Rewriting the unit descriptions

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turin
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Post by turin » December 9th, 2005, 11:02 pm

Yeah - basically, pick one race and do all of the descriptions for it. (You might want to edit the descriptions that don't need revision to bring them more in line with the ones you have to do.)
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ott
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Post by ott » December 12th, 2005, 8:39 am

To make this effort more productive, I suggest judicious use of the 'svn log' command.

Some descriptions were rewritten for 1.0 and extensively polished. It would be silly to rewrite them yet again, when many descriptions are still the quick placeholder texts that were originally committed with the unit (with the most glaring errors fixed in subsequent rounds of copy editing). Let's fix what is broken first, then we can argue about the ones that are OK, and finally the good ones can be replaced: but only when someone with prodigious writing talent can convincingly write new ones that are universally regarded as an improvement.

Monsters have generally poor descriptions, they need revision. Most of the mainline units were revised, including most humans other than special units, undead, trolls, elves, orcs, woses, outlaws, and many dwarves. The new text is mostly Jetryl's, with contributions from Noy and a few others, and editorial input from me.

By the way, writing new descriptions is relatively easy. Copy editing for style (eg. Jetryl's suggestions for Turin's descriptions above), as well as consistency (spacing, use of pronouns, attack specials), and finally grammar, take much longer than writing new ones. Further, translating a new description into 31 languages dwarfs the time taken to generate new descriptions.

Please be considerate -- new descriptions are the tip of a large iceberg of work. If the description really detracts from the quality of the game (eg. Youth: "Today almost a boy, by his devotion to the crown he is seeking to become a Lord -- to join the elite of human fighters.") then fix it. But most of the unit descriptions are well written, if not quite Nobel laureate standard, and moreover represent a lot of work "under the surface" that I don't want to see lost.

By the way, I'm not interested in subediting further revisions to unit descriptions. Working on the game code (especially algorithms) and fixing user interface glitches is a much higher priority for me.

A final word -- the best way to become aware of what is involved is to look at one of the po/wesnoth/*.po translation files (for instance, en_GB.po or the canonical po/wesnoth/wesnoth.pot). There you will find all the unit descriptions arrayed one after another, and inconsistencies should become more apparent. Translators don't often suggest major changes to the game text, but are the main source of reports about unclear phrasing, spelling glitches, or plain errors -- even though most are not English native speakers.
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Post by Alks » December 12th, 2005, 9:22 am

Orcish Warlord wrote: "Snot'bout killin',boyzz... it's 'bout survival..."
These were the words of Khrung Dwarfeater, orcish warlord, who has been always the threat to Knalgan Alliance. And these words reveal the truth about the them. Horribly scarred, they have not only mastered fighting with their deadly blades, but also became quite good archers. Moreover, they overcame the infamous orcish bloodthirst, and learned that only true winner is the survivor. In the war-like society of orcs they became equivalents of great thinkers in human society. It is so, both due to their stories about past victories and their fighting abilities.
They might need some native English speaker smoothening. What I do suggest is giving in front of description some quote of the given profession. Something like credo.

I can rewrite the orcs, Turin - if this sample suits you, then I'll move on to the next units from the list. And add the "credos" to all orcish units.

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Re: Rewriting the unit descriptions

Post by Viliam » December 12th, 2005, 1:43 pm

turin wrote:It would be better, IMHO, to have a "characters" part of the help, with a page created for each character. This is really important given the second part of your suggestion, since right now the unit description is not per-unit. It is for the unit type. So, you couldn't have the three musketeers, with different backstories for each unit, because either you would have to choose one cdescription to replace the description with, or put them all together in the same page - both bad ideas.
My idea was that "history" tag is unit-specific (not unit-type-specific), just like HP and XP are. The personal history is supposed to be for individual unit, not for a type of units. It technically can be attacked to any type of unit -- in official campaigns it will be attached to hero-type units, and in unofficial... it depends on the author. It can be set when the unit is created, it is saved with a unit, and is preserved when the unit advances. It can be appended, or completely rewritten.

Help could have a page where existing units with non-empty "history" tag would be inserted, using their names (not unit type names), this would be great. Or maybe each hero unit could have two pages... a general page for unit type, and sub-page(s) for individual units of this type. The individual unit pages could be included in help tree below their unit type. Like this:
Attachments
Help structure for heroes
Help structure for heroes
help_heroes.png (3.06 KiB) Viewed 3752 times

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turin
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Re: Rewriting the unit descriptions

Post by turin » December 12th, 2005, 9:51 pm

Viliam wrote:
turin wrote:It would be better, IMHO, to have a "characters" part of the help, with a page created for each character. This is really important given the second part of your suggestion, since right now the unit description is not per-unit. It is for the unit type. So, you couldn't have the three musketeers, with different backstories for each unit, because either you would have to choose one cdescription to replace the description with, or put them all together in the same page - both bad ideas.
My idea was that "history" tag is unit-specific (not unit-type-specific), just like HP and XP are. The personal history is supposed to be for individual unit, not for a type of units.
That's what I meant too. But my point was, "characters" should be a separate part of the help. In other words, have another section of the help, in addition to "units", "traits", "abilities", etc, called "characters". In it, have pages, generated only from the campaign you're playing (so that we don't get character clutter when have many campaigns installed), that has bios on all the units.
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Post by autolycus » December 13th, 2005, 3:43 pm

Some possible edits:

Fire Dragon (Draco flammiferum ferox)

The fire dragon is a dragon with a special affinity for flame. It is a huge beast; specimens have been known which have reached thirty metres in length. Armed with deadly fangs and a tail as thick as a young tree, there are few opponents which can match its physical prowess in battle. The most dreadful weapon it wields is a jet of flame, the product of its alchemical stomach. Fire dragons are very intelligent, cunning and dyspeptic. These traits combine to make them sadistic and violent - in a clever and thoroughly frightening way.

Gryphon (minor edit, explaining the difficult-to-interpret graphic)

Both eagle and lion, these majestic and powerful creatures are rulers of the sky. Gryphons are both dangerous and wary of other intelligent creatures, and thus should not be disturbed without a good reason.
as kingfishers catch fire
so dragonflies draw flame
-GMH

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Post by Emmanovi » December 13th, 2005, 5:30 pm

autolycus wrote:dyspeptic
Why do they have indigestion?
If white was black and black was white, what would happen to zebra crossings?

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Post by Xan » December 13th, 2005, 6:10 pm

Wikipedia wrote:The term "dyspepsia" is both medical and general, and the term "dyspeptic" has come to mean "as if bothered by ulcers, irritable."
"It is time people learned about their failures and my successes."

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Post by Emmanovi » December 13th, 2005, 6:18 pm

Sorry, the **** smiley did not work...

Would you understand it better if I said:
autocylus wrote:dyspeptic
Why does he have indigestion? :P

Anyway, to follow on...
autocylus wrote:Gryphon (minor edit, explaining the difficult-to-interpret graphic)

Both eagle and lion, these majestic and powerful creatures are rulers of the sky. Gryphons are both dangerous and wary of other intelligent creatures, and thus should not be disturbed without a good reason.
How about adding this on to the end:

"Some dwarves have managed to tame these beasts, and, according to rumour, humans have succeeded also."
If white was black and black was white, what would happen to zebra crossings?

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Post by autolycus » December 17th, 2005, 2:52 pm

Emmanovi wrote:
autolycus wrote:dyspeptic
Why do they have indigestion?
Wouldn't you if your most powerful weapon was the burning exhaust of some sort of internal combustion engine? :)
as kingfishers catch fire
so dragonflies draw flame
-GMH

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Post by irrevenant » December 18th, 2005, 4:29 am

Ancient Lich wrote: Special Notes: The ranged attacks of a lich are magical, and always have a high chance of hitting an opponent. The touch of a lich drains the victim's life to renew the lich.
Cave Spider wrote: Special Notes: The fangs of the Giant Spider secrete a deadly venom, that will poison whomever they pierce. The webs of the spider, coated with an adhesive, will wrap around their opponents, slowing them down.
etc.

Do we really need the "Special Notes" in the unit descriptions? The attack is clearly listed as 'poison' or 'magical' with a hyperlink to the meaning. It seems redundant.

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turin
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Post by turin » December 18th, 2005, 4:36 am

Well, almost all other units use them, so I included them here.

If you want to take that up with someone, talk to ott... but IMHO they're a good idea.

Anyway, is there any chance these descriptions of the Ancient Lich, Cockatrice, and Giant Spider can be included? (Jetryl's revised versions, not my originals.)
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irrevenant
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Post by irrevenant » December 18th, 2005, 4:41 am

turin wrote:Well, almost all other units use them, so I included them here.
Sure. I wasn't picking on you - your post just reminded me of the issue.
turin wrote:If you want to take that up with someone, talk to ott... but IMHO they're a good idea.
How do take it up with ott? Does he not read these threads?

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Post by turin » December 18th, 2005, 4:44 am

Well, it would be best to email or PM him.

I doubt he reads every single thread. Posting here probably isn't a good way to get hold of him.
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And I hate stupid people.
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Post by ivanovic » December 18th, 2005, 10:54 am

irrevenant wrote: How do take it up with ott? Does he not read these threads?
Due to bad caching at his internet provider it is almost impoeeible for him to work with the forum. Normally you can ONLY reach him via email or in the irc-channel. I don't know if his email addy is in his profile. if you want to reach him on the irc server you have to join #wesnoth-dev on irc.freenode.net.
But you will have a hard time contacting him right now since he is on holidays for some time.

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