Sunday, July 11, 2010

AD: Secrets too Secret to be Secrets

In the past day or so, I've been working on some "hidden" things which are found within the game. Most of this is actually writing, but with some I had to design some interfaces for some "secret" areas. Of course with the World HUB being somewhat of a linear exploration, there are some secret areas which are well hidden, perhaps too well hidden.

This was when I started brainstorming ideas about how I could put "hints" into the game without it being blatantly obvious, or the hints being of no help at all. I then came up with the idea: "Stone Tablets", with these, being rather large looking stone slabs sticking out of the ground, the player will have to go investigate!
A stone slab which can be examined...

Upon examining the stone slab, the player is shown a simple screen (like one of the ones below) which display the "hint". The hints which are displayed, will all be pictures, exempt of text. Using this players will then have to pretty much "piece things together".
Shh.. That's a secret.

Shh.. So is this.

With this mechanic in place in the game, I want to take full advantage of it, so now I'm thinking of ways to expand it to help in other aspects of the game - like the Persistence Quality level for instance. If I can stretch it this far then the Persistence level will not only be about persistence, but of "piecing things together" as well.

Of course, with some areas being currently non-existent (like the secret areas and the last five areas of the World HUB), this mechanic will only be in place after I develop these areas and that they're able to be explored.

I'm contemplating adding these to the "Secrets" slot in the Pause Menu, due to the player (at current) having to either write it down, remember it, or know it as soon as they see it. However this fix wouldn't be one of my top priorities, as there are still a lot of things to implement into the game.

This leads into my next topic - the foreground plot for the game. Ever since creating the "dream" tutorial to the game, I've been struggling into tying it in to the background plot (which is actually the main plot of the game - it's very close to it). I've decided to scrap this "dream" and all of its cutscenes and rooms that I've completed and overhaul the game's background plot to become its foreground story.

In doing this I've created what I call a "void". The player is thrown into the game, without any knowledge of what has/is happening, and is given one option - to explore. Exploring not only in the World HUB but throughout the entire game to actually piece together the story.

I wanted both Approaching Dawn and its sequel - Nearing Dusk, to be heavily story-orientated, and with this comes the possibility of losing the player in all of this. This is why I want to keep the "secret" background story scrolls very short, and possessing only the vital information that the player can piece together. This is definitely turning into a game that "everyone can play and understand", because if they choose not to obtain any of the background story scrolls in the game, they will be left at the end of the game with a rather large question mark over their head.

In saying that, I still hope that the overall plot of this game leaves a few loose ends, as I want it to lead pretty much directly into the sequel with (the planned) opening sequence for Nearing Dusk tying up many of those loose ends. Those who were following my first work "Vest Trials" will be rather surprised with this series... Not telling why!


NOTE: All sprites of the game "Approaching Dawn" in this blog and blog post(s) are © of Andrew Wickens 2010. Permission is NOT used to use any of these sprites except by emailing myself and by posting true ownership of the picture(s) towards myself.

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