Hey everyone, Igor here.
We’ve been pushing this update back for a bit to make sure we have everything we need to show it off, and it’s finally here. This post showcases once of our larger production maps that will be in Forged of Blood. With all the work that has gone into it, we thought it’d be nice to do a tag-team post again to show how the map goes from one end of the studio to the other.
When we started churning out maps for tactical combat in Forged of Blood, the vast majority of them were designed with tactical play in mind. Creating multiple avenues of approach, engagement points, and allowing for creative solutions in approaching the combat has always been at the forefront of our design philosophy, and once the maps are blocked out, they were passed on to the art side for production (see our post by the art team). For the most part, these maps reused assets according to their environment and were designed with multiple uses in mind – these maps would make the large pool of maps we’ve slotted for the many encounters players would have in-game.
We did however, reserve a handful of maps for one-off uses that would be lore-specific and today we’ll cover the “Mirlitas Ruins.” Without giving too much away, this tactical map is housed in a section of a vast ancient city where the player will encounter a powerful new enemy – or potentially gain a new ally.
With so many little projects going on concurrently, I teamed up with Joe to get the map designed. Going into the design, I had a few story specific objectives that Joe needed to translate into a blocked out map in-engine. First, I wanted the opening engagement to take place in the center of a map where the player’s party will be surrounded by NPCs at an elevated position – an ambush. The story I had in mind gives players the option to engage in a bit of diplomacy instead of outright combat, the map had to be designed to put players in a tactically inferior starting position, but have multiple egress routes to disengage and regroup. Part of the lore I had written also pointed to an inherent weakness in the enemy forces that could help the player end the battle quickly – if they could see the right avenues of approach and had the character builds required. All this plus the need to build a assets and architecture that are unlike the rest of the maps we’ve created so far make this one of the more time intensive maps to produce.
With that I’ll pass this on to Joe for a look at how he interpreted the tactical needs of the story into the map.
Hi, Joe here. When I chatted with Igor regarding the map, I started to think what sort of maps would be suitable. Given the pivotal moment where the protagonist will either face a powerful enemy or gain new allies, I thought of the idea that the protagonist will have to make a pilgrimage to seek help. I immediately thought of The Seven Thousands steps on the Throat of the World in Skyrim and like the idea of pilgrimage steps.
For the ambush Igor mentioned, I was thinking that the area where the protagonist spawns will be pretty open with very few cover objects to hide behind. The area should also be enclosed with enough “spawn” points for the ambushers to spawn. Finally, since the protagonist will also meet and have a chance to engage in some key dialogue, I wanted a memorable place for the entire conversation to be set in. With that in mind, this is what I came up after several iterations: