Book of Travels explains its event system, NPC behavior, and trading economy

    
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Sure, Book of Travels sounds neat, and it clearly is drawing in lots of crowdfunding support, but just what happens in the game? The most recent Kickstarter update has offered a bit of insight into this thanks to senior game designer Andreas Wrangler.

The very crux of Book of Travels gameplay is running in to events, which can be as menial as a farmer working a field or as complex and involved as a series of occurrences that tie into a greater world story or regional story arc. These events can be adjusted behind the scenes at will, allowing for a number of variables to be included such as having a certain number of Travellers in an area or an event only happening at certain times. What’s more, this system allows the devs to add, subtract, or adjust the game even after its launch.

The post also encourages players to interact with NPCs they find, which can kick off events or provide some unique interactions like an NPC reacting to a specific type of Knot your avatar is carrying or selling you specialty goods at certain times. Speaking of selling, there will be a trading economy which promises a huge number of commodities that can have different values depending on where you are in the world.

Finally, the post expounds on its AI behavior trees which can react to a number of things like time of day, the local weather, and even nearby occurrences. This system should, ideally, make the world of Book of Travels feel more alive.

So, yes, it’s a walking simulator, but if the systems work out the way they’re meant to, you’ll likely be walking in to a lot of neat things. And, clearly, lots of people are excited for this walking simulator, as it has currently raked in over $126,000 from over 3,300 backers to date with over two weeks left in the campaign.

source: Kickstarter

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Arnold Hendrick

$126k is just enough to hire one producer, one designer, two programmers, and two artists (one for scenery, one for animated characters) for TWO MONTHS in America (duration varies in other nations). I’m assuming relatively senior level people, since they work much faster than junior types. Gotta get the game done quick – you only have two months of pay for the six-person team!

Of course, they’ll have work while sitting on the ground in a public parking lot without electricity, wifi or internet, using their personal laptops, because you have no money left to lease office space or equipment. You also won’t have money to pay the government unemployment taxes and social security, and nothing for medical coverage, so they better remain 100% healthy despite working outdoors.

There is also the question of license fees for middleware (Unity? Unreal?) and other dev software (3ds Max and photoshop for artists). You ‘ll be limited to their free programs, which your professionals might find slows them down as much as the lack of wifi and internet.

If you actually wanted to provide decent office space with useful services, pay government costs, lease equipment and software, etc., you should cut that to three people (a designer-producer, a programmer, and an artist).

My point is that $126k buys you very little compared to what game development really costs.

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Michael18

This is very interesting in general.

But with respect to this project: have you watched the Kickstarter video? They already have a (very nice) office in Stockholm and have already been working on this project “for the past years”; they have 18 people working on it, currently.

I don’t think the initial goal of €23,000 was meant as a development budget.

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Arnold Hendrick

Thank you for the clarifaction, Michael.

People assume that kickstarter money will develop the game. I believe you’re right in thinking that isn’t the case here (as in most kickstarter computer game money requests). In my experience, kickstarter money is meant to “prove” to bigger investors that there is a significant paying audience available. Therefore, number of kickstarter investors is just as important as the amount raised.

It is unfortunate that most of the game industry press doesn’t recognize this. Instead, news coverage often perpetuates the myth that a kickstarter “funds” development.

Those bigger investors who put in the overwhelming amount of money are the people who really call the shots during development. If the developers don’t satisfy them, people lose their jobs and the game doesn’t ship. Compared to that, making kickstarter investors happy must be secondary.

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You do walk around a lot, but there is crafting, trading and combat as well.

I’m looking at all future games coming down the pipeline, and this is the one I’m the most excited about. That includes all the big major single player games too. A lot of them will be fun and have cool stories to experience, but not many of them will be different.

I haven’t looked forward to a game this much in some time. And yet I’ll definitely be patient and know that the more time it takes the better game we’ll get in the end.

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Matthew Yetter

This sounds a lot like GW2’s events system — something else that sounded awesome and dynamic prior to launch but proved to be just as grindy and repetitive as other MMO offerings.

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PanagiotisLial1

Exploration and story driven – I doubt it will be social at all because they did paint it social too but it may have a very good gameplay if they can keep adding content or have some sort of random events generators with enough variety

Mewmew
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Mewmew

You’re wrong. It absolutely will be social. One of the biggest parts of the game is social roleplay. They’re trying to make interactions with other people happen less often but be more meaningful. So you meet fewer people but are able to work together more to do certain things.

Their other little multiplayer game, Meadow, is extremely social even though you can only do emotes and symbols. Multiplayer interactions and social roleplay are going to be big parts of this game for some people. You can ignore them if you want, but just like with Meadow I think the type of player that is drawn into this game is the type that is more about social interactions and roleplaying.

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Michael18

Thanks for reminding me of Meadow, maybe I’ll check it out some time.

Have you ever tried One Hour, One Life? I think you might like it, or at least find it interesting.

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PanagiotisLial1

This here is supposed to be a mmo and will likely attract mostly mmo players. The problem here is todays players are less social anyways while having all the “tools” to be able to communicate. Taking such an integral part(aka making communication harder) will most likely result in people communicating even more rarely and just follow their own gameplay. That said, everything else about this game looks promising