So, I have the three types of quests implemented, and am quite happy overall with how the quest system is working out. Further, I have more ideas, mainly about adding other building types. Basically I had a look at the design and quite easily I can make so some office buildings are government offices, or have other special offices (right now the focus of office buildings is trade offices, for a company.) I can do the same for industrial buildings, of course. Just another tool for fleshing out the bazaar of gameplay that is vex.
What remains, ahem, is story system. This comes not-too-unnaturally from teh quest system, however I do need a little more. I suppose right now I have three different ideas.
1- Implement the event system. Basically, I want some system to allow the game at least somewhat to impose certain things on the player. This might be triggered randomly, by visiting a certain location, etc. I'm very unsure how this ends up looking, or whether I will really implement it at all. When I think about the game I'm really modelling vex after, that is, ultima 6, there weren't really events. The whole game was essentially an explorefest, and some goosechase-chain-style quests (i.e., do this, then once you do that, it tells you to do something else, etc.) So realistically, I'd rather *not* have an event system.
2- One quest for every class. I like this in some respects. This model follows nethack, another big design influence for vex, where it doesn't matter really what class you choose, you still have to get the Amulet of Yendor and return it to the surface; the class you choose determines your play style, not the expected final outcome of the game.
3- A different quest for each class, and maybe even for each character. When you start a game, the game decides what you have to do in order to finally win. So maybe a chemist will be charged with finding an alchemical formula, a warrior will have to slay the dreaded mexico beast, or what not.
I like 2- for a few reasons; mainly, I think it actually brings out the differences in classes MORE, becuase you have to achieve the same ends using drastically different means. The 3rd option is also much more work, since I have to define not only different abilities for classes but also different objectives. If I decide on 2-, which seems the most sane, what will the overriding quest be?
I could (should) look at the original story design work that was done and see if there is anything there that can be pulled out or used as inspiration. I'm not against the idea of hunting for some sacred item, ala nethack, which will always have the same obstacles in the way (in nethack, the wizard, demons, etc.)
I still think it is most important to flesh out the gameplay before the overall story gets implemented. I.e., I really want to see that a player can start out as a weak player, and gradually get stronger and stronger, doing more and more things and interacting in varied and creative ways. This is the core gameplay, in fact the core gameplay of all RPGs some would say, and so it's the most crucial thing to get right. Vex isn't really story driven, it's exploration/gameplay driven and so it's important to get those things right. Ultimately it's just not going to have the same emotional pull as a carefully crafted narrative, so rather than compensate for that with some kind of half-assed thing, it's better to just focus on gameplay all the way. So on that note, I'll not prioritize adding the actual overarching story very high, except in my thought schedule where I'll keep turning over ideas as I flesh out the actual gameplay.
The gameplay itself is being fleshed out quite nicely. It's still ridiculously poorly balanced (for instane, I recently fixed the weapon system to do different damage, and now for some reason the weapon on my starting ship does 2k-3k damage while the enemy got nerfed by a factor of 5 or so... oops!)
Today I add music hooks, and possibly some other building types. I do need to work on fleet management code, and try to get it so that you can buy ships. Also, a little indicator showing how much money you have at some point would be nice. I'd like to flesh out the skill/stat system. Your player has their own skills, which can be used to interact with the environment and NPCs. So if you are certain classes you can learn the "break and enter" skill, which allows you to rob people's houses =) But if you are a chemist, your aptitude may not be good enough to ever learn that skill, so that option isn't open to you. But you can mix some potent explosive concotions perhaps for other effects! This is a simple system to implement. Learning skills costs experience points, which you gain by shooting monsters (in additions to gems, which are kind of the rawest economical materials). Some other tweaks in terms of interface are also neccesary, for instance I have to add icons to the item menu showing what each type of item is, and sorting by item type (so all gems appear at the end, since you end up with a LOT of them). It would also be nice if duplicate items were grouped, again I am thinking of items because there are so darn many gems you end up with! But for now I think that at least can wait.
So anyhow, I have lots to do huh?