Northern Rebirth

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homunculus
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by homunculus »

in scenario 2 'infested caves' there should be dwarvish skeletons.
i tried this and i think it looked nice.

Code: Select all

    [side]
        type=Death Knight
        canrecruit=yes
        side=5
        {GOLD4 200 300 400 500}
        {INCOME4 5 10 15 20}
        recruit=Skeleton,Skeleton Archer
        team_name=undead
        user_team_name=_"Undead"
		[modifications]
			[object]
				silent=yes
				[filter]
					id=$unit.id
				[/filter]
				[effect]
					apply_to=image_mod
					replace=SCALE(72,63)
				[/effect]
			[/object]
		[/modifications]
    [/side]
for undead side leaders, and for the skeletons, this:

Code: Select all

	[event]
		name=prerecruit
		first_time_only=no
		[filter]
			race=undead
		[/filter]
		[object]
			silent=yes
			[filter]
				id=$unit.id
			[/filter]
			[effect]
				apply_to=image_mod
				replace=SCALE(72,63)
			[/effect]
		[/object]
	[/event]
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Kraus
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Kraus »

Just wondering: Is someone, at some point ever, going to make the 'evil' branch playable? Is there a plan for this to happen?

I'm wondering, because I'm stuck between if I should continue translating those parts or not. Is a player ever, ever going to see these parts of the translation in action, or not?

It's mighty interesting to boot, if you ask me. :)
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Wesbane
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Wesbane »

As far as I know, there is a plan, a master Malifors plan even.
But since 'evil' its unfinished its not worth bother anything beside this string.
Note: The work on this branch of the campaign is in progress.
Additionally story in this branch is not best. In my humble opinion it sounds quite silly. Just read this:
He was first stripped of his weapons and armor and then cast into solitary confinement. He remained there for months, never being allowed to see the light of day, being fed only enough food to keep him alive. During this time he was forced to study the most dark and forbidden arts, lashed with whips when he could not recite lessons drawn from grimoires no human should ever have opened. His body grew feeble and emaciated and his mind plunged ever deeper into night.
For some its a reality at least for nine months per year.
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Kraus
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Kraus »

For some its a reality at least for nine months per year.
"It's awful 'cause it's true..." :)

Most of the stories in Wesnoth are 'silly' at best. The writing does get a bit better later on, though. Just for the sake of getting lines out of the way I'll just give a rough draft, then. It's half an hour for a scenario anyways, if you don't dwell on details too much.
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Vigilant
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Vigilant »

I started commenting in the scenarios then finally found this, since my feedback is a general thing across the campaign.

I think i've played everything in the mainline through except for this and Under the Burning Sun, and all I can say is I've never found a campaign that had such good dialog/story/characters, but such frustrating level design.

Nearly every level pits you up against more computer players than any of the other campaigns will throw against the player on their 'final battle' scenarios. The amount of gold, and keep/castle sizes both the player and computer have access to, is outrageous (I just didn't know how to react when I had 12,000 gold on one level). And the scale of the units thrown at each other is not unmanageable, but more than a player can smoothly handle without the turns taking forever. Depending on the design of the level and what units the player has access to, there's a point where adding units does not increase the difficulty, but merely the time it takes to defeat the enemy. The AI isn't a genius, it can be convinced to throw itself on heavily defending positions until it runs out of gold. The problem is this point is crossed all the time in the campaign. Conceptually, the idea for each level i've played has checked out. They're understandable, they flow right for the story, and can pose some interesting problems. It's just how lengthy the levels are that's the problem.

Concrete example : The Pursuit.
-There's way too many enemies. It gets to the point where one starts wondering why Malifor had to run in the first place, or why he hasn't conquered wesnoth yet. There's probably over 40 Draugs, and many more revs. Storywise this scale just doesn't make sense. This is an army that could overrun most fortresses we've seen in other campaigns by itself, and we're led to believe most of the tunnels are filled with even more skeletons. It already should have been over. In the cramped tunnels the dwarves could hold out, but on an open field : no army would be able to stop this force. The second that lich chose to attack, he would have won.

-Ok back to gameplay. If the number of units wasn't enough, they're given tunnels usually 2-3 hexes wide, and fortifications. This is an exercise in tedium. With dwarven hammers you can smash those bones, but it's going to take forever fighting them one and two at a time. There is no challenge here. Anyone that's played more than a few campaigns finds cycling injured units as natural as breathing. What there is, is a ton of wasted time. This goes even more so with the entrance tunnels to the two death knights at the start. Those seem almost designed to waste your time. I suppose you could just ignore all those units... but most player's see a hard passage and their instincts tingle about treasure. And they're not wrong to do so, several of those time wasting tunnels contain gold, holy water, the Rod of Justice (which given the rest of campaign you nearly *need* it to win).

For both story and gameplay, there's no reason for there to be this many units, or so many Deathknight's spawning units. They all die easily enough, it just takes forever to kill them. I could put this in the commentary for the level, but this problem is pretty much the same for any level in the game except 'Breaking the Chains' and 'To the Mines' . The levels need to be scaled down. Give Tallin less gold, smaller recruit areas if you want him outnumbered. There's no need to have 6 computer players with 500-1000 gold. Also, ambush events should not be "if you trigger this ambush so many units drop on you that you will either lose or take another 20 turns to win." , especially when there is usually no tip off that this could even happen. The main thing : large armies can't be hidden. An hidden trap/ambush is only plausible if they're a small group. No other mainline campaign makes a habit of throwing this many units and computer players at the player. There's a reason for this. Unless the level is structured very carefully, fighting that many enemies is just plain dull.

The campaign as a whole makes the climatic battles of Liberty and Scepter of Fire seem like four units fighting each other. The scale of the levels is done to such excess that midway through the campaign on my first play through i quit. It's only because of curiosity about the story/characters that I find myself playing through again. I'd recommend trying to take some inspiration from those campaigns. They manage to convey the sense that the player's faction is extremely outnumbered, without running into all the problems this campaign has.

Other oddities : Why can't you recruit dwarves after level 4? I can understand for a few levels or two when the majority of the dwarves are supposed to be guarding Knalga, but after a while it just becomes odd. Especially when you find the dwarven remnant in Malfidor's lair. There's a story excuse right there to be able to recruit fighters and thunderers again.

Several things in the campaign necessitate strat-guide reading for the player to ever know about. Camerin's house, The Rod of Justice, that Morvin and Thera can't be killed. There's very little reason for the player to ever expect any of these, in fact the last one any good player would try and avoid at all costs. White mages with loyal att's are one of the more precious things in wesnoth, who wouldn't try and protect them? I only found out about the res thing because i tend to take stupid risks a lot.

The good :
- Camerin, Father Morvin, Sister Thera are the most awesome characters I've ever seen in any of the mainline campaigns.
- Hamel's dialogue really gives some great depictions of the dwarves.
- Same with the elves. I like all of the atmosphere of the campaign, it really had a good writer.
- The story and characters make me want to keep playing, even if the levels make me want to throw my laptop out a window
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homunculus
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by homunculus »

Vigilant wrote:[...]I've never found a campaign that had such good dialog/story/characters, but such frustrating level design.[...]
true.
however, i wonder if anyone that is maintaining this campaign is ever reading this.
no idea about that, because it is also very likely that they might be busy elsewhere.

for example, if there is at least rudimentary interest in reducing the tedium of the maps, maybe redesigning the maps could be attempted as a community effort.

btw as for the two narrow tunnels with the death knights, they only have a few villages in their cave, so if you let the units come out of one of the tunnels you can kill them quickly and rush the empty tunnel to the leader.
that is imho a nice spot where the player gets rewarded for thinking about the situation, but it would be better if the number of villages in the cave was more obvious for the player.
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Wesbane
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Wesbane »

Vigilant wrote:I've never found a campaign that had such good dialogue/story/characters, but such frustrating level design.
There are plenty of campaigns that have equally good or even better story, dialogue and characters like TRoW, DiD or DW. I agree that quantity of enemies do not necessarily produce good quality battles, but this is not the point. If you would read a bit about Northern Rebirth you would find out that epic scale battles considered by you as an issue are it greatest advantage.
Vigilant wrote:Concrete example: The Pursuit.
-There's way too many enemies. It gets to the point where one starts wondering why Malifor had to run in the first place, or why he hasn't conquered wesnoth yet. There's probably over 40 Draugs, and many more revs. Storywise this scale just doesn't make sense. [...]
OK I'm lack mathematical skills, but I would risk statement that you should divide this number by two and then it would be close to true. In fact Malifor guarding army counts a bit more than fifty units. I have no doubts that any player is able to field such an army in previous and this scenario, so even from story point of view its not an issue too. And 1000 gold pieces is really not that much since recruiting level 2 units is expensive so its something about 20 extra units on the map. AI tends to recruit most expensive one.
Vigilant wrote:Other oddities : Why can't you recruit dwarves after level 4? I can understand for a few levels or two when the majority of the dwarves are supposed to be guarding Knalga, but after a while it just becomes odd. Especially when you find the dwarven remnant in Malfidor's lair. There's a story excuse right there to be able to recruit fighters and thunderers again.
Did you played to the end this campaign? I suspect that unfortunately you only wrote something like a review what is in that case harmful. Otherwise you would notice that after Settling Disputes scenario you can recruit dwarves from Shinsplitters clan. More over you would know that not all scenarios are large scale battles. If something happens half a time its not all the time right?
Vigilant wrote:Several things in the campaign necessitate start-guide reading for the player to ever know about. [...]
Such surprises, make you want to play it again since there is much things that can be different by your choice. In fact such design is not so rare. Like for example in TRoW. You have no hint where to find Burin the Lost in Harrowing Escape and you will never met Minister Edren if you choose to travel through midlands. In HttT after Bay of Pearls if you choose to travel by land you will never met Moremiru so he won't help in Valley of Death. But maybe I'm wrong and those are just obvious? As for Camerin cottage: If village outside the cave is not special enough to visit it wizard will join you even if you where unable to get him at the end of a level.
Vigilant wrote:[...] Rod of Justice (which given the rest of campaign you nearly *need* it to win).
As for things that are needed to win. This is not the case for rod, but if you are so interested in the subject: Sacrifice Camerin before Pursuit. To make the effect even greater do not recruit any dwarf before Pursuit, and try to get past the revenants with no loads.
homunculus wrote:for example, if there is at least rudimentary interest in reducing the tedium of the maps, maybe redesigning the maps could be attempted as a community effort.
This concept was given for consideration and rejected. Trying to turn this campaign in a clone of others is just wrong!
Taurus wrote:But don't worry, I do not plan on crippling anything, or changing one of the most distinguishing elements of this campaign - namely the large scale of the battles.
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 3&start=15
homunculus wrote:[..] i wonder if anyone that is maintaining this campaign is ever reading this.
no idea about that, because it is also very likely that they might be busy elsewhere.
It would be good if everyone before posting something would read about what others have written before. But as far as I know nobody is maintaining it. Just compare how much other campaigns were changed, and what the differences are between Northern Rebirth in alternate wesnoth releases.
Last edited by Wesbane on March 28th, 2012, 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Vigilant
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Vigilant »

Wesbane wrote:
Vigilant wrote:I've never found a campaign that had such good dialogue/story/characters, but such frustrating level design.
There are plenty of campaigns that have equally good or even better story, dialogue and characters like TRoW, DiD or DW. I agree that quantity of enemies do not necessarily produce good quality battles, but this is not the point. If you would read a bit about Northern Rebirth you would find out that epic scale battles considered by you as an issue are it greatest advantage.
homunculus wrote:for example, if there is at least rudimentary interest in reducing the tedium of the maps, maybe redesigning the maps could be attempted as a community effort.
This concept was given for consideration and rejected. Trying to turn this campaign in a clone of others is just wrong!
Taurus wrote:But don't worry, I do not plan on crippling anything, or changing one of the most distinguishing elements of this campaign - namely the large scale of the battles.
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 3&start=15
The problem is when it's different from every other campaign : sometimes that's not unique but a bad idea. Which is why none of the other campaigns use this scale. I'm not sure how reading more about it would have priority over *playing* the campaign. And the problem is, is that it's dull... There are some points in scenarios in the game where I know my victory is assured, but it will take another 10-15 turns to finish, each taking 5-10 minutes to execute. The more units you pack in the longer it takes for both the AI and player to move all of them, and the longer fragments can stall for time. I don't want to spend 50 minutes grinding through a match where my victory was already a certain thing. I mean heck, it even says in the walkthrough for the last level : "Recruit, recruit, recruit, especially with the drakes. Take out the level 3 wall defenders, wear down the attackers in the moat and punch through where you can. Somewhat tedious but inevitable with your massive gold reserves. "

What i was saying with comparing it to other campaigns is several of the other campaigns (Liberty, The Rise of Wesnoth, Scepter of Fire) feature the concept of a largely numerically superior enemy force, much like Northern Birth. However, all of them manage to remain within the smaller scale, and their levels play better for it. The only thing that larger numbers of units do is make the levels take longer, they don't provide anything that couldn't be accomplished with better staging.

And even if you question that, there's points of poor planning, such as the "reward' for beating the odds and defeating Rak in "An Old Friend" : the extra gold you don't get because your gold is taken away from you the level after regardless.
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homunculus
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by homunculus »

Wesbane wrote:
Vigilant wrote:I've never found a campaign that had such good dialogue/story/characters, but such frustrating level design.
There are plenty of campaigns that have equally good or even better story, dialogue and characters like TRoW, DiD or DW. I agree that quantity of enemies do not necessarily produce good quality battles, but this is not the point. If you would read a bit about Northern Rebirth you would find out that epic scale battles considered by you as an issue are it greatest advantage.[...]
actually i do not quite agree with that the story is not better than, say, descent into darkness.
the dialog in descent into darkness is mostly dull imho, and also the reasoning is awkward in many more places than in northern rebirth.
Wesbane wrote:[...]
homunculus wrote:for example, if there is at least rudimentary interest in reducing the tedium of the maps, maybe redesigning the maps could be attempted as a community effort.
This concept was given for consideration and rejected. Trying to turn this campaign in a clone of others is just wrong!
Taurus wrote:But don't worry, I do not plan on crippling anything, or changing one of the most distinguishing elements of this campaign - namely the large scale of the battles.
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 3&start=15
[...]
i think i can see the point of it.
some people like to take things slowly, and enjoy the excessive amounts of micromanagement.

some people, however, like myself, would probably be better off reading the .cfg files for the story, rather than going through the tedium of the scenarios.
the story is mostly nice, but because of the tedium it is less accessible for this type of players.

for example, it is a while since i played the campaign, and recently i when i tried it again i just quit after the second scenario because i had to recruit a zillion footpads there, and move them all in those caves.
i think the point of having many enemies is probably that they should be weak one by one and that is why the ai might find the player's larger force intimidating.
i believe the same could be achieved on a much smaller map with much fewer units.

maybe there could be a 'smaller maps' difficulty level to satisfy both types of players?
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Wesbane
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Wesbane »

Vigilant wrote:[...]victory was already a certain thing. [...] Somewhat tedious but inevitable [...]
This sentence applies to actually any video game. If you play it right your success is inevitable. AI just must fight to end. Sure there are some difficulties to overcome, but this struggle produce joy! Since if victory is inevitable there is also no place for frustration.

I didn't wrote that reading more about campaign have priority over playing it. I wrote that before posting about it its good to read what others think about it. Since it provides informations about ideas that were already raised and why they weren't included. Also it gives knowledge how it looks from other point of view. And state for now is that players are irritated more by bugs in campaign itself then large scale of battles. Anyway irritation level is low if any.

I want to clarify this. I completely agree with you that things you speak of can be achieved without using just pure numbers. I am not claiming that should be more campaign like this or even that this is the right and only design. But the point is many players like it. Likes those pure numbers. And there is nothing what could replace that effect. In that case this is about what someone likes not about design. What actually is out of discussion.

As for scenario you are referring to: An Old Friend. It is not intended as something that player could win. Possibility of victory by eliminating enemy leader is considered as an anchor not an optional win condition. Although its mentioned in objectives. On higher than easy aka normal difficulty level there is so many enemies that it is really hard to move far from starting keep. Thus its impossible to kill enemy leaders in given time limit.
I don't know why you complain on losing gold since this gives you this what is in other campaigns. Small elite army against hordes. Don't worry its relatively easy to get it back in Get the Gold under three conditions:
  • * You will recruit gryphons at first turn and send them to kill and ZOC orcs in a river.
    * Sisal will survive to fifth turn.
    * You will take down enemy leader in five turns.
homunculus wrote:actually i do not quite agree with that the story is not better than, say, descent into darkness.
the dialogue in descent into darkness is mostly dull imho, and also the reasoning is awkward in many more places than in northern rebirth.
I didn't arbitrary declare that story in DiD it's better however I think it is really good. Others are free to feel otherwise. I played this campaign on 1.4, 1.6, 1.8 and 1.9, so I'm kinda fan of it.
homunculus wrote:maybe there could be a 'smaller maps' difficulty level to satisfy both types of players?
Well it is not so great idea after all. Its just a one campaign that offers something like that. So why there shouldn't be bigger maps difficulty levels in other campaigns? I will repeat it once again this campaign is good for those that want to try something different. How it is to have large army with lots of experienced units. That's all.
Last edited by Wesbane on April 3rd, 2012, 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Maiklas3000
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Maiklas3000 »

I have now completed Northern Rebirth on nightmare difficulty and no save-loads. Northern Rebirth hits some of my biases. I'm not a fan of scenarios with lots of units, doubly so when the scenarios will likely require multiple replays for success. (My no-save-loads policy is one reason I hate time-consuming scenarios.) If a scenario must be huge, then it should be made relatively to easy to win IMO. There would still be challenge in leveling troops, gold management, early finish bonus, etc. A lot of the scenarios don't benefit from the vast hordes of units. Infested Caves stands out as the hardest scenario in Northern Rebirth and it also is very tedious. One exception where I like the hordes is the Eastern Flank, which I thought made good use of hordes in a vast encirclement, though I didn't like the end game of recruiting all over the vast enemy castle, thus "teleporting" past ZOCs. As a start to "fixing" Northern Rebirth, whenever a scenario is being reworked, I would suggest reducing gold on both sides. Additionally, at least on nightmare, Infested Caves should be tweaked to bring it into line with the difficulty of the rest of the campaign, IMO. Also, the Passage suffers from being so much easier to beat after reading the walkthrough, e.g., with respect to the spider tomato surprise and the location and nature of the (immortal) white mages.

The story is fine, but very verbose, so I skimmed a lot. The writing in DiD is top notch, but there's no need to compete with DiD.

Northern Rebirth is not bad overall, though I am in agreement with the criticisms posted by others.
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by The Great Rings »

Personally I like the dialog and love the huge battles, but that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting because I just played through Stolen Gold (1.8.5, easiest difficulty I think, on a Mac) and encountered a bug. I reached the end, kept Tallin and both Liches alive, and was still told I lost.

Why is this?
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Maiklas3000
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Maiklas3000 »

The Great Rings wrote:Personally I like the dialog and love the huge battles, but that's not why I'm posting. I'm posting because I just played through Stolen Gold (1.8.5, easiest difficulty I think, on a Mac) and encountered a bug. I reached the end, kept Tallin and both Liches alive, and was still told I lost.

Why is this?
You chose to finish the trolls, in which case you need to finish the trolls to win. WML code from 1.9.5 follows:
Spoiler:
In general in Wesnoth, when you are given that kind of choice - i.e., quit a winner now or go for a total victory - then you will lose if you go for the total victory and fail. It could be made more clear.
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by The Great Rings »

I don't remember being offered a choice. I suppose its possible I clicked on an option without reading it though.

I had lost the elf sorceress in the preceding scenario. I thought maybe that was why I lost, even though it didn't say I had to keep her alive, so next time around I made sure to keep her alive. This time elvish reinforcements showed up part way through, and I got the option to let them run or keep fighting (I let them run). This did not happen the first time, but only when I kept the elf sorceress alive.

Are you sure there isn't a problem with the code here?
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Re: Northern Rebirth

Post by Groggy_Dice »

Last month, I began modding the 1.8 Northern Rebirth scenario "The Pursuit." I hadn't worked with WML before, but I figured I might be able to copy over some code from macros.cfg to give players a choice whether to pick up the Rod of Justice or not.

After I'd started, I figured I'd check the scenario file in 1.9, and found out this is already being changed in the next version. However, there are a couple of differences between our two approaches:
  • In 1.9.8, the choice talks about whether "this unit" should pick up the Rod. Originally, I used $unit.name, but changed it to first person to conform to all the other option dialogues in this scenario.
  • In 1.9.8, Camerin's dialogue only takes place after you have a unit pick up the Rod. I'd designed my mod to give the choice afterwards, so the player can make a (semi-)informed choice. I created another variable, found_rod, so this dialogue wouldn't replay after the first unit moved onto the Rod.
  • In a choice that I'm definitely sure the mainline developers wouldn't make, I decided NOT to cancel Abhai's dialogue if the Rod has already been found. I figured it offers further details over Camerin's remarks. That created the problem of keeping his dialogue from replaying in the (admittedly unlikely) case that you moved onto the Rod with Abhai again. This created a lot of extra work for me. My first approach was to create a third variable, but I ended up creating another setting for found_rod and another nested if-then-else clause.
Besides the Rod, the other main change to the scenario is the addition of a reaction dialogue when the player steps on the dungeon signpost. That signpost is the only one with an event trigger that doesn't also have a reaction dialogue. I found that curious, particularly given that this is the first corridor that players should push down. I thought a bit of dialogue hinting that the player might be interested in going down that passage was fair.
05a_The_Pursuit-18-grogmod.cfg
Here's the file, in case you wish to look at it.
(109.84 KiB) Downloaded 497 times
Incidentally, I wish there was a thread where people could post their modded scenarios. I remember someone modded the last scenario of Delfador's Memoirs, for example.

Now that I've got the WML bug, I'm strongly tempted to tweak the last two scenarios to give myself control of Sisal and Hamel. Some people have posted that you can "get the gold" by killing the orc leader by turn 5. The problem is, by then she's ALREADY DEAD. In my case, she was finished off by turn 2; I don't see how I could have done anything to stop it. I see beetlenaut made another attempt in trunk to make her survivable while still being an AI; I guess we'll see how that turns out in 1.10. I also don't like all the confusing fake sides cluttering up the status table; supposedly that's to make the sides work in the last scenario, but there's surely a more elegant solution, particularly given that Eryssa's side DOESN'T ACTUALLY WORK in the last scenario.

As for Hamel, he's supposedly the one who taught Tallin generalship, and he's given maximum aggression and -5.00 caution. The wiki implies that the lowest effective value of caution is 0; apparently, someone wanted to really make sure that he didn't show the least bit of sense! These settings might work on the easiest level, where Hamel has half as much gold as the entire enemy army; by nightmare, however, they're completely out of whack. There's even a bit of dialogue where Tallin suggests that an extended siege is the best strategy, yet Hamel is programmed to do the exact opposite. And don't get me started on Eryssa: I assumed that had to be a 1.8 bug, perhaps Windows-only; but apparently it actually dates back to the very beginning! What?!
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