Thursday, April 2, 2009

User Story Madness

I've been adding tons of user stories to my wiki, defining the game systems. There are still some systems I need to really flesh out, but I'm hoping I can get some good basic flow established and then test the hell out of it when I get to Alpha. It's been interesting so far, but things are definitely beginning to come together. I've got a bunch of things sorted out philosophically and progress is definitely being made. Yay. I've only got 9 stories, but they are 9 very fleshed-out stories. :)
I've also defined all of the player level titles. As player progress through the levels, their titles change and their abilities expand. They can create in-game items, which is pretty cool, I think, and they get more and more responsibility. Players can also form groups ('guilds' in EQ and WoW parlance) that are fully connected (each player is connected to each other player in the group) and they're limited in size. Other games (iMob, etc) don't have this kind of fully connected group concept, so I think it will distance us from those kinds of games. Being part of one of these groups also helps with combat (it increases the amount of energy you have available to use in combat), which makes it a little more interesting as well.
I'm starting to get combat fully fleshed-out. It's been a long time coming as I've played with a variety of options, tweaking things here and there to see what kind of impact it has. It's been very interesting seeing how small modifications cascade into unusable systems. I've got a basic idea of things now, so it's just a question of getting things into a more finalized form and coding them up in the game.
Speaking of the game, I got the basic tab control flow started last night. I have an idea for navigation where the user is presented with a picture of the topic. For instance, there's a "Profile" tab. When you click it you'd see a picture of a book, let's say, and various hotspots on the book would take you to detailed screens. So you might see a picture of a backpack, let's say, and clicking it would show you your inventory. I like it a lot better than the traditional "click the item in the table view" choices - it just seems a little more organic. The problem I think I'm going to face is that there might be a lot of choices in these main tab areas that could clutter the screen too much.
Finally, I need to sort out money. I've decided to include money only in-game - people can buy/sell items in the game and they get/spend money. I've been debating whether I should use just a standard "Gold Pieces" system or if I should do something with "Pounds/Shillings/Denarii" system (which I think is cool, but it's also confusing to some people). I was looking on Wiki and found an article that described the various Roman currencies and I think, given some of the other thoughts I've had about the back story of the game, that I'll use that. So it would be 1 gold aureus (pl. aurea) = 25 silver denarii (sing. denarius) = 100 bronze sestertii (sing. sestertius). That's pretty reasonable and not nearly as confusing as Pounds/Shillings/Denarii. :) I need to add that now. :)
So, lots of things moving forward. I've really been feeling productive, both on the design side and on the development side. Things are coming together with game systems and user stories and I've been making progress getting things working in the code. I just can't wait to actually get some things implemented and tested out on real iPhones.