Voting, Nerves, and the Future


So, the final dead-line to submit prototypes to the ImmUnity contest has come and gone. There are around 30 different entries as it stands. Muse Games is a bit vague on the announcement day, but I believe the public voting will continue until October 30th. After that, Muse Games will choose their winner from amongst the top five.

So, where do we stand, you ask? Well, as of writing this we held a tenuous place at 5th. We had 4th for awhile, and it looked like we would keep it. As has happened many times in this competition, though, a single entry suddenly skyrocketed in votes to pass everyone else up.

Needless to say, if you have not voted for us yet this is an incredibly good time to do such. We currently have a place in the final five, but our spot is far more shaky than any of us are comfortable with.

The nervous energy of waiting to see how it all turns out has been sapping most of us of our creative ability. That aside, our artist, Anna Faulkner, has done some amazing portrait sketches recently. We will get them up for everyone to view shortly. They really are great work.

On top of that, we have been brainstorming just WHERE we want to take “The Black Arena”. What things we want to add, improve, and innovate. Some of it is pretty obvious, like polishing the menu system and adding animations to everything. Some of it is not quite so obvious, but is pretty exciting to us. Some new, fresh ideas are coming out of the process. I thought I would share a handful of them with you. Some of the really nice ones we are keeping to ourselves for now… for obvious reasons. Hopefully, though, this will give you a taste of what is to come.

1. Multi-player PVP: This one is an obvious one, and we think a vital one. There are not too many real-time/turn-based RPGs out there that offer PVP. In fact, I do not think there are ANY. If done right, we envision this being a cornerstone of the game. A reason to build up your character, collect all that equipment, and hone your abilities. Naturally, you will not HAVE to do any PVP. Hopefully, though, we will make it so enjoyable that you will want to.

2. Full Inventory System: We always planned on having a real inventory system where you can collect items, switch them out as you see fit, and likely even trade them with other real players. We feel that just four wearable slots will be enough; not the 18 different wearable slots (19 if you count the belly-button ring) that some games overdue, but enough so that the players actually feel as if their character is different than everyone else. We also plan on having it so each item you wear shows up with its own individual look upon your character (something our team member, Desso, insists upon). If you have; and are wearing; that really bad-ass suit of armor then you are going to look bad-ass.

3. Destructible Terrain: This has been done to death in numerous other games before, but never really done in an RPG. Also, we are hoping to implement it in an entirely different way. Make the destruction of the terrain truly change the outcome of a battle. For instance, a battle may be taking place over the cooled shell of a lava flow. Do too many “area” attacks and you could crack the shell plummeting both you and your opponent into the lava flow below. If you are designed to resist fire, that might be a great thing. If not… hope you can heal fast. We can think of an infinite way to put this type of destructible terrain to great use. Frozen areas that lessen any fire element attacks until you have done so many that you melt the ice, forests that can be set ablaze, mountains that can be sent crashing down on one’s opponent, etc. We do not plan on overdoing it (A gimmick used constantly is no longer a gimmick. It is now a headache). Just using it as a way to add variety to the regular battles.

4. Customizable Characters: Obviously, you can customize your character with which attacks, spells, skills, perks, and items you choose. This refers more to the looks. There will be both male and female character selection, as well as possibly race selection. The portraits I mentioned above will be selectable avatars for your character, and will naturally display next to your name inside multi-player sessions. Also, the looks of the character model itself will have some customization options. We will do everything we can to make you feel as if your character is your own original creation, and not a carbon copy of everyone else.

5. Secrets, Unlockables, and Nuances: We are all VERY large fans of extra content. Each one of our team members have our own ideas of what type of “extras” we want to add, hide, and reward the player with. Just a taste of these would be a gallery of the fantastic art being produced, hidden bosses/quests/items/etc, optional mini-games that break up the repetitive nature of the regular game mechanics, and a very interesting and original “class” system we are keeping secret… for now. It would be fair to say that the final game will be literally overflowing with extra content and hidden surprises. So much so, that I doubt any one player will ever find it all.

This is just a taste of what our brain-storming sessions have come up with. Looking at our notes, we have more along the lines of 30 different entries rather than the simple 5 I listed above. I am going to leave it there for now, though. Best not to give it all away at once, as they say.

If you have anything you want to add; any ideas you would love to see included; feel free to post them. That is what the comment section is for, after all. Once again, thank you to everyone who has voted and supported us. We are dedicated to making a game that truly is enjoyable and addictive to play. We feel that is the best way we can show our undying gratitude. To make a game you can all be proud to say you helped see the light of day.

P.S. A few new things added to the side-bar recently. Check out the mini-strategy guide for the prototype we put up at http://www.musegames.com (It is not a complete guide, but it helps). Also, check out our new weekly segment on Indie game reviews. This is where we will review our most loved… and most hated… indie games. Give a bit of praise and exposure to the rest of our struggling brethren out there.

“Order is always following the law, even if it is wrong. Anarchy is always breaking the law, even if it is right. Chaos is knowing the difference, and being free to choose the better way.”

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~ by chaoticheartld on October 23, 2009.

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