Developer Insights – From Vision to Virtual Worlds

Shroud of the Avatar: Gypsy Camp

This scene started from conversations with Richard about the gypsies who will live in this world. A very early first pass resulted in a large camp where many gypsies lived and sold their wares.  Richard felt that this didn’t quite match what he had in mind for this. Instead he had envisioned a much smaller, temporary encampment, possibly even a single gypsy family.

Once I started to visualize the scene in that way, ideas came to mind much quicker and more easily. This is a family that would almost certainly come under siege by a small group of monsters, they probably don’t have much in the way of money, and they probably had their own family issues to worry about.

We settled on two stories to represent here, one “local” and one “global.” Locally, the family comes under ambush from a pack of skeletons just as the hero arrives. This is a nice, quick little piece of gameplay that leaves the player feeling a sense of reward and accomplishment.

On the “global” scale, one of these gypsies has a wedding ring and offers it to the player as a reward for helping.  On the surface, this appears to be an easy, extra reward for the player, but there is actually a great deal more happening here.  The player has found himself or herself  in an ethical dilemma, and that’s only apparent once the player has explored more of the world and uncovered more of the ongoing story. In this very organic way, quests can have both a long term and immediate consequence for players, and represents much of what questing means in a “Richard Garriott RPG”.

Rick Holtrop

Shroud of the Avatar Developer


  1. Dean478Dean478

    This is brilliant! So many modern games force you into something that may not be entirely appealing to certain players and play styles. It’s nice when we can act creatively in the game.

  2. LordRussellLordRussell

    Sounds interesting and thanks for the update! I wonder what would happen if you take the ring? Down the line…

  3. ZarfZarf

    If your friends can follow you into the scenario, are they able to get the same quest your Avatar does during that event? Or can they change the outcome of yours?

    Example, as a Virtuos Paladin, I converse within the woman, she cowls at the sight of the three wolves, behind me. I turn to dispatch them.
    Meanwhile, my young unscrupulous friend “Snarky Blacktooth” walks over to the young wench, after I deal with the wolves, he speaks to her. She gladly offers her wedding ring for our valor, my friend quickly palms it, dropping it in his purse. Quickly striding off, giving me a sly wink as he leaves.

    Now am I able to be offered same reward or is the quest at an end.
    And did my friend, thru his actions give me negative karma / reputation?

  4. HadrielHadriel

    The deep questing experience with real choices sounds exciting.

    The small instance is disappointing though, as this can be done in a mono-scale map too.

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