Removing mainline campaign(s)

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octalot
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

The message above is introducing a strawman, it doesn't seem to address the question of whether 'significant rewrites' were needed.
vultraz wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 4:25 am
I spent months on an engine refactor that will never see the light of day. When you're making decisions about the direction of a project as a whole, sometimes plans need to be changed. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate work done before.
The main lesson to learn from the engine refactor that's relevant to this thread is about the balance between project members' efforts. The engine refactor resulted in the 1.14 branch becoming the de-facto development branch, causing a lot of effort for other developers; so the decision to remove it from the master branch should have been taken earlier.

For the removal of mainline campaigns, the status quo has minimal impact on other developers' workflows. Removing a campaign when volunteers have offered to work on it breaks the workflow in those volunteers' source control tools - I'm working on reducing the impact of that, but it's not a simple git-subtree (see #4619 and #4633). It seems likely that AToTB will similarly be removed while volunteers are working on it, even if it's likely to be reintroduced in the next release, causing unnecessary effort for the volunteers.

(WoV is easier in this respect, as it already has an up-to-date separate Git repo for its up-to-1.14 branch; for other campaigns the mainline repo is the campaign's main repo.)

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

vultraz wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 4:25 am
There's nothing that says you cannot have challenging material in writing, but material is more than how it is presented. If you put a character in a story that constantly says the N word for no reason and you say it's there to "push boundaries", then, well, you're wrong. That's just an excuse to use the N word. You do not "challenge" by punching down. You "challenge" by punching up. I am more than happy to have deep, complex campaigns in Wesnoth. What we do not need are undeveloped, uninteresting portrayals that do little to set us apart from the myriad of other fantasy properties that utilize these tropes.

And sigurd, I really would like to know where you got that quote. I don't recognize it from anywhere, and you seem to be advocating for it as a guiding principle when it has never been a thing we guarantee. Yes, Wesnoth is a game that relies on volunteers, but that doesn't mean everyone's work ultimately gets used. I spent months on an engine refactor that will never see the light of day. When you're making decisions about the direction of a project as a whole, sometimes plans need to be changed. That doesn't mean we don't appreciate work done before.
Your engine refactor was debated about for an extensive amount of time. In this case, ultimately the root of my concern is - especially for people outside looking in, potentially thinking of contributing - why would they decide to contribute anything, especially anything that'd take a significant amount of their time and effort, if it can be removed without warning due to discussions the contributor didn't even know were happening?

Take the changes I made last year to store more game information in wesnoth's database, for example. If you decide at some point that we shouldn't actually be storing that information, will I log in one day to find it's suddenly all just been reverted?
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by loonycyborg »

esr wrote:
January 6th, 2020, 10:45 pm
In the case of the Drakes I was influenced by Larry Niven's Kzin. I gave them non-sentient breeder females and a culture/biology far more centered on territoriality and dominance than any human society exactly so they *wouldn't* be humans in skin suits. Their alien-ness. and how this works out in the Wesnoth setting, is the whole point. It's part of the setup for the reveal that they're neotenous and dragons are the true adult form.
Kzin seems more to be made as dedicated antagonist species to drive the conflict. While Drake seem to be more nuanced to me. Warlike yet wise. Also, they seem to be related to lizards and thus probably egg-layers. I'd think for them gender differences in society will be a lot less striking than for humans. If you happen to be a female then you sometimes have to lay eggs, that's it. On the other hand they wouldn't have mothers and fathers instead having caretakers because probably they won't care much about tracking which egg they came from. And this can be a better source of species alienness I think.
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

loonycyborg wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 3:22 pm
On the other hand they wouldn't have mothers and fathers instead having caretakers because probably they won't care much about tracking which egg they came from. And this can be a better source of species alienness I think.
Or maybe they wouldn't even have caretakers. I'm just quoting myself from Discord (this was meant as a joke):
For what we know, Drakes might just toss their eggs inside a volcano and be done with them :P
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by loonycyborg »

Probably they volcano most of them, because otherwise all those eggs that survive due to protection from predators and access to medicine and magic would result in explosive population growth and running out of resources :P
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Elvish_Hunter »

loonycyborg wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 5:26 pm
Probably they volcano most of them, because otherwise all those eggs that survive due to protection from predators and access to medicine and magic would result in explosive population growth and running out of resources :P
Actually, I was thinking about using the volcano to make the eggs hatch, not to get rid of them! :lol:
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

Pentarctagon wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 3:04 am
Well, do drake females serve any useful or interesting purpose in WoV?
I don't consider them central to the depiction of drakes. They can be removed.
What I consider central is a reasonable depiction of creatures that are a pack of flying carnivores.

vultraz wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 4:25 am
And sigurd, I really would like to know where you got that quote. I don't recognize it from anywhere, and you seem to be advocating for it as a guiding principle when it has never been a thing we guarantee.
assuming you're referring to:
SigurdFireDragon wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 2:18 am
...the notion of 'respect for project members and giving them a chance to address issues with their work'...
If you mean this one, it's not a quote from anywhere, it is a notion. It seemed like it was a general thing here. Part of the conventions of a project such as this that maintain order & respect. It exists whether or not it is recognized. It is as
Pentarctagon wrote:
January 7th, 2020, 1:43 pm
In this case, ultimately the root of my concern is - especially for people outside looking in, potentially thinking of contributing - why would they decide to contribute anything, especially anything that'd take a significant amount of their time and effort, if it can be removed without warning due to discussions the contributor didn't even know were happening?
which, in an open-source volunteer project can be thought of as "the deal" - contributors make contributions, and leadership providing a framework under which contributions can be used, and see the light of day in a stable release.
Various actions either strengthen or weaken "the deal".

So again, the question is:
vultraz wrote:
January 5th, 2020, 4:04 am
We don't want to promote such portrayals. Were this a less serious issue, I would not have dropped it immediately.
Even assuming it is such a serious issue, I can't see a good reason why that would be sufficient cause for immediate removal & throwing out the notion of 'respect for project members and giving them a chance to address issues with their work'.
@Vultraz: Perhaps you can explain?

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by nemaara »

I've been asked to make a post here to clarify some things regarding my review of WoV.

First things first, nowhere in my original post did I mention anything about political correctness, so I suggest that we avoid discussing anything related to politics. I refer to only my opinions about the campaign and it made a sexist and demeaning impression on me. There is nothing inherently political about that, and it was only how the campaign came across to initially. Please don't construe my post as saying that "people" might be put off by the Drakes' portrayal in WoV. I'm the one who was put off by it, and I'm speaking mostly about how it came across to me and the other people I talked to about their opinions on it.

Regarding the timeline of events, I originally wanted to wait for sigurd's response to my post (or better yet, esr's, since he's the one who originally wrote the campaign and now showed up to talk about it) to see the reasoning behind said writing. That obviously didn't happen, but even with the reasoning provided now, I still see a few pretty big issues.

1. With any form of writing (or art really), the reader/player reserves the right to their own opinion/impression of a campaign. In this case, as the player, I reserve the right to stick with my initial impression of WoV, that of it being demeaning and sexist. No matter the intention of the writer, the reader is a different person and cannot look into the writer's head to know all of their thoughts. What matters is how the work comes across to the reader/player. So, while the original reasoning for writing the campaign may have been to explore a brutal culture that partially results from an inherent biological sexual dimorphism, the theme does not come across that way to me. As the reader, I reserve the right to be unconvinced by the portrayal within the writing.

For the record, I do not find anything inherently wrong with a sexual dimorphism within a species and this having implications on their culture. However, the way it's set up in WoV - nonsentient females as breeders (with really nothing else stated but that???) - is not very interesting to me (and also has the above issue). I'd be much more interested in a more imaginative approach where the backstory (much more detail regarding their biology and culture) is more fleshed out in a less simplistic way.

2. What I'm really getting at is that this is a matter of execution. In handling potentially controversial subjects, usually writing devotes a great amount of time and effort to really explore said theme well and put a good amount of thought into it. Unfortunately, I found that, to me, the execution of the writing in WoV was rather poor and did not well explore any of its "controversial" elements, namely eating other sapients and the aforementioned sexual dimorphism. In both cases, not much time is given to develop any philosophy or lore on both of these subjects (especially the sexual dimorphism). I would think that a sapient race (which Drakes clearly are) would definitely have some thoughts on the inherent morality present in such issues, but they don't.

Their portrayal in WoV comes across to me as actually rather low-intelligence beasts (thought process boiling down to a flow chart of "see not Drake creature", "question: potentially good to eat?", "if so: then try to eat", "if not, well then we can consider as allies if they are useful"). Maybe there's nothing inherently wrong with such a depiction, but I don't find it very interesting or believable, and I don't think it does the Drakes justice. I believe they deserve a better portrayal with more of their culture (and its differences from human culture) better written out, with much more detail provided.

For example, although "Ways of Morogor" are mentioned briefly in the epilogue, nowhere else in the campaign are they actually spelled out in any detail (in fact, there is a line in S12: # TODO: what are the Ways of Morogor). I'd imagine they're a set of cultural rules in how to deal with other Drakes (and possibly other sapient races?), and though it seems a bit silly to write them out as a bucket list, there's actually nothing stated concretely about the Ways at all, making it essentially a big question mark.

I also have a lot of questions on how the Drakes' society is organized on a larger level. Although it's clear that each Flight is headed by a "Dominant" (I would really prefer a fictional term hinting at a Drake language for this), it's not obvious to me how a Flight is established and under what conditions. All we know in WoV (as written) is that a Contention happens, and Galun is chosen by his "caste" (which is different than a Flight, I guess?) for said Contention, but we don't why said Contention happens and who initiates it. We also don't know who decides to promote Drakes to "Dominant" status and grant them gifts from other Flights (presumably headed by other Dominants?).

I assumed it was the Recorders, but given their lack of importance in the rest of the campaign (Galun talks about "sparing" Reshan’lo in the epilogue, suggesting he has more power than the Recorder), that portrayal didn't quite make sense to me. Regardless, if Recorders do have the power to promote Drakes to Dominants (and force them to give gifts to the new Flight), that means they must be the Drakes holding the most power in their society, so I'd imagine there's an even more rigorous process for selecting them. Furthermore, based on the way the Drakes seem to be organized now, I'd also expect the Recorders to be the strongest Drakes (as in, the ones with most personal combat power) if they have the right to order Dominants around. That doesn't seem to be case in WoV, though.

Regarding Dominants, there's also this line in the race description: "Entry to the ruling elite is only possible through challenging and defeating a superior in single combat, which is the way the hierarchy within the elite itself is established." So the Contention also seems to be a bit at odds with this (nobody's challenging a superior there, it's a contention after all). It'd be fine if the Contention were a tradition as an exception to this rule, but again, we don't know anything about it other than that it happens in WoV (and that's it). From my standpoint, it'd need to be written out in a lot more detail to make it believable. I'd imagine a more believable way for Galun to become a Dominant would be to depose an existing one in single combat, though that'd possibly become a gameplay problem.

(I can name quite a few more things I have questions on, but this is getting really long already and I also honestly don't find this setup that interesting, as I already said.)

From my standpoint, this becomes much more than a matter of "axing a few bits of dialogue from a few lines", and requires a more in depth description of the Drakes all around. For me, there wasn't enough lore content in WoV to support its already rather unconvincing premise (never mind the execution of the actual dialogue).

3. Sort of related to the above, there's another problem in that, supposing we can and want to flesh out the lore in more detail, I believe that we've historically avoided detailed and potentially graphic depictions of brutality and violence in Wesnoth because we have wanted to avoid unnecessary controversy arising from our campaigns. Even if we could put in the time to properly write WoV and all of the Drake lore, I'm not entirely sure we'd want this type of portrayal in Wesnoth. Personally, I would be against it because 1. I've already said I don't find it interesting and 2. I somehow don't feel like that's the right portrayal for Drakes. I feel that they're almost like pseudo-dragons, capable of great violence and power, but also incredibly intelligent and wise in their own rights.

I actually quite like this line in the race description: While their warlike nature and sense of territory drives them to defend their territories savagely, drakes rarely invade or trespass on areas already occupied by the other major races. Instead, they settle in unpopulated areas to establish their own territory there. This makes me think of them as a race capable of brutal violence when spurred to it, but usually secluded and even a little mystic, living alone in their high mountains. WoV's portrayal definitely doesn't make them seem like that to me - they seem much more like violent beasts there. Note that this kind of portrayal conflicts with how Drakes are written in other campaigns like NR, where they are noble and ready allies for Tallin. Also note that we have a female Drake name gen in mainline, so I don't see what the point of having that would be if we decided that they'd all be nonsentient breeders anyway.

4. A really big one that I didn't give much time to my initial post, but is nevertheless a large issue too. Regarding the gameplay in WoV, I've already stated that the long string of "defeat the enemy leader" scenarios (actually most of the campaign is basically this, maybe besides S1, and S3 is a miniature version of that, but not a true boss fight) really feels very boring to me and isn't very creative in terms of scenario design variation. In WoV's case, I can actually see that getting away from this might be a bit challenging, given that Drakes are portrayed as brutal creatures readily willing to crush everything in their paths. Nevertheless, I don't think it's desirable to have a mainline campaign that features this kind of monotonous gameplay.

Another thing that I also mentioned in the original post (and I talked to other players about regarding this campaign in particular, but also other Drake campaigns) is the lack of unit diversity and healers in the Drake faction. Yes, I'm aware that like Dwarves, Drakes as a faction have less units available to them. Yes, this makes it harder to mainline and design a fun campaign for them. However, same as with writing, the end result of gameplay still matters. Even if it's harder to make a campaign for them, that doesn't excuse making an unfun campaign (with no healers for Drakes showing up until very late, and having not very many types of units to work with). Bottom line, most players who play our campaigns are only going to judge whether they had fun or not. They aren't going to try to understand that the factions were harder to work with or more challenging to play (because of lack of healers or limited unit specials). If someone comes along and says "I didn't have fun playing this campaign" (spoiler: I realllly did not have a good time playing WoV, sorry to say), that's one of the most important feedback points that we cannot ignore. We don't get to make excuses when someone says "this isn't fun".

5. Okay so this is a reaaaallllllllly long post now, so I'll keep it short. I found the execution of the prose in WoV to be really bland and simplistic, with a lot of lines given flat voicing, or being rather purposeless. Example from S4: story={CAPTION ( _ "Galun")} + _ "I hear and understand."

Example from S1, this whole exchange:
speaker=Gerth
message=_ "The damned wyrms have found us! Send the women and children to the caves. To arms, men."
speaker=Vank
message= _ "Prepare to die, runners."
speaker=Gerth
#po: "pen" as in a pen for holding livestock
message=_ "Better to die free than await the slaughter in a Drake pen!"
speaker=Galun
message= _ "You shall have your wish."

There's also really weird moments where Galun shows that he knows what a ghost is, but after that, sees a Walking Corpse and tries to eat it (really? he knows what undead are and should be able to see that it's obviously filled with black magic, but his animal brain of eat eat eat takes over?)

Overall, this can be summed up in short as follows.

1. Although I find nothing wrong with the reasoning for setting up Drake culture and biology the way it is in WoV, I don't find it very interesting and I'm not sure it's suitable for Wesnoth.

2. I found the execution of the writing (both dialogue and lore) to be poor in WoV, lower than prior standards for mainline (which I am hoping to raise for the future). This inadequate quality (in my opinion) led to my initial impression of the campaign being misogynistic and demeaning. Although that was not the intention, my initial impression is still important because writing is a lot about how the reader interprets the work.

3. I found the gameplay to be substandard, based on lack of scenario and unit variety. I was truly very bored while playing the campaign, and other players have expressed the same or similar opinions to me as well (feeling that it wasn't fun to play without healers, and that the campaign was monotonous).

Based on the above, I do not think WoV is a mainline quality campaign. And, based on the sheer number of issues (I only gave some examples above, but a really really complete critical review would involve going back over more of the campaign too), I do not think it would be a simple/quick fix (even if we wanted to fix it and have this particular iteration of Drakes be in mainline).

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Pentarctagon »

Thanks for writing that up, it does make your perspective on things a lot clearer to me.

Given all that's been said then, at this point I don't think there's anyone who disagrees that WoV being removed without Sigurd being aware that it was going to happen was 100% not the correct way to handle it. However, whether it should be fixed up and re-added or not hasn't (I don't think) been explicitly decided yet. Yumi's post above is quite extensive, and while 1.16 is also still quite a ways away at this point, it may also just be better to have a drake campaign created from scratch - if nothing else, fixing all the issues Yumi called out would definitely make it feel and play like a different campaign, so it'd probably need a different name. Additionally, I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that one of the main points of contention (female drakes being non-sentient breeders) would almost certainly need to be removed against the express wishes of the campaign's author. esr can't really stop us from doing that, but... :?
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
I also have a lot of questions on how the Drakes' society is organized on a larger level. Although it's clear that each Flight is headed by a "Dominant" (I would really prefer a fictional term hinting at a Drake language for this), it's not obvious to me how a Flight is established and under what conditions. All we know in WoV (as written) is that a Contention happens, and Galun is chosen by his "caste" (which is different than a Flight, I guess?) for said Contention, but we don't why said Contention happens and who initiates it. We also don't know who decides to promote Drakes to "Dominant" status and grant them gifts from other Flights (presumably headed by other Dominants?).
Thanks for writing all of this up, but I think you've missed a part of the basic plot.

Think of bee colony swarms, just the general concept without the specific details; although a normal bee swarm would come from a single colony, the drakes form a single new swarm composed of drakes from all of the existing colonies. Swarms are regular events; WoV's swarm is noteworthy only because it migrates far further than a normal swarm. The Contention is the conclusion of the process that chooses the new swarm's leader. The campaign as-written doesn't use a bee analogy, but it does say "The Straight Path of spawning and swarming" and I think I picked up all of the details in this paragraph from the campaign.

The story doesn't explicitly say how often a Contention happens, but I read the story to have "cycle" mean "year" and likely an annual Hatching triggers a Contention each spring.
nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
I assumed it was the Recorders, but given their lack of importance in the rest of the campaign (Galun talks about "sparing" Reshan’lo in the epilogue, suggesting he has more power than the Recorder), that portrayal didn't quite make sense to me. Regardless, if Recorders do have the power to promote Drakes to Dominants (and force them to give gifts to the new Flight), that means they must be the Drakes holding the most power in their society, so I'd imagine there's an even more rigorous process for selecting them. Furthermore, based on the way the Drakes seem to be organized now, I'd also expect the Recorders to be the strongest Drakes (as in, the ones with most personal combat power) if they have the right to order Dominants around.
A "recorder" is someone who keeps records, and has historically had meanings all the way from an office clerk up to a senior judge. In Galun's promotion to Dominant, Reshan'lo is more of a returning officer than anything else.
nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
I would think that a sapient race (which Drakes clearly are) would definitely have some thoughts on the inherent morality present in such issues, but they don't.

Their portrayal in WoV comes across to me as actually rather low-intelligence beasts (thought process boiling down to a flow chart of "see not Drake creature", "question: potentially good to eat?", "if so: then try to eat", "if not, well then we can consider as allies if they are useful").
The whole story is about a swarm triggered by population pressure and food supply, to the point that the Recorders are expecting a drake-vs-drake war until the unfortunate folks from TRoW alter the food-chain. It doesn't seem unreasonable that the drakes aren't yet looking at the morality of eating meat around 1YW, even if they form different opinions by the time of NR (set 500 years later).

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
However, the way it's set up in WoV - nonsentient females as breeders
People seem to have missed that the nonsentient part was never in my handling of WoV at all. It is from the other author(s). In the 0.0.4alpha version on the 1.10 servers, it only appears once in a supplemental file, drakepedia.txt. I removed that reference before the first release (0.8.0) on 1.14. Was there ever any reference to nonsentient breeders in the in-game drake race description that was in a stable release? Can't seem to find one.

A lot of what nemaara wrote seems to just be nemaara's view. One loud voice might not be enough reason change things. Is there room for improvement? Yes. There are a few things I've seen mentioned by others as well, such as gameplay, that I might address.

There seems to be a fair amount of nemaara misunderstanding what is going on in the campaign. octalot's post has covered some of it. Since the misunderstandings seems to be just one person, I'm not inclined to make changes, but might consider how some of it might be made clearer. I've had no indication prior to now that such a degree of misunderstanding was a possible problem based on the feedback thread. Indeed, I've felt that most that have played the campaign have understood it well enough. References to castes are in some of the drake unit descriptions.

I feel like some of the details in nemaara's post are nitpicking, and if the same attention was turned on the rest of mainline, my impression is that 2/3's of it would get axed.
nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
2. I found the execution of the writing (both dialogue and lore) to be poor in WoV, lower than prior standards for mainline (which I am hoping to raise for the future).
Seems contradicted by the discord conversation on 2019-04-02.
To quote again:
nemaara aka Yumi on discord wrote: only meh
and we have "bad" already in mainline
imo it passes the bar
it's just not great
It's been at least 10? years without a mainline drake campaign in a stable release. If such a campaign has to meet nemaara's new standards, it could be 10 more years.

nemaara wrote:
January 9th, 2020, 10:39 pm
I do not think it would be a simple/quick fix
Not relevant, as the relevant question is 'can it be ready for 1.16?' which is currently unanswerable due to lack of a specified date.
Pentarctagon wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 2:03 am
fixing all the issues Yumi called out would definitely make it feel and play like a different campaign
I don't see this as necessary, I think the latest review, like the previous, has quality issues. And I'm not the only one pointing this out. Therefore we shouldn't be relying solely on nemaara/Yumi's viewpoint.

To state the obvious, not everyone is going to like every campaign. As an example, I'm not a fan of the dwarf campaigns. I might never have played them, except for the fact I had set myself the goal of playing all the mainline campaigns. It would be a shame if we didn't have a drake campaign primarily because of one really loud voice.

@nemaara
Why not just work on your own thing with the HttT arc, & avoid the issue of removing campaigns by leaving AToTB for others to handle later. And see how that goes. There's more content in the game than any one person can reasonably deal with, so why get your hands into all of the campaigns and step on people's toes in the process?

Pentarctagon wrote:
January 10th, 2020, 2:03 am
Additionally, I'm not sure how I feel about the fact that one of the main points of contention (female drakes being non-sentient breeders) would almost certainly need to be removed against the express wishes of the campaign's author. esr can't really stop us from doing that, but...
Well, I did pm him back around when I started working on WoV, and mentioned his name on irc and he's never replied.

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by Whiskeyjack »

Whiskeyjack wrote:just seems to me like a deadlock right now, because all other things are also kind of put on hold because of the pending lore rework.
which also affects WoV again, because its hard to even tell what should happen there as long as the rework is in limbo. As I see it, WoV's story doesn't work that well with current drake cannon as portrayed in later campaigns. But while the rework would open up possibilities here, it also kills every discussion so long as it is not fixed in place. Because right now its impossible to say what would needs to be done for WoV - if we want a rework, we can't constrain it by such drastic changes to drake lore. Ideally such things should happen afterwards.
The following was written on discord when I was asked to clarify the above statement by octalot, and I was afterwards asked to also put this here:


I'll try to explain (as far as my perspective on this goes). However, I have only played WoV until scenario 2 and many other Wesnoth campaigns not in years, so I might miss the point on some things (which is why I keep putting these disclaimers everywhere).

I just revisited the dialogue of these 2 scenarios, of the scenario in TRoW (which doesn’t offer much), the Drake race description, and nemaaras last post in the thread, as well as your and Sigurd’s replies to it.

First things first – what I’ve seen of WoV works better with the race description than I would have thought. And in general, you are right that 500 years as well as the changed environment and living conditions would suffice for the big change in Drake culture between their portrayal in WoV and, mostly, NR.

And what I’m about to say now somewhat goes against my initial concerns (regarding Wesnoth’s project nature and wanted gaps in the story) and I’m currently somewhat undecided where I stand personally: While the gap is big enough, its not really good storytelling to show two completely different cultures like that without any reflection of what happened in-between (note that this doesn’t have to be overt, but there should be hints).

So, constraint 1: further (incidental) depictions of Drakes in mainline between WoV and NR need to be worked to connect those dots. (Maybe not all, but some certainly)
Constraint 2: the scenario in TRoW really doesn’t offer much in terms of dialogue and deserves some work – this would necessarily need to set up WoV.

Now for the plot itself: The overarching plot might be decent and simply missed by nemaara – I’ll have to point towards my initial disclaimer here.

However, the first two scenarios are already enough for me to see quite a lot of micro problems.

The opening to scenario sets up a decent setting IMO – you have the Drakes with their problems, you have reasonably different gameplay, that somewhat fits the story, you have a Drake with aspirations to change his peoples fate, and the setup to a way there in the following line:
"That may be, but if you truly aim to lead a flight across the Great Ocean, you’ll have to become a Dominant first, otherwise no drake will follow you. (Laughs) And you an <i>Aspirant</i>? Not so long as you dream when the hunt is called…"
This is not followed up on in the scenario outro – you simply have reactions to a successful hunt. Then the intro to scenario 2 suddenly tells us – oh, btw, we’re Aspirant now, but we still gotta get cool:
Even though Galun was now an Aspirant, he still needed to win enough honor to be chosen to represent his caste in the Contention.
Honestly, this is really heavy-handed. Sigurd might be right with his claim
if the same attention was turned on the rest of mainline, my impression is that 2/3's of it would get axed.
But that’s precisely why this rework is supposed to happen. Because there are probably 2/3 of the Wesnoth campaigns are somewhere between not good and bad storytelling-wise.

This might sound nit-picky, but it’s meant as an example, because that was my overall impression of the tone of the campaign. BTW, I’m not of the opinion that this is unfixable, I simply see that it could still use a lot of work.

One rather concerning point for me is also, that the campaign really doesn’t work with what’s already there storytelling-wise. While the TRoW scenario doesn’t offer much, the following line is cannon:
This is the Elder Prince’s island all right. We had a heck of a time pacifying the Drakes who live here. Oh my, it looks like they’ve rearmed!
This means, that on the last two encounters, the Drakes got beat by the humans. For that fact, the Drakes are damn un-reflected in their simple prey-food-hunt ways. This prey just kicked their asses twice. Also, why are there humans on the island again…? So even before the rework we already have minor issues with the directly surrounding lore cannon.

Also, from what I’ve seen (disclaimer again…), I have to support nemaara in the conclusion that the execution of the prey/hunter situation here is flat, uninteresting. Might be that there is a good macro plot that they simply missed or misinterpreted and might be that it is redeemed in later levels and I simply didn’t get that far, but the start I’ve seen could certainly use a lot more set-up work. This is rather low-level behaviour and I’d expect something more from a sentient species.

There also remains the world-building problem of game scarcity vs. fishing that was brought up multiple times recently (I think, e.g., by Hejnewar?) which could be worked on.

In conclusion, with the misogyny thing out of the way, I personally don’t see a fundamental problem with re-adding WoV. But I can see some of the possible reservations regarding the story (gameplay can always be fixed, I’d guess). And I can see why adding a subpar story – when the current project is to bring the other subpar stories up to speed – is a problem for some.

(I’m personally more lenient in regards to the standards for supposed stand-alone stories, but I’m also in no position to make any calls on the matter :D )
Under blood-red skies - an old man sits -
In the ruins of Carthage - contemplating prophecy.

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SigurdFireDragon
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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by SigurdFireDragon »

Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 9:52 pm
So, constraint 1: further (incidental) depictions of Drakes in mainline between WoV and NR need to be worked to connect those dots. (Maybe not all, but some certainly)
I think this is the best point here. I've been thinking about how to do a better job of it within WoV.
Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 9:52 pm
This is not followed up on in the scenario outro – you simply have reactions to a successful hunt. Then the intro to scenario 2 suddenly tells us – oh, btw, we’re Aspirant now, but we still gotta get cool:
It is in the S01 objectives about being an aspirant, though adding a line of dialog at the end of S01 may be helpful.
Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 9:52 pm
One rather concerning point for me is also, that the campaign really doesn’t work with what’s already there storytelling-wise. While the TRoW scenario doesn’t offer much, the following line is cannon:
This is the Elder Prince’s island all right. We had a heck of a time pacifying the Drakes who live here. Oh my, it looks like they’ve rearmed!
This means, that on the last two encounters, the Drakes got beat by the humans. For that fact, the Drakes are damn un-reflected in their simple prey-food-hunt ways. This prey just kicked their asses twice. Also, why are there humans on the island again…? So even before the rework we already have minor issues with the directly surrounding lore cannon.
The campaign does work with what's already there.
The Elder Prince and Haldric did occupy one of their islands and drakes are territorial.
As for 'why are there humans on the island' again? It is a different island, different humans. Morogor is an archipelago with the main island also called Morogor.
There are references to 'islands' and 'central islands' in S01 and 'northernmost island' in S02. These go along with the in-game help entry about Morogor being an archipelago. Though I'll add explicit mention of Morogor being an archipelago in S01 to make it clearer.
The humans in S01 are intended as a group of TRoW wesfolk that got lost at sea and stranded on one of the islands. It might need clarification.

Thanks for pointing these things out.

Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 9:52 pm
I personally don’t see a fundamental problem with re-adding WoV.
I don't either as WoV v1.0.6 has addressed what seems to be the main concern. https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.ph ... 29#p650606



I've seen here and elsewhere some concerns about the original authors' intent/vision as a possible reason for not proceeding with WoV in mainline.
Is this going to be an issue?
I don't see why it should be given the following:
In addition to what's been mentioned previously, there is also
Reference to non-sentient breeders was never in a stable release of BfW, and never really in the campaign.
WoV was intended for mainline originally https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.ph ... 32#p465832
WoV was roughly 1/3 finished and abandoned when I started working on it, intending it for mainline.
There is my vision for it as an author of it.
Changes in WoV are of a much smaller scope than those proposed here. https://forums.wesnoth.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=51194

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

In S01, how about adding a line when Galun advances, with Vank finally believing that he could become a Dominant?

However, WoV S02 definitely is the same island as TRoW S13, because the map is copied from TRoW and is immediately recognisable if you play WoV shortly after TRoW. Maybe the dialogue could be changed to say that Verkon had noticed a difference between humans and orcs, and that these are the tactics for orcs.

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Re: Removing mainline campaign(s)

Post by octalot »

Whiskeyjack wrote:
January 18th, 2020, 9:52 pm
While the gap is big enough, its not really good storytelling to show two completely different cultures like that without any reflection of what happened in-between (note that this doesn’t have to be overt, but there should be hints).

So, constraint 1: further (incidental) depictions of Drakes in mainline between WoV and NR need to be worked to connect those dots. (Maybe not all, but some certainly)
Constraint 2: the scenario in TRoW really doesn’t offer much in terms of dialogue and deserves some work – this would necessarily need to set up WoV.
To join the dots we'd need to edit other campaigns and add references in them to WoV's events, but this leads to the chicken-and-egg problem that WoV's events aren't part of canon. It would help if we could accept some story outline as Irdya Canon, even while we're still debating whether the campaign is part of mainline.

Currently we have a gap where WoV was, where there aren't canon answers to basic questions such as
  • When did drakes find come to the Great Continent, and why?
  • Is the drake-saurian alliance part of canon or is it only a for-game-balance part of multiplayer?
  • Are there names of Drakes that we could drop in as references?

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