tl;dr Add more blocks and player prefabs
The dev team is small and they can't work on Deepworld full time. This means large features take longer to roll out. The purpose of the post is to suggest additions that should be relatively easier to implement (for the devs) but have a larger positive impact on the game (more bang for your buck, so to speak).
Firstly, increase the variety of building blocks
By blocks, I don't mean the decorations that hang on walls, I mean the walls themselves. If you look at a build, for example, this one
, a high percentage of the items used are the blocks from the front-whole
sprite sheets. They give the building form. There are other staples of building such as chains and metal railing, but not enough. On the other hand, the decorations account for a much smaller portion of the build. This particular build is conservatively decorated, mainly using furniture, industrial items and engineering items. On the other hand, there are a variety of decorations such as stuffies, pinned bugs and ice sculptures that have a far more limited number of uses. Some people compensate for this large variety of decorations by placing them all over buildings, but I personally think that makes them too busy and incoherent. What Deepworld needs is more building blocks, more things
in the metallurgy tab, blocks that contribute to structure such as walls, platforms, beams, railing and so on. If there's a new decoration, try to make it one that has many uses. (the toolbox was good, I guess)
With these, the quality of buildings (or at least the best ones) should increase, making Deepworld look more attractive, and people will be less annoyed by the meagre selection in the metallurgy tab.
Why this should be easier to implement: The new blocks have to be designed and drawn, but then the existing blocks can be used as a template for everything else (rendering, inventory, placing, mining).
Secondly, allow players to create builds
that can be added to the game.
I'll focus on two main areas here: Prefabs and loot destinations. Just yesterday when exploring a world, I found dungeons with the same prefab three times in a row (it was the one with the large crane and chest surrounded by roofs). That has happened on multiple occasions. Remember how the dungeon competition back in the day added all those new player-designed dungeons? We would benefit from more of that, but it doesn't have to be a competition. Instead, make one of those "Design submission" threads for people to submit prefabs suited for world generation. They could be dungeons or any other prefab that we're so used to seeing (now you can look at the corner of a prefab and know what the rest is). A stream of new prefabs would freshen up the game, especially for veterans, explore new possibilities and make things less predictable. Some areas such as brain biomes are in greater need of new buildings too.
Back then, it didn't seem to take long for the devs to implement the dungeons into world gen. It's like they had a copy-paste tool. Now they could make a design submission thread, establish some clear rules (must be suited for world gen, no joke submissions, include picture, detailed description, coords for testing, etc.), and pick the best designs that come in, giving a small compensation to the builder. I am sure that there are people here that would be happy to design new prefabs, and have also tested countless prefabs ingame, so they should hopefully know what they're doing. It adds another thing to do in Deepworld and another reason to build while contributing to development.
Next is loot destinations. The idea for this is there can be individual protected worlds that contain things like chests of plenty (or quest locations). Unlike prefabs, these areas would be largely unique. Each world could have some sort of setting, challenge, theme, dungeon, story, etc. and is a place that players can visit and experience. Unlike unexplored worlds, each loot destination is permanent -- useful for an unlimited number of people. Since the whole world is custom-built, they can have more elaborate puzzles and such. Some could have entry requirements such as level, quest, achievement, order, etc. for progression purposes. The reason for each location being a separate protected world is so that they can be completely self-contained and uninterrupted by other people's buildings. Consider the current chest of plenty locations. The ones not in the tutorial are surrounded by protectors and spam in general.
Again, there can be a forum thread for submitting these. Establish very clear rules and pick only the best. The devs can clone the suitable submission world and add the finishing touches, creating a permanent location to visit, a world that won't be abandoned so long as there are players.
Including these types locations into the mix of worlds complements the current world system and adds more to the exploration and building aspects of the game.
Why this should be easier to implement: Letting the playerbase do the bulk of the designing saves the devs a lot of time and effort. And they have already shown that they can copy-paste worlds and buildings, as well as build the tutorial worlds, chests of plenty, etc.
Note that adding more structural blocks would help with making prefabs and loot destinations.
As you can see, these ideas don't change Deepworld in a major way, they improve what is already there.
If anything I said here is wrong (not relatively easy to do), please tell us why. I'm sure many of us would like to know more about how Deepworld works.