Monday, March 5, 2012

Shattered War exclusions

I'm taking a bit of a different approach for today's blog about The Shattered War. Recently I've been covering things that I've included and the decisions I've made. Thanks to a suggestion from a friend, today's post is going to cover things that didn't make the cut.  That's right, I'm going to be talking about things I decided not to include and why.

Companion Abilities
The plan here was to make some custom abilities for each companion that would set them apart from the regular warriors, rogues and mages. Not only that, but these abilities would vary in their effectiveness and strength based upon the player's interaction with them. Take Fialeth, the elven rogue, who prefers to fight with a dual-wield style. If the player encouraged her to pursue an aggressive or angry method to resolve her issue, then the ability would cause her to inflict more damage. Alternatively, a player pursuing a path of reconciliation would provide Fialeth with the ability to avoid damage.

I was never a huge fan of the gift system in Dragon Age: Origins. It felt a little clunky most of the time, and felt like a means to smooth over relations with characters whom you fundamentally disagreed with. On the whole I felt the rivalry system introduced in Dragon Age 2 was a lot better, another design choice led by Alpha Protocol.

The friendship/rivalry system was one of the improvements of DA2

In sort of a combination of the above two issues, I am looking to implement small bonuses to attributes (just like DA:O did) but to give different bonuses based on whether the companions like or dislike you. Of course, the bonuses provided will be to different attributes based on the companion and how they feel about you.

Custom Models
Basically, I don't have the necessary modelling skills, and I don't know the process for including new models. In addition, it would be vital the new models follow the same sort of artistic style present in the original game, as I wouldn't want something that feels out of place with existing content.

No Area Reuse
There will be some areas that will be reused from Origins within the game. In virtually all cases I'll make some modifications so that they're not immediately recognisable from the original game, and there will only be a few areas that I'll appropriate as part of the adventure. I'm also limiting this exclusively to interior areas; my ability to create interiors is not as high working with exterior/landscape levels, so I've focused more on my strengths. This helps reduce my workload and enable me to get the mod released earlier.

When you're outside, expect completely new terrain

Minor Characters & Ambient Consequences
One initial plan for The Shattered War was to have a large number of "ambient consequences". This involved having a significant cast of "ambient" characters in the adventure - NPCs that either only speak in barkstrings (ie one-line conversations that do not go into letterbox format) upon the player interacting with them, or simply holding background banter as the player passes.

The concept was that the player would make many minor decisions throughout the adventure or perform with varying degrees of success in battle, and these would be reflected in these "background" conversations.  For example, one sidequest may see the player placing poison to kill off dangerous and aggressive wildlife. This would subsequently result in the player overhearing a conversation between people where a Mabari had died. Alternatively, if the player didn't carry out, the people would comment on how the region was unsafe. Another example is where the player fights alongside allies - their survival (or not) would be reflected in conversation later on.

 The people around this campfire won't be as talkative as I originally planned

Unfortunately the overhead of managing and recording the necessary amount dialogue means that this idea would take a great deal of time. A lot of the necessary background work is present to enable this to happen, but I simply haven't written the associated dialogue.

So there you have it, some things that didn't make the cut within The Shattered War. I'm hopeful that the things that have remained as part of the adventure will keep players engaged and entertained.

No comments:

Post a Comment