28 October 2013

Even more Altera stuff

Every once in a while i add posts about Altera's development. Altera still seems more like an tech demo rather than a game so im waiting it to shape up before i post a complete page. (or maybe im just feeling lazy to go through my previous posts and arrange stuff)

For previous posts full of concept art and other similar nonsense check these links;
1 2 3 

Altera keeps changing with every build. At first it felt like an ambitious mix of couple of games but now it feels more like an open world game where you build an economy (or a base) make sure it functions properly and start to explore the map to find various things to do.

Couple of  screenshots from more or less current state (click to enlarge)

Couple of structure models

Concepts for the character / inventory screen

shortcuts to follower's inventories on the left (4 max similar to syndicate), gold and other resources are clearly visible on top, xp needed for next level is shown beneath the hero name, equip and drop slots for easy inventory management, kill counter on the side to allow more space to the list.

Stats for selected item and current equipped item are shown next to each other for easy comparison.

concepts for a simple in game hud 

Troll Concept and model suggestion, tried to stay away from a fantasy troll (apart from the skin colour) and focus on internet trolls. thats the excuse for drawing this silly costume. 

Trying to give lego like details to the troll's costume. 

and Lee's modified (probably final) look of the troll with glow. Awesome

Model suggestions for a scorpion... kind of hard to make a scorpion from bricks...

Below are my rants about how the exploration aspect of Altera can be:

- World and mini map is covered with fog, revealed as player walks around

- The world can have random placed regions / zones with different themes such as memorials, ruins or other places of interest.

- Regions / zones can be divided into 3 main types:

Landmarks / Monuments: These are stuff left behind by previous users of the altera system. Single tile decorations like crumbled structures or statues of elder beings, ruins that keep artifacts etc.

Places of Interest: These are places that some how require players interaction. Examples such as camp sites or gatherings of denizens minding their own business, mercenary camps where you could purchase services from denizens etc. These regions do not need unique visuals. Some can be made by recycling generic art (like a gobman village by placing 3-5 gobmen lairs together) but it will be nice if most had at least a 1×1 unique tile to show the regions theme

Special: These can be random out of place stuff like a xenowar ufo crash site, a gobmen being cooked inside a cauldron or a group of mantis running circles around an obelisk.  Special regions should be unique (There cannot be two instances of the same special zone in a single game) and should be sparsely placed (Two special zones cannot be too close to each other)

- When the player discovers a region for the first time a text message will be shown on screen giving the location name and xp earned. Giving xp for discovering locations can be used as rewards to encourage the player to keep exploring.

- A semi transparent Minimap (that can be toggled into a full screen travel map) with tiny icons representing the types of regions and their colour coded threat levels. Each zone should have two states such as visited and discovered.

- fast travel between zones using roads (conveyor belts) by clicking on hotspot locations on the travel map.

couple of ruins to decorate the map

Not much of a grinding fan myself but there are many people who enjoy it and it does make games catchy in a strange way. A simple way to merge exploration with grinding can be to "tightly seed" the map with grind locations so players can explore to find more combat and loot.

Each location can have a resource, item or reward that can be collected once all the guardians around it are defeated. 

There would be waves of monsters one after another and sometimes the player would have to run back to base and heal a couple of times before being able to completely clear a zone. Such zones can also spawn raiding parties depending on their threat levels. Spawned monsters from a different zone will attack the player's core while the player is busy trying to clear another zone.

However such mechanic will force the player into combat most the time, it may make the game feel monotonous or tiresome for people who enjoy casual exploration game play. Difficulty settings in the main menu to set the amount of combat, frequency of enemies spawned, number of regions and landmass size etc can allow players to fine tune the game as they would like.