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Comments (2) · Permalink · Savanna · Not rated (0 votes)
Jun 30 2008, 01:48 PM
I have been dedicating the time I have to work on PW to making the templates and guidelines, so that later I don't have so many pages to convert to the new format. However, it is summer and I am a bit lazy. With the high temperatures and burning sun I only feel like doing nothing and the little time I have motivation to work I have to use for exams' preparation.

Anyway, that leaves lots of work to think, so I reached a basic idea of the three elves and from now on I only need to develop the details of their culture (and register the basics, before they get lost). So, without further ado, I introduce the elves:

The Katarai: they are the first Katamarai, the first elves. They lived in the savanna for as long as any race there remembers and they are used to get what they want. Once they entered the world politics, they began noticing how good they were at captivating other people, at manipulating and alluring. They obviously used that ability and most will say they are hateful (at least they will say it when they are not busy dreaming about Katarai's coolness).

The Iliai: the Iliai rebelled from the Katarai many centuries ago. They wanted a more balanced and noble life. Erecting great cities in the mountains, they are the elves that least resemble the other two and the ones that most resemble the traditional high elves. They cultivated their relationship with the gods and became master healers. Their warriors are also highly lethal and agile, working their body like a form of art.

The Veliai: the Veliai already inhabited the islands when ships from Marr Vellis arrived, but it was the trade with this people that made them grow in power. Taking advantage of their Katarai-like habilities and of the paradisiac islands of an odd climate created either by gods or demons, they turned their islands into the only resort in the world, fit for kings and rich merchants. They also became sailors and merchants.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Savanna · Not rated (0 votes)
Jun 21 2008, 04:46 PM
By now you know the savanna will have two major sects of elves. Despite them being completely different they are not like different countries, they are one, they have no borders and they have the twin priests as the major rulers of both sects. In fact, they are so much the same and they remember that so well that I am planning a ritual to mark that, but it is still in a very initial concept phase.

Two is a nice number, however, I think three is better. In fact, I think a third sect was inevitable, because neither the mountain (still unnamed) elves nor the Katamarai seemed to have been changed by Marr Vellis' arrival and I wanted that to be something that would change the society a lot.

So, a third sect arrived. Sailors and explorers, voyagers and adventurers, merchants and dreamers. I now have enough archetypes in the elven society for a player choosing an elf to be whatever he wants to become - a healer or agent/thief for the Katamarai, a warrior or mage for the mountain ones and a general adventurer or merchant for the island elves.

At the same time, I think I need to reduce the cities in the savanna, because there are far two many villages lying around for any to be significantly large. So, I think I will reduce the number and increase the size.

---

So, today I want to picture how would the Katamarai react to Marr Vellis. Because they always want to impress and their major weapon is charm and wonder (healing really isn't of much help in international affairs), they would have sent a big committee to Marr Vellis to impress the world and to lead the city to think they were far more powerful than they actually were.

In fact, this move played so well that the new island sect became independent enough from the mainland culture and formed its own. And it marked the idea people have of elves throughout the world, which would fit the idea of elves players first entering the game have.

To picture the magnificence of the committee, check this clip from Aladdin. In fact there would be plenty of similarities, because the Katamarai have loads of Arabian culture in their making.
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Savanna ·  5 (1 votes)
May 29 2008, 07:23 AM
In games, story must always bow to design and balance. Which is good. However, should the Savanna elves ever become playable their story would be completely blown up. For a while I have been avoiding this problem - every time it slipped into my consciousness I would bury it down again.

Their whole culture gravitates around one or two things that completely blow them out of balance and violate player design. And I really like their culture, so I wouldn't like to change it. But I also like them, and if there are elves in a game, players would usually want to play them.

This conflict has made me describe their looks and culture and also of their neighbors, then I started and finished the animals of the Savanna and made a list of the plants. Now it was time to turn to the two sentient races again, and to do that I needed to resolve this problem.

I tried to re-define them. But every time I did it they would become aggressive and not allow it. "This is who we are, you cannot change it!" "Ok, but then you won't be playable..." "Not playable??? But we are ELVES!!! Do you think players won't want to play with us?".

Negotiations began between me and my creations. Several assemblies were held and eventually the other race of the Savanna began participating as well. "If you do that, then our conflict wouldn't make any sense! You need to make sense! (and you can't change us either)".

This night, however, the negotiations were different. A committee of four elves approached. I immediatly recognized two of them, the closest the Katamarai have to leaders. But the others I had never seen. In fact, I had never seen Katamarai like them.

The female noticed my surprise. "Hello, I believe we haven't met yet! I am from the mountains and he," she slided her hand around her partner's hip, "is with me. He is usually more talkative (it is actually quite difficult to make him stop once he starts talking), but meeting with our creator works wonders."

"Oh" I said. I looked to the Katamarai. He was smiling and she was frowning, so I couldn't really figure what they thought of the newcomers. I looked them up. Their outfits were completely different, their hair darker, their skin lighter... But otherwise they could easily pass by a Katamarai.

"So..." I looked to the mountain elves again "From the mountains, you say?"

"Indeed." This time the male answered my question "We are rebels!"

I almost laughed. The Katamarai dressed short skirts, revealing shirts, they danced, were 'spicy', their rituals included murder, sex, drugs, their policy was loose, they were democrats and believed in self achievement. On the other hand, the 'rebels' wore long ceremonial robes, their hair was combed, their face groomed, their manners polite, looking through their eyes I could see a rigid government, a belief in mass rather than individual... They were both beautiful, but the Katamarai were hot, while the newcomers were fair, more like angels or ethereal beings. They could hardly be called rebels.

"Many years ago, after the first few wars with the Merek, some time after the Lock of the Souls and in the antebellum of another war with the Merek, we realized how stupid and shallow our culture was. And we began learning some magic - the world was a chaos, but we knew that Amer and Kaisha couldn't really be against magic, or they would have lock it along with the souls.

At that time the frivolous Katamarai were always celebrating and dancing and didn't really realize how close to destruction our race had come. Already inside our cities a new dark cult was growing, one which our ancestors warn them against, but which they ignored. And now they are having many troubles because of it!"

"He is kind of snobbish too" the female mountain elf said.

"So, we departed and built our great empire in the Mountains of the Twins. We built strong alliances with the people who inhabit the mountains around the Savanna. And, unfortunately, also with the Katamarai. If I was in charge..."

"Which you aren't" the female mountain elf added.

"If I was in charge we would ignore the Katamarai and let them rot. They are just alluring snakes, seeking only to drain our resources!"

"He was once in love with a priestess of mine. She dumped him and then he lost his job as ambassador in our city because of how clumsy he had become. He never forgave her," the female Katamarai said.

"So, there you have. More work for you to do, but now you can preserve our culture and still fit elves within the design without having more than one race of elves. And, despite this introduction, we get along perfectly, so mountain players can call Katamareia their house", the other Katamarai said.

"Yes, and in the mountains there are tons of sentient races for you to toy with, without being worried about overpopulating the Savanna, making it inconsistent with the resources"

We talked for a while and shared a meal. Then I let them libate to their gods and dance for a bit. They finally departed.

"I hope you can see us in the game!"

"Bye!" I said.

And as they exited the room I wondered "Should I talk with my psychotherapist about this?"
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Comments (0) · Permalink · Savanna · Not rated (0 votes)
Apr 26 2008, 12:03 PM
"1:1 At the first Miguel made the pebble on the road to Daeri and the black patterns on the Bubaki flower.

1:2 And Daeri was waste and without form; and it was dark on the face of the deep; and the Spirit of Miguel was moving on the face of the waters.

1:3 And Miguel said, Let there be Savanna: and there was Savanna.

1:4 And Miguel, looking on the Savanna, saw that it was good: and Miguel made a division between the Savanna and the rest of the world,

1:5 Naming the Savanna, Katamareia, and the rest of the world,... well, naming it The Rest Of The World. And there was Savanna and there was The Rest Of The World, the third or fourth month."

Imagine how stupid it would be if in the Bible God had begun by creating Men and only then remembered about the earth, the heaven, the light, the dark...

Or if in the Greek mythology Iris (i.e. the rainbow) came before Uranus (i.e. the heaven)...

Or if Heron, the Greek, invented the steam machine and thousands of years latter people still used the horse... Wait, that really happened! Damn, I keep ruining my own arguments!

Because I am no God nor I am Ananke (go Google who she is, if you don't know!), and even though I am no Heron (or whomever the king was that refused to use the steam machine - now it is I that need to Google...), that is exactly how I began - for months I have been creating details without first describing the big picture (the Savanna, the cultures in it, the weather...).

Well, I guess my subconscious was building the whole Savanna in my head while I entertained myself with details. Oh, and it really got named Katamareia. Now I am finally starting to layout the foundations which will allow to make it consistent and will also allow artists and composers to do their magic.

I have been listening to a lot of Arabian, Egyptian, Gypsy and Greek music lately, which is helping my creativity a lot (I wonder what kind of music God listened to - since there is no line like "Let there be sound: and there was sound" I assume it already existed) and the Savanna will grow much faster in the upcoming months. Who knows how much will be revealed and when, but this post has lots of hints (look no further than this paragraph, for starters)!

I guess I said too much already (you can all thank me through PM without Jerky ever finding out rolleyes.gif )

Miguel

PS1: In case you are interested, the first lines are an adaptation of the first lines of Genesis:

1:1 At the first God made the heaven and the earth.

1:2 And the earth was waste and without form; and it was dark on the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God was moving on the face of the waters.

1:3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

1:4 And God, looking on the light, saw that it was good: and God made a division between the light and the dark,

1:5 Naming the light, Day, and the dark, Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.

PS2: I hope I don't offend anyone with this Bible talking and I also apologize to any Hellenic Reconstructionists on the audience, in case there is any...

PS3: I guess it seems like I am working for Sony... Anyway, I also hope I am not revealing more than I am supposed to, Jerky

PS4: and since you have been nice enough to read to all my PS's, even read a few lines of the Bible, and have been a good boy/girl and googled Ananke, I am hinting something more about the Savanna. *Looks around to make sure no one is listening* Has anyone ever mentioned there are going to be (not so common) elves in the game? *blink* *blink*
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Comments (4) · Permalink · General · Not rated (0 votes)
Apr 3 2008, 06:15 AM
When I was young I always tried to make everything myself – I would do my work and take other people’s work, or at least help them with it. Then I slowly forced myself to learn how to say no and how to delegate work.

I must say I haven’t fully learn how to spell “no” (and don’t you dare take advantage of this!), but I certainly learnt to delegate. In fact, I think I suffer from CDS, Chronic Delegation Syndrome. And if that doesn’t exist, it now does – after all I am with the story team!

Anyway, all this just to warn that after delegating the work of writing to the story wiki I am preparing myself to distribute (i.e. delegate) Marr Vellis through the whole dev team. In fact, I am so prepared that I am already working on how to do this while still maintaining consistency in the city.

All this delegation, of course, gives me more time to work on my area, and also enough time to, finally, start my blog. Hope to hear more from me as I develop the savanna and delegate other tasks!

The much hated by the story team,
Miguel

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