skills_set

Total Rendition Prototype 0.0.9.3 – Part II

For a select audience, Total Rendition Prototype 0.0.9.3 has been available. Prototype 0.0.9.3B will eventually see a release to the public and will have more gameplay, both in terms of mechanics as well as narrative. The later versions afterwards, shall typically see a gradual release as well.

It is yet uncertain at which version number Total Rendition reaches feature-completeness. The gameplay mechanics have yet to be finalised, for instance. As such, one might ask: Why bother development and prototyping when you haven’t fully thought-out the gameplay mechanics yet? Because then, there is a better picture which gameplay features are desirable for Total Rendition and which ones are not; The gameplay must not just be fun-to-play; it must work to fully support the narrative of Total Rendition. And since the narrative begets expectations of blood and subterfuge, so Total Rendition will have both. This leads to a gameplay where there are lots of opportunities for (total bloody) action, yet with the possibility of completing the game without causing a single casualty.

There is of course still a story to be fully fleshed out, even when all the gameplay mechanics are in place. One that ought to be good for 20 hours of gameplay. To make an accurate estimation of time needed to finish programming mechanics and the software that supports it, is impossible. This is even more true for creating the arguably vast in-game world of Total Rendition. World-building is perhaps the most time-and-energy-consuming aspect of the development of Total Rendition. Though it is certainly not the first game where that is the case.

Production design

Level design dictates a large degree of the ultimate outcome of the gameplay experience. It is one of the primary outlets of the graphical art direction, alongside character art. A typical feature of AAA studios who pump millions of dollars into their game productions, is the division of labour of between “level designers” and “environment artists”. Both are actually level designers, although environment artists create graphical assets for the levels. Level designers, focus on matters such as balancing. In larger studios, they may work with a narrative designer, who may create the scripting behind the “quests/missions/assignments” as well.

(3D) Assets, which a game needs to help players get moved by the the plot, take the longest amount of time to create in a plot-heavy title such as Total Rendition. This is simply because there are so many of them, yet all of them have to look good! Admittedly, this requires the effacy of the millions-backed studio without the resources to match. As the bureaucratic inefficiencies of GosPlan-size proportions which typically bottleneck AAA studios must be avoided, so roles will get lumped together. You will notice how the financial constrictions Total Rendition faces, now serve to help give its final look.

Lately, being Total Rendition’s game designer, I have stepped in myself to serve as Total Rendition’s level designer as well. However, since I already occupy a variety of roles, with the exception of 3D artist, concept artist, composer and sound designer, it is likely that I will eventually entrust responsibility of the visual aspects of Total Rendition’s level design to a more skilled level designer as well.

New features for Total Rendition Prototype 0.0.9.3

Total Rendition Prototype 0.0.9.3 has a hand-to-hand mechanic allowing you to non-lethally subdue any enemies you can approach within physical contact range. Weapons now have recoil modifiers that will affect your aim after each shot; Upgrading your small arms skill is therefore now possible and reduces that effect.

Upgrading the NPC AI and enhancing the stealth aspects of the gameplay are currently high priorities. The latter includes the introduction of a dialogue system.

Early prototype access to 0.0.9.3 is currently exclusive to Patreon backers of the Fighter or Co-Plotter tiers and stakeholders in Total Rendition’s production in general. Total Rendition’s stakeholders are actually a very broad group and also includes those who participate in its development. As a stakeholder, you will also have earlier access to the upcoming alternative version of 0.0.9.3, 0.0.9.3B. This version will be the first one to be available on Linux, which will be publicly available.

-Mordechai Gabai