your pal Kaive

Court Map Time Lapse

March 15, 2017 in Games, House of Tail

recreation of what it was like drawing house of tail's court map
The courtyard map – took quite a while to make. Had to create custom brushes for the houses to do the angles and shadows.

I’ve been drawing maps. Lots of maps.

While they don’t seem as exciting as drawing characters, I have grown to appreciate them. They’re easy to take for granted. Trying to put some thought into them, especially the layouts. We have another ‘house’ map, the court above, a castle, tavern, shop, and some dungeon and battle maps I’m currently working on.

Thoughts on Genre

I’m not quite sure the genre for the game is exactly a RPG at this point, but maybe? Probably. Recently, someone talked about it as a brothel sim, and it reminded me that it was originally supposed to be one. It’s a lot more subtle about it than what I think the genre expectations are. I know expectations are important and can make or break a work.

If I had to describe the design goals in that regard, it’s not been how to market it or meet genre guidelines, but more about seeing what’s been done with character management games in general, coming up with that character icon and slot drag-and-drop mechanic to streamline the play and make it more engaging, (which I’ve seen since then explode in popularity in mobile games… sucks that it’s taking us so long here), and following strict design objectives and guidelines. Which is a lot of words to say things like: make it less tedious, understand what keeps players interested (context, challenge, and reward,) and so on.

For example, while making the maps I’ve often had the thought of how easy it would be (but time consuming) to make it so you can walk around. I like walking around in RPG’s, the exploration and immersion of talking to everyone in sight, going into their houses (not creeping). But it doesn’t make sense here. It would slow things down and remove the focus on where the player has agency or control. That and the story’s designed in such a way that it sure would be tedious to have to trigger it by walking and talking around. Would get old fast, but having to playtest a game everyday since whenever, I can see any game getting old fast given the right circumstances, so who knows.

I could be wrong about this, and I’d love to make a more traditional walking RPG. We’ll all get to see how it turns out, can learn from it. There will always be room for improvements and different takes, and I’m kind of excited about that. About a month ago, we reached that development milestone where you’ve been finished with the design long enough that obvious ideas on how to handle a sequel or follow-up hits you. Had it with Common Grounds a long while ago, still sitting on those sequel designs. It’s been like that when drawing maps. Get close to finished and think up all kinds of ways to make it look different and possibly better. Better a finished game than twenty different iterations of a map, if you know what I mean.