Script Advice/Critique

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Script Advice/Critique

Postby kantus » July 21st, 2016, 11:01 am

Hi all,

Following my reading of ESR's campaign-writing guide, I was inspired to start my first real campaign. Following his advice, I've storyboarded the missions in advance of making them. Could somebody help me critique these? I get the distinct feeling that my own writing style is very wordy, and I think it's likely that I'm overwriting, but it's always difficult to accurately criticise your own work. :eng:

If the answer is yes, how should I go about doing this? Private Message, posting the text inside a spoiler on this forum, etc?

Thanks,
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Dugi » July 21st, 2016, 11:38 am

Just start here, so that most people can see it. I recommend you to start with a quick overview of the story. It's the best way to avoid stuff like plot holes, deus ex machina, diabolus ex machina or Mary Sue.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby kantus » July 21st, 2016, 1:12 pm

Hmm, well, alright then. I'm rather worried that my ideas will seem rather tawdry outside my own head, but if it'll make it better in the end, it's worth doing. I've probably over-written, but here goes nothing:

The campaign is titled "The Desert Scorpion".

One of the fundamental conceits that I'm employing is that the Dulatus Hills (south of Weldyn) are on the border of a desert, and that this desert stretches southwards for hundreds of miles, until it reaches a country that I'm going to simply call "The Southlands". This is an arid place, filled with deserts and (in more temperate regions) savannahs and other dry grasslands. I haven't decided on an exact date, but since it involves events that'd probably be noted in Wesnothian history books (even if only as a footnote), it'd probably be best to place it in a period that isn't well-covered already (certainly post-EI, and possibly post-SotBE). I'd like to tie it into Wesnoth if possible.

The plot structure goes like this:
Spoiler:
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Dugi » July 21st, 2016, 3:01 pm

Okay, nice story, a few things you might want to consider (changing, elaborating or explaining somehow):
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby kantus » July 21st, 2016, 4:55 pm

Heh, thanks man. I'll do my best to address your concerns:

Spoiler:


Thanks for your help!
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Dugi » July 21st, 2016, 6:19 pm

Some more thoughs:
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby kantus » July 21st, 2016, 8:51 pm

Spoiler:


Thanks for all your help. And by the way, the "11 battle scenarios" idea comes from the Campaign Design Guide, which was made by ESR (creator of THoT for mainline), but that admittedly was just his opinion. As for me, I'll probably stick to as many scenarios as I can comfortably come up with, without the plot feeling either rushed or dragged-out.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Dugi » July 21st, 2016, 10:01 pm

Always pleased to help with stuff like this, I like shaping stories.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Whiskeyjack » July 21st, 2016, 11:38 pm

Hey kantus,

I haven´t read all your discussion with Dugi but just wanted to drop the following link: https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.ph ... 49#p546149.
I´m not sure if you based your concept on this or not (as you write of a desert south from the Dulatus Hills), but the last map of the starting post shows the map of The South Guard which happens to show that Wesnoth expands it´s influence south-west of those hills in form of the Province of Kerlath, while the desert lies southeast. This is shortly before Eastern Invasion (see also timeline at Age of Fear).
You could include this into your campaign (even if it´s just mentioned offhandedly in some way) to tie yourself more strongly into cannon, while a strict reading of a "desert [that] stretches southward" would go against cannon here. AFAIK there are no infos on the southern province after TSG, so you have all the freedom to answer questions like: Reached Mal-Ravanals undead those lands? If not, was perhaps the prosperous land in the south(west) and it´s people a major factor in the rebuilding of Wesnoth (which mainly lay in ashes after that war) as mentioned in the timeline part for The Silver Age? Who are the people in the Dulatus Hills? Defaldors Memoirs mentions villages at the (I think northern) edge of the Hills, but I think that is the last inclusion of that landmark in mainline - perhaps the people of Kerlath ventured east to the southern end of the Dulatus Hills and the edge of the desert in later times and also opened settlements there? It seems pre-Kerlath Fort Tahn and the Dulatus Hills marked the southern border of the kingdom (this is speculation on my part, but it would open up to include previous scenario).

Good luck with your campaign work, always great to see people making something new!
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby James_The_Invisible » July 22nd, 2016, 2:31 pm

Dugi wrote:Despite being the author of one of the most popular campaigns, I've never heard of that rule. I usually hit around 15 scenarios per campaign/chapter.

Esr says that in his guide in section "It's simpler than you think". There is a link to it in Scenario & Campaign Development section of these forums.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Whiskeyjack » July 22nd, 2016, 5:40 pm

Well, lets just say that those are ESRs subjective opinions. They are not based on large scale surveys of player behaviour and their preferences. You should not outright disregard his view, as he was a seasoned campaign maker and strongly involved with Wesnoth(community), but you also shouldn´t give to much weight to those numbers either. If 9 or 10 scenarios works better for the story you want to tell then feel free to go with that ;)
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby James_The_Invisible » July 22nd, 2016, 8:04 pm

You are indeed right, I also do not strictly follow that. I just wanted to tell where that "rule" might come from.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby kantus » July 24th, 2016, 11:45 am

Thanks for all the help, guys. I've got a question, though - what's the normal practice when develpoing scenarios? Should I mostly-develop the whole campaign, and then allow people to playtest them, or should I let people playtest them as I complete them (or in batches?).

P.S. I know this is the Writing Forum, rather than the Campaign Design forum, but I think it's best to stay within the same thread.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Sudipta » July 24th, 2016, 3:45 pm

Most UMC makers create a few scenarios, playtest them, and then upload it to the addons server, hoping others will playtest it and provide feedback. Based on that, they make changes, and release new scenarios. That is, its done in batches. It's very rare to see anyone upload a fully developed campaign suddenly, most are works in progress.
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Re: Script Advice/Critique

Postby Dugi » July 24th, 2016, 3:50 pm

Sudipta wrote:Most UMC makers create a few scenarios, playtest them, and then upload it to the addons server, hoping others will playtest it and provide feedback. Based on that, they make changes, and release new scenarios. That is, its done in batches. It's very rare to see anyone upload a fully developed campaign suddenly, most are works in progress.

This approach comes very handy when you decide that you need to make some small story changes to the earlier scenarios to make some stuff later in the story fit better. Those who have already played through it will think that the story makes no sense. Other changes may corrupt all older save files and force enthusiastic players to replay the whole thing which is a test of fidelity that everyone will enjoy.

Another great advantage of this approach is that the author will take his time working on the later scenarios, wait for tests of the first ones, keep improving them and lose interest before finishing the campaign. Ice Age Fun, Antar, Son of Rheor or Shadows of Deception bear witness what an awesome development hell comes out of this approach.

Another massive benefit is that the players will remember that your campaign is a work in progress even if you manage to complete it. You cannot rename it to show that it's now complete, few people read the forum to learn of it and few pay attention about the versions. You may even get reviewed it as a work in progress and your complete campaign will be forever marked by the WiP stain.
Last edited by Dugi on July 24th, 2016, 3:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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