Dev Update: A Fork in the (Hero)path

Heropath is still far from release and I’ve come to a fork in the road. I have to make a decision that in deciding to recode everything, I need to also include decisions on:

  1. Finding Immersion: I’ve decided that I need to convert the Perspective of the game to first person from top-down. Adding a 3rd dimension makes the game much more complicated and I’ve found that just getting acquainted with the Godot UI is taking me some time. I think it will be the right decision as I want Heropath to be a surreal, immersive simulation that has adventure and strategy elements. A first person/3D perspective will help with conveying that.
  2. Design Direction: I need to clearly map out my Design and Logic. I have another project that is much less complicated that has the next three steps mapped out because the design builds on earlier features. I need to figure out how to do the same thing with Heropath. Currently my design is too nebulous and any coding I do will be wasted.

These decisions will take me time to implement. There have also been other factors that have impacted on my development that you can read about at my personal blog.

I want to also mention two new influences that I will integrate into Heropath. One is an indie developer who has released a set of idle play games and the other is blockbuster AAA title. The development process, styles, Play Elements, for these two influences are almost diametrically opposed but I am seeing where each creates depth of skill development. This has really caught my attention and I am now pondering ways to make Heropath more about developing the player’s skill, culminating in the level of mastery where the game becomes toy play. This would fit beautifully with Heropath’s theme of lucid dreaming in an AI’s dream realm.

Grump Rhino Games

The indie developer is Grumpy Rhino Games. An amazing solo developer who creates devious, deep idle games that have gotten me to open my wallet. The games are charming, funny, and contain a long game that I find mesmerizing. Here is his list of games:

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor

Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor (2014) by Monolith is a AAA epic, expansive third person action adventure. This game is dark, disturbing, and requires hours of play to advance due to its ruthless opponents. It is opposite of the games mentioned above. This is so much I love about this game:

  • Set in Middle-earth with a focus on Mordor and the Uruk-hai society.
  • Amazing animation and sound that emphasizes the brutal assassinations and combat.
  • The Nemesis system is brilliant, allowing for emergence and game stakes to reveal themselves dynamically.
  • The open-world is vibrant with its interplay of Outcast/Slaves, Uruk-hai, Caragors, Graug, and Ghuls. Watching these groups play out their agendas against each other is riveting.
  • The mix of the Wraith-world and Real-worlds is an mechanical inspiration for a my concept for Heropath.
  • You start off having to stealthily make your way in beginning, but as you advance in power you eventually become a warrior-wizard that allows you to compel your enemies, be they beast or orc, to fight for you.

Such different gaming experiences, yet both of these experiences have given me additional inspiration and ideas. It will help my concept become more solid.

Heropath is evolving as I get more experience with designing and coding. The raw concept that I had two years ago is still present but has become more refined. This is exciting to me as the vision is coming more into focus, the path forward is becoming more clear.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Roots of Heropath, Part 3

Besides video games and other influences, another source of inspiration for Heropath are the following Game Developers. They are listed below in chronological order, according to their game development careers year-span.

Robert Clardy – (1978-1997) Robert has a long history of meshing adventure and strategy genres and created a new blended style of game that gets mislabelled as RPGs. His games were innovative and do not get the attention they deserve.

Richard Garriot – (1979-2018) ‘Lord British’ not only has a long and storied history of game development, he pushed game design and technological boundaries every opportunity he had. He was one of the first to use a meta-narrative design layer to bring the player into the game world in Ultima IV and then built a living word in Ultima V. Possibly one of the most influential game developers who ever lived.

Warren Robinett – (1980-1983) Warren had a short but critical development history to me. My love of Adventure for the Atari 2600 is so strong that I will be using that game as my first chapter in Heropath.

Stuart Smith – (1980-1986) Stuart had a short game development career, but his games stand out being some of the first to combine graphics and emergent narrative. He capped off his career by creating an adventure construction game where players can create their own games for others to play.

Mike Singleton – (1982 – 2008) Mike is the only British developer on this list and I only know about him because of my weird history with computers. Mike created immersive worlds, mastered narrative design before it was recognized, was an amazing programmer, and helped pioneer emergent narrative.

Bruce Carver – (1983 – 2009) Bruce provided a template of game development of the staged poly-mechanic style of games in the 1980s. These games are an artifact of their time and have fallen out of favour but I’m intending for Heropath to find a way to synthesize that style.

Will Wright – (1984-2008) Will created the first self-identified software toys which created controversy among serious game developers. His bravery to recognize that toy-play is fundamentally about free exploration and then design his simulation games around this recognition was brilliant. His staged poly-mechanic game Spore was majestic in its scope.

Jon Van Caneghem – (1986-2017) – Jon created one of the the biggest CRPG series – Might & Magic – and then brilliantly mixed in strategic warfare with his King’s Bounty & Heroes of Might & Magic games. His RPG worlds mixed science fiction and fantasy into science-fantasy which was a refreshing take.

Tarn Adams – (1996 – present) Tarn’s dedication to exploring and integrating chemistry, biology, psychology, sociology, economics, and more into a fantasy world has created an ongoing epic of development in Dwarf Fortress. The journey is definitely the destination for Tarn and I found this is very inspiring to me. I foresee Heropath following a similar kind of development style where I keep adding things into the game for years.