Design Discussion: Uniqueness

October 3rd, 2016

Design Discussion: Uniqueness

Uniqueness is our third and final design pillar. Along with “Challenge” and “Freedom”, it guides our game design philosophy. For us, Uniqueness means that each character can stand on its own; no two characters will be exactly the same and each will have its own story to tell.

There are several different ways we incorporate uniqueness into our design for ToA: Exile. The first is by allowing players to create characters that are uniquely their own through racial options, visual customizations, attribute customizations, and customized advancement. Players will be able to choose between three completely different races, each with a different method of progression and play style. The human race will play completely different than the dragon race, and both will be distinct from that of the raknar.

Visual customization of characters will allow players to create a character that looks different than the rest of the character’s of their race. Customization options vary between the races, but include skin/scale/chitin color(s), eye color and shape, hair color and style, scale and chitin patterns, horn styles, and other facial customizations. While it will be possible for two characters to look exactly alike, we hope that our options will reduce the odds. We also hope to expand the variety after we are able to start full-time development.

When a player creates a new character, they will be able to customize the character’s attributes. Attributes include things like perception, strength, agility, intelligence, and fortitude. Altering the attributes from the default for the race directly impacts the play for that character, as an improvement of one necessitates a sacrifice in another. You can create a physically stronger character at the expense of their intelligence and thus their learning speed. Or you can make a character that learns quickly but fails to notice danger before it is upon them by sacrificing their perception.

Each character will be able to progress in different ways based on their race. Humans can choose from many different skills and improve them through use to advance down whatever path the player chooses. Raknar can choose which creatures to lay their eggs in, which can affect the type of spiderling that hatches out. Each color of spiderling improves a different aspect of the raknar play when consumed, and by focusing on creatures that produce the color desired by the player, they can sculpt their raknar into a killing machine that perfectly fits their play-style. Even dragons have been brought on board with customizable advancement and will be able to improve their various abilities between moltings.

Uniqueness can also be applied to server creation. We want players to be able to design their own islands by manipulating settings and choosing from a wild selection of island shapes and styles. Server host will be able to chose between forest, desert, tundra, plains, and jungle biomes, adjust their day lengths, resource regeneration and rarity, which races they wish to allow, how may lifecounters characters begin with, and many other options. They can choose to open their server to the general public, or password protect it to limit those who can access it. We hope that the many options we want to offer for server hosts will allow them to create their ideal islands.

The final facet of Uniqueness comes into play for our content. While many fantasy creatures are classic to the “RPG” genre, we want to offer new and exciting content that is unique to the ToA universe. Predatory Raknar, meek tormilin, viscous eviseraptors, and legendary mawktopi are all creatures that we have brought to life from our imaginations with lore, models, and code. We want the creatures of ToA to stand on their own as creatures that could rival such fantasy titans as unicorns or mermaids.

What games have you played that made you feel as if your character was unique from all others in the game? Share your experiences with us over at