~Simulated Environments 2 - Design Stage~

My idea for this project is thus :

An underwater race of magical mer-people are attacked by humans as the humans bellieve them to be a threat.
The race of Mer-people live in an under water city, of which is protected by a magical orb named 'The Orb of Neptune' (Neptune meaning 'god of the sea' and as such lends itself perfectly to the sheer power cotained within) located in the center. The Orb of Neptune protects the mer-people, and allows them to live safely in an air tight city under the sea. Without the Orb the Mer-People would slowly lose their magical powers and become weaker. For Mer-People can not survive on land for long lengths of time.
Most are killed in the attack and the rest are captured and driven into slavery. The year is 1699 and William the 3rd has taken the throne.
The only survivor of the attack whom managed to escape was a young girl named Seela Nixx. She is the daughter of the king of their people (King Vittatus Nixx).
Her parents were killed in front of her, and she didn't see her brother Adaros' fate. You play as Seela, and your role in the game is to save your people, and your brother.

The game is a Role Playing format, and you progress through 'levelling up' and becoming stronger.
Of course, with it being an RPG format, comes the freedom to pillage and loot new equipment and items. You can also use found pearls, shells and such items and infuse them with your armour in order to power them up even more. You go through the game releasing and and helping your tribe, and slowly you become their leader. The game is set of the coast of India known as the cape of good hope.
It is inhabited by small tribes of Indian people, the Dutch have huge towns and outposts along with the English, and also Arabians.

The game consists of free roaming around Africa, and at certain checkpoints and after certain events that you do, the story line unfolds.
The more you explore, the better the items and the more people you can kill, and the more of your kin you can rescue.
Thus giving yourself a bigger army for the finale of the game.

Half way through the game, Seela discovers that her brother wasn't actually kidnapped. In fact, he was working with the Dutch in the fight against his kind. He had learned that his father had intended not to make him king, and to make Seela queen instead. As he believed her to be stronger, smarter and better for the job. Where as his son is sly and disloyal (as he proves exactly by becoming a traitor.) And so it becomes a game wherein she seeks revenge. However, what both sides don't realise is that her brother has a secret agenda. He intends to retrieve the orb for himself, and use it's powers for evil. Becoming a very powerful person in the world.

Part of the lore for these mer-people is that when they leave the water, they transform into humans, with slightly blue or yellow legs and some signs of scales. However, too long above water and they begin to become weaker and in turn die, and this becomes a challenge in the game because you have
to seek water often in order to stay alive, meaning you can not reach certain areas in the world, at least untill you progress far enough to retrieve the Orb.
This restricts players from getting to end parts of the game too early.

The slave drivers allow their slave mermaids to swim in the sea each day for just long enough to stay alive and work, but not long enough to become powerful again. For the mer-people are a magical race, and whilst they are usually humble people, they can be dangerous when driven too such lengths.

The finale of the game pits Mer-people vs Humans, at the main town of the Dutch. Here Seela destroys her brother, and in turn becomes queen of her people by restoring the orb and claiming their city back and striking a deal with the humans to live in peace.

Character Backstories

Seela Nixx:
Seela - African word for Barracuda.
Nixx - Shape shifting Water spirit whom appear in Human form.

Daughter of King Nixx, a young attractive and intelligent girl. Everyone respects her, and treats her as the princess she is. She is a trained Warrior of her kind, and is a very talented fighter. Though she cares deeply for her family, and would do anything to help them. Which leads her into the hunt to find and rescue her brother, and upon finding out his true intentions she has to battle with her love for him, and the new overwhelming hatred for him. She is 18 years of age when the story starts, so is young and naive. I'm sure anyone could relate to the feeling of despair and loneliness when all of her race are taken into slavery or killed.

Adaro Nixx:
Adaro : Malevolent Mer-Man.

A mid 20's man, son of King Nixx. The mer-people steer clear of him, they know he is an evil person whom can not be trusted. He uses his status of Prince to his advantage and bullies and harms people to get his own way. Through this his father realises that he can not make such a person king and so decideds to make Seela king upon his passing. Adaro finds out about this, and so he strikes a deal with the King of the Humans, William the 3rd, to deliver him the very device that keeps the Mer-People powerful and alive. William the 3rd welcomes this, and offers him power and wealth in trade for it. But what William doesn't realise is that Adaro plans to double cross him and claim the orb for himself. In an attempt to gain power over his people, and the humans. For the Orb can grant great power to the owner.

King Vittatus Nixx:
Vittatus: African for Tiger Fish.

Vittatus is the owner of the Orb of Neptune. He is als
o the king of all the Mer-People. Because he is the owner of the Orb, no one but him can use it to its full power. It grants its owner great powers. Though Adaro knows this, and so prior to the attack on the mer-people he kills his father. Though his father is an extremely wise man, and has already passed ownership of the Orb on to Seela. All the Mer-People respect him, as he is a great leader of their peoples. He is a fair man and treats his people with respect. Though Adaro plans to become the master of the Orb, and take control of them. What he doesn't realise though is that his sister is now the owner, and he has to kill her in order to become its master.


So in conclusion, Adaro kills his father to becom
e the Orb master and take control of the mer-people, and William the 3rd. What he doesn't foresee is Seela being the owner, for she isn't even aware the ritual has been completed. So Seela is trying to find and rescue her brother, whilst her brother is trying to work out why the Orb won't grant him power. He eventually realises that his sister must be the owner, and so he tries to hunt her down, but at this point Seela becomes aware of her brothers treachery. And so they both work towards killing each other.

Game Mechanics

- The combat system in the game would consist of Melee, ranged and magical powers. However the magical powers wouldn't contain things like fire and the like. Just nautical type magics. However, there would be focus on balance between the three, so all are equal. There is a tendency in games to make something really powerful compared to the rest. Causing imbalance and making that one spell or class really powerful. An example of this is in Fable2, wherein there is a fire spell that once upgraded to full, which isn't even a hard thing to accomplish is the most powerful thing in the game. Once you have this, you can compelete the game without using anything else. So to counter this, mana bars for magic, and energy bars for melee/bow will be used.

-Another important part of the game is the map. It is a seamless chunk of Africa, in which you can explore. However, I want to avoid it being a world map where it shows every detail, as long as you have been there before, and has your arrow on there to show where you are. Instead, I want the freedom to take out a paper map, and for the player to draw on there themselves. There will also be tools, such as a compass and stuff that you can obtain, and with that you can estimate your longtitude and latitude, and work out where you are on the map. If there is something you want to remember for later, you can scribble on it a note, or use a preset 'stamp drawing' type thing, to remember what exactly is there.

-The seamless world will give a lot of freedom. You can go and do what you want at any time, just as long as you return to water often so that you don't become to weak. A note on the becoming weak thing, you notice that you are becoming weak when you start to slow down, your attacks don't do so much damage, and things like that. However there will be a bar at the top of the screen to inform players of when they are close to this point. All they need do is jump in the water and use a rest option in order to speed up time till they are replenished. So that the game doesn't get too monotonous.

-The game is in semi real time, the clock goes round properly and there is night and day. Though it will be faster then the real world, so that night and day goes and comes faster. Something like 1 or 2 hours real world, to 24 hours in game. So this means that if you need to get specific things in the towns, you are better off doing it in the evening when people are sleeping, or in the taverns drinking. It is a fully functioning world.

-There are quest givers, in and out of the cities and towns. You can enter the towns during the day, however you have to dress in a certain way to blend in. It is recommended you disguise yourself in traditional attire.

-The level system will not be a traditional 'congratulations you are level 10' type game. Instead you will gain a certain type of experience from kills, a certain type from quests and a certain type from helping your kin and such. You can turn these points in for spells and attacks. Some of which take multiple types of experience points, forcing the player to play each aspect of the game to progress.

-Target Audience. This game will be a realistic portrail of Africa (or as realistic as can be with magical mer-people) in the 18th Century, and so there will be swearing, blood and gore, and adult material. So I think it's wise that this games age rating would be a 15. I was swaying towards 18, but really I have to compare again to Fable 2. The game is similar to that with regards to the time period, the fantasy genre, though it will more realistic stylisticaly. However, Fable 2 gives a fairly good portrail of towns of the time, and, well that game is a 15 also. So it makes sense that mine would be the same. It's a game focused at people whom enjoy Role playing games, but also it is entirely story and character driven, so people whom enjoy games like this will be satisfied. But also, people who like to explore and enjoy adventure games would certainly want to pick this title up.

Here is the concept art for Seela I used to produce the model with. Though as with any model, it differs a lot from the concept art as I had to change bits and pieces that weren't working.

1 comment:

tutorphil said...

Hi Jonny,

Sounds like you've been stressing yourself out unnecessarily - you're synopsis reads okay, though maybe you need to give more thought to the actual purpose of the globe; it feels like you're still not sure what it does, or why; also, perhaps give more thought to the slavery angle; what are the slaves being used for, and wouldn't the king use their watery skills to his advantage somehow? Is the king interested in taking the underwater city? Are there resources he wants, for example? In essence, these are just details, and for the most part, the scope and scale of your game is starting to become clear, but I would have another attempt at writing your synopsis, only this time, thin it out even more, and give each character a very clear goal and objective; also, give each character their own back-story very clearly - short statements about the action preceding the events of the game and their resulting psychology; for instance, Seela's brother (his name?) is weak-willed and ambitious; he betrayed his kind by...

Remember, Jonny - that story derives from character; so spend more time painting very clear pictures of them, and the thrust of the story will very quickly become more convincing for you - and everyone else.

More generally - stop panicking, stay sharp, and keep thinking.

About Me

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I am a video game artist at Dovetail games, working on Train Simulator 2014, 2015 and an unannounced title. I also graduated from the CG Arts course at UCA in 2010 with a First Class. www.jonstewart.co.uk