thewreck’s developer musings 3

March 22nd, 2013, Cobalt, Game Development, Musings, thewreck

In this post I will talk about:

  • Adventure mode!
  • Item Comparison

Hit the jump for the full read!


Our main focus right now is the adventure mode. We’ve been working intensely on it for about 2 months, and while we are not ready to release anything of it just yet, I can show you some of the ideas and concepts we are working with.

Light and Dark

We love exploration.

We love dark and scary!

But just making everything black isn’t a good solution.


You need contrasts and varying moods. To achieve this we had to work on improving the lighting of the game. One component is that it is now possible to render most common tiles with individual colors for each corner:


Then we let lights affect those colors. Left light is only using the shader, while the right light is also affecting tile corner colors.


Having this we could now create really dark areas, while still being able to light them up nicely for contrast:


Procedural + Design

We also love exploration!

The key component in exploration is not knowing that will come next or what you will find. I’d go so far as to say it pretty much defines it. Because of that, and because we want to give the adventure good replay value, we have created a system that combines design with procedural content generation on a number of levels. Let’s examine a normal room:


  1. The cabinet may or may not be there, it may or may not be locked. It’s contents are unknown.
  2. The entrance leads to another procedurally created room.
  3. There may or may not be items on the table and there may or may not be actors hanging around there. What items, and what actors and what they will look like or what items they possess is unknown.
  4. The door may or may not be locked. What kind of lock is unknown.
  5. The urns may or may not be there, and the contents of them is unknown.
  6. There may or may not be items on that shelf. What kind of items is unknown.
  7. (not shown in picture) a bunch of assorted decorations may or may not be there.

What spawns where is controlled from higher up. Maybe the room is owned by a pirate mushroom clan that is preparing a spikebird feast on the table, or maybe the room belongs to a hermit lunatic that stores its bomb and grenade stash in those urns and to guard it has put a hefty pad lock on the door.

What about exploring those dark and scary caves?

Lets examine a 3×3 dungeon:


The dungeon has incoming travel where the red lines are. When the adventure is generated, it creates paths between all travels and places other optional things like a goal. As you can see, 1,2 and 3 are all just different solutions to the same dungeon making sure that every time you play, exploration will remain fresh and surprising.

So finally, you find yourself exploring a dark procedural cave, fumbling with the light enhancer to try and find a way out.


Item Comparison

Another fun thing I have been working on is item comparisons. Since the game contains a bunch of both weapons and equipment, playing the game effectively in an adventure would almost require you to have a wiki or similar open on the side for you to have any chance at all to make an informed decision. Do I buy item 1, or 2? Do i equip this helmet or that helmet? Do I buy this upgrade, or that upgrade? Here follows a couple of screenshots of me using the system:

Comparing two weapons


Inspecting the effects of an upgrade


Equipping a helmet


Also, as you can see in the last screenshot here, equipping a helmet or any other piece of equipment has a really complicated effect. This is likely the first glimpse into what a helmet actually does since they were introduced.

That is it for now!

If you have any questions, just drop a comment!

26 Responses to “thewreck’s developer musings 3”

  1. MrBubbleSS :

    I’m super excited for this. Procedurally generated adventures sounds like a brilliant idea. Now I’ll have to re-read this when I get home from school because my school’s interwebs are broken and I’m getting only the very basic formatting and no images. :/

    Keep up the good work, game looks amazing. *internet high five across the atlantic*

  2. APirateHat :

    Woah, amazing! I can see that this is worth the wait. Really looking forward to this. :D

  3. DolanCZ :

    Aha, now I know, why you are posting updates in so long tim
    e! You’re working super hard on this game ! Can’t wait for next updates…. :33

  4. werwerwsx :

    Adventure Mode looks like it’s coming along nicely,
    item comparison I find sweet as well. Nice that after the next update people will be able to see whether the item their buying is better or worse then the item they posses.

  5. OsthatoAlfakyn :

    But why are you diverting from metalface mk1?
    We all love him, and some of the other actors and/or helmets just aren’t as good.

  6. Librus :

    Huh! I can’t wait to see how this game evolves. Looking forward to seeing the new features!

    I can only imagine that with the Item-Comparer-O-Tron-Thing that there will be item affixes, or something like that. Just a guess to what you clever folks will make up next.

    Great work, love the Robots!

  7. Lucas :

    That randomly generated dungeons gonna be awesome :D for now the only thing that keeps me playing cobalt is gaming with mine friend at “blaster balet”. But maybe when the new update comes out I’ll be playing a shit ton of it :D so this is pretty cool.

  8. Kefuren :

    This is pretty amazing! Hopefully they will also be fixing the crash bugs..

  9. Tom288 :

    This looks so great! Will it be included in the next update?

  10. Carter Rady :

    no wonder you guys have not released an update for about 3 months!
    (it sounds awesome! :) ) so when is it going to be out?

  11. Janeaturzzzz :

    Woah, amazing!
    Btw it looks a bit like Jens had the reason when tweeted: “Cobalt mapmaking. I have no idea what am i doing!”.
    Also now that you talk about wikis: It will be a ton easier to edit weapon pages now! I must hurry with the current maps on map section!
    Also expecting no crashes/fast bugfix releases. Don´t fail me, i have not been able to play this gem for 2 months or more!

  12. FabiotheTurtle :

    Looks amazing guys, I really can not wait. I’ve been hyped since V107 for Adventure. And now it looks like it’ll be right up my alley! Can’t wait to delve into the story and landscapes. I am particularly in love with the light enhancer and how that’s going to work.

    Keep up the amazing job!

  13. Crazy Eric :

    A rather random suggestion, but wouldn’t it look nicer if a decrease in a certain field were represented in red, and a neutral / same value in a certain field were represented in either blue or black?

  14. Isaque Xavier :

    Good Update Keep Working on the game

  15. Abrock2000 :

    That all sounds great! Especially the item comparison! I have been wondering what the different armor does. When are you thinking of releasing the next update?

  16. BonGeBon :

    I can’t wait. The random generating maps will be exactly what this game needs. Constant novelty that requires the gamer to constantly adapt to changes rather than memorize the keystrokes and steps to complete a mission.
    Worth the wait. Keep it up oxeye!

  17. Tosmatobeef :

    Is there also going to be a non-generated campaign (like a story mode) that you guys are going to release?

  18. FabiotheTurtle :


    I believe that the random generated terrain is simply an aspect of the adventure mode. I’m betting that there will be specific areas essential to the plot and story, as well as conveying a particular sense of meaning here or there, but inbetween bits may be broken up by random terrain. Stuff like that.

  19. yeekster :


    But may I ask when it will come out?
    I really want to play more, I have played 18 hours+ of this game and i’m getting a bit bored. I’ve played with my siblings and I LOVE this game, just about as much as Minecraft if not more so. So if this game got one more big update I am sure that this will put the game to the top of my MUST play list. I also really want to play more it is the best game of its kind (I have played basically every kind of game multiple times) So an adventure update is everything that this game needs. I understand even one level takes a lot of time, I also like to make simple games

  20. admin :

    Im trying to keep it to a single color being the indicator or a change, and lightness the other. So i guess an alternative could be white is increase and red decrease, but it seems like a matter of taste?

  21. admin :

    Crashes are the most worrying part of the last update for sure. We are painfully aware =(

  22. admin :

    we are not diverting per se, we are broadening!

  23. Vinícius :

    hey plz solve the problem with the crashes after start the game.

  24. FabiotheTurtke :

    So guys, any news or a general idea on when the next update will be out? I’d love to play, but the crashing problem is quite bad…

  25. admin :

    Most have been fixed! Next update status:

  26. Nikolajse :

    This looks sp amazing :D Keep up the good work :)

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