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.

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.

A Place of Your Own

A Place of Your Own

A large part of Mystic Riders involves the ability to grow and make your own items. And in order to do that, you need a place of your own to be able to grow your own ingredients or store things that you’ve foraged. Plus, you can’t keep all your horses at the camp forever. You need your own place and that is the My Farm/My Stable.

The My Farm/My Stable is available to players who buy a pass to leave the camp (or in essence, buy the game). Once they have a pass, the mentor of their camp will show them their own Farm and Stable and walk the player through choosing a set up for a Farm and Stable of their own.

The My Farm/My Stable exist in well, magic space. What the player needs to access their farm and stable is their magical key, and a special gate. When they put the key into the special gate, a portal appears to their bit of land in Astranar. They can either keep the key with them, or set it up in one of permanent gates on the map. (Going home to your stable is always a free transportation jump that doesn’t require using a train.)

The key to their farm and stable is a snow globe! (Snow globes are very magical in Astranar.) The player has the opportunity to customize their snow globe key by choosing one of the districts symbols for the middle and a color from the color palette. (These can always be changed later.)

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When the player drags and drops their key onto the gate for the first time, they’ll be prompted to choose a style of farm that they want. While the player won’t be able to choose the placement of the buildings on their farm, they’ll be able to choose whether or not they have a cottage or a tree house and about a half a dozen styles ranging from French Empire, Queen Anne, Modern Eco Victorian, and so on and so forth to choose from, and they can choose if they want stone or stucco or painted clapboard. There will also be decorations to make or buy so they can decorate to their heart’s content.

The player will also be prompted to name their My Farm/My Stable.

The player will start with a small 1 bedroom cottage, a stable with 3 stalls that looks like a country church without a steeple, and a patch of dirt. As they do quests around the districts, they’ll be able to upgrade and add buildings and animal enclosures to their farm. Some of the first quests after the player acquires their farm will be to fill the stalls of their stable with a draft horse and a pony!

For example, as a player does farming quests around the district, they’ll be able to upgrade their patch of dirt so it has less rocks, or they learn how to improve the soil, thus letting plants grow faster or yield more. By learning about animals from farmers and veterinarians, they can build enclosures for bunnies, chickens, and an animal pen for bigger animals like sheep, cows, alpaca, and goats. (This is going to depend on their crafting specialty what animals they find more important. A player that takes up doing clothing is more likely to have an alpaca over say a goat, unless the goat is a cashmere goat.)

Once the player goes to the Diamond District and learns about hot houses, they’ll be able to build a conservatory in their farm if they so desire. When they learn forging, they’ll be able to build a forge on their farm. And if they want a pony cart, they can build a building specifically to hold their pony cart.

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When they complete a quest to make friends or capture one of the fantasy horses in the mirror world, they’ll be able to open a gate to the mirror world from their farm to a magical glade. This magical glade will have a pavilion for them to take care of their magical horses, a garden, and enclosures for magical animals.

The My Farm/My Stable is intended as a place for the player to be able to continually improve as the game progresses. It is “their” space in the game to make it look the way they want. They can use the farm to grow plants in order not to have to buy them at the stores and as a place to keep extra inventory and pets. Lastly, the My Stable is a place for them to house the completely optional horses (outside one draft and one pony) they can collect in the game.