Olvand is a little multiplayer sandbox RPG, where the players live in self-built towns and can go on all kinds of adventures together. Imagine living with your friends in a small town in the mountains, or creating a new group of friends in a pub in the metropole you all live in. There will be several minigames the inhabitants of a server can play together, among which will be combat based games like King of the Hill or Capture the Flag. You will be able to play against other people in your city, or as a city against another city, or as a whole server against another server. The combat works with self-built guns, in which all kinds of powers can be combined to create unique effects. You can sign up to be a tester on olvand.com.
Some pictures of what I want to add in the future:
Putting Olbs 'behind' a challenge
Hi all! As you might remember, one of my main reasons to introduce caves to Olvand is so that I could [put Olbs at the end of them]. Olbs are Olvand's magic/munition, and each Olb has a unique effect. Furthermore, all Olbs can be combined, and each combination has a unique effect as well. I imagine gaining a completely new power in battle is something that excites players, and that they are willing to do some effort for... but until now you could simply walk around the world for 10 minutes or so, and you had everything. What a wasted opportunity, when you think of it.
But not any longer! As of Olvand Violet, only the most basic Olbs can be found out in the open. The rest of them will be put behind a challenge, namely, beating the boss at the end of a cave. I believe this will not only be better 'for me', because it will take people longer to collect all Olbs and they'll thus spend a lot more time with the game, it's also better for the players themselves... because it's way more fun to 'earn' stuff than to simply get it. Remember how in The Sims, using cheated money to buy a large house with expensive stuff wasn't nearly as much fun as starting small and then slowly but steadily making your way up, growing your house room by room? That kind of feeling, building your powers one by one, is the kind of feeling I'm going for with caves. Beating caves themselves of course should be (a lot of) fun too, but I'll cover my quest to create a fun randomly generated challenge in much detail later. For now, let's talk about rewards!
Making clear the goal
Putting Olbs at the end of caves is of course one thing, but that doesn't mean people will automatically get it. If I've learned one thing about game design over the years, it is that things should be clear; don't think that leaving things a bit mysterious will make people curious. No, if people don't understand something, 9 out 10 players avoid it, and thus will miss out on an important part of the game.
To take the current Olb system as an example: so far, people encountered by accident them while exploring. Some people put them in their gun, played with them a little bit... and that was it. Their was no clear indication what you could do with them, that there were more with other effects, why you would want them, and where you could get them, so people didn't look for them. Not any more in Olvand violet:
As you can see, I've completely redesigned the achievement menu. Not only are there now two large boxes with a number, to make clear that this is what you should focus on (get more achievements! get more Olbs!), it now also has a separate progress bar for Olbs. I hope this communicates that collecting Olbs is also something you can do in the game, and that collecting all Olbs could be an interesting goal. If you click the 'More info' button, you get a whole info screen, showing you WHY it could be interesting:
This shows which Olbs you already have, with a quick description of the different effects... from which I hope players will understand that each Olb has its own. But more importantly, it shows you there are Olbs you have not discovered yet, and thus Olbs you have not seen. Just like the achievements showed you there are things to do you have not yet done, I hope this convinces players there is more interesting stuff for them to discover and play with, and that they are missing it.
Finally, to stress how important Olbs are, I want to make discovering a new one a small but significant event, just like getting an achievement:
All right, that's it for a while! In a few days, I'm going to fly to Berlin for a holiday, and after I'll go into bug-fixing mode again, which is not that interesting to blog about. I'll see you in a few weeks, after which I'm going to try to get some more attention for the game. Anyone know some good indie gaming websites I could write to?
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