Journal Discussed – Technology and Research Part 1

Dynamic worlds are becoming something more Developers are striving for. To me the reason for it is clear. A changing world is simply a more interesting place to be long term. However, the way different developers approach adding that feeling of change can be very different. Often it is quite limited and does eventually loop back around on itself, more interesting than a static world but still not catering to the player who wants to stay in that game for the next year or more. Chronicles of Elyria seems to be piling on the layers when it comes to dynamic gameplay.

We know about dynamic characters with aging and dying. We know about the dynamic story with the main story lasting ten years. We know about the dynamic world, with seasons, weather and more. Now we also know about the technology of the world. And to be honest out of all those systems this is the one that captures me. This week’s design journal talks about what Soulbound Studios mean when they say technology and how that can be researched by players leading to the introduction into the game of whole new items. If you haven’t read it yet I suggest jumping over to the Journal Abridged and then jumping straight back as we have had a lot of really interesting information from the developers since that went live! There is in fact so much more information I have had to split this into two parts. So today we are talking about what sort of technology we can expect and on Sunday we are going to be looking into the patent system.

Let’s start on the wider view. We know that technology is going to advance over time. However, where are we starting from? Perhaps more interestingly, where are we going to end up? During the weekly Q&A, hosted over at DM21 Gaming, Caspian responded to those two questions.

We’ve told people before it’s a different world, it’s not earth so technology didn’t develop in the same order it developed in different ways for different reasons. Somewhere between our bronze, copper, iron age technology. In something’s it will be more like a renaissance than other things, it kinda going to be all over the board. Some things will be based on events in the world, and partially what’s fun and cool on a place to start.

I think is one of those answers that will really split opinion. If you are expecting a historical simulation or something at least close, then you may be disappointed. It is not following the history you are probably familiar with and I can see for those who enjoy that topic it being quite jarring. However, for a fantasy game set in another world then perhaps it never occurred to you to compare it to Earth history and you like the idea of picking and choosing what works best from different ages. Perhaps you fall into the third category, with me, and have no idea what the difference between those ages is so couldn’t tell if the history was out!

Interestingly the end point is not set. The ten year story I mentioned at the start of this has no fixed end, it depends where the players take the story. The technology depends where the players focus their research. The limit of our research is flexible however, there is a limit:

If I had to guess we’re going to end somewhere around our industrial revolution or just before that. In the sense we’ll start to look at industry and automation, and people know I am a big fan of steampunk so I would have no problem if the world starts out in kind of a bronze age and ends up in a steampunk age.

There were also some examples of possible tech that we might choose to research that leads to more automation in crafting and those included items such as waterwheels, mills and wells. Though wells seem a little bit more necessary for a good life than the others and got me thinking about practical technology. Will we see incredibly practical but perhaps less fun (depending on your point of view, Engineer here so they appeal to me) such as water treatment so we can perhaps make areas there were once inhabitable that bit more pleasant!

The design journal focuses on how crafters develop new items but actually it is not just them that get involved in the research. Gathers do not just collect items; they also process those raw items into a workable material. So you might not just collect cotton, but also weave it into cloth a tailor can then use. These work just like crafting. If you get to expert in processing an item then you can try your luck at researching better ways to process it. The exact outcomes could perhaps be learning to process different materials, or processing them in a different way. There is a lot of scope here to lead to all sorts of different components and materials, there could be a lot of research going on!

This is my favourite feature of the game so far. I love technology, I love improving things, and it just seems so logically to put that into a game with a very clear time system. Why wouldn’t we improve over time? Why would technology be static? I really want this system to be great and from the description there is very little I can poke holes in. Patents however, well I might have different opinion on those but you will have to wait until Sunday!

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