Loose Ends - Answering Questions!
Now to answer a couple more specific questions.
Our philosophy is we want people playing the game, not reading the game. You could say words are all talk, action speaks volumes. To this end, we want to give players different options in how they approach situations. We also want the different types of actions to have their own challenges and rewards (or consequences).
So, let’s take an example of a big brutish creature that you might run across. When you try to get near, it attacks you.
1) So first instinct would be to simply attack back and try to dominate it. We know players are probably thinking that, so we make that option harder (sometimes, really hard). Chances are if you are playing the game for the action and combat you probably will appreciate more of a fight (this organically lets the game match your play style). It could be through the creatures difficulty itself, or we could throw a curve ball at you and make the creatures death trigger a story-driven battle down the road in another part of the game.
2) Instead of attacking, you could jump into the bridge and look around (the bridge allows you to observe things that might not be obvious normally). Here you might be able to communicate with the “true self” of the creature, or gain insight into what it is feeling / thinking. This isn't a branching dialogue, but more a way to try and feel out what the deal is with the creature. Of course, doing this doesn't always just give you what you are expecting and can trigger its own challenges or pose a puzzle you need to get past. Either way, these are typically non-combat and involve more problem solving / exploration.
3) Leave it alone. Yup, this is an option (and one just as viable as the rest). We want to surprise and reward players for doing things a little counter-intuitively (at least by the standards of most games). Avoiding conflict and allowing things to live when you don’t have a reason to kill them might pay off down the road. If the creature is blocking your path, just run past him. Examples of ways we would treat this is the creature appearing in a helpful way later on, or it could trigger some event.
Basically, we are approaching things less as “just a game” and more as a world you are experiencing. “Game logic” isn't the logic we go by. When you run across a creature, your instinct should be to wonder what is going to happen. ..who this creature is. ..what kinds of twists and turns it will send you down. It shouldn't be a calculated “dead creature = more exp and gold”, but instead a cautious experience in discovery.
Of course, there are still a good amount of “kill it kill it” type of game play. Always being on your toes and unknowingly at the mercy of the game design would make you feel a tad paranoid (some is ok, but too much can just get to be a bit bananas). So, the world will still have its lifeless automatons you can run around bashing to your hearts content.
But, also, there will typically be a lot around you to discover (if you choose to pull on these dangling strings of unknown adventure). That is why when I say a lot of the game is “optional”, it is because we aren't forcing these things on you. If you see a trail leading into a cave away from where you are headed, yea you can just keep going and skip it; but, well, as a gamer I know if the game is fun and keeping me interested I’ll probably explore that cave (if the game is boring and a chore and I know I’ll only find exp, gold, and maybe a slightly unusual item for a ton of work, I’ll skip it).
Hopefully this clears up a little bit more of how we are approaching things and gives a little insight into how we want this to be an interactive experience.
Thanks again for all the support! One week left, we can do it!! :)