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Destination Games
MMORPG | Setting:Sci-Fi | Status:Cancelled  (est.rel 11/02/07)  | Pub:NCSoft
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Designing Fault Lever

Posted by Keith Cross on Jan 25, 2008  | Comments

Designing Fault Lever - MMORPG.com

Tabula Rasa world builder David Vargo guides us through the design process and philosophy behind the Fault Lever instance in Tabula Rasa.

I think one of the important things about being a world builder is making a lasting impression on players through visually compelling environments.  I’ve tried to accomplish this goal in Fault Lever by keeping the level’s layout believable while fun, providing interesting highlights and details to the backstory, and focusing on the mood or character of these spaces.  

It was pretty clear how to begin Fault Lever’s design because the associated shared map, Thunderhead, had all of the relative environmental features I wanted to incorporate.  The design document called for an underground instance map connected to the north face of the massive Ligo Fault Rift.  The players’ ultimate mission within this instance is to turn off the four hammers (shockwave inducers) found within the shared map’s rift..  Because the mission objectives were closely connected to the shared map, I felt it important to integrate visually the rift and accompanying elements into the instance map.  However, this design direction presented unique layout challenges.

I had a strong desire to show how the interior spaces related to the exterior terrain features.  One of the ways I achieved it was by creating windows that look out from the control rooms in the instance map into the rift where the hammers are firing off their energy bolts.  That posed a problem where we had to make sure that I recreated all the shared map’s visible environmental features onto the separate instance map.  So I had to work closely with Michael Hutchison, the shared map’s world builder, to make sure any changes he made also made it to the instanced map.  It took more coordination than usual, but being able to see out onto the exterior was crucial because it allowed the players to create a visual link between the two maps.

Read the full dev diary here.

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