I have set myself a procedure to follow now as I go through my module area by area. First I go through an area checking the lighting and sounds, to make sure the ambience feels right and that the player can "see" relatively well, subject to their own visual capabilities or need of a light source. I make sure area sounds are balanced, and offer audible clues if need be.
At this stage, I also check to make sure the area and mini maps are set up and working correctly with respect to whether they are available in the first place, and to ensure they are not giving more information than they should be by revealing hidden rooms before they have been discovered.
If all looks good, I double check that I can reach every object I need to, and make sure transitions work as they should, at the time they should. Once I am satisfied that this all seems fine, I move onto stage two: conversations.
|Evening fireflies and a cloudy sky|
Checking conversations is much more difficult to do due to them relying on variables being set. However, I check what I am able, and even alter some variables or leave access to certain links just to check other responses if need be. This testing stage is more to do with ensuring I have at least finished all the conversations in an area with respect to what I want the creatures or objects to be able to "say" in the first place. For instance, I have a number of placeholder conversations that have only partial comments and need finishing off. My goal now, is to ensure I finish all conversations in an area as I make my way through them on this final testing stage.
|Store Interaction: This book looks interesting!|
Once the conversations are completed for the area, I move onto the combat monsters that will be encountered in the area. This part requires a little more attention, as I want to make sure I have allowed a fair and reasonable environment in which the player can meet the challenge. This is all about game balancing, and player choices prior to encountering any monsters can make the difference in whether the player perceives the game as a fair challenge or not. That's not to say the design should make every encounter a breeze or nightmare simply based on statistics, but also recognise environmental factors that may alter factors for either the PC or monster in the first place. E.g. A place where a PC could never rest would eventually wear them down to the point where even a fight with a giant rat may be difficult.
This monster stage, is also the time I ensure the bestiary has been updated for the creature if required. The bestiary can give slightly more information about a creature, which sometimes gives extra clues about how to fight it. At the very least, it will help categorise the creature for the player.
|Example: Animal selected from creature category.|