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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » Scenario Design and Discussion » The Designer's Tavern IV - Ask questions and discuss scenario design!
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Topic Subject:The Designer's Tavern IV - Ask questions and discuss scenario design!
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HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 07-04-15 04:56 PM CT (US)         




Welcome to the Designer's Tavern! After switching owners twice before and undergoing some time-consuming renovations, the tavern is now in our capable hands. Who are we? That's a good question! We are HockeySam18 and Mr Wednesday, your benevolent oligarchs hosts! Established by SonicShadow in 2005, taken over by Matt LiVecchi in 2009, and passed on to Lord Basse in 2010, the tavern is a place for the SD&M community to sit down, relax and have a sip of an imaginary pint of ale. This is the place for general discussion on scenario design; talk about whatever you want as long as it's related to scenario design, downloads in the Blacksmith, and the like. If you want to say something totally unrelated to scenario design, the Town's Crier is a fine place to go to instead.



Seminars_on_Designing_and_Trigger Tricks

Have a new discovery you want to share with the world? A design trick, a good way to design a fortress, or a trigger system? Perhaps you feel the need to address what you think is a problem with designing? Contact us via email or post a reply with the article! It doesn't have to be something brand new, but it shouldn't be something of common knowledge either, like "A Guide on Painting Water on your Map" (though that can propagate some interesting discussion in of itself)! Write a paragraph or three, add a screenshot and send it off, and we'll make sure it gets up here.

Past seminars:


Designing a realistic forest, by HockeySam18

Current seminar:

Utilizing off-grid placement to its full potential, by Mr Wednesday




Off grid placement is the most powerful tool to come along since Data editing. I opened AoKTS three times when doing my PTC entry, compared to hundreds or thousands of times when doing The Quiet Dawn. While all the effects I used in Smile No More (and that screenshot) were technically possible before, the simple truth is no one would ever have done them. When covering the Asian monastery to get only the statue, I could select trees that had the exact shape as the outline of the statue (or close enough) and essentially just paint over the stuff I didn't want. To do that once with AoKTS would have taken probably a couple days. I did it in dozens of spots.

Designers haven't really picked up on the full power of this yet I don't think. AoK has always had a very limited set of graphics, and we use the closest approximation to represent everything we don't have.

Except now, people need to start thinking of all the graphics as just 2D images. If any part of a graphic can represent what you want, or any combination of parts, you can make it happen. In that screenshot, the obvious choice for a treehouse is the Outpost. The sea tower is the next thing you logically think of. But the best looking part might be the Archery range, which is a perfect example of using one quarter of a graphic or less, and essentially making the rest disappear.

The only thing that matters anymore is the front image essentially, which consists of whatever parts are showing from all the images.

I'd caution that 99% of this is depth perception, so watch the shadows, where the bases hit the terrain, etc. Make sure there isn't anything showing that breaks the illusions you are creating.



Playtesters and Other Requests:

Feel free to ask here, I will add your request to the topic post if it doesn't get fulfilled quickly. Go ahead and link your project thread as well if you like!



Help with AI Scripting for Custom Scenarios

For anyone struggling with AI scripting, this tool by Jan dc allows you to generate a competent AI tailored specifically to the needs of your custom scenario.



Current Projects and Screenshots:

We'd love to see screenshots and hear teasers from your current projects or whatever you've felt like working on. Feel free to post them and we'll start up a list below!

- Storm on the Steppe - by HockeySam18

- The Battle of Senc Tor - by Aristeides

- Wrath of the Traibs - by Possidon

- Aethelflaed Modification and Campaign - by Mash

- Paradise Lost Remastered - by Devastator

- Pirate's Treasure - by PresterJohn

- Barbarossa - the campaign - by Paul_TD



Tavern Staff:
Owners - HockeySam18 and Mr Wednesday
Patron and Resident Viking - Leif Ericson
President of the Board - Dead_End
Board Members - Popeychops and John the Late
Chef - Major Helper

"Hot" Barmaids:
Prester John
Miathemother

Menu:
Steak and ale pie
Rack of lamb
Grilled venison
Roasted iron boar
Spam
Vegetable medley
...

Drinks:
Glass of wine
Pint of ale
Bucket of ale
Tub of mead
Cider
Tea
Coffee
Guarana

~ Forgotten Empires ~

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjálfr it sama; ek veit einn at aldri deyr, dómr um dauðan hvern." - Hávamál 77.

[This message has been edited by HockeySam18 (edited 07-27-2017 @ 08:49 AM).]

AuthorReplies:
SafeKeeper
Squire
posted 09-20-19 09:46 AM CT (US)     1611 / 1640       
Much appreciated .
MrMew
Huskarl
posted 01-16-20 07:51 PM CT (US)     1612 / 1640       
What would be the best way to place something half constructed? Like would I have to place the foundation first and then do something else or is there another way to do it?

Time of Tea
Still in the Dark Age
Don't be a melodramatic clown. ~Mr Wednesday
Julius999
Imposter
posted 01-17-20 04:04 PM CT (US)     1613 / 1640       
It's a right pain to do. Short of data editing or graphical mods, the only way I know of is to use a Place Foundation trigger, then have a villager nearby to work on it for a few seconds, and then remove that villager and make sure the player which owns the half-built structure doesn't have any other villagers.

1010011010
[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
Member of Stormwind Studios
andi03
Squire
posted 02-11-20 11:04 AM CT (US)     1614 / 1640       
How exactly were these 'stairs' made? They confused me even when I tried dissecting them.

Basse
Squire
posted 02-11-20 12:29 PM CT (US)     1615 / 1640       
Bridges stacked on top of each other would be my guess
andi03
Squire
posted 02-11-20 03:11 PM CT (US)     1616 / 1640       
Tried that, couldnt manage to get them to be this close
Julius999
Imposter
posted 02-11-20 03:41 PM CT (US)     1617 / 1640       
They are definitely bridges. You can get them that close by using the AoKTS tool.

I'm not sure that AoKTS works with DE. If it doesn't, then then the only way is to map-copy the bridges from a scenario made in an earlier version of the game which is compatible.

1010011010
[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
Member of Stormwind Studios
HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 02-11-20 03:48 PM CT (US)     1618 / 1640       
The original version is from the latest PTC winner. Mr. Wednesday, the author, can confirm for certain, but my guess is that it was either done in AoK Trigger Studio, where you can edit the positioning of any object on smaller metrics than the ingame scenario editor allows, or through the use of an edited data file.

Julius is right regarding DE--until the community-made tools are updated to support DE, the only way to replicate this particular trick in DE there is to map copy it from a scenario made on an older game version.

~ Forgotten Empires ~

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjálfr it sama; ek veit einn at aldri deyr, dómr um dauðan hvern." - Hávamál 77.
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 02-11-20 05:43 PM CT (US)     1619 / 1640       
If I'm not mistaken they also need elevation underneath to produce the illusion of walking uphill.

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Kataphraktoi
Squire
posted 02-13-20 04:25 PM CT (US)     1620 / 1640       
Blank messages are not allowed.

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel

[This message has been edited by Kataphraktoi (edited 02-13-2020 @ 04:38 PM).]

Filthydelphia
Squire
(id: Al_Kharn the Great)
posted 02-14-20 05:25 PM CT (US)     1621 / 1640       
I often get confused on the effects of the population attributes so I ran some tests to get everything straight.

For all these tests, I set Pop Limit to 50 via the Players tab and placed two houses. I'm going to refer to this starting situation as 0/10/50. In other words, 0 population used, 10 housing room from the two houses, and 50 maximum.

Pop Headroom.
This is basically the resource that houses provide. If you add 10 to Pop Headroom, you will have 0/20/50. The pop limit is unchanged but you now have 10 more housing room.

Bonus Population Cap
This modifies the pop limit, sort of like the Goth bonus. If you add 10 to Bonus Population Cap, you will have 0/10/60. Your pop limit has increased, but the other values remain unchanged.

Current Population
This is the strangest of the three and the least intuitive. It uses population as if you have units AND increases your housing room. If you add 10 to Current Population, you will have 10/20/50.

Filthydelphia Creations
Tristan & Iseult ~ 1st Place (tied), 2014 Historical Scenario Design Contest
City of Peace ~ 2nd Place, 2014 Minigame Competition
Dragon's Head, Serpent's Tail ~ 2nd Place, 2016 Defend the Spot Competition
Ragnar's Raids ~ 2nd Place, 2016 Historical Scenario Design Contest
Complete Campaign Collection
Kataphraktoi
Squire
posted 02-22-20 01:50 PM CT (US)     1622 / 1640       
Yo hammister, so over in the review of your Dandolo I kinda hammered the mapping hard especially on the water, but giving constructive criticism in a review format is difficult. Below I am going to do a before and after of an important coastline in your first scenario, the far right\eastern TC position. Hopefully you can take this as constructive criticism and not tearing-you-into-small-pieces-and-feasting-on-your-inards-criticism and find this usefull in some way.

Screenshot:


So this spot is pretty important because the player can settle near here, will have docks here, and will likely spend lots of time around here fighting off enemy fleets etc. There are a number of issues that make this map design a bit ugly to look at, and I marked them on the image.

1. These small patches of single tile water look quite odd. Generally when terrain mixing you want to avoid leaving single tile 'islands\spots\patches' like this.

2. Boxy shapes, this is quite bad because what we want is organic, natural shapes. Its very rare to find such a perfect looking box in real water, I think. Erosion and wave patterns would create something with more rounded shapes.

3. Huge areas of single terrain. This isnt even the worst of it, because on the far left\western position there is a swathe of water1 so big it almost fills a 1920x1080 display. This looks poor.

4. Streaky mixing. This looks bad because there are multiple straight lines moving in parralell here, and again its not an organic shape that natural erosion and currents depositing sediment would create. There could be something underneath like rocks, and sometimes rocks are in straight or linear patterns sure, but portraying that concept is a bit advanced and requires more mixing skill. The problem is the player knows there is a grid, and can see a grid. Seeing terrain affixed to a mathematical grid reminds the player that this is not an organic shape and breaks the immersion by reminding him he is looking at a video game.

There are a few other points to consider but that is sufficient for now.

So, I went into the editor and made two alternatives that I believe are the way to go here. However I should point out there are obviously many ways to do water that looks good besides these two options.

option 1:


This first option is the classic play it safe route. Note how water only connects to other water that is one level above or below it;eg shallow only touches medium, medium only touches shallow and deep, and deep only touches medium and deep2. Use some Azure along the coast in little bits to indicate extremely shallow areas. Break up large areas of shallow water with 2 or 3 tiles of medium water. Vary the edges to avoid gridlike patterns. This first option looks good and is quick and easy to implement.

option2:


This second option is a bit more wild, but you could take it even further especially in the shallow areas. This time we are putting shallow near deep water which can look a little strange, and it does here, but its interesting so its somewhat viable if you prefer a more chaotic look. Note that we have no boxy shapes, no huge areas of single terrain, no streaky mixing. There are single patches of one tile in this style but they are carefully worked in and examined to make sure they look OK.

What you want to do with water is create a difference between values. Meaning that on the screen the player should see it go from brighter to darker to darkest just about anywhere on the map. This can be difficult in the CD version since there are only three water types, but HD Edition has five so it becomes far far easier to do good water. I would try to have a goodly amount of atleast three water types if not all five visible just about anywhere you pan the mouse. In the deepest areas far from shore sometimes you just have deep1 and deep2 visible and it gets simpler, thats OK.

Alright, I was going to do the other coastal TC position and also some land terrain mixing, but honestly this took a wee bit longer than I really thought and I need to wrap it up here. Hopefully you found this helpfull, and like I said in the review, check out my Mediterranean Pearl on the smithy, as it contains a decent amount of good water terrain in there to examine.

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
Hammister
Squire
posted 02-23-20 08:29 AM CT (US)     1623 / 1640       
Yo hammister, so over in the review of your Dandolo I kinda hammered the mapping hard especially on the water, but giving constructive criticism in a review format is difficult. Below I am going to do a before and after of an important coastline in your first scenario, the far right\eastern TC position. Hopefully you can take this as constructive criticism and not tearing-you-into-small-pieces-and-feasting-on-your-inards-criticism and find this usefull in some way.
I have just read your review of "Dandolo" and I would like to thank you for the very detailed feedback. I think the 3.8 is fair - some people seemed to like the campaign a lot and others told me it was too easy for them.
Regarding the map design- I think a few parts of the map have turned out quite well (hey, you have to be proud of your own work sometimes!) - but then of course there is always room for improvement.
I will take a closer look at your suggestions and try to implement them in my next project. I always had a bit of a struggle with water - no matter what I did, it just never looked natural. On a side note- my girlfriend took a look at your two screenshots and just said: "This is a Michelangelo!"
Kataphraktoi
Squire
posted 02-24-20 01:23 PM CT (US)     1624 / 1640       
I have just read your review of "Dandolo" and I would like to thank you for the very detailed feedback. I think the 3.8 is fair - some people seemed to like the campaign a lot and others told me it was too easy for them.
Good to hear it. And yeah, someone who found the campaign more appropriate to their skill level could certainly find it more enjoyable. If such a someone posted a second review it would be good, but its hard enough to get even one review on your file these days.
On a side note- my girlfriend took a look at your two screenshots and just said: "This is a Michelangelo!"
lol! Thank you!

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 02-25-20 01:37 AM CT (US)     1625 / 1640       
From a reviewing perspective, I thought it was excellent. Detailed feedback abounded and the balanced focus in the analysis between strengths and aspects that needed improvement was textbook...and then, to take the discussion to the forums and draw up an illustrative post for the designer's benefit is nothing short of exemplary. For a moment, I was reminded of when I first started posting here many years ago and folks like Panel, Lord Basse, and Mash made this sort of thing the norm. Great stuff

~ Forgotten Empires ~

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Deyr fé, deyja frændr, deyr sjálfr it sama; ek veit einn at aldri deyr, dómr um dauðan hvern." - Hávamál 77.
Kataphraktoi
Squire
posted 02-29-20 01:13 PM CT (US)     1626 / 1640       
I can be a Nice Guy, when I try extra hard

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
GL252
Squire
posted 03-02-20 12:31 PM CT (US)     1627 / 1640       
Hello there!

Does anyone know how to use the 'Play Sound' effect in DE? Is it taunt numbers? Names of the sounds? Is there a list available somewhere?

Check me out on Steam: GL252 I'm very slowly building a scenario and eyecandy map portfolio.
andi03
Squire
posted 03-04-20 12:43 PM CT (US)     1628 / 1640       
Is there anyway to make Shallows not to create Beaches? I was thinking of replacing beaches with another terrain through trigger studio after placing the shallows, any other method?
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 03-04-20 01:42 PM CT (US)     1629 / 1640       
The only thing I can think of is doing the reverse, using Trigger Studio to change the terrain of individual tiles to shallows, which doesn't create any beaches. You have to be very careful not to place any new terrain nearby, though, as that brings out the beach terrain automatically. Unfortunately UP/HD don't have the new beach type selection that DE has.

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi

[This message has been edited by Lord Basse (edited 03-04-2020 @ 01:44 PM).]

Julius999
Imposter
posted 03-04-20 06:10 PM CT (US)     1630 / 1640       
Perhaps I have misunderstood. But, if not, isn't it as simple in DE as de-selecting the checkbox that places beaches terrain? In AoK HD, it is as simple as using the keyboard shortcut to be able to place terrain in a way that avoids automatically placing any other terrain.

1010011010
[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
Member of Stormwind Studios
andi03
Squire
posted 03-05-20 01:44 PM CT (US)     1631 / 1640       
Is there such a "button"? Never had an idea if so, also yes I'm asking about HD here.
Julius999
Imposter
posted 03-05-20 04:39 PM CT (US)     1632 / 1640       
Hmm. Well, I thought so, but I don't use HD very much at all. I was under the impression that the Ctrl+B shortcut that was introduced by the UserPatch a few years ago (which enables the free placement of terrain without beaches) also applied to HD.

If I'm wrong about that, I guess you could place it in the old version and then open the scenario in HD.

1010011010
[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
Member of Stormwind Studios
Kataphraktoi
Squire
posted 03-06-20 01:09 PM CT (US)     1633 / 1640       
In HD Edition you can only do with loading a UP scenario in or by using trigger studio. Either way, if you place new terrain anywhere near the rigged terrain, it will revert. You can still put down trees and stuff.

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

"Hard work is evil. Bitmaps are stupid. Working on a scenario for more than one afternoon is stupid. Triggers are stupid. Testing your own scenario is stupid. The world is stupid. You are the Greatest." -Ingo Van Thiel
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 03-28-20 12:44 PM CT (US)     1634 / 1640       
Possibly a silly question, but is there a way to get rid of the constant blackness in text boxes in UP? Whenever I type something in, I can only see the text for a fraction of a second before it goes completely black.

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
rewaider
Squire
posted 03-28-20 05:17 PM CT (US)     1635 / 1640       
Yeah, I've had this problem already, it's quite annoying indeed.
The only way I could find was to change it to windowed mode.


It has something to do with newer versions of windows I guess... (correct me if I'm wrong)

The Fall of Hummaria -- Teaser [4.2] -- Project's Thread
Cavern Pirates -- The Treasure Hunt [4.6] -- Captain's Revenge
My Blacksmith

[This message has been edited by rewaider (edited 03-28-2020 @ 05:18 PM).]

Julius999
Imposter
posted 03-28-20 05:26 PM CT (US)     1636 / 1640       
There is a way to reduce the annoyance, although it doesn't avoid it altogether. I think it was NowhereT who told me. If you place your cursor so that it overlaps the edge of the textbook you should be able to read it normally.

1010011010
[ All_That_Glitters | Pretty_Town_Contest | Other_AoK_Designs | AoE_Designs ]
Member of Stormwind Studios

[This message has been edited by Julius999 (edited 03-29-2020 @ 04:48 PM).]

Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 03-28-20 06:12 PM CT (US)     1637 / 1640       
That does work from time to time, or it's extremely sensitive to where you place the cursor. Writing huge amounts of dialogue is still a pain, though.

__[]_________
|||||||||||||||||
The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 03-30-20 11:40 AM CT (US)     1638 / 1640       
Thanks to Jineapple on the AoKH Discord, I've now solved the issue completely. All you have to do is check the "enable windowed mode" checkbox when installing UP, which has the added benefit of making it easier to switch in and out of the game.

__[]_________
|||||||||||||||||
The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
rewaider
Squire
posted 03-30-20 12:37 PM CT (US)     1639 / 1640       
That's what I just said lol
Jk, forgot to said that it was a setup procedure and not some ingame setting (which it usually tends to be)

The Fall of Hummaria -- Teaser [4.2] -- Project's Thread
Cavern Pirates -- The Treasure Hunt [4.6] -- Captain's Revenge
My Blacksmith

[This message has been edited by rewaider (edited 03-30-2020 @ 12:37 PM).]

Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 03-30-20 01:19 PM CT (US)     1640 / 1640       
Oh! Sorry, I missed that entirely!

__[]_________
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The ||||||||||||||||| Hus
OF | [/ \] |¯| [/ \] | ME
______________________________________________________________________________ |__ _ |¯|____|_______________________________________________________________________________
The Relics of Athalën (5.0) | AoK Opus - 95,000+ downloads | StormWind Studios | "I consider the conversion of Basse to be one of the great triumphs of my modding crusade" - Matt LiVecchi
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