SolChicks Game Development Update: Game Story

This post was originally published on SolChicks

Hi SolChicks fam,

Now that we have all the core system design issues out of the way, we would like to refocus this sixth edition of the development blog on other aspects of the game. Over the past month, the team has been hard at work at creating that depth and expansiveness of lore that we have always promised. There are many aspects which define the immersiveness of a player’s experience, and the story is a critical element in that respect.

Blueprints for a Good Story

A good story gels the mechanics of the game (the reasons behind why the actual player is choosing to play the game) and the emotions of the game (the motivations of in game characters for their choices). For example, a game’s challenges (eg. climbing puzzles or reflex testing mechanics) have to be framed in a context of a character’s trials and tribulations (eg. bosses or booby trapped rooms) in order to achieve their character’s goals (eg. in great titles like God of War and Shadow of the Colossus). Another example would be a player’s ranged attack mechanic could either be a dragon’s fireball or a bow or even a futuristic alien blaster. Yes, even fantasy worlds must have rules (like how we have gravity) and game mechanics have to be supported by those rules, which a good story will explain, in order to not confuse players. The rules can be out of this world, but rules are necessary nevertheless. A good game lets players know what to expect, no matter how otherworldly (like exploding rainbows during attacks), when they perform an action in game. This is a crucial form of cognitive feedback.

In our case, SolChicks are non-human-like characters. This means that the key challenge we faced when designing the story is to build relatability between the cute SolChicks and the player. To put this a different way — why should the player, a human, care about what happens in a world of chicks and foxes? Relatability is why most games have human main characters and even if they are not human, they are at least human-like in nature (think elves, orcs, dwarves, demons etc).

Yet, there is growing literature and portfolios of highly successful games with non-human / even non-human-like characters, such as Spyro the Dragon, Ratchet and Clank, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Amaterasu in Okami. The key to this is to design characters with humanoid characteristics while setting the storytelling at a moderate pace — to slowly draw the player in and explain the key premise and rules of the universe. Furthermore, having non-human characters also allows us to design unique gameplay mechanics — like Spyro’s wing glide and Sonic’s spinning attack, just to name a few.

To this end, we had to ask ourselves what makes a good lore. A good lore will involve non-trivial character development, a well-paced story and smart dialogue, a slew of well-written factions and their conflicts, as well as an interesting and coherent history amongst many other elements. A good narrative, as one of our storywriters puts it, is like salt — too little of it and you get something bland; too much of it and you spoil the flavor; you get it just right and people will barely notice the salt because the salt will be the ingredient that binds the flavors of the dish together in one coherent gastronomic experience.

So, what does that all mean? The team has worked tirelessly to fit all the pieces of the puzzle together to methodically bring a cogent and consistent lore-base on which we aim to build the SolChick metaverse on. Without further ado, here is our attempt at a good story — the story of SolChicks.

The SolChicks Story

Where should we begin… You see, the SolChicks were originally just sentient chick-like beings, who were named the Chicks. Native to the planet Chicco, the Chicks were a peaceful race which had mostly kept to themselves. They lived for generations without strife and interference from the outside world during a time, which from their ancient codices, they called the Period of Calm. True to the era’s name, the Chicks developed a strong cultural identity and lived relatively peaceful and prosperous lives through harnessing the power of the Solarium Seeds.

What are Solarium Seeds you may ask? In short, they are the seeds of the World Tree, Soldrysil. Soldrysil is the mother of life in the universe, and her seeds were scattered across the universe and landed on different planets, fueling sentient life and evolution. Each seed contained immense power, and many sought the power of the World Tree for themselves. We will come back to this later.

Well, as the Chicks expanded their knowledge of the world and subsequently the universe through the years of Calm, a group of scholars discovered that for every ray of light, there is a sliver of darkness. As the old adage goes, “Without darkness, there cannot be light”. The Chicks discovered that under certain extreme conditions not found naturally on planet Chicco, Solarium Seed fragments would transform into a vessel of darkness known as the Lunaris Crystals. Afraid of where such studies would lead, the Council of Elders quickly banned the study of Lunaris Crystals and magics surrounding the dark power. Hence, documentation of such studies was scarce, but from what was gleaned from the recovered journals of those scholars, the aforementioned “extreme conditions” included exposing the seeds to near lethal amounts of pain and suffering.

Despite the decree from the Council, there were the few devoted ones who continued to delve further into the study of the Lunaris Crystals. Those who did, called themselves the Enlightened. They believed that the Council were myopic and that if they could find a way to utilise these crystals, they could provide a great source of power and even ward off calamities such as droughts and blights.

The Enlightened worked in secret, but as kidnappings and disappearances intensified in the villages and cities, the authorities quickly caught up with them. The Council, worried and relieved at the same time, quietly cast the Enlightened away from society, never to be heard of again. The Elders thought this to be merciful, but to the Enlightened, they felt only hopelessness and betrayal.

All I can say, is that the wild was a cruel place. The Enlightened had initially resorted to feeding on tree bark to survive, but slowly they adapted to hunting. Without the nourishment from the Solarium Seeds, they slowly degenerated. The Enlightened lost their beaks, and in its place, a row of sharp teeth for tearing meat. They were also skinny to the bone, and their eyes were hollow from living in the caves. Their feathers’ once bright sheen now paled and darkened. They were unrecognizable, they were now monsters.

Yet, their work never stopped, much to the dismay of the wildlife around them. They gradually learned to shape the power from the Lunaris Crystals and was ultimately successful in creating a scrying orb. The orb had the Enlightened in thrall, they stopped their work, and each day they would stare into its gyre of darkness as if in trance. They prayed and prayed, in hopes that a higher being, whoever that was, would lead them to salvation. That would have been the end of the Enlightened if not for a cruel twist of fate — on the 33rd day of their trance, their prayers were answered by one known as Yurislava the Cunning. Although the Enlightened could only hear her voice, they were enthralled by her promises of false power from the void.

What happened after was pure speculation, some said Yurisalva possessed the Enlightened, some said Jenada was to blame, others said it was the Enlightened that mind controlled Jenada and summoned the Darkfangs. But whatever was the truth, not long after they first heard Yurislava’s whispers, the Enlightened were never heard of again, and a curious hermit named Jenada would decide to leave her self-imposed exile to rejoin society.

The rest was history, Jenada, with her powers of clairvoyance, would join the Council of Elders and would be known as the Oracle. She would slowly lead the Chicks to their doom and opened portals in the name of knowledge. Darkfangs from the planet Haxor would pour out of those very portals opened by the Chicks which would mark the start of The Hundred Day War. The Chicks, caught by surprise, would find themselves quickly overwhelmed. Jenada was nowhere to be found.

In their darkest hour, a faerie appeared before the Council of Elders. The faerie wielded powerful magics, which temporarily halted the advance of the Darkfangs who hungered for the planet’s supply of Solarium Seeds (and Lunaris Crystals). “The World Tree has been waiting for you. Come, walk through the portal, and take your rightful place next to her warm embrace.” The faerie preached. The Elders had no choice — their entire race risked being hunted to extinction by the Darkfangs. Desperate, the Elders gathered what remained of their people, and led them through the portal to planet Mellow.

That decision marked the new chapter in the history of the Chicks. They bid goodbye to their dying home and were greeted by a welcoming sight of lush green plains. The Chicks slowly rebuilt what they have lost under the guidance and protection of the World Tree. The Chicks also made friends with the native species of Mellow.

The SolChicks, now more powerful, organized their society in a Spartan fashion and held biannual festivals called the Proving as a reminder of their past. More importantly, the Proving was a competition to select the strongest amongst their fledglings who would join the ranks of the Braves. Each Brave is blessed by the World Tree and reborn as the World Tree’s champions and defenders of planet Mellow. That’s how the Chicks became known as the SolChicks. When Lunaris Crystals formed on planet Mellow and corrupted the local flora and fauna, the Braves would be there to contain their spread.

Our hero’s story begins at his Proving. Starting out like any other Proving, with our wide-eyed protagonist all packed up and eager to join the Braves, like his brother did. Yet, under all this excitement were several, I should say, unsettling rumours.

For one, Lunaris Crystals have started forming out of control in certain parts of the continent. The crystals have started to corrupt plant and wildlife and the Braves are being stretched thin. To compound matters, a cult known as The Cult of Midnight Dawn is rumoured to be hidden amongst the SolChicks, spewing their truth to all who would listen and finding means of procuring all the Lunaris Crystals they could get their hands on. It is rumored that an Enlightened is involved with the cult. What is even more frightening is that Ancient Beings within planet Mellow who have their own designs and plans are being stirred from their slumber…

Back on planet Haxor, despite continuing their plunder of other stars, the Darkfangs’ Lunaris Crystal reserves are running out. It’s only a matter of time before they find planet Mellow…

What’s Next?

While this story is subject to further tweaks and embellishments, we feel that this sets a grand stage for our heroes in the epic SolChick tale. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to work on refining and expanding the lore and details, with the ultimate goal of providing an incredibly rich experience for our players. The lore is important for the future development of a SolChicks metaverse, where the story and rules of the universe, much like grand universes like Star Wars, has to be coherent between different bodies of work. We look forward to sharing more of the SolChicks universe with you.

Well, now that we have revealed it — See you on planet Mellow!

Jun and Ben

The Game Development Team

About SolChicks

SolChicks is the fastest growing and largest P2E in the Solana ecosystem, with a team of over 150 members, including a blue-chip game development team who have previously brought to market titles such as MapleStory, PUBG, Dungeon Fighter and Tera, and a business management team from institutions such as Wharton and McKinsey & Company.

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📰 Game Mechanics | Whitepaper | Pitch Deck: https://www.solchicks.io/papers

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