Psychochild's Blog

A developer's musings on game development and writing.

23 August, 2018

Layers of the Storybricks setting
Filed under: — Psychochild @ 11:12 PM

I explained the concept of the original Storybricks setting yesterday with floating islands and a big bad with a world full of layers. Today I wanted to explain a bit about those layers and how they would work in my vision.


As I said yesterday, the world would be built out in stages, staring with the first layer and then being expanded. The cities would be first, and the focus would be on the core Storybricks technology, with more being added as we developed it.

The islands, social interaction

The cities in the sky would be havens of a sort. The cities would be where the races of the planet were gathered, safe from the enemies below. There would be order and safety.. for a while, but that doesn’t mean a lack of conflict.

The idea would be that there are stores of food and some way to conjure water.. this was not supposed to be a survival horror game! A lack of supplies would force people against one another. But this doesn’t mean that everyone is happy; they might want to hunt birds for some variety in food, or trade for items. The idea is that you’d have a city full of NPCs going about their lives, with players being part of that population. The NPCs would have wants, desires, needs, motivations, everything that make them feel more alive. Players could make friends, start rivalries, find out secrets, get involved in love triangles… all sorts of things with other players and NPCs alike.

The closed off environment would allow us to have a high concentration of characters to interact, and give us a lot of data to let us refine the behaviors. As time progressed, the cities would develop and you’d start seeing groups of people forming, the start of the social organizations that would become important later.

One big question was how developed the cities would be. Would the game start just as they rose to the sky? Or would it be some time after, when the cities had developed and adapted to the skies somewhat?

The surface, PvE

The next layer is the surface, which would be more like a normal PvE MMO environment. As the cities developed, they’d expand and maybe reach out to each other. I had the idea that each city might initially be a “server” for the game, but as the world expanded the cities would all be revealed to be part of a larger world, the many cities of the world that were raised.

But eventually the unified cities would turn toward taking back the surface and gaining resources that may be running low. Different factions developed in the cities would have different approaches, and players could support the groups and help them accomplish their goals. Everyone would still be working together for a common goal of taking back the surface, but individual groups would have their own motivations. The social interaction would continue and be an organic faction system built up from the time when the cities were the focus.

I’d see the struggle to reclaim the surface as an ever-changing map. Players could reclaim locations, only for portals to spew out elementals in certain areas. The players would never be able to completely defeat the enemies, but they could create some stable locations on the surface; more cities to expand the influence of the original inhabitants of the world.

The underground, PvP

I wasn’t ready to abandon PvP entirely. As I said in the prior post, you need to control the Killer population and channel it. Giving a PvP area would help keep the Killers from griefing everyone else.

Unfortunately, details here were scant because it hadn’t been developed out that far. But I expect this would have been something like WoW’s battlegrounds with players trying to control spots on a map. Maybe if we got real fancy there might be a control map like the Planetside games. Could be some interesting things that tie back to the social side in the cities.

So, what do you think about all this? Sound interesting? Got questions? Thoughts? I’d love to hear them!







1 Comment »

  1. This sounds pretty cool. My brain is trying to combine it with a now ancient idea I was working on over 15 years ago. I’ll admit I’m not very familiar with the workings of Storybricks. I wouldn’t even know it existed if I hadn’t heard about it on Massively OP.

    It’s also triggering memories of PSO on GameCube. Having a city on a station in orbit and doing adventures/missions on the surface of the planet below.

    Comment by SDWeasel — 24 August, 2018 @ 11:30 AM

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