[mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

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Kasdel
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Kasdel » January 9th, 2018, 7:07 pm

Xalzar wrote:AFAIK religion was a subject to avoid in Wesnoth.
That's what I thought. It still feels weird to avoid it, since it's a pretty natural (and somewhat inevitable) part of societal development. I can understand why it might be a sensitive topic, though it's not like it hasn't been dealt with before in nearly every fantasy medium in a plethora of ways, ranging from mystical, friendly gods whose existence is pretty much proven to deceptive cults. I can understand why we might not want to associate the Dunefolk with religion, but it just seems unrealistic to avoid those things in Wesnoth lore. That's another topic though.
Xalzar wrote:For this reason I keep saying: Khalifate is not okay, Sultanate is.
Wouldn't that create the same issue, if, according to Wikipedia, sultan means "a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate"?
If both caliphate and sultanate can be interpreted fairly literally, though, then both of them can lose their religious/historical connotations (caliphate meaning "realm ruled by succession" and sultanate "realm governed by a ruler with power/authority").
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: Science doesn't explain things except as a side effect. Science is a method of inquiry. In a world with magic, there's no reason why you wouldn't be able to apply the scientific method to magic; and provided magic is self-consistent and predictable, you'd get the same sorts of results that are obtained by science in the real world. (If magic is unpredictable or inconsistent, I'm not sure how science would fare, but my impression of Wesnoth magic is that it is neither of these.)
That makes sense if Wesnothian magic is a natural part of the world. If its origin or the way it works is shrouded in mysticism, then it would be "unexplained by science", but I'm not sure if it's like that. Anyway, there are other reasons why they might not want to use magic (I wrote it all in the spoiler at the end of the post).
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:I'd like to think they're not ignorant of magic; they just choose not to use it.
Yep. If they are experienced in medicine and other scientific areas, then they would have known about magic eventually, just weighed the good against the bad differently than other factions have.
SigurdFireDragon wrote:Dunefolk coming from a different place is justification for them being different from Wesnothians/Loyalists. It is NOT justification for the faction having a complete LACK of recognizable fantasy elements. No flying carpets, no jinn, nothing from 1001 Arabian Nights, no ANYTHING.
I understood what you said. I just didn't completely agree. I think there's enough justification for them to have a lack of recognizable fantasy elements. More on that below.
Cold Steel wrote:And that in turn is something that really bugs me about the dunefolk's puritanical no-magic policy in a world where magic is quite real.

If the dunefolk are a truly rational, scientifically minded people, they would discover magic and use it with wisdom. That they willfully and irrationally turn their backs on something this useful makes them seem like the stereotypical backwards religious people who think technology is a work of evil, in the real world, only for wesnoth's universe where magic fills a similar role.
That could happen. Or it could not. There are different ways different societies can turn out. The dwarves, being all technological and all, have their arcanisters as a closely-guarded secret, but avoid using magic for other things.

Magic is a bit different from technology in the sense that it can have far greater consequences. You can't kill people with digital technology (by which I mean TV, internet, computers, mobiles and stuff like that, weapons aside), but magic can ressurrect and destroy large amounts of people, it can create monsters, launch devastation upon the world (UtBS is an example). It wouldn't be completely irrational or backwards for a faction to forbid magic in its society, in the sense that, yes, they are aware of the benefits, but widespread magic would have greater consequences. They would prefer to dedicate their resources and time to things they know they can control (medicinal, herbal healing, for instance) instead of something as dangerous as magic.
Also, they don't have to be religious at all to want to ban magic. That was my alternate suggestion, and I like it better.

So, as for the magic or no magic debate, here are my detailed thoughts.
Spoiler:

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 10th, 2018, 1:48 am

Cold Steel wrote:And that in turn is something that really bugs me about the dunefolk's puritanical no-magic policy in a world where magic is quite real.

If the dunefolk are a truly rational, scientifically minded people, they would discover magic and use it with wisdom. That they willfully and irrationally turn their backs on something this useful makes them seem like the stereotypical backwards religious people who think technology is a work of evil, in the real world, only for wesnoth's universe where magic fills a similar role.
Hmm, I see what you mean, but I imagine they could still have logical reasons for eschewing the use of magic. Some of Kasdel's ideas sound good in this respect.

Regarding the question of "no religion in Wesnoth", I think it was more an avoidance of clear, direct references to real-world, live religions (by which I mean people still practice the religion). Thus, the replacement of crosses (a religious symbol) with the ankh (also a religious symbol) in the White Mage line (and possibly others). Maybe there's some comments on the forums from years ago to confirm/deny this? Or ask someone who's been around that long.
Kasdel wrote:Wouldn't that create the same issue, if, according to Wikipedia, sultan means "a powerful governor of a province within the caliphate"?
If both caliphate and sultanate can be interpreted fairly literally, though, then both of them can lose their religious/historical connotations (caliphate meaning "realm ruled by succession" and sultanate "realm governed by a ruler with power/authority").
Sultan doesn't carry an obvious religious connotation for me. I think maybe it's a word that initially had a religious meaning but drifted away from the religious connotations.

Conversely, from what someone posted about the meaning of caliph and sultan, it looks like the religious meaning of the former is a connotation. I also think khalifate sounds cooler than sultanate (which in turn sounds cooler than emirate). I think pluralizing khalifate would also enforce a distancing from the religious meaning (where there's only one caliph). Thus, my preferred name for their "nation" is currently "The Khalifates" or some variant thereof.
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Pentarctagon » January 10th, 2018, 7:36 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Regarding the question of "no religion in Wesnoth", I think it was more an avoidance of clear, direct references to real-world, live religions (by which I mean people still practice the religion). Thus, the replacement of crosses (a religious symbol) with the ankh (also a religious symbol) in the White Mage line (and possibly others). Maybe there's some comments on the forums from years ago to confirm/deny this? Or ask someone who's been around that long.
There's this post by Dave(and that thread in general), which I assume is where it originally came from.
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by zaimoni » January 10th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Conversely, from what someone posted about the meaning of caliph and sultan, it looks like the religious meaning of the former is a connotation.
It's denotation in-era (much like the Roman Senate deciding which deceased caesars to declare god-emperors, and Shintoism's designation of Japan's emperor now).

A policy of excluding all references to live religions, is the most fair way to avoid being targeted by orders to be first-degree murdered by those religious factions that do issue such orders -- the most notable being the one that issued the first-degree murder orders on Salman Rushdie.

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by name » January 10th, 2018, 11:16 pm

Kasdel wrote:Magic is a bit different from technology in the sense that it can have far greater consequences. You can't kill people with digital technology (by which I mean TV, internet, computers, mobiles and stuff like that, weapons aside), but magic can..
No one specified digital technology. Nuclear meltdowns, mechanized warfare, strip mining, motor accidents, ocean acidification, carpet bombing, lethal density smog, land mines and legacy unexploded bombs, proliferation of carcinogens, thermonuclear war... These are just some examples of real life consequences of technology.

Technology in the real world has tremendously more potential lethality than magic does in wesnoth's world.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote:Hmm, I see what you mean, but I imagine they could still have logical reasons for eschewing the use of magic. Some of Kasdel's ideas sound good in this respect.
The idea their religion has banned magic would indeed make them backwards.

The idea they just do not bother with it only works if they cannot wield it well or it has limited applications. But we know it has many applications and as humans there is no reason they could not wield it to the same effect as others of that race.

The idea they are afraid of it because they have seen it misused is not logical when you can plainly see outsiders use it to such good effect. And these outsiders will continue to use magic regardless of any ban the dunefolk issue, so it can only put themselves at a disadvantage.
Celtic_Minstrel wrote: Regarding the question of "no religion in Wesnoth", I think it was more an avoidance of clear, direct references to real-world, live religions (by which I mean people still practice the religion). Thus, the replacement of crosses (a religious symbol) with the ankh (also a religious symbol) in the White Mage line (and possibly others). Maybe there's some comments on the forums from years ago to confirm/deny this? Or ask someone who's been around that long.
The more you make a race/faction appear like a real life people or religion, the less you can safely do with them without risking offense. For example, look at how the orcs, saurians or undead are depicted and represented. Imagine if the overall appearance of the orcs strongly resembled a real world culture still around today in some form. How well do you think that would go over?

This is a big advantage of a fantasy setting; things can be whatever fits the game play or story, without worrying about real life associates and the resulting consequences.

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Pentarctagon » January 11th, 2018, 12:58 am

It could also be that the Dunefolk are simply unable to use magic rather than choosing not to use it - whether it would end up explained as being "for unknown reasons", because their ancestors were cursed by a powerful Jinn, or some other reason.
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Eagle_11 » January 11th, 2018, 11:20 am

Just so i have gotten it out of my chest:
If we wanted to add another, different human faction we could have made Outlaws into their own,
if we wanted to add an faction that is good on Sand terrain we could have done an faction of Saurians,
i really do not get the insistence on adding desertfolk into wesnoth default era when we already have the material for creating not one but two different factions that dont need a hundred explanations about why they do even exist and how on the earth do they fit into the setting of Wesnoth at all.

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by loophoc » January 11th, 2018, 8:44 pm

Hi all,
my 2%$ - english not being my native language, i hope that the following will be understandable and hopefully not too offensive :

even if i'm new to the forums, i'm a long-time wesnoth solo payer, and having read a few (often closed) topics on this subject, i haven't seen any valuable reason for changing the initial name nor the units ones.
My main argument is : even the word "khalifate" echoes to something IRL, something extremly unpleasant, not only isn't this echo one of various meanings of "kaliphat" irl today but also : wesnoth is a game that, like a lot of other games, uses our history to feed its own history even if its said history is located "somewhere in the multiverse", not on our Earth.

For those who are playing with etymology, "Khalifate" is one of the many translated derivatives of a word, as it has already been evocated and advocated so many times on this forum, only means something like "the territory ruled by the successor (of X)". Please notice that X can be either a human X or a god X, so it is basically neutral. In a fantasy/fantastic world, we can do whatever we want with it if we don't avoid it.

I would also like to point that the creator of this ethnie has already explained the how and why, and even if it's based on IRL, it's easy to me to understand his path, that has nothing to do with the subject of the current tread and everything to do with gaming as a way to learn, to tickle our curiosity, and maybe open our minds in a way or another.

For me, gaming+fantasy has nothing to do with straightening my believes.

If you're afraid of translating IRL into "poetic metaphors" in the game, it's your choice - i humbly believe that it won't be worth it and that one and more of the main subjects and definitions of fantasy will be missed.

Again, all of the above has already been written in other words on this very forum, that's also why i don't understand the existence of this thread.

Cordially yours,
loophoc

(PS : about race colors, i don't even know where i have to begin - let's resume : i've always found the all-white games visually boring, i enjoy all the tones between superpale white to dark purple black, browned yellow, yellowed browns, greyed burned - only the pale yellowed grey skins of people with diseases like liver cancer or cyrrhosis make me uncomfortable.

About Tolkien, well... his universe belongs to his era : mostly biblic extrapolation and manicheism at its worst, spiced with curiosity about paganism, through very erudite filters like a deeprooted knowledge of the mechanisms of poetry. Worth the reading, not worth the insights.)

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by SigurdFireDragon » January 11th, 2018, 11:33 pm

The purpose of this post is to identify the cause of the reoccurring controversy with the Khalifate (now Dunefolk) faction, and propose solutions to fix the problem so it does not continue to come up and to be solved once and for all.

Let’s start by looking at the big picture and going from there.

The ultimate point of adding a faction to mainline is to add it to the default era.
An ideal version of this development process would receive enthusiastic support and feedback at each stage from developers and players (regular and ladder). Under such ideal conditions, it could easily be completed in less than 2 years.

If we think that a faction that is targeted for addition to the default era has a 0.0% chance of being accepted, then changes need to be made to fix this. If they can’t or won’t be made, then the faction should be removed. Otherwise, what’s the point?

If it is suggested to add this faction to the default era, it should be a smooth process that enjoys the wide support of the player base. If there are protests & complaints when such a proposal is made, it means the faction wasn’t developed properly.

What we’ve had with the Khalifate (Now Dunefolk) has been far from ideal. There have been issues and controversy at various times over the last 7-10 years, seemingly every year or so.

Why do these issues keep occurring? What is the root cause? I think it is that the faction is perceived as being directly inspired by & representing a real-world religion, when there is/was/should still be a ‘no religion’ policy for the game content. Why is it a problem? Because no other faction or game content comes across that way.

People not of that particular religion are likely finding it inappropriate that a religion gets what amounts to a billboard in this game, when no other religions have such a thing.

Why is this faction perceived as being directly inspired by a real-world religion? Well, because it was...
Creator of the Khalifate wrote:I wanted something that had the tradition of the Hamzanama, and other great works in Islamic mythology/storytelling. I wondered what it would be like to have a faithful people, with a highly developed culture, be placed in completely unfamiliar surroundings. In many ways I thought it would parallel the early history of the Islamic people, facing the very same challenges. I want to make this tasteful and faithful to the tradition that it comes from.
(original post here)
...and all the opportunities to embrace fantasy aspects that would modify this perception were missed. (unit names, faction name, proposed backstory, usage of jinn, etc.) People have pointed out all these issues we have discussed here before, but the creator insisted upon it being done his way. The result of his way is a faction being perceived as directly inspired by a real-world religion.

The ideal fix for this is that the faction be reworked so that it is UNMISTAKABLY perceived as having been inspired by Tolkien Haradrim/Arabian Nights/Various Fantasy Sources instead of seemingly by a real-world religion. There are a few ways to accomplish this, here are two:
1. Remove the faction and units from the game and let such a version be developed in the UMC ecosystem. (It seems as if this option is off the table currently.)
2. Make significant & definitive changes to maximize the chances that the faction is perceived as being rooted in fantasy sources while leaving the faction and units in mainline.

Option 2 seems to be what we are doing here, but if we don’t think we can ever establish a greater than 0.0% chance of this faction eventually being added to the default era, that’s a condition under which option 1 should be taken.

For option 2, doing it well suggests at least the following to change the perception of the faction:
1. Rename faction, race, and units.
This is going on at the moment and seems to be going well.

2. Remove or change existing unit descriptions.
Make sure anything that could be construed as a religious reference be removed. If not sure, err on the side of removal. If we want to be very sure, we can just remove all unit descriptions and allow them to be regrown from more fantasy based sources.

3. Completely throw out the originally proposed backstory and allow a new one to grow in its place.
As this backstory has several parallels with the real-world religion and doesn’t do anything to contribute to a fantasy perception, complete removal is best. This ensures maximum room for fantasy roots to grow. To help this along, there can be something in the race description such as “not much is known about the Dunefolk, except that they originated on the old continent and migrated to the great continent by means of a difficult southern route.” This would help kill the originally proposed backstory and allow something else to grow in its place that is more amenable to fantasy elements including jinns, flying carpets and other such things in the faction.

4. Adding new units to the faction to help emphasize the fantasy aspect
A middle eastern fantasy faction without a jinn is like elves that aren’t good at archery & forest living. A jinn would go a long way toward characterizing this as a fantasy inspired faction and not a religion inspired one.
A jinn could be added right now. Just give it a proper unit line with slightly weaker stats so the current faction balance isn’t disrupted too much. Once there, it makes it easier for tweaks to strengthen it to be done, along with any needed tweaks in other units to counterbalance it.

5. One or more of the existing unit lines for the faction may need to get scrapped for allow room for fantasy elements and/or rebalancing.
I get that we want to preserve & use existing work, but such a large course correction is likely to need something being removed. To carry out a complete fix, we need to be open to this possibility.

How will we know we have done a good job of accomplishing a change to how the faction is perceived?
With a fantasy root as a base, the Dunefolk will come across as generically medieval middle eastern fantasy inspired, in the same way that the Loyalists come across as generically medieval European fantasy inspired. We will no longer see random players making statements that indicate they are associating it with a real-world religion. Instead, there will be things along fantasy line of the Haradrim/Arabian Nights type, or of the Dunefolk's own unique fantasy flavor.


To summarize:
The problems stem from the perception of the faction as being based on a real-world religion. This is a violation of the no-religion policy and implicit promotion of a particular religion. Allowing this to continue is unfair to all of our players who are not of that religion. Therefore, the faction needs to be removed or definitively altered so that it is perceived to come from a fantasy background.
The above-proposed courses of action, fully carried out, will restore the ‘no religion’ policy, minimize the chances of continuing controversy with the faction, and maximize the chances of this faction being accepted and used by the players.

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by loophoc » January 12th, 2018, 1:03 am

Thank you for your very extensive answer.

Even if i do not agree with those, I understand most of the reasons of these concerns, but since there are so many things in this game (i won't enumerate : all of this has been listed for years) that could be considered as religious or politic bias, I choose to not follow this path and, sticking with my former arguments, I prefer to gain perspective than to be drowned into such an infinite sink.

So i'll focus on what seems to me the most important : fantasy isn't only a place where one can project his inher self (including his struggles, fears and limits) but rather and merely an opportunity to open roads that aren't dead ends.

The example of "Khalifate" being discussed that way here seems like a pile of defeats - on its top, the corpse of fantasy impaled with the flag of a bunch of insane terrorists who, among other destructions, would have privatized this word.

All of the above may sound emphatic to you, so : my apologies but i haven't found a more accurate description.

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Pentarctagon » January 12th, 2018, 2:00 am

Also, more practically, despite being in mainline for ~6 years, the Khalifate were not really improving at all:
  • They still don't have a race description.
  • They have no mainline campaign or lore.
  • They lack animations, and all but one lack a portrait.
  • The unit descriptions are rather small and flavorless.
  • Their balance is, to my knowledge, widely considered to be poor compared to the other mainline factions.
  • They are used in, comparatively, very few add-ons.
I do agree with a lot of what SigurdFireDragon stated above regarding their religious connotations and that they don't fit in with the rest of Wesnoth; but the simple fact is that, as they are, they are not progressing towards becoming a better and more polished faction.
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Celtic_Minstrel » January 12th, 2018, 2:13 am

Eagle_11 wrote:if we wanted to add an faction that is good on Sand terrain we could have done an faction of Saurians,
For the thousandth time, the saurians are not desert creatures...
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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Eagle_11 » January 12th, 2018, 11:37 am

Celtic_Minstrel wrote:
Eagle_11 wrote:if we wanted to add an faction that is good on Sand terrain we could have done an faction of Saurians,
For the thousandth time, the saurians are not desert creatures...
Saurian have high defense on sand terrain. :p

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by Kasdel » January 12th, 2018, 3:00 pm

SigurdFireDragon wrote: People not of that particular religion are likely finding it inappropriate that a religion gets what amounts to a billboard in this game, when no other religions have such a thing.
I'm definitely not religious and definitely not bothered with this. Basing ourselves on a religion is not the same as promoting it. I think the people who would be more bothered by religion in Wesnoth would be religious people, but that's a different matter.
Wesnoth is not my game, and if there's a "no religion" policy, that's fine. I personally wouldn't have it if I had created it, but I certainly haven't, and if someone wants to deal with religious issues, it's not like they can't do it in UMC, so, again, that's fine. There are still many, many ways the Khalifate can be developed that don't include direct religious references.

What we shouldn't do is mistake religious references with historical ones. History is not religion, religion is just a small part of history.
IMO, it's better to base ourselves on real-world history than on fantasy authors that have based their works on real-world history, while still adding fantasy elements that are realistic in the Wesnoth context.
SigurdFireDragon wrote:The ideal fix for this is that the faction be reworked so that it is UNMISTAKABLY perceived as having been inspired by Tolkien Haradrim/Arabian Nights/Various Fantasy Sources instead of seemingly by a real-world religion.
Inspired, though I think we should strive to elevate it above the usual fantasy clichés. There are tons of options, fortunately. The fact that the Khalifate were inspired by real-world history/religion gives us a different, unique background to work with.

IMO, Wesnoth is at its best when it's not directly imitating Tolkien and classic high fantasy. UtBS is an example of that; desert elves on a post-apocalyptic fantasy world? That's a really exciting, rarely seen premise. The after the fall UMCs where some of the best experiences I've ever had with the game, for good reason, too. It's not common. It's fresh, it's unique, and that's what makes it so good. And it still fits with the Wesnoth world. (Even the alien-like shaxthal.) The same can be said for BMR, the primeval and khthon; they fit really well, even though they're UMC factions on an alternate-history version of Wesnoth. They are extremely unique, that's for sure.

Mainline is relatively generic (which, of course, isn't a problem, as long as it's well-executed like it is in Wesnoth), but that doesn't mean it can't fit with less generic factions.

An Arabic faction that's not an Arabian Nights clone and that goes well with the rest of the world has the potential to feel fresh and not out-of-place. And for that, of course, it needs lore. That's the problem with the Khalifate right now; they don't seem to belong with the other factions, and I wouldn't say it's because of the lack of classic fantasy elements. Just because they don't have any lore nor known interactions with the other factions, so, say, an elves vs Khaifate matchup would feel weird; a faction full of lore and story against one against one whose lore isn't even merged with the Wesnoth timeline? That's why a mainline Dunefolk campaign would be important and just some descriptions would go a long way.

Also, I don't think making them Arabian Nights-based would help them fit in with the rest. In my view, it would make them seem even more far apart, different, belonging to entirely different worlds with entirely different manifestations of magic, like EoMA feels. Oath of Allegiance executed it very nicely, though. But I've only played a little bit of it, so I can't really say for sure.
SigurdFireDragon wrote:3. Completely throw out the originally proposed backstory and allow a new one to grow in its place.
As this backstory has several parallels with the real-world religion and doesn’t do anything to contribute to a fantasy perception, complete removal is best. This ensures maximum room for fantasy roots to grow. To help this along, there can be something in the race description such as “not much is known about the Dunefolk, except that they originated on the old continent and migrated to the great continent by means of a difficult southern route.” This would help kill the originally proposed backstory and allow something else to grow in its place that is more amenable to fantasy elements including jinns, flying carpets and other such things in the faction.
I really like this backstory and I think it would give us a lot of potential to work with and an explanation for the cultural differences. That's probably the first thing we need a consensus on: their backstory/origin. Maybe a nice campaign about it could be made: I can almost imagine the Dunefolk army crossing a huge, magical, bridge over the water on their way to Wesnoth, while it crumbles beneath them. An epic battle on the bridge and in the water would ensune, the magical, monstrous energy of the Old Continent's final stand to keep the Dunefolk from leaving... ;)

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Re: [mainline] Renaming Khalifate for Wesnoth-ian identity

Post by name » January 12th, 2018, 6:16 pm

Eagle_11 wrote:i really do not get the insistence on adding desertfolk into wesnoth default era when we already have the material for creating not one but two different factions that dont need a hundred explanations about why they do even exist and how on the earth do they fit into the setting of Wesnoth at all.
Yeah, the khalifate has always been a solution in search of a problem. Default era is not improved by its inclusion since default already has the drakes (in terms of gameplay) and the loyalists (in terms of theme).

If there is room in default era's fairly delicate and precise balance for a seventh faction, a much more thematically fitting/interesting and easily balanced one created from scratch could very well be completed sooner than trying for years more to hammer the square peg of khalifate into the round hole of default era.
Pentarctagon wrote:I do agree with a lot of what SigurdFireDragon stated above regarding their religious connotations and that they don't fit in with the rest of Wesnoth; but the simple fact is that, as they are, they are not progressing towards becoming a better and more polished faction.
I have never understood or liked the decision of making khalifate mainline but it has been made quite clear repeatedly by the previous generations of forum authorities that it is against the rules to express any such opinion. And I respect the rules. Only now with this policy of censorship lifted a bit have I said much of anything on the subject. But you cannot motivate people to volunteer time improving something through censorship. So the true unpopularity of the faction maybe is being evidenced by its relative lack of (volunteer) development.
SigurdFireDragon wrote:The ideal fix for this is that the faction be reworked so that it is UNMISTAKABLY perceived as having been inspired by Tolkien Haradrim/Arabian Nights/Various Fantasy Sources instead of seemingly by a real-world religion. There are a few ways to accomplish this, here are two:
1. Remove the faction and units from the game and let such a version be developed in the UMC ecosystem. (It seems as if this option is off the table currently.)
2. Make significant & definitive changes to maximize the chances that the faction is perceived as being rooted in fantasy sources while leaving the faction and units in mainline.
Based on the negative response by the pro khalifate portion of the community in these recent topics to changing the faction theme to any meaningful degree, it is not so clear they would prefer significantly modifying the faction to fit default era over un-mainlining it so that it returns to the UMC ecosystem in one piece, pure and unaltered. So maybe option #1 should not be considered off the table unless someone with final say so and commit rights is still dead set on keeping it mainline.

There may be an option #3 though too. Which is to rename "default + khalifate era" to "experimental era" and add into it the most popular or balanced UMC factions along with khalifate. So now default era can keep its theme and standards of quality while stars of the UMC community can get more exposure (not only khalifate). And then these two mainline eras never need to be merged, they can remain separate forever with one focused on consistent ideas and other on "fresh" ideas for factions. Each new development cycle, factions can be added and removed from "experimental era" based on their merits versus those in the wider UMC ecosystem. It seems like those who are pro-khalifate also tend to be pro-UMC in general, so they may actually be in favor of expanding the spotlight to include other favorite UMC factions.

I am not a huge fan of this option #3 idea myself, but maybe such a compromise would keep this whole thing from dragging out into another decade.

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