Dev Diary #39: The Path Ahead
Updated: Jul 15, 2020
I’m writing today to provide an update on our progress with Luckless Seven. This time, the theme is approaching new frontiers. As Mark and the gang set off to participate in Arithia’s Ekosi tournament, he’ll be departing his hometown of Patrida for the first time. For our team, that means getting out of our comfort zone and designing new, non-urban environments. For Mark, that means getting out of his comfort zone to meet new people from all walks of life.
If you’ve played through the demos so far, you know that our level design so far has established the urban/suburban (and largely interior) surroundings of Mark’s hometown: his home, Krista’s home, the hospital, casino, etc. As they set off for Neropolis, though, the Luckless Seven will be traversing Arithia’s grasslands.
Caption: Routes between cities showcase big changes in scenery This environment is different in a lot of ways, starting with size. The trail that Mark and the gang will traverse on Day 4 and Day 5 is a much larger level than any we’ve designed yet. That poses a visual challenge. With so much space, how do you maintain visual interest? Grass is great--no, we really like our grass--but you need more than that. Jesse has done a great job thus far in populating the level with natural and manmade formations: large rocks, waving trees, bridges, and rest areas. The level looks great.
Caption: Outdoor environments and wider spaces are the environmental focus of game's next chapter.
Still, other challenges lie ahead, including directing player attention. How do you direct the player to the places and people we want them to interact with? It’s a challenge we’ll have to meet before releasing the demo for testing.
Caption: Just because you're out on the road doesn't mean you won't find some opponents to battle!
On a narrative level, Mark is getting into new territory of his own. Having spent all of his life at home in Patrida, Mark’s travels to Neropolis will be a real adventure. On the trail, Mark will meet people who are different from him and his friends, characters of all ages, backgrounds, and dispositions towards Ekosi. In a story that will center on Mark’s open-ended coming of age, a diverse set of characters and opinions is important. It will help the player decide who Mark is and who he should be in relation to his favorite pastime and the world at large.
Caption: Some of your toughest opponents may be found out in the wilderness.
To that end, we’ve laid plans for some of the diverse characters who will populate the trail: older characters who only know Ekosi as parents or complete outsiders, Mark’s peers who will compete in the tournament, and youngsters who have only just encountered the game. We’re excited for these dialogues that will flesh out the player’s understanding of the social world of Arithia.
Caption: Veteran Ekosi players may provide unique challenges and rewards for Mark.
As we face new frontiers in design and storytelling, it’s important for you to let us know what you think! The feedback provided by our generous backers and playtesters is what guides us on the path ahead.
Until next time!