Just a quick one to let you know whats happening.
I’m currently working on the area between the Swamps, the Town and the Hunters Camp in Plantation House. This area is one of two areas on the island that i was never 100% sure about, a kind of transitional area that links several interesting areas together, but had no real interesting features. I had sculpted some cliffs here and planned to have a Radio Lan station set up on the top of the cliffs that players can come back to later, but since working on the Swamps and the Raptor Canyon, i decided to update this area and add some nice voxel caves and overhanging sections for the player to explore.
When players reach the Plantation House area, they will have the task of locating the passcode for the West gate that leads to the Town. An audio clue from Hammond and some physical clues in the hunters camp will provide players with the information they need to track down the passcode required to unlock the gate.
A landslide will stop you from entering the Town though, with the only other option being to pass through the Swamps and then on towards the Raptor Canyon. From here you will move onto the second Valley in Industrial Jungle and then at the end of this valley will be the North entrance to the Town. Entering the town will be a little different to how you did in the original game, I wont reveal how its done here, but once you are in, you will be able to enter the security room from the other side, and open the gate from the inside for easier access later on.
I have added a new road leading into the Town that starts near the entrance to the swamps and ascends the hills and then enters the Town from the West. There has always been a dead end road here in the Town, and it was here that the player would actually enter the town after clearing the perimeter fence. The purpose of this new road is to provide not only an alternative entrance to the town, bypassing the landslide, but to also allow access to the Radio Lan station on the hill, and also easier access to the West side of the Island. There is a locked gate on the Swamps side of the hills here, restricting access to the town. Players will be able to unlock this gate from the Town side though, so that during the second half of the game when your doing a lot of travelling around the island, you wont have to go all the way around just to reach the West side of the island.
I’m trying to unify the island as realistically as possible, so that when the time comes to do lots of exploring and backtracking in the second half of the game, players wont have to travel excessive distances all the time. Players will eventually have access to a vehicle at some point, but even then, its going to take you a good 20-30 minutes to reach the other side of the island, probably even longer once I’ve finished detailing the North end. This is if your able to make it there without crashing the car too, which is easily done!
Although time consuming, its really fun working on these smaller transitional areas, trying to make them interesting to explore. I’m trying to fill every part of the playable area of the island with detail and provide little hidden areas that players will only find if they take the time to explore every inch. I love being able to see an area in a game that looks sufficiently detailed, so you know that there must be a way to get there but you don’t know how, then its not till later on that you find yourself in that area, accessed from another location.
I think the days of super secret areas in games are long gone, with developers taking an almost elementary approach to puzzles and secrets, as if they doubt our ability to solve a real challenging puzzle. What ever happened to the puzzles and secrets that were so hard to discover that you never found them, and it wasn’t till you read about them years later in a guide that you actually knew they even existed?