Devblog—Mar 7, 2017

Scenes 1 and 2 now function start to finish

Okay, so what does that mean? It means a player can go from curtain up in scene 1 through scene 1 and get to the end of scene 2, click on the final door and be transported somewhere. The triggers work, the dialogue all…works, or at least doesn’t result in an infinite loop anywhere (at least, so far as I can see…yet).

What it doesn’t mean is that everything is pretty, or that maps are populated and full of props that make things look nice and/or realistic. It means that maybe combat doesn’t function exactly like I want it to. Maybe the player’s able to do things I don’t want them to do or can’t possibly predict they’ll even try to do. So, I’m about a day or two off of playtesting at the time of writing up this devblog.

  • As predicted, I spent most of this week in the Hightower map, which is essentially “Scene 2” fixing dialogue from the tangled mess of spaghetti code I’d originally written for it. Dialogue now flows much more nicely under the hood, allowing it to be added to/taken away from/edited much more efficiently than what I’d had it as before.
  • I added Kate to the Hightower map and gave her dialogue.
  • I added an exterior and small interior lobby section to the Hightower map; originally the player was just spawning up on the high level; with these added interactions, I needed a place for them to be and adding to the Hightower scene is the option that made the most sense. This is what took the most of the week, as building exteriors is not my specialty.

Introducing: Kate Burnside, aka “Salem”

As of right now, Kate will be the first crewmate to make an appearance in Shadowrun: New Orleans. She’s descended from some of the original witches to land in the American colonies, which is where her street name “Salem” comes from; an honorific for the traditions passed down in hers and others’ family lines since well before the Awakening.

When you first meet Kate, she tries to read your fortune, only to reveal that she’s aware of the swamp raid due to her main interest: independent journalism. She’ll wind up joining the character later as camera fodder for her next big story. While she might at first seem like the type to wind up as a damsel in distress, Kate is more than capable of handling herself in combat, and as a thrill-chaser, she’s eager to rush face-first into danger.

I haven’t yet figured out how I’m going to build crew advancement, but likely Kate’s paths are going to put her down an either direct damage role or support caster role.

So where do we go from here?

Speaking chronologically, the next scene will be the hub. But, like Hong Kong, it’ll be a hub unfriendly to the player, as they have not yet thrust themselves completely into the world of shadowrunning. This of course means I have to build the hub, and the hub is one of the most intense builds in the editor.

In other words, this next chunk is going to be as time-consuming as it is critically important, and it’s very realistic that I may take a break from “chronological order” development (especially after putting such heavy focus on the goal of a functioning Scene 1 and 2) and focus either on a shadowrun development (as in, an actual shadowrun).

I originally said I wanted “Episode 1” to be done by the end of March.

That gives me 3 and a half weeks. If my design for the hub holds true with no kinks, I do believe that being in playtesting for “Episode 1” by end of March is a perfectly achievable goal. If the hub proves too large to do in one load, meaning I have to break it up, I’ll have to start making critical decisions about its development, and that takes time, testing; and it’s looking like that could very well be the case here depending on what all I want to be a part of the hub.

It also depends on how I want to end “Episode 1”. As of right now, there are only three combat sequences, and that just doesn’t make much of a “game” now, does it? If I want to add a run that’s roughly synonymous with the Drogenkippe in Dragonfall or the first Walled City run in Hong Kong, I have to actually start designing it, and that could take two weeks just by itself, maybe three. If that turns out to be the case, then we might be looking at an April playtest/QA phase for May public release. But, hey, if it comes down to having an actual Shadowrun in this Shadowrun game, I think I’m willing to push back a date I’d entirely arbitrarily set up with 0 experience in the first place.