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Design Discussion: Freedom

September 5th, 2016

Design Discussion: Freedom

Here at Forged Chaos we follow three design pillars as we develop ToA: Exile. We’ll be covering them in our design discussions. The first of these is “Freedom”.

It can be said that the primary motivation behind the original design of ToA was the desire for freedom. Our co-founders wanted a game where they weren’t limited by invisible walls, arbitrary mechanics, or the narrow ideal of a unseen developer.

So when discussions about mechanics pop up during meetings or other communications, they usually circle around on how it will impact the freedom of the players and their characters.

For us, freedom doesn’t mean that the player can make the character do whatever they want; such shallow game play quickly loses interest for players who want something they can sink their teeth into and will last through many play-throughs. Instead we think it means emulating reality with organic consequences for characters. This is important because we believe that every action needs to have a consequence for it to be meaningful, and meaningful actions are vital to immersing the player in the game.

The value intrinsic to the ability to run can only be appreciated to its fullest if it comes at a cost, endurance in our case. Without a cost running is the automatic default for movement and slower speeds are only used by the players for flavor. A cost or consequence is required so mechanics like running can become something players get to make a conscious choice about, and that adds depth to their game play experience.

Another way we give our players freedom is through their ability to impact their surroundings. Though we cannot support terrain deformation with ToA: Exile, players can change the landscape in many ways. Chopping down a tree leaves a stump behind, but the tree will not regrow. A new tree cannot take root nearby as long as the stump remains. If the player can see something, they can interact with it. Plants, minerals, water, even the very ground beneath their feet have options open to characters.

Players can advance their characters in whatever direction they prefer without restriction. There are no class limitations for our humans and raknar, while dragons can become the strongest creatures we will program into the game. Players will be able to get back what they put into the game and play exactly as they wish. That is the sort of freedom we want to give our players.

What does “freedom” in a video game mean to you? Share with us in our forums at http://trialsofascension.com/forum/threads/design-discussion-freedom.5862/.