Although I’ve provided some more recent updates in the comments, it’s been a couple of months now since my last post. So I thought I’d share a quick update on the Sanctum v4 update, which is progressing rapidly now that I’m finally more or less settled into my new home and job.
As I wrote in my last response to Aderyn in the comments, I’ve now finished with the structural changes I had to make to Chapter 1 to accommodate the two new races: the Hellmen and the Earthen. It turned out to be a huge amount of work, and quite a bit more than I expected. All the new encounters, creature blueprints and items are done, and for the most part tweaked and tested. Among other things, the “Delay Quest” battle near the end looks and plays very differently now as a result. Not surprisingly my initial tests for it started out as completely un-survivable for the party against the newly designed Hellmen and their allies, even with the help of the Guardians (a couple of which, to my surprise, actually took some damage in the fight). I’ve since re-balanced the battle, and aside for a few tweaks to support the area rework (see below!) , I think it’s pretty much done. One additional tidbit I’ll share: General Y’thra can now be either a male or female character, and will be set to the opposite of Robin’s gender. That’s to make it so that I can emphasize the threat of making Robin his/her personal slave consistently for all of the player’s RP choices.
I’ve also just merged all of the Sanctum-specific custom content into a single hak in preparation for one final “2DA merge” with the new CEP 2.4 and Project Q 1.5 content. That’ll be my last major task. I’ve also been re-writing the lore to be consistent with the new races and other new story elements, such as the introduction of and emphasis on the Church of the Divine — and of Orion’s order within it, The Order of Light. I’ve also been adding new lore as well; for example, The Legend of the Defender is already in as a new book. I’m also including some new conversation and role-playing elements that I think will add some new interest and color to the story. Aside from needing a few minor tweaks the new treasure system is also done and seems to be working quite well.
The biggest task I’ve been working on recently is that I’ve finally decided to fix the “beginner’s design problem” Chapter 1 has always had with the size of the areas in the Ancient Ruins. The Upper and Lower ruins levels have now been cut up into three separate areas each, with transitions linking them, and each (except for one) with their own portal rooms. That required a certain amount of re-resign in their layout, moving some rooms and encounters and introducing a few more into the resulting extra space.
The update for Sanctum 2 will be easier in some respects, and harder in others. The easier part is that many of the changes needed in chapter 1 either don’t apply to chapter 2 (like the treasure system), or (like the Earthen) are already done now. The real (but fun!) challenge in chapter 2 will be re-building the flying areas to use the new “Sanctum Flying Skyscape” tileset.
All in all, the v4 rework is going well and proceeding quickly now. Hopefully I’ll be ready to invite playtesters to try out the new version of Sanctum 1 within the next month.