Campaign Design How-To

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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Boucman
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Post by Boucman »

ok, fair enough...

you might want to mention stats.wesnoth.org as a balancing tool once a campaign is released at least once...
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esr
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First I have to learn how to use it

Post by esr »

Boucman wrote:ok, fair enough...

you might want to mention stats.wesnoth.org as a balancing tool once a campaign is released at least once...
First I have to learn how to use it

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esr
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New version 1.3 is available

Post by esr »

A new version 1.3 is available at http://www.catb.org/~esr/wesnoth/campai ... howto.html.

It adds a new first section on organizing the process.

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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant »

== Storyline comes first ==
First, *write your storyline*. Battles may be the center of _Battle
For Wesnoth_, but writing an interesting storyline and designing
battles to fit works better than designing battles and then wrapping a
story around them.
This is only half true. You have to write a storyline in which battles are numerous and a key part of the story. If you write say, a love story, then try to shoehorn the battles into the plot afterwards, it's going to come across as forced.

The two really need to be considered together, IMO. Wesnoth is a game, not a novel.

P.S. The document looks really good. It'll be useful for my campaign (when I finally get my faction working right...). Thanks.

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esr
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A new version 1.4 is available.

Post by esr »

A new version 1.4 is available at http://www.catb.org/~esr/wesnoth/campai ... howto.html.

What's new is a note that by applying the how-to advice, I was able to write and balance almost all of THoT in 14 days spread over 5 weeks.[/url]

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Post by hagabaka »

I'm sorry if this is too off-topic, and I have no experience of designing a campaign, only playing. I think more could be said about ways to make large map scenarios interesting.
  • Fog and/or shroud. With fog and shroud, the player's initial view is much more restricted; this means a better "first impression" when a large map is presented. The aspect of exploration can reduce displeasure of having to play through a large map.
  • Variety of units and advancements. On larger maps usually many units will advance. If the scenario only provides few unit types, which have only single branches of advancement, the player will end up with a lot of almost identical units, which won't help with keeping things interesting.
  • Special events, objectives, map features could all help keep the player motivated.
Of course all these choices will need to be weighed out with the whole campaign in consideration.

I observed that Northern Rebirth, Under the Burning Suns, The Unstoppable Legion - some of my favorite campaigns featuring large maps - all make use of these techniques. In Heir to the Throne, I much preferred the smaller scenarios because there were few things to compensate for the large maps, but these campaigns made large maps much more appealing.

Boucman
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Post by Boucman »

seconded...

particularly about units, variety of recruits and avariety of ennemies, that one of the things that makes a good campaign...
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Shade
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That's a really nice guide

Post by Shade »

That's a really nice guide. It gives a really good high level view of how to create a campaign, as opposed to a low level 'nuts and bolts' view. I though many of the same things myself, it's nice that this was written out in one place.
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Iris
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Post by Iris »

Thanks for your guide, ESR. It has helped me a lot in developing my campaign, when I got lost while writing scenario 16. After reading carefully the guide I boosted my progress and finished 27/30 scenarios in very short time. :D

[kidding] Now, what the hell are we waiting for including this with the official source code releases? [/kidding]
Author of the unofficial UtBS sequels Invasion from the Unknown and After the Storm.

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esr
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New version 1.5

Post by esr »

There's a new version at http://www.catb.org/~esr/wesnoth/campai ... howto.html.

It has a new major section on adding flavior to scenarios, and incorporates hagabaka's advice on making large maps more interesting.
Last edited by esr on January 12th, 2008, 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

wsultzbach
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Post by wsultzbach »

This thing's great, esr. I've been using it to help me write my new campaign I'm developing.
What's this annoying thing that appears at the bottom of every one of my posts?

gorgolok
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Re: Campaign Design How-To

Post by gorgolok »

I have a suggestion about maps. Unless you want to frustrate the player, gear maps so mobility doesn't suffer too much. There are a few scenarios I actively hated, because some of the units you have to keep alive can't move faster than 1 or 2 hexes a turn. Example: HttT - in Caves I sometimes just wanted to abandon Kalenz and leave him to fend for himself, having mainly quick units otherwise. Moving
through a thickly forested areas, or on swamp/sand/water combos can also be awful. Slow terrain is ok for occasional barriers, but if it becomes too dominant on a map, you're just torturing the player. I like to have to the impression that things are moving forward. 1 hex/turn is simply painful - especially on larger maps. Actually, the last map in Hammer of Wossname was a chore, as I had a slow light mage, and some of those (near-endless) tunnels had hilly cave floors and mushroom groves. Caves with grassland road are awesome...

But maybe that frustrates only me...

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mm_
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Re: Campaign Design How-To

Post by mm_ »

Thanks a lot this was fun reading, and a great help for starting development for my campaign, The Path of the Assasin, where I started with character development, went on wih storyline, and then already started making the maps without scenario script-so I'll take it your way and see if it helps. Especially the part with the surprises was a good part to read, and overall the text made me think of the players more- and the banlancing part helped a lot, of course. And I got a question: Must a mainline campaign contain recruiting/recalling in every non-dialouge scenario? Or can it automatically recall previous units at the startof some chapters?

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Re: Campaign Design How-To

Post by Tarsus »

This is brilliant for me as I am planning my first campaign but I've hit a problem. This is going to sound really stupid but what program do I use to write the campaign?

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Re: Campaign Design How-To

Post by Soliton »

Tarsus wrote:This is going to sound really stupid but what program do I use to write the campaign?
Your favorite text editor.
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