A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

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Pentarctagon
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Pentarctagon »

I wouldn't support removing campaigns simply because they don't fit into the proposed storyline. But likewise, campaigns shouldn't be kept for the sole reason that they happen to already be there.
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Whiskeyjack
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Since my name occasionally came up in the discussion and I never commented on my initial concerns again, I'd like to chime in once more.

I was quite confused when I just looked it up and realized that this thread started almost a month ago. Which kind of serves to illustrate nemaara's point - if a project of this scale is considered and discussed by too big a group of people, it doesn't get off the ground. And if we want this project to get done, it needs a dedicated person (or at max a small group of people) that is able to make decisions. Turuk started an attempt a couple years back to revise just HttT in writing and gameplay. There were a couple of us extensively discussing writing in PMs and, at the same time, a quite active forum thread was raging (with idea pooling and lots of play-testing). It was a cool project with strong results. It stopped midway of scenario two after a few weeks.

After thinking on this for a couple of weeks (apparently without realizing the time flying by) and following this thread, I am quite convinced that the only chance to get this project anywhere is to actually let loose the reins and give full creative freedom to nemaara.

Now the question remains, do we want that? Despite my earlier concerns, I can now say yes with conviction.

I have communicated a lot with nemaara over the last week, especially concerning arc three and the bundle of originally unwanted campaigns (NR, EI, DW, SotBE), as well as possibilities for overarching storylines.
One of the very first things I proposed was an idea that also came up in this thread later: have seperate campaign tabs for the three arcs (presenting the main "story" of the game) and an additional tab for stand-alone campaigns. The latter wouldn't need to be treated as strictly as the main arc and would be less closely connected to the "main" campaigns. There are already a few campaigns slotted to eventually go into such a tab. All campaigns in this tab would probably still require minor reworks to remove inconsistencies with the arcs, but otherwise reworks of story and gameplay wouldn't be mandatory (although certainly not unwelcome).
This doesn't mean that every campaign not in the arcs should go in there (I think there were enough points made about AOI). But it also means that every campaign that is removed could make a comeback once polished and brought up to snuff. I think Pentarctagon formulated this well in their post above.
Now this isn't to speak for nemaara, those were my impressions of how this should look, but they agreed that this could be a good compromise.

I also found nemaara to be quite open to reasonable feedback and input from my end. And I have to say, I quite like the direction the story arcs are taking currently. Overall, most of my concerns have been addressed and I am a lot more certain now than I was previously that such a project would be well placed in their hands.

This is not to say that there wouldn't be things lost - as it seems, at least AOI is gone and some campaigns might be merged or greatly changed, or even newly added (e.g., the discussion about DM / AA).
My biggest remaining concern is that mainline afterwards is too coherent, losing some of the collaborative spirit of the project. However, even should this concern fully manifest (which I don't think it will, my recent experience gives me the impression that nemaara is quite willing to engage in productive cooperation and that we can preserve central themes, events, and characters of the campaigns), I think the result would still be a big upgrade over the current status quo. And as I have stated, this project appears to have way better chances of success than the numerous previous attempts - or we can just remain in this limbo forever (seriously, just go to the writers forum and scroll through the threads. Titles and poster names alone should tell you a meaningful story...).

With all that said, I would be happy if this project could get off the ground and personally would be happy to entrust it to nemaara. (And to support it as far as my time and abilities go...)

Whiskeyjack

PS: since it seems I also didn't get very explicit here: as arc three currently stands (nothing final!) all four campaigns (EI, DW, NR, SotBE) as well as a new campaign would be in, although two of those would probably be merged. For the seperate campaigns tab there would be at least UtBS and (I think) DiD and SotA, possibly more. I don't have a full overview of arc one and the remaining campaigns and nothing is final yet, so I'll keep it to these mentions.

Added by Pentarctagon at Whiskeyjack's request.
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nemaara
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

Looks like there's still an issue with my previous proposals (see here):
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 15#p649745
http://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php ... 15#p649772

The problem is, implementing this would result in a 5 campaign arc of TSG, AA, DM, Liberty, followed by HttT. In other words this would be 3 modernized campaigns and a reasonably interesting gameplay campaign in Liberty followed by a very old HttT that needs quite some help with gameplay and writing. From a player perspective, I feel like it'd be a pretty big letdown to have 4 high quality campaigns followed to then finish the arc with HttT as it is. So, despite my initial hesitation in doing so, I think it's now necessary to add reworking HttT to the prior proposal.

I think the order of work would go like this:

Write AA
Revise TSG to work with AA
Rework DM
Rework HttT

HttT target: loyalist/elf mixed campaign, probably about 15-18 scenarios (bit longer-ish to finish out the arc).

In an ideal scenario, I think the time to accomplish this could still be under a year, but that may be a bit ambitious for now. So, probably this would involve pushing back 1.16 to 2021 sometime, or having this rework be in 1.18. Note that if this rework has a 1.18 target (maybe around 2022 or 2023), I might even be able to finish 2 arcs by then, given that the TRoW arc needs a lot less work than the HttT arc, and doofus-01 is working on SoF currently.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Tad_Carlucci »

I have a problem with pushing 1.16 out another year.

Having a __goal__ of 1.18 sounds good. But it should not push 1.18 into 2022. I'd rather move the goal to 1.20 and keep improving the engine.

I would suggest, in the interrum, that we might consider promoting one or two UMC to mainline if there are any which are close to proposed arc(s). This way players will see mainline moving forward even with the elimination of AOI.
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octalot
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by octalot »

Whiskeyjack wrote:
December 18th, 2019, 12:39 am
One of the very first things I proposed was an idea that also came up in this thread later: have seperate campaign tabs for the three arcs (presenting the main "story" of the game) and an additional tab for stand-alone campaigns. The latter wouldn't need to be treated as strictly as the main arc and would be less closely connected to the "main" campaigns. There are already a few campaigns slotted to eventually go into such a tab. All campaigns in this tab would probably still require minor reworks to remove inconsistencies with the arcs, but otherwise reworks of story and gameplay wouldn't be mandatory (although certainly not unwelcome).
I think both this and the idea of telling the user that there is a new and an old story continuity allow simple solutions to problems with the roadmap.

Conflicting storylines happen with many video game franchises doing continuity reboots. As Wesnoth doesn't need to split the campaigns in to separate games for sales purposes, what's the problem with having a continuity reboot between tabs? We'd need to explain that to the player, but we'd need to do that anyway for people upgrading from 1.14 to 1.16, which will be presented as a minor upgrade to Steam users (see #2710).

With UMC, some will be written for the new continuity and a lot will be ported from 1.14 to 1.16 without updating the story. Let's allow UMC campaigns to define which tab they should be shown in, which would imply which continuity they connect to. For example, the Terror of Asheviere tab would be the right place for a UMC campaign based on Liberty's epilogue, with peasants fleeing to The Three Sisters.

For the roadmap and HttT, does HttT have to be in 1.16.0? If there's already a four-campaign story arc that will teach new users enough of the strategy to play most campaigns, does the HttT update need to be included too?

I'd really like to have a name for the new continuity, otherwise it's hard to refer to it.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by Celtic_Minstrel »

octalot wrote:
December 23rd, 2019, 6:42 pm
Let's allow UMC campaigns to define which tab they should be shown in, which would imply which continuity they connect to. For example, the Terror of Asheviere tab would be the right place for a UMC campaign based on Liberty's epilogue, with peasants fleeing to The Three Sisters.
And let them define their own tabs too, in case they fit into a completely different continuity. Also, if they don't define or specify a tab, dump them into a generic "other" tab.

I can see that letting addons define their own tab could be a bit problematic, as the tab bar would then end up with a scrollbar, but there definitely needs to be at least an "other" tab.
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nemaara
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

When the time comes for making tabs, it would probably be prudent to talk to Iris/Vultraz on how to implement said tabs if desired at all. It kind of depends on how they look in the screen too.

If it were up to me, I would definitely not release the first arc until the HttT revision is in. I don't think it's a good player experience to play 4 higher quality campaigns followed by a very old one that is in need of some upgrading.

As discussed on discord, my proposal aims to replace all the campaigns mentioned as well as remove AToTB (as in, that's part of the proposal), so the old continuity and new continuity wouldn't coexist in the game. Iris's suggestion was that we'd refer to the old version as "Classic Canon" and the new version as "Irdya Canon", which I think sounds pretty cool.

Regarding AToTB, there's some talk about making it an MP campaign, so I think it'd be fine readding it once that's done.

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octalot
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by octalot »

nemaara wrote:
December 25th, 2019, 9:23 pm
If it were up to me, I would definitely not release the first arc until the HttT revision is in. I don't think it's a good player experience to play 4 higher quality campaigns followed by a very old one that is in need of some upgrading.
Why not ship 1.16 with the 4 higher quality campaigns, and omit HttT from the arc?

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nemaara
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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by nemaara »

octalot wrote:
December 26th, 2019, 3:39 am
Why not ship 1.16 with the 4 higher quality campaigns, and omit HttT from the arc?
Well then it'd be incomplete.

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Re: A grand design for singleplayer mainline lore

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

@nemarra

It seems like the most major issue regarding your proposals is the removal of campaigns.

If you took the approach of doing the HttT arc, and leaving it up to others to rework AToTB to preserve the spirit of the campaign and have it fit with your arc or moved elsewhere in the timeline/universe (instead of removing AToTB):

I think you'd get more support for your plan.

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