Update:Blog - Fairy Tale III: Design Review

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This Developer Blog is copied verbatim from the RuneScape website. It is copyrighted by Jagex.
It is written by Mod Chihiro and is dated 5 June 2009.
Design Review

It might sound like a simple thing to write a quest brief: come up with a cool story and write it down.

The reality of it is that it is a lot more complicated than that, and turning our initial ideas into a fully described quest, ready for development is fun but can be hard work. I was asked to do a design review for the third and final Fairy Tale quest, and that's what I'm going to talk about today.

Most of the time, Mod Mark does quest design reviews himself, but this time he was too busy, so he asked me to do it. Mod Mark had already approved the bare bones of the idea, but I needed to help the developer turn that into a full brief, ready for final approval. In doing this, there is a lot to think about.

This quest continues the Fairy Tale series, and so has to use the same style and tone. Fairies in RuneScape are a curious race. On the one hand, Zanaris is a strange and whimsical place, where the absurd is normal (take the cow-powered windmill, for example), but, alongside that, Mod Greg had created a story that dealt with some serious themes: betrayal, war and resistance. Fairy Tale 3 has to take those themes to a conclusion, and add something new and unexpected as well.

I also had to ensure we weren’t repeating story and game-play ideas used elsewhere in game, that the story was internally consistent, and that we could explain all of the plot elements in a way that fits in with the canon of RuneScape lore. We also had to make sure that those elements that added to skills or acted as rewards were suitable for the game as a whole.

Finally, since this is the finale, this quest has to be a fitting end to the story. Working with the developer on designing a boss fight for this was challenging. It needed to be new but work with the engine, epic enough to act as a climax, interesting enough to be a challenge to the player and also make sense in the context of the narrative. It needs to feel like the end of the story - not just another fight and reward.

Although it took considerable rewriting and tweaking, we have a brief now that we’re happy with. There are some cool ideas in there that I’m looking forward to see in game! Development on this is starting soon. I'm sure we’ll tell you more about the quest as things progress, but if you want a little teaser, don’t forget to brush your teeth!