The design documents for Scout’s Journey are 99% finished. I wrote roughly 1000 lines in like three days, across three documents that concern a) enemies and combat, b) non-combat gameplay elements including loot exchange, character development/abilities, the eldritch influence stat & quests, and c) the player, weapons, items, powerups, GUI and HUD.
This on top of my old design document which mainly concerns level design and a list of needed assets and features. Another 2000 lines.
So the thing is laid out and building can commence.
Under The Influence
It turns out, after writing and discussing this with friends and helpers, that the mechanic of becoming “tainted by eldritch influence” is going to be absolutely central to the game; the longer Scout stays in the dungeon, and the more questionable events occur, the more noticeable this will be. You can picture it like some sort of ambient poison, or a slow corruption. This will influence the gameplay on many levels, it will be especially driven by certain plot critical events, and Scout may end up getting some pretty unusual powers and abilities out of it. Not quite like XP or levels in typical roleplaying games, since this stat also increases by doing nothing. It is only accelerated by game events. There are no skill trees or anything; there are however permanent character enhancements that can be gained by exploring the game world.
The other thing that is reminescent of roleplaying games is collecting loot. You need loot to exchange it for health, ammo, weapons and so on. Loot can be acquired in two ways:
- Peacefully, by simply finding it in the dungeon (exploring)
- Aggressively, by provoking combat and taking loot from enemies
It’s the player’s choice.
Exactly how loot exchange for supplies is gonna happen I don’t want to disclose yet. I will only say that it’ll happen at stationary facilities found in every level. A large part of your supplies is going to come from this.
Combat in Scout’s Journey is designed in such a way that the player’s actions can provoke enemies to appear. There are some new mechanics that allow for creative ways to deal with enemies, too. A lot of conflicts can be avoided. But if you want to enter a fight to gain loot for example, you’ll have to pick one.
What We’ve Got
Since the split from RMQ, about two or three completely new features have been added, which need coding (including CSQC) and modelling/animating. Most of the game’s features are already in, though. Hub support is functional, CSQC HUD is functional, loot drop code exists, same goes for spawning enemies dynamically during runtime. Some of the character development is coded already. Map entities and features are largely done.
The levels are about 50% finished. Models for new enemies exist (except for one new heavy unit and a projected new underwater creature), partly rigged already even. Lots of new mapmodels exist, same for new weapons (for player and enemies).
There will only be five weapons in Scout’s Journey – plus the grappling hook, plus one completely new offensive capability. Scout will be able to carry all weapons at once. There will be reloading – for everybody.
The fact that this game is a lot smaller than RMQ will make it much easier to handle during development. Yes, some key new features will need coding now, but the rest should be straightforward; finishing levels, finishing models, animating, some artwork, some sound engineering. That’s not rocket science.