- Jan 29, 2010
Sunken City's Major Rework
Hello to anyone reading this. I have a huge announcement to make, but do keep in mind that nothing I say here is set in stone. I want to hear what everyone thinks about this new endeavor I have in mind. So... here we go:
Over the course of the last 7 years I have been working on Sunken City almost endlessly. It has become a hobby of mine, it's what I do in my free time. It has become a project that I am very proud of and one that has accomplished things that I wouldn't have even dreamed of when I first started.
That said, I have some issues with it.
Sunken City's first purpose and reason for its creation was basically for me to create a game for myself that I enjoy. I had this game inside my head and I couldn't find anything like it back in 2010. So I made it myself - I made it so I can enjoy it while playing it. But for the last year or so, I no longer do enjoy it like the way I used to before. It's important to make myself clear here: It's not like I don't like Sunken City, or that I don't like working on it - oh, hell no - I love that with a passion. But I don't enjoy playing it like I used to. I have been thinking about this for awhile and I think I have found the reason for why this is happening.
To understand however, let's talk about 2 thigns: 1) How Sunken City got started and 2) how how its genre impacts all of this:
1) When I started this project, it... wasn't really a project. I had a couple of friends and I wanted to create a Dungeon Crawler for us to play. The very first version of Sunken City was created in 4 hours. That's right. The map was laid out in only 4 hours. In fact, I didn't know if I'd update it ever again when I first made it. But then I did a couple of small changes, then a couple more, then some people helped me and I got hooked.
However I started building onto and updating something that was done in 4 hours by a 17yrs old guy who had absolutely no knowledge of game design and/or level design. If you look around the internet and find the first version of Sunken City, you can notice that while it may lack thousands of details, little touches and cool things all over the place, it had the same layout, the same structure...
2) By being a Dungeon Crawler, it's in the nature of the genre and therefore the map, to get you burned out. While I have put major emphasis on replayability in many ways (and I have achieved it to great extent), eventually people do get burned out. Now... do I consider my job done right if that moment of burn out comes after few months for an average player? Hell yeah... if I can make someone play the same Dungeon Crawler over and over and over again for months, I consider my task of delivering enough replayability for the players achieved. But the question here is: "Is the task achieved for myself?" Am I burned out of playing the same Dungeon Crawler for 7 years?! I recently started to get burned out, yes. And again, it's very important to understand that it's "playing" that I am burned out of - not "developing".
What is the solution, you'd ask? Well, I do have some great ideas to bring even more replayability! Problem is, that I simply can't deliver them, because of what I explained in (1) and (to some extent in 2). The map layout is old and was not made, knowing that the it would last that long and receive hundreds of updates. The most major hit to replayability is the map layout. You follow the same path every single time you play. You unlock each door the same way. You go into directions the same way.
I can change that. I can break free from this. But the result would no longer be the Sunken City you know and probably love.
So what's the idea?
Well, here is where it gets interesting. I plan to fundamentally rework Sunken City.
In the Rework, your heroes will be selected at a starting location, which is a safe zone. You can find the shops there, the Enchantress with all of her Reforging, Disenchanting, etc.. You can setup your heroes there, store items, whatever you like - it's your base. From that base you will have multiple portals that you can go into. You can choose any portal you like and that portal will lead you into a small dungeon which will take 15-30 mins to defeat. Each portal will lead into a different dungeon and each dungeon will have unique theme to it, like for example: Troll-themed Dungeon, Cemetery/Undead Dungeon, Demon-Infested Dungeon, or the regular Sunken Ruins, etc... there are many possibilities. You choose which Dungeon to engage and all enemies in all dungeons will scale dynamically with your heroes. When your heroes level up -> all enemies across all dungeons also level up. When you defeat a dungeon, you return to your base, buy new items and then go into a different dungeon until all are complete. What this offers is a sense of completion even if you don't necessarily complete all dungeons. If you end a game of Sunken City halfway through, it feels like you wasted your time - you didn't end the game. In the Rework, you can go ahead, beat several dungeons and you can end there, knowing that you did complete things. And next time you hop in, you can try different ones.
Here is a summary of the Rework:
[+] Rework brings more replayability.
[+] Rework can be played for much more varied durations.
[+] Rework offers many new and different themes to each dungeon.
[-] Rework will not have a cohesive storyline and lore like SC does.
[-] Many roleplaying elements of SC will be lost.
The old Sunken City will not be "lost". You will still be able to play it, but it will no longer receive updates. Atleast nothing major - only bugfixes.
That's about what I have as information for the time being. This is still at the "idea" stage, so obviously nothing is final here. What do you think? How do you feel about all of this? Leave your opinion in the poll and comment below.
Thank you for your support,
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