Well this is exciting! For today’s development blog we thought we would focus in on a preview of our introduction/tutorial development. Joe, Matt, Lauren and John have all been knocking heads to develop story, animation, dialog, artwork and pacing to bring it all to life.
Our goal for the opening sequence is to keep it feeling as free form and flexible as possible. Critically, our main aim is to effectively use visual and animated interactive components to guide you through different stages of game play learning. Pioneers should also be able to opt out entirely and wander away at any stage if they desired to do so, not affecting the overall story experience.
The process started with the player feedback we’ve had since the early versions of the game. From there we’ve fleshed things out a lot. We’ve always wanted Pioneers to feel isolated, yet superior against surmountable odds. The Introduction has to portray this, both showing your vulnerability, and immense power.
This links into helping Pioneers understand their stats and how to repair their Armour. One of the first stages in this introduction is a quick interactive sequence that will prompt you to repair your existing suit armour.
Good pacing is the core to a digestible tutorial, and it’s important we teach the critical gameplay systems early on. Our basic outline that helped us structure this are as follows.
- Inventory & survival systems
- Weapons and Combat
- Mining and Reclaiming
- Objectives System
- Building System and Base Essentials
Combat and salvaging
Once Pioneers are on their feet we almost immediately want to show that Eden Star at it’s heart is built around Combat. This is important to get to grips with early on as a core game pillar, so there will be a basic weapon drop on the floor as you get up after a seemingly mysterious and violent crash.
With what seems like your own drop ship downed in front of you, smoldering and battered, the Pioneers first challenge awaits. Giving you basic splintermite enemies that must be tackled to allow investigation of the pod in a hassle free environment. This is critically important as all night enemies are designed to be a constant threat to your survival as the game progresses.
The Drop Ship
The design of the drop ship becomes the perfect opportunity to bind gameplay and a unique asset. The development for the parts of the ship logically have to follow our build system to allow Pioneers to reclaim parts.
In principle we are employing a ‘you can do this if you want to approach’ so this is not going to be directly taught to Pioneers through dialog. Instead the most important elements like the pod are made to be obviously interactive, becoming a learning discovery method which is gently pushed under your nose with prompts from the on screen scanner.
The Drone in the sequence initially acts as an informer for your Pioneers current and rather worrying predicament. We are toying with the idea of potentially making him/her a free starting A.I. scout companion. This all hinges on our progress implementation of the allied A.I. system.
One of our best solutions to fit within the free form structure is a ‘communication relay’ which will essentially be a trigger with audio. These ‘comm relays’ will actively trigger different location markers on the islands that will lead to other drops/events within our story component.
This is all still work in progress so we hope you liked the preview! You can stay up to date with out development tasks and progress on our Public Trello Boards.
See you in the Fray
– Team Flix