Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue (V.0.1.4)

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Devrailis Colandore
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Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue (V.0.1.4)

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

Hello everyone. After uncounted dozens of man-hours spread across several months (I began this project late May of 2007), I've come close to finishing the first 6 scenarios of a new campaign.

The Setting:

The setting is new, something that I've created from scratch specifically for the story I want to tell. The campaign exists in a world that is strictly low-fantasy. There are no fantasy creatures, no elves, no dwarves, no dragons. They do exist, but only in legends and the imaginations of the characters (humans) who do inhabit this world. There is no magic either, no fireballs or necromancy. All standard laws of physics apply. In fact, the only thing that separates this setting from say, Medieval Europe would be the geography. The inhabitants call their world Duniya(Earth), simply because it is what they stand on.

More specifically, the story is set in a place somewhat smaller than Australia called Valsinone. Some would, in fact, call it a very large island. It is currently split into five kingdoms, each with their strengths and weakness, that have carved their own niches in the political fabric of Valsinone. The flavour of the setting will be a mix of Renaissance Italy and Persia, with a heavy Middle Eastern bent. Society is on the cusp of a new era and only a few people are aware of the momentous changes that are about to occur.

The five kingdoms:

The Kingdom of Weydia - A heavily militarized monarchy, Weydia occupies some of the most fertile land on all of Valsinone and is considered a military power. Its population contains several different ethnicities, each possessing varying levels of political and economic influence. Its land can be separated into three general regions, a rich and fertile breakbasket to the North-West, a mountain chain that cuts through most of the North-East, and the flood prone lowlands to the South East where most of the poorer peasants live.

The Weydian military is highly professional and well-trained, with an emphasis on slow advances and close quarters infantry combat. Nearly all Weydian troops are well-armoured and capable of holding their own in hand to hand fighting. However, because of their terrain, which is either mountainous or marshy, Weydia does not fare as well with Cavalry units.

The Kingdom of Vermaeliss - Vermaeliss is similar to Weydia in that it is a feudal monarchy. Its military is not as large but very capable. It sits in the Central-Northern region of Valsinone and as such, borders all of the other kingdoms. The Kingdom is more diplomatic than the others, knowing that it cannot afford to antagonise any of its neighbours. Vermaeliss can be rather neatly split into two, with a wealthy, productive region bordering Weydia to the East, and a poorer region in the dry savannahs of the West.

Vermaeliss troops tend to be more mobile, preferring to strike quickly at key points with small clusters of troops that perform well on flat land. They have a good mix of melee and ranged attacks that do high damage, but are not very durable.

The Theocracy of Laekoli - Located on the mountainous extreme North-West of Valsinone, the Theocracy holds a special place on the island as it contains several holy sites and is the seat of power of the Church of Adassa (The Young Goddess), the principal religion worshipped all over the island in every kingdom. It has a relatively weak military presence but the influence it wields as a spiritual power is formidable, and as such, none of the other kingdoms have dared to pick any fights with it in recent history. The other reason why the Laekoli theocrats are feared is because of the extensive spy network run by the church. The Church priesthood is adept at picking up secrets and "confessions".

The Laekoli army as a whole utilizes a bleeder strategy, dealing small amounts of damage over a long period of time while attempting to keep their own units alive for as long as possible. Their units employ a mix of poison dealers and healers.

The Ostelli Union - The Union is a polyglot of various ethnic groups set in the south of Valsinone. A tightly knit group of smaller noble factions, the Ostelli have the largest kingdom on the island as well as the largest military. The flat savannah and desert that cover most of the kingdom has allowed the Union to developed a highly trained and highly feared cavalry.

The Solyanae Empire - Despite its name, the Solyanae are probably the most independent people on the island. Heavy traders, some of the richest merchants are found in this smaller but densely populated South-Eastern kingdom. The Solyanae have the most contact with the kingdoms outside of Valsinone and as such, possess great knowledge of the discoveries and science that have progressed in the greater world.

The Solyanae military is rather small and can be separated into three distinct classes. The majority of its armed forces are in fact mercenaries, many from overseas and of variable quality. There is also a cheap pool of discount rate guardsmen, who are usually employed to protect Solyanae caravans. Finally, there is the pride of the Solyanae military, highly trained units who employ some of the most advanced weaponry that can be found on Duniya, much of it imported from other empires. Naturally, they expect and receive high wages.

The Story:

Moving away from the geography, the current story takes place almost exclusively in Weydia. It centers on a Crown Captain named Perrin Aldehar, who has spent almost his entire military career putting down peasant uprisings and bandits that roam the countryside, slipping between borders for protection. Eventually, he is caught up in the greater politics of the region and comes to realize that even the noblest of ideals are grounded in dark realities and no matter what choices he makes, or are made for him, he can never be a hero to some without becoming a villain to others. (Any more details would invite spoilers, sorry. 8) ).

Perrin's story is in fact, not the main thrust of the overall story that I have already planned, but an important introduction to the universe. I am using his tale mostly as an opportunity to experiment with what I can do with WML.

The Mechanics:

In writing this campaign, I ran into some distinct problems with the mechanics of the setting. The most obvious was trying to maintain variety and balance in a magicless setting. Magic and more fantastic types of damage are an important part of game balance, nevermind flavour in Wesnoth campaign settings, so it was a bit of a challenge trying to create the same feel without involving magic at all. I think I've done a passable job so far but I'll need your opinions to get a better idea of how well I have succeeded. Opinions on scenario balance as a whole are welcome too, I had problems earlier on with creating grinding chokepoints that would stall the game for turns on end.

Naturally, I've had to rewrite all of the factions and units from scratch. Most of the units that I have completed so far for Weydia will be loosely similar to the Loyalists in function, since I used them as the standard "military" faction yardstick. On another note, only two factions are currently complete in this campaign, with a third one that I plan on introducing in the next few weeks when I add more scenarios.

I'm planning roughly 14 scenarios in total. 6 are currently complete, 4 playable scenarios and 2 dialogue scenes. The scenarios tend generally towards the longer end, with an initial emphasis on preserving units. It is not as RPG oriented as UtBS, but it still tends to favour a more patient and slower style of play. Hopefully, I'll be able to upload the campaign in a day or two, once I get access to highspeed again. :P

Art - Yes, this is where I absolutely fail :cry: . I've no artistic talent whatsoever, and have no time to experiment. So far, I've taken to outright stealing of unit images from the mainline campaigns as well as a handful from other user-made content (the most explicit one being from the Windsong faction - thanks!). If anyone could find the time to get in touch with me about the kind of art that would be required for the campaign, I'd greatly appreciate it!

Another favour I would like to ask! I'm definitely more of a writer than a programmer, once reason why it has taken so long to get these scenarios up and running. If anyone could go over the code, once I've uploaded the scenario and let me know if I've made any glaring errors or done anything inefficiently, please let me know. The last time I ran a test, I didn't run into any game breakers, but I've little confidence at this point, considering how I've lost track of the number of times I've crashed the game.

That's all the information I can think of at the moment. Comments and suggestions are welcome!

EDIT: Oh, one more thing. I don't know whether or not it is generally encouraged to create campaigns and settings outside of the Wesnoth canon. I can think of a number of practical reasons why it would be discouraged, but I don't know what level of support there is for people who want to create material outside of the Wesnoth universe. Please let me know.

EDIT: The Campaign has been uploaded to the server.
Last edited by Devrailis Colandore on April 27th, 2008, 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

cdjflip
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Joined: March 1st, 2008, 6:23 am

Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by cdjflip »

The campaign is really well made, its really in depth and youve got a real plot developing. its unfinished (obviously) and i cant wait for it to be finished.

it bothers me alot that the units dont actually "attack". if you take the units from other campaigns, consider also taking the attack pics.(if its okay by the artist of course)

Devrailis Colandore
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Location: Canada

Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

Thanks for the feedback, it's encouraging to hear from you!

I can understand that it bugs you that the units don't have any attack animations. I was undecided about taking them out at first but the reason why I removed them was simply because in too many cases the attack animations available simply did not match up to the attacks that I had given to the units. For example, the Sharpshooter uses a crossbow but the Bowman sprite uses a bow. All of the sprites I'm using right now are just placeholders. But if it bugs enough people, it wouldn't be much work to put the animations back in, so I'll definitely keep that in mind.

EDIT: I just ran into a major bug in the 3rd scenario. I'm going to take the Campaign off the server and put it back up tomorrow once it's been fixed. Sorry about that!

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Aethaeryn
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Aethaeryn »

Devrailis Colandore wrote:EDIT: Oh, one more thing. I don't know whether or not it is generally encouraged to create campaigns and settings outside of the Wesnoth canon. I can think of a number of practical reasons why it would be discouraged, but I don't know what level of support there is for people who want to create material outside of the Wesnoth universe. Please let me know.
It's okay. For example, the Imperial Era (one of the three major user-created eras) is set on its own world with its own campaigns. It allows more freedoms to work on the world and control the history of it, and allows you to violate some policies of Wesnoth's world, such as NRIW (No Religion in Wesnoth, a policy to not mention religion in campaigns, unit background, etc.) or, in your case, not having any magic. There was even Spacenoth, which aimed to be a full sci-fi mod, but as of recently, it appears to be dead. Using copyrighted content for your world (such as the countless deleted Middle Earth uploads or locked Middle Earth threads), however, is not allowed - such things cannot be talked about on this forum or uploaded on the official add-on server. You should probably find an artist who likes your content, though, so that you can have art unique to your own world.
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zookeeper
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by zookeeper »

Devrailis Colandore wrote:EDIT: Oh, one more thing. I don't know whether or not it is generally encouraged to create campaigns and settings outside of the Wesnoth canon. I can think of a number of practical reasons why it would be discouraged, but I don't know what level of support there is for people who want to create material outside of the Wesnoth universe. Please let me know.
I can't really talk for anyone else, but personally I tend to simply skip campaigns and settings outside of the world of Wesnoth. I like to play something that actually relates to all the stuff I've played before instead of having absolutely no context for what I'm playing. I find new worlds and settings generally boring, since everyone wants to make one, they're usually uninteresting and because there's an infinite supply of them. Sure, if someone makes a good one, then fine, but that doesn't tend to happen (IMO Imperial Era would probably be the one exception to this in Wesnoth, even though I haven't actually played it almost at all). But as I said, this is just my personal preference, I don't know much about what other people think.

If you'd ask me, I'd say it's a newbie syndrome of sorts. The vast majority of ideas of creating a new world/setting come from people new to the game and/or forums. It seems very uncommon for people who've been around for a long time to try to propose or start making a new setting outside of the world of Wesnoth. When you're a newbie it just somehow seems so much more appealing to try to create something completely new yourself instead of elaborating on the existing setting and history (I have the same tendency; I guess most people do), probably because you're not so familiar with or attached to the existing setting and history yet.

I don't know if one could say making new settings is discouraged as such, but I suppose creating content fitting into the existing world instead is somewhat encouraged.

Devrailis Colandore
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Location: Canada

Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

I've reposted the campaign with a quick bug fix that I hope will remove any issues when playing Scenario 3. Please let me know if anyone runs into any further problems.
zookeeper wrote:I can't really talk for anyone else, but personally I tend to simply skip campaigns and settings outside of the world of Wesnoth. I like to play something that actually relates to all the stuff I've played before instead of having absolutely no context for what I'm playing. I find new worlds and settings generally boring, since everyone wants to make one, they're usually uninteresting and because there's an infinite supply of them. Sure, if someone makes a good one, then fine, but that doesn't tend to happen (IMO Imperial Era would probably be the one exception to this in Wesnoth, even though I haven't actually played it almost at all). But as I said, this is just my personal preference, I don't know much about what other people think.
.

Thanks for the replies everyone. I can understand if some people prefer the familiarity of the established setting, I do admit that I have similar preferences myself. I assumed that most people would in fact prefer campaign settings related to the Wesnoth universe and I had considered making a campaign within that context as well. But I don't believe you need to be a newbie or an old-hand at Wesnoth to have certain story preferences. My main motivation for staying away from the Wesnoth universe was to get away from the magic in the setting. I've been playing Wesnoth for more than a year now and I've completed every single mainline campaign. I've enjoyed all of them but I find that it is much too easy to fall into the habit of devolving the conflict in the story to a focus around magic and dark sorcerers or the undead, rampaging orcs or some absolute, irredeemable evil.

I know some people have preferences for simpler stories, and Wesnoth is a game first. There are also a number of campaigns with complex stories that I've been greatly impressed by. However, I felt that creating a new setting that I had more control over would allow me to tell a story with elements that I felt would not be as plausible under a more fantastical setting where you would have the temptation to handwave a problem through magic or some similar device.

This is not to say that I won't try contributing to the Wesnoth universe of course. I've tried before, if not very successfully, and I'll certainly make another attempt again once this campaign is complete.

But thanks again for your input, I do appreciate your perspective and you're probably right in that I haven't become attached to the Wesnoth universe enough yet to tell a meaningful story that does not conflict with the established material.

ryleth
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by ryleth »

I'm really enjoying the campaign so far, but I'm running into a fairly major problem in scenario 3 (could very well be that bug you mentioned earlier in the thread). Around turn 15 the princess is killed, (this is before I have even found her, excluding her escape cut-scene). So the scenario is failed as I failed to protect something I can't even protect. Oh and I have downloaded the newer version on the campaign server if that helps :)

But apart from that it all seems very nice so far, I'm looking forward to more

Devrailis Colandore
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

ryleth wrote:I'm really enjoying the campaign so far, but I'm running into a fairly major problem in scenario 3 (could very well be that bug you mentioned earlier in the thread). Around turn 15 the princess is killed, (this is before I have even found her, excluding her escape cut-scene). So the scenario is failed as I failed to protect something I can't even protect. Oh and I have downloaded the newer version on the campaign server if that helps :)

But apart from that it all seems very nice so far, I'm looking forward to more
Thanks for pointing that out. I'll probably have to rebalance that part of the scenario or make it more consistent.

My intent was for people to spread out their units to cover as much ground as possible, but the outcome does feel a little bit random. Sometimes the Princess will run right for you, and you can pick her up turn 13/14, sometimes she gets stalled and you'll find her around turn 15 or so, I've had a few times where I wouldn't run into her until turn 17, only to find that she's already levelled up on her own. I was aiming to give her roughly 6 or 7 turns of survival, but there's no guarantee with the RNG, so I'll probably figure out a way to stretch that out a bit. Thanks again for the notice!

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Mathemagician
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Mathemagician »

Here, have some feedback!

I agree with the others, this is a well-done campaign. You've followed the recommended path (story-driven development), and it's paid off.

WML critique: you're doing well, keep it up! Indentation is pretty good, but inconsistent in places. You do a good job of using whitespace and comments, much better than alot of other campaigns.

Minor nitpick: There are times when you comment a little too much. This one, for example, contributes nothing:

Code: Select all

#Set Unit Aramelle Eluviss
[unit]
        descrition=Aramelle Eluviss
        user_description= _ "Aramelle Eluviss"
        .....
[/unit]
But if you're in doubt, it's better to comment it.

Also, first_time_only goes directly in the [event] tag, NOT the [filter] tag.

I personally don't like to put filters in my macros, as you've done with MODIFY_UNIT. Imagine you have a more complex filter, like "flip all allied spearmen on the middle island to side 2". Calling your macro like

Code: Select all

{MODIFY_UNIT (x=8,9,10
y=12,13
side=1
type=Spearman) side 2}
Doesn't look as nice as

Code: Select all

[event]
        [filter]
                x=8,9,10
                y=12,13
                side=1
                type=Spearman
        [/filter]

        {MODIFY_UNITS side 2}
[/event]
But don't let my criticism discourage you - it pales in comparison to what you've done right.
Formerly NeoPhile

Devrailis Colandore
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

Mathemagician wrote: Also, first_time_only goes directly in the [event] tag, NOT the [filter] tag.
Whoa, thanks so much for pointing that out! I was wondering why some of my events were refusing multiple triggers. I must have completely overlooked that! I'll go over the code and fix those errors.

Thanks for the critique on my coding overall. I know I go a bit overboard with the commenting, that's mostly because I'm a terrible coder, so the comments are for me to check up on what I've done and where. If I didn't comment or space things out, I'd be completely lost. :lol2:

Devrailis Colandore
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

I've released a new version of the Campaign. I've made a number of changes.

- Fixed numerous minor coding issues
- Fixed some minor dialogue errors.
- Fixed a possible bug scenario 3 that prevented Davilyn's Patrol from appearing. If there is an error here please let me know. (Davilyn and his patrol are supposed to appear and join your side when you meet them.)
- Gave the Princess a lot more wiggle room. She should have a much longer survival time now.
- Completed scenario 7 of 14. I should be able to complete scenario 8 within the week, but let me know how scenario 7 goes tell me if you run into any issues.

As always, suggestions and comments are welcome. Enjoy!

Exchelsia
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Exchelsia »

I have been playing your campaign, and I really like it! I'm somewhat stuck on the scenario "The Purge of E-somethingorother", because I'm not sure exactly what you're supposed to do. Are you supposed to defeat the enemy generals, or just wait around for something to happen?


Note: I'm only on turn 12, so only a few turns after the cavalry show up.

Devrailis Colandore
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Location: Canada

Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Devrailis Colandore »

Exchelsia wrote:I have been playing your campaign, and I really like it! I'm somewhat stuck on the scenario "The Purge of E-somethingorother", because I'm not sure exactly what you're supposed to do. Are you supposed to defeat the enemy generals, or just wait around for something to happen?


Note: I'm only on turn 12, so only a few turns after the cavalry show up.
I'm glad that you like it! I should definitely make the objectives more clear. You're not supposed to defeat the enemy generals. I haven't tried, but I don't believe it would be possible anyway, since they will start recruiting level 2 units a few turns in. This is a survival mission, so what I intended was for the player to defend the city and yes, basically wait for something to happen. If you're on turn 12 then you're already in the last half of the scenario, just follow the additional objectives that pop up and you should be fine.

Let me know what you think of the pacing. Is it too slow? I was worried that you wouldn't feel pressured to actually defend the city if the Royal units were too slow in advancing. Thanks!

Exchelsia
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Exchelsia »

Yeah, I was completely off balance, so I only had a few archers in place to slow the horsemen down a little. I wish that there was a way to work in the some of your previous troops, like that they joined you, because I kept every one of my guys alive and they were all at level 3, so it kind of sucked that I lost them all. Also, it seems like the rebels are significantly weaker than the Royals, because even though I outnumbered them two to one for a while on the riverside, they were still beating me, even though they were all in shallow water or swamp and I was in defensive positions.

Exchelsia
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Re: Campaign: Autumn Kingdoms - Prologue

Post by Exchelsia »

Oh, and I also noticed that all of the units were neutral, there was no lawful or chaotic. You obviously put that in on purpose, but I was wondering what the reason was? I can think of several, I was just wondering why you did it.

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