I’ll start with what anyone reading this blog probably wants to know: the progress on Chapter 2 of Nameless: One Orc’s Saga.
Here’s a screenshot of most of the map boundaries. The bottom center is where the player begins, in a small town just outside the gates of Ulms. Ulms serves as the capital of the Empire in which the story takes place. You can see the gates I’ve put in the center of a map as a placeholder/marker.
As my plans currently stand, the top half of the map will be entirely made up of the city itself, while the bottom half will be mostly dominated by forests and swamps in the capital’s outskirts. This should provide an interesting dichotomy of gameplay, as the city is relatively stable, crime-free, full of law-abiding citizens. That means any urban challenges will come from either the scum who emerge to prey at night, or the powers that be…
Chapter 2 will also slightly change up how the player progresses through the story and encounters enemies. Chapter 1 was extremely linear, in that certain areas were gated off until certain points in the story had been played. Most sub-areas, too, were linear, with a few path choices that ultimately led to the same location.
As it stands, I plan for Chapter 2 to be slightly more open, with a touch of an “ORPG” feel to it. The player will probably be able to explore most of the bottom half of the map from the get-go, though he/she should be wary of wandering too far off the beaten path, lest Nameless and his companions find foes they cannot possibly challenge until they grow in strength.
In order to keep the feeling of a traditional linear RPG story structure, I may insert a few smaller, secondary maps that would serve as one-off quest zones. Think the Frozen Throne orc campaign, and the sub-maps included therein, like the goblin mine or the valley of the thunder lizards.
Terrain is, as always, the slowest part of my mapmaking progress. Thanks to my experience making Chapter 1, I can create forests fairly rapidly, but I always get hung up in thinking of interesting, natural features to add that give the maps that “wow” feel. As always, I have no ETA for Chapter 2, but stay tuned!