Well hello there! Today, it's my turn to bring you the making of! I'm Fhenris, WAKFU Level Designer, and I'm going to serve you up a meaty portion of what we've been working on for several months now... Calamar Island!

Why a revamp?

Calamar Island is a conquerable island that's been in the game since V2 of WAKFU saw the light of day. A lot of you will probably already know it!
"So why revamp it?" I hear you cry! Simply because when we originally released Calamar Island, the team's priorities were different and we weren't able to include all the things we wanted. We had to make choices and "sacrifice" some of the content, ideas and designs we had in mind...

Captain Calamari's old island (the one that's currently still in game) is quite small because at the time of creating it we didn't really need that big a space. Basically, we wanted to centre the action around the Clan Member and too much space would have meant players scattered all over.

With the ideas we had for activities, the creatures we'd imagined, and the other "kicks and giggles" we'd thought of, we couldn't wait to make the island bigger! As soon as we were given the green light, we were off, redesigning it based on the same template as more recent islands, like Monk Island and Forfut.

Concept Art

The first thing we have to do when creating a new zone is draw the concept art - basically an image that gives a general overview of the island's design. Let's just say that as soon as we heard the words "Knock yourselves out! We're redesigning Calamar Island from scratch!", design and gameplay ideas  started sprouting out of nowhere, just like it was the first day again... This time, however, we knew we could make them all happen!

To get the ball rolling, I started looking up photos on the Internet, trying to find inspiration for the shapes and colours that could apply to the island's level design... Here's one of the examples that really got me:

I stuck to the idea of a completely circular island with the Clan Member in the centre, surrounded by a moat. Take a look at my first few sketches:

When I was preparing this design, the Game Designers were busy working on the RvR revamp. We decided that the new Calamar Island was the ideal place to start applying some new level rules and constraints for this upcoming feature. Post-revamp, Calamar Island will therefore be the first WAKFU island ready to welcome RvR! But that's all I'm saying... You can find out more in game, and I'm sure that my Game Design colleagues will tell you more about RvR when the time is right!

After taking into account what the team wanted to do visually with this island, and respecting the constraints linked to the RvR revamp (mainly the fact that we needed to divide it into 3 different areas), I produced a polished version of my illustration:



Once the concept art was finalised and agreed on, the design team (Game and Level Designers) started their brainstorming sessions. You know, those meetings where everyone shares ideas, bounces off one another and eventually things start to become more rounded and sure!

Each of the conquerable islands already has an RvR/PvP aspect in some shape or form. In addition to applying the new RvR rules for the first time on this island, we're also going to add a whole load of content. That's right, get ready for a whole barrowful of additions! An area dungeon, at least two new families of creatures, specific environmental quests, a main quest and dozens of new rare items and pieces of equipment! Does life get better than this?!

Each element of the new content has been carefully thought out, making sure that everything stays in line with the rest of the World, all the while integrating the personality and visions of everyone who worked on the area's atmosphere. The brainstorming sessions often ended in hysterical laughter!

The Game Design Document

After brainstorming, we write a Game Design Document where we list all the points discussed in the meeting in the clearest way possible. The aim is that each team member, irrelevant of their department (development, graphic design, Game Design, Level Design, etc.) can see what's going on.

Once the document has been written and finalised, we get started on the build. The build, as you can probably guess, is when we actually "construct" the area. For this, we use our map editor (I'll no doubt explain this in more detail another time) to start building, brick by brick.

After several weeks of work, our island is finally ready and the other parts of the team can get down to business, adding the other elements needed to tie it all together!

So there you have it! You now know how Calamar Island was put together! Thanks for reading and catch you soon!

Note from Azael

Calamar Island is a conquerable island. We have taken the opportunity of this revamp to tweak the rules of the other conquerable islands slightly so that they will be ready to take on RvR when it is integrated in game. Here's a summary:

  • To conquer an island, players must beat the Clan Member.
  • To do this, you'll need to provoke a Clan Member into a duel, which costs 500 kamas.
  • These kamas will be transferred to the island's Clan Member.
  • When an island has been captured, it will be "unconquerable" for 24 hours.
  • Island Clan Members have the same rights as any of the Nation Clan Members: you can transfer their kamas or use them to buy environmental quests.
  • The Clan Member's bonus will be applied to the whole Nation. For example, Calamar Island will have a bonus of 10 Prospecting.
  • Only players belonging to the Nation that owns the island, or players allied with that Nation, will be able to take part in the environmental quests found there.

Aaaaaand that's all you need to know for now! Get discovering! See you soon in game!
Category: Game design
Comments (23) Comment on the forum...
#[Azael] 22 November 2012 11:38

I just wanted to give you more information about the logic behind conquest islands.

First, the bonus of Calamar Island will not be “+10PP” but:
  • +10PP for 1 CM whish
  • +10PP/+13Dodge for 2 CM wishes
  • +10PP/+13Lock for 2 CM wishes

Why a low PP bonus?

The idea is to bring a PP bonus that cumulates with the more conquest islands your nation controls.

We planned to do it with the big RvR revamp to come, but we also wanted to implement this on the islands already in game.

That’s why the bonus on each island has to stay rather low, since each new island released will cumulate with the existing bonus!

In this intent, the “Wild Estate” will also receive a bonus of +10PP to the nation that owns it (in the next patch).

Note: This Island is different since it doesn’t have any CM wish, so the bonus will only be +10PP.

Why paying Kamas to take the island?

We decided to keep this rule for two reasons:
  • Avoid having groups starting a fight only to “test” a fight against a CM
  • The 500 kamas will go to the CM treasury and therefore to the nation controling the island. A good defense might just fill in the nation treasury! smile

Why Calamar and not another island?

We decided to work on this island before releasing new ones, due to its obvious lack of content.

This island had nothing to offer, whereas we want all contents of the game to bring their share of monsters, rewards, quests and achievements!

But don’t worry; the islands you knew during Beta are not far away…

Exclusive content

Concerning exclusive content for the nation owning the island, nothing’s done yet. There will not be any limitation for the dungeon as long as the RvR revamp isn’t implemented.

However, we intend to offer exclusive content to the nation controlling the island (only the nation, and not the allies) for two reasons:
  • Taking the island will be harder now. A nation that invested time and kamas should be rewarded accordingly: what could be better than exclusive content?
  • These are PvP islands where alliances are made and broken. If the content is available to everyone, why waging war?

But as I said, the RvR revamp is not here yet, and we will have many occasions to talk about it together. All of these are just ideas; nothing’s been set in stone yet.

#[Azael] 23 November 2012 14:20
Hi there,

The Nation restriction on dungeons will probably not be applied based on the feedback we received.

I talked about exclusive content but dungeons are too restrictive. We will look into keeping the idea of exclusive content, without restricting access to the dungeons.

I’ll tell you more when we have a clearer concept.

Concerning allied/enemy Nations, what was planned (and not yet implemented) would be as follows:
  • Base content accessible to all
  • Content accessible to allies and nation controlling the island
  • Exclusive content for the nation controlling the island

We really worked on having 3 different levels of content in order to save the idea of alliance.

This is one of the main points, find the balance between the use of an alliance, and content that could lead to breaking one.

ExareSparky 24 November 2012 09:10
Nillii|2012-11-20 11:11:07I want that level editor to be released as a playground, I would love to make fan maps even though they would only be visual and non-interactive.

Arahitogami|2012-11-21 03:32:14I want to get my hands on that development suite so bad! having the kit to design a wakfu island would be a serious labour of joy ^^

A million times this. I'm sad that the image of the island concept art is such high resolution, while the image of the map editor (what I really wanted to see in detail!) is so small... sad