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Post from Tot's blog from October 13th, 2017.
Hello everyone, Time flies, this blog has already been going for 1 month. Thanks again to everyone who follows and reacts on the various articles posted. As I explained earlier, the idea of this project, which is always intact, is to share with you our thoughts and, above all, to force myself to explain as simply as possible our ideas about this new game. The exercise is very complicated because I often forget to clarify some points in the articles... Besides explaining concepts of game design to writing on a community game of this magnitude is part of the course of the combatant. Well in the end, step by step, it advances and your comments lets me know where it's stuck. I take this opportunity once again to thank the various contributors because this formula forces me to really advance and not fall into the tragedy of routine. Well, I propose to attack in the heart of the matter with this new article the purpose of which is to explain to you in what ways we will create our exploration areas. Because all our areas have a common base, that of the background. First of all, I want to remind you that this part will only be available on computers and not on mobiles. For those who disembark, I recommend you read the first note that dealt with the subject. Basically, we want a beautiful game with beautiful FX and worlds that, although not as extensive as Dofus/Wakfu, allow for nice walks and discoveries. And it is obvious that it is almost impossible technically speaking to have the rendering we want without burning 90% of the phones. The open worlds are reserved for players on computers therefore.
I have already spoken of this, but a small point scenario is nevertheless necessary to understand this new article. To avoid any spoilers, I will remain fairly evasive on the subject. Do not be too angry, but if I develop I will crack cartridges for a potential season 4 of Wakfu. In Dofus Cube, the inhabitants of World of 12 face the events resulting from seasons 3 and 4 of Wakfu. Each nation tries to survive in a world ravaged by a war on the Krosmic scale. Entire regions have been swallowed up and only the power of magic has prevented a complete destruction of the World of 12. The game will therefore take place a few decades after the season 4 of Wakfu. The impact is considerable and thanks to the various events related to the background of the universe, we will be able to tell the things in simpler and more linear ways. This will be the opportunity for us to take over all the bases of the Krosmoz. Be careful, I'm not telling you that I've already written season 4. But the main guidelines are there and whether we have the chance to realize this new season or not, we will start from this base to build the background for Dofus Cube. Concretely at stake? Well the level design will completely absorb the history to propose a more chaptered exploration. The major geographical areas and historic cities of the world of the 12 will be reworked and adapted in a post apocalyptic version (forgiveness of the term, but I think it sums up the concept nevertheless). The goal of level design is to keep, as in game design, the sap of what we have created in the past. As a result, cities have become bridge towns where you can experience new gaming experiences without losing hours on unnecessary journeys.
Focus on the City of Bonta
Below, you will discover the macro version of the area. As explained above, you can observe that the city is now placed on what might be called a big island. The level of the water to be mounted and each new decoration produced, we will keep this idea in mind. To respect the work of Poolay I will systematically put your original version before that with my notes (and then you never know, in case you would like to make a poster). Overview of the Bonta City:
Isometric view of the Bonta City:
Annotated version of the Bonta City:
When Poolay works on this type of visual, it is only for the team, for our pre-production part. You will not find them in play but they are nonetheless extremely important references for the continuation of our project. This allows us to set our vision and coordinate the various people who will intervene on the construction of the area. Whether it's decorators, screenwriters, character designers... Animation has taught us, over the years, the importance of doing things in order and therefore, the importance of pre-production. Personally, compared to before, I will tend to mature more concepts before producing them. Thanks to this image you have, like us, a first idea of the general rendering of the Bonta area. Obviously, I will not describe 100% of the place (by the way, today I would be incapable) and we will focus on a specific part, namely the first part of the city. Zoom on the Big Port of Bonta:
Isometric view of the Big Port of Bonta:
Annotated version of the Big Port of Bonta:
So, as mentioned above, we will be talking about a part of Bonta, namely, the port. At first, we work on the major places. Here we can find 5 that are listed as fundamental. 1. Zaap, arrival area of Bonta This place is an obligatory passage for the players disembarking on the Bonta City (Besides all the other areas will have a point of reception of this type). At the center of this decoration is a Zaap of arrival. The word arriva" is not hazardous because, unlike our historical MMO, it will not necessarily have to go back to its Haven Dimension. A Zaap interface will be available and a simple click will allow you to go home. I spoke about it in my first note and explained fairly quickly that we wanted to avoid major displacements. Past the pleasure of discovery, wandering the world for hours can be quickly re-released. The overall idea is therefore to have Zaaps all over the world. In addition, a system of achievement rewards for those who discover them all. Some will necessarily be very simple to obtain and others much rarer. The discovery of new Zaaps will necessarily make it possible to access the new areas much more quickly, but once again, it will not necessarily have to be placed on one of them to go home. That said, I do not dwell on the subject that will have its own article. Note on the achievements related to the discovery of Zaaps: In Dofus Cube, the discovery of a Zaap will have a very important place. As the world has suffered the worst cataclysms, some areas have become virtually inaccessible. Players will have (hopefully) at heart to explore the game and bring back the vestiges of the old world. I imagine this part very close to the star collection system in Mario and some Zaaps will be particularly difficult to find... Atmosphere: When arriving at this area, players must be directly immersed in the colorful atmosphere of what is going to be Bonta. Obviously, the idea is to do something quite simple at the start and make it gradually increase to the most impressive places to discover. The advantage of working on cities is that in terms of structure, we can propose a fairly linear journey and thus work the narration and the visual where we are interested. Leaving the area of the arrival, the explorers will arrive very quickly on a larger part, the Big Port of Bonta:
2. The fishing tavern Here you will discover a place of (all relative) relaxation. The fishermen, who are hard leather, come to drink a moss between two fishing sessions. Around the tavern we will have small stalls highlighting seafood. The tavern has a look that comes close to a covered market. Poolay and myself being of the 62 and more precisely of Le Touquet/Etaples, a reference that often comes back is that of the port of Etaples. Our discussions are often supported by our liabilities and our references... We also imagine a rather special place in this tavern. Indeed, the underground seems to shelter a grouping of big coars who like to test. Basically we will place a parody of the Fight Club:
3. The lighthouse Here we want to tell a story of villains. The owner of the lighthouse suffered a home-jacking and found himself locked up in his home, forced to lodge bandits of the worst kind. The latter use the lighthouse to attract ships and have them run aground on the reefs and then strip them of their wealth. 4. The boat of the king The king built a monstrous boat that is reminiscent of Noah's ark. Numerous questions arise around this ship and many begin to fear a new cataclysm, suspecting the king to prepare his escape. In the meantime, as an adventurer wishing to pocket a few Kamas, the shipyard officials will regularly propose to you to empty the holds of the ship under construction... Indeed, the latter are infested with vermin:
5. Expeditions The idea around expeditions is to have a concept that will be found on all cities. It is a global exploration mechanism that will allow you to get your hands on places mythical and more or less rare. I will try to go into the detail of this concept and explain to you why these choices and what determine them. First of all, in the previous episodes, you read our desire not to have fighting in the open world. Fighting, there will be many and everywhere, but our desire is to work them with small onions. Currently in our MMOs, you can trigger fights wherever you want. This has its charm but compared to what we want to do in Dofus Cube, the subject lends itself less. The problem of placing battles in the open world is that often the maps are not necessarily intended for that. The objective here is to categorize things well while keeping a share of surprise at times. The expeditions were therefore reflected in this spirit. In each city you will meet many NPCs who will propose you to go to sea. These characters will have ships more or less effective/solid and your choice will be according to your means and the areas that you want to explore. For example: Nikole Ahuho will offer you, for some Kamas, to take you to explore the vestiges of the Sadida kingdom. Everything has not been completely engulfed and sometimes islands even re-surface. Going with her, you will discover, always randomly, new areas. It can be a secret dungeon, an island with an unhappy creature that will join your team, a village of survivors with cannibal mores... Or you will be attacked in the open sea by pirates collectors of slips or sea monsters in rut and your adventure will stop as fast as it began (or will take a new dimension closer to your secret phantasms). The idea behind all this and to have many concepts of this type that add to the discovery and fun in the fighting rather than end up squattering eternally the same maps to face the monsters that give the most experience.
In my opinion, this system has only advantages: 1. It promotes discovery and exploration. As players you will be able to leave by boat and discover the new face of the world. And to pass on this feeling to you, we do not necessarily need to duplicate the 12,000 Dofus maps... What was basic was one of the biggest worries when we were talking about a new graphic porting of your favorite game. We would have spent more time embellishing existing content than working on a new game...
2. Socialise on one side and fight on the other. Social areas will thus be reserved for the social and zones of action to action. Yes, it's silly to say but I think it will allow players to meet more easily, compared to their affinities (I feel it will still make us full of Dofus babies...).
3. It allows us to modify, add or remove zones very easily. On our side, in relation to a single expedition, we can work on as many different events as we wish. You will embark on the adventure and randomly fall into one of these events. Some may be rarer than others. But most of all, if it takes us the desire to add 5 events during a shift, we will be able to do without having to rework all the level design areas. Each event being an instance that we can delete or add at our discretion. You will have understood it gradually, the overall idea is to place the fighting in instances and to separate them well from the rest of the world. Of course the players will always be able to challenge but even this way, they will be projected in a zone dedicated to the duels.
This is another big topic of the open world part. We want to do a particular job on NPCs to make them particularly alive. In fact, our reference is the work we did on animation. We want to ensure that each NPC has its own voice for more immersion. Working years on our cartoons allowed us to realize the monstrous importance of sound as an immersion tool. In the end, our goal is to make each set a scene so alive that it could be a plan of a cartoon episode. We want live NPCs, lively sets, beautiful cloud passages, voices and soundscapes that make the whole addictive and alive. It's a big challenge to get back on a 2D production but it's definitely our trademark and we want to continue to try to give back to the 2D in the years to come:
Well, here we come to the end of this article, which I hope has plunged you a little more in the project and especially, in the atmosphere that we try to put in place. At the risk of repeating myself, our natural evolution comes almost to consider Dofus Cube as a video game realized with intentions of tone and atmosphere very close to our cartoons. Moreover, it is no coincidence that a large part of our designers and animators of Dofus Cube have also worked on our films and series. I wish you all a good weekend. Tot PS: The scenery searches were done by Poolay alias Séverin Baclet and the characters by Xav alias Xavier Houssin. I take the opportunity to say that we could have all sketches of characters in color if he had sent me his file 10 minutes earlier... This article was written by listening to the album "The burning Spider" by Parov Stelar. For those who do not know, I warmly recommend starting with the album "Princess" which is rather rather monstrously deadly.
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