FateStone Development Journal: Planning
I’ve been tinkering with some of my work on FateStone again recently and it got me thinking that maybe since I do have this platform, I could share some of my notes and thoughts about working on the game with all of you.
There’s a lot of ways one can go about coming up with an RPG Maker game. Some folks just dive in and start creating, building as they go, some start with a story they’ve wanted to tell, and others begin with the characters. These are all valid ways of exploring the creative tools that something like RPG Maker MV offers up. Me though? I’m a planner. Always have been. I would keep lists and figures of milestones and objectives written down or in my head. I may not have ever gone as far as full blown theorycrafting in my WoW Raiding days but I did keep a list of drops I needed to work toward to get hit capped (Hit capping for the newer WoW players was a god awful mechanic where you needed to prioritize a now defunct ‘Hit’ stat just so you wouldn’t spend raid fights missing with every attack.)
So when it came to sit down and try to make an actual game, I didn’t open RPG Maker – I opened Google Sheets. My Google Drive is full of documents and spreadsheets all around creating a basic layout for what the game I want to make will entail. From how the crafting system will work, to a spreadsheet breakdown of items, crafting components for those items, effects for the items, and naturally the item id. I’ve done the same work for class skills, which is an impressive list of hundreds of skills for FateStone’s currently planned twenty classes. I mean, I just like to have everything down on paper for easy reference once I begin, regardless if a lot of stuff I’ve been working on is for later ‘phases’ of the development.
Currently, Phase 1 is just planned to only be the single starter city and the quests that take place there in. That includes a 3-floor dungeon built around the City Sewers and an ancient forgotten temple full of ghosts and skeletons hidden beneath the city, three city districts and the castle where the king lives. Because of course there’s a castle where the king lives. There’s a total of 5 recruit-able characters, namely because I wanted there to be some exploration of the ‘morality’ system and have different paths through the prologue based on your decisions. The Positive or “Astral” Path features the ability to recruit the Princess (Bard class) and a Knight and the Negative or “Chaos” path will feature the Rogue and the Mage NPCs. The others will be eventually recruit-able, but I wanted Phase I to have a full party by the end of the Prologue.
So just there alone that’s seven areas with subzones of buildings, etc. Five NPCs featuring an array of five different classes, not to mention your starting class that brings the total to six. Two branching paths with different quests. A half dozen or so different monsters of varying difficulty. Then items and shops to put them in.
…THAT is why I tend to go for the planning approach to things. Just this small prologue has so many different things to keep track of in terms of IDs, variables, values, and so on and so forth. I like being able to just flip open a spreadsheet and go “Ah, yes. That chest should have Item #52 in it.”