The transition to open world (WIP)


Greetings adventurers!

I figured that since Dungeonlike is moving towards less-frequent-but-chunkier updates, I should probably post some information about what I am working on, so that you know what is happening. These posts will be marked as (WIP) instead of having a version number (v.0.2.1) so that if you are mostly interested in new releases, making the distinction will be easier. I think I will also start showing smaller pieces of progress on the facebook page, as it seems way too silent and could use something like weekly updates.

So what have I been up to? You may have seen in "The Future of Dungeonlike" post that I was grumbling about moving to open world at some point. Well, "some point" seems to be pointing towards late December, or if I can't get it out before Christmas, early January. I've managed to get Tiled editor to work with some of my tiles, so I got a 100x100 tile world map ready - even if a bit empty at the moment. The plan is that as I update the game, that world map will grow and "unlock" new areas and provinces, so I won't get blocked for months on designing a huge world all at once.

The game will also slowly incorporate the concept of factions, and I currently have 5 (well, 5.5) of those:

  • Kingdom of Alaria (the humans) -> town of Pinefell belongs there
  • Alarian Bandits (the humans who want you dead) -> new faction, got 11 new enemies in there
  • Crimson Horde (mercenary orc organisation), -> these are the guys who currently give you the main mission
  • Horde Deserters ("no-longer-mercenary orcs who want you dead") -> these are the guys you've been mostly fighting so far
  • Dark Legion ("the undead") -> good old skellys and zombies
  • The .5 faction is what I would call "wildlife" and I plan on those being wild ogres, trolls and maybe wolves.

The main feature of the open world will currently be a Camp System. The way it works is that there will be camps/nests of hostile factions (bandits, deserters or wildlife) periodically spawning on the map and becoming a threat during travel. I you step too close to such camps while travling on the map, you might be ambushed and nobody wants that. But if you discover such camp and kill its leader, the camp will be considered destroyed and the area will be safe... until new guys come around. This entire system is about 95% done as I am writing this.

But open world is much more than that, which is why I can't release the game in its current state. Stuff that still needs to be done before I release a new version is:

  • More friendly settlements. Ideally I'd like to have at least one big city for the Alarian Kingdom and some kind of Horde Outpost for the player to visit. The first one will take time due to it being a larger map than Pinefell, the second one might take time if I want to have it look "orcish", as this will probably require some pixel art effort, which isn't really among my best talents.
  • Some additional dungeons to explore. Still not sure if I want these to spawn like camps, Elona style, or do I just want a predefined set spawned when you start a game, which could be then found and wiped out forever. If anybody has ideas with regard to this, I'd be grateful. Ruins popping out of nowhere getting "spawned" just sounds wrong.
  • UI tweaks, such as displaying the name of the town/dungeon on the map, and tweaking the minimap to show a bit more detail about the terrain.
  • Reworking the town portal scrolls - these will probably need to become town-specific, as in "Pinefell Scroll" etc. since there will be more than one town to choose from. Or I could get a scroll which lets you teleport to any known town of your choice. Knowing me, I will have both available and just make the latter more expensive.
  • Day/Night transition. As you are far more likely to be playing out in the open, having the game report the time as 3 AM and still looking like it's lunchtime just doesn't sit well with me. This will probably just some semi-transparent dark layer displayed on top of everything, but it's been bugging me for a while.
  • Since I have removed "borders" around levels (eg. Pinefell had all those trees blocking you) I have seen that AI sometimes tries to do stuff outside of level borders, so I imagine all of this will need a ton of testing and tweaks.
  • And at the very end, as always, need to make sure that everything mentioned above sits well within the save files and does not blow up.

Hope the read did not bore you to death! As always, I am very curious to see what you think about all of this, does it look interesting to you, or maybe you have some ideas that would sit well within this open world setting? Let me know!

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