Sceptre of Life, version 0.12.1

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opensourcejunkie
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Sceptre of Life, version 0.12.1

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 12th, 2008, 12:20 am

---> link to the campaign feedback thread
Sceptre of Life add-on description wrote:A young doctor in a small, backwoods town is propelled into a Northland skirmish. The small choices he makes have far-reaching consequences as the Sceptre of Life is unveiled in a desparate, dying land.
The Sceptre of Life is a new campaign that is now over 1/2 complete. When I first started SoL, I was a brand new forum member. So, I wanted to "prove" myself a bit before I stated my intentions with SoL. However, now that the first (of three) story arcs is complete, I'd like to take some time to tell you where I want to go with this campaign.

Purpose Of SoL
As I've played through the various mainline campaigns, I noticed that for the most part, each campaign provided a storyline that easily rivals the plotlines of comparable, closed-source games (e.g. warcraft). I also noticed, however, that each campaign more or less exists within its own storyline, only occasionally tying itself into the greater history of Wesnoth.

I thought that it would be kind of cool if Wesnoth history itself had a story arc in which the plotlines of these campaigns tie together toward some end. Sceptre of Life is my attempt to create one such story arc, pulling together history from TRoW to UtBS, and everything in between (okay, maybe not everything :-)

Level of Quality
As with any BfW campaign designer, I secretly daydream about the day that everyone realizes how awesome my campaign is, and the powers that be beg me to put it mainline :-). Of course in my more realistic moments, I realize that the only chance of my campaign ever making mainline is slim, unless it achieves a certain "mainline quality".

So, I've compiled a list of quality standards that will drive my development of this campaign. If you notice a point in the campaign where these standards are not upheld, or if you think that a standard should be added or modified, let me know!
  • Storyline: The campaign storyline, as well as the storyline for each scenario, should be engaging and addictive. It should constantly allude to the "facts" of wesnoth created by mainline campaigns. Also, every main character should be well-developed, and seem like a "real person", granted differences in unit type and race.
  • Maps: Every map should be visually and tactically interesting, and should generally reflect the geography of the region within which it is set.
  • Scenario Objectives: Scenario objectives should be interesting, and they should flow naturally from the demands of the storyline. If a scenario changes objectives, the change should be gradual enough to grant the player time to shift his resources.
  • WML Treats: When the storyline permits (or requires) the campaign should include various "WML Treats" that somehow alter gameplay from its normal flow. Examples include the Training Grounds in scenario 4, or the resurrection of dead units in the final scenarios
  • Internal Structure: All code should be well commented and easy to read. The code should be designed to ease maintenance by separating frequently repeated code into macros, and maintaining a consistent style of organization between scenarios.
Helping Out
At this stage of the game (or campaign :-), I don't really expect to attract a lot of assistance; after all, I only have half of the campaign complete. Nonetheless, just in case a raving contributor feels that he cannot live without contributing to SoL, I've compiled a wishlist of contributions that I can't make (see attached).

...actually, it's a list of graphical contributions that I can't make, because I can't think of anything other than graphics that I might need. (Although, if any music contribs have a dying urge to compose for SoL, I have a scenario that could use a dash of custom music :-)

Besides direct contributions, playtesting is a contribution that gives me valuable feedback on the quality and balancing of existing scenarios. It has already become invaluable, even at this early stage. At this stage, I'm only worried about balancing on the "medium" difficulty; I'll worry about balancing the others once the campaign is scenario-complete.

Anyway, for those who have contributed thus far, and for those who may come in the future, I want to say thank you. I couldn't make this without you.
-- OpenSourceJunkie

Getting SoL
There are three ways to obtain this campaign. They are as follows:
  • Download the campaign from the add-ons server (this is the easiest method). To do this, start up Wesnoth, click "Add-ons" from the main screen, and connect to the add-ons server. Once connected, scroll down the list until you find the campaign "Sceptre of Life", select it, and click "Ok"
  • Manually install the campaign into your userdata directory. To accomplish this feat, go to the end of this post, and search backward for the latest version of the campaign. When you find that post, download the normal version of the campaign, and unzip it. next, find your userdata directory, and copy/paste the campaign folder ("Sceptre_of_Life") into the folder "(userdata)/data/campaigns/". When you next run Wesnoth, the campaign should be installed
  • Manually install the short version of the campaign into your userdata directory. The short version is equivalent to the normal version mentioned above, but it skips directly to the most recent scenario. To install the short version, perform the same steps as the previous method, but instead of downloading the normal version of the campaign, download the short version of the campaign.

    (note): as of version 0.6.0, the campaign file is too large to upload to the forum. Thus, the only way to install the most recent version of the campaign is to download it from the add-ons server. Therefore, the short version has been discontinued, and in its place I've created a savepack (a package of saved games) that can be used to skip to any scenario. To install the savepack, download it from below, unzip it, and place the save files into your (userdata)/saves directory.
Attachments
savepack_0_11_0.zip
(248.66 KiB) Downloaded 454 times
wishlist_images.txt
my graphics wishlist (ascii text format)
(2.24 KiB) Downloaded 589 times
Last edited by opensourcejunkie on May 3rd, 2009, 3:05 pm, edited 36 times in total.
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opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 12th, 2008, 12:24 am

While the server was down, I managed to complete scenario 3. let me know of any bugs you find, or recommendations you may have!

-- OSJ
Attachments
Sceptre_of_Life-short_0_3_0.zip
short version
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Sceptre_of_Life_0_3_0.zip
normal version
(1.79 MiB) Downloaded 586 times
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Life after Death
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by Life after Death » August 12th, 2008, 1:27 am

Edit by Mist

After removing swearing nothing really left. Enough of this trolling.

opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 12th, 2008, 1:41 am

:-)
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Crushmaster
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by Crushmaster » August 13th, 2008, 5:02 am

Hi,
I've played both the two-scenario and three-scenario versions Sceptre Of Life, and I must say I like it. :)
Good story, good characters, good mix of units...But, there are a few things I didn't like
Now, I'm not that great at reviewing or anything, but I'll do my best.
On the second scenario, I think there was a bit too much farmland (or the terrain with crops).
But, that's just my personal opinion.
Really, besides that, the only thing I didn't like was Elrial...not the character itself, but because she's an elvish ranger, and I don't think women should be soldiers.
I think it'd be better if she was an elvish shyde or druid.
But, besides that, I think it's a great campaign so far, and you're doing a really good job. :)
God bless,
Crushmaster.
Godspeed, random person!
NeedGod - User:Crushmaster

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Mica
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by Mica » August 13th, 2008, 5:40 am

the only thing I didn't like was Elrial...not the character itself, but because she's an elvish ranger, and I don't think women should be soldiers.
That's quite sexist of you.


I think that the second scenario's difficulty increased a bit in the beginning part, I nearly (or did) lose one or even both my starting guards because their sheer numbers (played on normal).

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?

In the first scenario, I generally can't survive until turn 12-13 (I can, but it'll be barely) because those orcs have about equal numbers and they use the land to their advantage (since two villages is all I get for good terrain - besides the castle I guess), with the deep water starting a little late for me.

I'm not a terrible player either. I think that the orcs should have less gold to start with. Not too much, but not too little either.
Mica says one who cheats, cheats himself.

You are an Elvish Shyde - Beautiful, natural, and helpful, though sometimes under-appreciated.

opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.3.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 13th, 2008, 6:56 pm

Mica wrote:I think that the orcs should have less gold to start with. Not too much, but not too little either.
Yeah, the first scenario used to be easier, but I upped the difficulty because of feedback from another player. Perhaps I increased it too much. Any other opinions on the difficulty of the first level?

As for the terrain issue in the second scenario (it being awkward), I'll need a couple more specifics to hone in on the issue :-). Are you talking about the terrain of the fortress itself, or the terrain outside of the fortress - that in the area of the ne bridge.

Referring to Crushmaster's post, the reason I can't change Elrial to a druid || shyde, etc, is because such unit types don't fit with her character very well. A major part of what drives this woman is the fact that men constantly try to guard her from battle - men such as her brother Eriad, and a later character Haldras. I guess I see her as something of a mild women's lib character - not openly picketing outside of her home keep, but certainly annoyed by the insulting vigilance she is secured under.

At any rate, there will be a number of character quirks in SOL that some may find disagreeable (for instance, some might agree with Derril's philosophy on chain of command, while others might not). My goal is not to produce a world view that is acceptable to every member of the audience, but rather to show how the various (and conflicting) world views of my characters clash together to produce an interesting story :-). So feel free to dislike Elrial - not every character cares for her rather...forward tendencies either.

thanks again for all the support && feedback! hope everything goes well with yall, && God bless
-- OSJ
what if the Bible's claims about Christ depicted accurate, verifiable history? given some research, you might be surprised at the evidence...

opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 25th, 2008, 12:51 pm

Scenario 4 is out, finally :-), and up for feedback && review. My major concern with this scenario is that it may have too much "stuff" in it. I included a number of interesting features, and an excess of dialogue involving multiple plot elements. So, I'd like to know if you guys do think that there's too much "stuff" in it, and if so, what features/dialogue may be best the best candidate for removal/revision.

Concerning the concerns brought forth since the last version, I haven't dealt with any of them yet; I plan to do that next, however. To sum them up, I'll be fixing the following issues:
1) change up the terrain a bit on scenario 2 to remove some farmland
2) downplay the second scenario's difficulty level in the first part
3) slightly downplay scenario 1's difficulty, perhaps increasing it slightly after Derril returns.

The one suggestion I can't yet take into consideration, however, is the awkward terrain for the outpost in scenario 2. As I posted earlier, I'll need more specifics, so if anyone has a way to improve the outpost let me know!

Thanks again for all the feedback so far, as well as any you give me on scenario 4. Sincerely,
--OSJ
Attachments
Sceptre_of_Life-short_0_4_0.zip
short version
(1.8 MiB) Downloaded 499 times
Sceptre_of_Life_0_4_0.zip
normal version
(1.8 MiB) Downloaded 505 times
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opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.0

Post by opensourcejunkie » August 27th, 2008, 4:07 pm

Sorry for the triple post, but since nobody reviewed my scenario 4 [ :-( ], I gotta do it.

Like I mentioned in my double-post, there were a few suggestions I needed to implement, so in version 0.4.1, I dealt with them. The changes I made are as follows:

1) I reduced/broke apart the massive farm in scenario 2; Crushmaster, you were right, that was way too overwhelming.

2) I downplayed the second scenario's difficulty a bit, as per suggested (thanks Mica); I think that the main trouble was that their archers, by definition of being an archer, had an advantage over Derril's starting units (and many in his recall list). So, I changed the archers to goblin impalers, and the difficulty abated a bit.

3) Finally, I upped scenario 1's starting gold so that you can recruit over two whole castlefulls of peasants from the get-go. Then I took down Derril's gold a bit in hopes that the difficulty of the second half of the battle would compensate for the somewhat easier defense of the town. I think that the scenario is still a bit unbalanced, though, so let me know of any suggestions.

Thanks again for all (or any :-) interest in my campaign.
--OSJ
Attachments
Sceptre_of_Life-short_0_4_1.zip
short version
(1.8 MiB) Downloaded 506 times
Sceptre_of_Life_0_4_1.zip
normal version
(1.8 MiB) Downloaded 525 times
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myidbe
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by myidbe » September 6th, 2008, 9:46 am

Hi osj,

Great scenario 3! (odd that no one else has given any comments yet..). First though, a couple of comments on scenario 2 again:

Note: I used the campaign server to download the campaign (v0.4.1).

In scenario 2, I was now able to recruit iron fist units from the very beginning. Perhaps this was intended to lessen its difficulty, but I really didn't make much use of these requited units, preferring the meaner recall list. Also, when the elves appeared this time, Eriad requited one keep full of scouts and then charged forward - in the end, this worked out ok, but I had to take extra care to quickly support him. I would have preferred that he had taken his time for one more turn.

Ok, scenario 3:

Cool map. However, to keep Elrial and Aeryn together was impossible. Keeping them within 13 hexes of each other was no problem, but Aeryn really lags behind Elrial going through the woods just north of the beginning keep. Perhaps the road could fork north through the woods here (instead of, or in addition to, to the fork north after the river bridge at 11,24).

With all the recalls from the last scenario, I really didn't have any trouble taking out the orcs. In fact, Elrial and Aeryn's troops never even played a significant roll.

Burin's "remodeling" was a nice touch. Luckily, I had sent him with Elrial and Aeryn from the beginning, and it was trivial to move him in there. However, didn't turn out to be necessary.

The orc leader moved pretty quickly to the north-western "keep in the main keep" (18,12). He sent too many of his troops west, and I basically flanked him from the south, taking villages along the way. No pivotal suggestions for improvement here. Taking away the ability to recruit so much in scenario 2 will certainly make 3 harder. All in all though, I feel it's pretty well balanced in terms of difficulty (with a slight lean to the player's side).

Scenario 4: nice :)
Started playing this but haven't gone all the way through. As you're likely aware, the training grounds didn't work, but I think it's a nice twist and good design. The saurians were pretty mean, taking out two spearmen, but I had them cleared out by turn 6. Looking forward to the next update (and the whole campaign)...

opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by opensourcejunkie » September 7th, 2008, 3:25 pm

Thanks for the reply; it was getting to be a pretty lonely post :-]. You brought a couple of interesting bugs to my attention; the last time I tested, the training grounds worked fine, and no, you're not supposed to be able to recruit normal Fist forces in scenario 2. So thank you; I'll definitely look into them.

To be honest, I haven't yet played my campaign from start to finish (well, the most recent scenario anyway), so I'm fairly in the dark concerning balance issues (i.e. I have no recall list from previous scenarios when I test). I think I'll do that now, so I can get a firsthand look at the current state of the campaign, as well as investigate the bugs you mentioned.

Thanks for the feedback!
--OSJ
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Crushmaster
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by Crushmaster » September 7th, 2008, 7:15 pm

Hi OSJ,
I finished up the new release of SOF, so I thought I'd just toss in my two cents:
On the second scenario, the farmland looks better now, and I think you did a good job on that.:)
One thing it, though, as Myidbe said, the recruitable units weren't really needed. I just used the recall list.
But, that's really just trivial, so you can keep them if you want. :)
In the fourth scenario, there was terrain thing I noticed: The desert (or sand) hills looked strange with normal mountains; I think it would probably work better if you used the bigger sandhills, instead.
But, that's just my opinion.
Overall, good work! :) Keep it up.
Godspeed, random person!
NeedGod - User:Crushmaster

opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by opensourcejunkie » September 8th, 2008, 12:27 pm

You've got a good eye for terrain details, huh? :) Good call; I'll look into changing the mountains.

As for the whole recruiting thing in scenario 2, I have no idea how recruiting snuck into the scenario; for storyline reasons if nothing else, it should be taken out.

Thanks for the feedback; I'll release a bug-fix version within the next couple of days, if not sooner. (a bit on my plate right now in rl :)
--OSJ
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opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by opensourcejunkie » September 12th, 2008, 11:01 am

Okay, so I implemented most of the suggestions you guys had for me, and fixed a few bugs I found while playing through myself.

First things first, whoa - myidbe, you are a master of understatement, because scenario 3 was way too easy! In a way, I'm kind of glad; I had wanted to allow more enemy units, so that the city would appear more "occupied", but I was afraid that that would make the scenario too difficult. Fortunately, the advanced recall list from scenario 2 jump-starts the player nicely. So, in the end, I added an entire second enemy who camps out on the southeastern wall of the city.

Secondly, I fixed that recruit list issue; turns out the list is saved from scenario to scenario. Who knew? :-0

Thirdly, I fixed a few dialogue issues I found; I won't go into details

Scenario 4 had a few issues. Myidbe, I couldn't find any problem with the training grounds, except that they didn't work on Elrial's first turn. I fixed that. However, they should work rather flawlessly otherwise. Perhaps the instructions provided are insufficient or vague. If you get the chance, could you try it out again on your computer, to see if it's a machine-specific issue? If so, thanks :-)

Also in scenario 4, there was a slight bug where a number of the peasants couldn't move until a certain turn. I changed the code such that once the peasants reach the citadel, on their following turn, their move points will be restored.

@ Crushmeister - I didn't yet change the mountains on the scenario 4 map because I haven't yet found an alteration that quite suits what I'm going for. See the next post for details.

Finally, speaking of map issues, I did add something of a small path through the woods in scenario 3 to help aeryn keep up with elle, good call myidbe.


All right, so without further adeu, version 0.4.2. Hopefully I'll finish scenario 5 some time in the next few days, so we can (finally) get to 0.5.0.
Attachments
Sceptre_of_Life-short_0_4_2.zip
short version
(1.84 MiB) Downloaded 483 times
Sceptre_of_Life_0_4_2.zip
normal version
(1.84 MiB) Downloaded 513 times
Last edited by opensourcejunkie on September 12th, 2008, 12:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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opensourcejunkie
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Re: Sceptre of Life, version 0.4.1

Post by opensourcejunkie » September 12th, 2008, 11:17 am

Okay, so concerning crushmaster's critique of the mountain-desert setup in scenario 4, I've monkeyed around with the map a bit, and I could use some feedback. (I would have added this to the last post, but you can only have 3 attachments per post :cry:)

The first map is the original, with normal mountains right up against to the desert terrain. The second map uses the desert mountains as crushmaster suggested. The third map portrays my sad attempts to retain the original mountains, while adding some extra flavor to draw the eye from the mountain-desert irregularities.

Personally, I'm not partial to any one of them, but I am partial against the second one. I don't know - to me, the desert mountains look too "sketched", even when combined with only desert terrain. Also, there aren't enough special [terrain_graphics] to spice up the relatively boring sea of hills. (although granted, the desert usually is pretty boring :-)) The normal mountains have nice ridges, and super-mountains to keep the terrain varied, without which we'd begin to look like warcraft mountains :roll: .

So, if there's a way to improve map 2, I'm all for it, or for that matter, maps 3 or 1. So please, give me some feedback here, 'cause I'm a bit lost as to what to change.

Thanks,
--OSJ
Attachments
04_Teras_Clench_3.map
map 3
(29.83 KiB) Downloaded 564 times
04_Teras_Clench_2.map
map 2
(29.83 KiB) Downloaded 497 times
04_Teras_Clench_1.map
map 1
(29.83 KiB) Downloaded 502 times
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