Long time, no see! But now I have something to show you! I have begun development on the side-story to Loonyland. It has no plot. It is a randomly generated dungeon romp wherein you seek to get to the bottom of the random dungeon, fight the evil boss, and thus win. It is something I'm making entirely because I really like the gameplay of LL2, but I don't want to play that adventure, since I created it. I really like plowing through the arena, so this is a more fun version of that - a long series of random levels.
The shot above is the very first steps I've taken. I have many
skills I plan to add for this game, it won't just be an alternate LL2 quest. It'll be a big change, like a sequel, only not related to the plot (theoretically, the plot of this game is "Let's say that the Titan Tunnels extended deeper and Loony had to go down there to fight the Titans, only he reverted to Level 1 before doing so, and everybody started acting differently"). Anyway, what's that you see? A teddy bear on Loony's head!? What!? That is the new axe mode: Grapple Mode.
In this mode, you swing just like in Swing Mode (and all the bonuses you have for Swing Mode apply), but holding down the button does not autofire. Instead, it makes you move really slowly with some sort of indication in front of you (don't know what yet). If you put that indication on an enemy of sufficiently small size, you pick him up, and strangely enough carry him on your head. Then you can push any direction and the attack button to throw him. Later there will also be an Atomic Drop (push Jump instead), and possibly the Badguy Bonk (push attack without a direction, to slam the guy into the ground like a club). That one will look quite funny, since the enemy won't lay horizontally for it, so I don't know about including it.
Like Throwing and Swinging, Grapple mode is a page of 10 skills that all pertain to that. Carrying an enemy drains your stamina (more quickly depending on how much life the enemy has), so the basic Grappling skill makes it drain more slowly, as well as allow you to move faster while carrying them. Running out of stamina drops the enemy. Then there's Badguy Toss, which increases the damage done by throwing them (by the way, of course it hurts both the thrown guy and any guy he hits when he is thrown!). And Atomic Drop, which jumps you into the air and slams the enemy straight down, creating an explosion over a radius, but costing much stamina. Other highlights include Tickling, which randomly does little bits of damage to the guy you are carrying, and Conversion, which switches the enemy permanently (well, until he dies or you leave that map) to your side if you can hold him long enough - of course, because of the stamina drain, only a weak enemy or one that is badly injured could be Converted. And other skills which pertain to that stuff.
I put this grappling stuff in first off because it's a major change - I needed to see if conceptually it was even fun to do, and simple enough to understand (it is definitely fun to do!). Also, several other things rely on it. One is that I intend to expand the 5 schools of magic, so that each one occupies a page of skills (so 10 skills each). What's the connection? One spell in each school will be a Grab Spell, which means it can only be cast when you are holding an enemy (the spell list only shows Grab Spells if you are holding an enemy, and they don't show up if you aren't). Not only is that fun - especially the Doom Grab (Death Magic) which instantly kills the victim for a huge cost - but it also helps keep the spell lists from getting too long, while still giving you lots of spells. There will also be at least one passive skill in each school, much like what the talents do. One thing I have to consider in making this change is the Synergy bonus in LL2. In LL2, it was possible to get up to 40% bonus damage from synergy (1% per point in each of the 4 skills). With this, that bonus climbs to a potential 100% (there are 10 skills). I'm not sure if that is simply okay, because I can then let things get harder by the end - but need to also improve physical combat accordingly - or if I need to cut the bonus in half, making it possible to reach 50%, a reasonable boost (but it would cost you twice as many skill points to get the boost). Or something else entirely!
As an experiment, I want to make this development as wide open as I can make it, so I shall be updating with info on this stuff as much as I can, and you have a job too. Your job is to post on the Loonyland forum about what you think the game should contain. I already have a bazillion ideas, and I'll gradually be explaining them to you as the development continues. Just look how much I have rambled already, and I haven't even mentioned character classes!
Of course, I'm still working on the Collector's Edition - it's just that the only thing left to do on that is the commentary, and I can't sit and do commentary all day. It melts my brain and my vocal cords.