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Corral Countdown 11: Game Scope and Pacing

Some time ago I made the braggadocious claim that Boot Hill Bounties was one of the largest 2D RPGs ever made. Not that having a lot of content necessarily makes for a good game, but I do think this is something I want to celebrate.

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But how do you define how big a game is? The hours it takes to complete? I don’t think so. So far, estimates are between 20-30 hours. I wanted to deliver fresh content at a rapid pace to the player. For example, you almost never fight the exact same battle twice.

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So how can we define the size of the content. Here are a few metrics to consider.

(Note: These are rough estimates. I tried to be fair and accurate but I may be off in some cases.)

Word Count = 110,000 – This is the total word count of the script including extraneous content from the newspaper and item descriptions. For a good comparison, according to this site Final Fantasy 3/6 has 43,000 words and Final Fantasy 10 has a comparable 110,000 words.

Characters = 350 – Basically a rough estimate of the number residents in Bronco County. I tried not to include farm animals here.

Locations = 250 – These are the “rooms” in the game including an exterior room like a forest of the town of Swellsville.

Enemies – 250. This doesn’t include enemies from Boot Hill Heroes but it does include any palette swaps and also same species enemies like these three pigs here.

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Vantages = 250 – Vantages are the various actions you can do in battle and each have their own animation as well. These vantages do include those from Boot Hill Heroes, so there are probably 150 new Vantages. The player characters themselves learn about 150 of these vantages.

Items = 400 – All weapons, armor, treasure, food, etc. This includes anything Boot Hill Heroes as well but probably 300 or so items are new.

We can further break down items:

Weapons = 100
Food = 50
Armor = 40
Hats = 35
Trappings = 40
Treasures = 70
Ingredients = 19
Reagents = 28
Despite all this content, Boot Hill Bounties is not an extremely long RPG. I don’t think players want to invest hundreds of hours into a game like this these days. Some games are built to be played for countless hours, others are meant to deliver a great experience in a short spurt. This is the latter.

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That wraps up this week. Only two weeks left before release. Are you ready?

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Corral Countdown 12: Classroom Riddles

Last week I discussed the mysterious Question Master riddles that appear in the newspaper and lead treasure hunters to clues that open the green lockboxes found in Bronco County. But we’re not done with riddles, because there are even more puzzling brain teasers to solve.

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Mrs. Mowry’s Swellsville classroom taught the player how to fight in Boot Hill Heroes, but in Bounties, those students are back to frustrate the player with mind-twisting riddles. Solving each of the five students’ riddles will earn the player a surprise reward from Mrs. Mowry.

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Each riddle has 10 possible answers. But you can’t brute force your way through this because wrong answers will cost you a dollar. These kids have got to earn their lunch money one way or another.

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Each chapter, the students come up with a new round of riddles and a new prize to tantalize the player. So that’s five rounds of riddles and 25 riddles total. Can you solve them all? Here are a few that will appear in the game so you can get a head start:

In my dresser at home I have 6 red socks, 4 white socks, 8 green wocks, and 2 black socks. What is the minimum number of socks that I need to pull out in the dark to make sure I have a matching pair?

Last year, this class had two twins, three triplets, and four quadruplets. How many students were in that class?

My right shoe here weighs one pound and half as much as my left shoe. How many pounds do my shoes weigh together?

Me and Bobby each got candy bars. If I give Bobby a candy bar, then we’ll have the same number of candy bars. But if Bobby gave me a candy bar, I would have twice as many as Bobby. How many candy bars do I have?

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Tomorrow I’ll finally reveal the scope of the game and talk a little about pacing in Friday’s Devblog.

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Corral Countdown 13: Choosing Responses

You may have noticed that I have revealed the main protagonist, Kid, speaking in some revealed screenshots. Those who have played Boot Hill Heroes will remember that Kid was once a “silent jrpg protagonist.” So what gives?

I had two problems I wanted to solve. The first is that I wanted to find a way to involve the player in cut scenes that are typically passive experiences in an interactive medium. The other problem is that I wanted Kid to be more involved in the scenes rather than stand there saying nothing while Doc, Moon and Rosy do all the talking. However, I couldn’t suddenly give Kid a personality since the first game established that Kid’s silence meant for him to be a projection of the player.

Allowing Kid to make decisions and choose responses during conversations solved both problems. First, players can interact with a cut scene by choosing how they want to respond to various situations. Second, Kid can now have something to say in scenes while at the same time, remaining an avatar of the player because the player chooses those responses.

But I want to curb player expectations here. This isn’t a Telltale game. You won’t drastically change the story by the responses you choose, but you will choose how other characters will immediately respond to what Kid says. This is an opportunity for the player to decide how Kid’s personality will manifest and also have some control over how a scene plays out.

There are nearly 200 responses that Kid has an opportunity to make throughout Boot Hill Bounties. Players have the opportunity to choose responses not only in cut scenes but in common interactions with other characters and you’re own party at camp.

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Corral Countdown 14: Another Hat for Moon

One of the final three Hat Tuesdays here at the Corral Countdown. This will the final hat reveal for Moon so I chose one of the more interesting hats. But since this is spoilery territory, I’ll make you click on stuff to see it…

Hat Spoilers! Click to Reveal!

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“Careta” is Spanish for mask and this one is styled after a traditional Dia de los Muertos mask. A similar tradition is celebrated in the Bronco County town of San Gonzalez where Moon eventually finds this mask. The Careta is associated with the festival of the dead.

  • Sacrifice
  • – Sacrifice yourself to give teammates 5 power.

  • Juggle
  • – Chuck rubber balls at an enemy for 3-5 weak physical, ranged attacks

  • Pestilence
  • – Inflicts both Disease and Poison on all battle participants

  • Offering
  • – Revives a teammate at the cost of 10 random food items

The Careta is another “weaponless” hat since it’s Vantages don’t require Moon’s typical Bow or even a hand weapon to use.

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Tomorrow we’ll talk about something that will make cut scenes a little more engaging for players.

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Corral Countdown 15: Doc is a Doctor

Welcome to the last three weeks of the Corral Countdown. By now, I’ve discussed 35 other things I want you to know about Boot Hill Bounties. But there are still 15 more, so let’s get into it…

Let’s go way back to remember when I revealed how camping plays a big role in party management. There are several things to do at camp and each party member, other than Kid, has a unique ability. Moon imbues weapons with special status effects using reagents, Rosy cooks meals for the party using ingredients that give the party boosts in battle. So what does Doc do? That should be obvious.

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We already talked about Wounds too. Wounds befall your party whenever they are KO’d in combat. It’s like a persistent negative status ailment that doesn’t go away easily – such as a gunshot wound, fractured limb, or disease you probably got while playing Oregon Trail.

Now there are already a few ways to heal from Wounds – Wait until they eventually go away, Use a Med Kit, or visit a doctor. But Doc is a doctor? Can’t he heal your wounds? Yes, he can.

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Doc can treat any wounds at camp for free as long as he knows the treatment. And the more he treats wounds, the more “Doctoring XP” he earns to gain ranks as a Doctor. He starts with a lowly rank of “Bones” but can eventually get to “Rip Stitcher,” “Physician” and even “Miracle Worker.”

The higher Doc’s Doctor Rank, the faster Doc can treat wounds passively outside of combat. Typically it takes 10 battles for a Wound to recover on its own. But if Doc knows the treatment, the number of battles is is modified by Doc’s Doctoring Rank. So a Doctor Rank of 4, “Medic” would heal a wound in 6 battles, if Doc knows the treatment. So getting wounded is sometimes a good thing because it gives Doc an ability to hone is craft and gain ranks.

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So how does Doc learn new treatments? He can learn them from other doctors in Bronco County like Doc Finch in Swellsville, or from just using a Med Kit to treat a wound. But this isn’t free. You’ll have to buy these treatments for Doc to learn them, so they can be used later at camp.

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There’s still one more thing you can do while camping that I want to talk about, but that’s almost everything. As you know, tomorrow is Hat Tuesday and we’re going to take a look at one of the stranger hats for Moon.

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