First off, our apologies for the nearly six months since the last update. Luftahraan is certainly not dead, and development continues apace, with more progress being made now than it has for quite some time. The majority of our team is currently working on dungeons or on quests, with the longer term objective of moving several more level designers into the questing arena. As I'm sure any of you who have attempted to make any relatively complicated quests will know, quest making in Creation Kit is a rather thankless task, but we are at present, for the first time in Luftahraan's development, managing to make some real progress. The main quest is now well underway and, as more developers complete their current dungeon work and become available progress will only accelerate. We do not yet have anything by way of quests to show you, although something in that area will doubtless come your way soon enough.
Those of you who have been following Luftahraan for a while will doubtless know of the Dwemer Tower that stands in the center of the city, and around which most of the city's history revolves. When the city of Luftahraan was first built Arkngzul, the Dwemer Tower, was active. It's continuous whirring and clanking of machinery could be heard all across the city, and the many attempts of the locals to delve inside the seemingly abandoned ruin were met with failure - whilst several initial levels could be explored, all would-be adventurers soon found themselves stymied by a large gateway sealed shut by a mechanism both magical and mechanical. The stonework itself was impenetrable - any crack or blemish on the extravagant stonework was almost immediately repaired by some energy emanating from deep within the edifice.
Not one to be denied, and driven by the curiosity of youth and the thrill of adventure, Luharaan, the founder of Luftahraan, encased himself in Sovereign Hall for over a year with an emissary from the Psijic Order, leaving his brother, Korvar, to rule in his stead. It is unknown what magics Luharaan studied, but with the departure of his tutor the city's ruler entered the Tower with his brother, and opened the seal, disappearing into the uncharted depths, leaving Korvar with orders to continue ruling in his place.
Shortly after Luharaan's disappearance, Arkngzul fell quiet- its endless whirring silent for the first time since the city was built. The seal remained, though, and whilst it remained an endless fascination for many of the city's more educated occupants, no-one has been able to break the seal since Luharaan.
"The Tower touches all the mantles of Heaven, and by its apex one can be as he will. More: be as he was and yet changed for all else on that path for those that walk after. This is the secret of how mortals become makers, and makers back to mortals. The Bones of the Wheel need their flesh, and that is mankind's heirloom." - Mankar Camoran
Whilst I am unwilling to delve too deeply into the story behind Arkngzul at this point - you will have to play through the finished mod to find out more - I would also like to talk about its presence in the main quest and how we have endeavoured to make it a unique and memorable experience for players. A large section near the end of the main quest occurs within Arkngzul, with the player attempting to find Luharaan and figure out once and for all what is inside the Tower - the question that has been burning at the hearts of Luftahraan's citizens since the city was founded.
The dungeon itself is split into many paths, with both a main router to follow and a wide array of side areas that can be explored for both loot and the chance to learn more about the Tower itself and what the Dwemer were using it for. Because the player will spend such a substantial amount of time in the dungeon it will be possible for the player to easily return to the surface from any point without having to backtrack too far - it is much too large for a player to complete comfortably in one sitting.
It is not just the player, though, that is interested in Arkngzul. No matter what path through the main quest you take, there are a great many characters in the city who also wish to have the chance to explore its depths. Some of these people will be sent down at the behest of the rulers of the city, and others will explore of their own volition. Either way, the player will not be the only person down there, and they will encounter an ever-growing NPC presence as they complete various stages of quests down there - once the player explores far enough into the depths of Arkngzul, their leaders will ensure that a forward base is set up where the player can resupply and people essential to the exploration effort can work in a (relatively) safe area.
That is all that I have to talk about for this update, but keep your eyes out for a video update that will be released in the next few days - it will be linked in this article when it is done. For now, though, we have several screenshots of Arkngzul, and of another Dwemer Outpost near Luftahraan, together with another piece from the Luftahraan OST by one of our composers, Stephen Webster.