Developer Journal #1 - Differentiation
Today we present the first in a series of monthly developers from the people behind "Sigonyth: Desert Eternity". This week they introduce the title and discuss what differentiates their game from others on the market.
Hello everybody, I’m very glad to welcome all readers, my name is Dawid Makowski and I am Project Manager and programmer for New Desert team, currently working on Sigonyth: Desert Eternity. I am also the project creator and author. My responsibilities include overseeing of other departments, starting with storywriters and ending with artists. I have been asked to present Sigonyth to you and to describe what differentiates our product from others on the market.
Summing up the base assumptions of our project, I can enclose the main idea in one phrase: we are building a truly virtual world, full of life, instead of typical multiplayer game which currently dominate the MMO market.
You can ask, “is there any difference?” Our reply is: “YES”. The general difference between a game and a world can be illustrated by the differences between a book and P&P RPG session. It is the difference between a static, unchangeable world and a dynamic, player driven one or situation when world system allows everything, but draws consequences from actions as opposed game system that restricts certain behaviors or activities in order to keep the game simple.
Our world will not tell the player, “hey, you can’t do that, it’s illegal”. Our world will allow it, but will also mercilessly draw consequences upon yourself – for example by putting a bounty on player’s head.
The world of Sigonyth is a desert, very inhospitable planet, separated from our solar system by over 100 light years. It may seem similar to our Mars, but its not the case – Sigonyth has atmosphere, barely able to sustain life, but not without costs.
Sigonyth’s atmosphere has negative impact on humans, which leads to mutations of human genome, which is the base of many ideas we have prepared based on the planet characteristic. There was no similar scenery in the current MMO genre.
Sigonyth is populated by earth humans, their descendants and “derivatives” of humans. In the colonization history of Sigonyth you can read about the flight of “Miracle Zero”, what happened on board and how it influenced the future of the world. You can also read about other inhabitants of the planet.
Besides human race, there are also mutants and cyborgs – part humans, but considered separate races as they differ more then have in common with the human race. Both of them are result of what happened during “Miracle Zero” flight and subsequent landing.
Even though all races are human in origin, they are often hostile towards each other and it forms background of our world – player’s choice of race will have huge influence on their life in Sigonyth. It will define the way character develops, guilds that can be joined or even things like prices in stores.
As mentioned before, the choice of race will influence the way character develops. It is a result of atmospheric conditions on the planet and differences in races’ ability to adapt to the conditions. Before I will move to differences in character development, I’d like to talk about a very important thing, which is survival. We want to introduce unique element of caring for your character more than just buying weapons and unlimited number of med-kits. We want characters to be greatly influenced by conditions on planet and require water to live. We are currently considering how food will treated within scope of survival.
The goal of the development team is to capture the unique feeling of desert environment and requirements for surviving, while avoiding it becoming a tedious and unfunny part of the game.
The main part of survival system in New Desert will be dehydration and aspects of managing your character to avoid this situation. It will be also tied to general fatigue of the character.
Basically every character will have an indicator showing water pool as well as indicator for general fatigue. General fatigue will influence your overall condition resulting in decrease of abilities when tired. This will be a long time factor based on your exposure to environment and combat (especially if you are getting hit), that can be countered by rest and eating.
The water pool will be a short time factor based on your exposure to environment only (note that speed at which it drains will vary depending on location - cities and buildings will drain water pool much slower then desert, especially deep one), that can be countered by drinking and spending time in baths located in cities and other locations.
While general fatigue will never result in death, only in being less efficient in most enterprises a character can undertake, lack of water will be much more fatal. When dehydrated you will at first notice significant loss of abilities due to your body being weakened, then you will start to hallucinate and see funny things while your movement speed drops down to almost crawling to finally become incapacitated due to dehydration. As opposed to combat induced incapacitation, you will not regain consciousness without external help. If the aid is not provided your character will die.
We are still discussing ability to carry additional water on vehicles, the means available for dehydrated player to call for help (especially when incapacitated), equipment that will allow you to survive longer in the desert without water as well as possible encounters with NPC hermits who could show up in less dangerous areas and give a hand to player in need.
We are still thinking how to handle water supply, but so far we assume it will be a limited supply resource, therefore in the macro scale it will be necessary to provide it to cities and other settlements to stimulate their growth.