New eras in Wesnoth

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What should we do?

Add the Imperial Era now!
11
79%
It is a good idea, but we don't need it now. Let's wait.
2
14%
The art/balancing/download burden added it too large. We shouldn't do it.
1
7%
 
Total votes: 14

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turin
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New eras in Wesnoth

Post by turin » March 10th, 2006, 1:33 am

Here's an idea that's been in the back of my head for some time.

What if we added an era to the official version of Wesnoth? I'll take, as an example, the Imperial Era, both because it is relatively complete (all factions have at least minimal art, and it has five new factions, instead of just being a faction created to introduce one new faction) and because I maintain it, so I'm biased towards it. ;)

Now, I will list what I see as the pros and cons, in order from most important to least important.


Reasons for:

+ In general, more content, if it is good content, is good for the game.
+ It adds more factions to official, which a lot of people want, without cluttering up Default and making it impossible to balance.
+ It will (probably) lead to the era that gets added being more balanced, meaning it is more fun for all the people playing it.
+ It gives campaign designers more to work with without having to make their campaign take up more space. In essence, you are standardizing the download, so people download the era once instead of downloading it from the server several times, bundled inside of each campaign that uses the units.
+ It gives those who don't visit the forums a better idea of how the Wesnoth universe is set up. It would kind of suck for a new player to download Wesnoth, not visit the forums, and create a bunch of content that directly contradicted all of the work that's been done on the forums. For example, they could make a bunch of factions located on the Old Continent, never knowing that the Imperial Era basically defines what is located there. It would be, at best, a huge hassle to integrate said new creations into the Wesnoth world consistently and without pissing too many people off.
+ It rewards the work of contributors, making them more likely to continue contributing, and removes the impression that some have gotten (at least, I know I have gotten it) that the content of the game was determined by how early in the development it was proposed, not by its worth. (A good example was the campaign situation, but that has thankfully been fixed in SVN recently.)


Reasons against:

- It adds a HUGE burden to our artists. Either we: accept that the graphics for the new era will be inferior to those of the default era (i.e., not as well animated, the units themselves are comparable to Wesnoth art circa 0.7, not 1.1, etc), or dilute our focus graphics-wise, bringing the new era up to current standards but not improving the current graphics to the level Jetryl envisions.
- It adds probably around 2 MB to the size of the download, and that number will only increase with better art.
- It will be a large burden on the multiplayer devs, although not an unbearable one.
- It can be argued that we should add new factions as new campaigns are made official that use them, not vice versa.
- It can also be said that, although this is a decent idea, we just don't need it now, and thus shouldn't expend energy on it. Maybe in six months, or a year, or two years.


My opinion

Obviously many of those reasons against are very valid. Especially the art problem. Face it - no user made content (and I mean NONE - even the wild elves and dark elves, while up to the standards art-wise, aren't completely animated) could be added to official without adding to our artists' workload.


Still, I think that we should do this. If not now, soon. The art and balancing problem could be solved by accepting that the graphics and balancing will not be complete, labelling the era as *under development* (as opposed to the default era, which should be considered *complete*), and (possibly) only including it with the unstable release. Personally, I don't find the download increase significant enough to take notice of. It's 5 MB, tops. (The current Imperial Era takes up 3.2 MB.) That's less than the addition of one quality piece of music. But, obviously, I'm biased. ;)



What do other people say?
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Eleazar
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Post by Eleazar » March 10th, 2006, 2:57 am

I don't play MP much so i don't have much aquaintance with the Imperial Era.

I think the main question is: is the Imperial Era currently fun to play? Are they good factions?
If the answer is "yes" the download, and unfinished state of the images is irrelevant.


We're at the very early stages of the journey to 2.0 now is the time to add unfinished, unbalanced work.

Wesnoth art will probably never be complete. I don't expect having the I. Era will be a big drain on our art resources, since nobody will be forced to work on anything, and without campaigns the I. Era factions will continue to garner much less attention than the "default" Era. It could theoretically allow opportunities for new artist that aren't (yet) quite good enough to improve on 1.1.1 standards but can do better than 0.8.

Personally, i find an era of all-human factions less interesting, but others may have a different perspective. If the devs think this Era has potential, let's add it.

Another issue that should be addressed is one of control. Adding I. Era to mainline will also lead to a lessening of control over the faction by the designers. Not a bad necessarily a thing, but something to be aware of.
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Re: New eras in Wesnoth

Post by Eleazar » March 10th, 2006, 3:06 am

turin wrote:...and it has five new factions...
i just downloaded it and there were only 4 factions. The ardenians were commented out. do these all "work"?
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Post by JW » March 10th, 2006, 3:49 am

Hmm...I think the Imperial era has potential to be official soon, for the reasons you stated above. I haven't played the latest version or two, but from what I saw they still needed to be balanced for MP across factions. I'd be happy to take a look at the latest version (with Arendians hopefully?) and play around with them to help you out in that regard. Also, concerning the art, I'm not sure what the requirements would be to make the devs want to include them with the main download, but I think meeting the Wesnoth standard for standing images is probably more of a priority than creating animations in that regard.

Could you direct me to the latest version of the era please? Eleazar has implied that the one on the server is indeed not the latest.

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Post by Ranger M » March 10th, 2006, 4:15 pm

The Arendians work on my laptop when I try them, although I remember turin having some problems with them at some point, and I don't know if he fixed the problem.

I just wish I could get the new art looking right :( then I would have a update to make.

EDIT:of course I want them added for two reasons (which make me biased) one, my faction is in there, and two it would reduce the size of the IoA download

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Post by Neoriceisgood » March 10th, 2006, 6:21 pm

Once my exams are over I'll show you what an awesome custom era will look like.
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Post by turin » March 10th, 2006, 6:25 pm

The Arendians will work if you uncomment the lines. I just did that because.... well, I don't remember why. :?


Anyway, the mono-racial quality of the Imperial Era may be getting changed soon. I dunno. (Examples: I've been considering adding the Sidhe Elves, although I haven't actually done anything in that direction, and there have been proposals for an orcish gladiator faction.) The question is more a theoretical one - is adding a new era a good idea? Personally, I think adding the Imperial Era is a good idea, but it needs a lot of improvement first - improvement that I can hopefully do over spring break. I don't think the IE is ready now, but soon - very soon.
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Post by Alks » March 10th, 2006, 6:47 pm

I guess I'm the first person to vote for waiting. I agree with you, turin - it still needs some time, however the idea of adding eras as variants would be more than suitable. I don't want to repeat everything you told, but as far as art is concerned - not even the quality, but also the specific style of some factions should be concerned, Aragwaithi are the one of the examples. Nicely done, beautiful, but still un-Wesnotish. However, to the point. STILL, Art is not the priority. Factions contained in Imperial Era are fully playable, managed to evolve into unique concepts requiring different tactics.

As I see it, the day when IE will be decided to be added to Wesnoth, should be the month before adding. But it should be added.

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Post by JW » March 10th, 2006, 6:54 pm

Turin: fix the problems so that I can play them all on the download and I will help playtest for balance. I don't feel like editting stuff before I can use it. :wink:

(My Shifters are like that currently. :wink: )

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Post by turin » March 10th, 2006, 7:10 pm

JW wrote:Turin: fix the problems so that I can play them all on the download and I will help playtest for balance. I don't feel like editting stuff before I can use it. :wink:

(My Shifters are like that currently. :wink: )
Aye aye.
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Post by turin » March 10th, 2006, 7:46 pm

Well, 0.8.1 is on the server now (1.1.1 only) and you it contains the Arendians. Have fun.

But discussion about the balancing of the Imperial Era should continue in the Imperial Era thread. This one is about adding the era assuming it is already basically balanced...
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Post by Disto » March 10th, 2006, 8:35 pm

Neoriceisgood wrote:Once my exams are over I'll show you what an awesome custom era will look like.
Or you could just make it a uber good era (*hint hint* Marauders *hint hint* ;))
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Post by Eleazar » March 10th, 2006, 10:26 pm

turin wrote:Well, 0.8.1 is on the server now (1.1.1 only) and you it contains the Arendians. Have fun.

But discussion about the balancing of the Imperial Era should continue in the Imperial Era thread. This one is about adding the era assuming it is already basically balanced...
If the factions in IEra are good ideas, seems like the finishing touches for balance would be best done after adding to the trunk- now.

If the IEra factions (or some of them) aren't judged to add something unique or worthwhile, then adding them to mainline should be postponed untill they can be fundimentally improved.
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Post by turin » March 10th, 2006, 10:29 pm

Well, I had a half-hour-long discussion with noy and the other MP devs, and they said, basically:


1. They're not against adding the Imperial Era, but we should get it more balanced before it is added.
2. We should add the era by degrees. First add three factions, get them balanced, then gradually adding the rest of the factions. They say that will make it easier to balance.
3. They had some specific suggestions regarding the Lavinians and the Marauders, which are two out of the three factions I want to start out with. (The other is the Wild Elves, which I don't yet have permission to. ;) )
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Post by Noy » March 10th, 2006, 11:16 pm

I'll just clarify point #2 so its easier to understand.

On a purely balancing basis, starting out with three factions will allow us to create a working factional balance easier than if we started out with lets say 5. When a factional balance has been created, we can add in factions tailored to the balance, and isolate where changes will have to be made in the other factions to accommodate them. Its a lot less chaotic than if we had to do it all at once.

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