I’ve completed work on the “dungeon” maps portion of my current RPG Maker VX project. What lies ahead are the maps to make of settlements and outposts, plus the “over world” map, and any incidental locations. There are still other dungeon-type maps I’d like to include in the game project, but only if time permits.

Current Project Development (May 21, 2013)

If you saw my Red-Green Antagonist Deck the other day, you might be able to figure out how I’m approaching the story from different angles — there are events taking place on several different levels between forces that threaten the world.

…Which is how it always seems to go in roleplaying games. I’m aiming to make the story operate on at least two levels — the straightforward and the bigger picture. Exploration is central to the game, and the bigger picture will be about the conflicts between the various protagonists and the central antagonist.

If you can call it a separate level unto its own, there will be minor conflicts, “subplots” that don’t necessarily tie into either of the others — exploration or “main plot” — that serve to help flesh out the setting. These aren’t exactly what you’d call side quests.

Whereas the main plot and the exploration elements of gameplay will be decidedly straightforward, the game’s ambiguity will largely be tied up in solving the problems presented by the various subplots, in a “no right answer” kind of way.

With the over-world map complete, I hope to differentiate the settlements and their respective stories according to their locations on the map — that’s a complicated way of saying that towns at crossroads will be more about trading, while comparatively secluded settlements on the fringes of the world will be more insular.

That might sound obvious, but you’d be surprised how often that sort of thing is overlooked. Experience has taught me that making towns and settlements appear “inhabited” is one of the last things that game developers look at — they are more often based around what sorts of quests they can provide the player.

My thought is that a settlement should provide quests based upon the needs of the settlement first, with its relevance to the larger story being a close second. Whereas dungeons and a conceit of the genre and a place for the player to express their character, settlements are ideal for setting the stage and reinforcing immersion.

I’ll probably take another stab at that Magic deck before proceeding with the deck to represent the protagonists. So much to do…