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(Re: King’s Quest Online)

Hey Barry!

Modular design documents is something that I learned while working at
Westwood Studios. I am not aware of any specific documents about it,
but it’s basically just an document in outline form. I use the
following format:

1.0 Heading
1.1 Sub heading
1.1.1 Sub heading
1.2 Sub heading
1.2.1 Sub heading
2.0 Heading

and so on and so on.

In this manner, it’s easy to add and remove things since each section is
a stand-alone entity. I cna remove section 1.1 without affecting what I
have designed in section 1.2

As for the Character Creation process, it’s both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because it’s been done numerous times before and it’s a
curse because it’s been done numerous times before. Most of the time I
spend designing the creation process wasn’t so much the process itself,
but coming up with a unique way of doing it. I could have easily
emulated the creation process of EQ or UO, but then I would be accused
of ripping off someone else’s ideas and designs. Hence the reason why I
did it the way I did. The philosphy and design concepts aren’t really
all that different, but the implimentation design is.

It’s also important to remember that the Character Creation process is
the players first glimpse into the world they are about to embark on.
Next to the Main Menu, the Character Creation process is the second
biggest determining factor in giving a good first impression. It must
be simple and elegant so as to not bombard the player with too much at
once. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to let the player learn a
bit about the world before jumping in.

As for how I’m going to implement adventures and stories into the game,
I’m going to use what I call the Quest system. Each Quest (which are
given out by NPC’s) involve a story element, a combat element, and a
puzzle element. Every Quest in the game pertains to a story and the
things the player must do or encounter while doing that Quest will
enhance what the player already knows about a paticular story element as
well as introducing new story elements. Most of the Quests will even
branch off into other sub-Quests. For all pratical purposes, I am
designing a system that allows multiple people to be doing the same
Quests, but get different aspects/understanding of the overall story
arch based on what they do and how they do it.

You and I could do a Quest to catch a thief who stole a painting. On
one hand, I can play the detective and learn about the thief and the
painting, which in turn reveals the painting has some unique qualities
and the thief is only stealing the painting to get his children back
from the Black Cloak Society (who wants the painting to open a
dimensional doorway to another world). With this knowledge, I catch up
to the thief and rather than turning him into the authorities, I go on a
Quest to rescue the thiefs children and end up returning the painting to
it’s rightful owners and in the process learn more about the Black Cloak
Society and/or the dimension they are trying to gain access to.

On the other hand, you get the same Quest, interrogate a couple of
NPC’s, track down the thief and kill him. You take the painting back to
it’s original owner and go on your way, ultimately not knowing about the
thiefs children or the Black Cloak Society’s involvement or their plans

As for stories ending, that’s the challenge of the designer/writer.
It’s my job to ensure that while some stories end, they open up into
more stories. There’s no telling what might happen once the Queens have
been rescued. 😉

-David Reese  wrote:

>Hi David,
>You do seem to be putting a lot of time into this so I guess you’re
>about it. What method uses the ‘modular design documents’ you refer to,
>you point me to a page about it? It does seem like a good approach to do
>this kind of thing.
>Anyway, your character selection procedure looks solid to me but then
>that is not really the hard part because it’s been done in just about
>on-line game. What I’m really wondering about is exactly how you will
>integrate the adventure/stories into the game. I mean, we can’t ALL rescue

>the princess can we? 🙂 Also, the downside of stories is that they end
>somewhere (even the neverending story ends ;)), how will you keep the
>going? I think that these are the questions that should be answered first
>Best regards,
>>From: “Sierra On-Line Fan Site”
>>Subject: Re: King’s Quest Online
>>Date: Sun, 29 Feb 2004 15:36:50 -0500
>>Ok – I’ve got something else for you guys to look at and give feedback
>>on. A few days ago I showed you guys the races and classes the game will
>>have. Today, in addition to revealing the pitch for the game (which in
>>my opinion isn’t all that interesting), I’m revealing the character
>>creation process. I’ve been working on this one for a couple of days
>>trying to come up with the entire creation process step by step and it’s
>>finally finished. All I can say is thank god for modular design docs!
>>Otherwise this whole thing would have been a total headache. 😉
>>Anyway, here it is. As always, your feedback and suggestions/critiques
>>are greatly appreciated.
>>-David Reese
>>3.0 Character Creation
>>When starting the game for the first time, the player will automatically
>>be taken to Character Creation. During the phase of the game, the player
>>will be able to select the race, class, and defining attributes of their
>>online persona along with the personas name. At the beginning of the
>>game, players will only have one character slot to utilize, but as they
>>progress in the game, they will be able to unlock other character slots
>>and race/class/attribute combinations by collecting special items and
>>doing certain quests.
>>3.1 Step 1  Race Selection
>>The first step in creating a new character is selecting the race of the
>>character. The different races are displayed as generic character models
>>(these models are models of the specific races and do not have any class
>>attributes). The models will be lined up side by side. When the player
>>clicks on one of the models, the text box area underneath the models
>>displays information about that particular race (See section 7.0 (Races)
>>for the descriptions of the races that should appear here). To select
>>the race as the race of the character to be created, the player clicks
>>on the button labeled Next to proceed to the next step in the process.
>>If he/she changes their mind, they c