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Progress report for August

August 12, 2008

   We’re waiting on the latest update on the Trident3D engine. While we wait, we have been working on many other areas, including refining the game design. Design changes have gone into many areas, including monster races, world history, how horses work, bargaining with evil, death penalties, character abilities and more.

One area of the game design that we changed has a large impact on the game world. This involved the lands under Citadel control in the war against Morphael. We decided that it was too peaceful. With only some untamed areas, and occasional forays by Morphael’s war parties, it was just too sedate. The answer… anarchy. We changed the story so that all the lands that the Citadel now claims are in various states of anarchy. There are small feudal kingdoms, areas held by strange cults, wild areas ruled by bandit gangs, all kinds of political, religious, criminal and just plain untamed areas. Meanwhile the Citadel is attempting to bring order to chaos before these lands are overwhelmed by the more organized forces of Morphael. We’ve spent a lot of time working out this new wrinkle to the game, and we have found that the Citadel lands are now ripe for almost any kind of quest and adventure. Everywhere you will go is different and danger hides around every corner. Design work is ongoing to develop this new concept of the world situation.

In art we continue to develop models getting ready for the expansion of the Reflected Worlds terrain. This will take quite some time as it is the largest piece of work left in technology. Many areas we have already modeled have a lot of ground that is placeholder, and a lot of textures are temporary while we wait for this critical piece of the engine to be finished.

Meanwhile, we are preparing assets for the launch of Enact, phase 1, our world editor. Up until now we have been using the original editor that came with the Trident3D engine, but it will not suffice for the quest system we designed. Programming on Enact goes on, but we don’t have a completion date yet. We’re looking forward to Enact as it has the fundamental difference from the original editor in that it works inside the live game rather than outside requiring a compile phase. Enact allows us to edit a quest in real time, while the game world runs. This allows for much faster work and instant testing of quests , missions, adventures, and more.

Our Level Design Interns have now been with us for several months and are starting to grasp what it takes to design one of our quests. They are learning how a single original story written in the correct format can be fed into the game system and become many different adventures for players. This extremely specialized style of writing is difficult to learn, but they are doing an admirable job so far. Four of the original Interns will be continuing on to the next session. We may take on a few new interns who are committed and crazy enough to take on learning this very difficult system of quest writing.

Another area that has seen recent progress is the user interface design and art prototyping. We’re starting to get a good idea of what the main interface to players will be like. We may post some screenshots of that soon so that we can get some feedback from players.

There hasn’t been any time to work on a new website yet, it’s just not a high priority. We need to advance the game long before we worry about pretty web site graphics.

Well, that’s the state of the game… for now. We’ll post more news as things progress.

 

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