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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » Scenario Design and Discussion » Project announcement: Through the roads of hell
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Topic Subject:Project announcement: Through the roads of hell
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-01-09 02:33 PM CT (US)         
I was thinking that creating a one-map giant mission with nonlinear storyline (http://aok.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/aokcgi/display.cgi?action=ct&f=4,38833,30,30 would be very difficult, so I decided to create a smaller, more linear campaign to practice, and learn the limits of the editor and myself.

So here it is, a campaign about the Fifth Crusade. I know, a lot of newb first scenarios are based on either Robin Hood or the crusades, I hope it will still interest at least some people. I plan to create a campaign with more smaller missions instead of one big map, and based more on storytelling than adventuring.



The idea comes from a historical novel with a similar name (I know of no English translation), based on a true story. My plan is not to create a "big desert battle between mamelukes and champions", but to have smaller missions, connected through a story. Many times, you will be surprised by the sudden change of events, and even locations. I plan to include small-force adventuring, hashashins and other secret societies, conspiracies, etc.


A piecefull mountain village



Pleas, if you have time and are interested, try this mission, and give a feedback. I intended it as a proof of concept, to show where I am, so, it's like an introductory mission for me in this community. The following points are the most I'm interested in:

1. Map. I tried to create a real looking map, with eye-candies, etc. I used some shoreless water, but I don't like to overdo it, it's not that realistic to never have any shore.
I started with fully designing the map, and, if you just follow the instructions, you will just see about the half of it. So, I wasted a lot of efforts on places you are not required to visit. (you can explore, however, nearly the whole map after getting both of your armies and before entering the forest to the North)

2. General playability I designed it for moderate difficulty, the other 2 levels above and below change it a little bit. I'm still curious how balanced will it be for the first try.

And, just to see how people think, please answer in which direction have you decided to go at the big intersection. (when they talk about the clearing in the forest)

3. Language Besides having difficulties with spelling, my question is about some names. I've chosen short and easy names, but they still have special characters. Is it a problem? Should I try to have other names, which are not historical, but easily translatable?

4. Other comments It is my first full scenario, so please tell me what is good in it, what is that you dislike in it, and what should I take more care of in the future.


(edit) Oops, I found a bug in the uploaded version. At the woodsman's camp there is a small gap to the right, between the mountain and forest, where you can slip through, so some triggers may not fire correctly. Sorry for it, when testing, just go ahead on the road.

[This message has been edited by Val the 2nd (edited 04-24-2009 @ 01:16 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Dead_End
Cavalier
posted 03-01-09 04:43 PM CT (US)     1 / 36       
Good work so far, like the simplicity of the map.

The only point of criticism I can think of right now is the raising of the alarm by the spearmen. You're supposed to kill the guards simultaneously or they will alarm the main force. But when you fail (like I did) you lose the game.. I suggest that raising the alarm will only send all those troops at your army. (Kind of more realistic).

Overall I think you've done a good job. Looking forward to the completed version.
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-01-09 05:14 PM CT (US)     2 / 36       
Thank you for the comments, and for your time to test my scenario.

What do you mean by simplicity? The small size of the map, few units and no huge towns, or that you think it was too plain and not detailed enough? We're at two small border villages high in the mountains, in the 13th century, so the players should not expect fancy cathedrals and huge walled cities. If you think there are not enough eye-candies, or the forests are not detailed enough, I might try to do something about it and add some more plants, terrain elements, etc.

About the guards, I created this method for realism. You have a superior force, so unless you command them very badly, you can win the battle without much trouble. With this alarm I wanted to disable a very cheap tactic (luring the enemy one by one from the camp) which would make things too easy.
Imagine: The guards report that there are enemy troops lurking around, so it's reasonable they will kill the prisoners. However, if you storm them without the guards alerting, in the heat of battle they will not bother about the prisoners. I wanted to include a trigger that if the player has no more troops in or around the camp (retreating, for example) would cause the execution of the prisoners. I did not implement it, because of the complexity: there is no easy way to check if there are LESS troops in a given area. I had even hard times with the cliff script: it's easy if you have only one unit, but not that easy if it should work with any unit.

I don't think it's so hard to succeed with the guards quest (I managed on the second try on moderate, and you get warned to save), especially if you attack from multiple sides and find all the spearmen before attacking. I like to include such things in the missions to make them less boring. I think the "go around, kill everyone" gets boring after some time.

For the realism, it might not be realistic because attacking the guards might sometimes lure out enemies from the camp.. I'll think about it, maybe by giving the guards to a different player, or placing them farther away from the camp.

About the attack of the other troops: it happens when you attack the camp regardless of the guards. They did not have radios at that time, so it's the sound of the battle that lures them to the camp, not the guards.

[This message has been edited by Val the 2nd (edited 03-01-2009 @ 05:17 PM).]

Surge
Squire
(id: Lt_Surge99)
posted 03-01-09 05:31 PM CT (US)     3 / 36       
Screenshots please. Makes it sexy.

"Especially awe-inspiring is the fact that any single brain is made up of atoms that were forged in the hearts of countless stars billions of years ago... These atoms now form a conglomerate – your brain – that can not only ponder the very stars that gave it birth but can also think about its own ability to think and wonder about its own ability to wonder. With the arrival of humans…the universe has suddenly become conscious of itself. This, truly, is the greatest mystery of all." - Rama
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-01-09 05:36 PM CT (US)     4 / 36       
I always think exploring the map (even with marco polo) is a lot better than screenshots
YoshiX100000
Squire
posted 03-01-09 07:03 PM CT (US)     5 / 36       
Screenshots are used to convince people to download the map to explore it. Most people don't want to waste five minutes downloading and unzipping a load of grass1 and square forests. They (we) want to know we're downloading something at least three levels above "crap" before committing the time.

YoshiX100000~AoKH's Official Playtester of All Short, Funny Viking Cutscenes by Varied Equine Species, PhD-Emeritus-Magna-cum-Laude-Esq.
Now in Fuschia!!

"I wish I knew what Yoshi's doing on the roof, especially in winter." ~Sissi
"Yoshi lived up to his name and split into 100000." ~Rocking Doom
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-01-09 08:03 PM CT (US)     6 / 36       
I just created a few screenshots, I hope you'll waste now those 5 minutes for it
TheLaughingMule
Lady Mule
posted 03-01-09 08:30 PM CT (US)     7 / 36       
I downloaded it before you posted the screen shots

I found a few typos (ones I make myself) reading the Hints and Scouts.
Under Hints, in the 3rd paragraph it says "loose any units left behind."

Under Scouts (down to the spoiler) under #2 a ways is "Don't loose to many..."
and under it...
"... you loose."

Started the game, in the opening scene the scout arrives and talks to the woad raider. When he says "my horse" both the scout and woad raider attempt to move at the same time and bump into each other. Maybe you could trigger the scout to wait a bit?

So I leave the castle on the horse and go to the bridge and meet the purple horseman Henning. After he leaves, I wasn't sure what to do (I'm not good at playing scenarios mind you) so I followed Henning to where he joined a group of horsemen. Well, nothing happened, so I went looking around, stopped at the castle and decided I was supposed to go back to the starting castle. I got stuck on the bridge! I'm in a loop, the hero changes ownership to player one, back to teal, to blue, to teal, to blue, etc.

So I did marco to look around your map, and found many pretty places. I didn't spend too much time looking around this time (I will look more later) as the looping of the hero was making weird noises and I thought I had better get out of the game.

I see there is a sound file, was I not far enough into the game to hear it play?

Sorry I broke it

I hope my comments help - I like it so far
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-01-09 09:18 PM CT (US)     8 / 36       
Wow, I spent a lot of time making sure you cannot follow Henning through the bridge, this is the part I tested the most. It seems I still screwed it up. I'll try to solve it, many thanks for finding it.

The ownership change is there to not allow you to cross the bridge from your side, not from the other side. So the only way you can go is the way where you will bump into your men a few seconds later. The fun part starts only after this. As for the sound file, you will only hear it at the very end. I couldn't find any 13th century music, but I hope an early 15th century one will still add to the atmosphere.
Mr Wednesday
Cavalier
(id: matty12345)
posted 03-01-09 11:07 PM CT (US)     9 / 36       
If you people don't stop using Project Announcement I swear I will edit your thread titles

"And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 03-02-09 03:56 PM CT (US)     10 / 36       
Edit them to what?
I'm sorry, I'm quite new here and as I see everyone else does the same with any scenario larger than a days worth of a job on a nearly random map. So I thought this is the general practice.
Powery
Squire
posted 03-02-09 04:10 PM CT (US)     11 / 36       
Edit them to what?
I'm sorry, I'm quite new here and as I see everyone else does the same with any scenario larger than a days worth of a job on a nearly random map. So I thought this is the general practice.
Don't take it seriously, it's just that there is absolutely no requirement to write "Project Announcement" in the title if you want to announce a project. You would be totally free to write "Brand New Scenario" as well, or anything that makes clear that you introduce a new project.
Mr Wednesday
Cavalier
(id: matty12345)
posted 03-02-09 04:13 PM CT (US)     12 / 36       
Don't worry, I'm not serious, just that this seems to be the new fad in SD

"And Matt is a prolific lurker, watching over the forum from afar in silence, like Batman. He's the president TC needs, and possibly also the one it deserves." - trebuchet king
Hell Sinky
Squire
(id: Commander Scipio)
posted 03-02-09 04:23 PM CT (US)     13 / 36       
Whenever I start a project, I will start "Project Announcement:" just for you.

"Scipio is more charismatic than you are." -Rocking Doom
"Scipio ... narcissistic ... overly arrogant cuckold ... noble souls and gentlemen, ... spare a second ... basic and ennui existence ... feeble pleasure ... his life more bearable ... monotony of stoic reality." *-Scud
"SCIPIO YOU SUN BITCH" -TOAO_Roland
YoshiX100000
Squire
posted 03-02-09 05:47 PM CT (US)     14 / 36       
Does "Annuncio de Proyecto" work for you, sir?

YoshiX100000~AoKH's Official Playtester of All Short, Funny Viking Cutscenes by Varied Equine Species, PhD-Emeritus-Magna-cum-Laude-Esq.
Now in Fuschia!!

"I wish I knew what Yoshi's doing on the roof, especially in winter." ~Sissi
"Yoshi lived up to his name and split into 100000." ~Rocking Doom
TheLaughingMule
Lady Mule
posted 03-02-09 05:51 PM CT (US)     15 / 36       
this seems to be the new fad in SD
Like Val, I'm new so I thought "Project Announcement" was the proper procedure too.
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 04-24-09 01:19 PM CT (US)     16 / 36       
I'm back after an idle period (maybe another, hopefully shorter idle period will come soon), and I've polished some minor things on the first chapter, and uploaded it to the blacksmith(9723).
I don't have playtesters and I don't know where to get some, but if some of you can test and comment it, it would be nice.
Scud
Primus inter pares
posted 04-24-09 01:27 PM CT (US)     17 / 36       
Did you get my email a few weeks ago Val?

¬_¬ Scuddles: Rhymes with huggles© ¬_¬
"Scud: the man who could even make God feel foolish." - A Banned User
"Anyway, Scud's not mean, it's not in his nature...he is a bit eccentric though!" - Anastasia
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 04-24-09 01:46 PM CT (US)     18 / 36       
Did you get my email a few weeks ago Val?
Oops, I have not read it when you sent it, I'm using an e-mail address just for forums which I don't check regularly.
I've read it now, should I still answer, or it's no longer actual?
Sir Twi
Squire
posted 04-24-09 01:58 PM CT (US)     19 / 36       
I was thinking that creating a one-map giant mission with nonlinear storyline would be very difficult
Please don't tell me you're stopping work on that one though! It looked really interesting, especially since I'm also doing a large free-roam RPG scenario at the moment.
Scud
Primus inter pares
posted 04-24-09 02:00 PM CT (US)     20 / 36       
I've read it now, should I still answer, or it's no longer actual?
I think it still applies as you have only realesed the first chapter. Reply anyway and then I'm sure I can use it somehow.

¬_¬ Scuddles: Rhymes with huggles© ¬_¬
"Scud: the man who could even make God feel foolish." - A Banned User
"Anyway, Scud's not mean, it's not in his nature...he is a bit eccentric though!" - Anastasia
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 04-24-09 02:49 PM CT (US)     21 / 36       
Reply sent, thanks for the offer.
Guthan
Squire
posted 04-24-09 03:38 PM CT (US)     22 / 36       
I like the PROJECT ANNOUNCEMENT xD
Great title.

No seriously. Doesn't sound that bad. Good luck with it!

Retired, old and senile.

Thread Destroyer of April 09 - Popeychops
I was jealous of your guitars at first. Now I'm jealous of your awesome room. Jerk. :(
And it's on a friggin towel? so you're WIPING YOURSELF DOWN WITH SEXY WOMEN AFTER SHOWERS?! WHAT KIND OF MONSTER OF AWESOME DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? - Aro
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 04-24-09 06:15 PM CT (US)     23 / 36       
Please don't tell me you're stopping work on that one though! It looked really interesting, especially since I'm also doing a large free-roam RPG scenario at the moment.
I'm still planning to do it sometime in the future, but I need to learn the limits of myself and the editor, before starting such a work. I did the first quest and some scenery, but I didn't like it. I'll start over when I polished my skills a bit and will have more time.
Tanneur99
HG Alumnus
posted 04-26-09 05:44 PM CT (US)     24 / 36       
Dtrungle
Squire
posted 04-27-09 01:51 PM CT (US)     25 / 36       
You have skills in the editor, that's for sure.

1. You went with a simple look, it was perfectly fine and fed my eyes enough. There might be a few spots where the terrain could have been mixed a bit.

2. I played it on Moderate. I'm not skilled in these types of games so I had to 'hit-n-run' most of the battles. The first time I played, I just rushed in and failed miserably.

3. Names don't matter much to me as long as I can read it and understand it. There were spelling/grammar mistakes here and there, but you already said there would be. Maybe someone can go through and fix it up when you are finalizing it. The Victory page was kinda messy looking to me and some of the words were cut off on the right side. I'm not sure if it's my screen though.

4. Like Dead_End suggested, 'I suggest that raising the alarm will only send all those troops at your army.', this would make it more realistic, and the fact that their shear numbers would likely pummel your units. Lastly, I did not understand why your units disappear when you head back to town. Can you explain that?
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 04-27-09 04:12 PM CT (US)     26 / 36       
Thank you for trying it out.
After uploading it, I found some typos, and the "history" text was not displayed. There was not even an introduction page or how do we call it, it jumps straight to the map. Does anyone know what was wrong?
1. You went with a simple look, it was perfectly fine and fed my eyes enough. There might be a few spots where the terrain could have been mixed a bit.
There were two areas intentionally left undecorated: The courtyard where the ceremony will be held, and the area where you first meet with your men. The ending was planned to be there with the large army and everything, but I moved it as text to the victory page. When I return to this map to fix some bugs, I'll try to decorate it a bit more. As for the simplicity of the castles, it was intentional. (They are just small mountain castles, more manors than castles)
2. The first time I played, I just rushed in and failed miserably.
So it seems to be important if one knows the map and knows what has to be done. I managed to beat it on moderate without any casualties (or just losing one man, don't remember).
3. The Victory page was kinda messy looking to me and some of the words were cut off on the right side. I'm not sure if it's my screen though.
It seems that sometimes the scrollbar goes over the end of the text. I think I'll add line breaks manually.
4. Like Dead_End suggested, 'I suggest that raising the alarm will only send all those troops at your army.', this would make it more realistic, and the fact that their shear numbers would likely pummel your units.
I thought sending all those troops there by raising the alarm would be unrealistic, as the alarm would certainly not be louder than the fight itself. Besides, after starting the fight in the camp, some time later all the other surviving enemy troops will come in regardless.
I'm still thinking on a better solution.. maybe, for example, removing the archer surprise attack bonus, or it isn't enough to do the quest for?
Lastly, I did not understand why your units disappear when you head back to town. Can you explain that?
One of the heroes says at the crossroad, that "No one shall return home until we finish our job!" So those who still return, are deserters. It's even displayed in the hints. I did all this to stop the player from inching through the game by going back to heal in the castles after every little skirmish. Maybe an invisible barrier would be a better solution?

There is something else quite hard in making a campaign cantered on a storyline: how easy is for others to fully understand what's going on? I know the story I would like to tell, but don't know how well can the players keep up with it. The same goes for puzzles and even instructions/hints.

[This message has been edited by Val the 2nd (edited 04-27-2009 @ 04:34 PM).]

AoK Legend
Squire
posted 04-27-09 11:26 PM CT (US)     27 / 36       
Great work! This is a good map, especially for a first campaign. As for the pre-game instructions, did you select a background for it under the cinematic tab? The map is well designed and I like how you didn't use too much eye candy. It can sometimes be very distracting in maps if there is too much eye candy. The large amount of info on the victory page was kinda annoying. No one likes to read too much. It would be better if you could turn this into a part of a cutscene or something, and this would also make the story a bit easier to understand. The story is still pretty easy to follow as it is now, though, so don't worry about it too much. Also if you run short of ideas on how to tell the story, just use a cutscene: it will keep the player's interest and be easy to understand. As far as the guards and alarm thing goes, I found the idea interesting and that part quite fun to play. I agree with you that it makes the player have to think and plan an attack. I had to attempt that part a few times before I finally split my army into a few groups and managed to take down the guards quickly.

Overall, this is an excellent start to what looks like a great first campaign. Keep up the good work!
Dtrungle
Squire
posted 04-28-09 12:13 PM CT (US)     28 / 36       
There was not even an introduction page or how do we call it, it jumps straight to the map. Does anyone know what was wrong?
I'm not familiar with this, I think you need to add a bitmap or something. As for the History page, you need words in the History tab in the editor for it to appear.
I managed to beat it on moderate without any casualties (or just losing one man, don't remember).
Was this done by using hit-n-run?
I thought sending all those troops there by raising the alarm would be unrealistic, as the alarm would certainly not be louder than the fight itself. Besides, after starting the fight in the camp, some time later all the other surviving enemy troops will come in regardless.
I'm still thinking on a better solution.. maybe, for example, removing the archer surprise attack bonus, or it isn't enough to do the quest for?
After thinking about it, it makes sense. Raising the alarm would cause the hostages to be slayed, and so you lose. Just keep it as it is. But, maybe you can alter it so that 'during' the battle, after a few minutes or w/e, the enemy would start attacking the hostages.
One of the heroes says at the crossroad, that "No one shall return home until we finish our job!" So those who still return, are deserters. It's even displayed in the hints. I did all this to stop the player from inching through the game by going back to heal in the castles after every little skirmish. Maybe an invisible barrier would be a better solution?
Oh, I didn't notice that part. You can keep it the way it is, just change ownership of the units and task them back into town, and then remove them from game. It wouldn't look nice if the player had LOS there and their units just dissapeared.

I understood the story and everything. You did a good job. The map was perfectly fine for a short intro scenario.
viperiv
Squire
(id: EpIc CoMmandeR)
posted 05-03-09 08:54 AM CT (US)     29 / 36       
Val can you pop me an email please?
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 05-05-09 01:49 PM CT (US)     30 / 36       
The large amount of info on the victory page was kinda annoying. No one likes to read too much. It would be better if you could turn this into a part of a cutscene or something
At first I was thinking about it, but it would have been too long and actionless for a cutscene. I usually prefer reading them as a story, but you are right, not everyone appreciates it. I might turn at least some part of it to a cutscene, it's hard to decide, because the narrator cannot be used so effectively. The story told in the ending will be crucial to understand later events, so if the only way to "force" the player into reading it is turning it into a cutscene... I guess I'll have to try it.
Was this done by using hit-n-run?
In a small part yes, but it was mostly about strategically placing the units and coordinating the attack by protecting the horse archers and using the two heroes.
But, maybe you can alter it so that 'during' the battle, after a few minutes or w/e, the enemy would start attacking the hostages.
This is what happens. It is not the alert, but the death of the prisoners that triggers the defeat. Thanks for the idea however, I could just delay the attack with a second or two, for inpatient players to be able rush in and surround the prisoners, sacrificing their strategical advantage.
Val can you pop me an email please?
I would like to, but how? Is it a way to send a private message to someone on this forum? (I don't see any address to send e-mails to)


In these days I won't be too active here because of work and study, but I'll try to continue it when I'll have a bit more time.
viperiv
Squire
(id: EpIc CoMmandeR)
posted 05-05-09 01:58 PM CT (US)     31 / 36       
Email me at neverendingdarkness[at]live.co.uk
Scud
Primus inter pares
posted 05-05-09 05:44 PM CT (US)     32 / 36       
I'm sure you all saw it yesterday, but Val's project is this week's edition of the Work In Progress Spotlight. Good work Val.

¬_¬ Scuddles: Rhymes with huggles© ¬_¬
"Scud: the man who could even make God feel foolish." - A Banned User
"Anyway, Scud's not mean, it's not in his nature...he is a bit eccentric though!" - Anastasia
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 05-05-09 05:58 PM CT (US)     33 / 36       
Thanks for the nice review, Scud
I was so busy the last few days (sadly, not by working on the campaign, but I'll try to resume work on it), I noticed only after you post here.

I was not meaning to be rude (I assume just irony from your part) by not telling the book's title. I know about no translation of it, at least not online (the author's most known novels have been translated, however), and the online translation would take away all the ironical humor present in the novel, not mentioning the spoiling of some of the twists.

If you, however, are very-very interested, here it is: http://mek.oszk.hu/00800/00843/html/index.htm
At least it might generate some "all your base" jokes
TheLaughingMule
Lady Mule
posted 05-06-09 01:05 AM CT (US)     34 / 36       
Good review/interview Scud, glad to see Val get the spotlight.
Haroth
Squire
posted 05-06-09 01:08 AM CT (US)     35 / 36       
All the more reason for me to make another contribution to my download list. !

Judiciously show a cat milk, if you wish her to thirst for it.
Judiciously show a dog his natural prey, if you wish him to bring it down one day.
Val the 2nd
Squire
posted 08-08-09 08:39 PM CT (US)     36 / 36       
I think I'll be able to return, at least for a while, after a long period of inactivity. Thanks for the comments about the first mission, you all helped me a lot with them.

I started the next map by creating the city of Ptolemais (it's called Acre today), but it seems I messed it up, at least I don't like how it looks now. I think I'll start it over from the beginning
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