Chapter 205: Chapter 204: Don’t Starve and Sandbox Games
In this world, most sandbox games are done by overseas developers. Take Earth Online for example, allowing players to work, buy cards and houses, and experience different careers in game. This was one of the games that provided players with a high degree of freedom.
However, it wasn’t truly a sandbox game.
Sandbox games had two main features, rich content, and allowing players to create freely. Although Earth Online was a content rich game, the game still operated under the restrictions of the designer as they weren’t allowed to make much if at all.
It should be emphasised that the ability to create is a core factor in sandbox games, meaning the players could create whatever they want through resources provided by the game.
Games that didn’t fulfil this aspect couldn’t be considered a true sandbox game.
Of course, there were a few products experimenting with this aspect done by overseas developers, such as allowing players to choose whichever characters they want to play, or what whichever car or house they wanted. But these were all part of the original game and were added to give the players a choice and wasn’t a core aspect of the game.
Therefore, Chen Mo wanted to use Don’t Starve to test the reactions of players to a game like this. It if turned out to be successful, the way to his first VR game would be decided.
Of course, another key factor was that Don’t Starve was relatively easier to make compared to other sandbox games.
In Chen Mo’s previous world, the first version of Don’t Starve was completed by three developers in eight hours. Obviously this was a primitive demo version.
The complete version took over a year, but most of this time was spent on testing and figuring things out as well as finding the identity of the game.
For example, Don’t Starve’s team had gone through intense discussions, some thought that because it was a survival game, allowing the players to become stronger and stronger as they progressed through the game while others thought that because it was a survival game, the players should lose everything upon death.
After the intense discussion, they decided on the latter.
This game also had a simple yet unique art style. Players and monsters only had four directions with simple animations.
The only thing that Chen Mo found troublesome was the difficulty settings of the game. However, with the help of Memory Playback Potions and the collective brain of his staff, it wasn’t hard to make a game similar to the level of the original after ensuring that they were heading in the correct direction.
Chen Mo planned to make three modes: Survival, Adventure and Co-op. The first two shouldn’t need any introductions, whereas co-op would allow players to play and experience the game together.
To be frank, co-op also happened to be the most popular mode.
The core of the game was clear, allowing players to explore and gather resources, craft various items, and try their hardest to survive as long as possible.
The basics of the game included but are not limited to: Terrain generation, attributes and usage of different items, differences in attributes for different characters, monster respawn rates, as well seasons and environment.
The map was also incredibly rich in content as there were various different biomes including plains, swamp, meadows, mines, forest, caves… different biomes had different features as well as different mobs.
At the start of the game, the system will generate maps according to a seed. The maps could greatly differ from one run to the next to ensure that the player experiences something different every time.
Moreover, the game also had seasons as a core part of the game.
During spring, rain becomes more common and plants grow faster.
In summer, plants may spontaneously combust and the players would heat up quickly, causing them to overheat.
And during winter, plants grow slower and the players may freeze.
Seasons as well as various other factors combine to pose a great threat to the players as they are forced to prepare for the next season to prevent great losses.
After the foundations of the world are laid down, they’d continuously add to the world to make it a rich, large, and complex world.
Chen Mo planned to include nine playable characters in the first version, including Wilson, Willow, Wendy, Wolfgang, WX-78, Wes, Wickerbottom, Woody, and Maxwell.
Certain requirements had to be met before some of these characters could be unlocked. They also have different abilities. For example, Willow the firestarter is unlocked after surviving nine days, with the ability to start fires as she wished while being immune to fire damage.
The monsters in this game could be split into four main categories: humanoids, animals, weird beings, and artificial intelligence, each with their own quirks.
Many humanoids possess a certain intelligence and could be bribed compared to animal based monsters. Different monsters drop different items when killed, some could be turned into equipment, others can be turned into food.
Don’t Starve also had a rich equipment system, including things that are used day to day (light sources or used for gathering), consumables (foods or ingredients), and weaponry (weapons, armour, traps).
Moreover, some items can be further processed. Food that goes bad quickly can be placed on drying racks, campfires, or crockpots to be processed further to extend their lifespan.
Of course, as a sandbox game, a huge part of the enjoyment comes from player developed mods and allowing it to become part of the game.
These mods are usually present in game to allow players to pick and choose, and obviously would have different effects. Mods can provide statistics, reduce the difficulty of the game, while other mods add more content.
With the inclusion of mods, the player can change the difficulty of the game as they wish while increasing the amount of playable content. For example, new players could decrease the difficulty of the game with a mod to help them live longer.
The development of Diablo: Reaper of Souls and Don’t Starve were moving along swimmingly.
At the same time Diablo continued to gain popularity.
After selling a shocking 1.87 million copies in the first month, it maintained its momentum into the second month, selling 1.68 million copies, meaning Diablo raked in nearly four hundred and fifty million RMB in total.
Most of the new players still found the game fun. They are still on the path to challenging Diablo, going through on quest at a time in Nephalem as they can’t stop themselves from hacking and slashing mobs.
However, other voices start to show up.