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Weekly Journal - 26/08/2016 - New Quest System explained

NailaNaila Moderator, Compulsion Team
Hey everyone,

Another week has gone by at the Compulsion Games and the studio still hasn’t caught on fire which mean it was a good week! Jokes aside, we would like to remind you of the Community Feedback Board where you can vote and comment on the features that we regularly add thanks to your feedback (keep them coming!).

Also this is update #70 since we launched our Kickstarter last year. Hurray! We’ve never missed a week except for Christmas or when the team is away at a convention. If you feel like reading all the previous one you just need to head to our blog on our website.

Production

Sam

Hi everyone

We wanted to quickly update you on what’s going on with the team, the next update, and the new quest/encounter tracking system we are currently implementing.

It’s the end of summer in Montreal, and after 18 months of pretty much straight work, it’s a good time to recharge the batteries (and the team needs time outside to prepare for the upcoming winter!). Guillaume has been in Toronto, showcasing the game to Canadian media, and many members of the team are taking well deserved breaks (throughout all of August and some of September). We try to stagger vacation so we have at least one member of each discipline here at all times, but it does mean that progress slows down a bit. Remember that we’re people too, and need breaks just like everyone else :)

We spoke about the next update here, and we’re looking on track to deliver all of this, except for the “more variable difficulty settings”. As for timing, we’re aiming for mid-September, rather than the first week, although the preview build will be available earlier. The new lighting, coasts and vistas are in internally, and Matt is working on some changes to the Garden District that will help make it feel like a unique place and not just a destroyed copy of the Village. The difficulty settings are moving to a future update, as Camille has been focusing on a more important system - the quest system.

After launching the game, we looked back on what worked, what didn’t, what was difficult, etc and thought about ways we could improve our processes and systems. It was clear that our encounter/quest tracking system is just not good enough - there are too many things that can go wrong. The level designers have been doing too much, and solving bugs etc has been far more complicated than it needs to be. This means they have less time to create cool content, which is really what they want to be doing.

So, we’re going to make two major changes: first, we’re creating a new system to handle quests, and everything around them (objectives, map markers, etc), and second we’ll be changing the way you interact with encounter NPCs (which we’ve poorly titled “conversation mode”). The quest system will handle a lot more in code, and a lot less in scripting - which means that the level designers can do more with their time. The “conversation mode” isn’t a good name because it’s not really a conversation - we’re not changing the nature of dialogue with NPCs - but we are making it so that it’s much harder to do things like taking down an NPC while they’re in the middle of talking, hitting them in the face, or having other NPCs come down and hit you while you’re talking to them. You will still be able to choose to beat up NPCs afterwards, or beforehand, just not while they’re talking. Once these things are in a state that’s ready to show, the people designing and working on these systems will post up some progress!

However, we would like you to understand that it will take time for the encounters/quests etc to be moved over to these new systems. The programmers have to complete the systems, then the LDs have to plug everything in. So, some encounter bugs might take a while to resolve. However, once they are in place, we believe we’ll be able to create new content much faster.

Design Team

Vince

Hello everyone! I’ve been working on a couple of things in the Village houses to make gameplay more interesting, particularly when using a stealth approach. You will now be able to hide in wardrobes, because we felt there were not enough hiding spots. Also, there will be a few ways now to attract Wellies to certain spots in houses, even if you don’t have any distraction devices in your inventory: Radios, Gramophones and TVs. Yes, those props have been around for a while already, but they have a more concrete use now: turn them on, and Wellies will come and check why it has been suddenly turned on! Oh, and they won’t be able to resist dancing if you place a 45RPM record in a gramophone.

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We are also working on adding more POIs (points of interest) for them in the houses, notably cooking over the stovetop, writing at desks, contemplating in the mirror, watching TV - they will now turn the TV on as they sit on nearby couches and chairs, and turn it off as they leave - and more to come!

I also started building a new house layout for the Village area. I haven’t talked much about my process for building stuff so here’s a peek. I will usually start some rough sketches on paper, just brainstorming about what rooms I want, and where are the important things like doors, walls, stairs, corridors, etc. At this point, it’s just to get some ideas and try mixing up things from what we already have.

Then I go to Illustrator and start refining my sketch to a real plan with the proper scale of things and place more props that impact gameplay like the TVs, safes, beds, etc. I will then import this plan as a texture in the editor and build on top of it. I really like to do this as I can really keep to my plan this way and it’s much faster and precise because I can put stuff directly on top of it without having to look at a separate sheet or second monitor.

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  • NailaNaila Moderator, Compulsion Team

    Hayden

    Sorry to interrupt the weekly update folks…

    But, I have it from a good source here at the Wellington Wells Police Department (Constable Constable) that that rascal of a scientist, Dr. Helen Faraday, has been captured. There were reports of bugs stating she was not in her cage. She was seen roaming about her home attempting to escape and in some cases she was just gone—and there were rumors that she had taken one of her houseboys with her, we still don’t know if that was by his choice or not.
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    The good news is that both Dr Faraday and her Houseboy Roger have been safely returned to their proper game locations. This week I have personally taken every precaution to prevent this from happening again, though please keep in mind that with such a wily, cunning and beautiful specimen, anything is possible.

    In my attempt to keep Dr Faraday locked up, I addressed some other bugs that had to do with losing inventory or not being able to obtain objects from Dr Faraday. The solution was to create an object delivery system that worked well for both the player’s needs as well as Dr Faraday’s.

    After consulting with a few members of the team, I went with a Pneumatic Delivery System. Basically, it works like this: You put a Thingy in one side and that Thingy comes out the other, it’s much like the human digestive system—in fact, the instructions are so simple that even Roger and James could use it, if they were allowed.
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    In other news, I spent my remaining time this week working on other quest issues around town to help make your experience with encounters… A Joy.

    Art Team

    Emmanuel

    I had fun playing with UV puzzles making this super modular underground/sewer/metro/bunker set that should be really useful when it comes to making cool stuff.
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    Thank you for tuning in!

    Compulsion Games team
  • tectec Member, Moderator
    All sounds great!
  • You guys have been working so hard, I hope you don't work yourselves to exhaustion and you get some rest time! It's good for both you and us, because you'll be able to do better for the game if you're not dead inside :P
  • Yay, great stuff guys. I love reading these updates, thanks for keeping us in the loop.
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