Cities of the Frontier - now for BfW 1.11

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MRDNRA
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by MRDNRA » April 23rd, 2012, 5:49 pm

When you say there are 4 to 6 items on each map, will that be just staying over the campaign or will there be new items each season?

esci
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by esci » April 24th, 2012, 1:50 am

There are 4 to 6 items per campaign. The items are persistent between seasons, as are the benefits (and drawbacks) that they give to the units that find them. At the moment the campaign picks from a list of I think 9 possible items, but I'll be adding to that in future versions.
Original creator of the campaign Descent Into Darkness
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Alarantalara
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by Alarantalara » April 24th, 2012, 3:43 pm

esci wrote: Income in Wesnoth seems to be a bit odd -- sides seem to have an income of 2/turn even when they have no units -- but I think I got most of the bugs.
Income in Wesnoth follows this formula:
2+<side income>+<gold per village>*<number of villages owned>-max(<unit upkeep>-<number of villages owned>, 0)

There is a {NO_INCOME} macro that sets the base income to a value so that a side has an income of 0 with no units or villages.

esci
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by esci » April 25th, 2012, 11:32 pm

Thanks, Alarantalara. My confusion was that http://wiki.wesnoth.org/GameConfigWML implies that the base value of 2 gold/turn was associated with a leader unit, when really it seems to be associated the side.
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xbriannova
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by xbriannova » April 26th, 2012, 7:30 am

Hi, I've been playing your campaign. I've played it twice and died within the first year, once in summer and once in autumn. I'd say it has nothing to do with campaign imbalance, just likely my inadequate skill as a player and maybe I need time to adjust to this fascinating gameplay. I must say congratulations on creating such a revolutionary campaign! It's because of you that I've come back to the forums, just so that I could say this to you and maybe help a bit. I've got some suggestions. But I must warn you that you shouldn't implement them until your campaign is more or less complete and stable, as I've had some experience in creating campaigns myself. Which? That's the thing- it's because I had so many ideas and I tried to implement them all at once that I couldn't really finish anything. Anyway, here they are:

1) Are farms/villages the only means of generating gold? I'm thinking that maybe it would be possible for farms to be upgraded into towns? Maybe it could be a 9-hex establishment with two villages in the centre, bordered maybe by roads and a few farm hexes? If I actually missed upgrading the farm (because I've never checked if I could) then I guess disregard this.

2) This is an idea that I used in my campaign that is easy to implement. Basically, at the start of each scenario (in this case a season), there would be a selection of bonuses that you could choose. I was inspired by Age of Empires III and their shipment system, when a capitol city would send in supplies, units or packed buildings to help the struggling colony. What I did was to have a selection of 3 choices that may or may not have player-unintended consequences.

For example, for the introductory scenario, I had these choices: Either call on a human-friendly orcish legend (if you must know, a rogue orc fighter blessed with immortality for fighting on the side of humans by a passing great mage or something by the name of Hudash Humanheart) and receive said orc warrior, recruit some thieves from an underground guild (and having to bribe them away from ravaging your crops but you would have 3 units rather than 1 unexpectedly), or send a messenger to acquire more troops (also 3 units) from a neighbouring garrison (but this bonus will have a delay of a few ToDs thus it will take time to deploy them).

Maybe you could have something similar? You might have to rebalance the difficulty though- not to mention, in my campaign, the difficulty decreases or increases the benefit of your bonuses as well. In this case, you could have a choice of Carcyn sending in things like additional gold, or workers, peasants and soldiers, things like that. It doesn't even have to be from Carcyn- it could be a decision by your commander, perhaps to seek out the remnants of a failed colony, or the services of mercenaries, or something like that. You could even have both, with capitol bonuses at the start of the season and decisions like this coming up randomly?

3) Anyway, regarding alternative incomes- you could have things like lumbermills (in forest), mines (as in those from 'A New Land'), fishing villages (in water). Just thinking- may not be very feasible as there may not be enough terrain to build these on, but maybe we could increase the gold yield for that?

4) Also, this is inspired from A New Land- How about having a palace/villa structure that can be build for your leader to occupy? It is not just for eye candy though, it is from there that you could administer the settlement and conduct diplomacy with other races and such. Maybe decisions to include certain policies could be made, such as (as an example) a "Farmer's Welfare Act" that reduces the cost of farms but increases the cost for other things, such as maybe wooden encampments or something. Then, diplomacy. It is an option which can be unlocked by placing your leader in the palace and then selection contact with nearby races- for this to be successful, you will need your leader to be in the palace for a few turns.

5) Leadership and the Officer's Academy. Why not have a building that allows you to recruit sergeants? It is really awkward to have just a single unit with command skills, seeing as in reality, there would be many officers as in Jamestown. Maybe these units, in linking with suggestion 4, could conduct diplomacy instead of your leader? That would really be a good tactical choice, and a good reason to have multiple leaders.

I think that's all I have for now... I really want you and your campaign to succeed :)
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fiblo
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by fiblo » April 26th, 2012, 10:32 pm

I downloaded and played through version 0.5.0 about 5 times so far and I had a blast! I have not played any of the previous versions of Cities of the Frontier so version 0.5.0 was a completely new experience for me. The gameplay is very fresh and fun to play. Also, I like how the story is presented. I have not managed to beat the campaign yet, nor have I managed to survive a full year. I have been playing on the Normal difficulty.

In 2 of my 5 playthroughs, my leader was killed by wolves before I could place the keep. I don't think this is a major problem, I think it was my fault both times because I was being careless. I realized that there is a large risk in exploring in the very beginning! Now I try to find a defensible spot that is close to the starting location. I also really like how the map is randomly generated each time you play. Sometimes you get lucky with the starting spot and sometimes you have to explore a bit. :)

In my other 3 playthroughs I was able to establish a small village but I never made it to the Winter season. The location of the keep and village is the key. You need a good defensible location in the Spring so you can fend off bandit attacks. Generally I see 2 bandit attacks in the spring and maybe a wild animal or two. In my first playthrough I cut down many forests in the Spring to make farms. Then in early summer I was raided by elves which I sort of expected. However, a necromancer raid came from the West at the very same time and it was very hard to deal with both forces. Eventually I depleted my gold and soldiers because I had to fend off the undead, the elves, occasional bandits, and then a large orc raid in late summer. I was defeated by the Orcs in mid-Autumn because I did not have a chance to build up any north defenses. I was under attack constantly from early Summer to mid-Autumn.

I have found that a good keep location is needed to survive the Spring with minimal losses. I think that is more important than a large number of villages. My best luck has been to make 5 to 7 villages and then concentrate on building up defenses for the eventual summer raids. By mid-Summer, I have seen the bandits, undead, and orcs attack around the same time and it is very, very hard to keep up. Perhaps bandits should drop a small amount of gold when they are killed? That would help maintain the gold you need to keep growing your village.

Also, the magic artifacts are extremely helpful! They really help in the early game vs the wild animals and low level bandits. I do not find the negative effects very fun though. I think the items should be a positive boost only because of the risk of exploring to find them. It's hard enough to survive the Spring - I've had a soldier get Stoneskin but he is 20 tiles away from the keep and can't get back without dying.

Overall, the campaign is very fun and I plan to keep on playing. The difficulty is hard for me but seems beatable and the threat of raids from elves, bandits, undead, and orcs really keeps you on your toes! There is never a dull moment. I will keep trying different strategies and try to survive that first year. :)

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xbriannova
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by xbriannova » April 27th, 2012, 5:18 am

Hmm... Played your campaign a few more times, and I realised that what the others were saying about enemies spawning too close to the base have relevance still, so...

6) Yep, it's a problem that needs to be fixed, because there was this once recently that a sea serpent and a level 2 wolf assaulted my colony at the start of the campaign, poisoning both my starting leader and swordsman and killing the former within the first few turns, though not before ruining my upstart settlement. While I would praise how realistic that would be, considering that it's untamed lands in a fantasy world, it's hard to be positive with it gameplay wise... I'm fine with one or two wolves and a few bats, but for God's sakes I don't want to find out how the humans in Avatar feel when the entire planet's natural ecosystem goes to war against them heh :D

7) Also, how about including the option of reclaiming land on shallow waters? It's done before in the medieval world, so my guess is that it's entirely possible in a fantasy world with magic and stuff.

8 ) How about the option of dismantling structures? It can be balanced by reducing the gold returns by 25% to 50% or something... It's hard to understand why structures are supposed to be permanent fixtures when in reality they can be taken down with other things rebuilt in their stead.


9) How about the ability to choose your starting party? I mean, any good pioneer leader would certainly consider several options as to how their initial party should be like. Say we have the original with the Swordsman and Cavalryman, we could have something that consists entirely of mobile units, say 3 Cavalryman (3 units as there are no level 2s), or maybe 1 Dragoon and 1 Cavalryman, versus a slower, defensive setup with 3 spearman, any combination of human level 1 units or something.

10) I would have to concur that the current negative effects can sometimes really be a gamebreaker. I've only encountered the potion of stoneskin, but it's enough to give me apprehensions at approaching anything that's a potion. Reducing the unit's movement to just 1, I feel, is too penalising. It should be balanced- perhaps a reduction of the positive effects to the resistance of the unit while at the same time reducing the negative effects? I'm thinking it could reduce movement by half and then increase resistance by half the current amount. I don't know.

I think that's all for now, can't think of anything else.
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Main Campaign Thread: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26895
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MRDNRA
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by MRDNRA » April 27th, 2012, 8:32 am

I've just encountered quite a major bug: an enemy unit moved onto my archery building, thereby destroying it, however the graphics showed it as still being there, and when I went to build a replacement at the same place, there were no options for building there.

Edit: I have also just noticed that when I move my mouse cursor over the effected area, it also says the terrain is the building in question.

Just to point out, the only way I actually even noticed this, was because I went to recruit an archer, an couldn't. Basically, it is updating the recruitment list, but nothing else.

Edit 2: It happened at least one more time on a different map, but since then it's been working fine again (ie, showing the buildings destroyed and allowing me to rebuild). If it happens again I will make sure to screenshot which hex the enemy unit moved to on the building just in case that's something to do with it.

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xbriannova
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by xbriannova » April 27th, 2012, 1:29 pm

I was playing the campaign again, and I noticed something...

11) All manners of undead units kept popping up at my farms! They kept a few of my troops busy for two or three seasons, how on earth did they get there? Sometimes it makes me wonder what the hell my farmers were farming, or what kind of a land my leader has chosen as a new settlement (mass grave of a bygone era!?)

12) Also, I'm thinking you could take inspiration from a game called Majesty 2, it's good stuff. Or let me guess, you're already taking inspiration from that game :D Anyway, it has very similar concepts as your campaign.
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Main Campaign Thread: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26895
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MRDNRA
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by MRDNRA » April 27th, 2012, 11:19 pm

In response to your number 11 point, I have noticed that sometimes I have undead spawn next to one of my units every 2 or so turns if they've picked up one of the magic items. Slightly annoying as it hinders movement a bit, but also useful xp. Simply put your unit in the middle of your settlement and you have a nice xp farm so to speak.

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xbriannova
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by xbriannova » April 28th, 2012, 5:25 am

Hmm I didn't make the connection between the artifacts and undeads. Now that you mention it that could be the trigger. Good idea, though I still think it's funny to have it spawn in the middle of your settlement, in farms and stuff. OMGosh Corpse farm!!! :D I'm thinking it can be fixed using some of those condition tags that would exclude certain terrain- I haven't touched Wesnoth's WML for a long time so I wouldn't know exactly how to fix it. Anyway, some other things...

13) I encountered MRDNRA's ghost bowyer bug as well. After rebuilding my bowyer on the same hexes, I still can't recruit bowmen. However, I tried building a second bowyer at a different place and it allowed me to recruit bowmen again. Not sure what's the bug in the codes, but I hope it'd help you zero in on the exact location of the bug.

14) Also, I kinda realised that my town idea is compromised as there's no space to put two villages in a 9 hex configuration without putting them both together. So I'm thinking that you could make it similar to the mines in A New Land, which gives you extra gold via event rather than village income every turn, basically golden numbers would float up the towns every turn I guess. Also, maybe the 9 hexes of the town could be made a little intricate- with roads, gardens and maybe a castle to represent some kind of a government building that can be garrisoned.

15) Also, universities- maybe it can be a building that would grant research possibilities to the player? He just need to put a mage, his leader or any officer units inside. Possibilities as to what can be researched is endless.

16) I've been thinking, if you're not aversed to putting villages together in adjacent hexes (I am slightly apprehensive about this as it may unhinge the balance of the game somehow), you could always put 2-4 villages in a 'town' building, in the middle of the 9 hexes with various fluff around the edges. Also, I guess the cost of upgrading farm to town would have to be more expensive the more villages there are in the middle
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Main Campaign Thread: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26895
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MRDNRA
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by MRDNRA » April 28th, 2012, 11:40 am

The ghost building bug popped up again. It happened this time when an enemy unit moved onto the actual build hex (ie, where your workers are when they build it, the top middle hex).

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xbriannova
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by xbriannova » April 28th, 2012, 11:48 am

lol, after like some 10 failures, I've finally won the campaign at normal difficulty :). In the interest of protecting the campaign's fun factor, I won't say how I did it until the campaign is fully complete, at which point it may already be outdated, the info.

Anyway, build another building of the same type, it'd fix the issue.
Current Projects:

UMC Campaign Guardian Order.
Main Campaign Thread: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=26895
Art Thread: http://www.wesnoth.org/forum/viewtopic. ... 28&start=0

fiblo
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by fiblo » April 28th, 2012, 11:56 pm

I am finally getting the hang of this campaign. I survived the first year and I had a productive spring and summer. So far it's been a blast! There are two things that I think could make this scenario better though.

The first thing is to remove the negative effects on items. I said this before, but the negative effects really discourage me from picking up items. I picked up a regeneration ring but then it spawned an undead unit every 2 turns. This caused me a lot of trouble and eventually I suicided my magical unit so that the undead would stop spawning. Regeneration is NOT worth the trouble of dealing with a new enemy every 2 turns (especially since I'm constantly being attacked by bandits/animals/orcs already). Having the negative effects is not that fun for me. Or perhaps the negative effects could be different? A side effect froom picking up a magical item could be that the unit becomes undead or a ghost, which would be kind of cool.

The second thing is the cost to recall units. Right now it doesn't make much sense to stand down units if the recall cost is 20 gold. Can you lower the cost of recalling units? Right now I never stand down level 1 units because it's cheaper to buy a new unit than it is to recall it! I'm not sure if that is intended or not. Perhaps the recall costs for a level 1 unit could be half the cost of the unit? So a spearman would cost 7 gold to recall, which might make economic sense during the campaign. For example, if I stand down a level 1 unit, I would need a minimum of 20 turns before I recall it to break even. For a level 2 unit, it's 10 turns. However, you are under attack so much that it's often more beneficial to keep the units on active duty.

Edit: The costs for the Peasant workers seems to be in line with your thoughts on standing army size. Since they cost 35 gold each, it makes sense to have the recall cost be 20 gold. You save 15 gold by having the unit stand down and recalling it later.

esci
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Re: Cities of the Frontier (aka sim-Wesnoth)

Post by esci » April 29th, 2012, 2:58 am

I don't have time to address all of the points people have brought up here over the past few days, but I have just uploaded a bug-fix release (0.5.1) to fix a few of the problems. The artifact balance is probably way off right now -- some too powerful, several on balance worthless -- but I'll tweak this in the future. I also intend to add more "non-cursed" artifacts in the future -- on average, I hope that there should be only about 1 with negative effects per campaign.

Changes in 0.5.1:
-Fixed (I think) the "ghost building" bug noted by MRDNRA and xbriannova
-Increased movement points with the "stoneskin" potion to 2
-Fixed (I think) bug where magical items would occasionally not spawn or spawn at every hex on the left edge of the map
-Limited both the number and types of animals that can begin near (within a couple moves) of your units. Feedback on whether this is sufficient is greatly appreciated.
xbriannova wrote:I really want you and your campaign to succeed :)
If you're enjoying it, then it's succeeding. I work on this campaign partly to give back to the Wesnoth community that's given me many hours of entertainment, but mostly because I enjoy seeing what I can do with the game.

EDIT: I realized I left in some debug messages that will usually show up when you start a new campaign, but I've got enough other changes partially complete that it would be a pain to release a bugfix version right now.
Last edited by esci on May 2nd, 2012, 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
Original creator of the campaign Descent Into Darkness
Currently working on Cities of the Frontier

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