Dev Blog 10 - Interactive Environment Mood & Living Weather
The design philosophy of Winterfall is systems over content, because where content feeds gameplay, systems generate it. So we've spent a lot of time on back-end work for all kinds of systems and today, I'd like to get back on one system I've mentioned in the past and whose mechanics finally got completed this week.
In Winterfall, environments have a personality, one of four types for the time being. You, the player, will perform all kinds of interactions as you journey through those environments. You might fell trees for resources or traversal; you might make fire for warmth and safety, you might clear an old shrine hoping for a blessing, pick fruit/plants, break rock, shed blood and all kinds of other things. Things that will happen through the course of your gameplay.
Each Environment Personality has a different emotional reaction to either of those things. In the same way as the character's Emotions build up into Moods, so does the Environment's Emotions. Moods manifest as a particular atmosphere, settling down on the following day: the sky fills up with clouds, the weather change, so does the soundscape. Over time, you will learn to recognize the tell-tale of specific moods and the things you should do or not do to impact those moods in a way that is advantageous to you.
Example: forests in Winterfall are generally dense, denser than they tend to be in other games. It will be easy enough to get lost in them in the first place, but what if the Environment's Mood is such that fog rolls in and covers everything? Just the same, how are you to find your way safely, in the mountains, through a storm? This is the kind of outcome you will be watching out for as you get more familiar with each region and its fluctuating moods.
Certain events and encounters will also be much likelier to be deployed during certain types of weather. From Mood to Mood and atmosphere to atmosphere, the same area is quite likely to take on a very different character and the gameplay within it may change quite a fair bit. And as you learn more about those mechanics, your say as to those configurations will get more and more important. Depending on your Skills & Traits, your character may be a good sky-reader, able to perform forecasts of the next day's weather; maybe they will know songs to dispel the clouds, call or stop the rain.
Enabling you to interact with the living weather in a meaningful and impactful way, is one of the things Winterfall will put on offer to give you an experience of a depth not usually seen in RPGs. In the near future, we will present those mechanics to you in a video.
Thank you for your interest!