Devblog—March 14, 2017

 It’s starting to feel like work now

With Version 0.1 now actually being played by people outside of a test scene setting, I’ve begun to get feedback, and feedback means tweaks and adjustments. This is good, but I’m discovering what parts of the process I really enjoy, and what parts of the process feel like work.

Version 0.11—Changelog

  • I tweaked the final combat sequence in the prologue. As it was, I was using copy&paste fire spirits, which have 242 spent karma. That’s obviously far too powerful for a chargen player; even though the combat is meant to be avoided, there are better ways of conveying this, and the risk of the player getting one-shot was simply too high. So I made a new character sheet for the fire spirits closer to 100 spent karma, and a bunch of it is in useless stats for them like Intelligence (holdovers from the C&P sheet), so realistically they’re probably closer to 60-70 spent karma. This, along with some AI tweaks, should keep players from getting nuked down in a single turn. If it’s still too tough, I already know what further tweaks I’ll make, so it’s just a matter of getting fresh players on it.
  • Moved Penny the secretary in the hightower map a bit over and switched her to a seated stance. Took a few tries to get the chair to line up beneath her just right but I think I got it. May have to change the chair, though. It’s kinda ugly.
  • Added 5+ rooms on what I’m calling the “Vitacorp” map (see details below) and am now assuming it to be the shadowrun for episode 1.
  • Built two new vendor hovels. One is a gun shop designed for ye olde generic street samurai armaments. I f***ing love this room. The stairs lead to an upstairs attic area where an elf monk named Kanon Kai resides. She’ll sell adept wares.
  • I built another bar room, mostly out of idle boredom, but also in the case that my current bar design proves too large to integrate into the hub. This one’s supposed to at least maintain the appearance of some swank (hardwood floors!). The upstairs, where the real fun happens, hasn’t been designed yet.
  • Began work on what may become the player’s abode (see below). As of now, it’s 4-5 rooms, mostly done. It’s a pretty small map. If I’m going to do a NOLA LTG hub like in Mercurial, I should have the space and memory to attach it to here, so that’s what I’m gonna do.

Vitacorp

A few weeks back, I mentioned getting bored/burned out with doing things to get 0.1 ready and started making a new map. I based it largely off the few rooms we get to see of the Jita Corp office in the game Dreamfall: the Longest Journey.

Originally, I’d planned for this to be an Act 2 shadowrun to be released with Episode 2, the plot revolving around a sort of opposite experience to the Ares run in Hong Kong: Team Shadowrunner arrives on the scene after another group of Shadowrunners and has to catch up to them while fighting off the quick-response teams arriving elsewhere in response to the first shadowrunners being there. I might still utilize that plot at some point, but with some minor tweaks, this could easily be how the player encounters the shadowrunners they are pursuing in the meta-story, making this akin to the Drogenkippe run from Dragonfall.

The “point” is to fill the hallways with a bunch of corpses, bulletholes, burn marks, and blood stains, and let the player see the “wake” of a shadowrun.

I still have some rooms I don’t know what I’m going to put in them, but I ripped a bit from some other games and am kind of hashing together a frankenrun off of a hodgepodge of stuff from Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and elsewhere.

Eventually, I’ll hope to have some kind of cohesive narrative, as well as a better name for this corp than “Vitacorp” and at least some idea as to what they actually do, though if this equipment is any indication, it can’t be good. The double-edged sword that comes with a light-content setting is that I can make up stuff as I go, but like with all fiction, it has to make sense. So, I’m taking applications for A-rated “megacorp” or conglomerate names!

Player’s Abode

Rather than use the normal safehouse option, one idea I’ve been tossing around is that the player has their own abode. In the current writing of the script, it gets taken from them as a security precaution when they go deep undercover, but I don’t really see a reason for this. Instead, what I may do is design an abode that serves as the safehouse where they can go to the hub or to the New Orleans Matrix LTG. In other words, their abode is where the player will accept contracts, diddle on Shadowlands, and do all of the normal safehouse-y things except for interact with the rest of the crew, and there’s a reason for that.

I don’t normally make a habit of talking about things I intend to do, but one thing I’m hoping to try out with this map is to give the player a “personal” room; one tied to their history before becoming a shadowrunner, as decided by the archetype they choose at character generation (or skills, in the case of “none”; same way initial gear is given to the player in Hong Kong). By tagging sets of props and attaching them to the player’s archetype, I can hide or reveal a “series” of props along a theme. Say the player is a mage, this “personal room” will be full of arcane accoutrement. Say they’re a rigger, maybe there’s a vehicle and some drone bodies off to the side instead. This gives the player a sense of agency, that not only do their choices matter, but their identity matters. And this is a story about identities; masks. So I think, if it works, it’ll be really fun.

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