Plot Work and DMC Experiment #1 Cont'd

Though I was in town all day yesterday, I still managed to get a decent amount of plot scribbling done using good, old fashioned pen and paper. I focused on some possible background info for the player, possible clues they could find, and how things all tie together. I think I answered some questions, but also created some.

However, it definitely helped to get some ideas down on paper, even if some ideas were discarded, as putting the ideas in ink seemed to clear the way for new, improved ideas.

DMC Experiment #1 Cont'd

Today, I continued work on the city map pictured in Monday's post. I filled in a lot more detail in the sprawl area and along the wall, and even managed to finish an arcology. Individually, the components looked ok, but I was starting to feel some issues creep into the overall design.

First, the map was slightly off-grid, meaning that detail work was really hard to do at the pixel level. Pixel art works a lot better when one can rely on the grid, avoiding points that straddle pixels.

Second, the map was just huge. After filling in some detail, it was clear I'd have my work cut out for me. Plus, at the scale I was testing, most buildings wouldn't even show up. Arcology-sized ones, yes. But the rest would just form a mushy soup of color, and it'd be hard to make interesting details at that scale.

So I've decided to try a new layout, roughly half the area, so the blocks are twice as big. This scale sacrifices expansiveness, but I can actually add more details to keep it interesting looking. The details aren't strictly necessary, I suppose, but I think they'll help sell the atmosphere of the city, and a lot of folks probably would enjoy seeing a bird's eye view instead of orbital view.

Plus, I've realigned the map to be along grid lines. These two changes should allow me to create better detail, especially in macro objects, like the buildings.

Lastly, all of the work done so far has taught me some useful tricks, so this new map is coming along a bit faster. I've already got the new one laid out, the sprawl lights and streets are just about done, and some landmark sites earmarked. I should be able to start on DMC buildings tomorrow morning.

Overall, not an ideal workday, but sometimes iterative work means scrapping one effort to do a better, revised one. Hopefully, the new layout does the job.

For now, though, it's time for some wrap-up, and then dinner. Have a good one, all!


mdqp's picture

Just dropping in to let you know this work on the city sounds really interesting, because of the possibilities it could bring, and because having a chance to really visit the city after hanging around it for so long sounds exciting!

By the way, is there a road map of sorts for the development? A list for the short-middle term goals you might have? I tried to take a look around the forums, but didn't find anything (I know there is the feature voting, but I am not sure just how much do you plan to do for each of those categories and when, so I thought I'd ask if you have a general idea of what you are going to do next or not).

dcfedor's picture

Hey mdgp,

I think the map approach makes it easier to introduce players to a few different facets of the DMC at their leisure, and lets me expand on it as necessary. Hopefully, it'll live up to people's expectations. I'm a bit worried they'll have imagined it to be cooler than I could make it :)

As for roadmaps, I think the feature voting page is probably the most reliable. I've been following the priorities there pretty faithfully, with only a deviation once to put plot on hold for some combat/wound updates. It's more high-level, though, so it only says I'll be doing plot first, then bigger resolution, then crafting.

On a more granular level, I'm planning to add plot encounters to further the story of Philip Kindred, and probably some city services (food, medicine, lodging, etc.) before taking another break from plot. It should give folks a few new things to explore before I try to tackle the resolution/crafting updates.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games

Kaaven's picture

Answer you gave to mdgp was exactly what I was hoping for, thanks for that.

On the city map topic, I agree as well, first map was looking too big. And that brings me to a question: how much content are you planning to put in there? Will it be a pit-stop with shops and Cryolab-level encounter or a bigger part of the game? Cause even 2x smaller map seems like enough space for a whole new game to take place in.

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mdqp's picture

Thanks for the reply.

I am pretty imaginative, but I am sure you won't disappoint... No pressure! ;p
Joking aside, just having an area that feels completely different will be cool to explore, even if it might not be this lively hub from the very beginning.

I guess I'll have to keep my eyes open for any changes in the feature voting page! ;)

About the city, do you plan on adding a more reliable refuge? A place that isn't so easy to raid by other parties, or will the player remain an outsider, and just pass by the big town? It surely feels like they could think about settling down, after surviving the dangers of the outside world, but I guess that the access they have to the city is too easy to revoke, right now.

dcfedor's picture

No problem! I'm happy to share. I don't always know exactly what I'll do, or how I do it, so these types of questions can sometimes educate me too :)

Re: amount of content in the city, I think it will be a few choice services, and a couple cryo-style encounters. Enough to get a taste for the city, and upgrade/stock up for the longer journey(s). It's true that the original map could've hosted an entire game. In fact, some really enjoyable stories have taken place in far smaller spaces.

Re: reliable refuge, I'm not sure what amenities the DMC will offer yet, but it will likely have a safe place to sleep. A safe place to store gear would mean a long-term residence/citizenship, and I'm not sure if I'll offer anything like that. Though, I suppose there could be a bus-station-style locker or safety deposit box for small valuables.

The most likely case, though, is something like a dingy motel or flop-house. So, safe for the night, but nothing long-term.

Dan Fedor - Founder, Blue Bottle Games