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HammerHelm Development Update, Immediate, Short and Long Term.

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Now that HammerHelm is in Steam Early Access, I wanted to write a quick update on where HammerHelm is and what’s ahead. And by “quick”, I mean a huge wall of text. I suppose I have a lot to share now that HammerHelm is live! :)

I have this broken into three parts, Immediate Term, Short Term, and Long Term. Immediate Term is what I’m doing day to day right now. Short Term are features I want to work on as soon as I can and will probably add some of these over time while I finish out the Immediate Term stuff. And Long Term is features and content that are on my list of things I really want to do, but other stuff takes priority for now. Note that some things may move around so don’t take this as a definitive list of order of priorities.

This is not an exhaustive list either, as there are plenty of smaller things that will get sprinkled in here and there. Also, these are subject to change based on how the game is performing and what you all tell me you like and don’t like. The further out something is, the more likely it could change, so bear that in mind.

Fix bugs – this kind of goes without saying, but I’m putting it here because it is something that will need attention from time to time. Thankfully there have been very few major bugs and I’ve been able to fix them fairly quickly. HammerHelm is in Alpha though, so there are likely some more bugs hiding out there waiting to be squashed!

Optimize performance – I actually did a lot of optimizations prior to the Steam launch, including reducing the load time of a large town from about 45 seconds to around 10 seconds. There’s always room for improvement though so this will also be something that is ongoing.

Add more quests – HammerHelm has a lot of quests, but I want it to have a LOT more. Every building and NPC “job” will have multiple quests associated with it. Quests are a cornerstone of HammerHelm so it’s important that the game continues to reward you for growing your town with new opportunities for adventure. Adding more quests will be my primary focus as far as new content goes.

Add more uses for existing buildings and shopkeepers - especially in the mid to late game. An example of this is Tavernkeepers telling you rumors or Mages crafting more than just ingredients. Buildings like the Brewery and Infirmary also need to be more useful.

Quest System update – as I add more quests it will become important to make sure the quest system can keep up. Not all quests are created equal. Some can have a major effect on your town (such as when monsters attack your farms) and others have less of an impact (a mood debuff). The quest system will be updated to handle these quests differently so you aren’t constantly worrying about your town when you are off adventuring.

Add new buildings, NPCs types, and monsters – I have some ideas for these but I’d love to hear what you’d like to see added as well!

Continue to add more quests and features that enhance questing – similar to the quest work in the Immediate Term list, I plan on adding quests for as long as I can think of new ones. And of course, if you have an idea for a quest please feel free to share it!

Player House with interior decorations – this is about 25% complete. The house itself is done and I have part of the interior décor placement system working as well. You can see the current system in action in the first half of this video:

Add more things to craft – Beyond potions, armor, and weapons, I’d like to add things like teleport stones that let you teleport back to town and a host of other miscellaneous and useful items.

Combat system update – The combat in HammerHelm isn’t where I want it to be yet, but it’s getting closer. Combat needs to be a bit more predictable (meaning when you think you should hit, your attack should hit) and monsters need to be more challenging and varied. So, this includes adding ranged attack and spell casting monsters in addition to updating the existing melee monsters.

Character Customization – this is a big one. I don’t want to get into too many details, but essentially this boils down to both male and female Dwarves and options like hair and beards.

Redo the world map (I might sneak this into the Short Term if I can) - I actually don't like the world map. It’s functional and serves its purpose, but it could be a lot better. Right now, it’s a bit too hilly and it’s too big. The game doesn't even use half of the map and that's actually on purpose. About 3 or 4 months ago I moved all of the quest locations to be closer to town because it just wasn’t fun running all the way out there and then running all the way back. Even with more POI on the map, it's still annoying to have to run for 3 or 4 minutes just to get to a quest destination. I actually think a smaller, more focused map would be a lot more fun and it would give a performance boost too. It would also let me make the overall map prettier as well. Reworking the map not only requires the time to make a new map, but I'd also have to retrofit all of the current quest locations. That way when I change the map, you don't have to start over.

Town Attacks – I started working on these right before the Steam launch but decided to put it on hold for now. HammerHelm isn’t about defending the town from nightly attacks. It’s an adventure game where a town attack is just ONE thing that can happen. Think of town attacks as a quest, that just happens to be a bit more complicated.

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Travel to other islands - Travel to other islands that would have different biomes such as lava or winter.

Other NPC Towns – When visiting other islands, you could discover NPC towns and form relations with them.

Marketplace and trading – Tied to the above, open trade routes. This also implies a deeper economy for your town and more varied buildings and resource needs.

Story driven quests for Townspeople (ie: learn more about the people in your town) – I really want to do this, but the time has to be right. This is meant to partly answer the question “What do I do once I’ve built a full town?” – the answer is, building your town is just the beginning! Now you get to learn more about it, learn about the people, and more. Story driven quests would be different than the current quests as they wouldn’t be repeatable and would, as the name implies, have a lot more story behind them.

Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list of everything I have planned for HammerHelm. Some of these may get done earlier, some may be shelved entirely, replaced by different (and hopefully better!) ideas. Lots of other things could be added in the Immediate Term and the Short Term too as new ideas occur and as the game evolves. I don’t want to list out too much though as I don’t want to promise something that isn’t well thought out. But I’m sure there are things I haven’t mentioned above that will be added to the game.

I am also very much looking forward to hearing any and all ideas that you may have as that is a big part of the point of being in Early Access. If you do have ideas you’d like to share, please post them in the discussions forum rather than as a comment here. Makes the ideas easier to track and allows other players to chime in as well.

If you got this far, thank you for reading. If you'd like to post ideas or feedback, feel free to join the discussion on the Steam forums!

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