Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

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solsword
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Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 20th, 2009, 8:57 am

I'm getting started with a new campaign, and now that the first scenario is mostly done, I'm posting it to the campaign server. The campaign is called "The Knights of the Silver Spire" and aims to tell the story of the Knights of the Silver Spire and the Crimson Duke, as hinted at in the description of the Mermaid Diviner:
The power thus given to these ladies of the water is a recurring motif in tale and song; such as the that of the knights of the silver spire, cornered and slain to a man at the banks of the Alavynne, but who rode again the next day, in full number, and wrought the downfall of the crimson duke.
It also explains a little bit about how the Silver Mages can teleport between villages, although that part can be altered if people are uncomfortable with my thoughts on such a main-line matter (and how my explanation implies things about the world of Wesnoth). In any case, only the very first scenario is playable, and it's about 90% done. The dialogue still needs some polishing, and I want to add at least one more event, but the basics are there, and so it's at least ready to be commented upon.

One thing that isn't done is balance: I haven't playtested it for balance, and ultimately I'll need input from others on balance as well.

Although only a bit is done, I'd be glad of any feedback that I can get. The campaign is designed for 1.5 (I'm running it on 1.5.7), so many people may not be able to run it, but doing the things that I want requires some 1.5 features (and even some 1.5.8 bugfixes for smooth operation (some of which I requested :) )). I'd especially like to hear comments on my pictures for the opening exposition: I'm not much of a drawer (although I may wind up trying my hand at some portrait art or story scenes), but I'm a decent photographer, and I think that the pictures I use achieve a pretty good effect.

The campaign should be on the campaign server, but if my internet performs too poorly, I'll need to upload it tomorrow.
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by lu_zero » January 21st, 2009, 12:07 am

I cannot progress to the second scenario... the spelling is wrong apparently...

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by Turuk » January 21st, 2009, 12:29 am

Something tells me this....
solsword wrote:I'm getting started with a new campaign, and now that the first scenario is mostly done, I'm posting it to the campaign server.
....might explain this....
lu_zero wrote:I cannot progress to the second scenario... the spelling is wrong apparently...
;)
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 21st, 2009, 2:42 am

Indeed :)

The game throws an error upon trying to load the second scenario because there is no second scenario. I guess I should have been more explicit about that. I considered letting it go to the "The End" screen after the first scenario, but that might leave some people thinking that it's a one-scenario campaign. I guess I'll add a short message to the ending dialogue explaining this... We'll see whether I can upload another version tonight.

I'm still glad that it's getting played. What are your thoughts so far, lu_zero?
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~pmawhorter - my website.

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by Turuk » January 21st, 2009, 3:57 am

Scenario 1
-Very good writing, a good story introduction.
-Merchant blinks out on defense, and his attack animation is very fast.
-Not too badly balanced. 8/20 turns on Normal, though most of that is moving/killing on the way to the bandit leader. A good starting scenario.


Will the player be keeping the same heroes throughout the game? The only reason I ask is because high level main characters do tend to make it easier as they are excellent support for the main effort, and can help lower level units gather exp faster. I see the reasoning behind the silver mage, but perhaps the paladin could be a horseman or a knight?
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 21st, 2009, 4:40 am

Thanks for the feedback. These is exactly the kind of things that I need to know. (Also thanks for the positive feedback :))
Turuk wrote:-Merchant blinks out on defense, and his attack animation is very fast.
Merchant doesn't have attack or defend animations yet... Those should be done within the next few days (I hope).
solsword wrote:Will the player be keeping the same heroes throughout the game? The only reason I ask is because high level main characters do tend to make it easier as they are excellent support for the main effort, and can help lower level units gather exp faster. I see the reasoning behind the silver mage, but perhaps the paladin could be a horseman or a knight?
Hmmm... I had planned for these characters to be present throughout most of the campaign; additionally I was going to make the campaign a little more RPG-ish than normal Wesnoth: there will be large battles, but a significant number of scenarios will take place with only a limited number of units available, and or fairly limited gold. This creates several problems... beyond what you bring up, there is also the problem of losing units: If you're supposed to use a core of high level units throughout the campaign, then losing a single unit can make the campaign quite difficult, plus, you might not realize this 'till later.

For now I think that I will make Karen into a knight... it fits just as well and gives her room to level up, which I think is good.

I am planning on introducing several silver-spire-related units, but of course we'll see how much time I have/how long I want to take. I want to introduce a level 4 version of the silver mage, new level 2 and level 3 mages that are silver spire specific and astronomy/astrology themed, and perhaps knight and paladin varaints (maybe just a paladin variant) called "Knight of the Silver Spire". Of course, that's a lot of sprites to make, so some/all of those plans may take a while or even be derailed. But that was a tangent :) . Ultimately I'll have to think long and hard about how to pull of the story and how much recruiting will get done in this campaign. I'll also have to work hard to balance the "party of heroes" mechanics at different difficulty levels, while still keeping things enjoyable (i.e. not forcing the player to save/load every turn because when they loose a unit, they die (which incidentally, probably means revising the hard difficulty for the first scenario :wink: )).

One other thing that I forgot to mention: Karen is supposed to be female, I'll try to get/make some female knight/paladin sprites and/or portraits at some point as the campaign develops.
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~pmawhorter - my website.

Teamcolors for everyone! PM me for a teamcolored version of your sprite, or you can do it yourself. If you just happen to like magenta, no hard feelings?

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by Turuk » January 21st, 2009, 4:53 am

solsword wrote:Merchant doesn't have attack or defend animations yet... Those should be done within the next few days (I hope).
Fair enough, I figured as much but though I would note it.
solsword wrote:Hmmm... I had planned for these characters to be present throughout most of the campaign; additionally I was going to make the campaign a little more RPG-ish than normal Wesnoth: there will be large battles, but a significant number of scenarios will take place with only a limited number of units available, and or fairly limited gold. This creates several problems... beyond what you bring up, there is also the problem of losing units: If you're supposed to use a core of high level units throughout the campaign, then losing a single unit can make the campaign quite difficult, plus, you might not realize this 'till later.
Eh, as you mention later in your post, the idea of a limited number of units is fine to make it more RPG like, but then you run the problem of the player not being able to lose a single unit. One way around this is to give the player the 3 hero characters, but then say a force of six guards for one mission, four for another, based on how many Silver Spire soldiers were available to support them. (if you need a reason to explain the limit on recruits. ;) )
solsword wrote:For now I think that I will make Karen into a knight... it fits just as well and gives her room to level up, which I think is good.
Certainly has my vote for a good idea, and gives the player a bit more leeway in using the character to profitably gain experience.

solsword wrote:I am planning on introducing several silver-spire-related units, but of course we'll see how much time I have/how long I want to take. I want to introduce a level 4 version of the silver mage, new level 2 and level 3 mages that are silver spire specific and astronomy/astrology themed, and perhaps knight and paladin varaints (maybe just a paladin variant) called "Knight of the Silver Spire". Of course, that's a lot of sprites to make, so some/all of those plans may take a while or even be derailed. But that was a tangent . Ultimately I'll have to think long and hard about how to pull of the story and how much recruiting will get done in this campaign. I'll also have to work hard to balance the "party of heroes" mechanics at different difficulty levels, while still keeping things enjoyable (i.e. not forcing the player to save/load every turn because when they loose a unit, they die (which incidentally, probably means revising the hard difficulty for the first scenario )).
I would say stick to writing out what you have first, and then worry about providing the specific sprites. Not that you cannot work on both at the same time, but getting the right sprite just how you would like it for a certain unit may frustrate and dissuade you from wanting to work on the campaign. ;) As mentioned above, having these variants is a fine idea, but make it so that the player has to level into them, rather then the characters just already be max level. Also, you could have some characters in the campaign that are not crucial (like my previously mentioned idea of guards.) Units that are around for just one scenario, and the player has the knowledge that they may or may not be carried over, so can use them accordingly.

solsword wrote:One other thing that I forgot to mention: Karen is supposed to be female, I'll try to get/make some female knight/paladin sprites and/or portraits at some point as the campaign develops.
I figured as much given the name, and so I just ignored the male sprite for now. That, or hey, maybe this guy's parents really wanted a girl.
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by turin » January 22nd, 2009, 4:39 am

A tip: When publishing a campaign in an unfinished state, it's better to include a dummy scenario in place of the one you haven't written yet, rather than just giving the player a "next scenario not found" message. Why? So that they can get a saved game for the next scenario, and thus will be able to just load it when you publish it, rather than having to play through the previous scenario again. ;)
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 22nd, 2009, 10:09 am

A tip: When publishing a campaign in an unfinished state, it's better to include a dummy scenario...
Hmmm... should have thought of that. At least they'll be able to load their last autosave if they keep autosaves.

In any case, I just uploaded a new version of the campaign. It's still just the first scenario, but I've gone through and cleaned up all of the dialogue (what's there now is finished, barring suggestions here or some other unforeseen event). I've also re-balanced it (I'd be glad of any comments on balance) and added some new dialogue since the last version (It's a bit dialogue-heavy, I think, but I'm trying to give my characters some depth and draw the outlines of the beginning of the plot, so I think that's ok. I would like feedback on this point though). Finally, I added a single-frame defense animation for the Merchant. After seeing how it looks, I've decided that I'll probably need to add an intermediate frame for that, and I'll want at least two frames for the attack. I have 5 frames of dying planned, but I'm not sure about that exactly. We'll see where I end up with that stuff.

I consider this version of the first scenario to be pretty polished, and I'm hoping that it will make people want to play the rest of the campaign (which will obviously take a while :wink: ).

So... I welcome any and all feedback, positive and negative, about what's there so far. As I said, it's pretty much a finished product (the one big "except" here is that I haven't made the journey map yet... the journey map will serve to explain the geography of the region so that the events (like seeing Aethenport and then going to Wymyl on the way) make sense), so critique it as such.
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~pmawhorter - my website.

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by TrashMan » January 22nd, 2009, 2:40 pm

I have a question? Why is this campaign 14 Mb in size? It's only got 2 working scenarios (reason why I haven't downloaded it yet) and I believe you said almost no custom units yet.
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by Turuk » January 22nd, 2009, 3:01 pm

Solsword is using real photographs to complement the story parts before scenarios (which works nicely so far), but the downside is that the images are MBs in size. This is why the file is 14.6MB so early on in the project.
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by turin » January 22nd, 2009, 5:34 pm

Turuk wrote:Solsword is using real photographs to complement the story parts before scenarios (which works nicely so far), but the downside is that the images are MBs in size. This is why the file is 14.6MB so early on in the project.
:hmm: You might want to compress those or decrease their resolution or something. 14.6MB for one scenario is a tad excessive.
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 22nd, 2009, 8:35 pm

Problem solved. I had thought that you could only use .pngs in Wesnoth, but apparently .jpgs are fine as well (at least for story art). Total image size was ~15 MB, is now ~660 KB :twisted: . The .jpgs are 1200x900 so that they still look good (i.e. compression artifacts aren't very noticeable) at 1024x768.
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

http://www.cs.hmc.edu/~pmawhorter - my website.

Teamcolors for everyone! PM me for a teamcolored version of your sprite, or you can do it yourself. If you just happen to like magenta, no hard feelings?

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by lu_zero » January 22nd, 2009, 9:42 pm

solsword wrote:Indeed :)
... Looks like I couldn't read correctly what is in the campaign description (it says something about ~1/~8 scenarios and I expected 8 ready)
I'm still glad that it's getting played. What are your thoughts so far, lu_zero?
It is good so far, pity the merchant is really hard to save ^^;

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by TheJM » January 22nd, 2009, 9:50 pm

hmm, I'll have to download this now that it's not so big *hugs his precious bandwidth*. ;)

Sounds interesting, (and good, it's 1.5!). :)

Edit: (once you upload the smaller version, that is.)

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