A hefty new gameplay demo for Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar: Forsaken Virtues surfaced this week, giving us a look at a "90-days-in prototype" of the in-progress RPG. As Garriott himself points out in the video, the gameplay represents the initial steps into developer Portalarium's 18-month plan for the Kickstarter-funded project.
The game already includes basic systems for resource harvesting, item crafting, and questing, all of which are on display in Garriott's walkthrough. In its execution of these systems, the game gives Garriott a chance to comment on some of the larger goals he has for Shroud of the Avatar. In deciding he wants to build a chair, his character chops down a tree, gathers wood, and then builds one at a carpentry bench in town. And of course, as Garriott points out, after building it you can even sit down. It's a simple example, but one that demonstrates his desire to create a tactile world, a design goal that originated in his work on the Ultima series. "When creating a highly detailed interactive virtual world, it was always a big deal to me ... that all the props you see were useful in the way you expect them to be useful," Garriott said.
We also get a chance to see how characters interact with the game's Tracy Hickman-designed story. Communicating is not done with a menu system, but rather by typing out phases to say to an NPC. In talking with a local barkeep, the NPC seems to key off of some of what Garriott typed to him and proceeds to introduce a new questline about a local dungeon. "You were never told that something was explicitly a quest," Garriott said. "There is no quest log, it is really up to you as a player to see what is happening in the game and make decisions about what you believe is important and about what you believe you should do."
There's a lot more to see in the 11-minute video, including combat with the undead, a puzzle, and just for a brief second, a giant Tesla coil.
Thanks, Polygon .