Return to Noelren 0.7.6

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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doofus-01
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by doofus-01 » September 8th, 2011, 5:31 am

Hey,

I tried your campaign, it's clear you're trying to do something interesting with it. I didn't get too far yet, I followed the unicorn in the second scenario, picked up the necklace, then found the dirty old man and went on the inter-dimensional jaunt. Then someone said we should follow the unicorn, so I figured I did something out of order and quit (I'll try again tomorrow). But I wanted to say some things, some you may already know:

1. For the first scenario, and much of the second (as far as I got), the player is really not in control of anything. It's kind of a waste of time. Instead of forcing the player to click around pointlessly and watch the AI do its thing, why not choreograph with {MOVE_UNIT ...} and [animate_unit] (or whatever it's called)? If you want the player to have a choice about visiting the mage or the unicorn pond, you can always use the [message]/[option]/[command] WML.

2. The shroud in the forest (scenario 2) by itself looks weird, especially with daylight. Maybe you can add fog, and change the schedule to be dusk only, or something like that.

3. The nymphs... Not saying there's anything wrong with the idea, but I'm pretty sure you can find historical & public domain images that will work just as well and won't be pixel-encrusted modern tabloid material. In general, I'd advise against using photographs, especially for sprite-scale, but for portraits too. Along a similar line, the forest in the intro looked like it was covered with shaving cream. If you need a photo of snowy woods, use the real thing.
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pyrophorus
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 8th, 2011, 12:22 pm

Thanks for trying the campaign and posting your feedback !
doofus-01 wrote:Hey,

I tried your campaign, it's clear you're trying to do something interesting with it. I didn't get too far yet, I followed the unicorn in the second scenario, picked up the necklace, then found the dirty old man and went on the inter-dimensional jaunt. Then someone said we should follow the unicorn, so I figured I did something out of order and quit (I'll try again tomorrow).
No, you didn't anything wrong. Just come back from the magician pond, and you'll find the unicorn.
doofus-01 wrote: But I wanted to say some things, some you may already know:

1. For the first scenario, and much of the second (as far as I got), the player is really not in control of anything. It's kind of a waste of time. Instead of forcing the player to click around pointlessly and watch the AI do its thing, why not choreograph with {MOVE_UNIT ...} and [animate_unit] (or whatever it's called)? If you want the player to have a choice about visiting the mage or the unicorn pond, you can always use the [message]/[option]/[command] WML.
It's a difficult point (to me at least). Certainly, I can improve things (and I shall try to), but I think it's extremely difficult to satisfy everybody. I read on the forum opinions of guys who get bored each time they've something to read or to watch. They want to go straight to the point: identify the enemy and build their fighting strategy. I don't think they will enjoy much my campaign. I tried to tell a story, and to face the player to (rather) unusual situations. This implies the player will not have the control everytime. In your opinion, these parts are still too long. I'll try to design them shorter, but I can't suppress them.
doofus-01 wrote: 2. The shroud in the forest (scenario 2) by itself looks weird, especially with daylight. Maybe you can add fog, and change the schedule to be dusk only, or something like that.
????
doofus-01 wrote: 3. The nymphs... Not saying there's anything wrong with the idea, but I'm pretty sure you can find historical & public domain images that will work just as well and won't be pixel-encrusted modern tabloid material. In general, I'd advise against using photographs, especially for sprite-scale, but for portraits too. Along a similar line, the forest in the intro looked like it was covered with shaving cream. If you need a photo of snowy woods, use the real thing.
I must admit there is much to improve in the graphics and I'm not satisfied with my creations. Well, the campaign is still beta and I focused much more on the story and the WML than the rest. If you go further in the campaign, you shall find more of these rather awkard pictures. I hope they're placeholders and I'll find the time (or the help) to offer better.

Hoping you will keep playing my modest trial and giving your opinion !

LS
Campaign Return to Noelren *** HowTos: WML filtering, WML variables
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by Sneezy » September 8th, 2011, 11:11 pm

Hi Pyro-- I played the first 3 scenarios (win2k, BfW 1.9.6, RtN 0.0.3 beta, normal difficulty) and it has been an interesting change from the usual slugfest. I've followed the story, and it hasn't been very hard to figure out what to do (or where to go) next.

I was a little surprised at how scenario #3 ended:
Spoiler:
Moved on to scenario #4, and have run into trouble:
Spoiler:
This approach to telling the story seems like a good one. Useful, interesting, and it does seem to emphasize story more than combat. I'm interested enough that I hope play more of the scenarios. But for now, I'm setting RtN aside.
Thanks for the obvious effort you've put into this.
--sneezy

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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by doofus-01 » September 9th, 2011, 3:03 am

pyrophorus wrote:This implies the player will not have the control everytime. In your opinion, these parts are still too long. I'll try to design them shorter, but I can't suppress them.
No, cut-scenes are OK. But watching the AI kill AI, one at a time, seems like not such a great method to me. The AI is pretty good for what it is, but it is not that interesting to watch - especially if the hits are fixed.:wink:

After that were parts where you are just clicking along a path for several turns with no real options. Not a campaign-ruining issue, but something that should be pretty easy to do something about. Smaller maps, more move-points, {MOVE_UNIT ...}, something. At least there are only two units to move (for now?)
pyrophorus wrote:I must admit there is much to improve in the graphics and I'm not satisfied with my creations. Well, the campaign is still beta and I focused much more on the story and the WML than the rest. If you go further in the campaign, you shall find more of these rather awkard pictures.
Sure, placeholders are fine, but some of them are a little distracting (the white outline & contemporary look). I think you could use something like this and it wouldn't scream as much:
a quick search, you can probably do better:
You don't want your placeholders to detract from your campaign, is what my point is.

EDIT:Got to the part about exploring the Black Forest and destroying the haunted castle. I'm apparently not as smart as Sneezy; I wasn't sure where the "Black Forest" was, but I wandered around a bit. Nothing happened when I moved near the fall deciduous trees that were impassible, nothing happened anywhere, so I gave up. Some sort of sign, whether a map label "Black Forest" or a loitering undead, would have helped. If I hadn't gone wandering off in search of a moveto event, I might have tried the bomb.

It looks like you have some things to work out, but you've clearly put some work into it. This looks like it could be an interesting campaign, I hope you keep at it. Good luck!
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 9th, 2011, 6:56 am

Sneezy wrote:Hi Pyro-- I played the first 3 scenarios (win2k, BfW 1.9.6, RtN 0.0.3 beta, normal difficulty) and it has been an interesting change from the usual slugfest. I've followed the story, and it hasn't been very hard to figure out what to do (or where to go) next.

I was a little surprised at how scenario #3 ended:
Spoiler:
I didn't imagine you would manage things that way. But it's perfectly possible, and that's why feedbacks like yours are precious.
Spoiler:
Sneezy wrote: Moved on to scenario #4, and have run into trouble:
Spoiler:
I think you can't light more than one campfire. Maybe I should tell how they work with more details.
Sneezy wrote: This approach to telling the story seems like a good one. Useful, interesting, and it does seem to emphasize story more than combat. I'm interested enough that I hope play more of the scenarios. But for now, I'm setting RtN aside.
Thanks for the obvious effort you've put into this.
--sneezy
Thanks for your post. It's really useful and heartening !
doofus-01 wrote:
pyrophorus wrote:This implies the player will not have the control everytime. In your opinion, these parts are still too long. I'll try to design them shorter, but I can't suppress them.
No, cut-scenes are OK. But watching the AI kill AI, one at a time, seems like not such a great method to me. The AI is pretty good for what it is, but it is not that interesting to watch - especially if the hits are fixed.:wink:
Your criticism is aimed at the introduction I guess ? Well, I can change that.
doofus-01 wrote: After that were parts where you are just clicking along a path for several turns with no real options. Not a campaign-ruining issue, but something that should be pretty easy to do something about. Smaller maps, more move-points, {MOVE_UNIT ...}, something. At least there are only two units to move (for now?)
Of course, but is it interesting to set up a maze if you give the path out ? (BTW, the map could be smaller).
doofus-01 wrote:
pyrophorus wrote:I must admit there is much to improve in the graphics and I'm not satisfied with my creations. Well, the campaign is still beta and I focused much more on the story and the WML than the rest. If you go further in the campaign, you shall find more of these rather awkard pictures.
Sure, placeholders are fine, but some of them are a little distracting (the white outline & contemporary look). I think you could use something like this and it wouldn't scream as much:

You don't want your placeholders to detract from your campaign, is what my point is.
Certainly, and I agree. But the kind of picture you suggested (classical artwork) doesn't seems to fit adventure game tone (IMO). But for the naiads, it suggested me to use a well known Boticelli picture instead. An ironical quoting.
doofus-01 wrote: EDIT:Got to the part about exploring the Black Forest and destroying the haunted castle. I'm apparently not as smart as Sneezy; I wasn't sure where the "Black Forest" was, but I wandered around a bit. Nothing happened when I moved near the fall deciduous trees that were impassible, nothing happened anywhere, so I gave up. Some sort of sign, whether a map label "Black Forest" or a loitering undead, would have helped. If I hadn't gone wandering off in search of a moveto event, I might have tried the bomb.
Yeah, I think I will give more hints here.

Thanks to you both !

LS
Campaign Return to Noelren *** HowTos: WML filtering, WML variables
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by Sneezy » September 9th, 2011, 5:02 pm

Hi-- it's probably worth mentioning a couple of other things that I found surprising and a bit frustrating:
Spoiler:
Another issue is how long the fires burn.
Spoiler:
Another surprise was the discovery of yet another ability of the shaman.
Spoiler:
With some polishing, I think this could become quite an interesting campaign.
--sneezy

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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 10th, 2011, 9:43 am

Sneezy wrote:Hi-- it's probably worth mentioning a couple of other things that I found surprising and a bit frustrating:
Many thanks for your remarks. I have certainly to verify and improve the code in this scenario. Things works not as they should here.

Friendly,

LS
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 13th, 2011, 12:46 pm

In the last version uploaded, I found out the help file was outdated (and so, not so helpful :lol2: ).
So here is a correct copy. Just replace the same name file in the "story" folder of the campaign.

I'm confused... :oops:
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by Neuromancer » September 13th, 2011, 1:51 pm

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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 13th, 2011, 3:30 pm

Thanks for your feed-back !
Neuromancer wrote:The whole campaign is strange. I turned it off after changing the chocobone to the stone and in that way, blocking my passage through.
Ooops ! I have designed a special menu item for these situations, but it only appears later. I shall correct that...
Neuromancer wrote: A lot of random things just pop out there and there. Combined with the boredom of following the unicorn for several turns this creates uninteresting game experience. While playing I felt I have minimal control over the events present there, and was just blindly following the unicorn, killing any hostiles and using any objects found along the way. There were not any problems to solve.
I think we don't like the same campaign style. I tried yours and I liked not it very much too. :)
As I said in the first post, I tried to illustrate a story, more than planning twisted fighting situations or designing complex riddles. And I think we share not the same opinion about what makes a campaign or a story interesting.

But IMO, it's not a problem. It's great Wesnoth allows so different people to create so different things, so the player have a real choice to play what (s)he likes. Don't you think so ?

Friendly
LS
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by Neuromancer » September 14th, 2011, 6:15 pm

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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 14th, 2011, 7:22 pm

Neuromancer wrote: I admit I got carried away by my mood when writing that post. Seeing it now, I realize it doesnt bring up anything constructive. But still, I dont think it is a good campaign - in gameplay terms. Taking it as story... well, thats another thing, but you will get the most potential out of it when you tell it through different medium than Wesnoth IMO.
But what is a good campaign ?
We can discuss this point and develop our opinions, and it would probably be very interesting, but to me, the real criter is how many players will play my campaign. That's why I wouldn't say mine is good or not at this point. It's a rather ambitious project on which I have to work at least one year or two, to polish things, create the graphics and the special effects, etc...

Meanwhile, I shall see if the download counter increases. If yes, I will go on. If no, I probably will go on too, but for myself only. I enjoy very much WML programming and Wesnoth environment. I enjoy it much more than writing a novel (I did).
Now, sharing my work is to me a way to thanks their creators and increase, if I can, the interest in Wesnoth community. And I'm ready to hear bad opinion on it. As I said, people don't play Wesnoth in the same way, and don't enjoy the same things. I hope only to satisfy some of them. Not you, well... that's not a problem: you're designing your own campaign and are probably happy with it, and I'm sure you've much fun playing others than mine.

Friendly,

LS
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by Neuromancer » September 14th, 2011, 9:24 pm

pyrophorus wrote: But what is a good campaign ?
My point of view (still evolving of course!): I think every campaign has three elements: story, audio/visuals and gameplay.
Story, thats properly used dramatic structure, suiting vocabulary, good grammar, thought-out setting, believeable characters and so on... everything you find in great book, drama, movie. Of course, this is matter of tastes, but generally one can recognize quality.
Audio/visuals include maps pleasing to eye, suiting soundtrack, appropriately used sound effects... many of this is contained in the actual Wesnoth game. Units have portraits, sprites are animated and so on (needles to say, these are excellent in Wesnoth).
Gameplay is generally problem-solving in a fun way. This is the core of the game. Basics are already concieved; gameplay is set around set of rules (this unit can do this and this, all zero level units dont have ZOC and so on).
If anything from these three is bad, then the whole campaign is bad.
We, Wesnoth campaign designers, already have gameplay and audio/visuals given to us. All we have to do is tie them together with a story. One designs a few kill-enemy-leader scenarios connected by easy narrative. It is good enough for a start, but when ten people do the same thing, it soon gets boring. People are coming with new ideas how to make a campaign more interesting. Some enhance visuals (To Lands Unknown), some deploy detailed story (Love to Death, The Fires of Pride), some modify/enhance/change rules of gameplay (Colosseum, various survivals, Rise of Civilization), some bring up RPG elements (Elvish Dynasty), many of them combine these new ideas and so on. (These campaigns I listed are not all my favorites) Anyways, what all of these projects have in common is core gameplay of Wesnoth is present in every one of them. Same holds true for other games too. Majority of usermade campaigns for Starcraft, Left 4 Dead, Heroes of Might and Magic, Half Life and many other games have core gameplay aspects present in them (strategy in Starcraft, shooting in Half Life and so on).
But I think this doesnt hold very true of your project. You are using story as main element of the campaign, instead of the gameplay and thats why I didnt enjoy it. Im not saying your project doesnt belong there, or that it is worth nothing. Certainly there are people who think this is the right way of development in the field of user-made campaigns. But if I was trying to tell a story (primarily), I would rather use flash, java, or HTML for example.
pyrophorus wrote: Meanwhile, I shall see if the download counter increases.
I think download counter is not very reliable when it comes to measuring campaign quality. Generally the projects uploaded the first have the most downloads, regardless of the actual quality. I found some great campaigns (praised by other people too) with very low download count. Of course, this is personal opinion.
pyrophorus wrote: As I said, people don't play Wesnoth in the same way, and don't enjoy the same things. I hope only to satisfy some of them. Not you, well... that's not a problem.
I agree.

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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 15th, 2011, 8:55 am

Neuromancer wrote: But I think this doesnt hold very true of your project. You are using story as main element of the campaign, instead of the gameplay and thats why I didnt enjoy it. Im not saying your project doesnt belong there, or that it is worth nothing. Certainly there are people who think this is the right way of development in the field of user-made campaigns. But if I was trying to tell a story (primarily), I would rather use flash, java, or HTML for example.
First of all, I think you should stop repeating my project is bad. Everyone (including me) has already understood that point. :lol2: Everyone can notice too you made your opinion on the first half of the first playing scenario, so 5% of the project. I played your campaign half-way and didn't gave any feed-back because I think I can't clearly see yet what you intend to do. Maybe I shall return later, but I shall never tell you what your project should be or what you should do instead. I will only try to help if I can, in performing what you want to do, and not what I think you should do. :)

Second point: I think you're going astray. According to Wesnoth rules, there are not good or bad things here. Some of them are mainline, and others not, and that's how we should consider the point. Can my project be mainline ? I don't pretend that, and Wesnoth team only can make a decision, not you or I. So, to me, there's absolutely nothing to discuss further.

Third point: your speech about what is a good campaign is OK. Now, IMHO the touchstone will be seeing how you practice all these good advices in your own project. I say that without animosity. I would really be glad to see your project succeed, and I hope so. And to me, it would be much more instructive than any abstract consideration.
Neuromancer wrote:
pyrophorus wrote: Meanwhile, I shall see if the download counter increases.
I think download counter is not very reliable when it comes to measuring campaign quality. Generally the projects uploaded the first have the most downloads, regardless of the actual quality. I found some great campaigns (praised by other people too) with very low download count. Of course, this is personal opinion.
I consider the trend, not only the value. If the counter bursts when I publish an update, I think it means some people are interested enough in the project to download it.

Friendly,

LS
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Re: Return to Noelren - a single player campaign

Post by pyrophorus » September 18th, 2011, 8:10 pm

Version 0.1.0 is out whith two more scenarios.
Have fun !
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