Work has been expanding on multiple fronts.
one, the Dev Team has been rolling up our sleeves and laying the
foundation for an entire in-game metropolis that the player will
be able to traverse - either by walking, or by any means of transportation
he may have available, including flight, buses, trolleys, and the
ever-popular taxi cab.
take a lot for granted in the cities and towns in which we live.
Just how many stores are in a strip mall anyway? And when creating
a fictional city, you have to know the answer to "just where
is a cop when you need one?"
also been spending inordinate amounts of time devising game-speak
ability for NPC characters to talk to the player, each other, and
other main characters. Some NPC's are bossier than others, and you
never know how a street-side crisis will end up when a self-important
politician shows up and tries giving orders.
we've just unleashed a Concept Art Section. This will give you an
example of the directions we are and aren't going with the game
we have in development. That means some of the art will be older
and since refined or discarded or shelved for later games. But you'll
definitely get a feel for the flavor and humor of where we're headed!
A difficult task in creating a game is making sure the players are
immersed in it. By that we mean the players should be playing the
game like they were the characters, and that those character exist
in the “real” world of the game. Actions should be consistent
and have consequences. By the same token – if the player is
overly (and overtly!) aware that they have to find/kill/maim/destroy
X number of Bad Guys in order to “Level Up” then they
aren’t playing as the character, they are just using the game’s
interface to change stats on a spreadsheet. That reminds players
they are playing a game and pulls them out of the experience. Past
a certain novelty level as you learn to find/kill/maim/destroy,
how much fun is that?
tougher dealing with this concept in multiplayer games. In a game
world where player characters are all supposed to be the Good Guys,
shouldn’t they help another player who is in the middle of
a fight with the Bad Guys? In-Game Dynamics say “yes!”
but some games that are more interested in Leveling Up than Playing
the World will actually hold such a heroic act up to ridicule for
“stealing XP” rather than just doing what a heroic character
on our watch.
Several key elements, locations, and characters have been revamped
and renamed to avoid the appearance they have been improperly borrowed
from similar games. Everybody wants things to be fresh and original,
so even though we've come up with our components completely independant
of other games, the “I got there first” syndrome definitely
comes into play. That can be a pain in the cottontail, but it makes
the Devs think harder and the result is generally a better concept
and/or execution than the original idea. We want to honor, flatter,
and parody those sources that have inspired us, not appear to be
ripping off other games.
Today the team
settled on “Safe Harbor.” An interesting place to live,
if you know the right people.
New character designs continue to be approved. The process can be
a bit protracted; often the “right” details of a character
only reveal themselves after other versions just don’t pan
out. Sometimes humorous characters start out much too serious. However,
the process is never a waste of time, because rejected designs often
prove to be launching points for other new characters.
Hate Bunny Hopping. Bunny Hoppers must die. Only Dev Team “BunnyHoppers”
may live – and that is because we hate Bunny Hopping. This
may be a great disappointment to those who make their living hopping
and skipping through a game like Dorothy on the Yellow Brick Road,
but for those players who realize that the characters they’re
playing wouldn’t do that, this will be a cause for celebration.
Characters will be able to Dodge incoming attacks if they are paying
attention, or have selected Danger Sense. Wait - did I just let
a rabbit out of the hat?
Oh, Bunny Hopping
will still be possible – but you’ll have to select it,
and the cost will be great. The Dev Team hasn’t decided if
ears and big feet come with the selection or not.
Vehicles are getting a close look, especially for the Multiplayer
Mode. The intent is not to create a vehicle game – but that
doesn’t mean they can’t be put to good use. As with
anything, the potential for misuse and exploit is tremendous. In
fact, a large portion of game design revolves around looking for
loopholes – how will players, who are generally much more
clever than the Dev Team, make things work in ways we never thought…
ways that completely unbalance the game? And how can we prevent
that kind of misuse without nerfing some incredibly cool elements
in the game?
More Multiplayer advances: in most multiplayer games involving teams,
there are few goals (Capture the Flag! Anyone?) and both teams are
on even footing. Both are “the good guys” – at
least from their own perspective. But not in this game. For some
players, it’s good to be Bad, and Multiplayer mode will definitely
see one team assigned as Villains, getting to do (and get points
from) bad, destructive things. Advantages and perks of being the
Villainous team have been created, while trying to keep being the
Good Guy fun and possible. As Spock once said, historically it has
always been easier to destroy than create.
The New Year brings us a New Look at Multiplayer Game. Emphasis
has been placed on team behavior and team work – but there’s
a fine line between wanting players to act like a team and forcing
them. Incentives and benefits are being created that will encourage
team play. Players that don’t take act as a unit will give
a great advantage to the opposition.
Single Player gameplay continues to get the lion’s share of
attention. Taking care of character fatigue, anger, arrogance, and
desperation required a re-working of certain statistics. Strength
is strength, right? But where is the line between speed and dexterity?
Should characters “dodge” something even when the player
doesn’t see it coming? The results of this tweaking will definitely
have serious (and seriously fun) application when the attention
swings around to Multiplayer.
Gameplay overview continues to take unexpected turns as characters
are developed. While the main characters of the Single Player game
have been fairly well fleshed out, details change as we review the
player’s ability to interact with them. The world has to live
and breathe no matter what the player does – and that affects
how character/NPC interaction takes place. Reputation, attitude,
even motives all have to be written into NPC behavior.