Design Dev Journal
It’s been a busy week for us in the design department! Last week we attended GDC in San Francisco, where we spent a lot of time talking to players and watching them play. This gave us a great opportunity to chat with gamers as well as other developers, to find out what you like, what you dislike, and to see exactly how you play the game.
We also just wrapped up the Sneak Peek Event, which yielded lots of great feedback. Now that GDC and the Sneak Peek are over, we’re settling back in and combing through piles of information – emails, forum threads, notes scribbled on the backs of brochures and scraps of paper. The beginning of the week was spent in meetings, where we shared what we learned and what we want to improve before the next stage. For the design team, we have our work cut out for us. While the list of changes and fixes is extensive, we’ve put together a top 10 list of design changes planned for the next version:
- Feedback – A lot of players mentioned the feel of combat was a little disconnected. We are looking at ways to improve the feedback through animation, sound, particle effects, combat speed and UI. This will take a concerted effort from all departments, but is one of the most important aspects we will be focusing on in the next stage of development.
- Atmosphere – Many of you commented that the dungeons did not feel very “Steampunk”, so we’re working with the art team to overhaul our tilesets, to make them look and feel more connected to our world and fiction.
- Convenience – Often times we found the fastest way back to Central was to kill yourself. That didn’t make sense. So throughout the game world we’ll be adding the Myth Dock, a machine which allows players to teleport from its location to Central and back. We will also be adding Transmuters, Alchemers, and Rebuilders, machines that melt down items in exchange for schillings, distill and sell potions, and allow players to upgrade weapons.
- World Layout – Upon reaching Central, players were often overwhelmed by the number of locations available to explore. We’re working on changing the way levels and cities are interconnected, to give players a more narrative-driven tour of our world, city by city, instead of dropping you in the middle of the biggest hub in the game.
- Skills – We are remaking all the skill trees, weeding out the less useful skills and adding new skills. We are also adding passive abilities and a few surprises to the skill trees.
- Dungeon Size – Generally dungeons were thought to be big, confusing, and hard to navigate. We are working on streamlining them, scaling down some of the larger dungeons, and making the main path more apparent.
- Visibility – We noticed a lot of people having trouble with navigation and the camera in general. We are going through the dungeons one by one, widening narrow corridors and opening up cramped combat areas. We’re also looking at ways to make the floors of the playable space more readable and monsters more visible.
- Quests and Rewards – We’ll be working on more quests, of varying length and difficulty. We also found the quests in the sneak peek event were typically either short with too much reward, or very long with not enough reward.
- Portals – We noticed players having difficulty entering portals, so we’re taking a look at how to make portals easier to use.
- Tutorial – We found that a lot of things that seem obvious to us are not as intuitive to new players, and we forgot to teach them in the tutorial. In the next version we plan to revise the tutorial to cover topics like interacting with other players, removing objects from inventory, equipping armor, and regenerating health and steam while out of combat.
So, that’s it from the design team. Besides these, we have many other bugs and suggestions to address. If you have feedback or comments please let us know, and we’d like to thank all of you who participated in the Sneak Peek event or stopped by to talk at GDC!
Head to our developer journal page to find out more.