At rujasu's suggestion, I've been working on some map design drafts so that we can talk about how are maps look, what should be on them, and get into a general agreement before
we fire up the map editor and start laying down tiles. We have five maps to create for this release, one of which is optional.
- Opening Scene (Finished)
- Desert Cave (Finished)
- Harrvah City + Castle
- Harrvah Sand Dock
- Harrvah City Outskirts (optional)
So I'll be drafting up some mockups for the remaining three maps. I completed one of them last week, the city outskirts map (because it was the easiest). This map is for a side quest that the player can choose to undertake before reaching the final scene in this release. Here's what I put together:
This is a little bit of an odd map, because a large portion of it is unexplorable (the gray area). The middle area of the map is the city of Harrvah, and the player is allowed to explore the desert area just outside of the city walls (the thick black lines). They can't venture too far in the sands, and the top of the map is blocked off by the rocky hills that the castle is built atop of. We should create this map only once we are happy with the size of the Harrvah city + castle map, as essentially what we want to do is take that map, pad rows and columns of tiles on both sides and the bottom of it, and then strip out anything in the middle (no point in keeping the city tiles in there when they'll never be seen). This should be a rather easy map to create.
We haven't discussed exactly what sort of side quest will happen on this map at all. As I was producing this design, I came up with a few ideas.
- The side-quest can be a simple "fetch" event (find a lost possession)
- Someone in the city will approach Claudius and state that during the chaos of the attack, they lost their precious (something)
- Due to an order from the king, all citizens must remain within the city walls until security is restored. Only knights are allowed to leave the gates
- All knights are on various duties dealing with the aftermath of the attack and no other knight the citizen spoke to were able to grant the request. Claudius alone has the time (since he's preparing to depart the city from the sand dock)
- Claudius must choose whether or not to help. If he does so, he may be late for his departure.
- Claudius must scour the grounds outside of the city to find the objective, then bring it back to its owner. Various small desert enemies will roam outside the walls.
Here's some more brain dump of other ideas I was tossing around in my head:
Maybe this map can also include an underground cave/tunnel that is used for emergencies to escape the city. During the attack, the citizen who lost their belonging was rushed through the tunnels along with many others to escape the city. The item that was dropped was dropped in this tunnel, and during the attack the entrance to the tunnel from within the city was collapsed/obstructed with rubble, and can no longer be entered from the city. Hence, the only way to get into the tunnel is from outside of the city, which is why the citizen can not retrieve this item without assistance. Desert creatures found their way into the tunnel during/after the chaos of the attack, which Claudius will have to fight his way through.
If the lost item is not an object but a person, maybe when Claudius finds the person, he discovers that they are already deceased. He has to go back and tell the parent/friend/whoever of the victim of their fate, and is confronted with the grief of the other person. This could be a good character building device in the story to show how Claudius reacts to someone finding out about a lost loved one.
Maybe there can be some penalty/reward system involved. If Claudius chooses to do the side quest, he may gain a small reward for completing the event, but it will cause his departure to be delayed and he will suffer consequences (or maybe just a scolding from the dock master). I'm not sure if punishing the player is an appropriate choice here, so perhaps the dialog of the sand dock is just altered slightly to reflect the fact that Claudius is late for his departure. I also had a thought that this could be a "timed mission" where if Claudius doesn't complete the mission in a certain amount of time (from the moment of accepting the quest), then there are penalties. But I think this would be more work than its worth, seeing as we don't really have any real support for "timed quests" in the game right now.
Let me know your thoughts
, both on the map layout draft I created above and the quest ideas. I'm particularly curious to know if anyone else likes my idea of including an underground emergency tunnel beneath the city to become a part of this map. I rather like the idea myself, because without it this map seems incredibly boring and uninteresting.