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Overview

Created by Misfits Attic, the indie game development studio who released A Virus Named Tom, Duskers is a sci-fi roguelike with elements of dungeon crawling and real-time strategy. The player must scavenge the resources to survive by remotely piloting drones into derelict spaceships and fending off (or avoiding) whatever dangers may lurk inside. All the while, searching for an explanation to how the universe became seemingly void of human life.

Duskers was released onto Early Access on August 20th, 2015 and is currently in an alpha state, with a hopeful release in "Fall 2015."

Version 1.0 was released on May 18, 2016.

Gameplay

The starting ship log, alone and low on fuel
The starting ship log, alone and low on fuel

In Duskers, the player's goal is to survive. The player will navigate their salvage ship to other vessels in space, dock with them and send in drones to scavenge for fuel, scrap, and upgrades. It is much like FTL when it comes to the navigating star systems and managing fuel. When the player boards a ship, there are two viewing options: Drone view, and the map. There is only one manual control option in the game, and that is using the arrows keys to navigate the environment in the drone view.

Everything else is controlled using a command line. The commands are simple, but the player can chain together commands using ";" and can create aliases to issue specific, more complex, command strings with a single command.

System, Galaxy, and Universe maps

A simple system with an advanced vessel in it (the orange icon)
A simple system with an advanced vessel in it (the orange icon)

When traveling between vessels, the distance between them is very important. The farther away a vessel is, the more propulsion fuel the player must use to get there. When the player runs out of propulsion fuel (or decides to leave a system) jumps cells are used to travel to nearby solar systems. The player's ship has a certain jump distance which can be increased with the "long-range scanner" ship upgrade. Certain systems may have a "stargate" in them, which can be used to travel to other galaxies.

Drones and the map schematic view

The player may have seven drones total, but only four can be deployed onto a vessel at a time. Each drone has a maximum health value, and three upgrade slots. Each drone's max health can be upgraded, and the drone's speed may be permanently boosted by 35% for 5 scrap. The drones are randomly named (from a list of names), have a chance to have different colored camera views, and may have different hull shapes.

Here is the map schematic view, where the layout and information on the ship currently boarded is displayed.

Blue squares are the player's currently active drones, also showing which direction they are facing.

The map schematic of a Salvage B vessel
The map schematic of a Salvage B vessel

Yellow square is a disabled drone.

Orange symbols are power inlets.

Blue symbols on walls are interface consoles.

Blue turret icons are ship defenses.

Green outline indicates powered rooms.

Yellow triangles are scrap.

Green capsule is a fuel depot.

Enemies

  • Slime: oozes from walls, and spreads throughout the room it spawns in. Damages and slows drones that touch it.
  • Swarm: can spawn out of floor vents, are fast, and are very difficult to kill. They can also attack doors.
  • Enemy drones: drones equipped with gatling guns that patrol accessible rooms.
  • Brutes: brutes will lunge at a drone that enters their line of sight and instantly disable them.

Fuel, scrap, disabled/broken drones, and upgrades

The player spends propulsion fuel to travel between vessels in a system, and jump cells to travel between systems in a galaxy. Fuel is gathered on ships with fuel depots by drones with the "gathering" upgrade. When gathering, there is always a random chance on how much propulsion fuel and jump cells are gathered (sometimes even nothing can be gathered).

The player's ship has 6 units of propulsion fuel. After a jump to another system, the base 6 propulsion is replenished, and any propulsion fuel gathered is put into "reserves" which can be saved between systems to give the player more options later on.

The drone view with some scrap and a power inlet
The drone view with some scrap and a power inlet

Scrap is used to repair drones and upgrades, purchase items from trading posts, and upgrade the drones specifically. Scrap is also gathered by drones with the "gathering" upgrade, but can also be gotten by scrapping upgrades and drone (preferably spares). Scrap is revealed on a vessel by moving drones near them, doing a "shipscan" by a drone with the "interface" upgrade at a powered interface panel, if the player's ship has the "ship surveyor" upgrade, and by scanning a room with a drone that has the "scanner" upgrade.

Disabled or broken drones have a chance of appearing on vessels upon docking with them. If they are disabled, the player can have a drone with the "tow" upgrade tow the disabled drone back to their ship's docking bay so it can be repaired and used in later missions. A drone cannot be towed if it is broken, but the player may use the "swap" command to check what upgrades may be scavenged.

Ship upgrades that are found on vessels can be scavenged in the same way drones are. They must be in working order, and towed by a drone to the player's docking bay.

Malfunctions and random ship occurrences

The drones the player controls are susceptable to item malfunctions. During a mission, a drone's upgrades can develope "errors" which is a warning that the upgrade may break soon. If an upgrade breaks, it is no longer usable, cannot be repaired, and is likely to cause serious heartbreak. If the player is able to leave the ship before the upgrade(s) break, scrap can be spent to repair them. A drone's camera feed might also malfunction, which leaves the view of that drone unusable.

During a mission, the vessel may be flooded by radiation,hit by asteroids, and doors may cease functioning. Radiation flooding can occur two ways: leaving an airlock open for too long, and radiation leaking through the hull. The latter's chance of occurring is largely determined by the hull integrity and age of the vessel, which are both given before boarding, and can be displayed with the command "status". Asteroid impact is completely random, and when it occurs the player is given a time until impact, and a percentage chance for specific rooms to be hit.

Derelict ship types

Ships come in many different flavors, which determines the likelihood of specific items and upgrades appearing.

Along with ship types they also come in grades (A, B, C, D) which determines the size of the vessel. D being small and A being quite large.

Basic Vessels

  • Barge: a generic vessel, with nothing too particular spawning here.
  • Salvage: a vessel that has a higher chance to spawn scrap, and drones.
  • Space station: a vessel that has a higher chance have fuel depots and usually yields more fuel when gathered.
  • Military: A vessel that has more defensive turrets, and more likely to have enemy drones aboard.
  • Rebel
  • Tech: a vessel that typically has a higher amount of ship upgrades, and upgrade slots aboard.

Advanced Vessels (which require a transporter to enter)

  • Observation
  • Greenhouse
  • Defense
  • Research

Ship upgrades

  • Remote power: allows the remote operation of a discovered power inlet onboard a vessel.
  • Reroute power: allows the player to reroute power to different connecting rooms on a vessel.
  • Transporter: allows drones to be transported between specific rooms on a vessel (marked on the ship schematic)
  • Long range scanner: Increases the distance which the player's ship can jump between systems.
  • Ship surveyor: automatically displays the layout of a vessel upon boarding.

Drone upgrades

  • Gathering: allows a drone to gather scrap and fuel found on a vessel.
  • Gatling: equips a drone with a gatling gun to shoot enemies (cannot be used while in motion)
  • Generator: allows a drone to interact with a power inlet, powering all rooms connected to that inlet.
  • Interface: gives a drone the ability to interact with a powered interface console, providing information and control of rooms on the vessel connected to that console.
  • Lure: lures nearby enemies to a specific location
  • Mine: proximity mine that explodes when an enemy passes by. (may cause damage to the hull and items in that room)
  • Trap
  • Motion: allows a drone to scan adjacent rooms for any movement (some rooms may be inconclusive)
  • Probe: sends out a autonomous drone to scout out rooms that have their doors open. The probe can be attacked and destroyed, but can be upgraded to have stealth and more health.
  • Pry: allows a drone to pry open an unpowered door.
  • Scan: a drone may scan the room they are in to acquire information about the room, and to find extra scrap not found normally.
  • Sensor: drops a sensor that alerts the player when an enemy enters the room.
  • Shield: gives a drone the ability to activate a shield that drains when damaged. It can be upgraded to recharge, but loses it's max health.
  • Sonic: pulses sonic waves to deter organic enemies
  • Stealth: gives a drone the ability activate stealth that drains while in use, and can be recharged when turned off.
  • Stun: drops a proximity stun mine that freezes an enemy in place when one passes nearby.
  • Teleport: allows a drone to teleport to specific rooms on a vessel
  • Tow: allows a drone to tow disabled drones and upgrades.

Command List

a

toggles specified airlock(s)

ex. a1 a2

Opens or closes one or more specified airlocks, so long as they are powered.

close

closes specified door(s)

ex. close d1 d2

'close all' Close all powered doors

'close r4 r23' Close all of room's doors

'd1 d2' 'close' not required for specific doors

d

toggles specified door(s)

ex. d1 d2 d3

Opens or closes one or more specified doors, so long as they are powered.

exit

Ends mission, returns all drones currently in the docking to the home ship.

ex. exit

Warning: Any drones outside of the docking bay will be left behind.

help

Opens the salvage operations manual, or gives information on specific commands

ex. help [command, all]

If just 'help' or 'help all' is entered, opens the salvage operations manual.

If help is entered with a specific command name, detaile dhelp for that command will be displayed. ex. 'help generator'

info

lists inromations about items in the drone's current room

ex. info 3

'info' list items in specified drone's room.

navigate

auto-navigate drone(s) to a room

ex. navigate 1 r12

'navigate 1 2 r14' navigates drones 1 and 2 to room r14

'navigate 1 d8' navigates drone 1 through door d8

'navigate 1 3' navigated drone 1 to drone 3's current room

'navigate 3' (in drone view) navigates drone 3 to current room

open

open specified door(s)

ex. open d1 d2

'open all' open all powered doors

'open r12 r14' open all of a room's doors

'd1 d2' 'open' not required for specific doors

status

retrieve status of the current vessel

ex. status

Displays ship information deteremined from ship log

swap

swap upgrades with another drone

ex. swap

'swap' to display swap interface when near a drone. Arrow keys and enter to swap upgrades. ESC to close.

Non-GUI: 'swap [source item] [target item] ([target drone])'

dock

re-docks the player's boarding vessel at a a specified airlock

ex. dock a4

Airlock doors appear yellow on the map schematic

pickup

Pickup previously placed item

ex.pickup

Picks up a placed trap, mine, or stun that hasn't been triggered

commandeer

commandeer the current derelict ship

ex. commandeer

Brings up a dialog to confirm personnel transfer to currently boarded ship. This will make the current derelict ship the player's new home, leaving behind the old ship and acquiring whatever upgrades and extra (or fewer) upgrade slots aboard the derelict. Requires boarded vessel to be fully explored and free of all enemies. If there is any uncontained radiation, the ship cannot be commandeered.

destruct

self destructs the drone with an option delay

ex. destruct [t(1-60 seconds, 3 = default)]

will damage everything in the current room.

to cancel: type 'destruct' again.

'destruct t10' issues destruct after 10 seconds

'destruct' is equal to 'destruct t3'

clear

clears console window

alias

edit alias commands

ex. alias

Edits alias file

System requirements

PC System Requirements:

  • OS: Windows XP+
  • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
  • Graphics: DX9 capabilities; generally everything made since 2004 should work
  • Hard Drive: 200MB

Mac System Requirements:

    • OS: Mac OS X 10.8+
    • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
    • Storage: 200 MB available space
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