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Zambz

sandbox openworld survival game *to quest or not to quest

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So I am currently designing an open world sandbox game which puts big emphasis on exploration and freedom and need for crafting and combat.

 

I have a basic backstory on the world and how it came to be, I also have ideas for mobs and npc's (Random encounters, outposts etc)

 

What I'm having trouble figure out is should I have a major quest line and an ending to the game and would that take away from the freedom of exploration, crafting and having to gather materials?

 

Its a 2.5d isometric game like diablo3 mixed with the world of skyrim and freedom of minecraft and will be multiplayer but at the same time I don't want to copy them.

 

Part of the back story is that due to an incident the population fled underground and now hundreds of years later the players character gets abducted (subject to change) and taken above ground where the world has completely changed, but you quickly realise that you are not the only one above ground, new colonies/villages spring up, bandits scour the land and the unknown also inhabit the darkness. Its now up to the player to figure out just what's going on trying to survive and.....

 

Now if I were to put in quests the story would see the player trying to put right the incident that happened and banishing the unknown enemy, I really would like replayability. going from an example of Diablo 3 they created replayability from difficulty and encounters (even though they were pretty rubbish) minecraft is purely endless but has the ender dragon and skyrim though its purely quest based does well for exploration but is only single player (spent hours exploring that world without doing main quest)

 

I have so many ideas, its hard pin pointing down what will and won't work really and one more note, I'm trying to create an open world that can evolve with future updates where friends can enjoy the secret combat mechanic I've come up with (so proud of it ) random generation has also been on my mind which makes it an even tougher idea on quests and story line but if I can get random encounters/quests, random villages/outposts, random mobs and a night/day cycle it could make it pretty epic.

 

Oh and this game is fantasy but takes its timeframe from the 1700's so think highwaymen, pirates, assassins and gunpowder (though muskets are rare site still)

 

 

I know I've rambled on a bit, but would be nice to others input on these ideas any would help, thanks

Edited by Zambz

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Build a prototype and try out your ideas. It's fairly difficult to answer the questions you are asking without having some hands-on data indicating player response to your ideas. So build a prototype and get it in front of some people to get their feedback.

 

One thing I'd caution against is over-ambition. "like diablo3 mixed with the world of skyrim and freedom of minecraft" is a pretty tall order for even larger experienced teams, much less a beginner just starting out.

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I prefer quests and NPCs I can interact with in my single-player sandbox-ish games, but this is something people often disagree about.  Though mainly I've heard the issue discussed in an MMO context, not a single-player one.  But you could try taking a survey on what elements of Skyrim people who played it liked most, and there are lots of discussions around the internet where people talked about what ESO should be like before the discription of what it actually is going to be like was released, and also discussions about what's an ideal crafting system, and whether a pure sandbox is better than a hybrid sandpark (that's a term for a sandbox with NPCs and quests and story).

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Build a prototype and try out your ideas. It's fairly difficult to answer the questions you are asking without having some hands-on data indicating player response to your ideas. So build a prototype and get it in front of some people to get their feedback.

 

One thing I'd caution against is over-ambition. "like diablo3 mixed with the world of skyrim and freedom of minecraft" is a pretty tall order for even larger experienced teams, much less a beginner just starting out.

 

Yeah I know what you mean about over ambition and I guess in this stage of my design I'm trying to figure out how to keep it small while still being playable so some points i have to think big to figure out how to pull things back, that make sense?

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Hi!

 

I don't have a good answer to your specific questions, but one "rule" that I think goes a long way in game design is that "doing one thing really well is always better than doing many things half-assed". This is true for many popular games that builds around a simple concept and delivers really well within that concept.

Edited by AlanSmithee

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You can create a quest/campaign in a multiplayer-game, the trick is to use the right amount of instances, players should be able to go everywhere they want to without clogging up the map.  Usually this kind of multiplayer-games don't have an ending.

 

Another option is to have all players just play in their own "offline" world yet give them the option to invite a friend over the internet.

It's not realy multiplayer though, it 's an option for players, and is usually used by games like the sims.

 

If you want the player to finish the campaign in the time of his/her choosing, you 'll need to scale the campaign to the player's level

(i 'm assuming you let the player level up, but even if not, you still need to scale to the items they crafted)

Another option is just to put down plenty of quests, and let the players choose which one they wish to accept according to their own level and interest.

Chances are there are some quests you just want the player to complete at some time, so a main-quest line can be inserted for this,

i suggest to make them easily findable(for the player) and using them as a sort of tutorial.

If there are any "hard" quests(bosses?) let the players search them out themselves, don't make them part of the main-quests, but do add a fitting reward to them.

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If your main aim is to create an open world sandbox game then I would focus on that first  Get the game to at least the alpha stage when its playable and then you can decide if its needs a plot and missions.  

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Thanks for he replies guys, so I've decided to go the random generation route when it comes to the world and to insert random quests and encounters (custom built quests and encounters but randomly placed and you never truly know which ones you will come across and where) I will use these to tell the story and flesh out the world, as its a multiplayer game I will also put group quests for added difficulty.

 

But I shall do what technogoth said and that's actually focus on the world first and the randomness and procedural generation, then focus on fleshing out and telling the story of the world and after that figure out if the game needs an ending/main story.

 

Just from me posting this thread has answered alot of my own questions and given my good ideas on how to proceed

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A simple way to incorporate natural feeling quests is by incorporating universal needs and having the player overcome the many challenges of sustaining their own personal needs as well as those of the NPCs and other characters they care about. Obviously the main challenge is the competition of sustaining that need, which is good because it justifies combat. Something I've never played is a game that explores fresh water as a source of contention. This universal need also incorporates exploration as characters and mobs travel towards the highlands for fresh water leaving the contaminated water downstream.

 

If you stick to developing one thing at a time no game design is too ambitious. It's just a worthy consumption of time.

 

Consume time!

Edited by Mratthew

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