My first important task for this week was getting some groundwork for the independent study laid out. This consisted of meeting with a few professors and getting the syllabus hammered out. All in all things went very well and I have good direction for the project. The syllabus is now completed and approved by all important parties.
One requirement of the course is a written developer diary which is where this document comes into play. I will document my progress in the project as well as the concepts learned in the course and how I will apply them in this developer diary.
Developing the Story
After working out some preliminary details I was advised to begin thinking out details of the storyline for my game (At this point my concept is pretty solid already). Therefore my big task this week was to think out in greater detail what the story for my game would be and how I would deliver the information to the player.
In this case the story had to be based off of the concept because the concept is fairly unique. The game takes away direct control from the player, having the character walk endlessly forward. The player can only interact by casting spells and effecting the character and the environment with them. This means that the storyline had to explain this behavior and make it make sense.
The first basic concept of the story is that the wizard (main character) has been cursed and can only walk forward. Initially I thought maybe the curse was meant to kill him but I eventually decided that he was actually possessed and the levels were all tests by the soul inside of him to see if he was powerful enough for a powerful ritual.
Once I had a basic idea for the story I had to decide how it would be presented to the player. I think that the best way for me to accomplish this is through journal entries written by the wizard describing his thoughts throughout the game. I love this because it gives the opportunity for cloaking certain information and making everything seem very mysterious. The player will only ever know as much as the wizard knows and he will gradually learn more and more as the game goes on. This will hopefully keep the player engaged as they will want to know the true nature of what’s happening to the wizard.
This idea required me to make an addition to the concept of the story since as it stands the wizard has no way to write journals. As a solution I decided that the entity possessing the wizard would allow him to rest by night (although not allowing him to escape). This way the wizard will have a chance to write his journals. Additionally endless walking wouldn’t make much sense as he would realistically die from exhaustion after a few days or so.
Once I had all the basic concepts fleshed out to my satisfaction I began writing the actual journal entries. So far I have most of the core journals that are vital to the story. Later I can add in additional “filler” journals relaying less important information but still adding to the immersion of the player.