This pages lists the (very likely to change) development roadmap for King under the Mountain. This isn’t a completely exhaustive list of every planned feature – more an overall view of where we’re going and what we’re planning to do.
Green – Done
Blue – Currently being worked on
Grey – Planned for the future
Red – Out of scope, not something we currently plan to implement
We’re also listing each of these under a section roughly corresponding to a major release or set of releases. For example, once we’re officially in “Alpha” there will most likely be monthly releases adding more features and content as we build towards the next major milestone. The further down the list features are, the larger they are in scope and more likely to move up or down the list, or more likely, get split up into a smaller set of features which make up the whole. The feature we’re most excited about is “Asynchronous multiplayer adventures” under the Beta section, which we don’t believe has been attempted by another game before, so go check it out!
Note that the proposed date(s) depends on the success (or not) of the Kickstarter campaign. If we’re not successful we’ll keep working on the game as we have so far but will have to push the dates out a bit longer.
Engine and UI improvements: From simple but necessary interactions like being able to select rooms and inspect walls, to more under-the-hood features to enable all the other things we want to make possible in the game. Also includes further basics like being able to change the audio volume levels and more settings.
Dwarven names: The very first step in adding some character to your settlers is giving them names! This will eventually cover both randomly generated names and names submitted by players as part of Kickstarter backer rewards.
Character management: You’ll be able to see and modify the professions of each character, rather than the randomly-assigned single professions of the prototype.
Stockpile allocation: Control over which kinds of items and resources are assigned to stockpiles of your choosing.
Constructed walls: We were hoping this would have been in the playable prototype but had to be pushed further out – the ability to create walls (and roofing) in the construction of buildings.
Double doors: Doors to cover not just one tile, but two!
Basic calendar: Check what day of the month it is – after all, winter is coming.
Mining infrastructure: Despite being master miners, even Dwarves need a few supports in place to keep a large mined area from collapsing.
Unexplored areas: Rather than being able to see all of the map straight away, you’ll have to explore and mine to uncover the area map away from your starting location.
Basic needs: Sleep: Rather than the current endlessly working automatons, settlers need to sleep (or else risk exhaustion and worse), which means beds, the nicer the better!
Happiness and madness: Much of King under the Mountain is heavily inspired by Dwarf Fortress, and what kind of dwarves would they be if they didn’t go stark raving mad from being massively unhappy? This feature lays the groundwork for characters being happy (or not) based on many factors which will only grow over time.
Death: Nothing is certain except death and taxes, and I’m not so sure about the taxes part. Characters can and will die.
Smelting: The production of usable metal from raw ores is quite an involved process, making up one of the major sets of production chains at the heart of a settlement.
Foraging: You’ll be able to harvest the fruit and vegetables which grow naturally in the game world to supplement your food stores.
Farming: Assigning areas to grow crops above ground as well as growing mushrooms in underground mushroom farms!
Food production: Turning your hard effort of growing crops into tasty, tasty food for your settlers.
Rivers and water: While the map generator currently “runs” a river through the map, this isn’t implemented in-game yet. Mostly a case of finding the right graphical effects and shaders to get things looking good. Probably includes building bridges too.
Basic needs: Food and Drink: Possibly the most basic need (after air which may not be simulated), making sure you’re producing enough food is likely the top priority of every settlement.
Immigration: Even a marginally successful settlement will attract visitors and immigrants, and will be the main mechanic for increasing the player’s population.
Basic crafting: While it’s possible to create basic items and furniture in the prototype, this feature looks to implement the much wider set of necessary items and tools that can be crafted.
Inventory management: Working on jobs requires the right tools, rather than the dwarves just pulling whatever they need out of their, er, somewhere.
Cavern mushrooms and trees: The first step of making the large underground caverns more interesting, native flora such as mushrooms and tree-like organisms to be exploited. Also covering underground farming if not already implemented by this point.
Saved games: Basic but necessary, the ability to save and load the game.
Early Alpha releases
May be sooner than mid 2018 if the first alpha release is sooner – we’re aiming at pushing out content updates every 4 weeks, possibly with smaller bug fixing updates inbetween if and when necessary.
Brewing and taverns: A dwarf is only truly happy to work with a good tankard of ale. This feature covers a wide range of brewable beverages.
Jobs: Fishing: While not a very dwarvish pursuit, fishing can help supplement a settlement’s dietary requirements, though it may carry dangers of its own…
Mod support: While everything is already written to easily support mods (practically everything in the game is data-driven from config files), this piece of work is to open this up and make things easier for the general public to tinker with. Planning to have this done as one of the earliest updates after launching alpha releases.
UI Redesign: When the basic necessities are in place, the very placeholder programmer UI will be replaced with something a bit nicer.
Detailed embark screen: Rather than starting each game with a set number of dwarves with specific items and equipment, this feature will open up a screen for customising your starting population and resources. This will also include settings for map generation (such as making it more dangerous or having more resources) at a cost of having more or less other “points” to spend.
Basic mechanisms: Covering simple “automation” of gears, pressure plates and levers to open doors, move things around, possibly introducing some basic traps.
Player account website: The first step in the asynchronous multiplayer aspect of the game as well as a means of fulfilling Kickstarter rewards such as designing a settler, a section of the website that owners of the game can log in to and manage their account.
Design a character backer reward fulfillment: One of the headline backer rewards from Kickstarter is the ability to both name and design (pick hair and skin colour; hair and beard styles; as well as a profession/outfit) settlers that will show up in players’ games. This feature adds a widget to the account-based section of the website for backers to play around with designing and editing their character.
Trading and caravans: Merchants and caravans will periodically visit your settlement, offering goods in exchange for your wares. A settlement that finds itself rich in one resource but lacking another will greatly benefit!
Elves and the woodland protectorate: Though not intended to be a playable race in the game, elves will show up and get quite upset if you cut down too many of the perfectly healthy, living trees in your environment.
Wildlife and hunting: Along the same theme, this update adds wild animals (both peaceful and not) to the environment, most of which can be hunted for their precious, precious meat and other resources.
Combat and military: Until this point in time, every settlement lives in peace and harmony, at one with the world and each other. No longer is that the case with this feature, as the basics of combat and injuries mean everything is no longer so peaceful. Draft settlers into your military to defend the town from attack!
Peaceful mode: That said, at a certain cost to your embark points, you can play a passive, peaceful game that won’t come under attack, for players who prefer such things.
Cave monsters: Sometimes you’ll find particularly unpleasant and aggressive creatures when you start digging a bit too deep into the mountain. A good reason to have your newfound military!
Underground chasms: Sometimes you’ll come across a seemingly bottomless chasm which will have more dangers than simply crossing it.
Underground rivers and pools: Adding to the theme of more interesting underground areas, you’ll find water sources beneath the mountain.
Lava and magma: Is your mountain an active volcano? Despite the dangers of digging straight into molten rock, there’s benefits in the form of:
Advanced smelting and alloys: Covering both the use of magma as a heat source and producing (a whole range of) alloys of different metals for different physical properties.
Weather and more environment detail: Changing weather types that will affect your population and the environment.
Jewellery and special gems: Rarer and potentially magical gems can be found within the mountain, with a host of special uses.
Monstrous crafting materials: Inspired by Monster Hunter, the larger and more dangerous monsters found within the game can be a source of rare or even unique crafting materials, to give the player a good reason to put their military in such danger.
Babies and procreation: Thought it might take a while, there’s other methods of increasing a settlement’s population than relying on immigration.
Steam Early Access
We don’t want to release on Steam Early Access until we have a relatively polished, fully-featured Alpha release. We believe this offers the best chance of success as despite the Early Access label, Steam gamers expect a relatively final product, hence the seemingly distant 2019 date.
Central mod repository: Not necessarily meaning Steam Workshop, creating and easily sharing mods is a key goal for King under the Mountain and a central repository to store and record mod information will make some of the later (more multiplayer-like) features possible.
Historical records and engravings: Relive and refer to historic events in your settlement’s past as your stone masons carve out grand tapestries in stone!
Jobs: Runecrafting: One of the more “end-game” gameplay features is the ability of dwarven runesmiths to imbue weapons and equipment with magical abilities via the mystical art of runecrafting. Training a runecrafter is a very slow and intensive process, but attracting them as an immigrant requires your settlement to have a lot of prestige, which is a game mechanic to give an actual use for:
Nobles and their demands: As your settlement increases in prestige, you’ll start to attract the attention of members of the (initially dwarven) nobility. These dwarves don’t work and make sometimes unreasonable demands of the rest of your population, but have the bonus of increasing your prestige by inhabiting your settlement.
Traps and advanced mechanisms: Building on the basics of mechanisms, more advanced traps and mechanical features.
Other races and civilisations: The world of King under the Mountain is home to a lot more than just dwarves, orcs, elves and humans. This update will look to flesh out the other inhabitants of the world and their impact on your society.
Hostile invasions: Up to now the worst you’ve had to deal with is aggressive creatures and monsters. The increasing wealth of your settlement will start to attract small bands of bandits and marauders, right up to whole armies from other civilisations attempting to take over your turf!
Capturing prisoners: Whether for ransom or otherwise, coming under attack means you’ll have the means and opportunity to take prisoners of war. Do with them what you will, but be aware of the consequences!
Law and justice: Not every settler is happy to contribute to the community fairly. Your military also doubles as a police force for the occasional law-breaker, who have their own methods of dealing out justice.
Food spoilage: No longer will your harvested crops last forever, you’ll have to plan more for the seasons, particularly the winter frost. Salting or smoking meat is an alternative!
Raising cattle: Rather than always hunting for meat, you can raise farm animals too, though they’ll need to be supplied with their own food and water.
Bards and musicians: Sometimes a travelling minstrel may stop at your settlement and play some songs for their keep, or perhaps one of your residents will take up an instrument (possibly a noble) and play to entertain your other settlers. All in all, it’s a glimmer of rest and relaxation in a world of work and danger, boosting the morale and happiness of your population.
Later Alpha releases
This phase sees us adding the more advanced single player features before a relatively “feature complete” Beta release.
Play as orcs: Differing wildly from a dwarven settlement, players can take control of an orcish tribe which has its own mechanics and gameplay concepts. Orcs are always on the lookout for a good fight, and if they haven’t attacked anything for a while, are liable to turn on each other! This can be mitigated by building combat arenas to pit combatants against each other which orcs love to watch and cheer on. Even better if it involves some captured prisoners!
Play as humans: Whereas in most fantasy settings humans are the default or “average” race, in King under the Mountain they are ruthlessly capitalist narcissists, who will only work on a job if they’re being paid to do it. Unlike the comparatively socialist dwarven communities, managing a human settlement involves actually paying for jobs and time, in a manner a little like the Majesty series of games.
Endgame progression: While this isn’t well defined at this point, we definitely want to add a bunch of gameplay features and “soft goals” for players to aim towards without compromising the sandbox style experience of the game.
Noble progression: As your settlement amasses greater and greater prestige, you’ll attract increasingly powerful nobles, from counts and dukes all the way up to the king of your civilisation, truly letting you become “King under the Mountain”.
Kickstarter animal choice fulfilment: One of the backer rewards from the Kickstarter campaign allows backers to pick a real-world animal which will be implemented into the game, and by this stage we want to get them all in-game!
Nemesis System: Inspired by Shadow of Mordor, your settlement may be terrorised by a recurring villain character who will be a constant thorn in your side until you deal with them permanently, which may be trickier than it sounds.
Family, friends and rivalries: The basis for relationships between settlers and the impact that may have on their thoughts and behaviour.
Speech and thought bubbles: Help bring your settlers more to life by visualising their thoughts and conversations.
Clans and politics: Greatly fleshing out the relationships between characters in a settlement, your population will belong to one of several clans which may have their own goals and desires differing from each other. Poor management could live to a civil war!
Hidden cults: Along the same lines, your settlers may be subverted to a secret cult which needs to be rooted out and exposed before it endangers the whole population.
Alchemy and potions: While dwarves tend not to dabble in alchemy, humans and some orcs have been known to brew potions with varying results.
Magic system: Also where dwarves don’t use magic, humans and orcs both do, and having a magic user in your settlement can bring both powerful benefits and dangerous risks. You can read about the in-world destign of the magic system here.
Demonic invasion: The biggest risk of magic is that continued use attracts demons who can invade reality from their own plane of existence. As some of the most dangerous creatures in the world this risk is not to be underestimated!
Legendary weapons and items: Also covering some part of Kickstarter backer fulfilment, sometimes crafters will be inspired to create a legendary item of immense worth which may have its own special abilities and/or backstory.
Books and knowledge: Finally a use for nobles – authoring books and recording knowledge. Of particular importance to wizards and other magic users who can greatly increase their power by learning from the experiments of a more experienced caster.
Spellcrafting: Following on from amassing magical knowledge, actually building that knowledge comes through spellcrafting – experimenting and trying out new spells to see what works and what doesn’t, possibly with comical unintended effects.
Mythical beasts: In the forgotten corners of the world there are still mythical beasts and monsters, ready to be discovered by an unsuspecting miner, or for them to come across the settlement by themselves!
Guild masters and detailed job assignment: Rather than your settlers being able to figure out what jobs need doing by magic telepathy, they’ll have to report to a guild master for their specific profession (in a larger settlement) who will be keeping the records of which jobs need doing where.
Ghosts and spirits: The dead are not always so silent. Deal with the spirits of your (often unfortunate) ancestors, or worse, an undead uprising!
Bear and horse cavalry: While humans may ride horses into battle, dwarves and orcs prefer specially-bred bear cavalry.
Kickstarter design a race backer fulfilment: One of the highest tiers of the Kickstarter campaign allows backers to design a non-playable race to inhabit the world of King under the Mountain, and by this point in time we should have them all in-game.
Although there’s a lot of different definitions as to what a beta release actually is, we’re defining it as having a relatively full feature set (though the game will doubtlessly keep expanding) to turn attention to the unique asynchronous multiplayer of King under the Mountain. We’ll have considered the core game experience of building and managing a settlement to be mostly complete, turning an eye to the bigger, more ambitious features which will distinguish us from other games in the genre.
Asynchronous multiplayer adventures: The flagship feature that we’re building towards is not just being limited to your own settlement, but potentially all those of other players too! In gameplay terms, this will mean putting together a small team of adventurers, usually the best and most distinguished of your military, to be sent off on an “adventure” to another location. What we’re working towards is that these other locations will be a copy of another player’s settlement, probably belonging to a different race (e.g. sending a band of orcs to raid a dwarven fortress), with the goal of taking loot and resources from the enemy settlement. The player of that settlement won’t actually lose anything – this is just a copy stored on a central server to act as a piece of player-driven content to provide much more varied and interesting locations than could be created through procedural generation techniques. It’s best described as something like a dungeon crawl with a party of heroes from an RPG, but with the characters that you’ve built and nurtured from your own settlement.
Turn-based combat system: While simple exploration of other player’s creations is all well and good, to really bring things to life most adventures will involve combat with the defending guards and other characters, playing out in a turn-based tactical battle inspired by XCOM, Fire Emblem and even Blood Bowl. The size and shape of rooms and corridors will have different tactical considerations – a narrow corridor may only allow for one or two characters to progress at a time, while a large, open hall will mean relative positioning in a battle becomes a focus. The hope is that these considerations will make designing and building your own settlement even more interesting as you plan for how it might best be defended from other players.
Reclaim a settlement: Lost a settlement to invasion (demonic or otherwise)? Itching for another chance at the same map, if only you’d done things just a little differently? With this feature, you can reclaim a settlement you’ve lost by sending a hardy band of adventurers to clear out the hostile invaders and bring it back under your control (going from a turn-based combat adventure back into normal play).
New game plus: Accomplished everything you set out to do with your current settlement and looking for a new challenge? Rather than starting again fresh with the normal starting set of characters and resources, send a section of your current population along with caravans loaded with goods and supplies to found a new city in style. There’s a whole world out there to explore!
Conquer your enemies: Not content with starting a new settlement from scratch again? Put together the largest, meanest military you can and take over that enemy settlement that’s been attacking you. Then, have the option of switching to your new location permanently with a group of optimistic emigrants.
Zero player simulation: Also known as observer mode, watch as the AI builds and manages a settlement in your place, with the option to jump in and take control when and if you choose to.
By no means the end of development, but by this point we think the game can officially lose the “early access” tag and stand as a fully complete game. This phase of development looks to build out the more social aspects of the “multiplayer” side of the game to bring the player-base together.
Rating of adventures: Have you just had an adventure to a particularly interesting or well designed settlement built by another player? Rate it up so that others can do the same! Participation in this feature will likely involve some cosmetic rewards for players who consistently vote or are voted up themselves.
Friend features: Exploring another player’s settlement doesn’t have to be all about combat and loot. Invite your friends to explore and share your creations.
Version 2.0 and beyond
Having implemented everything we kept in scope for version 1.0, this part of the lifecycle will become large expansions that add new and wildly different modes of play or factions to play as. While these may possibly end up as paid DLC, we’ll be sure to make them free for any players who backed the game at Kickstarter or supported us during the Alpha phase. Most likely we’ll follow the Paradox model of a paid expansion (their larger ones) which add new factions and playable races, alongside a major free update which adds the related features and systems for all players.
Play as a lone wizard: Rather than controlling the actions of an entire city’s population, you play as a lone wizard, exiled from the rest of their race due to the dangers of magic. Build your lair with the help of crafted golems and magical familiars. Lay traps and dangers for foolish adventurers seeking your riches. Amass the most magical knowledge and experience on your way to becoming the most powerful wizard in the world!
Play as a necromancer: Or alternatively, plan to live forever through the dark magic of undeath. Raise undead legions to do your bidding and silence your enemies. Become an immortal, all-powerful sorceror on your way to world domination!
Play as a dragon: Amass your hoard of gold and gems to increase your power as your kobold minions follow your orders. Strike fear into the hearts of settlers attempting to live within your domain!
Out of scope
This list is already well beyond the realms of feature creep but there’s a few things we know we won’t be doing.
3D maps or “Z-levels”: This is likely the most-mentioned feature that we’re not doing. The primary reasons for this are the difficulty in easily relaying information from a 3D world in a top-down 2D game, and multiple levels makes it easy to build very efficient settlement with everything stacked on top of each other. We want to impose a design challenge on the player by keeping everything on the same 2D plane, so you have more interesting decisions to make as to what goes where. The lesser reasons are in cost and scope – everything on this page adds to the cost and complexity of the project, adding 3D worlds on top of that makes everything cost more (aka take a lot longer). It’s important to stress though that we’re not discounting this based on cost only, but primarily as a design decision. Also, a lot of the benefits of multiple levels will still be in the game in some form – there’ll be an “underfloor” layer for wiring up gears and mechanisms, there’ll be cave systems and other underground maps accessible from your main map, and you’ll have access to “off-map” areas for raiding and further resources, although the size of the game maps can be large enough that you’ll be very hard pressed to run out of space.
Direct multiplayer: Adding a direct face-to-face multiplayer combat mode would massively increase the scope and cost of the project and just won’t be feasible to build into the engine at a later stage. Potentially you might see something like this in a more-multiplayer focused spin-off or sequel if we’re massively successful (read: extremely doubtful, but never say never). That said, don’t forget there’ll be asynchronous multiplayer such as exploring and raiding other players’ settlements.