InnerSpace Update #17: To the Graph Paper
Hello everyone! In this month’s update, I want to take you through what it’s like to fly through InnerSpace by showing a bit more of the towers, as well as a example scenario. Hopefully, this will give you a bit of an idea of how the game will actually feel, once you’re in it.
- Eric B
In our last update, I described the foundation of our architectural design: the modular system. Essentially, most of the buildings (called “towers”) are created with the same few dozen pieces, which are incredibly versatile and fit together to create the size, shape, and overall aesthetic we want. In the end, they look a little something like this…
The towers are designed with two criteria in mind: how they fit potential player interactions (which I’ll describe in more detail below) and how they literally fit into the environment. The towers were designed by the societies of the bubble to fit the odd landscape of their world. The terrain, a mix of scattered islands and mountains sprinkled around a world-encompassing body of water, necessitated an infrastructure radically different from our own. Notice how the towers are supported by frames that hold the buildings on their own and over gaps.
If half of the design of the towers is based on the environment in which it resides, the other is how the player actually interacts with them; in other words, their functionality.
Last week, our level designer, Jeff, wrote a blog post on the process he follows to design a level. If you’re interested in level design, I definitely suggest giving it a read. He then describes how he applies it to InnerSpace, since our game design presents challenges that are unique to it.
(Note: since InnerSpace is a game about discovery, some people may consider the following section to include spoilers.)
As you know, the idea behind InnerSpace is to explore the vast areas of the bubbles and uncover what’s there to be found. Because of this, the concept of designing levels traditionally is thrown out the window. As Extra Credits once so elegantly explained, levels are designed in such a way that the player learns how to play as challenges are presented. Since the level designer knows the route the player will most likely take, he or she can design areas based on where the character will be at certain times. Since InnerSpace is a variation on an open-world, such linear progression is nonexistent. Instead, we’ve designed what we call “scenarios,” which are areas and challenges that, upon completion, provide a reward. These rewards can range from finding a relic to having some sort of effect on the world. While many scenarios take place away from towers, many towers are scenarios in their own right. One such is the “Harry Potter” tower that Jeff describes in his post.
Essentially, the process goes like this…
Then, with a little coding magic, the tower moves.
A Campaign We Love: GENRE
Genre is a card and dice-based role-playing game. The cards each represent a particular genre of fiction, and are combined to create each player’s character. Follow your character’s motivations and work with your team to defeat the GM’s nemesis to win. It’s a card game for role-playing fans, and a role-playing game for card players.
The campaign is being run by fellow UT Dallas alumns and good friends of ours. I’ve had the chance to take part in playtesting and really enjoyed it myself. Depending on the group, I’ve found that it the game really changes based on how much the group likes to role-play or strategize as a more traditional card game, and it’s enjoyable both ways. You can download a demo version on their campaign page and give it a shot, yourself.