Cryamore World Design, Part 1
As many of you may have seen from the recent update, progress involving hammering out the entirety of Noka Island along with its various interiors have been underway.
So what exactly goes into our process of designing the world of Cryamore?
Well, the first step we took from the very beginning was to assign the various elements to a “dungeon”. Then we decided on the placement in Noka Island along with the location the town of Ghilcrest would be in.
We then made a list of all the important collectibles (Ingredients, Cryamore Catalysts, HP/EP upgrades, etc.) and mini-bosses. From there we distributed the collectibles and minibosses to specific dungeons or the overworld.
Then begins the tricky part of the process for us. We had to decide on what abilities will be readily available to the player during certain parts of the game. We split the abilities into multiple sections like attack types, shield types or context types and made sure there was one group of abilities that would be the core set you’d need to finish the game as quick as possible (though you won’t see everything this way and would be far from 100% completion).
After that process, we then have to plot out various puzzles for each dungeon that lead to the various collectibles or minibosses we’ve assigned which we dubbed as “SUB” puzzles for collectibles that are more for 100% completion, “SIDE” puzzles to for collectibles that help you get the “SUB” collectibles and the “MAIN” path of puzzles that just get you through the area and advance the story.
All that was just on documentation though. After that lengthy process, we then moved onto laying it out in design. Ghilcrest’s exterior is nearly complete as many of you may have pieced together from previous screenshots, it just needs a good bit of detailing for that extra polish.
The Overworld is split up into blocks of areas just to give us a better measurement of scale. Each block is about 3.5 in-game screens in size, which averages to about 4000x4000 sections of area to traverse. That’s actually really expansive than the norm for a game like Cryamore. The blocks also help us divide parts of the world into sections that can fit a more area-based approach with the map (i.e. A Link to the Past) but also having the option to accommodate a more seamless style of world via asynchronous loading.
Along the way we place collectibles in the overworld and think of various obstacles the player must overcome to get them, whether it be using an ability, just exploring the area, fighting a miniboss or a combination of all three.
Dungeons as mentioned above have a guide we can follow already since we documented puzzles for each one.
The dungeon design process involves us laying out a grid of blocks and then outlining the main path the player must take to reach the end of the dungeon where they’ll fight a boss. We then start placing the puzzles we documented in various sections of the main path and create side-paths along the way that lead to other obstacles and collectibles. Sometimes we may add or subtract a few more obstacles along the way, making sure to always question ourselves whether something is pointlessly difficult or ridiculously easy which can be hard when you have the visible solution in front of you always.
Sometimes we even get confused with our own puzzles, but it is the most satisfying element of game design.
Throughout this all, we also have to be aware of the lore we’ve set up for Cryamore. We can’t have that many manmade obstacles or treasure chests as the humans who settled into Noka Island haven’t been there that long to create such things. What’s more, many of our dungeons are more part of the environment than a built structure like temples or actual “dungeons”.
The limitations definitely make designing a puzzle and the world quite challenging.
On the next part, we’ll give a bit more in-depth look into how we’ve drawn and illustrated the backgrounds and assets and put them in the game, which should be an informational post regarding how we use Unity for our development.