WFTO Wednesday #95: Updates to Terrain

WFTOWednesdayCroppedLightUpdates to Terrain

Hey folks,

Today we’re going to start looking at some of the design changes that we’re making as we begin refining gameplay in preparation for release. This first post will focus on the improvements we’re making to the mechanics of various terrain types.


We have two caveats before you read further:

  • These changes aren’t coming until the next patch
  • Everything you see in this post has placeholder artwork (visual updates to terrain are coming later on)

To start off, let’s take a look at the issues we had a with terrain:

  • Permafrost was trying to be both the safe terrain type and the obstacle terrain type
  • Permafrost required Cauterize (a Wrath spell) to use properly, which didn’t make any sense
  • Once Cauterize was used, Permafrost lost its use
  • Brimstone (which is meant to be the unsafe terrain type) similarly lost its unique mechanic once Chill had been used
  • The non reversible nature of both of these meant that the interaction you had with these tiles was simply removing their unique mechanics, which wasn’t very fun
  • Boiled down, both of these terrain types weren’t achieving what we wanted, so we went back to the drawing board with them

These problems led us to make the following changes:

  • Permafrost is now the safe terrain type, and no longer has a removable component
  • Brimstone is now the obstacle terrain type and has an awesome new mechanic
  • Sand (new) is now the unsafe terrain type and has no removable component
  • The Chill and Cauterize spells are being removed from the game

To illustrate this better we’ve created a few videos that can be found below. In these videos you’ll also see some other changes, including an update to tile tagging and worker task speeds.

Permafrost & Sand: Permafrost’s old mechanic has been removed and instead now has largely increased health compared to a normal tile, your workers arms ache just thinking about it. Conversely, Sand is a new terrain type that has significantly less health than a normal earth tile.

Brimstone: The Brimstone of the Underworld has become impossible to dig! While your workers are no use here, certain explosives can fracture this crystalline rock and ignite the gasses trapped within – destroying all nearby tiles. This can create a chain reaction with adjacent Brimstone tiles as seen below.

In addition, we still have all the following terrain types which remain unchanged:

  • Sacred Earth: Cannot be claimed, once dug out it will leave behind Sacred Ground
  • Sacred Ground: Cannot be claimed
  • Water: Allows most units to pass through (at a reduced rate) but cannot be claimed, players must build bridges to claim through it
  • Lava: Most units cannot pass through it, players must build stone bridges to claim through it
  • Chasm: Only flying units can pass through it, players cannot build bridges to claim past it




Let us know how you like these changes! Before we head off we want to thank everyone who dropped by for our Extra Life charity stream, while we didn’t manage the whole 24 hours we did succeed in reaching our goal!

See you next week.


Until next time Underlord,

– WFTO Team


Click here to discuss this update on our forums!

  1. I don’t really see what the exploding Brimstone adds to the gameplay.

    • they were so worried with whether they could that they didnt thought if they should

    • An unexpected attack from the enemy or a secret passage which is otherwise impossible to dig through with workers. I see quite some potential in the mechanic actually.

    • It could be used as a trap maybe. Or to add a uncertainty to what is on the other end. Usually when you dig you know if there is space or stone behind it, and how far it tkes you. With the exploding Brimstone it does not. You don’t know what is on the other side because it can go on for a length. And it forces you to either get rid of it early r to build arround it, which will mean you either have to rethink your dungeon a little, or take the uncertainty. It’s mostly a strategic thing i think.

    • Hey there! Designer here.

      We wanted a terrain type that acted as an obstacle on the map – something that might not be clear is that you can’t actually mine Brimstone, only blow it up. The chain reaction was just a little extra we added because it was cool, and also prevented the player from leaving behind one or two blocks when they blew up a chunk of Brimstone.

  2. I can see the potential for interesting mapmakingin the exploding brimstone.
    Though I have to say I think the whole Permafrost/Cauterize and brimstone/Chill scrapped mechanics sounded pretty interesting to me (It kind of made sense too) Though these mechanics have been scrapped I think the genral idea of spells being able to affect terrains and having more than one utility in general sounds like something that should be explored a little more.

  3. I like this mechanic, i can see a whole level have it´s first part focused on the player focusing on getting the requeriments to get the bombs and begin unlocking all the hidden passages. Or maybe a level where the player has a limited number of bombs, or can only build one every so many minutes.

  4. I would suggest making permafrost minable but much, much hardier, (like one tile mined every 30 seconds with two imps working on it) and leaving cauterize in the game. So basically you can wait ages for your minions to mine it, or use the spell to heat things up. Of course this would become ultra relevant if half the map was made of permafrost, wich basically means you must spend a lifetime to build a dungeon or get the spell asap.

    This would allow for the typical dilema, expand trough the huge permafrost expanse for wich you need the spell (or godly time and imps), or expand on the other direction closer to the enemy heroes/overlord.

  5. I really hate the idea o sacred earth, that cannot be corrupted, claimed and used in the only one rational way- evil!

  6. I love the new ideas and changes. But I also think having spells that impact tiles is also a great idea. I know you wanted to get rid of them because their only impact was to effect one certain tile type to remove them from their intended purposes, but what if you changed the spell mechanics? Such as freezing brimstone could turn it into an impassible barrier type tile like you have lining the outsides of the map which would still make it an obstacle type tile, or you could have the spells effect each tile type differently, and in turn incorporate even more tile types, still maintaining your original ideas of the safe/obstacle/unsafe terrain type. heating sand could create a glass tile which could be a more fortified version of this tile to add to protection and could turn into a Safe mechanic. What I’m primarily getting at is, I love these changes. I’m glad you made them. But maybe rethink the spells as well, and how they would interact with different tile types. It could open the doors to even more dynamic gameplay. 🙂

  7. It’s awesome that you put so much thought into such details where other developers might just leave it as it is. Of course mechanics need to work, and they did before, but there needs to be a point as to why they exist in the first place. So good job! I like all the different terrain types, and feel like this is something that another Dungeon simulator lacked.

  8. Nice job. Different types of terrain can create a lot of possibilities in different games, but, please, don’t push too much in that direction because I hope we can play this great game without mechanincs of something like Min*craft. Thanks for all your work.

  9. First of all, really nice work!! But…

    I really dont like the “chasm” type… Maybe its just me, but I dont like to be forced to use some flying units or to be afraid of an sudden ambush of flying enemys.

    You also should think about a feature-stop. I only check the news all few weeks, but everytime there are “hundreds” of new stuff. On the one hand, this is amazing of course, but I already have the feeling that it is too much. When I played Dungeon Keeper I actually only used about 50% of all rooms and spells (and nearly none traps). Of course it gives some more options to the player, but is the additional needed time for the implementation, balancing, graphics etc. really worth it?

    However, I’m really impressed of your work and how you invovle the community. Therefore, keep it up! 🙂

    • Excellent point!

      Like kids in a sweet shop, it’s always tempting to want more, but so often games collapse under their own weight of ‘cool’ features.

      It’s all well intentioned I’m sure, but if the dev’s insist on adding all this fluff, then we need a really good options menu to switch off those novelties that hinder game-play.

  10. I really like these changes. The whole chill, cuaterize thing was just confusing to me. Keep up the good work.

  11. The way all tiles are like and indeed are single tiles looks mighty stupid to me. It looks like a map builder more then the actual game.

    I would like to see the tiles connect in a way, aswell as walls that connect together.
    Everything looks like Minecraft in there squared and prefectly engineered.

    A programmer friend of mine was going like:
    “The walls in overworld are like that because it uses unity and it’s a lie that they cannot connect single wall tiles to a full wall, i mean it’s not easy, yeah but unity can access vertex data and have dynamicly changed meshes and stuff. It just needs some work.

    They should have made it voxel based, right now it’s all pre-made meshes that are just stacked together to make up a wall which is by far not the best way to do it and will have MASSIVE performance issues when u get a shit-ton of stuff going on.”

    Anyways, i am burning for this game to come out finally. You got my support there. It is the right thing to do that at the right time.