[DEVELOPMENT] Campaign 4 Development Thread

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milo christiansen
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by milo christiansen » 14 Apr 2011, 20:39

I think worrying about new units now is a little premature, but if you like go ahead.

I fixed my problem. For the curious --mod_ca=mod DOES NOT WORK :stressed: you have to use --mod=mod instead (thanks Flail :wink: )

I downloaded the newest set of maps and as soon as i opened the full size map I noticed a BIG problem. The big map is the only one that will be used for the cam. To make the maps for the different missions all you do is recompile the main map with different scroll limits. The point I'm getting at is the main map must show the unit and building placement AT THE TIME THAT PART OF THE MAP BECOMES ACCESSIBLE, any changes like the units that spawn in at mission three must be done in script.

Basically the HQ and group of units in the UL corner have to go and the transport crash site has to be re-added.

Also it would be easier on the scripter if locations where specified in tile coordinates instead of world coordinates. World coordinates are just tile coordinates * 128 so it easier to work with tile coordinates. No need to change the existing mission docs, but new ones should use tile coords.

Otherwise the mission docs are clear and easy to read, so far all the information I need is there and easy to find.

I'll upload a set of testing scripts (No AI) in a few days (I hope :P )
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 14 Apr 2011, 21:37

Ok, I'll combine everything that belongs on the main map ONTO the main map. The reason I did them separately was to show the starting state of each of the areas relevant to the mission as I thought they should be. Sorry for the confusion.

The HQ I added into the UL corner was so I could run basic checks and tests for each area. Making sure things were pathing properly, etc. Guess it slipped past me to remove them.

And my apologies for using world coords. It was my understanding that in the script, coordinates needed to be expressed in world coords rather than tile coords.

So, I guess I'm asking if you need me to re-do the main map with the crash site and everything as it should be at the start of each mission?

Oh, and Mission 6 is almost ready for upload.

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by milo christiansen » 14 Apr 2011, 21:53

Goth Zagog-Thou wrote:And my apologies for using world coords. It was my understanding that in the script, coordinates needed to be expressed in world coords rather than tile coords
For most functions they DO need to be in world coords, but for the scripter its easier to use tile cords * 128. Sorry if I came across a little strong :)
Goth Zagog-Thou wrote:So, I guess I'm asking if you need me to re-do the main map with the crash site and everything as it should be at the start of each mission?
Yes. I do use the small maps to get the scroll limit numbers and for telling where I'll need to spawn in enemies, but for future mission it would probably be easier for you to put that info in the mission doc :wink:
Goth Zagog-Thou wrote:Oh, and Mission 6 is almost ready for upload.
eek! I better hurry up I only have missions 1-3 roughed out (no AI) and I haven't done any testing yet.
I Must. Work. Faster. :lecture:
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 15 Apr 2011, 04:41

Nah buddy, work at your own pace. I'm fixing up the main map in accordance with the above criteria. :P I'll place NEXUS forces for each mission where they belong so they can be scripted for spawn-in.

Mission 6 is all done. I'll upload it with the updated main map. Overview for missions 7-10 are forthcoming.

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Rman Virgil » 15 Apr 2011, 08:05

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Progress, it's a wonderful experience to behold. :D Thanks to you guys & your high caliber efforts.

A simple suggestion to mull over....

You know how in the original campaign when any victory condition is not met you get the "Mission Failed" and the experience is suddenly cut short, out of your hands, and you must start over....

Well what if instead the experience continues and triggers an escalating postal opposition that only ends when the player is totally wiped out ? 'Course the player can capitulate on their own at any time.

Just a thought to minimize the glaring artificiality of the original mechanic.

On my end - going through my process which often entails 20-30 variants before I get to something I'm reasonably satisfied with. Works for me and, believe it or not, I enjoy the process even though from the outside looking in it may strike many as grossly inefficient. And I've also got my previous commitments well enough in hand so that I am now able to switch to this effort readily and immerse myself in it without worrying about the other stuff.

Timing, it's crux in most anything we come to value as enduring, memorable and touched by grace. :hmm:

- Regards, Rman. 8)
.

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by milo christiansen » 15 Apr 2011, 18:00

Changing the scripts to use a postal AI wouln't be that hard, but I think that it would be better to do it the conventional way at first and change it later when everything is done. That way you can use whatever version you want :wink:
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 15 Apr 2011, 21:47

The continued experience after failing a mission wouldn't be hard to do. Victory and failure conditions are easy to change. I personally disliked that aspect of the original campaigns, where you have to reload from a save point automatically. I'm sure something can be figured out. ;)

I'm still doing final battle NEXUS testing for the last mission. I've cooked up an idea which I think will surprise everyone (in a good way). It's worthy of being called an 'epic' battle. I also think I have the 'magic formula' figured out for balance, finally. Of course, to *achieve* that balance some concessions had to made in the players' favor, but it fits into the story I have in mind so that's fine. Let's just say that The Project will find a new ally in the least likely of places... so that's Missions 7-11.

I've decided on 13 missions for the campaign. That seems to work out the best, story-wise, as well as for scripting. Aside from some dialogue stuff and miscellaneous things, they shouldn't be too involved scripting-wise either.

So, that's the progress report thus far. :D

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Rman Virgil » 19 Apr 2011, 06:18

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Thanks guys. I truly appreciate the open-minded input to the suggestion. :)

------------>

I've stopped myself on the music creation front while I still had some perspective to select a couple of apt samples from the plethora of variations on a theme I've been working out. I can get obsessive in these music modes. :shock:

I'll zip-up 2 samples and send you the DL via PM l8r this evening.

In brief...

One sample represents the aforementioned dramatic narrative through music. It's labeled "Story" & is made up of several movements that can be taken apart & aptly triggered. Most of the movements can be expanded & also looped. The basic narrative follows this simple pattern: the lead up to conflict, the battle, the aftermath.

The second sample (labeled "Loop") is just one movement at an even slower tempo, built out of mainly minors to create an atmosphere that is not as specific as the first sample and thereby intended to be looped without any tight linkage to the narrative pattern mentioned.

Just a frame of reference offering to get the dialogue of creation going. :hmm:

Now back to the voice work.
Sgt. Gibbs should sound like he's on military-grade communications equipment (like VTOL units do)
I too like that voice SFX of the VTOLs when they are called in for a sortie. I'm trying to imagine how that would sound with the far greater amount of dialogue for Sgt. Gibbs. I'm not sure, which is why, like I said earlier, I think you should do the mix from unprocessed voice recordings which I'll now turn my focus to. My variants on this end will be purely different readings as one would do for dramatic effect in an acting audition, with no electronic processing on my end.

So that is what I'll be focused on next (Sgt. Gibbs, Mission One Brief, variant readings) along with some map analysis I need to get to this week.

As for the NEXUS voice - I really have not given it any deep attention because I feel I need to get a solid handle on the Sgt. Gibbs characterization first for they will surely be a highly contrasting dyad. :3

Took a while longer than I anticipated to get my WZ "sea legs" again. I had moved on the beginning of the year to VRG development & didn't think I'd ever contribute any WZ stuff again. This project (& an other recent ongoing commitment) have brought me back to active involvement and it's a good thing. :D

- Regards, Rman. 8)
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 19 Apr 2011, 07:05

Nice Rman. Glad I've pulled ya back in. :D

I've had a couple of days to really lock down what I wanted for the final battle mission. It'll be in two parts - and both are difficult. However, I'm finding myself at odds with what I want to do versus what logic and appropriateness dictate. Having something of a dual mind lets me appreciate aspects of game creation that tend to be otherwise lost upon designers.

For example: I want the final battle missions (called "The Head of the Serpent" and "The Tail of the Dragon" ) to be epic, 3 1/2 hour tales of perseverance and victory. This is at odds with logic, since a battle lasting 3 1/2 hours (or more! ) can and probably will get tiresome and frustrating for the player. In testing, on Easy mode, NEXUS can and WILL defeat you. Further in, it becomes a slow, grinding war of attrition where no headway can be made in one direction or the other. Logic and moderation says that no player will endure 3 1/2 hours+ of pure frustration.

I've ended up designing a scenario that I can't defeat without using power and research cheating -- and what's more, on easy mode. The newly-finished campaign map (I finally did something interesting with that bottom 1/5th of the map, and it's spectacular!) favors neither player nor AI. The stock AI is doing things I didn't expect, attacking from vectors I didn't even SEE until it happened. And the AI WILL defeat you if you aren't paying full attention.

So I've got a quandry -- go with the "Hard Mode" as-is, appealing to the "hardcore" WZ player, or scale it back a bit and go with "Medium-Easy". I'd like community input on this matter, and rather quickly -- the map is ready for scripting and there are some slight changes which our Scripting Team needs to be aware of before proceeding past mission 6. I still have overviews to write for 7-11 as well as revisions for missions 1-6.

@ Rman: Go ahead and do your voice work unprocessed. I'll add the processing and submit them back to you for review. I expect at least two revisions of the processing work before we agree that they are ready, so feel free to be creative if you have any ideas. :D I'm currently working on the "new ally" voice sets as a breather from the map and mission stuff. I think you and everyone else will be pleased with what I've come up with.

@ Milo and Flail13: The current status of the main map is "beta" stage, as I said above I'm balance testing still and getting missions 7-11 ironed out. I need to revise the missions 1-6 overviews to include any scroll limits and extra notes also. Missions 1-6 aren't really any different than before, so whatever you've done should be good to go. Real-life is demanding some attention so work hasn't progressed as quickly as I want. I'm getting the work sorted as best I can. :P I ask for some patience. I'm still sharing a computer with my roommate, and he gets anxious if I'm on more than four hours at a stretch, hehe.

Check you fine folks out later.

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Rman Virgil » 20 Apr 2011, 05:06

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A quickie heads-up guys....

Check-out Jorzi's all new design for a medium transport - it's fab :D:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7068&p=80294#p80294

I'll come back later and respond to your last post Goth. I can relate to the balance quandary. :3

- Regards, Rman. :hmm:

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 20 Apr 2011, 06:35

Hmm, my post didn't take. Darned water-damaged internet lines..

That looks great. Really great. The stuff I have in mind for mission 11 calls for a transport of some type, and currently it's a Cyborg one (since that's all there is atm). That will do nicely. :D

I ran into another issue -- this one concerns an apparent hard limit on structures that can be controlled by the game. It's strange, like the AI is suddenly confused when it was fine before and can't / won't build Oil Derricks. Is there an issue where if an object ID is over a certain number that the game won't build any more?

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Rman Virgil » 20 Apr 2011, 12:42

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.................> On Balance Quandries:

Your solution is viable & none of what follows is intended to imply otherwise. Think of it merely as a complemetary adjascent possible worth mulling over.

.................> (Rman proceeds to cogitate aloud. Fair warning, that. ;))

Balancing is a core task that has taken me months to get right in past projects & near driven me mad to distraction in the process of trying to apprehend its system dynamics of feedback loops & emergent behaviors.

In that process I also came to appreciate, unexpectedly & in the starkest terms, that WZ has 2 distinct audiences (mostly the twain never meet) and that serving both in one project was an unreal goal.

Our audience is not hard core MPers who, generally speaking, do not like playing with NPCs and prefer creating their own uncomplicated narrative by the seat of their pants with their buddies. Our audience is mostly non-MPers, who much prefer Campaign & SP Skirmish, relish immersion in complex, interactive, narrative and thoroughly enjoy going up against imaginatively constructed NPC offensives within that compelling narrative.

We bring 2 qualities to the table as designers, imagination & nerve, to deal with the triad that makes up game play balance which in turn I see as the dynamic tension between Fun, Frustration & Replay Value (articulated on a meta level).

Bringing this down to practical considerations, the key out of the quandry of Frustration for me was Replay Value and the way I took was giving the player more than one path to victory (that additional path could be frought with much opposition without being overwhelming & all triggered, natch).

Specifically, if the player had the cool courage & calm wherewithal to risk exploring a tactical retreat to possibly find a more favorable position to re-trench and carry the fight forward - they would be rewarded with such a position in the map level design. (This also equates in RL martial terms with achieving discipline over being lost & out of control in a blind blood lust ending in defeat. Going the road of a blind blood bath being a hard-wired cognitive trap that places all the primal survival instinct in an adrenaline basket which can work sometimes in RL but definitely not in game like WZ.)

I also remember this:
"Playing a game is a voluntary effort to overcome unnecessary obstacles."

- Bernard Suits in "The Grasshopper.."

- Regards, Rman. :hmm:
.
Last edited by Rman Virgil on 21 Apr 2011, 03:28, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 21 Apr 2011, 02:30

Status Report (20-4-2011):
-------------------------------

- First track of the new music uploaded for SFX Team review.

- Voice sets still being planned. Much more work to be done in this regard, and will most likely be the final work performed. A small preliminary amount of the voice work has been done for testing purposes. :D

- Final version of the main campaign map still undergoing balance and stress testing. It's getting there, slowly.

- Mission overviews for Missions 7-13 underway. Missions 1-6 still undergoing revision and additional notation.

- Scripting work is well underway! :lecture:

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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Rman Virgil » 21 Apr 2011, 04:19

.

Thumbs up on your ruins.ogg. :3

PMed an idea for a FMV that struck me while listening. :ninja:

Gave me some inspiration as well for music on my end - need to lower my tempo even further, do my percussion with a drum kit rather than guitar & bass techniques and compose with more rests (or punctuated silence).

Any how... on to Sgt. Gibbs. :)

- Rman :hmm:
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Re: [Renamed] Goth's Campaign 4 Development Thread

Post by Goth Zagog-Thou » 21 Apr 2011, 04:31

That's right folks, the first music track is called 'In The Ruins'. it's .ogg format (we believe in open standards here folks! :D ). Still some more tweaking to be done with it, but it's almost ready for prime time. :)

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