Season Two Announced
Tuesday, June 02 2009 @ 09:24 PM BST
On the first of July - with any luck - we'll be heading into the Open Beta phase of Improbable Island Season Two! What does this mean?
It means that, with one month left to run, I'm gonna blow the lid off the much-rumoured Secret Feature and let you guys know some of the things that are happening in Season Two. Read on for the full story!
The Stamina System
Hand-rolled for Improbable Island, the new Stamina system replaces Turns, Travel Points and Scavenging turns. Using the Stamina system, all of your character's possible actions for the day are stored in a single bank of action points. Want to leave fighting to the Midgets and spend your whole day travelling from Outpost to Outpost, buying and selling? Now you can. Want to use some of your Stamina to pull off a particularly devastating attack move? Go for it. The more you perform any given action, the fewer Stamina points it'll cost - if your character likes to fight more than anything else, then they'll be able to fight more in a day than a comparable-level character who did a bit more travelling or Scavenging. Your character creates its own stats based on your actions!
The Improbable Item System
Items (such as grenades, medkits etc) now have a proper inventory system behind them, built entirely with Improbable Island in mind. Adding a new item takes me about ten minutes with the new system, rather than half a day as it's taken in the old system - so right from the get-go there'll be new items to discover and collect, and more added regularly! Care to try your luck with an Improbability Bomb? Or experiment with some strange fruit, perhaps? Or perhaps trade items that you can actually do things with, rather than useless sugar and tampons?
New PvP systems
Existing player-versus-player content goes away completely for Season Two, and is replaced with an entirely opt-in system of duels and wagers. PvP is now a profitable enterprise for those who engage in it!
Eat at any of six different and uniquely disturbing restaurants and diners! Clean the carcasses of defeated monsters, and make a meal out of them! Gain more Stamina by eating well and often! Concoct your own dishes out of whatever's lying around!
Ever wanted to strap a set of machine guns to your KittyBike? Well, now you can. Mount Accessories let you upgrade your Mount with new addons for extra firepower, travel distance and carrying capacity!
The current Implants are cool and all, but they all operate the same way. Get a certain number of use points at the start of a new day, use them in fights as the day wears on. Yawn.
Every implant in Season Two works completely differently. The Chemical Pack charges itself based on how long you fight while injured. The Head-Mounted Lazer gives a single battery pack to last your entire adventure, and infinitely-adjustable firepower. The Tesla Frame charges up with each round and reflects major damage back to your opponent - if you time it right. Each Implant is totally unlike the others.
The lessons learned in Season One had to do with rampant inflation, problems with Requisition transfers, and loopholes so wide you could drive a bus through them. Season Two has been carefully balanced to provide gameplay that's still interesting after level five. Equipment gifting has been removed and replaced with Item-based gifting instead. Clans have had their cap reduced to twenty and the costs of Clan Buffs increased. Requisition payouts from defeated monsters have been vastly reduced for higher-level players (no more Newbies wandering around with a million Requisition and nothing cool to spend it on). The net effect is a much more consistent challenge for all players, from Newbie to Badass.
Coders unite! Each Outpost will have a special area for Player-Contributed Modules. Example modules, documentation, balance guides, development kits, coder forums and more will be available soon after the Season Two launch.
The Secret Feature revealed - build your own ScrapBot Army! Construct bots out of Scrap, improve their stats with more armour, weaponry and programming, and send them off to fight in the Jungle, gather more Scrap, fight other ScrapBot Armies, disable or reprogram opponent's bots, and more!
Side Stories, Sub-Missions, and an actual plot
As we head into Season Two, there will be far more actual plot to the game - and a storyline that stretches over hundreds of Drive Kills and many, many hours of gameplay. Plot points are written, ready and waiting for the S2 launch.
Games Within Games
For a pencils-and-paper roleplaying game, you need a random number generator, a game master who knows the rules (or can make them up as he or she goes along), and a place to store information about each character. Well, we've got a database server, so we may as well use it. Players will be able to create and run their own in-game roleplaying games, invite other players, assign stats, and generally muck around and have a good time.
Given that for the past seven or eight months I've been working pretty well exclusively on Season Two, there's probably a whole load of stuff I've neglected to mention here.
What's going to go away?
Your character. When we go into Season Two, Season One will remain open at seasonone.improbableisland.com, and your character will be left intact. For Season Two, your Donator Points will be reassigned and you'll get to spend them again, but nothing else will be carried over.
Season Two will immediately have more content than Season One - the biggest reason we're going to S2 is so that we can take advantage of the new, more flexible systems for adding plenty of content. Since adding new features is far easier with the S2 framework, you can expect far more frequent updates.
Why are we going into another Beta phase?
Because Season Two is so radically different from S1, we may end up doing a Pilot episode like we did for S1, then tweaking it as appropriate. As we learned in S1, no matter how meticulously balanced and tested, human players have a tendency to surprise the developers.
Post 'em in the Season Two Planning Forum, and have fun!