Removing mainline campaign(s)

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Tad_Carlucci
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

My feelings closely mirror those of nemaara, although I didn't go into near the length to explain them.

I would add one more point:

4. Mainline should be considered an example of "how to do it" when it comes to writing your own UMC. No matter how well written the documentation is, the best example is working code. So not only should we consider how the scenarios and campaigns fit into a broader storyline, but we should consider how each. as well as the supporting code base, stands as a teaching tool. Granted much of the code will be boilerplate. But, at many points, there are teachable moments where new issues need new solutions, and we should consider that others will look to them for years to come.

If we're looking for examples of how to approach all of these problems, I would point to the Star Trek Universe. Notice how, in the most recent incarnation, when they needed main characters for the new series, set a generation prior to the original, they pulled a few characters from the original, and fleshed out a few referenced only briefly, or who had only limited roles. They, too, need to deal with large writing pools, which wildly different styles, and with the comings and goings of those overseeing the consistency of theme.

Another example we could look to is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They might even be a better example because they had to deal with a large number of storylines (comic book series) and somehow smash them together into a single thematic universe so they could have the characters interact in various ways. I can't speak much to this, however, since I wasn't into comics and haven't really looked at the movies and television series.

Earlier it was pointed out that we have an ongoing project to update the engine to more modern technology and that would be a good place to address these concerns. That sounds fine to me, provided it actually sees the light of day. What we should do is begin the discussion in preparation for the time when we need content for that new engine and which, if that projects drops off, can still serve as a guide to adjusting the current mainline.
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octalot
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 10:55 am I'll repeat again that the reason these scenes are typically deleted is that readers/players will not give the writer that much time to make their point. We do not have much time to hold players' interest, so every extraneous scene/campaign (or even scenario!) is actively detrimental to the narrative (in this case, mainline singleplayer). By removing these nonessential scenes, it becomes more feasible to better tie together the more essential scenes/campaigns to create a more cohesive narrative (i.e. work more toward achieving points 1 and 3 - point 2 is probably not something we'll have in Wesnoth for the time being).
I think you're focussing too much on players who want an interactive story, and forgetting that there are also players who just want a basic campaign, even some who want to be able to ignore the story. These are not mutually exclusive - someone who's following a complex story somewhere else may want a no-story campaign.

Instead of removing a low-maintainance compaign, why not add information at the point that the player chooses their campaign?
  • (Novice level, 7 scenarios, part of the Turmoil of Asheviere story arc)
  • (Novice level, 23 scenarios, part of the Ruby of Fire and Turmoil of Asheviere story arcs)
  • (Rookie level, 7 scenarios, minimal storyline so players wanting plot arcs should skip it)
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Pentarctagon
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

I mean, just because a campaign has a story doesn't mean you need to pay attention to it. If someone wants to ignore every reason why they're doing what they're doing and just complete objectives, then they can do that with any campaign.
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nemaara
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

octalot wrote: November 17th, 2019, 5:06 pm
I think you're focussing too much on players who want an interactive story, and forgetting that there are also players who just want a basic campaign, even some who want to be able to ignore the story. These are not mutually exclusive - someone who's following a complex story somewhere else may want a no-story campaign.

Instead of removing a low-maintainance compaign, why not add information at the point that the player chooses their campaign?
  • (Novice level, 7 scenarios, part of the Turmoil of Asheviere story arc)
  • (Novice level, 23 scenarios, part of the Ruby of Fire and Turmoil of Asheviere story arcs)
  • (Rookie level, 7 scenarios, minimal storyline so players wanting plot arcs should skip it)
Story/lore was indeed the focus my last post, but you'll notice that in my original, I actually list gameplay as my first point. My general thought process is that if a game isn't fun to play, no matter how good the story is, people aren't going to play it. That's a bit of a digression anyway...

I already stated why I thought AOI wasn't suitable for mainline from a gameplay point of view, even as a basic, low maintenance campaign. I might add that the first few levels of HttT are also very simple (intentionally) as a sort of pseudo tutorial. We have a lot of other campaigns that start off simple.

I do like the idea of adding campaigns to separate story arcs, but that would require them to be part of the same arc in the first place. Said "Turmoil of Asheviere" arc would be something like 2 campaigns right now. We'd need to work on campaigns quite a bit to get them to fit into such a design imo (but it would definitely be something desirable for the future).
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

doofus-01 wrote: November 16th, 2019, 12:53 pm SigurdFireDragon wrote: ↑November 15th, 2019, 11:38 pm
nemaara wrote: ↑November 10th, 2019, 11:01 pm
What I'd like to do: remove AOI for 1.16 and release it as an addon. The few art assets that it uses (3 portraits, 1 map, 1 story image) could be moved to core or other campaigns. Thoughts?
I don't really see what good this accomplishes.
Moving the assets to core makes them available for lightweight UMC, even if they aren't used anywhere in mainline anymore.
I misspoke here. I meant what good removing AOI from mainline accomplishes. nemaara's longer post has answered that, though I'm not sure the gain is worth it compared to the downsides of removing the campaign.


nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 10:55 am 1. We obviously do not have a recurring main cast. Each campaign has different main characters. There are some recurring characters, but no two campaigns have the same main characters (maaaaaybe Kalenz/Delfador is arguable, nevertheless, there are still 15 campaigns besides that).
From the point of individual characters, yes. I don't see how doing this would be feasible. However, If you count the various races as the main characters, then yes, we do have a recurring cast.
nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 10:55 am 2. A overarching storyline. This means a set of episodes or even seasons are all part of the same plot. This is also common, but not universal.

3. An overarching theme...
I think we do have something like this. It's how things change on the Great Continent after the arrival of the humans and the founding of the Kingdom of Wesnoth (also the star of the story). The recurring cast (various races) interacts with each other over the various campaigns occurring through about 800-900 years, cumulating in a far future off-screen fall of the Kindom of Wesnoth, and a campaign covering part of the aftermath.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by doofus-01 »

Having played a few scenarios of AOI now, I'm less inclined to defend it. Possibly it doesn't break nemaara's #3 and Tad's #4, but it doesn't really contribute anything either. We can do better.
Pentarctagon wrote: November 17th, 2019, 5:47 pm I mean, just because a campaign has a story doesn't mean you need to pay attention to it. If someone wants to ignore every reason why they're doing what they're doing and just complete objectives, then they can do that with any campaign.
For the people who don't care about story at all, just want to carry over recall lists from one Player-vs-AI or PvP scenario to another, mainline campaign doesn't seem like the best vehicle. Can't there be an MP (local player vs AI) solution to that? There's more opportunity to change factions, use different maps, etc.
SigurdFireDragon wrote: November 18th, 2019, 4:25 am I think we do have something like this. It's how things change on the Great Continent after the arrival of the humans and the founding of the Kingdom of Wesnoth (also the star of the story). The recurring cast (various races) interacts with each other over the various campaigns occurring through about 800-900 years, cumulating in a far future off-screen fall of the Kindom of Wesnoth, and a campaign covering part of the aftermath.
I think I see what you are saying, but does removing AOI really damage that overall story, or are you worried about corrosion of the lore?
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

SigurdFireDragon wrote: November 18th, 2019, 4:25 am
nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 10:55 am 1. We obviously do not have a recurring main cast. Each campaign has different main characters. There are some recurring characters, but no two campaigns have the same main characters (maaaaaybe Kalenz/Delfador is arguable, nevertheless, there are still 15 campaigns besides that).
From the point of individual characters, yes. I don't see how doing this would be feasible. However, If you count the various races as the main characters, then yes, we do have a recurring cast.
nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 10:55 am 2. A overarching storyline. This means a set of episodes or even seasons are all part of the same plot. This is also common, but not universal.

3. An overarching theme...
I think we do have something like this. It's how things change on the Great Continent after the arrival of the humans and the founding of the Kingdom of Wesnoth (also the star of the story). The recurring cast (various races) interacts with each other over the various campaigns occurring through about 800-900 years, cumulating in a far future off-screen fall of the Kindom of Wesnoth, and a campaign covering part of the aftermath.
A recurring cast refers to characters. Races aren't treated as characters.

That's not really an overarching storyline. Think about it this way, if you were to put a brief, 2-3 sentence summary of Wesnoth's plot on a book (and have that as your summary), would anyone read it? The same is true if you were to put that as the game's synopsis, I most certainly wouldn't bother playing a game that has that as its plot. I'm sorry to say it, but "Explore the interactions of dwarves, elves, orcs, humans, and undead over the rise and fall of Wesnoth over 800 years" doesn't sound very interesting to me.

If we were to focus more on specific story arcs, say along the lines of octalot's suggestion, we could have more specific plots like: "The daughter of a minor noble in the court of Wesnoth, Sayra Asheviere was always too ambitious for her own good. When she betrayed her husband, the King, and overthrew the old order, she took reign as the kingdom's new, less than benevolent dictator. Now, it remains up to a few, fragmented factions to overcome their differences and fight together to end her tyrannical rule." It's still a bit tropey of a plot, but has more specificity for us (and the reader/player) to work with.

P.S. About having an overarching theme, that's more tongue in cheek for our specific circumstance, i.e. it exists, but I'm not seriously arguing that we should go down that route for Wesnoth as of now.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

nemaara wrote: November 19th, 2019, 9:20 pm A recurring cast refers to characters. Races aren't treated as characters.
This is just arguing semantics. Both interpretations have value. Players can and do chose what campaigns to play based in part on what faction they feel like playing.

nemaara wrote: November 19th, 2019, 9:20 pm That's not really an overarching storyline. Think about it this way, if you were to put a brief, 2-3 sentence summary of Wesnoth's plot on a book (and have that as your summary), would anyone read it? The same is true if you were to put that as the game's synopsis, I most certainly wouldn't bother playing a game that has that as its plot. I'm sorry to say it, but "Explore the interactions of dwarves, elves, orcs, humans, and undead over the rise and fall of Wesnoth over 800 years" doesn't sound very interesting to me.
There's a good description here: https://www.wesnoth.org/
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

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SigurdFireDragon wrote: November 21st, 2019, 4:39 am There's a good description here: https://www.wesnoth.org/
It’s so good that near the end of my website redesign commission, Vultraz and I spent a few days debating exactly how to embellish it so it sounded marginally less like a disjointed enumeration of random events à la Alice in Wonderland.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

A pull request is now open for this removal, #4592.
nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 6:59 pm I might add that the first few levels of HttT are also very simple (intentionally) as a sort of pseudo tutorial. We have a lot of other campaigns that start off simple.
I disagree on this - I think a beginner could play through the first few levels as a tutorial, but only if they then go back and replay it to prepare for the Siege of Elensefar.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

octalot wrote: November 23rd, 2019, 9:34 pm A pull request is now open for this removal, #4592.
nemaara wrote: November 17th, 2019, 6:59 pm I might add that the first few levels of HttT are also very simple (intentionally) as a sort of pseudo tutorial. We have a lot of other campaigns that start off simple.
I disagree on this - I think a beginner could play through the first few levels as a tutorial, but only if they then go back and replay it to prepare for the Siege of Elensefar.
One additional potential benefit related to this point that would be provided by nemaara's other proposal would be that the first campaign(s) could perhaps be used to introduce concepts that are simpler but still too much for a tutorial, since people would be more likely to play them in order if they're tied more tightly together. I think that would be more obvious to players and likewise make more sense than the current rather disorganized situation.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Soliton »

doofus-01 wrote: November 18th, 2019, 5:09 am For the people who don't care about story at all, just want to carry over recall lists from one Player-vs-AI or PvP scenario to another, mainline campaign doesn't seem like the best vehicle. Can't there be an MP (local player vs AI) solution to that? There's more opportunity to change factions, use different maps, etc.
There is the Random Campaign that fits this pretty well. Would be a good addition for mainline to have more variety IMO.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

doofus-01 wrote: November 18th, 2019, 5:09 am I think I see what you are saying, but does removing AOI really damage that overall story, or are you worried about corrosion of the lore?
Yeah, I'm worried about corrosion of the lore.
Soliton wrote: November 24th, 2019, 11:20 pm There is the Random Campaign that fits this pretty well. Would be a good addition for mainline to have more variety IMO.
I think the author might be open to that, but is a bit busy at the moment with other things. Check back in 1.17.


For the main topic here, I think if removal is to be done, it should be done as part of a coherent roadmap & vision for the project.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

+1 for a coherent roadmap and vision.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

While not detailed enough to be a roadmap, this is the proposed vision, I believe.
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