Back in 2013, when I was asked to write a script for Shadows of Adam (which was untitled at that point), I was presented with a design doc that listed all the game’s locations in chronological order. I followed this spec pretty closely, but one of the changes I made was to a sunny port town called Borges.
For story purposes, I wanted the visit to Borges to occur after the Wind Tower dungeon. And because another town followed directly after Borges, it was important for Borges to be more than just a standard town. It needed some action! A brush with the main villain! A stealth mini game with secret passages!
All that came to pass, but recently I turned my eye back towards Borges again for a different reason.
In early 2015, starting with the Tangle dungeon, I started designing and mapping areas for the game. I revamped areas like the Misty Woods, but one previously mapped area the team wasn’t satisfied with was Borges interior maps.
There were several problems with the original design and mapping of Borges’ interiors. First off, the maps were supposed to involve sneaking through the back areas of shops. The bare bones original maps seemed to lack this aspect completely.
The second problem was spatial. In 16-bit RPGs it’s very common to take some liberties with inside vs. outside spaces. You have a tiny house on the exterior map, but when you go inside it is very roomy. However, there are limits to this. As I played through the original maps of Borges this turned into a real problem. To an extreme degree, the underground passages just didn’t link up where they should have given the distances and direction of travel. This hurt the experience.
Another spatial problem was the size of some of the interiors. They had way too much open empty space and not enough details.
I tried to think about the purpose for each area and design them to evoke this purpose. Since Borges is a port town, why not make an underground warehouse right off the docks where incoming and outgoing goods are stored? And wouldn’t it make sense if a black market was near this location as well?
Hope everybody enjoys all the thought and effort put into Borges when the game comes out. Until next time!