Friday, 6 July 2012

Sora World - A Dream Build Play Entry for 2008

Before I start this post here is a description of what we intend Sora to be:

Ideally a two player networked game where you choose to be either a Pilot or a Navigator. The game will be story driven but have a complex progress tree and so resulting in different endings. As a Pilot you will need to master the controls of the craft(s) and there weaponry so you can make your way through the world safely, avoiding or flying through storms, fighting off attackers. The Navigator has a more RTS roll to play, Navigators having the knowledge of where places are in Sora. A good navigator will have a large map (each time a navigator visits a new pace it's added to his map). Also some craft will come with strategic weapons that only a Navigator can use. In flight the navigator will be able to direct the pilot to there destination and away from hazards. So A good pilot, with lots of kills, or fast ship will be sort after by Navigators in the network lobby and a Navigator with lots of destinations on his/her map will be sought after by Pilots in the lobby.

Here are some excerpts from one of the design documents (rough draft):

"Everything in Sora originates from the Source, the brilliant cloud of immeasurable energy that anybody foolish to venture to has never returned from. Truth be told, the people of Sora don’t really know exactly how their world works, but it is clear the Source and Sora are intertwined, entangled and inseparable."

"The south is home to the floating city of Mina and considered the industrial end of Sora. With a more plentiful cloud supply it is the natural home of the water reservoir. Raincrafts hover around rain crowds, collecting and returning water to the reservoir. Cloud Scrapers weave between cumulus clouds extracting their energy, and capturing the essence of the cloud itself. Surrounding Mina are several scattered villages and even single island houses, a reminder of the old nomadic days of Sora.
The north has clouds but no Raincrafts. The rain is allowed to naturally fall under the farming islands, the primary source of food for Sora. Kita is the residential and agricultural region, heavily protected by the nearby Union Air Force (UAF) base."

"In that age, the Source shone brightly and the people of Sora lived in harmony with it, scattered among villages throughout the skies, taking only what they needed."

There is still more to it than this, but this gives you an idea...

OK, I got contacted about 2 months ago by a team (Zenna Tavares) building a game for the DBP competition as they wanted to use my clouds in their game and wondered if I would be interested in helping them out. So I replied saying that I was willing to help out, but was not sure how much help I could be other than the cloud system as I am busy at work, writing my blog posts and spending time with my family (not in that order) and that it only gave us 2 months to get an entry in (not enough time in my book!). Zenna was fine with this and so the journey began....

So we went about building an engine for Sora (Japanese for Heavens), we got a concept artist on board, then a 3D artist and it was all looking good. We took a few other components from my blog here as well as my (still fledgling) physics engine and started putting a few technical demos together. Then I got asked to do the ReMix08 demo, which kind of took a little time from it, but there was another dev who was also working on components so was no real issue, but then we lost the 3D artist, time was drawing near for the DBP deadline, we had no assets, no consolidated engine, just bits and pieces of demos and some great ideas...

Thankfully Zenna got another two 3D artists on board and they started work on converting the concept art to models. We also were joined by a Musician and it was all looking good....until I looked at the calendar....

We had literally a week and a bit to get an entry in, I was working on getting my GSM into the entry sorting out some kind of flight physics, the other developer (Ken Lau) was sorting out the networking side of the game and some asset management bits to. Then came a bomb shell, Ken, our other developer had to drop out at this late stage with about a week and a bit before the dead line (Thankfully we still have Ken, he just had too much on at the time).

So, I guess it fell on me to put the entry together :( So I have been stealing time from the land of sleep where and when I can to get what we have now. This meant dropping 90% of what we wanted the entry to be, the networking, weapon systems, plot and

Even with the extension I can't see what I/we could add in the next 2 days (that would = 6 hours development for me).

Well these are all just excuses really, we have done what we can and at least we have an entry.

The team is:

Zenna Tavares - Design and Production
Michal Cho - Concept Art
Damien Senior - 3D Art
Trung Tran - 3D Art
Martin Ahn - Music
Ken Lau - Developer
Me - Developer

You can take a look at the concept work for Sora here. Here are some in game pics:

And here is the now obligatory film clip that comes with almost every post of mine now :P

There is also a clip on soapbox.

So, there is more to Sora World than the entry for DBP 08, this is just a taste of what Sora will be I guess, fingers crossed we might actually finish it, yet another long road I have started

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