testing campaign scenarios

Discussion and development of scenarios and campaigns for the game.

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denispir
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Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

testing campaign scenarios

Post by denispir »

Hello,

I would like to know what methods you use to test individual scenarios of a campaign: we need to jump there and also have decent troops on the player side(s). How do you do that? Is there one (or more) standard technique? I am surprised not to find any clue in docs (wiki) because it's obviously a constant task in campaign development, both initial and maintenance, both for authors and "test players": for instance, when authors ask players to test the balance of a given scenario, whether a bug is solved, or if a map change makes a better challenge, then players will have to do that.

I have some ideas but would like to learn about diverse possibilities. Maybe we can elaborate together some best practices?

thank you

PS: Is there a way to jump to a scenario by code (WML or Lua)?
PPS: I also thought at a "trial" checkbox in the campaign start screen, below diffs, that would set both WML and preprocessor var, and then present a second screen to chose which scenario to play. The var would be used in code to define "trial troops". ("trial", because "test" means something else in programming)
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Pentarctagon
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by Pentarctagon »

There's :cl/:choose_level from here for jumping to a specific scenario. I don't know anything built in that would also provide some default troops though.

For WML, you could perhaps make a right click menu and use [end_level]'s next_scenario attribute.
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denispir
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by denispir »

Pentarctagon wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 11:46 pm
There's :cl/:choose_level from here for jumping to a specific scenario. I don't know anything built in that would also provide some default troops though.
That is an option I used. But as you say, not having a decent troop... Without advanced units this is useless for most campaigns after 1-2-3 scenarios. We can also create definite troops manually in debug mode, but this is tedious, even more for heroes.
So, how do people manage to try scenarios in their own campaigns? How do "trial players" do that to help campaign authors?
Pentarctagon wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 11:46 pm
For WML, you could perhaps make a right click menu and use [end_level]'s next_scenario attribute.
Oh, yes! I will try this when I have time. Thank you.

My current solution, just started to use :
* Make a copy of the whole campaign (updated after each major chnge).
* Change each scenario to give the player decent troops (this should evolve a lot with player feedback).
* Write in the campaign file a "first_scenario" attribute for each scenario, all commented out but the one I am working on.

However, this is not very usable to have players better help you in the development, with comments and suggestions. I will try your solution using [end_level]. Together with a WML/Lua flag, i can then define player troops depending on whether we are in trial mode or not (Lua or WML); I guess.
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octalot
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by octalot »

Loading a start-of-scenario save will use the latest version of the scenario, along with the troops in the save file. The save files themselves are WML, so you can edit them to fit renamed scenarios and added or removed heroes.
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sergey
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by sergey »

denispir wrote:
October 28th, 2019, 11:07 pm
I would like to know what methods you use to test individual scenarios of a campaign: we need to jump there and also have decent troops on the player side(s). How do you do that?
octalot wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 9:17 am
Loading a start-of-scenario save will use the latest version of the scenario, along with the troops in the save file.
When I worked on my UMC campaign I finished it and got start-of-scenario saves that I used for further debugging and balancing. I asked players to share their replays, that is very handy for balancing. After several major changes I finished the campaign again to have up-to-date saves.

I found this add-on very helpful https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?t=44432
Author of SP scenario Dragon Fight and SP campaign Captured by a Nightmare.
Created The Rise of Wesnoth (alternative mechanics) version of the mainline campaign.
denispir
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by denispir »

sergey wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 10:05 am
When I worked on my UMC campaign I finished it and got start-of-scenario saves that I used for further debugging and balancing. I asked players to share their replays, that is very handy for balancing. After several major changes I finished the campaign again to have up-to-date saves.
Yes, this is an option that sure works fine during the early development of a scenario (rough map, gross forces, major events). Meaning when we are not yet really evaluating gameplay & pleasure, dialog & story, challenge & balance. But in my case at least, it is quickly annoying that troop forces are completely fixed (both those of the player and ennemies).
A variant is to save at end-of-scenario, so that the engine can read new versions of the next scenario! (but it won't reload code files that were already loaded)
sergey wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 10:05 am
I found this add-on very helpful https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?t=44432
Thank you! I will have look, but I first need to explore the (apparently more basic) Wesnoth Lua Pack.
gnombat
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Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by gnombat »

denispir wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 8:26 am
That is an option I used. But as you say, not having a decent troop... Without advanced units this is useless for most campaigns after 1-2-3 scenarios.
For mainline campaigns, the easiest difficulty level should usually be winnable with minimum gold and no recalls. In theory. Note that there is some dispute over whether that is actually true in the present version of Wesnoth. In any case, if you decide to do that with your own campaign, that would allow you to play and balance individual scenarios at the easiest difficulty level without worrying about save files, etc.
denispir
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Joined: March 14th, 2013, 12:26 am

Re: testing campaign scenarios

Post by denispir »

gnombat wrote:
October 29th, 2019, 12:16 pm
For mainline campaigns, the easiest difficulty level should usually be winnable with minimum gold and no recalls. In theory. Note that there is some dispute over whether that is actually true in the present version of Wesnoth. In any case, if you decide to do that with your own campaign, that would allow you to play and balance individual scenarios at the easiest difficulty level without worrying about save files, etc.
Nice tip, thank you gombat! Actually, this should be good for me, because the campaign I'm currently working on is one for novice players: https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=51064. This can be helpful at start, even more because we plan to get rid of the the gold system (thus recalls are less important). But there are also 2 heroes apart from the main heroin/leader (and more to come), all of which should have proper levels, XP, possibly special skills, for players to face a fair challenge ;-).
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