An adventure into the afterlife, probably. There isn't much of a story yet, the basics are through some ritual the player enters the afterlife in an attempt to bring back a loved one. To do so they must complete a number of trials (7 or 8 probably) and return to the central citadel to travel back to our world with the one they are trying to save.
The story isn't there yet obviously but neither is the build, the idea behind this thread is that if I force myself into making fairly regular progress updates then this map will actually get done rather than all my other "projects" which are all currently "on the back burner". There are a lot of back burners in my world.
Without further ado, I'll get into what I have actually got done so far. The map itself was made over the course of a few days in worldpainter, a circular valley surrounded by mountains with a large lake in the center, fir trees from lentebriesje's wonderful custom tree repository are scattered around the valley and everything is covered in a dusting in snow. One of my best attempts at a realistic looking map yet I would say.
With that as the canvas I built the citadel in the center of the lake, on a circular platform. Pictures and more in depth descriptions in the spoiler, so they don't take up too much space.
This is the same overview shot without the shaders on, just a nice way to see what I've finished so far.
An overview of the citadel itself, the four sides are symmetrical. The entrance hall, if you can call it that is the largest segment and only really serves as a way to get up to the upper layer. the idea was that it would be an epic introduction to the building. The hedge garden things are really only for decoration but I like the way they turned out, even though look a bit sparse.
This is the interior of one of the four arms, as I mentioned they are symmetrical so they all look pretty much like this. The standout features are the massive doorway, cathedral style windows and extreme stairways. I'm not entirely happy with the staircases but I'm not sure how else I could offer a way up to the second level without blocking up windows or going up the middle. As you might have already guessed, the middle is reserved for the massive compass on the floor, this a shot of the north wing.
A better view of said compass, it took quite a lot of effort to get it looking right, but I think you can understand why I didn't want to put a staircase up through the middle of it.
Heading on up to the second level, you are greeted by this comparatively much cozier entrance, which almost looks like it could pass for a greek or roman temple.
Interior of the second level entrance halls, at the end of the room there are three doorways, the two on the sides lead out to balconies which connect the four temple things, and the one in the middle leads into a circular staircase around the main atrium. I'm still not sure what I'm going to do with that back wall exactly to make it look less plain, but that's besides the point. If you go down the staircase you enter a fairly short room, mainly intended as a viewing platform for the compass.
I may add some kind of progress tracking, trophies or achievements in here when I get to making the story. I don't want the story to be very linear, of course all the dungeons have to be completed to finish the game but I want the player to be able to do them in any order they wish. I was thinking I'll need some kind of progress tracker so that I can increase the difficulty dynamically as the dungeons are completed. There are also exits from this room out to the balconies.
This is the view through the floor down to the compass.
If you instead go up the stairs into the main hall, I'm not sure what I'll be doing with this room just yet but I know this is where the main quest giver is going to be.
This is just a shot of the balcony I've mentioned so many times and the small garden area beside the second level entrance halls.
Finally, this is the view from the start of the bridge looking towards the citadel. I like that you can see directly into the building, and if my view distance was high enough you would be able to see right out the other side as well.
Speaking of which, I'm not entirely happy with how the bridge looks overall but I can't really put my finger on why or what I could do to fix it. I've never really built such a long bridge before and tried to actually make it look good, I think it has something to do with the repetition. I wanted to keep it fairly simple so as to not take away from the citadel itself, but I'm not sure if I quite hit the mark. If you've read this far, I'd appreciate your input. I also haven't decided yet if I want the bridge on all four sides or just the one, I'm thinking four of them would be overpowering but maybe it would look better because it would continue the symmetry.
An overall shot and a shot of one of the individual sections so you can get a better feel for the bridge. Is the repetition too much? or is it just a flaw in the design of the sections?
Next I need to build 7 or 8 unique dungeons scattered around the edges and then I can get into the command block trickery to form a story.
I would also appreciate ideas for themes in this section if you're still here. I'm thinking I could base one around each of the four elements, but then I still need three more. I've been watching the game maker's toolkit and boss keys videos by mark brown on youtube recently so I might try to take some of the ideas from there for the designs themselves. Things like introducing a new mechanic slowly and upping the need to use that mechanic as the player progresses. As I mentioned before I'd like the player to be able to complete the dungeons in any order, and self contained mechanics would be a good way of allowing that. Unfortunately that would mean that they would have to be completely self contained, it would be difficult to carry one mechanic over into another dungeon not knowing if that mechanic had been discovered yet. It would leave mechanics feeling useless outside of their dungeon.
Anyway, any thoughts on mechanics or dungeon design would be much appreciated as well.
So far the story is pretty vague; enter the afterlife, complete trials, save deceased family/lover. I've got some little tidbits worked out that I'm going to be implementing though.
There won't likely be any other humans, dungeon enemies will be demons or ghosts or something along those lines. It will be a very solitary adventure, due to that I won't be optimizing it for multiplayer
This might change but I'd like the story to be revealed through flashbacks triggered by completed dungeons maybe. I'm thinking the beginning of the map will simply start the player at the beginning of the bridge leading to the citadel and give them some instruction to go to it and meet the main quest giver, who could be a god or the grim reaper. I'll have to figure out the theme I'm going for before I figure that out.
I'm open to any suggestions, I'd love to hear what you think or any suggestions on what I could change to make it better. What would make you play this map?