We hope to have the next version of Novostrana ready for release within two weeks. In preparation for this milestone, this news item will attempt to give you an overview of some of the new features and improvements already implemented for the new version, as well as give you some idea of how we mean to procede with development of the game over the next few months.
Books & Documents
While this feature may not be at the top of everybody's 'Key Features' list, we believe that in-game documents help to add to the immersion and lore of the world that we are creating. We have developed our own book-viewing system to enable the player to view in-game books with multiple pages using a simple to use interface. The system we are using can potentially hold an unlimited number of books with an unlimited number of pages! As well as just adding to the lore of the game, books and documents also serve a useful purpose. Some books will increase your skills, while some documents will allow you to learn new methods for crafting items.
In v0.20, we used a Shop Loyalty system to differentiate prices in an attempt to set up some kind of simple economy. This has now been completely replaced with a Settlement Prosperity system. Each settlement in the game will have it's own prosperity level, which will affect prices in that town or village. This level changes over time, so you can now play as a merchant, or you could even hoard goods and sell them back later at a higher price! To help facilitate the usefulness of this system, each village will have a Headman and each town will have a Mayor. They will be able to tell you the prosperity of the settlement, and in the future they may even give you quests to help improve their prosperity.
A New Start
We have overhauled the Character Creation system to help give your character a proper back-story. You are told a little bit about your characters' life but you get to decide the choices that your character makes at key points in his/her life before the game begins. This also generates your starting stats and may even control what your starting items are and what you can craft right at the beginning of the game. Although this feature has been changed with every new version of the game so-far, it is unlikely to change any further after this version of the game unless a new feature is added which requires it.
No longer will you have unlimited capacity in your inventory! Most items and equipment in the game will have a weight, and the maximum amount you can carry will be changed based on your stats.
Shift of Focus and Long Term Plans
We've had a shift of focus, reguarding the development of the game. In previous versions of the game we have been a bit guilty of quantity over quality, but this is going to change! It has been decided that each release of the game will focus on one settlement at a time, and first up is Willenke Village.
Although pretty-much all settlements in the game will be very incomplete, in v0.30 Willenke will be 99% complete. Each NPC will have a story to tell, each will have their own daily schedual (that *may* be semi-random) and each will have a home to live in. Every building in Willenke will have an interior, which can be accessed if the door is unlocked, the lock has been picked, or you have they key. The village will also be expanded with new buildings and some farmland on the outskirts. Historical sources show that in the Middle Ages in Europe, not many villages were as small as Willenke for very good reasons. Although we are not attempting to re-create Medieval Europe, we think that we have to make the game world reasonably realistic in order to make it enjoyable and rewarding to explore and experience.
Another more minor shift of focus that we have had, is that your character will be predominantly good. Although we may add in the abaility later to commit criminal acts, evil characters would be too complicated to integrate properly into the main story and we don't have enough time until the next release to do a good job of a detailed crime system.
Before we can release the next version of Novostrana, we will need to create some more quests for the game. We are aiming at ten side quests and three main quests, but these numbers may change depending on circumstances. We also need to add new items to the game, including documents and crafting abilities, as well as add weights to most items. Furthermore, we need to finish Willenke Village before the game can be released again.
We hope you are looking forward to the next release as much as we are!