Monday, September 19, 2011

Project Basics

Any good project begins with an outline of what is intended and what is expected.  Well, as I do plan to make some personal gain out of this project, I'm going to keep some aspects purposefully vague.  That shouldn't be much of an issue until later stages when I have to creatively leave out certain information and still expect people to understand.  To keep it simple (the basics) we're looking at a pretty standard fantasy world.

Warning for those who've spent much time dealing with fantasy worlds, though; my aim is to avoid certain stereotypes and preconceived notions.  The first such instance regards "Orcs."  Most people think of them as "pig faced, muscly humans."  The etymology is much more forgiving towards artistic license; it's derived from "orca," the current proper name for what is commonly referred to as Killer Whales.  Orca and orcs refer to monsters of just about any generic variety, generally thought to be born of the water.  The society that invented this word feared the water, out of superstition and even somewhat from the invasions of foreigners.  As such, I plan to take plenty of creative liberties with the term and what it refers to in this world I'm crafting.  For those of you who share my enthusiasm for Japanese comics and cartoons, a similar word might be "yokai" or "kaiju."  Yes, I know both of those words have rather different connotations, but both of those connotations fall within what an "Orc" originally was.  Anyways, the brief outline of what I'm seeking to craft:
  • World: standard fantasy world, stylized
  • Player Avatar: identifiable fantasy protagonist with personal motivations and failings
  • Characters: stylized 3d (super-deformed/simplified) sprites, graphic representation in conversations (important NPCs)
  • How will the game play?
  • plot (basics)
  • additional features (aka aspirations)
    • Factions (you can't please everybody)
    • Upgrades (how it'll be done, scope of upgrades, etc.)
The world I intend to show a range of areas, beginning with a forested Hub area leading to the other areas.  Not going too deep on this front yet, though ruins/caves/etc. are likely to be in the works eventually.  All things in due time.

Due to story constraints, I'm having issues with character design for the main character.  Long story short, he needs to be identifiable, but cannot have the stereotypical shining armor or fancy accouterments.  His armor will be either a brigandine or gambeson (I'm still deciding between the two, the key being functionality and servicability), I've never been good with regards to hair styles for heroes, much more difficult in that there's really been a dearth of men's style and fashion outside of a narrow box for several decades.  Granted, I do know that suspension of disbelief is a powerful tool in regards to what a character can get away with for story purposes, but these style choices are intended to tell much about the character, where he finds himself and why, as well as the world in which he finds himself.

I'm unsure if I should list too many details about the plot and characters for a few reasons.  One of those reasons is, of course, to not reveal too much about my project's intended outcome.  The second is to prevent spoilers.  In the interest of providing a quality product with good thought put into it, I'll refrain from divulging too many details as far as character personalities go, while listing the difficulties of character designs.  Hopefully that'll be enough to satisfy those who follow this blog.

As for aspirations, I would like to add a lot of things.  Factions are at the top of the list, as I feel it would be an interesting mechanic to augment the story. I'm yet unsure how to handle upgrades.  I have a few ideas, but I consider them "complicated ideas to look at later."  I'd also like to add random dungeons before everything is over, but, let's face it, that's much more complicated to implement, and not always as satisfying for the player, as a well-designed dungeon. First and foremost, though, I will make a world and some decent characters to populate it.

I have a solid concept of how I want the game's play to be.  Though I hate to put it so simply and stereotypically, the easiest explanation is "Zelda-like, 3/4 Overhead exploration."  I'd prefer to implement a rotating/chasing camera view to eliminate the painful issues that camera angles can bring.  Jumping would be fun, too, but can cause it's own issues and generally is unrealistic to expect of somebody running around wearing armor, so we'll see.  A health meter of some sort will be implemented, though I'm debating weather to add a magic bar (such that would also include adding magic of some sort), a stamina bar (because running around the wild in even light armor and swinging a sharpened metal stick is tiring), and a few other things I'll mention later when it becomes pertinent.

Fool indeed.  Back to character design, then.  Once I have a functional hero design, I will work on making a functional hero... in 3d!

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