Our home town of Battleon is getting a little "Home Improvement." Actually, a lot. I was asked not to talk about it or show photos... let's see how that works out :D
No problem guys! I just blurred the photo like they do in those reality TV cop shows! "Faces blurred to protect the innocent... all suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of LAWL!"
The town of Battleon is our home. A place for all players to gather (unless it is destroyed by a monster invasion), feel safe (unless it is under attack), and get everything you need no matter what your level, class, or dietary restrictions (BattleOn is soy, daily, and GMO free.)
I lost count of how many versions of town we have concepted since we last spoke. My guess is we are on 7 or 8 at this point. The current version of Battleon is a very near replica of the town from the original game. But it is too open and spread out-- resulting in poor performance, and making it impossible to add lots of characters walking around and a feeling of density and life. Since this is our first 3D game, it is really important that we capture the spirit of our beloved town. Also, we have gotten better at making 3D stuff since we originally built the current version of the town.
Yergen starts by scultping 3D terrain to put the town on and positioning the buildings and cutting and texturing the roads. You really need to look at everything from the perspective of a player-- that is, controlling your character and running around while you move things around. Then you place the trees, bushes, add water effects to the fountain, paint the grass, and start adding NPCs. Building even a simple map in AdventureQuest 3D has three pages worth of steps you have to do before you can publish it and have it work. Then he uploads it to the dev server, fixes all the bugs and we get to run around it together. This sounds like fun, but I am so picky and over analyze everything so much it drives every crazy-- they can tell within 5 seconds of me looking at something if a redesign is going to be requested. (Although we will talk about it for hours before I actually ask.) But the talking is important because communicating lets us see through each others eyes. Some of the things we do and talk about are weird... For example, I will walk between the buildings and count the steps and seconds. We had a really neat idea for one of the previous designs, but when we made it, it was super claustrophobic. The initial view of town really creates that "feeling". So then I logged into see the newest 3D concept earlier today. Yergen really surprised me! It was nothing like any of the things we talked about. He was pretty sure I was going to hate it... but in less than 5 seconds of seeing it, I was in love. The first feeling I got was "wow, this feels like home." So I guess that is how you make a rough draft... you just make it over and over again until you get that feeling that, "Man, I could live here."
There are a few OTHER features we are preparing this new town for. There will be a storyline, one that takes you through the whole town, and a storyline in each of the shops. The town will be "invasion ready" -- which will allow for delightfully horrifying gaming memories. We are keeping player houses in mind with both a way to where your house will be, and how to get to other player's houses. Also we are making sure town is expandable so we can add all of the extra shops, houses, and locations that we want to add in the future. Also... new bushes. NEW BUSHES!? Yes... new bushes. At some point we need to make a bush travel form where you transform into a bush. But it will have a movement speed of 0. So you will have this epic transformation and "POOOF!" ... you are a bush that cannot move. Fan should be the NPC for this.
QUESTION: Any other features you would like to see in Town while we are working on the concepts?