EDIT – Much of the information pertaining to the game in this post is outdated now. The game has been evolving and its not the same as it was at the time this was written. The vitality bars have been removed. The inventory menu has been redesigned.
I’m a subscriber to the up-and-coming idea that games have potential to invoke a much broader range of emotions than what we’ve been seeing so far. Jenova Chen has pointed this out very eloquently in a number of interviews and talks. One emotion that I’m consciously trying to procure in Eastshade is safety. I think this medium is particularly suited to do this effectively, since in a game, one must overcome danger themselves, rather than sit back and watch events unfold as in a book or movie. In traditional RPGs, I love the feeling of returning to the safety of an inn after surviving a treacherous dungeon.
To effectively create that wonderful feeling of safety, there has to be some danger. While there are no hostile AI in Eastshade, the world itself is as dangerous as it is beautiful. You have to pay attention to your malady, cold, exhaustion and hunger, and as you travel, you’ll deal with “conditions” that the environment will inflict on you. Jumping in water will make you wet for some time, which makes you colder. Walking without boots in rocky tide pools will give you a deep cut, which continues to affect your Malady bar until you bandage it. The tent pictured above, safely perched on a seaside bluff, restores the players exhaustion, and the fire keeps them warm.
Of late, I’ve been working on inventory systems and GUI. On the left is your stuff and on the right are the schematics you’ve acquired (crafting recipes). At the bottom are your vitality bars. The lovely icon art is being made by my girlfriend, Jaclyn. She’s an artist as well. Our avatar is doing pretty good at the moment. On each side of the vitality bars are equipment slots. You won’t be able to equip an acorn (as indicated in the image), because I tried equipping one in real life today and it had little effect. For some reason I thought it would give me resistance to poison. Provided you’ve the schematic and the necessary materials, you’ll be able to create vehicles (a means of travel) and gear (protection from some of the “conditions” the environment will give you). Items will be sprinkled throughout the world, but the schematics will be particularly valuable, and will primarily be acquired by reaching new places. I have a novel idea for the way which rewards are delivered but for moment I don’t want to talk about it until I’ve actually tried implementing it. I will say that whatever this delivery method ends up being, it definitely won’t be a loot chest.