[MUST-READ] About the Ideas Forum

Brainstorm ideas of possible additions to the game. Read this before posting!

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[MUST-READ] About the Ideas Forum

Postby Development Team » September 3rd, 2011, 1:58 am

This forum is a place where people can post ideas they have had for the game. It could be anything related to Wesnoth. From a cool new type of add-on, to a small improvement to the help menu, to a new Wesnoth-related Web application. When you have an idea, but no work (yet), this is the place. If you intend to work on your project, and see it through, we have other forums to help with that.

As you might imagine, this place can get very messy. Over the years, we have laid out and refined guidelines to help keep the ideas flowing and organized, and the discussions calm and productive.


Table of Contents

  1. Notes
  2. Conduct
  3. Procedure
  4. Categories
  5. Icons
  6. Frequently Proposed Ideas (FPIs)
    1. Index
    2. Further explanation

1. Notes

  • Any topics that violate the following rules can be locked or deleted without warning. You must read and understand this entire topic before posting a new idea.
  • Your proposal should be well laid out, and make clear (a) what you think the problem is, (b) the solution/change/improvement that you are suggesting, and even (c) possible downsides.
  • Default multiplayer is balanced! The default multiplayer era (consisting of Loyalists, Rebels, Northerners, Knalgans, Drakes, and Undead) is almost perfectly balanced. Any suggestions that want to change this balance are almost guaranteed to be instantly shot down. If you attempt such a suggestion, you had better provide thorough research.
  • Mainline is supposed to follow the KISS principle. Read over the Wesnoth Philosophy.
  • Please also read over the FAQ.
  • This forum is not for bugs. You should report those over at our bug tracker.

2. Conduct

  • The developers are volunteers. They are just geeks who enjoy programming. They had some free time and they liked the game, so they added some things to it. They implement the features that they like, and fix any bugs that they cause doing so. They are under no obligation to implement other ideas (or even fix said bugs, really). If you come up with an idea that they like, then they might put some time into it.
  • Politeness and conciseness are key. This is a high volume forum that tends to collect a lot of garbage. So that we don’t get bogged down in fights, make sure that every post you make here is succinct and unoffensive.
  • The developers are busy people. Remember: they make this game in their free time. This isn’t a job, and they don’t get paid. The fastest way — with the highest success rate — to see your idea in the game is to do it yourself. The wiki is full of resources to help programmers get acquainted with Wesnoth.
  • Remember to search to see if your idea was already suggested. If it was, and a conclusion was reached, then do not post that idea. Your topic will be locked. If you think you have new information, or proposals that would change the decision, then you may make a new topic, and link to the old topic(s) in your opening post.

3. Procedure

This is how you should go about posting a topic for a new idea:
  1. Search the forums to see if the idea has been brought up before.
  2. If it has been brought up before, make sure to adjust your proposal to address any problems found in those old posts.
  3. Decide what area of the game your idea applies to. We require that you tag topics. See the Categories list below for valid tags.
  4. Post your idea (obviously).
  5. Wait for a response. This would also seem like an obvious thing to do, but you might be surprised how many impatient people bump their topics. If people don’t have anything to say, then they don’t have anything to say. You double-posting in the topic is not going to change that.
  6. Once an idea is polished and has a consensus and/or developer support, you should file an official feature request so that it isn’t forgotten.

4. Categories

When making a new topic, you should include a category tag at the beginning of the topic’s title, like so: “[engine] Separate vision range from movement
Possible categories include:
  • [engine] This changes the way the game works at its core. This includes WML suggestions.
  • [interface] These suggestions would change the way the game looks, and how we interact with it; things like the unit stats sidebar, or the add-ons manager.
  • [mainline] This includes mainlined content. These suggestions deal with the default multiplayer factions, all the starting campaigns, and the maps that ship with the game.
  • [UMC] This category is for “User Made Content”. These topics would be used for suggesting things for add-on creators.
  • [art] While art-related ideas would usually be better posted in the Art Contributions forum (because the artists actually read that forum), sometimes they start out here while they’re in the purely hypothetical planning stage.
  • Any suggestions for the wiki, website, or forums should go over in the Website forum.
Please don’t make up new tags. If you really feel a new category is necessary, you may suggest it to the Forum Moderators. However, these five tags and the Website forum do cover all past ideas and all conceivable future ideas at the time of this post.

But how should you know which category to use? [engine], [mainline], and [interface] can be confusing to someone who isn’t intimate with Wesnoth’s workings. If your suggestion modifies a mainline campaign or default multiplayer, then it is a [mainline] idea. If it affects the fundamental way the game works regardless of what content is playing, then it is an [engine] idea. If it only affects the way information is displayed to the player then it is an [interface] idea.


5. Icons

The following icon rules are only effective after this post. The moderation team will do their best to keep up with marking all ideas after this point.
  • Image The star icon marks an idea that has been accepted, but not coded yet.
  • Image The check mark icon marks an idea that has been committed to the game.
  • Image The warning sign icon marks an idea that has been denied outright.

6. Frequently Proposed Ideas (FPIs)

Over the years, some ideas have been brought up repeatedly and denied every time. We now maintain a list of them. Please don’t start topics about these. They’re unwanted.


6a. Index

  1. Make Wesnoth less random, or add a non-random mode
  2. Units shouldn’t be fully healed upon leveling up
  3. More high-level unit types
  4. Units that only go to low levels should have more choices
  5. More magic items
  6. Autonomous creatures roaming the map and attacking everyone
  7. Give experience for healing and leadership actions
  8. Let allied players transfer gold and villages between each other
  9. Make a campaign, scenario, multiplayer era, faction, or other content derived from material to which we don’t have the copyright
  10. Units should get less counter-attacks while defending
  11. There should be units/abilities that have/give over 70% defense
  12. Give traits to the undead
  13. Add a scoring/ranking system to online multiplayer
  14. Don’t let players cheat via save-loading
  15. Castles should be harder to attack
  16. There should be units that occupy multiple tiles
  17. When units die they should leave corpses behind
  18. The game should have better graphics
  19. We should be able to stack multiple units on a single tile
  20. There should be more units in the game
  21. The magic system should use mana points
  22. Players should be able to construct buildings
  23. Wesnoth should have resources other than gold
  24. Ranged attacks should actually be ranged
  25. There should be more traits
  26. There should be ships
  27. There should be some units that can transport others
  28. Wesnoth should have a fear/morale system
  29. There should be abilities that cancel out other abilities such as magic or poison
  30. Units should be able to mount and dismount
  31. The multiplayer server should have a ranking system
  32. There should be a rating system for the add-ons server
  33. Thieves (and other units) should get a stealing ability
  34. I want a scenario/campaign editor
  35. Units should be able to swap places
If you see any other frequently proposed (and denied) ideas that are missing from this list, please contact the Forum Moderators.


6b. Further explanation of each FPI (including why it was denied)

  1. There should be a ‘deterministic’, ‘non random’ mode
    Background: Some people, apparently frustrated at losing their units in random battles, feel that there should be a non-random way of playing the game.
    Result: the developers feel that randomness is a large part of the game, and that taking the randomness out of the game would be somewhat akin to taking the randomness out of most card games. Further explanation…

  2. Units leveling up should not get full healing
    Background: Many people have suggested different formulae for allowing partial healing or no healing at all when a unit levels up.
    Result: Many developers agree with this, however many developers and users also disagree. I (David) prefer it the way it is.

  3. Most units should have more than 3 levels of advancement
    Background: Lots of people think that the typical 3 levels of advancement for each unit is insufficient, and that most units should have 4, 5, or even more levels of advancement.
    Result: The developers feel that 3 levels is enough. Avoiding the creation of ‘super units’ is high on the developers’ priority list, and even if there were level 4+ units, the most powerful units wouldn’t be more powerful than the current level 3 units. This would also drain art resources, as well as reduce the contrast between units — too many units would seem like boring repetitions of other units.
    It is thought that a better, more interesting way to do things would be to have more alternate paths of advancement within the 3 levels rather than have 4+ levels of advancement.

  4. All units should have advancement lines that go to level 3
    Background: A number of users feel that having units that only go to level 2 is not right.
    Result: The developers feel that an uneven advancement tree is more dynamic and interesting.

  5. There should be (more) special items for units to get that make them more powerful
    Background: Suggestions of various kind of special items (powerful bows, swords, etc.) that make units more powerful. Various methods of acquisition have been suggested, including forging them at one’s keep, finding them, or buying them at a shop.
    Result: Although the Wesnoth engine supports a reasonably sophisticated system for items that make units more powerful, the developers feel that keeping these items few and far between is better than creating a ‘collect the power-ups’ game.

  6. Autonomous creatures (“monsters”, “creeps”) that roam the map attacking units and can be killed for XP
    Background: Many have suggested that Wesnoth should include support for autonomous “wandering monsters”.
    Result: “Wandering monsters” can be coded in WML and have been included in some campaigns. However, they will not be included as a core option because the developers believe they distract from the side-vs-side combat that is Wesnoth’s focus and significantly increase the chance of lucky victories or defeats.

  7. Healing/leadership should give experience
    Background: It is felt that leveling-up some units with healing or leadership abilities is too difficult, and they should get experience through user of their special ability.
    Result: It is felt that allowing units to gain experience without risk would make leveling-up of such units inevitable. Further, one of the motivating examples of this is so that units such as shaman can have a hope to level up in multiplayer. It is pointed out that if the experience gains were high enough to allow shaman to level up in a single multiplayer game, then it would be trivial to gain the best type of healing unit in a campaign very quickly.

  8. Transferring gold between allies in multiplayer
    Background: Some people have suggested that allies should be able to transfer gold to each other in multiplayer.
    Result: The developers feel that this would reduce the semantics of a team game to little more than players sharing control of a single side. Part of the strategy of a team game is to manage your gold resources and the position of your leaders. One player might have a lot of gold, but can’t use it, because their leader doesn’t have access to a keep. This is simply part of the strategy to decide if it’s worth giving up access to your castle for some time while you perhaps migrate your leader or use her to attack enemies. Allowing transfers of gold would disintegrate most of this strategy.

  9. Deriving a campaign, scenario, multiplayer era, faction, or other content from material to which the would-be author does not have the copyright
    Background: Many have suggested a campaign/era/faction/etc. derived from The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, or some other work to which they don’t have the copyright.
    Result: While this sounds at first like it could be fun, this is also generally illegal, and we don’t want user-made content that would expose the project to legal trouble. We don’t want anything of this nature hosted on our add-ons servers, forums, or wiki. We also would like to keep the forums free from discussion about how you plan on doing this. It may be possible to skirt legal issues through careful research and compliance with the laws involved, but we doubt this would happen in practice.

  10. Limited reprisal attacks for defenders
    Background: Users have suggested that defenders should not get their full attacks.
    Result: This has been ruled against in favor of balance, as the units are currently balanced in a fashion that would not accommodate altering the attacks to favor the offensive player.

  11. Ability that would boost a unit’s defense above 70%
    Background: Users feel that some units may have phenomenal defense based on level advancements or special abilities.
    Result: This has been ruled against as it would bog down gameplay severely having units that are so hard to kill.

  12. Give traits to Undead
    Background: Users have pointed out that the Undead lack traits compared to other factions.
    Result: The Undead are already balanced to accommodate this, and all have the unique ability of immunity to poison.

  13. Add a scoring and rank system to MP
    Background: Some users would like a way to rank players based on their skill in MP.
    Result: This system would change the focus of MP from fun to points-scoring, as well as encourage cheating, so it will not be implemented.

  14. Do not allow save-loading
    Background: Some players feel that mid-scenario saves allow players to cheat in campaigns.
    Result: It is not our responsibility to determine how you play the single player game.

  15. Castles should be more difficult to attack
    Background: This discussion has taken place on numerous occasions, with references to the difficulty to besiege a castle in the real world, how the game would be more interesting if castles were harder to attack, and so on and so forth. Many variations on the way to accomplish this have been discussed.
    Result: The developers feel that the game is not about attacking castles, it’s about RPG-party style skirmishes. ‘Castles’ in the game are a somewhat abstract notion, and one shouldn’t dwell heavily on how ‘realistic’ it is if a castle is only moderately more defensible than other terrain.

  16. Units that occupy multiple tiles
    Background: This idea involves large monster-type units that can occupy multiple tiles in the game.
    Result: The developers feel that while such units might be appropriate for games where battles take place on a smaller scale, in a game where an entire village is a single tile, it is not appropriate. Also, it would substantially complicate the game mechanics for little real benefit. Images that can extend into surrounding tiles are being considered.

  17. Dead units should leave corpses behind when they die
    Background: Some users feel that this could offer a bit of realism to the game.
    Result: This idea has been proposed several times over the years, and has been turned down for fact that it would clutter up the map, as well as the sheer amount of effort it would take to create art for all of the unit sprites.

  18. Better graphics
    Background: Some people think the game should have better graphics.
    Result: The game already has good graphics, especially considering it’s a Free game. The developers feel that improving the games graphics even further, where possible, would be great. However the developers live in the real world and have limited resources. If resources to produce better graphics are acquired they will likely be used to produce such graphics.

  19. Stacking units
    Background: Suggestions to be able to place multiple units on a single tile.
    Result: The developers feel that this would make the game more complicated, and distort the game rules a lot from what they are currently.

  20. More units
    Background: Some people think the game should have more units (and often more advancement paths).
    Result: Units are being worked on, although the developers do try to somewhat carefully vet units that are added to the game. The game has well over one hundred types of units, so it cannot be considered to only have a few units. People are welcome to submit ideas for specific types of new units. Ideas that have graphics are more likely to succeed. Adding units to balanced factions is no small matter, and so all such proposals must be well reasoned.

  21. Magic spell system with mana/magic points etc.
    Background: There have been numerous proposals of magic spells, either global or per unit, involving magic points/mana, etc.
    Result: The developers direct attention to the Wesnoth Philosophy page which outlines why Wesnoth’s system for magic is different. We are fairly happy with our magic system.

  22. Sides should be able to build buildings
    Background: It should be possible to build various buildings on the battlefield.
    Result: The developers feel that the game is not about building things (other than your army). Furthermore, it is felt that although every other strategy game seems to be moving toward having a ‘building’ component, there is no reason why we should follow.

  23. There should be different/more types of resources and types of buildings that provide them
    Background: People suggest different types of resources (e.g. lumber) and buildings that provide them (e.g. lumber mill, gold mine which gives lots of gold, towns, healing fountains).
    Result: The idea of Wesnoth is not to be about resources. The resource system is intentionally as simple as possible. Some special buildings like healing fountains could be placed by a scenario designer at their discretion.

  24. Ranged weapons should be able to reach across multiple tiles
    Background: Suggestions that units such as archers (or perhaps catapults) should be able to fire their weapons across multiple tiles.
    Result: Although the game engine used to support this, the developers do not feel it enhanced the game, since among other things, it would be very difficult to protect units from dying.

  25. There should be more traits
    Result: Most traits that have been suggested sound contrived, overly-powerful, lacking in variety, confusing, or awkward. The current traits are all fairly simple, and the developers agree that only simple traits should be added. Suggestions for new traits are welcome, but it is noted that unless they are very simple, they are unlikely to be accepted.

  26. There should be ships used in Wesnoth
    Background: Some users feel that factions should have ships in their recruit lists.
    Result: The developers feel that this takes away from the ‘small skirmish’ feel of Wesnoth as it implies battle on a larger level, as well as adding complication to the game balance.

  27. There should be transportation units in the game that can carry other units
    Background: There have been various proposals of units that can carry other units.
    Result: The developers feel that this would unnecessarily complicate the game, and its interface, and has little point other than to circumvent a unit’s slow movement or poor movement on particular terrain.

  28. There should be a fear/morale system in the game
    Background: There have been a number of different suggestions for a fear/morale system in the game. The implementation suggestions have been varied, but generally include the concept of units becoming ‘afraid’ based on various heuristics that calculate how much danger they’re in. ‘Afraid’ units would be made to make certain movements, or have restrictions on what movements they can make.
    Result: After lengthy discussion, it has been decided that this would over-complicate the game, and frustrate players. It is felt that this kind of idea is more suited to a ‘wargame’ than a simplified fantasy-strategy game which aims for simplicity and fun.

  29. There should be an ability that cancels out poison/magic/drain/etc.
    Result: The developers feel that this would lead to an ‘arms race’ where, e.g., “Immunity to Poison” would result in the creation of “Super Poison that even affects the Immune”, “Immunity to even Super-Poison” etc. resulting in ‘levels’ of abilities. The developers feel that this would add unwanted complexity to the game.

  30. Cavalry units should be able to dismount when their horse dies
    Background: Some players feel that units should be able to mount and dismount riding animals.
    Result: Can already be done as an event with WML, but will not be added as a core feature.

  31. The multiplayer server should have a ranking system
    Background: Some players feel that this would let them track their wins/losses, experience gained, and other long-term statistics to determine their skill.
    Result: The developers feel that this would add competitive and anti-social behavior to the server, which currently fosters a friendly community.

  32. The add-ons server should have a ranking system
    Background: Some players feel that this would enable them to quickly identify which add-ons are the best, so that they do not have to waste time with add-ons they consider sub-par.
    Result: The developers feel that this would be unfair as the system would be entirely subjective because people have different tastes, so the idea will not be implemented.

  33. The thief and other units should have a stealing ability
    Background: Some players feel that this ability fits with the unit types, and would be a way for a player to make greater use of them by stealing gold from villages.
    Result: The developers feel that this ability would unbalance the game as it would allow players that possess these units to generate extra gold, often when their opponents may not.

  34. I want a campaign/scenario editor
    Background: Some people want to be able to make campaigns and scenarios for Wesnoth but don’t want to learn how to code.
    Result: We want one too, but it’s a lot of work and all of the developers have more important features/bugs to address. If someone were to make one, that would be cool.

  35. Units should be able to swap places
    Background: People have requested that friendly units be able to trade places.
    Result: It adds a complicated interface feature that is rarely useful. Also, carefully maneuvering your units around and trapping enemies with ZoC are important parts of Wesnoth strategy.
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