Darkfall Developer Journal #5: A Look Under The Hood

Darkfall Online’s bi-weekly developer journal series continues today with a unique approach. Tasos Flambouras typically writes a few pages on something game related. Today, he shows us the guide to a demo the team did last year. This is a unique piece of information for fans of the upcoming game and should help visualize how the whole thing works.

Darkfall Developer Journal #5: Under The Hood
Article by Tasos Flambouras, Associate Producer of Darkfall

This document is a gameplay document from the first Darkfall demo from last year. This was a very limited version which we put together whose purpose was to demonstrate functionality and to give a clinical glimpse at what the game is supposed to look and feel like. It was also used as a war server where we tested PvP. Even though it wasn’t meant for fun, everyone, including us, seemed to have a blast playing it.

Since we’re done with the demo, and we’ve moved to the next stage, I thought you might find the document interesting to check out. Giving a look under the hood is usually a bad idea, but we’ll take our chances.

– Tasos Flambouras, Associate Producer of Darkfall

Darkfall Limited Demo Server Gameplay Document

[Removed legal disclaimers]


  • Darkfall demo is pre-beta software and has not passed Aventurine’s quality assurance program. Nothing has been finalized and performance should not be taken to be indicative of the final release of Darkfall.
  • Darkfall demo is a limited in functionality and features version of the game.
  • Darkfall demo is in debug mode.
  • The graphics setting is set to default. (geforce 4, pixel shader 1.1, vertex shader 1.1) Higher graphics settings cannot be enabled prior to optimization.
  • Characters used in this demo are using a default skill and attribute setting that is not balanced or optimized.
  • Weapon reach and radius is not optimized.
  • Character movement, speed, attack speed, rate of turn etc. are subject to balancing and optimization based on testing.
  • Animations are not complete or finalized in the demo.
  • Textures: many are temporary and will be changed or updated.
  • Effects like particles, blood effects etc. are placeholders and will be changed or updated
  • Terrain textures are being updated and issues like the overlay noise that stretches on vertical surfaces will be resolved.
  • Spawning effects are missing.
  • Water effects are missing and water appearance is temporary and will be upgraded.
  • Sounds are temporary placeholders. Final Darkfall sounds are in the process of being completed.
  • AI behaviors have not been optimized in the demo and exist only for testing and demonstration purposes.
  • Quests in the demo are placeholders and exist to test functionality.

Features Present in the Demo

  • Four of Darkfall’s six character races to select from (male and female)
  • Basic character creator functionality
  • Character dressing system
  • A variety of weapons and armors
  • Player vs. Player combat functionality
  • Two Monster AI types complete with weapon /dressing functionality and spell casting ability.
  • Collision detection on characters
  • Spells and skills
  • Ranged weapon attacks
  • Player spawnable assets (mounts, cannons, ships)
  • Three of Darkfall’s five racial mounts
  • Mounted combat
  • Two of Darkfall’s ship types
  • Basic Naval combat functionality
  • Cannons
  • Jumping- Sprinting- Climbing -Swimming
  • Vendors
  • Basic quest functionality
  • Basic crafting functionality
  • [li]Basic Environmental system functionality

Starting Out

Character creator

  1. Character Race selection screen: Select a race for your character between the four (4) available in the demo using the arrows to cycle between them. Once you’ve made your selection, click “Next” to continue
  2. Gender selection screen: Choose the gender of the character using the arrows to cycle between “Male” and “Female”. Click on “Next”.
  3. Character Appearance Screen: Personalize your character’s appearance by selecting the facial characteristics of your choice. When done, click on “Next”.
  4. Character Naming Screen: Type in a first and last name for your character and click on “Next” to continue.
  5. Character Attribute Screen: Allocate points (20) to your character’s attributes and click “next”. This is a placeholder; the demo characters have a default set of attributes.
  6. Character Skill Allocation Screen: Allocate specialization skill points and click “Next”. This is a placeholder; the demo characters have a default set of skills.
  7. Starting and Racial Spell selection Screen: Select your starting spells and racial spells and click “Next”. This feature is disabled in the Darkfall demo.
  8. Spawn Point Selection Screen: Choose your starting point on the map and click “Next”. This feature is disabled in the demo. Your character will spawn in a predetermined location.
  9. Character Creation Warning: You will be asked “create this character?”. Press “yes” if you want to save your character and start the game or press “cancel” if you want to go back and make changes.(Once a character is created it can not be modified in the demo).


The most common default keys are now:

Character Controls

Right Mouse Bring up / Close the User Interface windows
W,A,S,D movement: forward, strafe left, backwards, strafe right
Mouse Turn, mouselook
F Use/ action key (vendors, mounts, ships, guns, vehicles, looting)
R Sheathe / Unsheathe (equipped weapon or staff)
C Crouch
Space Jump
Numlock Autorun
L Shift (+WASD) Sprint
Ctrl (+ WASD) Walk
0-9 Hotbar Slots skill/spell selection
Shift + 0-9 Hotbar selection(For fast access to the hotbar use shift 0 – 9)

First Person Mode Controls (Ranged, Spells)

  • Mouse left button – Fire

Swimming Controls

  • W,A,S,D – Forward, left, backwards, right
  • C – Dive
  • Space Bar and movement key – crawl-stroke swimming (faster)

Special Controls

To revive the character needs to have its weapon sheathed.

  • Z – Revive (LMB/Attack bind to use)
  • X – Gank (Press LMB/Attack bind to use)
  • SPACE – Release(die) when incapacitated before the timer runs out.

Mount Controls

  • To deploy a mount, double click on a mount figurine from your backpack while aiming at an appropriate spawning location. To ride the mount, sheathe weapons, target it from close proximity; use the “F” key. To dismount, sheathe weapons and use the “F” key.
  • F – to mount/dismount
  • R – Sheathe/Unsheathe a weapon on mounts
  • W,A,S,D – move forward, turn left, move backwards, turn right
  • Mouse – Mouseloook
  • Q,E – Lean left, right
  • Space – Jump
  • Movement +Ctrl – Mount walks
  • Numlock – Autorun
  • Left Mouse when mount is standing still – Mount attacks Forward
  • Left Mouse + S when mount is standing still – Mount attacks Backwards Left
  • Mouse+ W,A,D – Weapon attack when mount is in motion

Ship Controls

Deploy a ship by double clicking a ship figurine in your backpack, while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it. You’ll need to swim to the ship and climb up the rope ladder to enter it.

  • target the helm and press F key – Character takes control of the ship
  • WASD – move forward, turn left, move backwards, turn right
  • Mouse – Mouseloook
  • Numlock – Autorun

Cannon controls

Deploy a cannon by double clicking on a cannon figurine in your backpack, while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it.

  • target cannon and press F key – man / abandon the cannon (with weapon unsheathed)
  • Mouse – aim
  • Left Mouse – Fire cannon

For all other options, and to change the default bindings, go to the Options -> Input Options, Key Bindings

Player Guide to Darkfall Demo

  • See “starting out” in this same document
  • You start Darkfall in first person mode. You can move around with the WASD keys and your mouse.
  • Right click to bring the interface up.
  • Open your backpack and in them you’ll find loose equipment and more containers with more equipment.
  • Double click on items or drag them on the paperdoll to equip them.
  • Equip a weapon by double clicking on it in the backpack or dragging it on to the paperdoll.
  • Use the -R- key to unsheathe a weapon and to go into melee combat mode. Your character is now in the 3d person perspective.
  • The figurines in your backpack are character spawnable mounts, cannons, and ships.


  • To summon a mount, double-click one of the animal-shaped figurines in your backpack. The selected mount will appear somewhere in front of you. Run over to it and press F to jump onto the saddle. Please note that you can’t mount anything while in combat mode. Press R to switch between the combat (3rd person) and movement (1st person) modes.
  • While riding press and hold Ctrl to make the mount walk
  • Press F again to dismount after you’ve sheathed your weapon.
  • Since figurines can be looted and summoned mounts can be killed, it is quite possible to run out of mounts. Replacement figurines can be bought from Aldan Rein, who runs the marketplace in the center of Threshold.
  • In this demo, the following mounts are available to you: human (Mercian) warhorses, orkish death pigs, and dwarven garmirs.

Deploying Cannons

  • To deploy a cannon, double-click on one of the two cannon figurines in your backpack while aiming at an appropriate spawning location for it. If you get an error message, try again aiming at another spawning location.
  • Use the F key to use.
  • Cannons can be destroyed

Spawning and Driving ships

  • To launch a ship, double-click on one of the two ship figurines in your backpack while aiming at an appropriate location for it.
  • Go up to the helm and use the F key to take control of the ship.
  • Whether or not someone is behind the helm, the ship’s cannons can be manned and used.
  • Ships can be sunk

Monsters in the demo: locations

  • There are two primary monster haunts in this demo: a zombie-infested dwarven ruin which lies east of Threshold, and two hobgoblin forts on a mountain plateau to the north.
  • To get to the ruins, first go to the statues which stand sentinel at Threshold’s northeastern entrance. From there, travel straight east through a short pass, then follow the rock wall on your left until you see some stone buildings in various states of disrepair.
  • The majority of undead in these ruins are Zombie Warriors equipped with grave-plundered weapons and improvised suits of armor. These undead grunts are commanded by much more dangerous Dire Zombies, who prefer to bombard enemies with spells while the Zombie Warriors do the dirty work.
  • To get to the hobgoblin forts, travel north from the twin statues in Threshold’s northeastern corner. Keep left through the mountain pass, then travel northeast through the forest until a plateau rises in front of you. Travel east in the shadow of the plateau until you reach a north-south pass. Once on the plateau itself, travel left until you see the wooden hobgoblin forts.
  • While all hobgoblins are tough fighters, you should be extra careful around the fierce and relentless hobgoblin stormtroopers. Hobgoblin Heroes are very rare, but each such individual is extremely dangerous.


  • In Threshold, pure player vs. player quests are handed out by Maugre, a sophisticated necromantic construct who serves Oncylus, a wizard bent on the village’s destruction. Maugre stands in the northeastern part of town, just outside the inn. She only gives out quests that involve killing other players.
  • A more conventional chain of quests is initiated by Skuldgrim Bighammer, a dwarf who owns a smithy in the western part of Threshold. This sequence immerses the players in an ongoing struggle to save Threshold from the machinations of Oncylus. Subquests include delivery missions, gathering missions, and several quests which involve killing the local zombies and hobgoblins.


  • Aldan Rein runs the marketplace in the heart of Threshold. He sells items needed for crafting, such as wood, leather, cloth, and iron ingots.
  • Skuldgrim Bighammer is a blacksmith who stocks a wide variety of weapons and pieces of armor. His smithy stands in the eastern part of Threshold.


  • The character can swim by going into the water. See the controls section for character swim controls.
  • Mounts also swim when controlled by the character.

Using melee weapons

  • Use the crosshair to aim at your intended target and with the melee weapon unsheathed, click the left mouse button to attack.
  • Weapon reach has not been optimized.

Using Ranged weapons

  • Arrows need to be equipped, double-click on them in the backpack, or drag them on to the paperdoll.
  • Equip a bow and use the R key to ready it.
  • Aim at the target, take arrow drop, and distance into consideration before firing.
  • Bow and spell rate of fire is very high in the demo for testing purposes.

Using Spells

  • Open up the spell interface
  • Select the spell school – see which spells are available.
  • Drag the spell icon into the hotbar
  • Equip a staff and use the R key to ready it
  • Select the active spell by using the number key for the position the spell holds in the hotbar.
  • Aim and Click the left mouse button to load and deploy the spell.

Basic Crafting

From the initial spawn point, run south down the hill and through the twin statue gate into Threshold. Turn right after the inn and continue through the village’s main street until you see a marketplace on your left hand side. Within that marketplace stands an old human merchant (Aldan Rein) who sells crafting supplies. Position the pointer over him and press F to bring up a trade menu. For the purposes of this demo, the only raw material you’ll need to buy is iron ingots. Double click and choose yes to buy ingots.

Continue west through the village until you see a hammer-and-anvil sign on your left. Move close to the anvil on the adjoining stone platform and press F to start crafting. On the resulting menu, first choose either weaponsmithing or armorsmithing, and then select a subcategory by clicking the plus sign next to it. Finally, click on one of the available items in order to preview its stats and see a list of required ingredients. At the bottom of the item window, you’ll see your current character’s chance of successfully crafting the item in question. This percentage chance is tied to your character’s proficiency level(s) in the requisite skill(s).

If the crafting check succeeds, all ingredients and money will be lost and the created object will appear in your inventory. The equipment (i.e. the hammer) will be lost after several uses. If the check fails, the money and some ingredients will be lost.

Player vs. Player Combat

  • You can freely engage in Player vs. Player combat in the Darkfall demo
  • Mounted combat, mount vs. foot and foot vs. mount.
  • Basic naval combat
  • Land to ship combat using cannons and ranged weapons.


  • When your character dies in Darkfall he’s incapacitated for a short time. You can release by hitting the space bar, or wait to be revived, but you can also be finished off (Ganked).
  • There is a tombstone which appears in the spot your character has died.


  • Target the tombstone (which appears after a character or monster dies) and use the F key to open. Drag items from the opened window into your backpack to loot.

Chat commands
If for any reason you get stuck type in the chat box:
/do commit_suicide

When your character dies he respawns without equipment type:
/exec backpack

For a list of emotes type /list_emotes and type /emote name in the chatbox to execute the emote.

You can comment on this article at the link below this article.

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