This seems to already be well on its way, but I think a little external input would be useful to this project before it becomes Indo-Centric in it's style and format. Indo-centricity is one of the major problems with, say, solo ages - an Idea comes to the writer and it slowly circles round and round in their minds until they end up creating a concept so internally focused, with no other input, that it has lost anything good going for it - the art has effectively been turned in on itself.
Yep; once you start ignoring the desires of your audience, you're in trouble.
Hem. Anyway, creationary dynamics off to one side, I take it you are all decided on an oriental theme?
For the garden surrounding the ERC, anyway; but I don't think we'll end up being too strict about it. The ERC itself isn't supposed to have a heavy oriental influence lest it bias the viewer's impressions of the artwork inside.
Have we thought of how to generate the wildlife? How to animate it? Are we looking at an active AL program here or are we looking at a snap-shot or looping animation system (birds fly overhead on a loop of twenty seconds, while the large, hairy "grognarc" in the jungle rumbles past every fifty seconds - mixing up the wildlife enough to give it a sense of randomness.)
Heh; interesting question. Right now
, with the tools we currently have, I feel that a reasonable goal is to provide looping birds and fish, both with no moving parts--the whole model would move at once as a rigid body. Secondly, it would be reasonable to have non-moving animals that appear and disappear randomly in various places around the Age. For example, it is natural for a creature like a lizard to remain perfectly still for long periods of time. The way I would envision this working is that there would be some fifteen places that the lizard model could show up in (lying on a tree branch, sunning on a rock, clinging to the ceiling) and when a player linked in, a random number from 1-15 would be generated which would determine the place the lizard would show up in. So every time the player linked in, the animal would be in a different spot. This would help provide the sense of a dynamic environment, in spite of the immobility of the animals.
As for the age itself, how large are we aiming for, and apart from it's gallery focus what else are we looking for in it? Is it a pod age, a hub age?
Right now we're looking at a fairly large-sized Age; bear in mind, however, that making it smaller or larger is as simple as redrawing the Age map.
Apart from the gallery focus, I would say that this Age offers opportunities for exploration, especially plant and animal-related exploration. For example, I think that a fun player activity could be created by providing a "species checklist" in which the player's goal is to find, identify, and check off all the plant or animal species shown in a list. There is something compulsively satisfying in filling in all of the blank little "check here" boxes on a list...In fact, on that basis alone I believe a player could feel a real sense of satisfaction at having located and identified all twenty species of plants and animals in the Age, especially the rare and hard-to-find ones. An interesting facet of this might be to add puzzles or challenges that must be solved in order to locate certain species...for example, the nest of the long-beaked bird might only be visible if you can figure out how to climb into the upper limbs of a tall tree. And if the player received a nice Relto object as a reward for finishing their checklist, well, what more could you ask for?
That might be pushing it though, in terms of the what is actually possible.
Well, I'm a mean man with a pencil - I'm more than competent with CG programs such as 3dSMax (though Blender still melts my brain - I can use it, but dear God, it's like writing with a red hot quill!) I can write and use other grphics programs such as PhotoShop, Painter, Paint Shop and such.
Well, it sounds like you could work on just about anything you wanted to.
Pick your poison: modeling, concept art, or texture/decoration making. And don't worry, Blender can import .3ds files last I heard, so you could work in 3dSMax if you wanted to.