Terraria and Progression Fantasy
Okay, I know this isn't about the new Cradle book, but I'm still forbidden by international treaty to talk about anything I'm working on. Therefore, I'll talk about something else I love: Terraria.
For those of you who don't know, Terraria is a game that's often called 2D Minecraft. Then fans of the game go "It's nothing like Minecraft!" and a pointless Internet debate continues.
The fact is, the basics of Terraria are very similar to survival Minecraft. You're in a world made up of blocks (they're just squares now instead of cubes) and you can dig them up and place them again to build stuff. At night, zombies come out.
The difference is in the objective of the game. You progress in Minecraft by setting your own objectives: I want to build a fortress in the shape of my own face, so I need bricks to build it. To find bricks I need clay, to find clay I need to explore, to explore I need a boat, to get a boat I need to chop down wood, and while I'm chopping down wood I might as well kill some monsters, and before long I'm fighting a dragon in another dimension wondering what happened to that fortress I intended to build.
In Terraria, the focus is far more on combat progression, which is why I thought I'd mention it. You're looking for materials to craft the next set of gear and fight the next boss, which gets you more gear to fight the next boss.
A lot of games work that way, but Terraria in particular appeals to the same side of me that loves progression fantasy. I feel like I'm motivated to get to the next tier of content, not just to watch a number get higher, but because I genuinely want what's waiting for me up there.
Sometimes that's an experience that I want, like a fun boss fight. I want to fight the Eye of Cthulhu or a mechanized flying skull, so first I want to earn the gear that gives me a chance to win.
Sometimes it's an ability. If I unlock a certain chest, I get a gun that fires homing piranhas. That's a real gun in the game. I want to fire homing piranhas, so I'm motivated to unlock the chest that gets me that gun.
It's all motivated by what I want to do.
I think of Cradle in a similar way.
The way I want you to feel, when you're reading, is that you have something to look forward to. You want to see Lindon doing something, there's a cool fight or a character moment you want, and we're making forward momentum toward those goals.
When I'm reading a series, I want fun things to look forward to, and I want to always feel like I'm making progress in that direction. Therefore, that's how I (tried to) design Cradle's magic system: there's always a new level with new abilities that change how the characters interact with the world.
And then at the end, they unlock a laser machine gun.
P.S. I've made a lot of progress recently, I promise. It's just the kind that I have to keep secret or be imprisoned by a secret government agency.
Of the Cradle series
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