Sunday Summary: Sanity in the Wasted Land

Today I thought I’d summarise a few key posts from the last few days – and invite your feedback (via comments, email, Twitter, Facebook…) on them. Here’s a summary the first batch of issues I’ve been talking about…

First off I talked about the creation of one of the key characters in the game and what sort of a person he would be:

Professor Brightmeer knows a little of the cosmic horror that exists and has dedicated much of the last decade to combating it. He is a classic Call of Cthulhu investigator – a dilettantish academic with a wide knowledge of the emerging field of psychology, of chemistry, medicine and biology and a little dash of Mythos knowledge. Indeed his wide knowledge of the mind and body led him to be consulted in treating the victims of insanity caused by exposure to the Mythos horrors in Arkham in the US where the lives. …

Now this design is important because it follows into the next section – about how we handle emotions in general, and sanity specificity (a key Call of Cthulhu concept) in video games:

Sanity has been something we’ve debated a lot during the design of the game. For the paper RPG, IMHO, Sanity (SAN) has been a key part of not only the Call of Cthulhu playing experience but also what separates it out from other RPGs. There is a built-in shadow of insanity that stalks all players of the game and in the end will get you. As you learn more of the cosmic horror, so your character’s grasp on reality ebbs away. It makes a cool addition to the tabletop experience and is something I’ve enjoyed role-playing over the years. However in a video game, things are a bit different…

So after explaining the issues with Sanity in games, we still have to resolve the issue – and keep the important SAN score running. Here’s how we are planning to solve it…

The solution was originally proposed by Mike (our coder) after we’d considered a number of possible options – which is to focus on mania (a state of abnormally elevated or irritable mood, arousal, and/or energy levels). To explain; In Call of Cthulhu, when your character goes into a state of ‘Short Temporal Insanity’ there are a number of possible outcomes you can roll, such as panic, hysterics, phobia, stupor and mania. Now mania is an interesting emotion from a game perspective. A manic character can be stronger, faster and less susceptible to pain; all helpful characteristics in a fight! Yet, and yet, that extra power comes at a cost… (more)

About Tomas

Design & Production Director at Auroch Digital. Designer of Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land. Writing and blogging things that surprise, entertain and interest me...
This entry was posted in character design, game design, paper to video game issues, Professor Brightmeer, Sunday Summary, The Wasted Land and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Sunday Summary: Sanity in the Wasted Land

  1. Pingback: Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Lands HD Screenshots | Level Save

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