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The latest and eleventh Fig crowdfunding update for Wasteland 3 is penned by George Ziets and deals with the design process he's adopted to design RPG towns. Given the game is obviously a long way away from release, this post largely deals with the generalities, though we do learn that inXile is considering Colorado Springs as a main hub for the game:
In a game like Wasteland 3, the research phase will be a bit different from something like Neverwinter Nights because it takes place in the real world. We’re tentatively planning to use the city of Colorado Springs as our primary urban hub, filled with interesting characters and quests (though of course this plan may change over the course of development). We’ve already started some initial research on the city and its surroundings, and we plan to send some team members on a trip to visit Colorado and see the place up close. But the underlying creative process will be the same – we’ll be looking for the most interesting stories, locations, and oddities that we can use as inspiration in the game. For example, we already know that Colorado Springs is located very close to interesting locations like Cheyenne Mountain, the Air Force Academy, and the Garden of the Gods, which could play a role in the game.
Once I’m satisfied that I have enough research material, I move on to the brainstorming phase, when I start jotting down tons of ideas for characters, quests, locations, and ways to tie them all together. Usually these are based (in some way) on the things I discovered during the research phase, but not always – sometimes they’re just fun ideas that happen to fit the setting.
In the best case scenario, I have a few weeks or more to brainstorm in my downtime. I find that my best ideas often arrive when I’m doing other things, like cooking or brushing my teeth (which seems especially effective for generating ideas, for some reason). But sometimes deadlines dictate otherwise, and the brainstorming phase happens over the course of a few focused days at the office.
By the time the brainstorming phase is finished, I’ve hopefully got enough ideas to fill up the town, at least for a first pass. If the city is large enough to have multiple districts and interior locations, I typically have ideas for most of them at this point. The third phase is getting everything down on paper, old-school, Dungeons-and-Dragons style. I start drawing overview maps of the city and the districts, noting where important characters, locations, and quests could be.
If you're more of a visual oriented person, you'll be glad to find a new concept piece over at the link too.