Role-playing adventure design at its most basic is a lot like party planning. You have to consider the movement of the guests, I mean players, the effect of the space, and the timing of events within the party – sorry, game – as a whole. If we think about the game as a series of scenes, we can break this down further. A scene occurs at a specific location - you can get a drink and harass the bartender at the bar – or is triggered by a specific event - when the band starts playing, you get asked to dance. Obviously, this leads to all sorts of exciting permutations: If you have champagne and walk into the drawing room, you are invited to join the poker game by the lady in red, and so on.
My goal with Nocked is to, among other things, push the boundaries of those basic design concepts, but slowly, surely. A collection of clearings in the forest becomes a castle full of roving guards following their rounds. The difference between event triggers and location triggers blur, merge, and separate again - read the mail, walk to the church, get ambushed along the way only have a choice available because of the contents of the letter that opens up an entirely new part of the game! Not content with having the shrimp table and the buffet, I also wanted the fire juggler, the 13 piece orchestra, and the laser light show.
Call me a Gamezilla if you will. It's my special game, and if I'm going to write, produce, and direct it, then I might as well throw in all the bells and whistles. But it's also all for you, dear player - to promote flow, fun, and a very real control over the shape of the adventure. These are your True Tales of Robin Hood after all. Go tell them.
The adventures of Marian and the Sheriff continue...
Read the entire adventure to this point, starting on the post of July 26th.
Marian finds herself deep beneath Castle Nottingham
Into the Water
Steps lead into the pool, old and worn. I gasp as my toes touch the water - there is magic here, old and redolent of ancient prophecy. The wolf snarls across the pommel of my sword, and the moonlight splashed across the surface of the water trembles. Is it fear? Anticipation? I cannot say.
The pool is deep, and wider than at first glance. I shall soon be forced to swim, or allow myself to step beneath the waters. There is change in this action, a choice of terrible import forsaken by the dead knight in his high-distant catacomb.
This is how it begins.
- I plunge the sword blade-first into the pool.
- I hold the sword high above my head as the waters close around me.
- This is too much! I back out of the pool, flee!
Marian's decision at this juncture has been made. To continue her adventures, check out the latest dev blog and vote on her current actions. Read the entire adventure starting July 26th.
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story. Be sure to check out the butler's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, occasionally updated @ManOfNottingham, and mention us in your tweets with #whosyourrobin.