Journal Discussed – Player Housing

Player housing has been the topic of the last two developers journals, and if you have haven’t caught up Part 1 is all about the concept, design and construction, Part 2 is all about digging a giant hole underneath it, using it to hide things, and also kill people. So quite different takes on the same concept! Today we are doing a bit if a different Journal Discussed as I am going to run down the top five reasons housing has got be excited.

Let’s kick this off with the most important thing I think we have learnt from the Developers Journal:

1. Housing isn’t just about houses

While throughout both developer journals most of the focus was on player housing, this can be used for any building. A public forge, a guild hall, a library, a great mansion, the fort at an outpost, it is all about player buildings. I understand why the developers have used housing, it is familiar, but I think they might have shot themselves in the foot because this is so much more!

Everything else on this list is great, it is all really good stuff, but it is important to realise these tools and concepts apply to so much more than your home. If you can not be bothered to read on, then just remember that.

2. Customisation for all

Oh the variety! Firstly it is important to look at the tool. The idea of being able to design all sorts of different concepts, sizes, spaces, materials, it is a really great idea and adds so much to the game. Bringing in the research and technological advances into it as well as characters architecture skill just adds to the variety and adds longevity to the system with features being able to be improved upon over time. It really is something I am sure we are all looking forward to getting our hands in Spring.

Blueprints, are not the be all and end all though. Yes you might use the tool to design the perfect layout but each customer you sell that same blueprint too could end up with a very different feel. It is up to the architect how specific they are in the plans. Do they specify what type of flooring or just leave it up to the builder? What about walls? All sorts of materials could change and that means even if you can not make your own blueprints or can not afford a set made especially for you, you can still customise your design.

3. Environmental impact

There are two main things that make environment interesting. The first is back to customisation:

Where you live is going to dictate the resources you use, and the resources you use is going to dictate the style of the abode.

The environment directly impacts the look of a place by limiting the resources that are easily accessible. One example given was an area with a lot of bamboo rather than trees lending itself to Eastern inspired architecture. I like the idea of an area having an identity, a more cohesive feel that just everyone going their own way. Does that limit customisation? In my mind no, it adds to it. It might make you consider your starting location if a particular architectural style is your preferences, but I do not think it limits anything.

The other part of your environment are the impact it can have on your structures stability. You design a house in the tool and it all works find but what happens when you put it into the world? What happens if the winds are high, the ground isn’t solid, could your house fall down? Yep! What if you try to transport materials from a very different environment? If you take materials used to try climates over to wet areas might they rot, deteriorate and have to be replaced? Yep! I really like that there is more to construction than just the blueprint, you actually have to think about how that environment is going to work.

4. Player churn

In Chronicles of Elyria we are going to have open world buildings. That always comes with a risk, ghost towns. It happens players move on, all games have churn, so what happens to a players land if they no longer log back in? Well there is an in built system for in here that allows players to take over land that is not being used. If land is unoccupied or abandoned another player can squat on it, and build their own structures. If they defend those structures for a month real time, they get the land. Simples!

As long as you upkeep the land you’re at no risk of adverse possession. Even if someone were to come on and build a house, you would still be well within your legal rights to go on and destroy that house. Even if you cannot, even if you do not have the ability to go on and destroy the house. It will still be some period of time of them squatting on the land for abandonment to set in.

It doesn’t work on land that is being actively used, so no someone can’t sneak a tiny shed into a bush on your land and steal it from under you. Nor is it an immediate loss of your land if you leave it, after all you have the time it takes to be registered as abandoned and then the month on top of that as a minimum. It does sound like a system that could be an effective way to stop prime real estate being taken up early on and then never put to good use again.

5. Secrets! Traps! Bears! Oh my.

A home doesn’t just have to be a home. It can be more than that. It can be a vault. It can be the entrance to a secret network of tunnel that takes you right to the King’s chambers if you know the right route. There is so many interesting possibilities in buildings beyond the basic rooms.

Wall safes are a particular favourite for me, however if I build that into my kitchen wall and my home gets destroyed by seige equipment from the neighbouring kingdom coming to take our land I might loose all it’s contents. Perhaps a basement would be a far safer bet, one with a mechanical door, and maybe a spike trap on the other side to catch the unwary. Maybe I will train a beast to protect my wares, a lovely bear called Milo. I say lovely but he could rip out a burglars throat.

These are all features that seem incredibly interesting to me. They seem to above and beyond. That is what makes the building system of Chronicles of Elyria great to be. The choice. The variety. The implications.

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