Tacticular Cancer: We'll have your balls

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Development Info Wasteland 3 Fig Update #23: Building the Everest - Level Design & Setting the Stage

Discussion in 'RPG News & Content' started by Infinitron, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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    Tags: InXile Entertainment; Paul Marzagalli; Wasteland 3

    inXile's latest Wasteland 3 Fig update continues to chronicle the production of the game's vertical slice area, the murderous Everest Hotel. They're now at the level design stage, and the update describes in detail the various tweaks and iterations that have been applied to a particular area of the Suicide Forest, the hotel's exterior environment, to improve the flow of the area's associated questline. It's rather interesting, actually. The quest involves a missing group of hunters, who are now apparently themselves being hunted by an unnamed monstrosity from the forest. The encounter with the hunters is clearly the key event in the quest, so I'll quote that part of the update here:

    Heading into the next area, the Rangers know (via some radio transmissions, and the clues encountered earlier) that the hunters are nearby and are seeking assistance.

    What are our goals for this area?
    • Let players really go to town with one (or more!) interesting combat scenarios.
    • Pay off the mystery from before (which can lead to combat)
    • Deal with an unnamed twist that may put the players at odds with the hunters (see above).
    Once you’ve found a few of the clues, it’s pretty easy to find the missing hunters. However, the story takes a dangerous turn, prompting a new question: what do you do with them?
    • Depending on how you decide to handle things – or, depending on your past choices, how things want to handle you – the Rangers may end up
      • (1) simply walking away from the situation
      • (2) engaging in combat with the hunters
      • (3) engaging in combat with something else.
    (1) Leaving the situation has its own set of consequences that require quite a bit of thought and scripting to handle within the mission itself, but from a geometry perspective, the player simply needs to be able to turn around and leave. So: can the players turn around and leave? Looks like it. Great! Mark #1 done. From a level layout standpoint, at least.

    (2) Okay, so what if they engage in combat with the hunters? This may sound a little odd, but there are developments in the mission that actually can make this a reasonable course of action.

    To do this, the player will need to make their way through a trap-filled gauntlet (the kind of traps that the hunters are using work just as well on Rangers as they do on prey), then they'll need to take on three very well-equipped outdoorspeople. This is a variation on a typical “advance” scenario: braving a heavily fortified position. I’ll leave the details of combat design to a future developer diary by our combat designers, but for our purposes, we basically need an interesting approach that provides opportunities for clever tactical thinking that will offset your disadvantages.

    Here’s what the Missing Hunters area looked like at first. This looked like it had potential, but as we playtested things, it felt a little small.

    Also, as we ran it past more people, a story issue cropped up: it didn’t seem plausible that the hunters were really trapped. The ledge wasn't very steep, and if they were able to evade the something else long enough to set up their crazy trap gauntlet, surely they could have backtracked instead of digging in. We had several plausible explanations for why they ended up in the current situation, but that wasn’t the point of the mission: we needed players to look at the area and instantly think “oh yeah, you could end up in a bad situation here.”

    I’m not going to show you the revised version yet, though, because it also ties into choice #3…

    (3) Engaging in combat with the something else.

    Internally, I’d been referring to this as the “ledge fight,” because it took place in the same area, but on the upper rim of the valley, wrapping around the trap gauntlet.

    This concept was a lot of fun, but in practice, the limited width of the cliff edges, the large amounts of running around from edge to edge, and the lack of differentiation between each of the four sides led to unexciting playtests. So: big red flag, needs revision!

    We made major changes to address the issues in both combat scenarios. A big part of this was adding more verticality to the fight itself by increasing the distance between the two sub-areas. We also decided to move the two combat areas alongside each other, rather than overlapping. Here’s the latest revision.

    Section “A” (yellow circle) is where players can fight the hunters, which is spread out over a larger space to better leverage the hidden traps, and now shares only a single border with section B.

    Section “B” (green circle) is where players can fight the unnamed adversary, which is now a limited to one side of the cliff, but has multiple variations in height and more potential cover.

    The right-hand path connecting these areas contains the beginning of the ‘trap gauntlet’, as well as a special cave which can be accessed depending on the player's skills and equipment. We’ve also enlarged the upper middle area and added a one-way exit at the bottom. This eliminates the need to backtrack once you're ready to return to Suicide Forest. Also, the entire space has been flipped and rotated to better align with the rest of the level layout.
    I imagine some people will frown at inXile's decision to "linearize" quests like these, although given that the update mentions excessive backtracking as a potential issue, maybe the entire area is large enough that it won't feel so linear.
     
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  2. ArchAngelgender: ⚧ Magister

    ArchAngel
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    A large area with one quest?
    Let me guess, the rest is filled with trash combat like wl2 had..
     
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  3. hivemindgender: ⚧ Arcane

    hivemind
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    *scams you for the third time*
     
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  4. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    To be clear, the update appears to be describing one particular area in the larger Suicide Forest map, which presumably contains other quests as well.

    Here's one half of the area, the abandoned camp:

    The red star is apparently the only combat encounter here. Improving encounter design is a stated design goal of Wasteland 3, FWIW.
     
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  5. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    PoE2 had a Figstarter after WL3 and seems to be much further along. This can mean one of two things, neither of which bode well for InXile:
    1. InXile announced the Figstarter just after they started to work on WL3; this would suggest that they're having financial trouble and are looking for a cash injection.
    2. Development is progressing really slowly, meaning that InXile will have trouble finishing it as they didn't exactly get much money from T:ToN (and I have a feeling that Bard's Tale 4 won't sell that well either)
     
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  6. Kalingender: ⚧ Arcane

    Kalin
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    That's one persistent typo.
     
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  7. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
    I thought this was obvious, Torment wasn't even out yet. Wasteland 3's release date is late 2019.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2017
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  8. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    Tides of Numerana didn't seem to get any benefit from "one encounter at best per map." :M
     
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  9. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    The development process was a mess, so that isn't saying much.
     
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  10. Immortalgender: ⚧ Arcane

    Immortal
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    Citation Needed. Any Post Mortem on having 10 ideas guys and no developers in a room for 2 years spinning their wheels?
    That's what it felt like but I haven't read anything yet about it.
     
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  11. Ulfhednargender: ⚧ Educated

    Ulfhednar
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    Giving us the update for this area before passing it off to the art team is genius level creativity in hiding their lack of meaningful progress. It's clear they have some talent - too bad it only shines in their elaborate efforts to disguise their failures while scamming people.
     
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  12. Make America Great Again Rogueygender: ⚧ Arcane Sawyerite Sawyerist Sawyer's Bride No Fun Allowed

    Roguey
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    How'd you miss/forget http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=10604

     
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  13. Crossgender: ⚧ Educated

    Cross
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    Even in an interview that talks about overscoping and other development troubles, Fargo still can't stop himself from playing the snake oil salesman and bragging about the word count again. With such sterling leadership, it's no wonder InXile ended up the way they did.
     
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  14. i.Razorgender: ⚧ Educated Patron

    i.Razor
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    It's just Newport Beach where InXile is located. And I checked with google map/street out of curiosity. Nice place, short walk from the ocean. Obsidian is in Irvine - less time for relax, more time for real work.
     
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  15. Iznaliugender: ⚧ Arbiter

    Iznaliu
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    I don't think that sufficiently explains the large discrepancy, though.
     
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  16. Grotesquegender: ⚧ Arcane

    Grotesque
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Who gives a shit!?

    ELEX is out. The second coming.
     
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  17. J_Cgender: ⚧ One Bit Studio Patron Developer

    J_C
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    Project: Eternity Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong
    Is it good?
     
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  18. Make America Great Again torogender: ⚧ Arcane

    toro
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    Like cholera.
     
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  19. Grotesquegender: ⚧ Arcane

    Grotesque
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    Divinity: Original Sin
    Does it have a SOUL?
    Yes
     
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  20. Au Ellaigender: ⚧ Literate

    Au Ellai
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    They keep pushing this area in their updates like it's something super-awesome and interesting, which kinda makes me worried for the rest of the game. It's kinda neat getting some insight into the process of how they refine areas and encounters, but this area just isn't that interesting, and they're showing off a little too much rough and unfinished work. These things would be cooler in a postmortem than in development updates meant to build hype.
     
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  21. Mengskgender: ⚧ Learned

    Mengsk
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    Elex is a confirmed shit game.
     
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  22. Kalingender: ⚧ Arcane

    Kalin
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    cuz FAG

    geddit
     
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  23. Spotswoodgender: ⚧ Learned

    Spotswood
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    "murderous Everest Hotel"... suicide forest... old world spirits... hmmm

    [​IMG]
     
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  24. Make America Great Again Infinitrongender: ⚧ I post news Patron

    Infinitron
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    Codex 2016 - The Age of Grimoire Serpent in the Staglands Dead State Divinity: Original Sin Project: Eternity Torment: Tides of Numenera Wasteland 2 Shadorwun: Hong Kong Divinity: Original Sin 2 BattleTech A Beautifully Desolate Campaign Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire
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  25. Spotswoodgender: ⚧ Learned

    Spotswood
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    Is the pop culture reference possibly too heavy handed this time for the game's own good? That was my point.
     
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