Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design flaws

General feedback and discussion of the game.

Moderators: Forum Moderators, Developers

User avatar
Aldarisvet
Translator
Posts: 767
Joined: February 23rd, 2015, 2:39 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Aldarisvet » April 22nd, 2016, 8:08 am

Pentarctagon wrote:Not to mention that there isn't currently any particularly good way to know how good an add-on campaign is without actually playing through it.
I would say the same about mainline. I had prejudice about add-ons campaigns before I tried enough of them and now I have prejudice about mainline campaigns (still not finished some of them and have high hurdle to try more now).

Actually there is some way to assess quality without playing - to check campaign's units sprites at Wesnoth units database by clicking 'Campaign' section on the left menu.
http://units.wesnoth.org/1.12/mainline/ ... nline.html
It will not say anything about storyline, but if an author using good quality sprites in his UMC, that is a positive signal.
facebook.com/wesnothian/ - everyday something new about Wesnoth
My campaign:A Whim of Fate, also see Zombies:Introduction single map campaign
Art thread:Mostly frankenstains

oaq
Posts: 45
Joined: July 21st, 2011, 4:45 pm

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by oaq » April 22nd, 2016, 11:03 pm

kjn wrote:
  • [The mainline campaigns] have a much higher visibility than the addon campaigns, both in-game and out-of-game; ie newcovers to Wesnoth are far more likely to start with the mainline campaigns and judge the game based on them
  • They set the standard in quality and content for the addon campaigns
  • It can be quite hard to find the good addon campaigns; there are many of them, many are unfinished, and the quality is quite varying
For information, has anyone with broad knowledge of addon campaigns ever tried to prepare a release of selected, popular campaigns of reasonably high quality? If someone had, such a Wesnoth Extras release would probably interest me.

(Of course, I understand that no one is going to prepare and release Wesnoth Extras merely because I have asked for it. I lack time to do it myself. However, just in case someone had already wanted to try this, why, I thought that it couldn't hurt to encourage him. I would install Wesnoth Extras if it existed.)
Last edited by oaq on April 23rd, 2016, 12:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
beetlenaut
Developer
Posts: 2390
Joined: December 8th, 2007, 3:21 am
Location: Washington State
Contact:

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by beetlenaut » April 23rd, 2016, 12:49 am

I've never heard of anything like that, but it's a really good idea. I would download it. It would take a lot of work though. I think it would actually require a team of people to play through such a large number of campaigns.
Campaigns: Dead Water,
The Founding of Borstep,
Secrets of the Ancients,
and WML Guide

User avatar
shadowm
Site Administrator
Posts: 6575
Joined: November 14th, 2006, 5:54 pm
Location: Chile
Contact:

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by shadowm » April 23rd, 2016, 12:57 am

How would you manage updates made to individual campaigns comprising an add-on pack like that?
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

Velensk
Multiplayer Contributor
Posts: 3987
Joined: January 24th, 2007, 12:56 am

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Velensk » April 23rd, 2016, 2:32 am

It might be easier to do with campaigns that are already linked.

It is a good idea though, assuming you have the time to properly develop it.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."

User avatar
Pentarctagon
Forum Administrator
Posts: 4056
Joined: March 22nd, 2009, 10:50 pm
Location: Earth (occasionally)

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Pentarctagon » April 23rd, 2016, 8:13 am

shadowm wrote:How would you manage updates made to individual campaigns comprising an add-on pack like that?
It could be done in a sort of round about way. The actual "Wesnoth Extras" add-on would just be a sort of dummy add-on, with all the actual campaigns to be included listed as dependencies to it.
99 little bugs in the code, 99 little bugs
take one down, patch it around
-2,147,483,648 little bugs in the code

User avatar
Aldarisvet
Translator
Posts: 767
Joined: February 23rd, 2015, 2:39 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Aldarisvet » April 25th, 2016, 12:18 pm

oaq wrote: For information, has anyone with broad knowledge of addon campaigns ever tried to prepare a release of selected, popular campaigns of reasonably high quality? If someone had, such a Wesnoth Extras release would probably interest me.
I suggested same thing some time ago.
viewtopic.php?f=6&t=43990&start=15#p595715

Actually there are 2 things needed for this:
1) If we are going somehow to include this 'Best UMC pack' as an option (for downloading) in Campaigns menu, developers must agree on this.
2) Someone responsible should select and test these best UMC campaigns (for quality control). Actually not much work, because if there are active authors/maintainers of campaigns, all bug fixes should be done by authors that obviously must be intrested to paticipate in such project because it would be a great way to promote their campaings. So in fact that person should be no more than a project manager (a person who would communicate with authors) who also could attract other volunteers as testers.

But before any work under 2) will start, there must be an agreement in principle, that developers agree on 1).
facebook.com/wesnothian/ - everyday something new about Wesnoth
My campaign:A Whim of Fate, also see Zombies:Introduction single map campaign
Art thread:Mostly frankenstains

User avatar
beetlenaut
Developer
Posts: 2390
Joined: December 8th, 2007, 3:21 am
Location: Washington State
Contact:

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by beetlenaut » April 25th, 2016, 4:11 pm

Aldarisvet wrote:1) If we are going somehow to include this 'Best UMC pack' as an option (for downloading) in Campaigns menu, developers must agree on this.
This is not true, and not how Wesnoth tends to work either. A UMC pack could be hosted on any website with or without developer approval. Then, if the developers decide that it's useful and desirable, they could add it to the game. In the mean time, lots of people have the ability to post a link on the wiki or on the download page of this site.
Aldarisvet wrote:2) Someone responsible should select and test these best UMC campaigns (for quality control). Actually not much work,
There are currently 125 campaigns on the server. One person cannot test all of them, and one person should not be able to decide which are good enough to go in a UMC pack either, because peoples' tastes are different. There would need to be a team of people trying them and, I assume, voting. There would need to be some sort of project manager though.
Campaigns: Dead Water,
The Founding of Borstep,
Secrets of the Ancients,
and WML Guide

User avatar
skeptical_troll
Posts: 425
Joined: August 31st, 2015, 11:06 pm

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by skeptical_troll » April 25th, 2016, 5:03 pm

It seems to me that the most constructive step forward would be to decide which campaigns (or other kind of addons) should be included in this pack, otherwise it is just theoretical speculation. I understand that this could be a delicate issues, as somebody will unavoidably be disappointed that her/his campaign was not included.

Few possibilities:
Since I believe there are really few people who played a lot of UMC campaigns and they are still active in the forums, they may form a team to select some candidates, among which the registered users can vote via a poll.
Or there may be simply a poll with 'all' the finished campaigns in the server, but this could be overwhelming, although simpler and democratic. There could easily be more than one pack, ordered according to the poll results, or ordered by categories (short campaigns, long campaigns, rpg campaigns etc).
I don't want to go too far anyway, my point is simply that once the choice is done, then it is trivial to make an add-on with links to the campaigns, like suggested above, and call-it 'wesnoth extra campaigns' or 'favourite users' campaigns' or whatever, and put it in evidence somehow.

In principle, I could already do a 'skeptical_troll's favourite campaigns' add-on in ~ 15 minutes, but nobody would care :mrgreen:

User avatar
Aldarisvet
Translator
Posts: 767
Joined: February 23rd, 2015, 2:39 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Aldarisvet » April 25th, 2016, 6:39 pm

What is the final idea, let me sum up.
There was largerly supported interface idea to put a link "Get more campaigns" to Add-ons server in the bottom of list in the 'Campaigns' menu. Also there is an idea to create some pack of chosen UMC campaigns. So we can put both these ideas together.
By clicking "Get more campaigns" in the 'Campaigns' menu a player would get automatical downloading of some predefined campaigns from add-ons server list. Of course this would rise status of this campaigns far above others from add-ons server. In fact status of campaigns from this pack would be close to mainline.

Now, what must be done.

1. First of all, developers must agree for themselves and openly admit to community that they really want this feature in Wesnoth. It is all useless from the start without it.
2. Then devs should appoint some person whom they trust as a project manager who would be a coordinator between devs, authors and testers. Then some campaigns that can participate in the future vote should be defined.
3. Devs should make an announcement that they really going to make this feature in some certain time period. I am sure it would spark an outburst of enthusiasm. It would be a great step for the game that presented 2 new mainline campaigns from 2007. In this announcement there must be a call for the vote and also a call for testers help. I am sure we can get enough volunteer testers from the community.
4. Period of work under campaigns that won a vote.
5. Profit.

And nothing will happen without a political will of devs. And
beetlenaut wrote: A UMC pack could be hosted on any website with or without developer approval. Then, if the developers decide that it's useful and desirable, they could add it to the game.
such approach will lead that no one would do anything. The potential of being official is really huge, if 'officials' led people then there would be great results. Community must be directed properly and player's devotion to Wesnoth must be used to achieve results.
facebook.com/wesnothian/ - everyday something new about Wesnoth
My campaign:A Whim of Fate, also see Zombies:Introduction single map campaign
Art thread:Mostly frankenstains

User avatar
Sire
Posts: 128
Joined: April 6th, 2012, 11:03 pm
Location: USA

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Sire » April 26th, 2016, 12:24 am

I know that anyone can create a "collection" of User-Made Content, and UMC Campaigns, but as skeptical_troll as stated, the average player would not really care. There is a status involved with being "official" and being incorporated into "mainline". The unanswered questions are "what qualifies to be mainline, and how can UMC creators get there?" Yes, there are opinions that some UMC stuff is better than mainline, but there's also mainline stuff better than the add-ons. Like Aldarisvet has stated, one way of glancing at UMC quality is looking at the database for the quality of unit sprites. The higher the quality, in theory, the better the campaign will be. (Then the few who have no artistic skills weep for we are neglected. *tear*)

There is also the issue that shadowm brings up, and this is that of managing updates and maintaining the campaign. Campaigns that are "active" in the development cycle are not really suited for mainline as mainline campaigns are "shipped out" every couple months or so. This will bring down the number of UMC campaigns eligible for "mainline status", as the current creators are normally hard at work with their respective campaigns, but the few campaigns that are actually finished may not have their original creator or a maintainer in sight.
-----
So, the dilemma here seems to be "We want new mainline campaigns, but in addition to what qualifies being a mainline campaign, what UMC campaign is polished and finished enough to place into mainline?" There is also the issue of trying to make all the lore flow smoothly as well, and we do not seem to have a "Loremaster" on hand to say what is canon and what is not beside what currently exists.

I like Legend of the Invincibles, but it is an immense campaign, and it receives fairly active updates from Dugi. While it's quality and popularity may be high as an Add-On, I don't think it would work for making it as a mainline campaign due to the "active" nature of the work. (The focus on AMLAs and item gameplay may throw off casual players, and the lore also seems to contradict official canon in places, but that is for another time.)

I also like Oath of Allegiance, from what little I have played of it. Wesnoth could use a Khalifate campaign, but Oath of Allegiance seems to be an unfinished campaign despite its quality. Due to its unfinished status, it will not be qualifiable for mainline.

Invasion from the Unknown and its campaigns, in my opinion, are probably the closest to being mainline despite being an Add-On. It shares characters from mainline, is of high quality, and (from my limited perspective) seems to be mostly finished. When it receives updates, they are massive ones, so it would fit between "Wesnoth Version Releases." The problem lies with all of the custom factions, and the expanded lore may need to be looked at from a "Wesnoth Canon" perspective. (One way to resolve this is to create a new "mainline era", so "Default" would be before the Fall, while the "new era" incorporates IftU units for after the Fall, with accordance to the different day/night cycle. But then this raises question of balancing for multiplayer and who will maintain it, and so on...)

There are other campaigns I hear that are also good, such as Swamplings and supposedly there is a good Drake Campaign, but other than that I have no real idea for UMC.
-----
Going back to an "UMC Collection", how will this work? I feel like it needs an "official button", like some of us have stated, but what will qualify going into it? I would imagine this option being a "dummy" of sorts, like Pentarctagon has said, downloading the respective campaigns from the Add-Ons server while serving as an "endorsed collection of quality User-Made Content". Of course, this method is a lot more open than "mainline status" (needing to stick to lore goes out the window), and allows users to explore the world of Add-Ons,

This issue also goes back with the "Mainline Scenarios" idea that was tossed around a while back. While a couple scenarios have been created due to the initiative, overall progress has (seemingly) lost steam because it did not seem to be going anywhere besides "it's another Add-On for Wesnoth". Making a single scenario and analyzing it is far easier than going through an entire campaign, and perhaps making recommended scenarios is a good first step to moving forward and eventually "green lighting" UMC campaigns.
* * * * *
Of course, there is also the opposing side of actually sitting down and try to improve the Mainline campaigns, but aside from Turuk's attempt at Heir to the Throne last year, there is not much news on this front. I wouldn't mind messing around with mainline campaigns in an attempt to improve them, but currently I would like to focus on finishing Red Winter and a "full set" of my scenarios before I try tackling mainline. Then, there are also more questions of "What can be changed, how much regulation is there, will it actually be committed, etc."

We have plenty of creators, but not necessarily enough testers to playtest and give feedback on everything. Then, as each creator mostly focuses on his / her personal project, it can be difficult to improve on what already exists. Then there is also the fact of time and that most of us are doing this as a hobby instead of being paid to work on Wesnoth, which puts some constraints on how much can get done. However, I do agree with what Aldarisvet is saying, the developers need to take the initiative and have someone spearhead the project, or appoint someone in the community to do the job. When things look like they will actually be done, it will build a "hype train", and productivity should rise. Concepts and ideas are but concepts and ideas, we need people to actually put them to use.
Current Projects: [Sire's Scenarios] // [Red Winter Reborn - In Development]

User avatar
Paulomat4
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 715
Joined: October 16th, 2012, 3:32 pm
Location: Wesmere library, probably summoning Zhangor

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Paulomat4 » April 26th, 2016, 7:36 am

Invasion from the Unknown and its campaigns, in my opinion, are probably the closest to being mainline despite being an Add-On.
There are quite some campaigns that would qualify for that. For example Secrets of the ancients is the first one that comes to my mind. But deciding which campaigns to include only clutters the discussion, and harms the process in my opinion.
I would propose my help to determine which campaigns are worth putting in an "UMC Collection". But as it's said before we do really need the whole thing to be official. The effect that comes simply by seeing some red under a username is immense. What we also need is an official Button incorporated somewhere in the game. Be it in the campaign menu under the mainline campaigns or even in the main screen.
If the developers can agree to give us the needed support, we could start actually start making criterias for inclusion of campaigns in such a collection.

The way to go in my opinion is the following:

1. Secure official support from the developpers
Without that the project will die due to lack of interest

2. Deciding on which campaigns are worth putting in
The community can do that, no need for work from the developers. Myself and others already volunteered for it.

3. Decision on how to implement the whole thing
Could be made simply by a poll where users can put in their sugestions. Can be done by the community only, but a developer would need to do the poll.

4. Actual implementation
This is where developpers are needed again. The whole project is already planned by then so we just need someone to code it.

This is my proposal for the workflow. If everybody could agree to it then we could focus on each task and maybe actually achieve something. :)
Creator of Dawn of Thunder and Global Unitmarkers

"I thought Naga's used semi-automatic crossbows with incendiary thermite arrows . . . my beliefs that this race is awesome are now shattered." - Evil Earl

User avatar
Aldarisvet
Translator
Posts: 767
Joined: February 23rd, 2015, 2:39 pm
Location: Moscow, Russia

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Aldarisvet » April 26th, 2016, 8:15 am

Paulomat4 wrote:There are quite some campaigns that would qualify for that. For example Secrets of the ancients is the first one that comes to my mind. But deciding which campaigns to include only clutters the discussion, and harms the process in my opinion. I would propose my help to determine which campaigns are worth putting in an "UMC Collection".

Since this pack would be not included into Wesnoth source, it's content may be quite flexible to change, to add new campaigns or even to exclude that campaigns authors of which do not want to maintain them anymore. It is seems impossible now to add something to mainline because it means adding to the source, but adding a new campaign to the list of this pack will require 30 sec. of work from the developer. And all other work could be done by the community. Community could be a 'quality control' and it could be developed clear minimum criterias to inclusion.
Paulomat4 wrote: But as it's said before we do really need the whole thing to be official.
Yes, if devs would say 'Yes' it would revive Wesnoth. I think that many campaign's authors that lost some enthusiasm during recent years with such perspective would make lot of new efforts to finish and polish their campaigns. And players would get access to many good campaigns they had no idea about.
Last edited by Aldarisvet on April 26th, 2016, 8:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
facebook.com/wesnothian/ - everyday something new about Wesnoth
My campaign:A Whim of Fate, also see Zombies:Introduction single map campaign
Art thread:Mostly frankenstains

User avatar
Paulomat4
Moderator Emeritus
Posts: 715
Joined: October 16th, 2012, 3:32 pm
Location: Wesmere library, probably summoning Zhangor

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by Paulomat4 » April 26th, 2016, 8:28 am

Since this pack would be not included into Wesnoth source, it's content may be quite flexible to change, to add new campaigns or even to exclude that campaigns authors of which do not want to maintain them anymore. It is seems impossible now to add something to mainline because it means adding to the source, but adding a new campaign to the list of this pack will require 30 sec. of work from the developer. And all other work could be done by the community. Community can be 'quality control'.
I would go for a one time Selection at first, with the option to add or remove some of them later of course. but of course, we can only decide about that later if we get additional support. If I think about it I would actually change point 2 and 3 of my workflow list so we would get.


1. Secure official support from the developpers
Without that the project will die due to lack of interest

2. Decision on how to implement the whole thing

Could be made simply by a poll where users can put in their sugestions. Can be done by the community only, but a developer would need to do the poll.

3. Deciding on which campaigns are worth putting in
The community can do that, no need for work from the developers. Myself and others already volunteered for it.

4. Actual implementation

This is where developpers are needed again. The whole project is already planned by then so we just need someone to code it.

Any objections?
Creator of Dawn of Thunder and Global Unitmarkers

"I thought Naga's used semi-automatic crossbows with incendiary thermite arrows . . . my beliefs that this race is awesome are now shattered." - Evil Earl

User avatar
skeptical_troll
Posts: 425
Joined: August 31st, 2015, 11:06 pm

Re: Constructive observations re subtle, peceived design fla

Post by skeptical_troll » April 26th, 2016, 9:03 am

I think your workflow looks good, however I got the impression that the devs will hardly endorse something which does not exist yet and they don't know where it is going.

If your suggestion does not work, here is a more 'bottom-up' possibility.

1) We, the people (aka the forum users), start a thread with the aim of selecting the campaigns. If it has to be done via a poll, we can use external resources to do it, as I think only admins can set up polls in the forum (not completely sure about it).

2) Once this is done, we, the people, produce one or more add-ons with the list of the selected campaigns (there could also be one for MP maps!). Instead of guy_nobody_knows_favourite_campaigns we will call it 'Wesnoth users selected campaigns', or something analogous. It is certainly not the equivalent of an official package, but it still sounds 'influential'.

3) This for me would already be something useful, i.e. it encompasses in a single add-on the experience of many users in testing campaigns.

4) If everything works smoothly (i.e. no drama during the selection process) and with the devs' benevolence, this could be advertised or 'mainlined' in the game with the 'more campaigns' button as suggested above.

Post Reply