Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sacraments 3D Monster Design Philosophy

I haven't had much of a chance to work on Sacraments 3D lately, thanks to some stuff at work. (Well, that's not entirely true - I've had some spare time, but I've been so burned out on that project that I haven't felt like doing the rather intense work that 3D modeling and animation requires.)

But what I have been percolating on in the back of my mind was my ideas on monster design for the game. One of the things that I tried to follow in the last version, and which I want to continue with this new version, was the idea of having "naturalistic" monsters. I want my game world to have a more mundane feel to it than the typical high-fantasy game world, so I am going to try to closely model most, if not all, monsters in the game after real-world creatures. There will be "giant" and "dire" versions of normal animals, but there won't be dumb (yet adorable) happy-faced slimes, for example. Too many RPG monsters are weird just for the sake of being weird. I want to go the opposite direction and have the monsters seem like a natural extension of the environment.

Peppered Quailtard Model
In particular, I want the monster ecosystem to make sense, even with the bestial, magical creatures. Monsters shouldn't exist axiomatically - their existence and behavior must be justified. One of the themes I wasn't able to really introduce in the original Sacraments was the idea that monsters - the real monsters, as opposed to animals - are created by normal animals being polluted by rotting magic. In the Sacraments game world, magic is an organic element of the world like water, plants, and air, and as such, it can stagnate, ferment, and rot. When this happens to magic, and animals come in contact with it, it changes them in unpleasant ways, but still ways that are recognizable. There are story-level reasons for this construct, too, but it really makes for a good explanation for why there are monsters to fight, and why they behave in such a hostile and dangerous way.

(Shown above: a sample animal foe (not one of the magic-altered monsters). It's a large flightless bird, between the size of a man and a dog, with a nasty bite attack. I'm debating calling it a "Peppered Quailtard" in honor of good ole Dick Cheney, but that little bit of fun might break the game world immersion too much. The problem is that "Quailtard" is such a great name for a bird-monster that I'm having trouble coming up with an alternative. It's as good as "Chocobo." Suggestions? Or should I go with "Quailtard?")

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