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Beach NightI’m working on a redo of Lapis Azurai. The current gameplay isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t really accomplish what I want it to. It’s disconnected from the story itself. Also, it has a very modern conception of economics – everyone wants to buy and sell things, goods are interchangeable, etc, which is not historically accurate (and while Lapis Azurai is pretty fantasy, Spice and Wolf has taught me a love of this sort of realism).

The new system works a bit differently. You can spend your days doing one of three things: Accepting cargo, delivering cargo, or playing through an event. Rather than money, the resource in the game is Reputation – when you deliver cargo on time, your reputation increases at both the source and destination locations. Reputation slowly decays – if you leave it alone, it’ll eventually evaporate. Reputation is spent on playing through events – all of which are one shot, story or character related. No more “Gathering wood”, “Combat Training”, etc.

Each event grants experience to one or more characters, which is spent to level them up, granting bonuses like greater availability of jobs, more reputation, or decreased delay / damage from storms. Events have an expiration date – you’ll only be able to hit around half of them in a single playthrough, which in turn means you’ll have to chose which characters to level up – which in turn determines which route you’ll end up entering. Each character has their own unique skill tree.

The net result is this – I don’t have to spend time writing “filler” events, and can spend time advancing the story. Stat raising takes a secondary role. There’s good reason to travel all over the map – events are spread around. I can massively simplify the UI (there isn’t even a Port screen anymore, it’s all done from the map).

Now for the controversial bit: Lapis Azurai 2.0 is going to be PG13. Really, the sexy elements just never fit – there’ll be some romance, and possibly some fade to black moments, but it’s going to be aimed at a mass market. You’ll have to rely on Hive and the other game I’m working on in secret (no spoilers! You didn’t vote for that :P) to fullfil your adult BlueWinds quota.


    • Joe Steel - 2016-07-13

    I like the ideas you are putting out, here. I agree that the sexibits of LA ver 1 didn’t add to the story and can be left out at little to no cost. I like the sexybits in Hive and Brothel Sim much better.

    The reputation idea is interesting, and could be combined with another idea: something like the “rutter” from the age of exploration. A rutter was a pilot’s (think modern navigator, but more prestige) notes on how to get to places, winds and currents encountered, that sort of thing. They were closely guarded and secretive, because knowledge literally was power in that environment. The rutter for a voyage had to be shared with the sponsor of the voyage (he was paying for it, after all), but with no one else. The sponsor could then share that knowledge with other pilots he was sponsoring but, again, they couldn’t spread that among themselves.

    Bottom line: your reputation determines what rutters your sponsor at the guild will provide you, and so opening the world up that way, rather than from some random visit to the library.

    I’ve only recently run across your games, by the way, but am very impressed by your grasp of what makes for good gameplay. Kudos to you, and keep up the excellent work.

    • That’s pretty close to what I originally intended – you can see the start of a quest to obtain just such a piece of rare and useful knowledge as the last event in LA 1.0 before I stopped working on it.

      Now I have a name for it, and you gave me a bunch of ideas. Very neat, thanks!

    • AlucardNoir - 2016-07-13

    “Spice and Wolf” used as your inspiration? who wouldn’t want to play your game then? I mean seriously, I remember after seeing the first season in one sitting how desperate I was for the rest to come out, episode by episode. I actually think that was one of the few series that actually brought me back to watching anime that were still airing.

    If that’s the kind of world you’re aiming at, I can only wish you success.

    • BlackRing57 - 2016-07-13

    It has been awhile since I left a comment. Good work on Hive and the original Lapis Azurai. Like what I see on the direction of the Lapis Azurai remake. Am curious about your new secret game. I have 2 suggestions related to stuff. First, please keep a link to the original Lapis Azurai like what you did with the original Maybe call it Lapis Azurai Prototype 1 or Old Lapis Azurai. Second, do some tweaking to the Patreon page to catch the “rating” change and the other projects. It is still the same as when Lapis Azurai was the only project you were doing. Keep up the good work.

    • RedGales - 2016-07-14

    Wait, so no more seeing Nat and Kat naked? And no possibility of a lesbian moment with hot, sexy action, at least that isn’t fade to black?

    Oh, Blue, you have aroused my ire, and as your evil twin, I’m now obligated to do things to you in the name of vengeance.

    * fades to black while doing an evil laugh, before scenes involving a feather, cuffs, and other bondage toys occur *

    ( short while later )

    Okay, so the cuffs go there, and the feather goes here… Good. Thanks, Blue. You really helped me reorganize my closet. It was cluttered all to Hell, and now it’s all nice and neat.

    Okay, now onto the gameplay stuff.

    I don’t mind events having a sorta timer on them, but if you combine that with only getting to do half of them in a playthrough, you make it sound like we as players will be pressured to grind reputation at hit every event we can or we’ll miss out on limited chances to level up. If that’s the case, I can’t say I like that idea. Assuming so, I have an alternative. Make story branching events that will result in different things opening/closing to encourage multiple playthroughs, but have more random-based ones appear continuously so that we can, if we devote the time to playing enough, level up everyone. I’m one of those kinda players that likes to max everything, so I really like having some option to do that without having to feel like I’m sacrificing things to do it.

    As for the story branches, some ideas would be like, 2 islands are at war, and depending on what options you pick, you can help one side or the other, leave them be, or try working out a trade agreement that leads to peaceful resolution, all of which lead to different other events and things like, if one side wins, it prospers while the other side suffers, affecting trade with either, while ignoring or resolving their conflict results in a more balanced outcome with differing events, such as sitting it out means they’re still at odds so you can hunt down ” enemy ” ships for loot and all that, and resolving things instead opens up trade escorts and events related to that.

    All the while, random stuff like hunting down some generic pirate ship or treasure hunting, etc. events pop up every so often to help gain reputation and level up your characters.

    • Arcess - 2016-07-15

    I’m really glad that you enjoyed Spice and Wolf. The more people who watch that series, the better!

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