Shadowrun Returns - Dev Diary on Berlin DLC
Harebrained Schemes has a new update for Shadowrun Returns. The main topic concerns the Berlin DLC, and gives us all a status update.
Design: For the last few weeks, Trevor and Kevin (our designers who did the bulk of the level design for the Seattle campaign) have been prototyping a variety of gameplay ideas for missions. We want to create meaningful choices for the player within scenes. As an example, Kevin’s working on a run against a corporate facility with several possible ways for the player to gain entry depending on their party’s skillset. The choice of approach isn’t always clear cut, however – one path may allow the player to slip in undetected but at the expense of some innocents. We’re also working on some more unique non-combat elements – the other day Trevor created a dog character in the Haven area that you can interact with and get to follow you around.
Systems: In between their work on the other big-ticket dev tasks, the engineering team’s been able to complete some fun new features for us to use in Berlin. We now have the ability to display important mission data directly in the game’s UI. This makes it easy for us to communicate custom mission objectives (For example, the number of rounds before reinforcements arrive, # power junctions remaining, etc.) Another cool new toy is… exploding barrels! Because… video games. (Actually, our engineers went above and beyond with this feature and now we can make any actor explode with any type of effect or damage, and even leave behind damage-over-time effects on the tiles in the area.)
What’s Next: This week we’re shifting from pre-production to production. I’ll be finalizing our story with the design team, along with Jordan and Mitch, to make sure we’re constructing this campaign on a strong foundation. We’ve flowed out a schedule from now until the end of the year so that we can budget our production time appropriately. The environment team is moving from concept art to full tileset production on our Haven location. Our story is being broken out into discrete mission outlines, with each designer taking the lead on a set of missions. Kevin’s created a great “mission doc” template that we’ll use not only to document a clear set of goals for each mission, but also to track feedback and important hotspots for our test team to pay attention to. Our next milestone as a team is to construct a full first-playable of our Haven neighborhood, with the player able to explore the area, talk with the locals, buy equipment, and maybe complete a small side objective or two – then return to their base to get to know their team. This will establish a strong template for both the Haven location and the characters in it that we can build the rest of the experience on.
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