Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

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Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby skeptical_troll » August 29th, 2016, 4:12 pm

Hi everybody. As the summer autumn is almost over, I decided to release the first second part (of three) of the campaign I am currently working on.

It's a story of a Khalifate officer who, after taking part to a disastrous military expedition, is forced to seal a pact with a powerful dwarvish king and to fight at his service, in exchange of his protection. The campaign is about his efforts to find the way back home across both the underground and the surface worlds.

The story is set later than mainline campaigns (except UtbS) but before the fall and the two sun, so tyme cycle is standard. However, in this first part, 5 out of 6 scenarios are underground, although only one is pure dungeon crawling. I am well aware that Khalifate units are not the best in the underground, however I tried to use (artificial) illumination as an important strategic element to make battles more interesting and give more options to the player.

Another feature is a limit on total recruits: the division under your command has 100 units in total, so you won't be able to recruit more than that in the whole campaign. For the moment this won't matter since 100 is more than enough for the available scenarios, but if you have played them I'd be very interested in knowing how many recruits left you have at the end, for future balance purposes.

You will anyway have the opportunity to recruit units from allied leaders which do not enter this calculation. For example, in this first part the player can use, beside the Khalifate infantry, also dwarves and orcs in some scenarios.

In general, healing capability is purposely limited, so shielding wounded units and managing experience for advancements at the right time will be important elements, in my intentions.

Any feedback and comment is appreciated, but input on scenarios 2 and 3 are particularly welcome, since they were by far the more complex for me to set up.
I personally balanced and tested these 6 scenarios 2-3 times and there shouldn't be major bugs, but if you find any please let me know.
Last edited by skeptical_troll on December 9th, 2016, 4:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby ForestDragon » August 29th, 2016, 5:01 pm

took, a quick glance, and it's amazing :D one of my favourite things was the king's ranged attack icon, and the animation looks good too. keep up the good work, glad to see you back in action
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby Tarcil » September 3rd, 2016, 3:35 pm

The story of this (short) campaign was the best one i´ve ever played. The feeling of playing a different faction, the Caliphates, was very good, you really get the oriental atmosphere of this faction. The dialogues are damn good only the eloquent speaking of the orcish warlords irritates me a bit, as well as the jedi-master. :mrgreen:
I´m really impressed and waiting for the next part joyfully.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby ForestDragon » September 3rd, 2016, 3:38 pm

Tarcil wrote:The story of this (short) campaign was the best one i´ve ever played. The feeling of playing a different faction, the Caliphates, was very good, you really get the oriental atmosphere of this faction. The dialogues are damn good only the eloquent speaking of the orcish warlords irritates me a bit, as well as the jedi-master. :mrgreen:
I´m really impressed and waiting for the next part joyfully.

me too, and yeah, those orcish aristocrats/yodas are just downright weird :lol:
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby Tarcil » September 3rd, 2016, 3:44 pm

Yeah. :lol:
I guess, skeptical troll like to make great dialogues, but in this case, I would say, to give the shaman the eloquent speaking of the warlord and made the warlord at least not speaking like a aristocrat. Just an easier grammar should do it.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby ForestDragon » September 3rd, 2016, 3:56 pm

Tarcil wrote:Yeah. :lol:
I guess, skeptical troll like to make great dialogues, but in this case, I would say, to give the shaman the eloquent speaking of the warlord and made the warlord at least not speaking like a aristocrat. Just an easier grammar should do it.

yup, i think the yoda speech should be reserved for 10,000 years old elvish sages :P
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby skeptical_troll » September 3rd, 2016, 5:29 pm

Tarcil wrote:The story of this (short) campaign was the best one i´ve ever played. The feeling of playing a different faction, the Caliphates, was very good, you really get the oriental atmosphere of this faction. The dialogues are damn good only the eloquent speaking of the orcish warlords irritates me a bit, as well as the jedi-master.

Why do you have this prejudice on orcs? Actually in the second part you'll find out that he has a PhD in linguistic at Oxford :whistle: :whistle:
Just joking, thanks for the kind words! I am not a native speaker, so it's generally hard for me to catch the right speaking register. I wanted the warlord to sound cunning and subtle, not the typical 'me orc me kill you!', but if it sounds like an aristocrat there is definitely something wrong! I'll try to make he saying the same things in a more 'orcish' way.

As for the shaman: I wanted to characterize him as an old, weird and wise guy, so a Yoda-like speech was quite fitting (beside being a due tribute to an epic scifi character). However, if that looks too silly and spoils immersion I'm gonna switch to something else. I admit that now whenever I write/read dialogues I can't help but thinking of his words in Yoda's voice :D
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby taptap » September 5th, 2016, 9:21 am

Great start.

1st scenario is hard (on difficult). Did not manage in first attempt and then only with heavy losses (10 out of 80 recruits dead). Recruited some more once I lured out the elf blocking the path to the caves, that saved the day. Ally would be much more useful if not moving all units on ice to get 12,14 village.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby skeptical_troll » September 5th, 2016, 10:26 am

Thanks for the replay!
I think you are in good shape: heavy losses should be expected here, you have to open a breach in little time on poor-defense terrain against elves, which retaliate all kinds of attack. You also managed to save the loyals (the lvl 2 in particular will help at the beginning of the next scenario). It'd be good to give Arzeh a couple of kills, as you'll need his cure ability soon, but I know that could be risky.

I can tweak a bit with the allied AI, at the moment I just set the 'defensive' grouping. Main result is that now he focuses on the weakest enemy (on medium and easy sometimes he even kills the sylph!). With a better behavior he'll probably defend better on the west and give the player some more time to break the encirclement.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby taptap » September 5th, 2016, 8:38 pm

"Good shape" - added a failure - timeout, about to kill troll and goblin, spider and whelp leader already dead - in Trial at Arms. Trying to handle the mud faction first (and already moving the runemaster to next position) was probably a mistake, but how could I know. Even so I had not that many idle units most of the time. And I thought it was going good when I took out the first two spiders pretty early.

(First scenario: The one tweak I would consider is giving that one 12,14 or was it 14,12 village to the ally, so they don't beeline for it into bad territory. I moved a unit to help against green, otherwise I would have had them in my back in force. As I indeed had in earlier attempts. Similarly the one unit I placed south kept plenty of units busy.)
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Failure in 60 turns.
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby Inky » September 5th, 2016, 9:51 pm

Return from the Abyss v. 0.0.2 / Wesnoth 1.12.6 / Hard
Awesome campaign so far! I'm on the third scenario so far; I really like the dialogue and the miners setting fires is really cool!

S1 (Inglorious Campaign)
Replay summary: This was quite a challenge. I spent all my gold and sent everyone straight east, and broke through the eastern forces with the help of the Arif and Naffat's lawful attacks during the first day. With the western army catching up near the end, I used the eastern enemy leader's keep to recruit some reinforcements to help fend them off. It was a tense battle! 12 recruits, 6 losses, finished turn 18/22.

S2 (Trial of Arms)
-I think the turn limit is too short here; like taptap I wasn't even close to finishing on time on my first attempt (there's actually another scorpion leader in the northeast). My next attempt was closer, but I still needed a few extra turns (I debugged myself 3 extra turns :P)
-It would be convenient to have some kind of overlay or trait to indicate which miner(s) still can use their torch.

Replay summary: 160+35 starting gold. Split forces in half, with half dealing with goblins and half going for the mudcrawlers. Killed mudcrawler leader early on (turn 23). Then all my forces went to kill the goblin leader on turn 40; then some units split off to kill the scorpions and everyone rushed south to deal with the trolls. I had made the mistake of triggering the trolls from the south early on before I was ready, so they stole several villages and got the extra income. I ended up needing 3 extra turns to finish. 7 losses (not counting 2 dead miners)

--------
A couple bugs:
-In scenario 3 (Old Castle) none of the centipedes' images show up (the image paths are missing "units/" in front).
-No idea what the cause of this one is; sometimes my units will randomly lose a few HP (I noticed this happening in scenarios 2 and 3). E.g. in this savefile (using Show Replay), on turn 2 Arzeh and a miner lose some HP and on turn 3 Eridon lost some HP.
RftA-The_Old_Castle_Turn_3.gz
Units randomly lose some HP at beginning of turns
(72.37 KiB) Downloaded 38 times

Some typos/dialogue suggestions:
Spoiler:
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RftA-Trial_of_Arms_replay.gz
Scenario 2 (Debugged 3 extra turns)
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RftA-Inglorious_Campaign_replay.gz
Scenario 1
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Commented playthroughs with screenshots:
Let's Play Dead Water, Let's Play Invasion from the Unknown and Let's Play After the Storm (in progress)
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby skeptical_troll » September 5th, 2016, 10:28 pm

Hi, I made these modifications after seeing Taptap's very informative replay:
slighlty increased turn limit (64 on hard now), and decreased a bit the income of enemies (probably not that significant). Since I think it relies too much on knowing the map in advance, I added a small dialogue when you kill the troll whelp leader in the central hall, where Eridon explains what enemies to expect in the various secondary mines, and how strong they are. Hope this help. I'm also wondering if the mechanism of miners tearing down walls is too confusing (i.e. hard to understand where they can do it).

taptap wrote:First scenario: The one tweak I would consider is giving that one 12,14 or was it 14,12 village to the ally, so they don't beeline for it into bad territory.


Done it as well!

EDIT:
Thanks Inky for the corrections, I implemented them in the new version!
Hopefully I also fixed centipedes' images problem. Quite weirdly, I had no problem myself in visualizing them, so I'm not 100% sure that they are correctly displayed now. I hope so, cause they are really nicely drawn and animated (I taken them from 'age of tentacles') :hmm:
I also added an overlay to miners who can still set fire (reused the one I had for campfires in HotE).

inky wrote:No idea what the cause of this one is; sometimes my units will randomly lose a few HP (I noticed this happening in scenarios 2 and 3). E.g. in this savefile (using Show Replay), on turn 2 Arzeh and a miner lose some HP and on turn 3 Eridon lost some HP.

ok, I got no clue about this one, will need to have a look :shock:
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby Paulomat4 » September 6th, 2016, 9:51 am

Hey man, gave it a first try and really enjoyed it so far.
I'm at scenario 24 now, and after exploring the castle the objectives tell me to resist 24 turns OR do something else. The problem is that after reaching turn 24 I just lose the scenario.
-No idea what the cause of this one is; sometimes my units will randomly lose a few HP (I noticed this happening in scenarios 2 and 3)

I can confirm this happening to me as well
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby taptap » September 6th, 2016, 10:04 am

Paulomat4 wrote:I'm at scenario 24 now, and after exploring the castle the objectives tell me to resist 24 turns OR do something else.


I definitely find it amazing how far ppl manage to play in this campaign... Does it even have 24 scenarios? :hmm:
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Re: Return from the Abyss [WIP campaign for 1.12]

Postby skeptical_troll » September 6th, 2016, 10:09 am

Paulomat4 wrote:and after exploring the castle the objectives tell me to resist 24 turns OR do something else. The problem is that after reaching turn 24 I just lose the scenario.


Mmm ok, it's probably not very clear. The 'or' is between resisting 24 turns and closing the tunnels. The third objective instead is mandatory (Find more information about Thoadarak king's power), so if turns run out without doing that, it's a loss. Any suggestion on how to make this crystal clear? adding '(mandatory)' after the third objective?

I can confirm that the 2HP random loss also in my case, but I really don't know where it comes from. It seems like a weird thing to get from WML..

@taptap: he meant scenario 3 (4 counting cutscenes), this part only has 6 playable scenarios. I wish I was that productive :)
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