Gameplay vs. Story
I am Jesus, the Director and Lead Designer of Lords of Xulima. First, I would like to give my personal thanks to the more than 800 contributors of this project. When you work on something into which you have put all of your effort and passion, receiving this kind of response to your project is simply marvelous.
I'd like to share with you a little bit about the origins of Lords of Xulima and to let you know how I've approached the balance between gameplay and story.
There are players who only appreciate gameplay and have no interest in a game's story. For others it's the reverse, they feel that a great story can make up for poor gameplay. I am of the opinion that a video game should not be like a book or a movie and a solid game play system has to be the priority of game developers. That said, if there is also a good story to go with the game play, something that draws you into the game and keeps you interested, then the enjoyment of the game is multiplied.
For Lords of Xulima, my number one priority was to create a great role-playing game. It is made up of all the elements that I haveve enjoyed while playing RPGs and is the culmination of all of the experiences I have had over the years from playing every RPG I could get my hands on, from the classics to the most modern releases. On our blog I have written a few articles about the different aspects of RPGs and how they have been implemented in Lords of Xulima:
- Pre-Made vs. Custom Characters
- Death in party based RPGs
- Food and Resting in RPGs
- Random encounters
- Balancing in non-linear RPGs
The story behind Lords of Xulima was conceived a few years ago as the framework to an epic fantasy novel that I was writing. Though I never finished it, I did carefully detail the time line, characters and all of the major events ranging from the beginning of the world until its end. If you’d like to know more about the inspiration for Lords of Xulima take a look at the first blog entry on our site.
While we were developing the prototype of the game and only had the basic mechanics implemented, back when Lords of Xulima was known only as RPGTest.exe, I started thinking about using the novel I had been working on as the framework of the game. At first it seemed far-fetched, if it’s difficult to make a novel into a movie, adapting a novel into a video game can be really crazy.
I read the mythology I had written again and again and, from there, I decided it could be broken into three parts that could function very well as a video game. Then, I began the laborious adaptation process, adapting both the story and the game itself. At first it all seemed very forced, but, little by little, the game system and the story converged so that after a while it seemed that they were perfectly made for each other.
Ironically, though I had prioritized the gameplay system over the story, I now feel that the story is the strongest aspect of Lords of Xulima. Its characters and the mythic background permeate every corner of the game.
The Mythology of Xulima
I leave you with the first two of the more than 50 passages that describe the mythology of Xulima, the first part of which (the first 24) can be found in the book “Bestiary and Mythology of Xulima”. We are only publishing part of the mythology so that we can avoid spoilers for any possible sequels.
Projects we recommend
Finally, we would like to comment a rather dramatic event that has happened to our Retro-RTS buddies, over at Super Roman Conquest. Basically, one of their backers held ~17% of the total raised fund, and withdrew it yesterday, with only 3 days remaining. If you like retro or strategy games, you can help them get back to the finish line (or help out morale if they already did).