Our process as a team took a change this week, due to all of us working at home in isolation as a result of COVID-19. Over meetings, we managed to prioritise certain features over others for the game, putting achievements and any special extras we wanted on the backline in schedule. Moving forward, the design team is prioritising Character designs and the modelling/animation of extra NPCs to make the world feel more alive, after finishing the initial list of 3D assets.
With the newfound isolation, however, came a surge of model making from our visual developers, with the assets for our forest area – Silva Settlement – getting completed over the week. The visual style of this area is, while consistent with the rest of the game as a whole, a lot different from our coastal town. Models for this area look rough hewn, more natural, and like they’ve been plucked from the branches of a tree or dug from the ground. Silva Settlement is more rustic and less populated than its coastal counterpart, and that’s reflected visually.
Remember that cave behind the waterfall we mentioned a couple of posts ago? We finally decided what it would be. The hidden cave is now Maive’s childhood hideout, decked out with a pirate sword, drawings, blankets and more. Adding this extra area really helped us to feel even more connected with our titular character, and we hope it’ll have the same effect on the players, too.
Achievements were looked into this week, adding an extra topping of gameplay to the experience. As a team, we agreed achievements could add some comedy and value to exploring the surroundings.
In addition to all of this, some extra narrative aspects were added. As part of the feedback we received from the Women In Games event we attended a few weeks ago, we decided that giving Maive little thoughts or comments that pop up over her head along her way would add some depth to the character, as well as helping with player immersion as the main character responds to their actions. For example, Maive has a quip prepared for if you try to enter one of the houses that isn’t hers – something our playtesters were constantly trying to do. These thoughts are peppered throughout Maive’s journey up the mountain, and showcase her personality more than before.
One of our secondary mechanics involves Maive using her storybook to unearth memories hidden in the environment. An example of this is if the player presses an interaction button near the hammock at Clifftop Campsite, Maive’s book will open and, in the style of her stories, an image will appear of her and her friends, years ago, having a picnic together. There are five of these memories in total, scattered across the island for the player to find. This week our narrative designer plotted what each of these memories would be, and wrote accompanying comments from Maive.
Work started out on the main mechanic of the game. As we were going to have multiple stories that Maive would tell, our Technical Director decided on setting up a Story Manager, which would act as a foundation to the entire mechanic.
With free time to spare due to self-isolation, our narrative designer also made a start on a Maive plushie. This softie is a caricatured version of our heroine, hand-sewn out of felt and a little bit of fake fur. She was supposed to be accompanying us to our promotional arcades in the summer, but in the meantime she is keeping our narrative designer company on her desk.