Originally planned to be an incremental improvement to Somnium 1.1, our newest rendition of Somnium changes the game completely. From new and rebalanced horror mechanics to a wholly reimplemented talent system, Somnium 2.0 represents some of the largest changes made to date – and perhaps as far away from Skyrim as any modding project has ever grown.
Below, we’ll outline some of the new features brought to the table, highlighting how each changes the gameplay options and strategies available. We also know that our Librum crowd is getting hungry for more information on 4.0, and – fortunately – we have plenty of information to give you. We’ll start here with one of the newly designed mechanics, in as much detail as we can muster; especially because Librum 4.0 is still in an early planning stage, we encourage feedback! User feedback has resulted in some of our very best mechanics, for both Librum and Somnium.
In every respect, In Every Shadow represents the definitive version of Somnium. Each of us has spent hundreds of hours making, remaking, and tweaking the mechanics and the graphics, and the end result is exactly what we set out to build when we started this project: comparing to Skyrim, or even Enderal, Somnium is a whole new game.
So, what’s actually new in Somnium 2.0?
The Lantern. Artistically remastered by Rei, our newest team-member-adjunct, the lantern is your key to safely navigate the nighttime and dark places. The lantern loses charge when in use – and if you attract the attention of certain dangerous beings – but recharges quickly in sunlight. Be sure to take a breath of fresh air once in a while.
Now, the lantern means more than just a way of seeing; Magelight and torches can partially cover that niche already. Rather, the lantern grounds you in this reality, preventing the slow crawl of Arcane Fever (and many of its worst effects!) in the nighttime. To make best use of it, you’ll need to ration your light, be aware of forces that may sap the energy of your lantern, and – most importantly – keep an eye on the clock.
New Talent System. Talents no longer cost Arcane Fever to use. Rather, they are bound to the new system of talent charges; each talent costs between 1 and 5 charges, based on strength and on unlocked memories. In exchange, cooldown times are quite short – 15 seconds for each charge used, and you can use multiple distinct talents back to back.
You start the game with 8 talent charges, but you’ll be able to unlock more throughout your adventures. When you kill a powerful boss, you now choose between unlocking a Memory of Life (used to recharge your net Humanity) or unlocking two additional talent charges. Furthermore, when you unlock your first affinity, you gain an additional 3 talent charges for free.
Even still, be sure to use your talent charges wisely. They only recharge each morning, and it’s not always possible to sleep until dawn!
Rebalanced Horror Mechanics. One pattern you may have noticed in the previous two sections, is that both mechanics revolve around the cycle of day and night. The lantern is the only tool in your arsenal, which can prevent the constant growth of Arcane Fever at nighttime, while the talent uses only recharge by sunrise. In general, you’ll find that this pattern appears nearly everywhere in the 2.0 update, as your gameplay experience is cleanly divided into two stages:
Poise Mechanics. Using Loki and Linnsanity’s excellent Poisebreaker framework as a baseline, we’ve developed a custom set of poise mechanics for Somnium. Its settings have been tweaked to work better with our combat mechanics, and it has been patched to work beautifully with Enderal’s perks, talents and Somnium’s various creatures. As a result, 2.0 brings with it a wonderfully complex, and very well balanced system, that expands the effects of various armor types.
Tweaks to Magic, Spell Failure and Peaceweed. Spell failure was in a bit of a weird place in 1.1. On one hand, being a mage means staying at relatively high Arcane Fever levels. But on the other, the player got severely punished by spell failure, even when their AF increased by a little bit, to the point where playing something spammy like an elementalist was near impossible, as spells were failing left and right. To fix this, we have modified the effects of Peaceweed. Now:
There are other exciting changes to the magic system as well. For example, many spells, such as Kinetic Blast and Nova, have been rebalanced, with the two mentioned spells being patched to work with the Poise mod. All two handed spells have had their magicka costs fixed, while the Entropy tree received a perk that lowers the cost of Novice spells. And much, much more.
Remastered Affinities. There are plenty of small changes to the affinities, but two of them have been overhauled completely. Heavy Scout (comes from any combination of Keeper, Duelist and Highwayman) now provides a talent. When used near a target affected by a bleed, it ends any instance of the effect, erupting their blood vessels, and dealing all remaining damage immediately. To make this talent work, all bleed effects now last much longer, but deal less damage per second.
The second reworked affinity is the Master of Winds (comes from combining Infiltrator with any magic tree). Now, in addition to the flat unarmed damage bonus, your fists receive scaling from the same skill that governs whatever spell you’re holding in the left hand. So, for example, holding a fireball in the left would make your unarmed damage scale with the Elementalism skill, while holding Kinetic Blast would allow Mentalism to change how hard you hit with the right hand.
Graphical Overhaul, and New Artwork. A large portion of the development process for 2.0 has been spent on perfecting the look of the game. There are too many visual changes to list here, but here are a few highlights.
For one, most of the textures in Somnium have been replaced with better, higher quality versions. The Skyland mod was used as a base for the changes, but hundreds of hours have been spent modifying meshes and textures to achieve exactly the right look.
In addition to the first point, most objects in the game world now use parallax (though the low ENB preset disables this). This is especially noticeable on our new mountain and rock textures, which are edited versions of Vivid Landscapes’ assets. Our custom ENB has also received multiple tweaks, making it look that much more mature and natural.
Ark has received special attention, through the new implementation of DaddySmurf’s Steampunk-ish Ark mod. This places pipes and other steam machinery in certain quarters of Ark, which immensely benefits the atmosphere, both in the visual and auditory sense.
In this direction, Reyqune has remade some of the paintings used in Somnium, to make them fit better with the game’s time period.
Now, some of our graphical improvements connect more strongly to the gameplay. Firstly, upon first-time interaction with a reliquary, it lights up with a blue tint. It also becomes silent, though you can turn that off in Somnium’s MCM.
In a different direction, using a custom port of Maczopikczo’s Pick Me! for Oblivion with the Oblivionesque Locks mod, we have brought the Oblivion lockpicking system to Somnium. The mod has been patched to work flawlessly with our custom UI edits, our perks, and different aspect ratios.
Finally, the darkness levels in the night have been adjusted, and new weathers have been introduced at nighttime – being alone and lost during nighttime will now feel absolutely terrifying. There’s plenty more to say about our new artwork, but we’ll let you experience that on your own.
Countless Balancing Tweaks. Starting off simple, we have made several nerfs to the prices that merchants buy items for. Now, items will only sell for a fraction of their cost, so your best bet at earning money is to explore, and loot dungeons. Or, alternatively, put money in the bank!
Now, if you do, you will quickly realize that banks do, in fact, make mistakes now. Though, on the bright side, shareholder certificates will still grant you steady dividends, so it’s still a good way to earn some money.
Another thing we’ve done is rebalance every single set in the game. They were fairly weak before, but we’ve improved them so that their power matches their rarity. All in all, you will find it much smoother to play the game and make character builds.
Brand New Launcher. While we were fixing the bugs, and implementing the new features, Tommas has taken it upon himself to make a launcher for Somnium, entirely from scratch. Not only does the launcher include all features of the previously used setup.bat, but it is also animated, and has a lot of new things as well.
One thing I’d like to point out in particular is the brightness calibration setting. What it does is allow you to change the brightness of the game to the right value for the best experience, by giving you a quick test. With this option, everyone’s screen will look roughly the same while playing, and you won’t suffer from external factors, like your monitor being brighter than it should be. Considering how much emphasis we now place on the darkness of each scene, this is something that benefits the atmosphere greatly.
Tutorial and Accessibility Improvements. In 2.0, we have tried our hardest to make the new player experience as smooth as possible. After replaying the intro of the game once again, it became clear that a lot of the more confusing mechanics, like Toxicity, are not really explained anywhere. The tutorial temple did work decently well in Enderal, but it feels almost like a waste of time in Somnium. Now, throwing the players straight into the deep is quite fun, however they must have at least some clue as to what’s happening, the feeling of confusion is not that great.
So, to remedy this, we added a few dozen of Whispering Stones to the Abandoned Temple and the areas near it. These stones are chains that show a message on the screen when you pull them, which contains an explanation of some specific mechanic, and a small experience reward for reading it. So keep an eye out for them in the beginning, you might find out something new even if you’ve already played Somnium before.
Accessibility improvements do not end here, though. Telescopes and spyglasses were added to the game, which can let you take a closer look at objects far away. While not necessarily helpful with navigation, it can still help you seek out landmarks around you, and then look for them on the map. And make you look like a pirate, of course.
Another improvement has to do with combat. Now, when switching to a gun, the ammo gets chosen automatically. So you don’t have to rummage around in your ammo pouch any time you switch between two weapons. This is especially useful when using two different gun types, like a blunderbuss and a pistol, which opens way for some very fun build combinations.
Librum 4.0 represents our most ambitious project to date, with a ground-up rework of Librum and a nearly complete re-envisioning of Skyrim’s world. Rather than outline all of the gameplay we’ve planned out, I’ll dig into one aspect in detail: Apoapse’s gAstronomy.
Food and needs mechanics have always been a sore spot for me in survival games. While necessary, in some respect, to give you a believable threat, I’ve found very few games where the mechanic itself was believable.
Taking Librum 3.x as an example, you need food, water, and sleep to survive. Each food item grants you some amount of “food points”, and similarly with water and sleep; in turn, these three meters whittle down over the course of the day, forcing you to eat, drink, and sleep again.
Unfortunately, this is neither fun nor – possibly more importantly for Librum’s vision – realistic. Eating in real life requires a somewhat-thoughtful balance of different food groups, a reasonably regular dietary schedule, and a lot more long-term thinking than in the case of our Librum 3.x protagonist.
In Librum 4.0, we’re turning this system on its head. Taking inspiration from Valheim, your three primary stats (Health, Magicka, and Stamina) will be determined primarily by what you eat. Now, this will all be managed by Apoapse’s Advancement, so don’t worry about your character’s specialisation: your stat totals are given both by eating and by your skill levels (and amount of read books, etc.), but will simply revert to 10/10/10 when you’re starving.
So, how does eating actually affect these totals? For one, food will be broken into main dishes and side dishes; you’ll be able to eat one of the former each day and two of the latter (or zero main dishes and up to five side dishes, but this won’t be ideal for most players). Your main dish will determine your base stat levels, scaled by your various skills. If you eat a beef stew, for instance, you might increase Health greatly, Stamina a moderate amount, and Magicka only slightly. If you eat a fish dish, these multipliers might be reversed. Your side dishes give slight increases to these stat modifiers, helpful to balance out the primary effect of your main dish, but generally not enough to replace main dishes entirely.
Making things slightly more complicated now, we will go back a full week in your diet to calculate these stat totals. You have to build up – and plan out – your diet over a longer period of time, giving you a chance to earn enough of each stat by balancing your diet. Conversely, this allows you to sacrifice one stat or another completely, if you make a concerted effort to avoid one food group.
Now, sleep and water are primarily important to your Fatigue, which replaces your Stamina. Rather than a measure of energy over the course of a single fight, Fatigue measures your energy over the entire day. As you run around, swing your weapon, and cast spells, your Fatigue slowly drains, and your ability to perform these various tasks deteriorates with your Fatigue. Combat stamina will be handled separately, but mechanics have not been sorted out at this point.
If you’re thirsty, your Fatigue drains further each second; when properly hydrated, this passive drain goes away. However, drinking salty or contaminated water, eating contaminated food, and catching diseases will increase this drain.
Of course, the only way to restore your Fatigue, other than dedicated potions, is to sleep at night. Be sure to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, or your character’s abilities will suffer as a result.
There are a number of other aspects we’ve been developing with Librum 4.0, but we’ll explain each in due time. In the meantime, be sure to let us know what you think of these plans! If you have any suggestions, please let us know.
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