Sceptre of Life, version 0.12.1

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Crushmaster
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by Crushmaster » October 13th, 2008, 10:56 pm

Hi OSJ,
Crushmaster here. I tweaked around a bit with Northern Pass, and it's a good deal different than my last...try. It's not great, but here it is:
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 14th, 2008, 12:37 pm

oh, hey! I'm sorry - I totally forgot to reply to your last post. I'll download the map, and check it out now, but from the screenshot it looks pretty good.

--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 14th, 2008, 2:43 pm

Okay, so I checked out the map, and revised it some (although I kept quite a few changes that I enjoyed :-). The nice thing about this map is that the majority of the changes we make will not really affect the tactics of the scenario; most of the action occurs in the southern fort. So for the most part, everything comes down to aesthetics.

Here's what I liked about your changes:

1) I appreciated the inlet of water you used to connect the lake and the patch of forest-swamp in the northwest. That change made the geography make more sense, so I added a few more hexes to carry the effect forward.

2) The top-right corner (the tiny patch beyond the stream) has bugged me since it was first created, because it was too plain (or grassland ;-). You definitely spiced it up; I reigned it back to simply a dash of spice, but overall I like the taste.

3) As always, your dashes of subtle terrain add flavor to the map; specifically in this case, the random touches of wild grassland among regular grassland added a lot, so I worked in some more of that effect (also, I did a similar thing with the desert). Hopefully I'll begin to incorporate that skill into my original drafts.

4) I particularly liked the changes you made to the mountainous area in the southwest, adding more forest and hills around the mountain. I tweaked it a bit, but mostly it was great.

Here's what I didn't care for as much:

1) I noticed that you picked up on the fact that the narrow clearing of trees near the nw lake was supposed to be a path. That's good; hopefully the player will do the same, and discover the ice bridge. The reason I used grassland for the path (instead of dirt) was because that forest (Shalien Forest) belongs to the elves, who I perceive to fairly low-impact on the environment. For that reason, I imagine that any path created by the elves would not be permanent, and would not intrude excessively upon the forest. Also, in your revised version, the path led off-screen (normally where I'd move it to :-); however I want it to specifically point the player to the ice bridge, so I reverted it back to the original layout.

2) I was impressed that you opted to give each farm its own windmill; that suggests that you're over-thinking this as much as I am! :-D I reverted it back to the one simply because in my perception of the map, the farms together form a sort of community that share the windmill. The northern farm might be rich enough to own its own (and perhaps it does own the one, actually. I didn't think to ask them them :-), but the southern farm certainly wouldn't have the funds to own or operate a windmill of its own.

3) I didn't care for the spattering of forest terrain that started to take over the southern fields. I (think I) understand what you were trying to do with that - adding terrain/tactical detail and connecting the two forests. But my original perception of the map was less akin to a forested map, and more akin to the "test of the clans" map from HttT. That map is almost entirely grassland or savanna, being very suitable for mounted units.

Similarly, I had designed this map to be tuned for mounted units as well - elvish scouts versus goblin wolf-riders (with a few level 2 defenders thrown in :-). So, even though your occasional hex of trees doesn't change the fact that open plains dominate the map, it does (IMO) make it "feel" less open - almost like the western and eastern forests are tightening in from each side, and restricting the open plains.

All that to say, I got rid of a lot of the trees (although I thought that a few hexes seemed rather brilliant, so I kept them in).



I also changed the desert, although I didn't revert it back to my original. I'm beginning to have second thoughts about even having a desert, although I think we probably should keep it in. When I originally included the first rendition, I put it there so I could have another way to show that the orcish occupation of the area was killing it (another, as opposed to the marshlands).

The difficulty is that unlike the marshes, this desert doesn't stretch across scenarios, and it barely occupies any of this one. It's tiny, and insignificant in the grand storyline, so I see little reason to keep it in.

However, I thought that it might make a nice contrast with the expanding desert of scenarios 4 && 5 (and later) if this desert were a retreating. i.e. orcs dominate, and the deserts expand. Humans dominate, and deserts contract. (not that a single player is ever going to think this deeply about a piece of terrain :-)

So, in the end, I created a savanna (thanks to your insistence that savanna and desert are inseparably intertwined ;-), and placed a "retreating" desert inside of it. And I think it turned out well, although that's pending your feedback of course :)

Mica wrote:It's also hard (not extremely hard though) to defend the outpost for awhile because the terrain is just... awkward. Maybe it should be changed up a little bit?
This post from a while back came to mind when you mentioned that you wanted to edit the scenario 2 map. I never did find out what terrain specifically was awkward; maybe you have a few ideas on how to make it more defensible?

If you do edit the fortress, make sure not to change the following terrain:
1) the small (2-hex) mountain lake
2) the impassable terrain right next to the lake
3) hex 16,34
4) hex 22,36

thanks as always for putting the effort into this, Crushmaster :-). I hope all is well with you!
--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by Crushmaster » October 14th, 2008, 3:15 pm

Hi OSJ,
I just looked at the screenshot, and, after you've tweaked some more with it, it looks very close to being finished. :D
I may want to play around with it a bit, but it's certainly near completion.
As for the desert, I do think it looks pretty good. :) It's like it's getting "engulfed" by the savanna tiles.
In the coming days, I'll also maybe play around a bit with scenario three and four's maps. :)
On another note, I'm on Etheran's Crossing in the campaign (I downloaded the most recent one), and, so far, I've really enjoyed it.
God bless,
Crushmaster.
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 14th, 2008, 3:29 pm

hey, my first comment on sc. 5. glad you like it so far :-). Just make sure to keep a copy of the savefile, so you don't have to play through the whole thing again once 6 comes out.

speaking of which...

gotta get back to work :)
--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.5.0

Post by Crushmaster » October 14th, 2008, 6:48 pm

Hi OSJ,
I made a few minor changes to Northern Pass. :) They may not really be needed, but you can check:
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 15th, 2008, 4:33 pm

hey, CM - sorry, I didn't get a chance to check out your map this morning; I've been working all night to get scenario 6 ready for production. Still isn't quite there, but there's enough of it to post, anyway.

But yeah, I'll take a look @ it tomorrow morning, and hopefully insert it into the next bugfix
--OSJ
what if the Bible's claims about Christ depicted accurate, verifiable history? given some research, you might be surprised at the evidence...

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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 15th, 2008, 4:39 pm

Okay, scenario 6 is out (third the way through, woot), and it's an all speaking scenario. There's a little more left to add on at the end, and the dialogue still has a few wrinkles that need smoothing. But mostly, it's up and ready to view.
--OSJ

Edit: Oookay...turns out that my campaign is now too large to upload to the forum. I guess then this ends the era of the "short" version; the normal version can still be downloaded via the add-ons server
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 16th, 2008, 5:21 pm

well, I checked out the map, and I mostly liked the changes. I still don't really want the spattering of trees along the pathway, so I took them out (mostly). Other than that, I like the use of savanna to highlight the elvish pathway, and I'm fine with the desert markup.

close to finished, u think?
--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by Max » October 16th, 2008, 6:25 pm

feedback for scenario 1 to 3:

Outflanked:
- i found the bridge in deep water rather unusual (not really a big issue^^)

Blunder:
- you can step on the northern lights and undo the move and it stays activated (until end of next units turn, so you can attack without having a unit on it)
- illumination doesn't seem to work in fights
- aeryn level2 weapon "dark medicine" - is it intended that this is a meele weapon?
- statistics shows wrong sides (not sure how to fix that^^)

Overprotective:
- poison is not removed from recalls
- is the hint in scenario objectives about aeryn & elrial neccessary? aeryn gave his word to stay close to her, players should stick to that promise...
- i found "Rescue at least one peasant" a bit misleading. isn't it rather something like "come to their aid"/"support them"? maybe they could join your force once you get to them...

i've said it before - i really love the story and the dialogues. the first two scenarios are great (not that i didn't enjoy the third).

i think aeryns stats could be optimized
- "dark medicine" should be a ranged attack
- raise the experience points needed. i had aeryn at l3 at the beginning of third scenario
- a level 4 advancement wouldn't hurt
- (level3 aeryn has redundant "unpoison" ability)

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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by Crushmaster » October 16th, 2008, 7:29 pm

opensourcejunkie wrote:well, I checked out the map, and I mostly liked the changes. I still don't really want the spattering of trees along the pathway, so I took them out (mostly). Other than that, I like the use of savanna to highlight the elvish pathway, and I'm fine with the desert markup.

close to finished, u think?
--OSJ
Looks excellent, OSJ. Your changes were good. :D I think it's definitely ready. :)
God bless,
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 17th, 2008, 2:16 am

@ Crushmaster :: Cool, I'll put it in.

@ Max '08 :: wow, what a thorough list of bugs! I definitely have some material for the next bugfix release, now. Thanks for pointing them out.

I already know about the illuminative issues in scenario 2 - both the undo troubles, and the lack of genuine illumination. Unfortunately, there is no undo event that I could use to turn the light back off; I suppose that the best thing to do would be to disallow the undo. I'll put that in.

Concerning the fact that lawfuls don't get a bonus under the lights - Unfortunately, after I went to all the trouble of coding the Northern Lights, I discovered that illuminated areas cannot be turned on and off; they have to remain illuminated throughout the scenario. I heard that 1.5 might fix this, so I left the lights in in anticipation of the stable release.

If SoL finishes before that release (doubtful :-), then I think I can code a workaround, but it is gonna take a LOT of time && effort. So, I'm gonna wait on that until the end, and I figure I'll leave the lights in until then. At least they look pretty, anyway :-)

Dark medicine was intended to be melee; I didn't want Aeryn to become too much like an orcish assassin. But I don't know; it would certainly make for a more balanced unit if the attack was ranged (and perhaps a bit more powerful. I'll work on balancing the unit in the next bugfix; thanks for the tips.
is the hint in scenario objectives about aeryn & elrial neccessary? aeryn gave his word to stay close to her, players should stick to that promise
I think it is necessary, personally. The promise constitutes a defeat objective, so I think it's important for the player to know exactly how far the two can get, lest he be frustrated by a sudden, unexpected defeat. I suppose I could merge the hint with the defeat objective, though, if you think that might be enough.
i found "Rescue at least one peasant" a bit misleading. isn't it rather something like "come to their aid"/"support them"? maybe they could join your force once you get to them...
Yeah, I've been kind of bugged by that objective as well. In the end, you don't really need to rescue any of them, so long as one exists when Elrial is directed to the village. Perhaps a better objective might read "Rendezvous with the peasants". I'll have to change that, tx.

incidentally, they do join your forces (if any survive) once Aeryn takes control of side 3 (since they're already on side 3).
i've said it before - i really love the story and the dialogues. the first two scenarios are great (not that i didn't enjoy the third).
thanks :-). If you play through scenarios 4-6, let me know your thoughts on them too!
--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by Sneezy » October 20th, 2008, 7:03 pm

Hi OSJ--
Just finished playing SoL ver 0.6.0 on medium on BfW ver 1.4 and win2k svc pack 4. I like it a lot, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the story heads next.

*** MILD SPOILERS AHEAD ***

I liked how the story starts. Scenario 1 is an interesting little tactical problem, that initially looks almost impossible. But the surprises are a nice touch, and they are natural and plausible and they fit in with the story nicely. It was touch and go, and I had to be very careful about the placement of the (weak) units, but toward the middle we began to get the upper hand. I think the balance is good.

Scenario 2 was pretty hard. The first objective was tricky: again, you had to be very careful about who engages whom, and where units were placed, but it was fair. It was a very short, intense melee. Just a few turns. And everybody had to help. But once the main band of orcs showed up, it got *very* tough. By turns 19, 20, & 21, derril & co were hurt badly by the mob of wolves, orcs, & assassins. Lost a swordsman, a pikeman, and the white-mage. We made use of the lights, but quickly found that it didn't help our units, but it did hamper the orc units. Used them anyway.

It would have been a little better if help showed up a turn or two earlier. Might have given the AI something else to consider, and distract a couple of units. Wouldn't make it easy, but it wouldn't have been quite so costly. This scenario went all the way to t39, and we almost lost due to the elf-boss (Eriad) being killed. He was up against an assassin that was down to 2 HP, and Eriad was at low HP, and Eriad whiffed. Egad!

Luckily, we were able to destroy the orc-boss just in the nick of time, before the assassin did in Eriad. I liked how scenario 2 evolved, how the objectives changed in
response to changing events. Very nice.
(If the lights gave the lawful units the expected boost, then I'd withdraw the comment about help arriving sooner.)

Scenario 3 was interesting, and it probably was harder for me than it should have been. I sent a strong force in from the south, to deal with the assassin boss, which left the western force a bit under-powered. So I lost experienced lev-1 units in the west that I wish I hadn't. If I do a better job of balancing west vs south next time,
I think this one will feel about right.
(Eriad, who was poisoned in the last turn of scenario 2, was still poisoned at the start of scenario #3. He was fully healed, but still poisoned.)

The "training ground" in Scenario 4 was another interesting surprise. I liked this a lot. Once again, it seemed natural and plausible. And I forgot about the ZoC restriction -- just once! I got bitten, and after that, was much more careful. It would help if "rookie" units were marked somehow. This scenario looked very daunting at the start, and Aeryn recruited way too big a force to deal with the saurian menace, which hurt us economically. But your strategy hint was reassuring, and Elriel and co were able to control the S end of the ford okay. The running battle to cross the ford was an interesting challenge: a tough melee in tight quarters. Have done that sort of thing in caverns before, but it was nice to try it out in the open this time. Once across, things proceeded smoothly.

(I've seen the comments saying make the ford wider, etc., because it's too hard to get across. I disagree. You've got a red and green team that you're controlling, and some red heavies can take out a couple of orcs, then green guys can move forward and hit the orcs a 2nd time, before the orcs get a chance to move. Use that tactic
at just the right time, and you can knock a hole in the orc defense and exploit thru it. I'd keep things as they are.)

Scenario 5 gave me another surprise, and it was a nasty one this time. Since I'd over-recruited in scenario 4, this time I tried to be frugal with the units I recalled.
Got a few heavies, helped clear the area, and then nearly got wiped out when all the bureaucrats went home. This was another very tight melee, and Aeryn and Haldras were close to death, but we eventually got the upper hand. Got a chance to try fighting across another river, although not quite so resticted this time.

Scenario 6 was a very interesting "movie" that left me anxious to know what happens next.

You've done a fine job of pulling us into the story, and I like the surprises and the way the objectives evolve in response to them. There's a lot of dialogue (my first
impression was, these people sure talk a lot), but it seems good and natural. Derril comes across as a "by the book" kind of guy, while Aeryn and Elriel seem to have a clearer vision, and seem to be developing a rapport. As I think back on it, the dialogue has revealed a fairly complicated story and a pretty ticklish situation between elves, orcs, humans, and (probably) others.

I don't think you've put too much "stuff" into it; what's there seems to belong and helps make it interesting. The characters and dialogue are good, and the maps are interesting. Keep up the good work. I'm impatient to see what happens next!
--sneezy

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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » October 21st, 2008, 9:34 am

Thanks sneezy (God bless you ;-) for the great review && feedback! Much appreciated, and I'll definitely throw your advice into the upcoming bugfix. :-).

Speaking of which, I'm about to start working on the next bugfix; I have lots of stuff to do, that's for sure. Before I started it, however, I wanted to play through the campaign myself to see how the last few scenarios flow together.

While playing through it, I noted how annoying it is to go back to scenario 1 and play through the earlier ones just to get to the later. So, I decided to store my saves into a savepack to make my life easier in the future.

Since I can no longer upload the short version of the campaign to the fora, I figured that I might upload my new savepack, in case anyone wants a shortcut. If you do, you can download it here, or in the first post.

Thanks for playing!
--OSJ
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.6.0

Post by Max » October 21st, 2008, 7:11 pm

addendum for scenario 3:
- i've moved Aeryn to the new keep (i know that there's even a label that Elrial should go there^^). you can finish the scenario but Aeryn will not be a leader in scenario 4 and you get the defeat message at end of first turn.
- why does Criss disappear after setting up the keep?

scenario 4:
- some save games are broken ("error config: Illegal character in map: (Rece) 'Rece'") - i've attached stderr.txt and such a save game
- is it intended that the peasants take Aeryns villages on there way to the citadel?
Attachments
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