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Copper Dreams Kickstarter Update #4: Setting, Part 2 - Quest Design and Keyword Dialogue
Game News - posted by Infinitron on Wed 25 May 2016, 14:23:13Tags: Copper Dreams; Whalenought Studios
The Copper Dreams Kickstarter has slowed down, as all Kickstarters do mid-campaign, but that hasn't stopped Joe & Hannah from publishing a new update. It's the second in the series of updates about the game's setting, although I would say this one isn't really about the setting as such. The first part of it is about the game's quest design, as promised in the previous update. I'll quote that part here:
Copper Dreams features a very open-ended campaign that is filled with intrigue, combat, puzzles and bureaucratic bookkeeping. (Minus the bookkeeping, your agent has the Operations Department take care of that.) As we’ve said in the main page, we are holding true to our philosophy behind Serpent in the Staglands to give you a very hands-off experience. We find that this is the most rewarding type of game to play, which means no quest markers or auto-populating journals to coach you into what to do. There is a joy to following street addresses to mysterious locations that just isn’t the same with a pop-up patting you on the head for your orientation skills.
Copper Dreams is ripe with corporate espionage, conspiracies, and mysteries hidden throughout the city. Without a narrator or journal telling you what clues you found, you get the reward of actually piecing together the puzzle that is the city of Calitana and discern how you want to frame your findings.
Your reports influence how your syndicate operates, and the fate of the characters you meet will begin branching very early on and determine how Wolffz Bay plays the game of corporate warfare.
We’ve structured the experience by having your character being employed as an Agent of Asset Inquiries at Wolffz Bay Shipping and Services. As an agent of one of the more ambitious (if worse off) syndicates on Calitana, you benefit from a headquarters to rest at in their district, frugal amount of supplies, other agents to convince to come with you and intel for tracking assets. You’ll also be provided living quarters for you and your companions: a cozy little shipping container near the Wolffz docks! It's no log cabin, but it has a terminal, lights, a cot, and ample room to toss inventory items around, what more does an agent need? Don't get soft.
At your job, you’re assigned assets to inquire about throughout the campaign that change depending on the outcome of previous missions, your extracurricular work, or how you’ve decided to frame the information you’re giving back to Wolffz Bay. Your syndicate starts the game providing you with large, open-ended events, which aren’t time based (or are long durations you don’t have to stress too much about).
During these syndicate events you may find smaller tasks to do, and those can have timed elements. There's a day/night cycle which coordinates Calitana happenings you'll want to be savvy to. Timed missions vary in scope and are mechanically meant to only allow a certain number of rests before they can be completed, or are instead altered in a larger way that changes the nature of the mission and potential outcomes.
This also reflects a more realistic and sensible world where time exists for NPCs as well. For instance if you are dropped off in an enemy compound searching for an asset and must leave before morning, you can’t afford a rest. If you have 24 hours to detain an asset, you have time for one rest. Going beyond that time, that asset may be captured by another syndicate, move to another location you need to discover, or be killed.
Non-syndicate quests range from large scale mysteries to solve, to ones with urgent timing, and inter-company issues like giving traitorous employees a severance package. A Wolffz Bay Agent can also be a source of aid in their district and you might find yourself aiding the civilians under your protection. You have a range of events that keep your agent busy in an open city and island to explore at your leisure - just make sure to bring some hardware if you're treading in hostile districts.
The second part of the update is about the game's keyword-based dialogue system, which has a few interesting twists. In addition to the familiar local/global keyword and dialogue skill mechanics, the game will also allow you to ask about items from your inventory, including photos that you can take with a camera at will. It's kind of adventure gamey - I like it.