Storyline

Of Inter-religious Marriage and Star-Spangled Lovers.

In the previous post I covered the different clans we have on the island and some of the underlying tensions between them, and I did mention that the reason behind using the different clans is to address sensitive issues in a sensitive way. One such issue is inter-religious or inter-group marriage.

In Lebanon in particular and the Middle East in general, unions and marriages between members of different religions and different ethnic backgrounds are somewhat frowned upon. A Muslim who marries a Christian (especially a Muslim woman) may be shunned by their family; a union between a white man and a black woman (or vice versa) is considered odd; and even marrying a foreigner (regardless of whether they are from another Arab country or not) may be frowned upon. Traditional norms and values regarding the family and marriage are so ingrained in the society to the extent that it is almost considered “taboo” to breach it.

We wanted to tackle this issue in Cedaria without touching upon any specific religion and risking offending anyone, and the best way to go about it was by developing relationships between members of different clans, the prime example of this being Valaina, daughter of the Kythein leader, and Jeremy Cain, son of the mayor of the Vaytori population (mostly concentrated in the Castellum). The romance of these two lovebirds is something strictly forbidden, especially with the Kythien law that condemns Kythien-Vaytori unions, mostly due to clash of ideals and for more personal reasons that will be discussed later on when you get to meet Edraele, the leader of the Kythiens.

The relationship between Valaina and Jeremy didn’t happen out of spite; they were merely two people who looked past their differences and fell in love, and in normal circumstances that should not be up for speculation. However, due to the social norms imposed by the citizens of the island, they are not meant to be… as cheesy as it sounds. Hey, you gotta have some cheese. Cheese is good. In moderation. I promise you the cheese doesn’t get overwhelming.

One of the things the player will have to do in this game is to find a way to allow those two people to be together under safe circumstances. Of course, if you’re so inclined, you may wish to tell their parents about their relationship, but can you do that without making life miserable for them? 😉

For more information on the different clans, do make sure to visit our Kickstarter page, or else go back one post if you’re too lazy.
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On Designing Cedaria: Blackout.

So today I poked Robert, our game designer, into talking a little about what goes into the process of designing Cedaria: Blackout. He and I have been working together on the many zones of the island and the missions involved in the game. However, he’s more established in the gaming industry and can provide a more apt explanation on the topic!

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Today, we thought we would talk a bit about the story and how it intertwines with the locations, clans and characters.

Crafting the Story

When we set out to create Cedaria: Blackout, we wanted the players to be able to control as much of their story as possible, while at the same time keeping a red thread throughout the game.

In essence, we wanted to present the player with meaningful goals, not a checklist of tasks they had to go through mechanically. We wanted them to think about how they could solve these problems rather than just ticking off yet another Wolf Claw to collect. For that reason, we decided that the story needed to be both flexible and dynamic in order to handle the many ways a player could complete a single objective.

Thus – the story will wrap itself around what you accomplish in the game as well as how you go about it. Solving a particular problem in a peaceful way will affect the story in a completely different way than solving it by applying force upon others. And the outcome of the solution might have deep consequences for the rest of the game. When the game ends, you will find out just how deeply rooted some of your choices have been.

Non-Player Characters (NPCs)

An important aspect to weaving the story around the character are the NPCs that you meet through your adventure. Depending on your actions both to them and their kin and clan, some might take a shine to you while others treat you with disdain.

Our dialogue system allows for unlocking dialogues that depend on your previous actions, profession and even gender should it be appropriate. Having a conversation with Silas Burcombe as a female avatar rather than a male avatar will result in a different experience. If you are an explorer, having a talk with the distinguished Professor Abigail Gregan may open up further dialogue choices that might give you an unexpected advantage or extra information.

Will the next person you meet be an ally? Or your nemesis?

Our resident sky pirate shows off to the island's sole female mechanic, while she silently judges him.

Our resident sky pirate shows off to the island’s sole female mechanic, while she silently judges him.

Zone Design for Story

We didn’t start designing the zones until we had a good idea of what the main background story of the game would be. As with NPCs, our zones have the story of the game ingrained in them at conception. When designing our zones, we took care to think not just about what points of interests there should be, but also about how the energy crisis has affected the area and how we can incorporate the zone into the story.

In addition to the energy crisis, zones have characteristics and themes unique to themselves. A thriving trade port will react to the crisis in a different way than a rural countryside or a mining colony and as a result provide a rich variety of problems to solve when visiting them.

Snapshot of Lacunda. I daresay this is Robert's favourite of all zones!

Snapshot of Lacunda. I daresay this is Robert’s favourite of all zones!

Also – please remember to come up with names for our office kitty! He really wants one!

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