Location, Location, Location: More About Instances
The last time we discussed instances (in Update #3), we told you some of our ideas for the kinds of content you might see inside, the many ways you might end up in an instance in the first place, and the role instances are meant to play in your journey through the game. Today, we’d like to tell you some more about our philosophy of map building: how we want instances to look and feel. We’re hoping to move away from the bad aspects of older MMO’s map designs (while retaining the good ones, of course!) and introduce some new features to make instances more lively, believable, and filled with options for different styles of play.
As always, it is far too early to make promises: the game is years from completion. But here is what we WANT. This is what we intend.
No More Monotony
Does this sound familiar? You’re out on patrol with your friends, kicking butt like nobody’s business, when you manage to track down a group of nefarious whatchamacallits to an office in the suburbs. You go in, bust down the door, and drive them all out.
Then you go to a different (yet identical) office downtown, and you do it again! And again.
We call this “map monotony”, and it’s something we really want to avoid. You shouldn’t be forced to go to the same place over and over again. Even places with similar functions, like office buildings or warehouses, should at least be visually distinct from one another. With enough resources or time, we will be able to have both logical ‘randomized’ maps generated through the procedural generator that can make your fourth office raid in a day new and different, while also freeing our techs and artists to have unique locations you can use those memorization skills on.
No More Nonsense
The economy of Titan City is dependent on workers being able to find their offices, which would be rather difficult if they were hidden behind twenty random flights of stairs. Also, studies show that elevators that only connect to single floors tend to be wildly inefficient. It was as if every building should look like this on the outside:
What I’m trying to say is that the offices in City of Titans are going to have a bit of a more realistic feel than what you may have seen in previous games. The same goes for our warehouses, secret laboratories, and other locations. Not every instance has to be an enemy infested maze! That’s not to say we won’t have fanciful interiors, of course; those can be fun. But a building can have a practical layout and also be an enemy infested maze.
No More Frustration
Back in the good old days (you know what I mean), I always used to dread a particular map that my friends and I called “The Layer Cake.” It was a long, narrow map that my eight foot tall character could barely squeeze into. The last room was this massive, elaborate cave system with big holes in the ground and plenty of nooks and crannies. It was a beautiful map, but… inevitably, I would be forced to crawl around it for hours at a time trying to locate the single enemy that escaped my sight. It felt less like I was an epic superhero, and more like I was just really bad at hide and seek. That’s something we’re hoping to avoid in City of Titans.
This does not mean we’re going to go easy on you, of course. There are still plenty of tricky maps out there for your heroes and villains to explore, but we’re going to try to keep things less frustrating and more interesting. We cannot promise anything at this point, but we hope that things like dynamic events that change the map (does that cave wall look weak to you?), lighting effects and physics will give you more options for exploring as well as give us more ways to surprise and challenge you.
Way More Awesome
Although we are not building a twitch game or a platform game, that does not mean the terrain is just a matter of how far you are standing from an enemy and whether they can jump up to where you are. With your help we can implement wind, variable visibility (perhaps countered by superhuman senses or even special skills) and maybe even a certain location with gravity ⅙ that of earth ideal for some form of Gigantic Death Ray and have this for a view:
Even after you beat down all of the enemies in a villainous lair, using Parkour to reach the switch that deactivates (or activates) that Gigantic Death Ray can be a stimulating challenge. (Of course, if you’re a more lumbering type of super-character, you might choose a different option to deal with said Gigantic Death Ray!) Even more important, such things and how you choose to deal with them may make the difference between rescuing a hostage now and seeing her swept into a pipe by a torrent of water to a distant location where you may face new challenges in order to save her.
In the old days, instanced maps were mostly just backdrops to combat. We here at Missing Worlds Media believe that instances should be more than just a delivery method for sacks of experience. They’re a vital part of the game’s story.