You are in Control: Player Settings

You are in Control: Player Settings

In another post, we talked about the settings parents have over their children’s accounts. It’s important to us the game devs for not only the parents to have control over settings in the game, but also for the players to have control over the settings in the game. That’s why we want to have a comprehensive game settings menu.

First, the settings that affect game playability and lag. The player should be able to control things such as if they’re full screen or not and be able to tell the game what size their screen is. Maybe they want to set a max FPS setting. Or want to adjust the ‘field of view’ and thus how close they have to be to assets for them to load completely.

Games like MMOs also have a lot of ‘back end’ style filters that may or may not affect the loading time of the game, like vertical sync, bloom, post effects, or even shadows. Whether or not these back end programs are  actually helpful to the player depends on the player. (Game dev Ginny finds they tend to make the game blurry and hurt her eyes, and Game dev Becca’s current PC can’t handle them.)

If we have more than one camera angle in the game, such as third person, first person, or bird’s eye view, it could be changed in settings. Some players like to be close behind their characters. Others want to see from overhead. And yet others might want a first person view where they don’t see their character at all but the top of the head of their horse.

Players should also be able to control whether or not they want to deal with friend requests, group requests, club invites, and any other type of ‘request’ that’s put into the game. If the parents have blocked these controls in the parental menu already, then they’ll be grey and unable to be changed.

Sound would also be controlled in settings. Games often have two or three layers of sound. Players should be able to control the volume of all the layers. Maybe they don’t want to hear the music. Maybe they need to hear the ambient noise in order to find an object! If the game has a radio function, they’d be able to change the station from this menu. (Or another feature could be added into the phone somewhere too so they can flip through radio stations by pressing on a button on the phone.)

We also want to be inclusive of all players and well, customization can be fun. In the settings, the players would be able to change the color of glows for ‘active quest’ objects, arrow indicators between racing gates or on the ground, and race markers such as wooden arrows or trail pillars to tell players where to turn or go on the race tracks and trails. Maybe there can be a setting for custom colors for health, magic, and faction bars.

Sometimes, standard set glow colors can be hard to see, especially if your glows are candy colored and the environment is brightly candy colored. We hope to negate this problem some by having a game environment color palette that is more muted in shades and tones than extreme bright colors. (Game dev Ginny finds bright colors everywhere without any differentiation and depth also make her tired because they give her eyes no place to rest. Resting is important!)

Lastly, we have some ‘fun’ and optional game settings that have been in demand in other horse games. For instance, whether or not you want to see your character’s hat. Maybe, you want to hide your character entirely and play as a ‘wild’ horse.

Other options in this section would be turning the grazing animation for your horse on and off, turning on and off emotes, turning on and off other player names (good for making videos), and the dialog boxes for things such as changing your clothes between the Mirror World and the normal world, or ‘are you sure you want to spend real world money?’

There are probably other settings we just haven’t thought about yet! While we don’t want to overwhelm the player with so many settings they don’t know what to do with them, we want to give them enough settings they can play the game easily and find everything they need to find. This also has the benefit of if someone is color blind to a particular spectrum, they can adjust the game to where they can see things clearly. Because everyone should be allowed to play the game if we can make it so.

All the King’s Horses: Horse Customization

All the King’s Horses: Horse Customization

Every horse is unique and different. And because this is a video game, we can’t exactly replicate that to a tee. However, we want to give the characters a chance to be able to make their horses as special and different as possible. Or to be able to replicate their favorite horse!

The most important horse to the game, of course, is the starter horse. Our starter horse is based off the Fjord horse and comes in 26 variations of dun. When the player enters the mirror world, they’re in for a colorful surprise and probably a long conversation.

Once the player buys the game and unlocks their My Farm/My Stable, they can start buying horses from breeders around the districts of Astranar. Each district has three special horses that they sell. The player is going to need a draft horse and a pony as well as their starter to be able to get the full experience of the game.

Don’t worry. There will be quests to help them earn enough credits to buy their first draft and pony.

When a player buys a new horse, the price is determined by how rare the coat color is in that breed. A common rule of thumb is that brown will be cheapest, and black will be the most expensive. (Price variable won’t be more than a dollar or two.) They’ll also be able to choose the mane and tail color. All horses start off as solid colors. Some special breeds like the Friesian or the American Cream Draft or the Black Forest Horse will come in a ‘range’ of shades of their breed’s only color. Or in the case of the Friesian, a rare chestnut will be included at cost.

If the player wants to customize their horse more by changing the glossiness of the coat, adding markings, or giving the horse feathers at their fetlocks, then they need to visit a Horse Appearance Changer. Here, they can also again change the coat color and mane/tail color if they desire.

The Horse Appearance changer uses credits because these are items that can’t be stored and they’re changing the basic appearance of the horse they bought. Some items, like markings such as pintos, will be restricted to specific breeds. (For instance, if you buy an Arabian and want to make them a pintabian, you’ll need to visit the Horse Appearance Changer. If you want to make your American Quarter Horse an American Paint Horse, the same.)

Once the basics of the horse are nailed down, the player can then go to the Horse Stylist in order to make their horse fashionable.

The stylist will let them style and decorate the mane and tail of their horse. They’ll be able to change the color of the decorations in the manes and tails to their choosing. They’ll be able to clip their horse’s coat and style the horse’s fetlocks if they have feathers.

We are also debating options to let the player use vegetable based dyes to dye the mane and tail of their horse and to use hoof polish for the hooves. These may be update options.

The stylist also uses credits to change the style of your horse. These are things that again, can’t be stored, and would require the player to think about what they’re doing.

There are three gear brand stores in Astranar. The player will find these in every district. They’re broken down into the English Gear Shop, the Western Gear Shop, and the Show/Fancy Gear Shop. If they go to Morganite, they’ll be able to learn leather working and be able to make their own gear that much faster. There are also a horse decoration shop for things such as bridle and tail bows. And then at the florist and stuffed animal shop, they can buy flower bouquets and stuffed animals to put in their saddlebags.

The gear in the shops should match the cloths in the clothing shops enough so the players can mix and match the saddles and saddlepads to match their outfits. As new clothes come to the clothing shops, hopefully so would new gear come to the gear shops. Adding new gear would potentially be an update item.

Because the gear is to match the clothes, hopefully, once again there will be enough items and styles that everyone can find a horse they like and gear they would use.

The In Game You: Player Character Customization

The In Game You: Player Character Customization

At Mystic Riders, we want the players to have as much control over their character as possible, and this includes a commitment to diversity. After the player registers for the game, and takes their quiz to determine their starting district, the player will go through the character creation process.

They will have at least 8 different options to customize their character.

Body Type:

Mystic Riders wants to have three different body types for the game. The difference in body types is going to be the measurements of the hips, bust, and a little bit the waist. We’re giving them shape names so there is hopefully no negative connotations.

The Flower Body is body type with a smaller bust and almost no hips. The Star Body type is the medium body type with a medium bust and some hips. While the Heart Body type is a larger bust, slightly wider waist and big hips. All of these bodies are beautiful and normal!

Skin Tone:

We’ve chosen 20 different skin tones to use in Mystic Riders. 5 Caucasian, 5 Olive, 5 Asian, and 5 African. We want to embrace as many skin tones and undertones as we can from light to dark.

Face:

They can choose their face shape from the standard face shapes like round, heart, square, oval, etc. They won’t be able to choose makeup because they’re arriving on a plane!

Eyes:

They’ll be able to choose a selection of eye colors. Eye colors would be taken from our color palette. In an ideal world, we’d like each section of the face, eyes, lips, and nose to be separate choices. The player would have the options of 5 different eye shapes; almond, round, down turned, up turned, and deep set.

Lips:

If each section of the face is a separate choice, there would be 8 different lip options to choose from. The player would be able to choose lip shapes from a “natural” mouth, thin lips, to “bee stung” and thick “glamour.”

Nose:

Noses would have 6 or 7 options depending on how the noses are sculpted. (Finding good nose references isn’t easy.) Style would include upturned noses, down turned noses, narrow based noses, wide based noses, hook noses, button noses, and hopefully a ‘nubian’ nose.

Hair:

In hair they’ll be able to choose from a selection of “normal” colors (no dye jobs) and from ten basic styles.

 And their 1st Outfit:

Every camp has a camp store with clothing selections available for the player to purchase in the style of their district. The player would be able to choose an outfit from a dress with leggings, 2 blouses, a skirt or a pant and between the district hat or a riding helmet. They wouldn’t be able to show up to camp in the district coats or the muck outfit.

As the game progresses, the player will unlock new clothes to wear and be able to make and buy jewelry. They’ll be able to visit spas to change their hair style and buy makeup and nail polish. They’ll be able to store their new hairstyles, hair colors, and makeup in their vanity on the My Farm/My Stable and keep new clothes and jewelry in the wardrobe.

When a player visits the spa, they’ll be able to play mini games, such as facials, manicures, and hair treatments and hair styling after selecting their new look if they desire. Lip colors and eye makeup will all be drawn from the colors of the color palette. The players will also be able to dye their hair with the same colors. Each district of the game has 7 new hairstyles for the players to buy. This means there is a total of 66 hair styles in the game.

We have 14 clothing store brands planned for the game with clothing styles from basic to vintage to niche styles like steampunk. Each of these store will have mix and match sets for the players to buy. These brands are in every district across Astranar and the island of Argentum. If they go to Ruby, they’ll be able to learn fabric crafts and how to make clothes that much faster.

Clothes, thusly, are level locked rather than zone locked.

Because customizing your character and fashion is so important to the game, we are hopeful that clothing updates to add new styles will be one of the common ‘updates’ to the game. Hopefully, we’ve thought of enough options so everyone can find a look that represents them and things they like to wear.

You Are In Charge: Parental Control System

You Are In Charge: Parental Control System

MMOs have a well-deserved reputation for being addictive. Here at Mystic Riders, we want to make sure that the players and their parents can agree on how much time they can play in the game and give parents a feeling there is a measure of safety they have control over. Thus, we’re giving them parental controls.

The parental control menu will be part of the games loading area where the player chooses which character they’re going to use for their session. Off to one side outside of an office would be Billie, the camp director, with her clipboard. She and the office door would be the interface for parental controls.

The parental control menu has its own password and Billie will give password advice, like it not being a common password the kids know or something like your birthday.

There are at least three very important controls the parents can implement.

First off, if their child has stated they are under the age of 13, the parent can choose whether or not to turn on chat for their child. If the parent chooses not to turn on chat, the child will be limited to a set number of emotes and a list of commonly asked questions to get help.

Players should be able to get help in playing the game from the game help manual in the phone of the user interface. If they can’t find what they need to know there, then the help manual needs to be rewritten.

The parents can also control how long their children can play the game before they’re kicked off the servers. We desire that Mystic Riders have a system where the game story is set out over half an hour to forty-five minute bites. This would give the player enough time to do chores, maybe run a few races, and advance the plot. The parent would be able to turn on and off or decide if their child can play an hour, two hours or unlimited number of hours should they want to spend more time racing or crafting.

Kids can be overloaded with after school activities, homework, and chores. Setting a time limit for how long they can play the game leaves time for these activities and visiting with their real life friends.

This also gives the option of the players having to choose what type of content they want to do for the day and making the content available last longer. If the player wants to spend their hour crafting or leveling their horse, then that adds an extra day of content where they aren’t progressing the story.

There is a “stay the night” function in the game. This function allows players to spend real money currency (credits) to advance the game’s story by another day if they finish that days story. If the parent has the ‘can only play 1 hour’ selected, this function will be automatically turned off. Otherwise, the parent can choose whether or not they want to opt-in to this function. (All functions that require real world money, should be opt-in, not opt-out.)

Lastly, and almost in correlation with the chat function, parents can choose whether or not their children can accept friend/group invites and join clubs. These will be separate check boxes. We know that some parents will simply desire to have their children be able to play the game without fear of social pressuring or bullying. Letting them choose to turn off these functions so the game in essence becomes a single player game is an option we want to give them.

We hope having these parental control functions will make parents feel easier about having their pre-teens and teens be part of an MMO that will no doubt draw all age groups.

Cashey Money: In-Game Currency

Cashey Money: In-Game Currency

There is a potentially large disconnect between game production companies (those financing the games) and game players about what in-game transactions should look like. The latest trend to try and wring as much money out of players as possible is to include a large amount of real world micro-transaction exchanges inside a game they may or may not have actually paid for a ‘complete’ gaming experience.

Players, as a general rule, are becoming more and more vocal about their dislike of micro-transactions. Companies are continuing to see money in these in-game purchases and impulse buys or additional downloadable content, so they don’t want to end micro-transactions.

We hope to try for a compromise.

Mystic Riders as currently envisioned does have a two system currency going on. There is Coins, an in-game currency the players can earn through quests and selling items in their inventory, and there is Credits, which is a currency they play real world money for through a ‘credit card/paypal’ transaction. Coins and Credits should have a verifiable exchange rate that makes sense and possibly relate to the real world.

Let players see they are getting their money’s worth in the game and it’s not a completely made up system!

We desire to keep the Credit Only items in the game to an absolute minimum. We want players from lower income families to be able to enjoy the full experience of the game without having to spend more than purchasing the game. In fact, we want to have quests that will let them earn enough Credits to be able to purchase a basic draft horse and basic pony.

Credit transactions would include things like buying the game or buying expansions of the game, extra horses, customizing your horses appearance, and to ‘stay overnight’ which would speed up crafting times and story line quests.

If the player buys a horse and wishes to sell it back to the game instead of trying to rehome or exchange it, then they can sell it back for full price including any markings. A horse that has been trained is technically more expensive than a green horse because the player has improved the horse. So, there shouldn’t be a mark down or punishment of the player for choosing to decide on a different horse.

Buying a new horse means getting a green horse, while exchanging a horse with a breeder or stable means they might get a horse that’s closer to the level of the one they have in the district racing specialty.

Another way to earn Credits is by completing extraordinary achievements such as completing the map, or feeding every animal type in the game.

Credits wouldn’t be used for opening districts in the game, moving the My Farm/My Stable, riding the trains (map travel), stable care, any in-game equipment (clothing) or gear (horse tack), or other in-game items.

Most of the in-game transactions we want to be done with Coins, our in-game currency. There will be a level cap for how many coins the player can carry around with them. Thus, the player should be able to store coins in a ‘bank’ at their My Farm. This bank would have an extra password so only they can access it.

Gear and Equipment come in sets. A full set of gear or equipment shouldn’t cost any more than the Coin cap they can carry around in their inventory. For example, if the Coin cap is 10,000 coins, then a full set of gear (horse tack) at 9 items or a full set of equipment (clothes) at 6 items shouldn’t cost more than 10,000 coins. A full 10,000 coin set would be a high level, high statistic set to make the player and horse have the best combination stats for whatever district or event they’re trying to achieve.

Gear and Equipment with the highest known stats in the game would be items the players would make through crafting.

Coins can also be used to customize their character by changing their appearance through hair styles and makeup, in-game items and extra decorations, buying some of the pets they can’t tame in the wild, and forming clubs.

Hopefully with this system, the players will feel challenged to be able to earn the money they need through playing the game and may only need to pay for extras with credits. Thus, they can learn how to manage their money wisely.

Yackety Yak: In Game Chat

Yackety Yak: In Game Chat

Of course, the best way to make friends and form groups and clubs is to be able to talk to each other in the game. Every MMO has an in game chat system and Mystic Riders will be the same.

Chat systems are a more complicated subject due to the United States passing the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, commonly known as COPPA. Due to COPPA, there are strict rules about what can and can’t be said in online chats in a game that is marketed towards children. The Act is rather vaguely worded, but the fines are killer.

When developing our ideas for a chat system, we have to keep COPPA and its EU counterpart in mind due to the United States and Europe being our largest game zones.

Becca and I have experienced different chat systems over different games. The game chat we both agreed we liked the best is the game chat in Wizards 101, a card based fantasy MMO by Kingsisle Entertainment.

Chat is a privilege and not a right.

Chat in Mystic Riders is for players over the age of 13 or those whose parents have agreed in the parental controls to turning on Chat. The age of 13 is reasonable because that’s when many social media companies, like Facebook and Twitter, allow children to have their own pages without parental consent.

Yes, we know, players will lie, that isn’t our responsibility, but the parents’!

For those players without chat there can be a system of emotes and a list of commonly asked questions to ask so they can at least communicate and get help.

When typing into the chat system, if a word is unapproved then it will turn red and the player won’t be able to hit enter until they change the word. Words that will most likely be unapproved are things like numbers, sexual words, and curse words. (Nut is not a sexual word unless you’re nine. Get over it.) We understand that players may try to get cheeky and find other ways to use spell or use swear words in the game.

Another type of unapproved word would be any type of spam, such as a singular pound sign(#) or any punctuation symbol. This will hopefully greatly reduce spam.

We believe that public chats should be moderated at all times for the safety of the players and for the safety of the company. If teens are aware that there is an adult monitoring their chat then they are more likely to behave themselves. This will mean a larger customer service team, and at the same time will reduce the usage of bots, and warnings can be given in real time to those swearing, being inappropriate, or being bullies. That way no one can say they weren’t warned if they are suspended or banned from chat.

We hope to have several channels; Say Chat, Global Chat, Group Chat, Friend Chat, Club Chat, and Role/Club Advertising Chat. Hopefully with enough channels, the spam will be kept to a minimum.

Say Chat is for the immediate area. Global is for the entire game. Group is for those you’re in a group with. Friend Chat lets you keep individual chats with people on your friends list. Club Chat is a group chat for your Club. And lastly, Advertising Chat is a place to look for and advertise your role playing games and sessions, and recruit club members.

Chat will be a window that the player can resize and move wherever they want it. It will have tabs on the top for the different chat channels and the ability to close out of it. The player will be able to enter what they want to say in a field under the chat box. There will also be a report function if the player sees someone breaking the rules.

While we want players to be able to talk to each other, we want them to be able to do it in a safe as environment as possible in a game or on the internet.

Groupings and Guilds: Clubs

Groupings and Guilds: Clubs

One of the highlights (and lowlights) of a Massive Multiplayer Online experience is to be able to play with other people! In Mystic Riders, we want to be able to give people who enjoys social grouping the ability to experience the game in groups and do things together, while still also catering to the 70% lone single player game base.

Yes. You heard me. 70% of players in MMOs still like to play by themselves and don’t participate in PvP. These players may be explorers, or achievers, or play for story. Mystic Riders is specifically geared towards players who want a single player experience so they can enjoy the story and explore the world at their own pace.

However, at the same time, we want to encourage friendships and if two or more people want to enjoy the story together (and maybe answer the questions in different ways to see how the story plays out) then we want them to be able to do it. The players will be allowed to make friends and form temporary groups to run races and do story together.

Another standard feature to many MMOs is the ‘guild’ system. Groups of players banding together in order to do PvP and battle arenas. Because we are a non-combat game, our PvP consists of running champion races and horse shows and eventing. Horse shows and eventing are when profession riders get together to compete in different racing style events and show off their horses by leading them around through their paces. These are usually put together by a sponsor or a horse organization.

Therefore, Mystic Riders has clubs, our version of guilds. These clubs can participate in shows and eventing in the different districts. Clubs are a big deal in Astranar. There are 24 of them and the basic club names are all animals. During the Club Rush Event in the tutorial, the players will learn about all the different current clubs in their district. They won’t be able to join those clubs, but will be able to create ‘sister’ or ‘chapter’ clubs to those clubs using the same animal base names with different adjectives.

Clubs are tied to character slots and not to the player account. If a player has more than one character (because they want to play the story in a different way,) they can be part of more than one club. Only players that have paid for the game can form a club.

When a player forms a club, they’re the owner of that club. They get to choose the club colors, come up with the club symbol, and those will be used to customize special club gear and equipment which will be available for club members to purchase. They can decide what faction their club belongs to, and what type of club it is. Are they an all around eventing club? Do they prefer dressage? Or are they strictly for role playing?

The club owner will also be able to choose a Clubhouse. Clubhouses will have several different layouts, and like the My Farm and My Stable will be able to be upgraded and decorated with items. Win a bunch of trophies and ribbons, then maybe they want to put up a cupboard to display them? Maybe one of the members takes a really good group photo. Put it on the wall!

The club owner can also assign different roles to members of the club. These roles may be strictly ceremonial. Maybe there is a member of the club who loves doing trail rides and wants to be the road captain. Maybe there’s a member who is the best at championships and they’re the club champion.

Clubs can also hold events for their members outside of joining PvP. These events could be a club roleplaying session, going on a picnic in the Mirror World, doing practice races together, having a group story playing session, or doing dance videos as the Diamond Media Complex.

Having clubs and special type of events for these clubs gives the players more options of things to do and ways to enjoy the game.

Studio Goals for Mystic Riders

Studio Goals for Mystic Riders

makeavgbetter9

DnD_SafeSpace from twitter:

Let’s start with #inclusion and #diversity – not just in characters, but also the people involved in the lifecycle of game development and marketing. #MakingAVideoGameBetter

For the game Mystic Riders, Becca and I are dedicated to wanting to have diverse and inclusive people working on our game including women, people of color, and those who are on the LGBTIA+ spectrum.

Black Lives Matter

Diversity Matters

Player Versus Player

Player Versus Player

The main thrust of Mystic Riders is a story driven single player versus environment experience. However, we aren’t against having Player Versus Player mechanics in our game as long as they don’t interfere or impede the story. Players can always experience the story together in groups.

But, we’re also willing to consider actual competitive style gameplay. This would be completely optional and wouldn’t tie to player leveling in any way. Player versus player in a mounted MMO is restricted to different types of racing.

Player versus player game play brings out some of the most competitive players and the players who are more apt to grief other players. These are the players who are more apt to try and break the game in order to gain a slight advantage and win a digital “prize” in order to be number one on the board. This type of play would have to be taken into account in the game mechanics so all players who can participate in PvP have a solid chance of winning if they have the right equipment and gear.

This is a game where you have to earn your way by playing story quests. Races, championships, skills and good gear are unlocked by playing quests and earning levels. A player can’t just play through the demo, buy the game, and go buy the ‘best horse’ in the game and the ‘best gear.’ That’s not going to work. There just won’t be one ‘best horse’ because different horses are better at different things. They won’t be just a fastest horse, there will be the most disciplined horse, the most agile horse. There may be an ‘all around’ horse but that horse won’t be the one that is the ‘fastest.’ Players must play quests in order to unlock districts, unlock horses, unlock races and championships and higher level of gear. They have to earn their way through the game. In order to run a championship race, they have to be a ‘champion’ of the competition in that district.

The players can form groups and participate in races together in competition races. This can give the player practice. Neither the player nor the horse gain experience for these races and they are purely for fun and placement on the leader boards. Competition races can be run as many times as the player and group likes.

Once the players have gone through the story racing section of their district and earned the title of “champion,” they can compete in Champion events.

Championship races are PvP races that can only be raced by those who have completed the story racing track that leads them to winning the district’s top prize. Thus, these are extremely difficult races that are for higher level players that have at least completed one district’s story. Every time a player completes another district’s racing story line, they gain another championship to compete in. All championships would be sorted out by player level. That way a low level 5 player wouldn’t be put up against a higher level 20 player with no chance of winning.

If a player wins the Championship and beats their own best score, they’ll receive a small monetary prize.

Or the players can form more formal groups called Clubs.

In order for the Clubs to have a purpose in the game, the Clubs could be divided into different categories or “divisions” by size. Division 4 could be 2 to 5 member clubs, Division 3, 6 to 10, Division 2, 11 to 20, Division 1, 21 to 30 or something like that. (I am not sure of the top membership number of clubs, it’s going to depend on player counts and the ability for the servers to handle them.) Where if anyone in the club participates (and there should be a minimum number of people who are required to participate per show) they get a point to put towards the Club “pot” worth of points. And if anyone in their Club places in the events of the show, they get a LOT of points to go towards the pot, the higher you place, the more points, and the Club with the biggest “pot” of points wins a cup to display in their clubhouse.

There would be several different events, leading your horse in a circle, show jumping, dressage, very formal things. Only one person can participate in one event. Each event has to have a new person so you have to strategize on who participates on who is the ‘best’ at each event or has the best gear. The more people the club has, the events the clubs have. Events of Clubs that only have 2 to 5 people, have 2 events, but a club with say 50 people, would have 10 events to participate in. Events are individual competitions.

Depending on how many divisions there are, and the upper limit of Club membership, will depend on how often these Club Shows Championships would be run, daily, hourly or weekly.

Leaderboards for all championships and races would be reset on a regular basis. Hopefully these limitations and restrictions will keep the PvP fair for all players and still make it fun and enjoyable to socialize.

The Three Horse Categories

The Three Horse Categories

Game Dev Becca has been posting about the different horse breeds we want to have in Astranar. Some of them are more special than others, such as your starter horse straight out of the Mirror World.

There are three different horse types in Mystic Riders. While each breed of horses will have their own set of special starting stats that align with the type of racing they excel at, they are separated into three distinct groups. We have what are considered regular horses, those horses that have a sport or Baroque body conformation and are in general considered warmbloods. We have draft horses, those with larger or cob body conformations and thicker barrels. Lastly, there are ponies. These are smaller than regular horses and in some cases are the origins of the bigger ones.

To get the full experience of Mystic Riders and to be able to explore the map completely, the player is going to have to own a regular horse, a draft horse, and a pony. (Don’t worry, we’ll help them out to get the currency they need.) The magical starter horse is considered a regular horse even though its closest normal world cousin is the Fjord Horse.

There are 4 draft horses and 3 different pony breeds for the player to choose from and 17 extra regular horses for the player to buy. (Plus some magical horses they can befriend and tame in the Mirror World.) There is also one breed of carriage horse in Astranar that the player will interact with but can’t buy.

The regular horses in Astranar are like the horses of the rest of the world, they’re good for eventing, showing, and for doing trail rides. These are the pleasure riding horses of the world. In Astranar they are commonly seen doing the different races around the districts, being transportation, and are by far the most common horse type in the country. Regular horses excel at dressage or flat racing. They can also be seen doing circus events.

Draft horses are available and are better suited to do farm work and forestry. They have the special ability of having higher endurance and can traverse deep into the marshes of Astranar where regular horses and ponies would get far too tired to go. If the player needs to move a tree trunk, or a bunch of rocks, or go into the marshlands, they’re going to need a draft horse. Draft horses are also better suited to show jumping.

Ponies are the smallest type of horse and are much sturdier than the average person would believe, though they are slower than a regular horse. The ponies are the agilest of the different horse types and thus have the special ability to be able to climb high up into the mountains where regular horses and drafts simply don’t have the footing. Ponies are best at western riding such as pole bending and barrel riding. They can also pull small two wheeled carts and participate in driving competitions.

We want to be able to have all types of horses and ponies in the game, and at the same time, we want each of these horse types to be necessary instead of just yet another horse mount skin. The player will have a reason to use each horse on a semi-regular basis and to train their horses to do different things. A regular horse, a draft horse, and a pony are going to be the foundations of starting their own stable. And really, ponies help calm the other horses down.

Horses need friends!

As the player levels up and builds their My Stable, they’ll be able to purchase more horses to put in their stable. What type of horses and what they train them to do, is up to the player. Thus, once again, giving them a more customizable experience.

Each horse will come in an array of standard solid colors, and players can add markings to them if allowed by the breed in the horse stylist. (Unless the horse is a special breed like the Friesian or the Knabstrupper, in this case they’ll have special coats of different shades of black or different arrays of spots.)

There are so many horses, drafts, and ponies that could be added to Mystic Riders either through expansions or updates. So, there is a lot that can be done.