Legends of Aria

Legends of Aria is a sandbox MMORPG in the style of Ultima Online. I joined the team at Citadel Studios just before early alpha in 2018 as a world builder, level designer and gameplay programmer.

Roles

Gameplay System Design

Designing new mechanics and systems for players to engage with.

Networked Gameplay Programming

Using our Lua scripting system to construct new gameplay mechanics.

Maintaining Legacy Systems

Updating our tools and systems  to accommodate new Unity updates.

Level Design

Creating new dungeons and a new continent , in addition to overhauling content in existing dungeons.

Art Integration

Working with artists to maintain a consistent content creation pipeline, and integrating all incoming art into the game.

Fmod Audio Integration

Adding additional features to our Fmod implementation, while frequently adding to our sound library.

Editor Tool Creation

Creating Unity editor tools to speed up and automate traditionally tedious tasks.

Client Programming

Adding new features to our Unity client to support requested networked gameplay features.

Designed and Programmed Gameplay Systems

Created Progression by Programming Craft Orders

I built the crafting order system to provide a more rewarding, and structured progression for players who just wanted to craft. Players can go to blacksmiths, tailors, and carpenters to receive crafting orders.

 

To ensure players are always sufficiently challenged, craft orders are generated by a variety of factors, including the players current skill, known recipes, and materials they already know how to craft.

Players are rewarded for completing crafting orders with new recipes, and essences. Higher difficulty orders offer higher tier rewards unique to completing craft orders.

Improved the New Player Experience with Dispatch Missions

I programmed the dispatch mission system to offer easily accessible content to starter towns, giving new players an easy jumping off point.

 

Players can accept missions from dispatchers in towns. These dispatch missions send players into the wilderness with a clear goal, opening the way for them to also discover new points of interest.

Different types of dispatchers offer specific mission types to help players experiment with differing play styles. These missions offer rewards on completion to drive progression.

Combat missions challenge players to destroy mob camps which continually spawn harder, and larger waves of enemies. Mission difficulty scales with the players combat skills, but remain balanced for a single player.

The system proved engaging enough to invite other non-combat skills into the dispatch mission system.

Rancher missions see players taming animals.

Resource missions involve harvesting crafting materials.

Map Memorization Keeps the World Small For New Players

I took the initiative to overhaul our map system. An important feature of sandbox gameplay is the joy of discovering new locations while never feeling lost. Instead of taking players on a tour of the world via a main quest line, I decided to keep exploration completely player driven.

When a player joins for the first time, the only sub-region on their map filled out is the one they spawned in. Without the rest of the world map, the world becomes smaller and more manageable for a new player.

To fill the rest of the world map, players must make their way to the scribe in each village and buy a map of that sub-region. They can then choose to memorize the sub-region map to fill in the world map.

By limiting the scope of the world map, players can stay in the safety of their known area. They can complete missions or crafting orders until they feel ready enough to explore the wider world. This system benefits new players without getting in the way of experienced players who make new characters.

Expanding the Known World Through Map Markers

Many points of interest have content designed for higher skill levels. To not overwhelm new players, I decided to only have map markers pointing to this content marked on the map after the player discovers it for the first time.

This allows me to get players to these points of interest using other, possibly more rewarding means first.

Getting Players Back Into The Wilderness Faster With Minimap Markers

To minimize the time players have to spend in town, I built map markers that display exclusively on the mini-map to point players to shop keepers quickly. The world map is made cleaner without the clutter of mini-map markers confusing players.