Back in the March edition of the Gielinor Gazette, we talked about Ideation Days and an exciting project to emerged from them - Soul Wars. Since then, you've all had plenty of questions about what else Ideation Days have produced, and this month we'd like to answer some.
Ideation Days were born out of an old initiative called TAPP that saw employees all around Jagex setting time aside to focus on personal projects. Due to various shortcomings, TAPP was discontinued in mid-2018. In its place, Ideation Days were born.
At the end of each month, every member of the Old School team (including team members in non-development roles) has the opportunity to take an Ideation Day, during which all non essential meetings are cancelled.
The team takes this time to focus on designing and prototyping potential future updates for Old School RuneScape. This can cover all sorts of things - in the past it has produced ideas for huge updates such as new Raiding Dungeons or Grandmaster quests. However, they're often also used to focus on smaller things such as interface improvements and other quality of life fixes. In many cases, the ideas just come in the form of a design document. Sometimes though, actual working prototypes will also be produced.
The initial Soul Wars prototype (with placeholder cow boss) was born during ideation.
Quite often, individual members of the team will work together on a design or prototype. It's important that we're flexible so that different work styles can be catered to. If people find themselves struggling for ideas, they can instead look to the optional theme that is provided each month. Previous themes have included things like PvP, new Leagues and beginner updates.
Regardless of how team members choose to use their ideation time, the end results will be demonstrated at a presentation. The wider team asks questions and offers feedback, and then has the chance to vote on whether the idea should be pursued further. Don't worry, there's no 75% here!
In some cases, the team decide that an idea just isn't meant to be. Some things may sound good initially, but further work proves them to be impractical or inappropriate. Other ideas may pop up again in future months once they've been developed further. And some will be selected for the release schedule, eventually finding their way into the game itself!
Here's a selection of proposals that have cropped up during Ideation Days. Note that these are not announcements of new projects - some ideas have already been rejected, and many of the others may never end up going any further:
What's Come Out of Ideation?
First up, let's talk about a few of the projects we've already released. Did you know that our two biggest updates so far this year, The Nightmare of Ashihama and Darkmeyer, started life in ideation? Originally, both were pitched as part of the same update, with the boss being located in the Darkmeyer Arboretum. Following feedback, the boss was moved out of the city and became a separate update. In its place, a different idea from Mod Husky was combined with the Darkmeyer content to create the Hallowed Sepulchre. Ideation has also produced other big updates like Leagues, as well as smaller features like the ability to vote in polls through the account management side panel.
As mentioned before, however, not everything that comes out of ideation is quite so successful. In some cases the idea just doesn't fit. In others, they have too much overlap with already existing content. Sometimes a proposal just doesn't work with the tech used in Old School. Of particular note was a nice idea to create a 'Loc Hunt' minigame where players try and hide as a piece of scenery. Although this seemed fun at first, it soon became clear that the minigame wasn't a suitable fit for our game.
The Hallowed Sepulchre was originally proposed as a standalone minigame during ideation.
As well as projects that the team have decided against, and those that you've already heard about or even played, there are plenty more ongoing suggestions that we've all rallied behind. Below, we'll share a bit more about just a few of these. Just remember, these are NOT announcements! Just because they haven't been rejected initially, it doesn't mean they're necessarily destined for development.
So... quests! Old School quests are quite unique when compared to other MMORPGs and are hugely popular with players. Since Old School launched, we've seen some epic quests released - you've taken down some deadly Dragonkin creations and you've foiled Glough's plot against gnome and humankind. But many quests are much smaller in scale. Think back to Witch's House, Fishing Contest and Prince Ali Rescue. While lacking the grandiose scale of a Grandmaster, these smaller quests add a little life and character to the lands.
With the above in mind, Mod Ed came up with the idea of Twisted Tales. These are short standalone quests set within the regions of Great Kourend and Kebos, the aim being to make the regions feel like they could have been a part of the game since the very beginning. One example is Getting Ahead, a short quest in which you are tasked with bringing back the head of a deadly beast. Things get a bit complicated, however, when the beast turns out to be headless. Since the first pitch, other members of the team like Mod West and Mod Roq have got involved, coming up with other ideas for Twisted Tales. From murder mysteries to ancient religions, there's all sorts of subjects these could explore.
There's also a big desire, both internally and among the community, to deliver more sequels to older iconic quests. Mod Sween recently pitched a followup to Throne of Miscellenia and Royal Trouble. This suggestion came with a proposed expansion to kingdom management, allowing you to send some of the kingdom's workers a little further afield in the search for new rewards. As well as this, Mods Lenny, Ed and Mack have recently been working on some puzzle prototypes for a possible continuation of the Elemental Workshop questline. Maybe it's finally time to see what's behind those Body Doors!
The Elemental Workshop may yet hold more secrets (or maybe it just holds placeholder blocks).
Can you survive the nightfall?
But maybe you're not so big on quests. Plenty of minigames have also been pitched during ideation. For instance, Nightfall is a never-ending wave based challenge from Mods Ry, Ed and Lenny in which you need to fight off hordes of enemies while trying to survive as long as possible. As you progress, you'll earn better gear and more supplies to help fight off the hordes. As well as this, last year Mod Kieren pitched an expansion to Pest Control. This would see the addition of an Elite Lander that takes you to a different island with new pests to fight, including the deadly Pest Queen. Away from combat, Mod Flippy recently came up with an idea for a Player-Owned Restaurant minigame. As the name suggests, you set up your own restaurant and then train your Cooking skill by serving customers as quickly as you can.
Lastly, we have skilling! Guilds are very nostalgic parts of the game but, let's be honest, most of them are not actually very good. The solution to this came in the form of a big team up. Mods Acorn, West, Ry, Tide, Curse and Lenny all joined forces to propose a set of updates they called the Great Guilds of Gielinor. These come in two main parts. First, a selection of improvements to older Guilds such as the Cooking Guild, Rangers Guild and the Crafting Guild - these include new skilling methods, new rewards and new items (soup anyone?). Second, a number of proposed brand new guilds. In the Smithing Guild you'll be able to train Smithing through new Smithing Contracts. There's also the Construction Guild, which comes with a communal area for producing flatpacks. Other ideas include a Runecrafting Guild and a Herblore Guild.
These are just a few of the ideas we've come up with during Ideation Days. With so many good suggestions, it's tough choosing the right ones! With that said, which of the above ideas jump out to you the most? Are there some you think we should go forward with, or would you prefer we focus elsewhere? As always, let us know your thoughts.