The Skivvy on “Clockwork”

So I just played through Clockwork last night and overall I am very impressed with how it was executed. I have no intention of playing it again or with using it as a home, because well, Legacy… yeah. But all in all I have many many props for the author’s overall design and execution, but be aware, spoilers ahead.

 

Pros:

  • Beautifully re textured blue palace elements. The interior of the clockwork mansion was very gorgeous and reminiscent of Lovecraft-esc 20’s-40’s supernatural thriller/investigation style games you would play in the 90’s, which I always enjoyed.
  • Amazing custom assets: The “gilded” characters, and in particular the transport terminal entrance ring which rotated around and had a glowing light behind it shining through the die cut metal icon on the holds; that I thought was fantastic
  • Innovative creepy features: The entire tunnel network leading to the mansion has some neat things like skulls that rotated to watch you, neat camera effects and a creepy stalker ghost you couldn’t do much about. I did appreciate that it was merely a creep out aspect and did little damage to you, but it was creepy enough that you always wanted to keep your distance. The fact it floated limpy at you was very silent-hill esc.
  • Really neat immersive storage system and item transfer system which made sense for the setting. A central depository could be filled up with items and you select where you wanted to send them, which was neat.
  • Intro title: After stepping out of the tunnel system which served as an intro to the mod, actual 3D text floats in the air above the mansion when you first come into view of it. I was rather impressed with this. A bit immersion breaking yes, but as this mod is a “world away from skyrim” type mod, I can overlook that, and it was executed very well.
  • Impressive dungeon interiors. The look and feel was great, but the size and scope was not, which I’ll cover shortly. I loved the look of the places when I first arrived in them. Clutter was great and very well done, had excellent lighting and sound effects and background music. Overall I was quite impressed.

Cons:

  • There are two NPC’s in the mansion that serve as quest hub/hook NPC’s, and EVERY single stage sends you to the wrong one, so that they can comment on something needlessly and then direct you to the other NPC. I found this oddly unnecessary since in most cases other than a couple, the initial NPC doesn’t really have any useful insight quest wise or story wise really.
  • Quests: The whole quest in general was pretty neat, however I REALLY think that since the dungeons had loud speakers in places, I wish that the NPC’s had sent you on an initial quest to find a device that would allow you to communicate back to them because the dungeon was MASSIVE, and I mean MASSIVE. Like it makes Blackreach look like Riverwood big, and the quest arc made you enter and leave and return 3 separate times, where if you had a means to tap into the speaker system and talk to the NPC’s remotely, you could have cut two of those trips out.
  • Unless you have an external storage method like a bottomless storage spell, bag of holding, ayleid waystone, etc. There is too much you need to carry and too much general enchanted gear loot to carry back. Now you could obviously drop the stuff off after each trip back in the quest, but again, I wish the back and forth was mitigated by some other story element.
  • Dungeons were unnecessarily expansive and repetitive. I really liked the execution over all but if the sub section sizes were cut down by 1/3 or 1/2 it would have been more enjoyable than searching dozens upon dozens of similar or identical rooms where all that was different was the clutter and decor. The main chamber was awesome and huge and that was fine, but for all the sections to lead to other super large areas that were repetitive in design was a little much for me. I was tempted a couple times in the back and forth to use TCL.
  • No real challenges/puzzles. You fight handfuls of new Animonculi which will eventually regenerate themselves which was cool, but beyond that you didn’t have any clues to have to decipher, puzzles to solve, or any real navigational challenges other than navigating through a huge space. The nature of the mod really lent itself to needing a few custom puzzles and I would have loved to have seen what the author would have come up with given their skill with the scripting and animation system exhibited in several elements of the mod.

All in all I give Clockwork a big thumbs up but it has some issues and is specialized enough that it isn’t a “must have” mod, but I would definitely consider using it as a player home for a dwemer-centric character.

 

Gearing up for the Future

So part of my frustration in modding full time like I am is the limitations of the tools at hand. CK crashes, load times, running out of RAM, minimal video performance issues, slow loads on Skyrim, 3DO fighting with the CK on which of them is going to eat all my RAM first… it gets infuriating.

A couple years ago I bought my first pre-built system in a very VERY long time. I’ve traditionally always built my own systems but it was my first desktop system after making a switch to 100% laptop use a number of years back. But when I got into modding, it became very apparent that I was going to need more power, so I bought what I currently have been using.

Quickly RAM become an issue, which I have upgraded since, and now it yet again is becoming a concern. disk access speed and stability, backup options, and a very sub par GPU are all pressing in on me. The power supply is inadequate to support a better video card and the ventilation is like living inside a furnace filter… it’s awful.

Couple these limitations with the fact I have expanded my tool sets and skill sets with things such as Quixel Suite, Material maker, Crazy Bump, monthly subscription to Adobe CS (photoshop), its amplified exponentially, my hardware concerns.

So to that end I’ve finally made the decision to invest in a new system, and not just a new system, but something pretty close to top of the line, which I will be building myself. Here is what I have in mind:

  • i7 7700k 4.2ghz chip
  • Asus ROG Maximus IX Formula Motherboard
  • Corsair Vengeance LED 64GB RAM 3200MHZ
  • Corsair RM850i power supply
  • Toshiba OCZ VX500 512GB SSD drives (x2) (one for OS, one for programs and working files (still have an external USB 3.0 SATA drive for backups)
  • Asus GTX 1080 ti 11GB GPU
  • basic tower case with good ventilation
  • liquid cooling system
  • Replacement of outdated (and incompatible) Wacom tablet
  • OEM of Windows

So… I present this all to you in hopes you might help me reach my ultimate goal. Either by giving me some recommendations on what I’ve listed above, if you have a good source or “in” to get some of this stuff more reasonably priced than the typical market (I planned on getting it all at Fry’s as they seem to overall have the best pricing), or by helping me reach the financial goal of $3000. Now I know that’s a huge chunk of change for sure, and I’m currently working to save towards that and have about 1/3 of it saved up already, but any little bit of help is… well… helpful and appreciated.

It goes without saying that a boost of performance will equate to a boost in productivity and bring me that much closer to getting Odyssey and other projects live faster.

Anyhoo. Thanks for reading and putting up with my PBS pledge drive style appeal. If you are interested and able to chip in and help in any way, you can make a one time donation via PayPal on the Nexus mod page for Legacy (link in the top right), or pledge any amount of support (one time or sustained) on my Patreon Page. Thanks again.

TOTAL RAISED: $1011.20 / $3000

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My own person gab box

Well I’ve finally gotten around to setting up a Dischord server. I plan on mainly using it to keep in touch with folks as we develop Odyssey, but also will be utilizing it to work on continued efforts with the Legacy team and just to have a good time and chat with folks. I have a channel set up modding advice for new modders (or old hands having a brain fart like I do lol), a general channel for whatever and a channel for odyssey development which will hopefully if used, will be laden with spoilers before long.

So yeah, just pop on by and say hello, ask a question, pose a problem and I’ll be around from time to time to chat. I intend on scheduling blocks of time where I either have an intended idea to talk about or am just going to make myself available for whatever, so that folks know when they can reach me for a Q&A, troubleshooting, questions on getting their own mod projects off the ground, or just help with some little quirk or another.

Waifu Warfare

So, firstly understand that this is an opinion piece, you can choose to agree with me or not. Secondly, I have strong feelings on this subject and it will be in depth.I will be speaking very candidly and to some, may seem disrespectful of the authors who make what I call “Waifu followers” or “vanity followers” because I don’t believe that they provide enough quality broad appeal (no pun intended) for the amount of focus they garner.

First and foremost I am neither a prude nor a follower hater. True I prefer to not use followers due to Skyrim’s goofy mechanical issues with them but I don’t hate them. The issue I have is that what qualifies as a “follower” on Nexus is nothing short of astounding (and certainly not in a good way). They are eye candy and nothing more. Sure they “follow” you in a sense and they carry your crap for you, but what I consider a “follower” is someone who blends in with the world, someone who looks and SOUNDS the part of being in the game of Skyrim, not some vogue magazine looking plastic and silicon model wearing an outfit that will result in her freezing to death in about 20 minutes. For me it’s an issue of immersion why I, as a player, hate them. Yes, to each their own. If you want to pollute your game with flying Thomas the tank engine dragons and physiologically impossible front heavy women, you go for it, just keep it the hell away from my Skyrim please.

The bigger problem in all this is the hot files. Nexus owner and admin Robin has repeatedly defended the Nexus hot file system, stating to the effect that the hot files are based purely on statistics and if a certain type of file gets the downloads it needs, it will make it onto the list and it’s working as intended. I totally understand that and it makes sense, but the issue I see here is that the community has a sub culture who eats this stuff up(and a surprisingly large one at that) which is dominating the rest of the community by exposing us constantly to their garbage because of their downloading history. Very few of these Waifu eye candy mods get many endorsements, but they get a lot of downloads pretty quickly at first and then they die off and are forgotten, but not before they have been replaced with yet another one and maintained their control over the hot file listings.

Now I don’t like to condemn or knock anybody’s work really, but the people who put out these followers do so in such a brazenly assembly line, half-assed fashion, that quality control becomes a real concern. They set up a follower ONCE and then use it as a template for releasing a new follower every week or two which basically consists of a new face (usually loli in nature), new outfit (skimpy for sure), and an assortment of accessories and appearance features that are different from the one they released the week before. All of this would be fine, but the stuff is thrown front and center at us all the time because of the hot file system and the fact that they release ANOTHER one just as interest in the previous one is dying out. Every damned day we show up and find 3-5 cookie cutter followers hogging the spotlight. How do they get there? Sex sells. The typical Waifu fan finds a handful of authors they like and every time they pump something out, they download it, and BAM, hot file list. All in an effort to get their jollies. they wanna see the latest body slide/hair style/boob revamp with a practically non-existent outfit and their latest animation packs for exploiting them to the max. They basically reduce their Skyrim game to a soft core porn mag. Now, again, I’m only judging them within the context of how it affects the rest of us, like I said I’m no prude. By doing their daily downloading of the follower they will play with for a few hours until the next one is released, they are condemning the rest of us to watch it constantly. The issue does not lie specifically in the fact that they are getting the downloads to qualify for hot file status, it more lies in the production line model mentioned before. By the time one is on it’s way out, they have another released to replace it.

Not only does it make it impossible to find quality followers (you know, the ones that have CUSTOM voices and took more than a afternoon to write and create), but it also makes it impossible to find other amazing mods because they are constantly being swamped by this crap.

Now there are methods that help but they too have their down sides. first and foremost you can block the follower tag, which has the obvious down side of no longer getting to see the REAL follower mods which you may be interested in trying. There is however an additional concern that it’s blocking other mods as well because blocking the follower tag will block ALL mods which have that tag, like Legacy. I recently removed the follower tag entirely because even though Legacy does have NPC’s who can be followers, it would get blocked by anyone blocking the follower flag.

Additionally you can block nudity, 18+ AND even block the authors of these abominations. But really, we shouldn’t have to go through all these hoops and go to this much effort just to see the kind of content we would like, or even just see a more diverse assortment of content.

This week I released Thane Weapons Reborn and it shot up to the #1 hot file spot and mod of the month standing with 100 endorsements in just over 2 days despite the Waifu invasion! That is a BIG rarity and only happened because it’s a mod that has been a long time in the wanting for a lot of people, so it’s getting a lot of attention right now (which is awesome by the way, so thank you!). There are many other mods that would be deserving of spotlighting which never make it because of the Waifu waves that come non stop.

Ironically though the Waifu authors seem to think that they aren’t getting a fair shake. One of them in fact posted a comment on my Sunday Discussion article indicating they were getting overlooked (bear in mind mine was only the second interview feature Nexus did). Immediately they got set upon by several people arguing against them and what they do, and eventually the Waifu author backed down (very graciously though I might add). This individual has 33 follower mods currently and a release schedule of about every 10 days. With release time frames like that it’s no wonder we get swamped in this stuff.

So… How do we fix it? Really we can’t, best thing we can do is ignore it, block the tags and authors as mentioned previously and move on, but I can’t help but still hope that something else could be done like setting up a “vanity follower” category or splitting followers into “custom voices” and “non-custom voiced”, but that relies too much on these authors being honest first of all, as well as thorough in their representation of their mod, both points are in short supply among many of them. Some of the descriptions just make me groan, and someone who can’t take the time to write a good follower, set up story, get a voice actor to voice them and represent their product well, certainly won’t even go to the trouble of categorizing it properly. So ultimately those possibilities just go right out the window. Short of building a little box that they specifically go in, the only other solution is a scorched earth policy and frankly, I would rather see no hot file section at all than to allow it to be continually occupied by this garbage.

Anyways, thanks for reading my rant. I know I am by far not alone in this frustration and I have actually been discussing things with Paul (BlindJudge) at the Nexus and he’s indicated that the issue will be brought up during planning meetings for the new site roll out and they’ll work to refining how content can be filtered, blocked or categorized better. So hopefully time will tell what solution they have for us, and hopefully it will mean better user control over content highlighting.

“Every new beginning…

…comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic

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These words sum up my thoughts pretty well, and it is with a bittersweet feeling that I now write these words that I’m sure many of you will find sad, many will find as a grateful relief and the start of your own full fledged beginning, and to most they are probably words that do not come as much surprise at this point.

As of the next update which will be posted in the coming week or so, I am tying the final ribbon on Legacy’s package and will no longer be updating Legacy of the Dragonborn for Skyrim Classic. But do not fret and do not mourn or treat this as an obituary. I am not going away, and Legacy will live on in Odyssey when it is released, it will live on when SKSE64 drops and I begin converting it for SSE, and more importantly it will continue to live on in each of you who love it so deeply and those of you who have helped me to continue to breathe life into it each and every day for the past 3 years.

But the time has come to move on to bigger and better things and a series of recent setbacks in the last few versions of Legacy, has made it feel more like a job than a joy, and it has solidified the feeling that now is the time to move onward and upward and set Legacy in stone.

I have always strove to create perfection, and I think that considering the size and scope of this beast, I have achieved just that, or as close as is possible for something this large and given the woefully lacking tools I have to work with in some cases. Legacy is never going to be 100% perfect, no matter what is done to it. I need to finally come to grips with this truth and make it my reality. I need to let go in a way.

Last week I announced my plans to begin development of my own game title and I intend to make that dream a reality. It’s Legacy that has taught me that if I put my mind to it, it WILL happen. Legacy has become so much more massive and so much more dear to me than I ever could have fathomed when I first set out 3 years ago, and the skills I have developed and honed over that time are giving me an amazing platform for further development and growth. It’s given me a basis of tools and skills I previously never had and once upon a time was greatly intimidated by, but today that is not the case, and I feel emboldened and empowered by what Legacy has brought me, to turn the page and move on to the next chapter in my game design career.

The next update for Legacy of the Dragonborn will be my last official update and will be branded V18Final. It will be a repack of the core with the last batch of excess files removed and the current updates added in. This version can be easily updated to with no major issues. It will include reworked voice audio files and a variety of final fixes. From that point it will fall to the amazing community and our awesome patch central development team of SirJesto and JCBQ to help maintain and post the Unofficial Legacy of the Dragonborn patch which will be a collective of fixes and tweaks for Legacy moving forward. When SKSE64 drops, I will absorb these fixes and port Legacy to SSE.

During the time between now and SKSE64’s drop I will be continuing to work on Odyssey as able and when inspired, and will be spending a great deal of time studying for the development of “Voldara” (see Find your Grail article).

There will be updates to classic Legacy when Odyssey acts are released which will be compatibility updates, and Odyssey itself will be developed entirely in classic and ported to SSE, allowing both platforms to enjoy it. Also I will be happy to have anyone create additional addons and patches for Legacy to expand on existing displays for specific content, but all I ask is that anyone interested go through me so I can help determine the best placement and maximize compatibility with other people’s addons. Also I would like them hosted on patch central only. Full mods using Legacy as a master on the other hand should of course be on their own page.

And as we near the end of this leg of the journey together, always remember that when something great ends, something even greater is bound to rise from what was learned. And once again, thank you all for your tremendous support.

An open (closed) letter to Paul

So as many of you know I have long been annoyed as hell about the Nexus’ hot file list and how it operates. I’ve come to terms that Legacy will never be on that list (except maybe SSE when it drops), because Legacy was a slow build with several betas and never was dumped on the community as a full and finished product from the start, but I am pissed that so many great mods and new mods don’t get a fair shake because stupid dudes are so horny all they wanna do is find eye candy followers to perv over. So I decided to rant to Paul at the Nexus about it and see if he has any thoughts, you know, just because. Since Nexus is doing a site redesign and I am BY FAR not the only person pissed off about this (author and user alike) I was hoping he would have some insight on the issue. Here’s what I wrote (Sorry in advance, this is laced with righteous fury and profanity):


Hey man, sorry but as you are an admin of Nexus and we have a rapport I have to dump on you for a second, and I hope you maybe have some good news for me regarding this concern. I apologize in advance because I know this is in NO WAY your fault personally and I am going to spout off for a moment.
 
Oh dear god, I am so sick and tired of seeing god damned slut followers on the hot list. It’s insulting to those of us mod authors who spend thousands of hours worth of time modding deeply immersive and involved content just to get pushed out because of some horny 13 year old click baits looking at some 3/4 naked follower chick which the author spent 90% of the time on her tits and ass and picking out accessories to wear, it’s frankly bullshit and so many of us authors and users alike as sick and fucking tired of it man, and all we get back from Robbin is bullshit responses about how it’s just how the popularity index works. Now I’m not trying to marginalize their work per-say, but when you release 36 god damned followers all 2 weeks apart from one another, you clearly are not producing quality. (like that one bozo who posted on my interview comments about follower authors being “overlooked” and then got lynched by several people, which is a laugh).

Now I know that I could block the follower tag and they would not show up for me, but what about the GOOD follower mods that I may actually be interested in? Also if you block the follower tag, any mod that HAS a follower in it will get blocked as well, such as Legacy. Helgen reborn probably as well, and any other mod where ANYONE has up voted the follower flag.

So not only are these pieces of shit (IMO), keeping good mods from hitting the hot list, they are also preventing other mods from being seen at all because of the tag block being the only method to keep these damned borderline pedophilia followers off our feed.

I am far from alone on this, but there is a subculture of these follower mill fans and authors and frankly I think they need their own damned sub section or a clear classification category that can easily be filtered without affecting the ability of any other mod to be listed. I don’t think it’s enough to categorize these as followers, they need to be sub-categorized as vanity followers.

Please Paul, tell me that the Nexus site redesign is taking this into account and there will be some way to see quality follower mods and be able to block the trash.
 
Sorry for ranting and thanks for listening


 

So there you have it, if I’m not around after tomorrow, you all know why lol, but I think I have a feel enough for Paul that he’ll know it’s a sincere inquiry beneath all the fuming and ranting.

Find your Grail

This is kind of a big announcement, so bear with. I have been a hobbyist/Indy professional game designer since about 2004 with the creation and self publishing/distribution of a traditional pen and paper RPG, and a dozen other projects in various states of development for the aim of eventual self publishing. I didn’t come into modding with an intention to pursue anything other than some fun mod making, but Legacy’s sheer gargantuan size and scope coupled with the continued development of Odyssey and the resulting expansion of my skill sets from working with both, I have come to a realization, one that I have been rattling around for quite some time and one that has been spoken of at times in the past with folks on the Legacy page, and now I think it is time to start seriously thinking about this and laying some of the prep work for it. That is, I am going to develop my own game.

So without further ado, I present “Voldara”


The world of Voldara is dying. Nobody knows how and nobody knows why, but the mysteries of their world must now be uncovered if there is to be hope for survival into tomorrow. And it falls to you brave heroes to seek out those mysteries and discover the truth within the Nexus which threatens the world.

Ages ago, Voldara was a primitive yet prosperous world, rife with magic and wonder, with a vast wilderness of opportunity to explore. As the ages progressed however, technology and industry dominated and magic became all but forgotten. Cities grew in the vast spaces and forests fell, and mountains were leveled. Soon there was no place left uncovered by progress. Everything good and green had been stamped out.

The world suffered for it, as famine and drought began to take over. All resources became depleted and food became scarce. The oceans and streams began to run thin and eventually dried up altogether. Desperate, the Voldarians began to dig. They dug deep and they dug fast, searching for resources and for precious water. Their efforts were met with success and their demise was averted for a time at least. The ores and minerals exhumed from the planet left gaping scars and chasms in the earth. Their process for digging, literally disintegrating the matter of the earth, transmuting it into ore leaving the earth a hollow shell filled with networks of metal chambers and tunnels, veritable underground cities born within the sundered earth.

Life would move on for another age until word came that Voldara’s only sun was dying. It began to shrink and the world began to quickly turn cold. Once again, Voldara was at risk of catastrophe and so they dug once more. This time they sought to reach the molten core of the planet and tap into its vast energy.

Again they worked hard and they worked fast, managing to tap into the power of the core and utilizing recently rediscovered magic, which they could only apply through technology known as “Magitek”, they created the sky field which protected the planet and sustained the heat that would support life. It ensures that water is condensed and collected and made available throughout the entirely of the planet. Again, for a time, life went on.

Then the Sun died, leaving only a cinder of its former radiance and Voldara went dark. Radiation storms pelted the planet, weakening the sky field and threatening destruction of the planet again, yet they survived. As generations went on, technology continued to evolve and change. Now with limited resources it came to be that the people had to make do with what they had and soon the advanced and shiny new technology became ragged and worn, reclaimed and re-purposed over and over through the generations; threadbare and patch worked.

The science behind the power of the core which protected and sustained the world, was eventually forgotten and lost to the ages and soon history became legend and the legends became mythology. What once was a man made device to sustain life, soon was believed to have CREATED life on Voldara, and thus the Nexus was born.  Nobody understood any longer what it was, nor how it worked, all that was known is that as long as it existed, life would go on and so many worshiped it as their God.

Today Voldara once again stands on the brink of devastation. Power is failing, the sky field grows weak, water is becoming scare at times, and strange tremors seem to grow from deep within. The planet no longer is a planet by traditional standards. It was still round, and was once made of earth, but most has been sundered and converted into metal which makes up the framework of this world. Layer upon layer, from the near opulent upper city, to the sustained middle lands, to the desperate lower city, the reviled Undercity. From the catacombs to the old world, to the midden and the depths of the conduit labyrinth below, beyond which lies the Nexus itself. All people now wonder what is next in store for Voldara?


 

Voldara is the tentative working title for a game design project utilizing the Unity game engine. This game which at its core is an RPG dungeon crawler, is set in a steam punk, proto industrial world with elements of magic which was ravaged by millennia of hyper development and cosmic events. Think fantasy architypes in a steam punk world. The planet Voldara was slowly stripped back over the ages essentially leaving only a webbed framework of gigantic cities encircling the globe. Most people have never seen soil before as the only remaining sum of earth lies near the core, in the midden and beyond. All they know are vast cities, tunnels and corridor networks that build upon one another like the layers of an Onion.

The structure for the game concept at this point is a hybrid of real time action and turn based events. The world is seen in isometric view (think diablo) as your character navigates the environment and explores expansive areas as they work to build their skills, navigate challenges, survive battles and find all the lootz . My plan is to have class based characters, but have them be much more fluid as they can bleed into other classes to some degree or another. Each class will have its own specialty, but a large portion of skills will be open to all. I intend to create multiple challenges that can be overcome by a variety of skills or skill sets, so you will not require specific character classes in order to overcome the challenges. The levels of the game will be made in somewhat the same style that Diablo utilizes, yet the areas will be more vast and static in nature. Plus I hope to implement them to be more interactive and have multi-elevation mobility (eg areas to climb to, places to jump, etc). Universally needed feats such as detecting traps and secrets will be executed in a number of character friendly ways. Instead of merely making a detect traps or secrets skill that anyone can have, the stealth architypes will have sense danger and sense secrets skills, magitek (magic) architypes will have divination skills to find either and fight architypes will have a feat of endurance skill to shrug off trap damage and some other appropriate skill for uncovering hidden elements.

 

I also dislike grinding, especially at peak levels. So my goal is to have the game be a little less about gear grinding and more about customization and supplementation. Some items will give new skills and abilities, some items will have attachments and modifications to go on them, some will be personalized and have extra features, etc. The idea is that everyone in this world tinkers with things to a certain degree and the player will heavily get the opportunity for this with equipment in this game. You will play through to a certain point level wise and as you play your will continue to find bigger and better loot. Most of it will be easily replaced with better gear within a few levels, a few pieces will have options for addons and customizations. Once you reach a certain level however (where the gear grind would normally start in games) gear you find will begin to hold greater permanence and have many more upgradability and personalization options.

 

Monsters are not going to be as heavily populated as in Diablo. This is more of a hero quest style concentration where you hit a few pockets of monsters here and there but otherwise find random enemies patrolling around to encounter as you explore, seek out secrets, solve puzzles and escape hazards. I am not certain yet about the method of monster battles. My inclination is to have phased combat rounds like in an RPG or Final Fantasy style game for example, but these battles will not drop in on you from nowjere while you are working to get somewhere. That’s one thing I’ve always found annoying in FF games of the past (with a few exceptions). I want people to be navigating through a dungeon, see a clockwork corpse in the corridor ahead and use stealth skills to try and sneak by if they wish, or use a skill to set a trap and then lure the enemy over to get blown to smitherines before combat can actually begin (or get a good jump on them at least), or have a magitek wielding character activate an invisibility device and sneak through, or a fighter to use some sort of bum rush ability to get the drop on them.

 

Money in this game is called “Cogs” and you will find treasures which can also be sold specifically for cogs. Sometimes these treasures can be appraised (either in town or using the right skills or powers) to discover it is really an ancient artifact; some lost piece of tech that nobody understands or maybe even a rare magical relic that was lost eons ago. Archeology also plays a heavy role in this game. You can discover fragments as you play, survey and utilize dig sites and put fragments together to create treasures, artifacts, equipment or even relics. Many items are rare or unique and can be obtained only in a certain way and once they are found, the item will no longer drop or be available in that current character’s playthrough. There will of course be high end rare items that do drop with random traits in an effort to get bigger and better versions as you play, but again, upgradability is more of the angle than gear grinding; accumulating points and resources, materials and artifact fragments to supplement your high end gear little at a time.

 

Character Types: These are the basic blueprints of a few character types with their fantasy equivalents mentioned.

  • Knight of the Mechadrone: This is your typical close combat, damage soaking type character
  • Wrecker: A more brute force fighter that relies on defense being a good offense.
  • Gear Mage: Combination of a wizard and an engineer/tinkerer. They utilize Technic abilities (magic) and utilize Magitech (enchanted equipment) more freely and effectively than others
  • Tech Smith- The gadget driven character whose primary focus is on tricks, gadgets, mechanical followers, etc.
  • Mecha Priest: Cleric like character. Utilized some technic abilities (magic) and has good fighting skills and some mechanical aptitude as well. Very good jack of all trades but is more of a battlemage class
  • Gunmage: gun fighters and snipers who wield offensive technic abilities through their guns. Ranger-like
  • Underkin: Thieves and assassins. Focus on stealth with equal secondary aptitudes in technics or Mechanics.

 

The nature of the world map is a multi-layered onion. You start at the midlands or the surface of the upper city perhaps (TBD), and as you go deeper and deeper, the outer layers basically break apart like an exploded view schematic to reveal the next level below, all the way down to the core. Of course you can’t see anything until you’ve been there or acquired maps, etc. The idea is that you start in one area and work your way down. This will allow for easy expansion of the game later as you can grow outward as much as you like around the planet. My hope is to allow modding capabilities for Voldara, and in a way that has not been attempted before. My hope is to allow modding to implement into the existing world on an official level in some way. For example, someone develops a new section of the middle city which has its own lower levels of dungeons with new challenges, characters, quests, equipment, etc. The mod must reach a certain level of endorsement or something, then the author can submit the work, have it screened, played, bug checked and if it passes and is immersive to the existing game, it will be included in a future expansion of the game. All contributing authors will receive a free copy of the DLC their work is included in, as well as a small royalty of the sales of any DLC their work appears in. Modding of this nature would be much more streamlined and somewhat more limited in what the author can do of course because full overhauls for instance would not be included in possible DLC collaboration. Most of what would be considered would be quest content and new lands/dungeons/items.

 

This is still very much a work in progress and though I have a great deal of the mechanical concept already worked out in table top gaming format as this derived from a board game concept of mine, there is still a great deal to contemplate and plan as I being to learn Unity. But I have not even cracked the Unity software open and have not sat down to research in earnest yet, so I am unsure of the capabilities, so things are certain to evolve a lot.

I still intend on working on Odyssey of the Dragonborn over the coming months, but I have decided to put Relic Hunter on semi-permanent suspension until I investigate the plausibility of this new pursuit.