I have slightly altered my timeline for the first milestone. I decided to work a bit more on the game design and lore ahead of time. I even have the first version of the intro story completed. The story will be given at the start of a new campaign game and integrate with the tutorial. Oh, I have the title picked as well, but I’m not going to release that info for now. I plan to begin providing significant information sometime during 1st quarter 2007. This will coincide with the launch of my new web site design.
As for the game engine, I have made significant progress with the new network code. It is more involved than Pursuit of Power since I need to sync up more data. In particular, I have spent a lot of time working on the projectiles that represent abilities. It is important to make sure that the projectiles sync up to the hits and health changes. I also needed a better design for defeating lag with player abilities. I came up with a nice design that should make the game feel very responsive on the client side. I could actually go on forever about these new challenges with the network code, but you get the point.
I have redesigned my abilities too. PoP had only 3 leader abilities. Other units only had 1 each and they were basically either melee or (ranged) cast. I went with a vastly different approach for my new game. Not only are there many more abilities, with many different effects, but the new design allows for combinations of effects per ability. For instance, an enemy could use an abilty that does fire damage and snares you too. A cleric-type mob might cast a spell that does AE damage and heals allies in the area. I want to produce interesting combinations that keep the combat feeling fresh.
Boss mobs will have even more unique abilities. I have some of these ideas implemented while others are still in the design phase. I want these powerful mobs to provide a fun challenge. Moreover, I want combat in general to be both fun and challenging. I plan to start gameplay testing very early to make sure I stay true to those goals.
Drew has started designing the new artwork for the game. We are going to work much harder on creating a unique style for the game. I want it to be a bit “dark” and as immersive as possible. Part of the plan is to have the look of the entire game determined before major work begins on the art. This will help ensure the artwork remains consistent. I’m also investing 3-4 time as much money into the art for this game. I will get custom sound effects this time as well. I want to make sure the sound effects are varied and never become grating.
In addition, I am setting aside much more time to work on the “level design”, quests, and lore. I want the game to have a lot of depth. It should feel very polished too. As you can see, I have really high expectations for my next game.