WFTO Wednesday #5

WFTO Wednesday #5

Hey folks,

Today we’re going to have an in-depth discussion about how units are designed. We hope that this will clarify how we go about unit design (which may help you write your own proposals!) and shed more light on the development process. Once you’re done reading make sure to join us on the livestream.

Do your best to ignore all the redacted bits, you’ll know what’s hiding behind them soon enough!

Unit Design

There are dozens of factors that we attack during design to determine each unit durings its creation. We’ll briefly outline the process here and then use the Cultist, Augre, and Gnarling to provide concrete examples of how this process works.

  • Identify a specific requirement or idea – Examples of this are “How do we make a typical “goblin type character” unique. For the Augre it was “how cool would it be to have a unit that augments himself with metal attachments”.
  • Make it interesting & make it work – Why/how is this unit different from other units? Does it conflict with existing units (clone, negate, &c)? Does it fit within WFTO? How can we make it better? What might be a cool / signature ability? Will it blend? At this stage, specifics are not important, it’s the ideas that matter.
  • Flesh it out – Ensure every aspect of the unit has been covered and no stone has been left unturned — see the below unit template for how we do this.
  • Polish – Go over everything multiple times, get some feedback, and go over it again. Make it perfect.

All of the above will eventually turn into a design sheet for each unit, specifying everything about what a unit should be, ready for the team to start working on each individual component. In the document linked below you will see 3 examples of completed design sheets — The Gnarling, the Augre and the Cultist.


A quick aside: there are very few hard numbers in these designs because the majority of values associated with each unit are going to be relative to one another and changed frequently as we begin testing during the Bedrock Beta. When it comes to actually implementing these units, we will start with rough ballpark figures and tweak them as we go along — our tools are incredibly flexible in this regard.

If You Backed Via Kickstarter

We are currently putting together the surveys for our Kickstarter backers and they will be sent out soon. These surveys will allow us to collect your information so we are able to create accounts for you on the Subterranean Games website, which will allow you to access your rewards when the time comes.

If You Backed Via PayPal

If you have backed via PayPal and are not showing up as a Backer or Founder on the forums please get in contact with [email protected] — there were a few kinks in the system that resulted in some people not getting their appropriate titles.


Live Stream @ 11PM GMT

We’ll be doing our livestream in a short while! We will be fielding questions about unit design, units, your own suggestions or anything related to WFTO. Click on the button below to join us!
Update: Live Stream has finished, you can view the recording here.



Until next time Underlord,

-WFTO Team

Click here to discuss this update on our forums

  1. Wow.. Wednesday already..

  2. The looting gnarlings sound a lot like the Imps in Overlord. I always loved how they would pick up gear from enemies and dance around & be happy when they got something cool!

    • I agree. I thought maybe calling them Gnarlings was a nod too. I’m actually playing through overlord 2 at the moment and their behaviour is the most charming part of the game.

  3. Love the Augres.

  4. Could you please include the content of the update in the Kickstarter updates ? I would rather read it in my mailer – this is actually one of the reasons that make me back projects, to be able to read news about projects I like in my mailbox.

    Thank you!

  5. Something’s wrong with the design part…

    Why over complicate the DK formula?
    Skill trees? NOT AGAIN
    RPG / Warcraft 3 abilities? NO, PLEASE!

    You’re forgetting the true spirit of DK, simple means better.

    It was fun to see beetles eating and sleeping. It was fun to see a pair of tentacles freezing their foes. It was great to see warlocks invoke fireballs against a group of heroes.

    What do i feel now with the game…

    It seems the designers wants every unit to be unique, but units aren’t unique for their skills, they’re unique on design, art, sound, personality. The bile demon with only the skill to fart became my favorite unit in the game.

    Will it be fun to see a pack of speedy goblins dragging suits of armor ? Will it be fun to see the cultists invoke only buffs… oh wait, they are also able to cause damage based on enemy’s health with normal hits, but they’re not able to cast a missile, a magic stone, anything?

    Will it be fun to spend points on skill trees?

    I don’t think so but…we’ll have to see… Hope i’m wrong… 🙁

  6. I have to agree, do not cover complicate this game. the beauty of dungeon keeper is the simplicity. I played overlord hoping for my dk fix and it was terrible.
    A large variation on creatures is a good thing to have

  7. I disagree when people think the WFTO team is overcomplicating the game.

    It’s 2013. Dungeon Keeper 1 & 2 are bars that were set but need to be surpassed. The gaming industry has come a long way since then and it should show in WFTO.

    Minions should have more depth. They should have their own abilities, quirks, needs, backgrounds. It’s what makes that minion so unique and it’ll give you a reason to want them.

    I love the Gnarling, Cultist and Augre already. Keep up the great work you guys!

  8. I’ll sit in the middle then, I agree progress need to be made from the DK games as we have come a long way in terms of technology and what we expect from new releases.
    But the devs should be careful about packing too much into each minion. Sacrificing the personality of the creatures to put more time into individual abilities would be a disaster. Ideas like having the gnarlings scavenge equipment off fallen heroes works on both levels as a personality trait and an ability so good idea (it would be nice to see attention to detail – as in if they pick up massive juggernaut hammer then they struggle along with it find it hard to use etc.).
    Skill trees worry me a little as it starts to take away from the fluidity of the game, if you had maybe one choice to make every 5 levels then it might be OK.
    But yeah the personality of all of the creatures in DK (and overlord) was what made the games great for me.

  9. Looking forward to this game, got a question tho, will it have the Dark Mistress from DK2? That was my favorite minion. :]