GearHead Caramel v0.542 has just been released. The big addition this time is dungeons: Wujung Undercity returns from GH1, and there’s a new adventure called the Mecha Graveyard. You can see the complete list of changes and download the binaries (or source) at GitHub.
Everything is looking bloody phenomenal. I’m a long time fan of Gearhead 2 (just started my 3rd campaign run. Really hoping to get a five man team by the end) and I was wondering something. Do you have any plans to add Gearhead 2 character import functionality, or is this game a proper spiritual successor to Gearhead 1 with no real connections to the second game in story or function?
GH2 import functionality is planned, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. I also hope to return to the L5 region in future Caramel scenarios and broaden the connection between the three games.
Playtested on master (so not quite 0.542), anyway: there’s a bit of an early-game hump, then things get smooth and just have longer battles. I like the feel of melee now. Energy Melee Weapons do not give as large an advantage relative to their price, *and* have a power source requirement that Melee Weapons do not have. The optimal lance composition seems to be 3 melee and 1 ranged (I once started with a Wolfram, two Mughal Daums, and a Secutor, and ended up with having the Wolfram and the two Mughal Daums in melee while the Secutor, which is a respectable melee mech that can also work as a respectable ranged mech, took potshots at the enemies with its Arena Cannon), since 4 melee-ers start getting in each other’s way.
It seems to speak to the relative high cost of ranged that the only reason not to have an all-melee lance is that they start getting into each other’s way, rather than ranged being valuable in and of itself. In particular, while costing has ranged squared, actual range is less important in Caramel than in GH1: in GH1 PHS-8 cannons are ridiculous and let you snipe across the map, in GHC the enemy will swarm you and get into their optimal range before your PHS-8 deal enough damage to take them down. In my playthroughs it’s only in the later game that the ranged lancemate begins to actually start killing at a rate comparable to the melee lancemates.
The Mughal Daum is pretty interesting (though basically I designed it so —). The Flame Urumi is surprisingly powerful (maybe a touch OP?) with its range-3 and Flail and Fast Attack. The Shock Katars are really heavy and are less accurate than the Urumi but when they hit, the enemy goes haywire and that helps crowd control a lot.
I like the fact that the changes in health lead to spellcasting being more valuable. EW Systems are now pretty good, Defense Net is my fave, followed by Localized EMP. The latter works best on a charge mech – charge into the enemy and EMP away! If you have a Computers lancemate, salvaging some kind of Fulminate Disruptor from an enemy champion is a good investment, hopefully a size-2 with just Deflect and EMBlaster programs. Target Analysis is the weak point of EW Systems (AI Assistant is Boring, But Practical), maybe lower the level requirements by 1 or 2 for all the Target Analysis programs?
Also we need a use for Wildcraft. Maybe a “confuse animal” spell which prevents an animal from moving until it gets damaged?
Wow combat feels like really different for gearhead 1 and 2. A lot more scaled down and lighter. For one thing, seems like facing and target archs are not a thing. Will crash damage make a return? Granted that really didn’t come into play once damage got magnified in gearhead 1 and 2 when things could get 1 shot to death. Good thing caramel doesnt seem to suffer from that (yet?) to my experience. Still plenty good that you still can become immobile. However the life and death choice of ejecting doesn’t seem to be in. Also will negative and positive mood combat buffs and debuffs make a return? Can pilots still die by losing health in mecha combat? Will there be a way of seeing pilot health as well in mecha combat? (this was missing in gearhead 1-2). Sorry for the fragmented thoughts. Good look on whatever way you choose to make it!
> For one thing, seems like facing and target archs are not a thing.
Correct. There *is* a new thing now called “overwhelmed”, where each time someone takes a shot at you, you get -3 to your dodge score, which approximates this — facing and targeting arcs mostly matter if you are surrounded, and the “overwhelmed” mechanic approximates that when there are far more enemies shooting at you.
> Will crash damage make a return?
Flying is not implemented yet, and though skimming exists, losing your skimming gear just immobilizes you and on your next turn makes you switch to whatever else you have.
> Granted that really didn’t come into play once damage got magnified in gearhead 1 and 2 when things could get 1 shot to death. Good thing caramel doesnt seem to suffer from that (yet?) to my experience.
Try making melee-focused mecha. Buy Giant Dril or salvage an Iron Lance from the Iron Dielancer variant (the Ion Lance (without R) from the base Dielancer is good and can be an alternative to a Giant Drill but the Iron Lance (with R) is strictly better). Strip out Hover Jets and replace them with Wheels or Lightened Wheels (wheels can now pass through forests!), which are lighter per point. Pump your character’s Speed at char creation (affects dodge, block, intercept, *and* multiplies your melee damage due to melee multi-hit, this is the most important stat in mecha combat), and install a Spinal Pilot Link cyberware ASAP (and an Adrenaline Heart or Rapid-Strike Muscles if you can fit more). With that you can one-shot one enemy on your first action point, then one-shot another enemy on your second action point in your turn.
See also: https://github.com/jwvhewitt/gearhead-caramel/issues/181
>Still plenty good that you still can become immobile.
Immobilized is overrated. Just one-shot them with a good Charge weapon (Ji, Ion Lance, Giant Drill, or Iron Lance).
> However the life and death choice of ejecting doesn’t seem to be in.
It’s already in, it’s just not announced until after the mission. If the pilot dies in the mech, when you return to the town you are told about zer demise. Otherwise they managed to eject and there is no special announcement. On master (not 0.542) mechas that are irrecoverably destroyed in combat are also announced now when you return to town.
> Also will negative and positive mood combat buffs and debuffs make a return?
I doubt it. Though lancemates can betray in some lance development plots. They just don’t get depressed in combat. Unless you have Performance, make a really bad LISTEN TO MY SONG roll, and then they get Demoralized because they’re embarrassed to be your ally.
> Can pilots still die by losing health in mecha combat?
Yes, as mentioned above. It’s very rare.
> Will there be a way of seeing pilot health as well in mecha combat? (this was missing in gearhead 1-2)
It’s already displayed. See the “HP” field when you hover a mecha. That’s the pilot’s health.
Another thing I’ve noticed is the lack of faction reputation and consequence. From my experience in gearhead 2 getting on the negative of one side in particular would block of mission request(story?).
While on this topic I also noticed that gearhead caramel seems to have infinite mission quest from certain npcs, Blue fortress commander, bounty hunters etc.
How these two tie together, are that in order to seek out missions to salvage new mecha and earn money, in gearhead 2 you would “exhaust” the missions available in one area, forcing you to travel and explore another area to find “work”. But if you over stayed in one area too long, you would end up committing yourself to that areas faction do to losing reputation from others. This game structure forces you to explore the gear head world and gives it openess.
Back to the original point, caramel in this stage lacks that. And the infinite missions available also is a detriment to exploration. In my current playthrough, I’m guilty of repeated mission grinding to harvest certain mechs, making them lose value in rarity. Nothing is stopping me from staying in the starter down and just grinding trapping myself to legendary skills before I even explore the game. Just wanted to point out this pitfall. Mission quest should at least be limited to prevent this.
So so so when’s the next release??
Soon… I will try to get it sorted this weekend.
Next release please!
AmkG let the man do his passion project at his own pace. Stop bugging.
Half the new code is mine, so I think I get to bug him a little.
I don’t mind being bothered… as Oscar Wilde said, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”