Missions, missions and more missions… and how was your day?
I seriously learned a lot during the development on this game, tackling the mission structure was a big one as I’m still not sure it’s fully working as it should. The “open world” game is a different beast from all my previous games, I really like creating an experience that takes the player from start to finish, which means that at all steps I know where the player is and what’s coming next.
not so in open world games..
It’s possible for a player to just ignore all the characters that try to talk to him, and just script their own plan. So there are sub missions, which is really simple stuff that doesn’t depend on where you are story-wise. For example, you find a garage, you enter it, it will offer you to fix your car or build you a new one from scraps. Your mission: find enough scraps.
Other sub missions are buildings with elevators, you can only scavenge them if you find a big battery to power the elevators. Your mission: find that big battery and return.
These missions are simple and random, they are part of the game world, but not the game story.
The problem starts with the story missions! These missions, by the nature of a story, depend on a sequence of events. So you can’t do mission Z if you haven’t completed missions A,B,C, and all in between.
But we still want the player to feel freedom of an open-world, so if you rather go sand-worm hunting on your own and forget about the story for a bit, then that should be fine… just that if you then decide you want to continue on the story missions, you need to be able to do just that.
The first few weeks, having the missions working, it was a huge mess of code. Missions triggers were placed at various different locations (entities triggering it, actions triggering it, explosions triggering it, placed all over the code).. it wasn’t fun to work on the missions and adding new ones, or shifting missions around, was a really painful process.
A lot of code moving around, and code rethinking later, and it’s less of a pain to add missions and even move missions around. It’s also easier to trigger missions at the start of the game for testing purposes (really speeds up development!).
Right now there are about 8-9 story missions in the game, and having checked with the big AAA open-world games, I think my aim is to have 16 story missions in there when I release.. maybe a few less, it should provide a big enough game.
Besides the missions there has been a lot of improvements and additions. The game is really coming along nicely, I’ll now be adding some more weapon types, and then some extra things like story-log items, extra graphics to just give everything that polished look.
I also started throwing in various arcade-game extra’s to really turn this open-world game into an Orangepixel open-world game. I like to see this as an open-world game for people with very little game time (like me). It’s enjoyable in short bursts… now my biggest worry is how to tackle the save game functions!