Fire-Forged Friends

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A-Red
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by A-Red »

Cheska's head looks a bit too small, and everyone's shoulders, especially the necromancer's, look a bit too narrow. Cheska's sword is also too massive to be believable, even with an exaggerated drawing style. Otherwise, aside from the difficulty of drawing human hands well, these look quite good.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Her sword is a zweihänder. They really used those in the middle-ages.

Except I accidentally drew it a bit too large. Just a bit, though. Zweihänders are massive.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by A-Red »

Zamael wrote:Her sword is a zweihänder. They really used those in the middle-ages.[/i]
Yes, and "they" were about twice as bulky as she is. I'm not sure if I'm familiar with the particular model of sword you're talking about, but claymores definitely have thinner blades--maybe 3/4 the width of the current one, at most. The crossbar on the hilt would need to get shrunk slightly along with the blade.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Claymores are even smaller: less than five feet, which is pretty tiny compared to a zweihänder, which could be six feet or more. They still have thinner blades, though: that's just an artistic error.

And for the record, they didn't weigh as much as you'd think (only about seven pounds), and it's her father's old sword, which she's been practicing to use since pretty young age. I think it's been mentioned that she's stronger than most girls?

Rule of Cool, though. I didn't think much about technical details when designing the character or drawing her portrait, and neither should you. I mean, the rest of the game shuns realism all the time if it makes for a better, cooler, or more simple game.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by A-Red »

Rule of Cool only goes so far--you also have to watch out for the Rule of Not Ridiculous. The portrait artists for mainline are meticulous about anatomical correctness, as are the spriters (though the sprites have a different, less realistic set of proportions that must be respected). The nonrealism of having walking trees exist is very different from the nonrealism of drawing inaccurate proportions. If you're comparing them (which many do), don't.

All that aside: if the sword were more accurately sized, and her head were bigger and her shoulders were broader (which is most of the reason she looks so slight), then I think the image will work.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Aethaeryn »

A-Red wrote:Rule of Cool only goes so far--you also have to watch out for the Rule of Not Ridiculous.
Yes, ridiculously huge swords often look comical instead of cool, especially if not pulled off correctly. That's the problem with Rule of Cool: it's subjective. If most people think it just looks over-the-top, they won't take your cool idea seriously.

Why must the sword always be as big as possible? No love for cool people using fencing swords? No wonder the fencer doesn't get any love in campaigns. In reality, the fencer will simply dodge the slow and unwieldy 30-1 sword that can't be used for blocking, and then stab the attacker four or five times. After all the attacker can neither carry a shield nor block with that huge sword, and not getting killed is just as important (even more important in RL) as killing the other guy.

(EDITED numerous times to help emphasize the point that huge swords are not necessary. Increasingly huge swords and nothing else fancy in the EoM Vampire faction sprite art is one of the reasons it's not my favorite. The vampire unit concept itself is really cool.)
Last edited by Aethaeryn on September 21st, 2009, 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Well like I said, I'm a bad artist.

PITY ME.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Aethaeryn »

Zamael wrote:Well like I said, I'm a bad artist.

PITY ME.
You're a better artist than me when it comes to portraits (there's a reason Thunderstone's art thread has no portraits in it). It'd just bother me to see another neat idea ruined by odd weapon proportions.

EDIT: I admire your courage for posting portraits on such a nitpicky forum, and I respect your artistic license to do whatever the hell you want in your art. All I can offer is my opinion here, and mere opinions don't count for much if they're coming from people not doing the work. I'm just agreeing with A-Red on that portrait needing a tad bit more realism. You can ignore us if you want, but if two people notice something odd about it there might be more people having issues with it later, when it's beyond the sketch phase.

I'm just offering my opinion in hopes that you'll agree, but there's always a good chance I might be wrong as these things are subjective anyway.

EDIT 2: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BFS
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Huston »

Zamael wrote:Well like I said, I'm a bad artist.

PITY ME.
how sad. you are ten times a better artist than most people, and yet you are claiming you are bad?
i couldn't even come close to that. i truly suck at art. so don't try getting pity because pity is not how you got a coder. you got a coder because someone that knows how to code was nice enough to code it for you because you have come up with a good storyline and he liked it. that is the only reason you do not need to code it. so just listen to the people that try to give you advice and you will improve otherwise quit while you are ahead.

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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

One of my favourite artists ever was this one french guy who died about a decade ago. Up until his death, he thought all he ever knew of art was the very basics.

I sometimes wonder if I've become like him. Because just about everyone I ever show my stuff says I'm pretty good, yet I myself honestly can't think that. It's... probably precisely because I can draw better than you: the better I can do it, the easier it is for me to see things in correct perspective, to see just how bad that thing really is.

I'm trying to become a better artist, but unfortunately I don't have much motivation to it and don't practice all that often.

But it's not an exaggeration to say that I honestly can't color at all. So I will need help in that regard at the very least.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Huston »

so then draw them make them look good by following the advice of the people here on the forums who have experience and then try coloring them as long as you listen to people's advice they will keep giving it.
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Well I suppose I could maybe at some point bother making them better... but trying to colour them, even with your advice, is almost literally like trying to conquer Mount Everest with absolutely no prior climbing experience. It just... doesn't work. Colouring and just plain drawing are two different things, and I haven't studied the former one in the least: it would take months, even years, of hard work to make them look even remotely acceptable.

'Course, this might actually take that long anyway: Solsword, who probably got the hardest and most time-consuming part of the job to begin with, hasn't been in touch for a few days, neither by PM nor by posting in this thread. I'm guessing he's just so knee-deep in his studies and important schoolwork that he just can't find the time. I'm really thankful for the work he's been done so far, and for anything he will do in the future, but he has more important stuff to worry about, and I will just have to wait.

Admit it, though, if I was a blind guy asking for help concerning seeing-eye dogs, you'd tell me to suck it up and manage without. (Okay that's a bit of an exaggeration. My apologies to all blind people reading this. But still.)
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

Anyway. We're advancing pretty fast in here and almost have the first scenario finished. In the meantime, I've decided it would generate some extra interest to begin posting scenarios once again, although in a much slower pace. This is where the plot really gets going. I hope you enjoy.

***********************************

Chapter Seven: Tracking the Flying Lizard

It was an unanimous decision of them that this drake would have to be hunted down and captured, if any progress was ever made in this campaign. Silan's bats and ghosts could fly and keep up with the giant lizard fairly well, bringing back reports of where it was heading - but the proper ground force had to take the much slower path, following the trail by foot.

The track led south, but while drake's road may have been straight and uneventful, it was not to be for those who followed him from below. Snow and storms slowed them down, mountains and paths blocked by snow seemed to force them change route at every turn. Further, they were occasionally assaulted by more orcs, doubtlessly by the drake's orders: some of them, Xel and the lizards especially, would even have preferred more of these attacks if in exchange they would have gained better weather and warmer climate. But much to everyone's annoyance, they had to endure both.

Eventually, though the trail kept going on forward without changing course, the unlikely alliance following it was forced to stop, as they discovered that the path, the very same Cheska and Xel had used only a week before, had been shut with snow and rock, brought down by fierce winter storms. Continuing on this road would be impossible until spring. They had to take a different path, and it led them southwest, through mountains and forest and across the River Listra.

Their quest had brought them a long way from their starting point, right into the heart of the Northlands, full of roaming barbarians and wild orcs - with an occasional dwarf, whose help Cheska now sought to seek. It would help them a lot, she argued, and would only take a slight detour, but there were still some members of the party who were very much against it.

---
Spoiler:
(The fort right at the middle of the river belongs to nagas, while the one east from it is orcs. The southern base has an orcish slurbow who can recruit both ground units and nagas. There's also an occasional yeti running around. But you can't see any of it because of the fog: winter is a cruel mistress.)

Cheska: "Are you cold?"
Xel: "...I have decided that I hate this winter of yours. It's freezing, it's wet, it makes me ill, it feels awful, and it makes me think everybody thinks I'm weak whenever you try to help me out."
Cheska: "I don't think y-"
Xel: "I know! But it makes me think you do. Even if you just try to show you care... which I really appreciate, by the way."

Silan: "I'm still against this."
Cheska: "Yes, we heard you the first time. I'm just saying, refrain from dark magic and nobody will be any wiser."
Silan: "Have you ever actually met any dwarves?"
Cheska: "As a little girl, yes, but..."
Silan: "I have been in a dwarf city twice, at both times barely escaping with my life, despite not using necromancy."
Silan: "They can smell the taint in me: I will only put the rest of you in danger as well."
Xel: "I... I'm going to agree with Cheska."
Cheska: "That's very nice of you, Xel."
Xel: "Um, yeah, thanks."
Cheska: "I cannot help but wonder your motivations for that, though."
Xel: "Well it is a smart move, isn't it? Besides, we already went through an elf land, and you didn't hear me complaining about it. "
Xel: I think you're just overestimating the danger."
Silan: And I think someone's a bit overeager to please Cheska."
Xel: "And what is that supposed to mean?"
Silan: "Oh, nothing."

Cheska: "Look, we can talk about this later, once we have crossed Listra. Wherever we want to go now, it will be impossible without crossing at least once, right?"
Elric: "Crossing rivers is extremely dangerous on winter. And if we go to the dwarves first, we will only have to do so once."
Silan: "..."
Cheska: "Don't worry, Silan. We will take care of you: I promise nothing will happen to you as long as I'm there."
Silan: "...Fine. We will go to that outpost of yours."
Xel: "As soon as we have crossed the river."
Silan: "As soon as we have crossed the river."

---
Just take one guess where the player must get...
Yup, it's the little landmass at the southwestern corner, surrounded by deep water from nearly all sides. Cheska, Silan, and Xel all need to cross its border to the other side for the mission to be considered success. Unless I am terribly mistaken, the player is forced to take a very long path through mountains and snow and ice, full of orcs and nagas and yetis. Saurians will not be of much use here.
All enemies will attack on sight - with the exception of yetis, who will remain neutral unless attacked first. The twist? While you might know this and avoid them, the enemy most definitely doesn't, and they're in addition just plain afraid of them and make them a high priority whenever they see one. Once anyone attacks any yeti, it will become completely enraged and start attacking everyone who comes to sight - the player included.

As soon as Xel tries to move outside the starting fortress (i.e. any tile that contains snow), this happens:
Xel: (A tumbling sound effect) "Oof!"
Silan: "You sure are slow in the snow."
Xel: "Why. Couldn't. You. People. Have. Winters. With. LESS. SNOW?!"
Cheska: "...As if this wasn't going to take forever to begin with."
Xel: "...Wait, what are you going to... Hey!"
Xel now vanishes from the map entirely for the rest of the mission. Why? Because Cheska just picked him up!
Xel: "Put me down this instant!"
Cheska: "You are slowing us all down: I am not patient enough to wait for you, nor am I cruel enough to leave you here to rot. This is the only option and I refuse to put you down."
She lifts him on her back.
Cheska: "Now stay up there and try not to disturb me too much."
Xel: "...This is so humiliating."

And so Xel becomes unplayable for the rest of the scenario, on grounds of being carried around by Cheska. Some new sprites and a portrait for this would be amusing, but largely unnecessary. It might also be possible to give her some gameplay changes, such as extra attacks, thanks to Xel hanging around her back and doing his part in fending off the enemies - but I suspect this to be too much for Solsword's coding skills.

There's some more dialogue when Cheska next tries to move:
Cheska: "Eugh!"
Silan: "What's wrong?"
Cheska: "There's something awfully cold pressing against my neck!"
Xel: "Sorry...! That... that was me. I didn't mean to startle you or anything, I just tried to find a nice comfortable position."
Cheska: "By pressing your nose against my neck?"
Xel: "Your neck is comfortable!"
Silan: "..."
Cheska: "What's so funny?"
Silan: "Oh, nothing."

When the first yeti shows up:
Xel: "..."
Silan: "(Sigh) Close your mouth please, Xel, we are not a codfish."
Cheska: "What is that thing?"
Silan: "That would be a yeti. They live high up in the mountains - and occasionally come down here in winter."
Silan: "And of course you wouldn't know about them since you are a close-minded noble girl, raised to not believe in such fictional nonsense."
Cheska: "Don't make your own assumptions: I simply haven't heard of those things before."
Silan: "I take it nobody ever read bedtime stories for you."
Cheska: "...No."
Silan: "That would explain it."

Assuming the player hasn't foolishly tried to attack a yeti by now, a dialogue occurs once an enemy tries to attack one:
Unit: "Augh, a monster! Die!"
Cheska: "He's only going to make it angry!"
Silan: "...I think we should run. Like, really really fast."

Once river finally comes to sight:
Whatever unit can see the river: "Look! I can see Listra!"
Dorothy: "Yes, but... it has not frozen properly. It will not be easy to cross it."
Silan: "Maybe we could use Cheska's sword?"
Cheska: "What?"
Silan: "Haven't you read of Sir Osla?"
Cheska: "Of course I have, but how does he have to do with..."
Cheska "...Oh. Heh heh, I get it now. If only your highly amusing jokes could help us get past this river."
Xel: "Who's this Osla guy?"
Silan: "Oh, he was some knight of the old days - well before Wesnoth, even. They say he used to have a sword that was long and wide enough to use as a bridge."
Cheska: "Which would make it much bigger than mine."
Silan: "Which is why we will have to hope that the ice will hold."

And once Cheska steps on some shallow water, this additional dialogue plays out:
Silan: "Say, do you know how Osla eventually met his demise?"
Cheska: "Um... I think I may have missed that one. How?"
Silan: "His sword fell out of his sheath when he was crossing a river, just like we are now. Then the now empty sheath was filled with water, and its weight pulled him underwater and drowned him."
Cheska: "Okay, that was not as funny as your first jok- Xel, would you mind not scurrying on atop of my head?!"
Xel: "You just take care of your sword!"
Cheska: "It will be fine, you buffoon!"
Xel: "I will take no chances."

Once the player steps on the middle part of the western patch of wood, left from the second enemy camp, they're suddenly assaulted by elven rangers!
Cheska: "What the-?"

Extremely unpolitely and very much against the norms of this game, the elves don't explain their actions in any way: instead they simply attack. There are three to five rangers in this forest, depending on the difficulty level, and once they're dead, there will be a word or two of talking between the heroes:
Cheska: "What was that all about?"
Silan: "These elves are evidently from Lintanir forest. It seems we have been followed."
Xel: "But, why would they attack us?"
Silan: "It should be obvious, now shouldn't it?"
Silan: "And it's not just me, either: if I remember correctly, they have an extremely conflicted history with saurians as well. And Cheska, of course, is an undead sympathiser, and thus must also die."
Cheska: "But we helped them against orcs, you especially so!"
Silan: "Indeed we did. Maybe it's the reason we only face crazy fanatics instead of their entire army."

There is another ambush on the very middle island, the one that also contains one very conspicuous elven village.

There's some more dialogue the second time the party is about to cross the river:
Xel: "Hey, wait, hold on a second. Woah!" (Like they say with horses when they want them to stop.)
Cheska: "What? What?"
Xel: "Didn't we cross the river already? Why are we turning back here?"
Silan: "Because in the south we are blocked first by mountains and then by a small, conspicuously deep and inpassable branch of river. The way is shut, and we must cross once more."
Cheska: "At least you're not the one who has to actually wade waist-deep in cold water. So stop complaining."

The middle of the glacier you enter right after that will contain a bunch of cuttle fish and water serpents:
Xel: "So-something moved underwater!"
Cheska: "Yes, I saw it."
After that, a fishy ambush ensues, and a battle is inevitable.

And a little while after that, just a few steps northeast from that mountain range, there is a yeti standing on a thin ice (how it's not falling straight through to the cold waters is a mystery), fighting some more water serpents. If you kill the yeti, the serpents will attack you next: however, if you succesfully save the yeti by killing the serpents, it will become tame and make a permanent addition to your group of merry men (and a couple women):
Cheska: "It's... not attacking us."
Elric: "Looks like it might be thankful to us. We sort of saved his life."
Cheska: "Really? Do you think it could come with us?"
Silan: "I say we eat it."
Xel: "What are you talking about? Look at those gigantic paws! This thing could make a pretty good soldier!"
Silan: "Those giant paws are exactly what worries me!"
Cheska: "..."
Yeti: "Urr?"
Cheska: "...Nah, sorry about this Silas, but I'm with Xel. It could be of use to us."
Yeti: "Gwarr!"

Once you've crossed the main river - that is to say, in between the yeti and the third fortress:
Xel: "Well? We're past the river. Is it over now?"
Cheska: "Not quite. Although the worst is behind us, I believe, we still have a few small river branches to cross..."
(The camera pans to that final enemy base for a moment.)
Cheska: "...and a few hostiles. Hopefully nothing we could not handle, after all we've been through already."
Xel: "Let's get to it. I want out of here."

There is one final elven ambush in the forest just a bit north of the last fortress: this one contains an avenger, unless you're playing on easy difficulty. One of the elves, when engaged in combat, provokes some more dialogue:
Cheska: "Why are you doing this? We helped you deal with some orcs!"
Elf: "So? Enemy of my enemy does not make my friend!"

---
On victory:
Xel: "Okay, now did we get through?"
Silan: "...Yes, I would say now we got through."
Cheska - and Xel she's still carrying - moves next to the river for unclear reasons, possibly to contemplate their future while looking at her reflection.
Cheska: "I didn't expect we would ever have to deal with elves, though."
Silan: "You should. When you travel with me, you will need to expect everyone to act hostile. Even those we help, on occasion."
Cheska: "..."
Cheska: (Sigh) "I can only hope the dwarves will be more friendly towards us. The closest settlement is but a short travel eas-"

Suddenly an arrow appears from the woods, heading towards Cheska. It misses her, but it does hit Xel instead: he is thrown straight to the river from the impact.
Xel: "Argh!"
Cheska: "Xel!"

There's nothing she can do to help him, unfortunately, when suddenly more rangers materialize from the woods. Disturbingly, they're not all of elven nature: among them are a few human rangers as well. And furthermore, just to cap it all, a couple paladins and a mage of light also arrive.
Mage of light: "All who sympathize with the undead scum must die!"

***********************************

- And suddenly, stuff happens! The last mission may have contained a bit plot twist, but I believe this sudden turn of events trumps even that by wide margin. And yes, Kenpachi, you were so very right about getting to fight elves and humans too. Stop gloating.
- I think this might be the scenario everyone is going to hate. I took sadistic delight in building this map in as horrifying and difficult manner as possible, twisting and warping the paths with surgical method until you're forced to travel through as much ground as absolutely possible - then filling it with some really nasty enemies and a few sudden ambushes. But at least you won't need to guide Xel along, thanks to him piggy-backing on top of Cheska: otherwise finishing this scenario might have taken twice as long. Also you get a yeti from your trouble! Yetis are great!
- It was actually left unclear how Cheska knew about the particular dwarven outpost nearby. Either she grew up around the area, it was this exact same settlement she visited as a kid (on a business trip or something: she is a noble after all), or she heard about it from the locals just now. All of them are quite valid reasons, and I decided not to dwell on the subject too much.
- You'll notice that Elric and Dorothy got a couple lines, even though they just might be dead at this point. If that is the case, their lines are going to other units. This will be the norm from now on, and shall not be mentioned again.
- This would also be the first time actual Wesnoth geography is mentioned. I think Cheska's adventure started from the eastern side of Estmark Hills, following to the northern border of Bitter Swamp, further on to the east, and then north all the way to the elven lands of southern Lintanir Forest. And now they've crossed Listra as well - aside from poor Xel, that is.
- Sir Osla is based on the knight of a same name from Arthurian Legends.
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Shawer
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Shawer »

But...but...but....
Xel...?
*cries*
You deserve to die!
*kicks into freezing river*
Seriously though, sorry that iv'e been away, im going to start working on the Cheska and Silans sprites, according to the current portraits, around now, and i might just make a lvl up of Xel.
And i didn't know i could do all that you said i did a few posts back O_o
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Re: Fire-Forged Friends

Post by Zamael »

I'd check out elvish champion's sprite for reference when you do Cheska, if I were you: they don't really look all that much alike, but the animations would be very similar. Champion has a pretty bloody big sword too, anyway.

She probably couldn't lift her sword up her shoulder like champions always hold it, though.
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