Developing a game project of this size poses many challenges - from thinking over the backend architecture to the in-game economy system and more. Sometimes critical changes happen in the middle of development process. Are they for the better? It depends. Let me give you an example of several challenges we faced in developing "The Skies" world and, ultimately, our decisions.
Initially, we intended the game's perspective to be from the third person with a goal of attacking targets. There was was a fundamentally different implementation of the system for fighting, graphics, and game balance. The system allowed users to play a character to the maximum degree and provided players with a flexible role system. However, during the development process and studying of the market, we came up with an alternative approach by adding a view from the first person perspective. After long discussions among the game development team, we determined to move forward with implementing this new idea, despite the difficulty in development presented. To make these changes, the team needed to remake the graphics in greater detail and change the system for fighting and balance. Additional programming was connected with this implementation as well. Eventually, a successful prototype was delivered and taken into further development. Now, players will be able to switch between first and third person perspective in the game without changing the fight system. The FPS fight system can be combined with the RPG system resulting in a flexible system that depends on the role of a character and the skills of the player. As a result, we get characters with different roles in the game, and this allows us to create flexible teams with players of different orientations and to make tactical moves in battle.
Another big challenge that we've faced were dialogues. I've always wanted to realize a non-linear system of dialogues that makes storytelling truly interesting and enriching to the game experience; however, in practice it doesn't often happen right away. The initial variant of dialogues in "The Skies" wasn't as non-linear as I had expected. It took considerable time to rearrange the dialog to get it right. It is still the most complicated part of the game because it takes time for the team to immerse into the storyline of the novel and storyline of the game world, and to make the dialogue tree really flexible and expanded accordingly. That said, we're now on the right path to achieving this.
It is always interesting and surprising in RPG games to see dialogues where the phrases depend on the gender and skills of the character. Such dialogues require deep work to get through, but they are worth doing it. The dialogues need to change throughout the game and depend on the character’s actions. It’s gratifying to know that you’re changing the world around you, the attitudes of characters and their lives. While developing the dialogue systems we need to think through each character’s history as well as their relationships with one another. Different options are possible depending on your character’s skills and gender. It is very important for the depth of the world to use an intelligence parameter of a certain character while creating phrases for them. If a character is less intelligent, they'll use simple phrases. When they become smarter, the dialogues change. And when the character becomes a specialist in some area, new quest options appear. Most modern games really lack such approach, and this is why we believe it is worth the effort and time.
Yes, ideas appear continuously throughout the development process. As a result, crucial changes may happen. But, only when players are in the game interacting and playing that we'll truly know and understand which decisions were right. This is why we're in such a hurry with our development cycle and eager to start providing players with early access to alpha testing and other milestones as they'll be the real experts and judges of the game.
Please feel free to join our community for more information on the upcoming game "The Skies" (http://skiesmmorpg.com), and stay tuned for access to the early alpha very soon!