Friday, June 23, 2017
The mission is on schedule for a Saturday morning release. What is included in Operation: Void Hunter? You'll find fully detailed NPC hunters in addition to other NPC's you can interact with, including a couple that might be useful resources in future missions. Mechanics are included for several weapon options, there are menus with exotic food and drinks, and there is even a small shop with some unusual, modified weapons. There are full colored maps and map icons for all of the alien lifeforms, including the new and very dangerous Mokaru, illustrated by John Fell. Full-color art and great art design is peppered throughout the mission to enhance the experience, and to top it all off, the storyline of Operation: Void Hunter is the beginning of a larger story arc that will span across future missions. It can be played and completed as a separate mission, or played as part of a larger campaign. I hope you like what I've put together and enjoy the characters, battles, story, and everything else included in Operation: Void Hunter. Have fun!
Thursday, June 22, 2017
Players will have to make a lot of decisions in their investigation. After landing at a Hunter refuge a few hours from the coordinates of the Voidrunner landing, they may want to learn from the locals about the planet before plunging into the hostile wilderness. There are even NPC hunters that might be willing to join the team and guide them--for a fee. Gathering information will be easy with some NPC's, but others might require more from the characters. Playing a few gambling games, buying some drinks, or stroking a few egos might yield useful intel. Once they are ready to face the wilds, though, players will be up against the natural world of Sa'mesh. Survival will often depend on some of the choices they make more than the firearms they carry.
Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Why are the players' characters being sent to Sa'mesh? The Union Guard is acting on a tip that an unregistered Voidrunner starship was spotted landing somewhere in the forests of Sa'mesh. Voidrunners are unique Reln starships that can enter--and return from--the deadly dimensional rift in space known as the Voidsea. No other race has managed to survive the Voidsea, but the Reln have somehow figured it out, and have been collecting artifacts from an advanced alien civilization that was obliterated when the Voidsea was formed. These mysterious and powerful artifacts are classified secrets by the Reln government, but on rare occasions, smugglers and spies have managed to bring some of these artifacts to the black market. The unregistered Voidrunner landing on Sa'mesh is highly suspicious, so the Union Guard is sending you and your team to investigate and to stop any illegal activities.
Tuesday, June 20, 2017
This mission takes place on the Krissethi planet, Sa'mesh. You may recall that earlier in the year, I released the "Explorer's Guide to Sa'mesh," which details the planet and culture, including a few NPC's, two new weapons, the details of local cuisine and a guild, plus a mission involving a new lifeform, the Green Jegu. The Explorer's Guide is actually a helpful supplement for fleshing out the world of Sa'mesh, and can be used as a great companion guide for creative GM's that want to detail the experience as much as possible. However, you don't need the Explorer's Guide to fully enjoy the Void Hunter mission. I wanted players to be able to visit Sa'mesh at earlier levels (the mission in the Explorer's Guide is level 8), so I designed the Void Hunter mission for characters of level 3-4. Players beware: though the Krissethi planet is officially labeled a wildlife preserve, it is actually a commercialized hunting ground full of deadly lifeforms. Do you think you can survive the wilds of Sa'mesh?
Monday, June 19, 2017
I am nearing completion of this exciting new mission for Solar Echoes, and hope to have it ready to purchase by Saturday this weekend. During the spring of 2017, I worked hard on the demo, "Operation: Flash Strike," and developed a lot of new techniques and standards for missions. The Void Hunter mission is looking really good, and is packed full of content, including lots of colorful artwork. I've added a lot of role-playing content to the mission as well, detailing a number of NPC's the characters can interact with. There are also some options included that are derived from opportunities detailed in the Mission Controllers Guide, so players will have a chance to try a few creative modifications. Tomorrow, I'll share a little about the mission setting...
Friday, June 16, 2017
I'm not a fan of Star Trek, but the Star Trek: Bridge Crew game had me really interested because it involves players working together to operate a starship (similar to the starship game system in Solar Echoes.) I bought the game and went through the training tutorial. It was very impressive: I could design my character's appearance a little and then look down at myself and see my hands, arms, and body in VR. After learning the different roles (Captain, Helm, Tactical, and Engineer) I tried the game with some AI-controlled crew. It was very impressive, but the true fun started when I tried it online with real people. It was like we were all in the same room together, talking, laughing, waving, and blowing up angry Klingons as we worked together as a team, each of us with our own crucial contributions toward the operation of the ship. This game shows me that the developers got it--they understood that designing a game for VR is largely about creating a gaming experience from a perspective that puts you into the character's shoes and allows you to actually physically do the things that character does. One of the coolest things about VR are my memories of playing the game: I have to remind myself that it wasn't actually reality, but my memories feel like I was really there!
Thursday, June 15, 2017
The problem I have with teleportation in VR games is that it totally ruins immersion, constantly reminding you that you're in a game. This is fine for some styles of games that are more arcade-like, but I think it totally spoils the experience of role-playing games, for instance. Supposedly, Bethesda Game Studios is going to update Fallout 4 with VR, but in their first reveal, they indicated they are only using teleportation (some say that has changed, though I've not found official confirmation). In my opinion, teleportation should always be an option for players, but free movement should be an option for those that don't get nausea and have developed their "VR legs." The recent release of first-person-shooter "Farpoint" allows free roaming movement, and though I don't have the game (yet), I've watched people playing it online and have read that the nausea-factor has somehow been minimized. An important thing to note, though, is that not all games need to involve free-roaming environments to be great in VR...