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07-Jul-11 - Clan Citadel Development Blog


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The secret is out! We've been working on Citadels for what feels like a long time, and it's been hard to keep it quiet. Even before we started working on the core clan infrastructure, we've wanted to give you flying castles. I've had a beautiful piece of concept art of a citadel pinned up in the clan dev team bay for what seems like forever. So to finally see them fly has been very exciting.The first clan update was about providing clans with the tools to become more embedded into the game. We didn't try to give clans a lot of new content, but aimed to help existing clans who had already created their own activities.For this update we wanted to give a wide range of clans something to do and strive for and give something extra special to our members.Citadels are huge. We didn't just want to give clans a home, but an epic home, a place that you won't just want to use, but develop and maintain. You will be able to expand and improve your citadel and make it function better, accessing more features as you progress. Importantly, we wanted to give clans a focus, a set of aims, and having a way that all clanmates could contribute to the development of the citadel was key. Skilling and resource collection works rather differently from the surface world, but we want to try and encourage clans to skill together, and to support the idea that being part of a clan is a responsibility. The Citadel is something you're all going to have to work together to keep at its best, so that when you show your citadel off, you're not just showing some flashy buildings, but a symbol of how well organised and committed you and your clanmates are.We also wanted to allow you as much choice as possible, so that each citadel would feel like your clan's home, not just any old clan home. The Citadel has many customisation options, and also has meeting and social areas , mostly centering on the keep, your centre of operations.We're also giving clans a way of designing and creating their own activities within the citadel. The Battlefield is the most ambitious piece of player generated content we have ever created. I've always loved the way players get together and engage in activities that are not designed content, and although we gave you Faruq's tools to play with a while ago, the Battlefield is so much more than that. The Battlefield means you can design and store whole layouts, allowing you to create your own games, and then get your clanmates, or other friends to have a go! I think clans are the ideal place for this kind of play, and I'm really excited about the possibilities the battlefield has to offer.The remainder of this blog will be small blogs (blogettes?) written by the content developers who did the hard work - the detailed design and implementation of each part of the 'big plan'. Hopefully they will answer some of your burning questions about the detail, and provide some morsels to whet your appetite for Citadels whilst we complete the finishing touches to this work. Enjoy!Making your Citadel the most impressive it can be is something we hope will become one of the big motivations for your clan. We hope that clans will be proud to show off their Citadels, as a symbol of how impressive your clan is, and how house-proud you are. However, like most good things, you will have to do some work for it though ...The Citadel and its structures may be upgraded through seven tiers of ever increasing size and impressiveness, unlocking features on the way. Citadels will start to degrade if left unmaintained so a clan will need to be organised and active to keep it at its most majestic.To do this, a clan must gather resources by working together in the Citadel's skilling plots. These resources are clan specific, they can't be taken out of the Citadel or bought on the Grand Exchange and so will have no direct impact on the economy. Just by skilling at these plots you'll be adding to the clan storehouse.The first skill plot is a lowly woodcutting plot, but as the Citadel grows clans will have access to a mine (Mining), a kiln (Firemaking), a furnace (Smithing), a loom (Crafting), an obelisk (Summoning) and finally a barbeque (Cooking). Each of these plots has 7 tiers and become more efficient with every tier.We want all members of a clan to be able to contribute in a meaningful way, so players of any level can work on these skill plots, those with higher skilling levels will produce slightly more resource and earn more experience in the associated skill. However, players should be getting slightly less experience in the citadels than they would earn on the surface (we don't want citadels to be the new place to train!). Clans will also produce resource more quickly if their clanmates are working together on the same skilling plot.Each week your clan must earn enough resource to cover the costs of your current structures (this is called upkeep); otherwise your Citadel will dilapidate, if you still fail to pay upkeep, the week after it will downgrade a tier!Each week your clan can may also set up improvement jobs for your Citadel; this can range from changing a statue or a fireplace to improving a skill plot to even expanding the whole Citadel. Resource earned by the clan will be put towards these different jobs and providing there's enough in the storehouse for your upkeep as well, these jobs will be executed on a weekly build tick. Only a small amount of the excess resource can be saved in your storehouse; so make sure you have enough jobs to stop your resource from going to waste.To upgrade your whole Citadel to the next tier, you'll need to ensure that your skill plots are of a sufficient tier and that your clan is of a large enough size. Tier 1 clans will need to have at least 5 full clan members visit it that week, other tiers will require more:* Tier 1 - 5* Tier 2 - 10* Tier 3 - 15* Tier 4 - 20* Tier 5 - 25* Tier 6 - 35* Tier 7 - 50If you drop below these numbers (with a small amount of leeway) your Citadel will start to dilapidate and then downgrade if that number doesn't visit the following week. If less than 5 full clan members visit the citadel, the following week no clanmate will be able to visit it until at least 5 full clan members have attempted to re-enter the Citadel.Whilst it won't be necessary for every clanmate to contribute to resources - we want to spread the workload across a clan - ideally players should spend about 20 minutes a week maintaining their Citadel and then some more time if they're working on upgrading it - but this will depend on the clan's size. Each clanmate has a resource cap, once filled they will no longer be able to produce resource for a clan that week; So it shouldn't be just a few players shouldering the burden for a whole clan.The quartermaster can give out clan rings to players who've done a fair amount of work for their clan that week - these can then be charged in any of the Citadel's skill plots and provide a 1.5x bonus for an amount of experience that is determined by your level in that skill and the tier of that skill plot. This should help reimburse xp-focused players for their time for being in a clan, without being so attractive that non-clan players feel like they need to be in a clan to train efficiently.Just as we provided the vexillum and cloak in order to display your allegiance in the first clans update, we felt it important that a clan stamped their identity on their island. This time those colours and motifs will be applied to the structures and inhabitants of your citadel, marking it most emphatically as yours.Those with permission will be able to add several cool cosmetic features to many hotspots around the area so if you fancy having statues of gods or squirrels to greet your visitors, you can! What we call 'blanket' features such as decorative pot plants, tapestries and flags as well as the patterns on the keep walls can also be changed. When your citadel is fully upgraded you'll have access to 19 customisable hotspots and 14 different blanket features to modify with a staggering 200+ options. The layout of your clan citadel can be changed by selecting from the preset range available - and you can even choose to have night time or day time!But wait, there's more! The Citadel keep provides a senate area for your clan to congregate as a group. Offering a spacious meeting area for formal meetings as well as more private areas for recruitment interviews or leader meetings, the citadel also boasts an area specifically for your clan celebrations when you just want to let your hair down and party with your clanmates.Power is nothing without control, as they say, and the Citadel update will bring clan owners and administrators a great deal of power within the bounds of their floating islands. The settings screen, which many clan members will be familiar with, has expanded somewhat to cover the range of additional options which open up to the owners of a stronghold.Options to control who gets to chat in the clan's channel will be instantly familiar - they're hardly a new thing - but new by-rank controls for the day-to-day running of the island (and three new ranks of administrator) should afford flexibility for any circumstance.In particular, you can control the right to access the various areas of the Citadel by rank, by clan membership and on individual members (clan guards will be on hand to politely but firmly remove trespassers). You can also set which ranks may perform duties around the island, on the battlefield, and on the field of the Rated Clan War.Those of admin rank or above potentially have a further set of duties: the management of the Citadel's building and upkeep priorities and the resources needed to carry them out. Here isn't the place to go into those duties in detail, but let it suffice to say that the look, efficiency and function of your Citadel will be in your hands.To help manage the citadel we've created an interface to show the relevant details and allow those with building rights to make changes.This isn't as straightforward as it sounds, because there is a lot of information to communicate, and any interface we make needs to fit well in the fixed-window video mode of the game. To ensure we make the best use of the space available our Graphical User Interface artists used their experience of other situations where screen-space is at a premium, such as mobile phone applications, to consider which design approaches work best.In order for interface artists and developers to work together efficiently everyone needs a clear overview of the way that citadels work. We took time to ensure everyone involved had a unified vision of the citadel mechanics and how the interface should feel when used. This way any innovations the graphical designers make are in-keeping with the game content, and are technically possible within the engine's interface system.For me this is an exciting aspect of game development - finding ways of making each pixel on the screen communicate as much information as it can. In a world of huge plasma screens and High Definition TV it is interesting that RuneScape interface design has more in common with mobile phone design than with game console design.Along with the meeting rooms and skilling features, we wanted to create a place for clans to have a bit of fun. So after working on an initial design with Mod Jack, I've spent a couple of months designing and developing the Battlefield. Accessed via your Citadel, it's a vast area, about as large as the Clan Wars free-for-all arenas, where your clan can organise its own battles and other games.Using my built-in map editor, you'll be able to design and save your own Battlefield layouts, placing elements such as walls, ice, flag spawns, ball spawns, goals, tag markers, destroyable barriers, power-ups and many other things (our testers started by drawing dirty pictures, tut tut tut). Most of the elements have options that you can configure individually. For example, each barrier may be destroyed by Mining, Woodcutting, Strength or Thieving, and you can choose how tough they are. Similarly, you can choose whether a player carrying a certain flag is prevented from running or climbing over Agility obstacles.It doesn't just have to be about PVP either. If you'd rather compete by capturing flags, kicking or carrying balls to goals, massacring monsters or tagging markers, the Battlefield will offer you a wide range of options. You can even use all of them at once! Alternatively, you can just build a labyrinth full of invisible spikes and stick your enemies in it.Once your clan's appointed Battlefield designer has finished their work, you can organise your battle. I've made the rules pretty flexible too: you can choose whether players stand alone or work as part of a team, you can restrict the forms of combat, you can decide whether players with flags or balls may be tackled, and much more besides.All combat in the Battlefield will be safe; there's no guarantee that your Battlefield's designer will have made a fair arena, so it'd be harsh for people to lose stuff on death. We're not able to offer rewards either, although you're welcome to make your own arrangements if you trust your opponents to cough up afterwards.I think that's all for now. I hope you enjoy it.

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