your computer for years? King under the Mountain offers players the option to upload their settlements and allow other players to view them. This is what powers the adventure mode. Your settlement’s population can opt-in to automatically upload their settlements. Then, you create a party of champions and embark on an adventure that explores another player’s creation. This mode is turn-based tactical combat. In this mode, you will be exploring and fighting through another player’s fortress. You may also claim rare resources that would otherwise be impossible or difficult to acquire. Important to remember that this encounter does not result in either player losing anything. Instead, you get a copy from their settlement. There are also benefits for both players.
- Mod friendly engine A major design goal is for everything that you see and read (as well as the variables behind them), to be open to modification. In reality, the engine is designed as an engine with a single base mod (which modders can view to see how things actually work).
Early Access Review
Under The Mountain a simulation of colony management, in the spirit of DwarfFortress, Rimworld and with the artistic stylings of Penitentiary Architect. It is, as I might have indicated from the convoluted analogy that I used, extremely early-on in development. It is primordial. Much like the mentioned green sludge it is a sort functional nubbin of demo where you can make lodgings for your Dwarves and try their madness or starvation at will. Along a complex and ambitious development road, everything that will make this game different and beautiful is in its future. These are early days. The melons still are far away. Your $20 won’t buy more than a handful and a few promises.
You’ll be able to see what’s happening if you’ve played the game that inspired it. You are the overseer for a new settlement made up of plucky dwarven settlers and must set out tasks to ensure its continued existence. You’ll need to map out areas that can be mined, prepare stockpiles with all the junk and rubble to be piled up, open and furnish workshops and masonry and woodworking jobs, as well as harvesting mushrooms and farming some crops. The idea is to create all of these facilities and accommodation in order to make your subterranean community self-sustaining before new migrants are attracted.
The simulation works in the same way as Rimworld and Dwarf Fortress. A door can be ordered to be built, but the object doesn’t just pop up at the finish of a progress bar. Instead, logistics happen. A lonely dwarf will haul the needed raw stone or timber across the fortress, to an open workspace, and then cut it into the appropriate material blocks. Finally, it will be taken to the site.
Every furniture piece, every wall and bridge is made in this manner. A constant torrent of debris is produced by an expanding city. This is done by a fleet of fleeting drones. It’s both hard work and thrilling. Dwarf Fortress was one of the more enjoyable aspects. You could see the way your fortress would develop depending on what rock was used to carve it, or how the tables and chairs were made of whatever igneous material your miners struck. King Under The Mountain meets some of these criteria, even this early in development.
Many parts of the beta version are not working as they should. Additionally, the tutorials and guides don’t explain anything. There aren’t any management screens to show what everyone is up to or how much stuff you own. Nor are there ways to fine-tune the materials that should be stored where.
My dwarves would also slowly starve to death, sometimes due to my placing the cauldron incorrectly in the feasting area, and other times for no apparent reason. When one of my hungry dwarfs dies, all the others will begin to lose their minds. They’ll see a corpse and feel helpless. This sends them spiraling downwards.
This kind of emotional simulation is like King Under The Mountain trying desperately to run before he can walk. Dwarf Fortress has a relentless obsession with detail. The game features dwarves being able to break their fingers and remember past traumas. It’s a complex system that organically evolved over more a decade of development by a very bizarre developer. All the best to anyone trying to follow this path.
King Under the Mountain has much to do before it can be free from the shadows that make it the game it wants to become. Future updates promise Dwarf Fortress-like features like asynchronous multiplayer or the ability to play as various races, such humans and orcs. This would set the game apart from its predecessors. Already there are neat distinguishing touches, such as visible seasons changing. Put it back in the oven and let it cool down for a bit.
Fire was not included in the Alpha for one reason. It brought with it weather, including rain to extinguish any fires. Understandably, Dwarves are upset when they have to go outside and work in the rain. .
The particle effect system, which was updated in recent development updates, is used to produce the rain effect. Although I was concerned about the impact on performance of too many particles, it seems the graphics pipeline can render large quantities of particles quickly.
Rain pushes the player towards having a reason to build their settlement, either underground/within mountain walls or in rooms that have a roof. Not only does it bring about the happiness malus described above, but also introduces a new system known oxidisation which is crucial for things made of steel - rusting. For items made of steel or iron, prolonged exposure to rain will eventually cause rusting, turning the item a reddishbrown colour. This can then degrade further and eventually destroy the item. However, this applies only to iron-based items and furniture. Iron hoops on wooden barrels with iron hoops are not affected. However, the iron hoops themselves may eventually turn to rusted metal. It’s more than the sadness at being outside that I like to add, but it is a realistic mechanic that forces the player towards shelter for the long haul.
Copper can also oxidize like iron, but not in the way that iron does. Copper forms a turquoise/green patina, instead of rust, on its surface. This acts as an inhibitor against further oxidisation.
A stronger version of rain can be found in thunderstorms. These have the potential to bring lightning to your area quite frequently. Lightning strikes will be attracted towards trees, or failing that, other entities in your world. A lightning strike will have a high chance of lighting up a fire. These fires are usually extinguished by falling rain. But in rare circumstances, it may be possible for lightning to strike again.
Snow, another major weather system, is similar to rain. But I wanted something that was more visually striking. Apart from the similar particle effect to rain, snow falls using a different ground texture. The ground is now covered with snow and not showing any grass or dirt. A shader effect gives the illusion of snow falling onto entities. Since every entity in this game has a matching collection of normal map symbols, which define where each surface points (mostly for lighting information), it was easy to use this shader to create another shader. This shader considers the amount of snowfall worldwide and renders white snow effects on the “upper” portions of the sprites. As the snowfall increases, the amount is increased.
Apart from less visually striking weather effects like clouds and wind, the different weather types can be now defined (and moddable as everything else). This concept of “daily Weather” defines which weather types you may encounter each day. It is similar to the forecast for the day: mostly sun, mostly cloudy with rain, etc. These daily weather forecasts for each season are also available. To anyone not knowing, I hail from northern England. The weather in my area is very grey and wet. To put it another way, the game’s current biome is supposed resemble a northern European climate. The game also uses Norse culture as a source of information about the history and mythology of dwarves. Other biomes will undoubtedly be introduced in the game, but you’ll have for now to accept the kind of weather that I’m used too!
For years, I wanted winter in the game to be more challenging. Snow is still mostly visual, and isn’t particularly punishing. There is however one thing to be careful about: If you don’t make beds indoors by winter’s end, your dwarfs could die from being outside. Next, you could have the river freeze in winter. However, right now it would be way too difficult because the player isn’t capable of securing a substantial water supply that wouldn’t freeze. However, that will soon change, as alpha7 brings water movement through pipes and irrigation canals. This water pump should provide the player with the necessary tools to survive the river freezing in winter.
Alpha 6 featured weather effects and fire. This month, it was released and some bugfixes have been made. But that’s just the beginning. A player can now select the location on the map where their settlement will be established. A few bug fixes were made, as well as the removal of eyebrows from male dwarves that were slightly different to their hair. There was also a change in the hairstyles for the dwarves. These changes were slowly built towards the long-awaited design which was a reward for settler backers.
Alpha 6 was finished, so now it’s on for alpha 7! Alpha 7’s first major part combines mechanisms, pipes channels, and a rework to allow fluids to flow dynamically through the game’s world. I’ll certainly be updating next month with all details. The next release will include the rewards from kickstarter. So, I’ll see ya then. The best place to be involved in the game’s community is under the Mountain’s discord server.
Simulation-based settlement-building strategy game in fantasy world. Build and grow your colony until you have control of your kingdom!
Game Length: Hours Of Gameplay
James is a gamer, writer and developer that covers various different gaming topics. His goal is to promote and encourage more indie game development that brings new and exciting game ideas to life.