Progress on Sanctum v4 for Chapter 1

Although I’ve provided some more recent updates in the comments, it’s been a couple of months now since my last post. So I thought I’d share a quick update on the Sanctum v4 update, which is progressing rapidly now that I’m finally more or less settled into my new home and job.

As I wrote in my last response to Aderyn in the comments, I’ve now finished with the structural changes I had to make to Chapter 1 to accommodate the two new races: the Hellmen and the Earthen. It turned out to be a huge amount of work, and quite a bit more than I expected. All the new encounters, creature blueprints and items are done, and for the most part tweaked and tested. Among other things, the “Delay Quest” battle near the end looks and plays very differently now as a result. Not surprisingly my initial tests for it started out as completely un-survivable for the party against the newly designed Hellmen and their allies, even with the help of the Guardians (a couple of which, to my surprise, actually took some damage in the fight). I’ve since re-balanced the battle, and aside for a few tweaks to support the area rework (see below!) , I think it’s pretty much done. One additional tidbit I’ll share: General Y’thra can now be either a male or female character, and will be set to the opposite of Robin’s gender. That’s to make it so that I can emphasize the threat of making Robin his/her personal slave consistently for all of the player’s RP choices.

I’ve also just merged all of the Sanctum-specific custom content into a single hak in preparation for one final “2DA merge” with the new CEP 2.4 and Project Q 1.5 content. That’ll be my last major task. I’ve also been re-writing the lore to be consistent with the new races and other new story elements, such as the introduction of and emphasis on the Church of the Divine — and of Orion’s order within it, The Order of Light. I’ve also been adding new lore as well; for example, The Legend of the Defender is already in as a new book. I’m also including some new conversation and role-playing elements that I think will add some new interest and color to the story. Aside from needing a few minor tweaks the new treasure system is also done and seems to be working quite well.

The biggest task I’ve been working on recently is that I’ve finally decided to fix the “beginner’s design problem” Chapter 1 has always had with the size of the areas in the Ancient Ruins. The Upper and Lower ruins levels have now been cut up into three separate areas each, with transitions linking them, and each (except for one) with their own portal rooms. That required a certain amount of re-resign in their layout, moving some rooms and encounters and introducing a few more into the resulting extra space.

The update for Sanctum 2 will be easier in some respects, and harder in others. The easier part is that many of the changes needed in chapter 1 either don’t apply to chapter 2 (like the treasure system), or (like the Earthen) are already done now. The real (but fun!) challenge in chapter 2 will be re-building the flying areas to use the new “Sanctum Flying Skyscape” tileset.

All in all, the v4 rework is going well and proceeding quickly now. Hopefully I’ll be ready to invite playtesters to try out the new version of Sanctum 1 within the next month.

2 thoughts on “Progress on Sanctum v4 for Chapter 1

  1. Thanks, Aderyn! Things are moving along, but taking a bit more time than I expected. One reason is that I decided to increase the scope of the changes I’m making. Partly that’s a consequence of the fact that I’ve been re-building all of the large areas in the module, cutting them up into smaller pieces and linking them together. Fortunately, that isn’t quite as hard as it sounds; much of it’s a matter of making several copies, slicing off large parts of each, and putting in area transitions between the results.

    But the resulting pieces didn’t always “fit” together neatly, which led me to a lot of moving around of rooms and encounters, and in some cases adding new ones — especially at the borders — before I was finally satisfied. An example of that is what I’m working on now, which is re-designing the Earthen City. Before, there was a whole section to the east that led to a dead end cave, and the passage to the surface was tacked on to the south. While cutting up the area, I realized that I was missing an opportunity with the caves to the east. So right now I’m adding a couple of new areas and two new quests for the Earthen in that area, which I’m also using to present some more of the lore of the World of Glorn.

    So a big change in v4 is that I’m reworking the area design in Sanctum 1 to an extent that I never have in any of the previous updates, and adding more new content along the way than I’d initially planned. You’ll find the general layout still familiar, but many of the details won’t be. The Lower ruins, for example, is now four separate areas, the upper ruins three, and Caverns Level 2, The North Forest, and The Secure Area are all two. And of course I had to add new portal rooms to make getting around in all of that a bit easier. 😉

    I’m hoping that I can get it ready for Beta testing by the end of May, more or less with what I’m expecting to be the release of Project Q v1.5 (which it will be using). A lot of that depends on getting some large enough blocks of time to work on it, though. The lore and quest design requires more focus and writing than most other building tasks, and that’s really what I need to finish right now. 🙂

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