Design decisions

I had a chance over the Thanksgiving holiday to sit down with my brother and talk about the game.  There are, obviously, a virtually endless number possibilities when creating a game and picking a coherent direction can be tough.  Talking it over with him really helped and we decided on a slightly new direction for the game.  Since I started on this incarnation of the project I have been thinking of Lyridia as a multiplayer-focused game.  I was doing this primarily because I thought that I would end up with a game that other people wanted to play.  While this is an important goal, in order to keep working on this in my spare time I really think I need to make a game that I want to play.  Hopefully it will also be a game that other people want to play, otherwise what’s the point?  But I think it’s reasonable to assume that if I like it, at least some other people will too.

So here are the highlights of the new design for Chronicles of Tright: Lyridia.

  • The core of the game is a single-player experience
    • There will be a primary story that takes players all the way through the game with side quests that are not necessary but will enhance the experience.
  • Multiplayer features will be added later
    • Extra content (like instances and raids) will be available for those that enjoy that type of play, but will not be necessary to play or finish the game.  Public areas, chat, an auction system, and other features are also planned.
  • Choices matter
    • The story will require you to make decisions that affect the rest of the game.  This means there will be multiple versions of the same core story and multiple ways to finish the game.  A reincarnation system will allow players to play the game over and over, making different choices along the way each time.

One big challenge is going to be writing a story that is complete and yet can be extended later if needed.  Typically in an MMORPG if you want to add more story, or increase the level cap, you just create a new area and create a story for it.  For this game, increasing the level cap or adding more area to the game means I have to modify the whole story to include the new content.  I can still add side quest content without messing up the core story, but I don’t think it would work to add content for players at level 60 if the game’s main story ends for players at level 50.

Obviously this is still a very big challenge and will require lots and lots of planning to avoid having to totally redo things later, but I’m excited to have a specific path to follow, and hopefully that means progress will come a bit more quickly.

I’ve missed my December 1 deadline for a demo version of the game, but that’s due to the redesign.  I’ll have to see just how much time it takes to fully flesh out the story, but hopefully January 1 is a reasonable time to have something playable up and running.  We’ll see.

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