RPGDot Network    

Anarchy Online: Alien Invasion
Display full image
Pic of the moment
pics from the gallery

Site Navigation


   Games Database
   Top 100
   Release List
   Support Files



   Staff Members
   Privacy Statement


Horizons Developer's Diary

Part 2: Things to do for this week

Myrthos, 2002-09-25

In my last developer diary, I described a typical day in my life as a developer. This time I thought that instead of showing you one day, I would go into a bit more depth about some of the things I am working on this week.

Combat: This is one of my primary tasks. I'm responsible for all of the math involved in deciding whether a character hits or misses a monster, whether the monster blocks the attack, how much damage the attack does to the monster, etc. etc. It's hard creating a system that balances combat across all levels. We've gone through several different systems, deciding how skill comparisons work, how statistics affect hitting and damage, how ranged combat works, and how armor works in the game. Making it all come together so that combat between a player and a monster feels right can be very tricky.

Whenever I find time I play with these numbers. Adrian was kind enough to whip me up a simulator that runs thousands of practice battles at a time so I can watch how tweaking parts of the formulae or the fighters' abilities affects the outcome of combat.

The way a monster gets into the game is that it starts with the designers. We get ideas from many different sources including standard fantasy and horror, mythology, and other people at the company. For the latest group of monsters, David and I got together and came up with a list. I then wrote up general descriptions of the monsters and sent them off to Jane. She assigned them to the artists, who are building the models and animating them. I keep up with this process to make sure that nothing looks too out of line with the intended design of the monsters, while still letting the artists be as creative as possible. I also made sure that Shawn was in the loop so that we can incorporate these monsters into the story where they are needed.

Adventure Schools: This is another big area. Schools are how a player identifies his role in the world. Each school needs to have requirements, a skill list, skill progressions, level rewards, and special abilities. I design the non-magic schools as well as doing the work on how schools work in general, such as how the experience progression works. I work with Dina for magic schools, and with Shawn to make sure that trade schools parallel adventure schools.

This week I've been working on the skill progressions for schools. I've been going over each of them to make sure they have the right skills and that those skills increase appropriately with the character's level. I'm also creating special abilities and attacks for each school and assigning them to a level.

Dragons: One of my more enjoyable jobs is working on dragons. No other game has yet attempted to let players be anything like them. Playing a dragon will be different than any other race in Horizons. They do many of the same things as other characters. They fight monsters, get experience, gain levels and abilities, and collect treasure. They make things for themselves and other dragons (although they don't lower themselves to making items for "lesser races"). They build up communities of dragons, and defend them from ravening hordes.

But they also do many things different than other races. They don't wear as much equipment as other races, for example. Who needs swords when you have razor sharp claws and teeth? They have their own schools, which are different than other races because dragons don't use many of the skills that others do.

Currently, I'm working on all of that. I'm creating the dragon schools, working with Shawn on their trade skills and items, and generally working on lots of other mechanics for them such as flight, breath weapons, and their hoards.

Community: Dina and I both do a lot of work on Communities. This section of the game just gets cooler and cooler every day. We're trying to give players as many options as possible for what they can do with their own property and within the community that their property is located. So we want there to be a lot of different kinds of structures you can build on your land; from houses and shops to trade skill machines to your own private teleporter.

We also want to let players influence the kinds of services available in their communities as well. In general, community structures such as shops, training halls, and defenses are built automatically as the town grows. We want players to be able influence this growth and get specific structures built in their communities, most likely by ponying up some gold.

Testing: Let's not forget testing. For every system I design or feature I add, I have to go and make sure that it works the way we decided it should work once it's been added to the game. When I hear that a new feature is available, I log in the game and test it out. If there's a problem, I let the right people know and we fix it and test it again.

Thanks for listening! See you in two weeks.

Paul Peterson
Horizons Designer


Average Reader Ratings: 10 (1 votes)
Rate this title and view comments     Game Info     Printer Friendly Version

All original content of this site is copyrighted by RPGWatch. Copying or reproducing of any part of this site is strictly prohibited. Taking anything from this site without authorisation will be considered stealing and we'll be forced to visit you and jump on your legs until you give it back.