Last time, I announced that I was just starting work on a new dwarf quest. All I had back then was a blank page that I needed to fill with ideas. Since then I've spent a few days brainstorming, bouncing ideas off other developers, and covering the wall next to my desk with post-it notes saying things like “Commander Veldaban” and “Red Axe base.”
I've found it harder to come up with a good idea for this quest than I have for any previous one, and I wrote down several ideas before rejecting them because they weren't right. Finally, it clicked and I had a story I was happy with.
My next step was to write this idea up in a 'concept document', which lays out the plot of the quest in broad strokes. I showed this document to Mod Mark, RuneScape's lead designer, for approval. There was no point in developing the idea until he reached a decision; if he didn't like it, it would be back to my blank page. It turned out that he did like it, so development could continue.
The next step was for Mod Mark to give me a 'core aims document'. This formalises the general aims that I'd been given earlier, telling me what things the quest has to include, roughly how big it should be, how much of the Graphics team’s time I can ask for, and so on. Mod Mark also requested that I add a new skill training activity to Keldagrim to go along with the quest, so my next task is to work out what that should be.
No doubt you're dying to know what's in these documents. I don't want to spoil the plot for you, but I can tell you a few things:
- The quest will centre on the character of Commander Veldaban.
- This will not be the last dwarf quest. I am planning three more (including this one), so the Red Axe series will have five parts when it's complete. I have a general plan for how the series as a whole will end.
- I'll probably be adding a new destination to the mine-cart transport system.
- The level requirements haven't been decided yet, but they will be vaguely in the region of the first two quests – maybe a step up from them, but not a huge step.
- There is no release date yet, but writing a quest takes time – we're talking months rather than weeks.
That's where I am now. My next step is to write the project's 'design brief', which will be the core design document of the whole project. This will specify what happens in the quest in more detail, exactly how the puzzles will work, and what the level requirements and rewards are. I'll keep you informed of how the project is going.
- Mod John A
- RuneScape Content Developer