Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

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solsword
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 22nd, 2009, 11:04 pm

Alright, the (much) smaller version is up.

The new version also includes a very primitive version of the journey map, which shows the basic layout of the region, but doesn't have things like forests, hills, good-looking villages, elevation, etc. If anyone has consistency feedback on this map, I'd welcome it, but just keep in mind that it's graphically far from finished.
The Knights of the Silver Spire campaign.

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TheJM
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by TheJM » January 22nd, 2009, 11:53 pm

Very nice start, I can't wait to see where this goes.

One question, is the merchant supposed to die so easily? I feel sorry for the poor guy, he died before I could even get to him. Other than that, I didn't really have any problems. Looking forward to the next scenario.

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by docrock » January 27th, 2009, 12:13 pm

well done for an introductory scenario, nice dialogues also. agree on the merchant, he really does die pretty quickly, but i guess this is intended as well as the low difficulty of the first scenario.
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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 31st, 2009, 9:31 pm

Alright... It's been a while since I updated this, but I've been hard at work on the second scenario. I haven't finished the merchant animations yet, but whenever I'm next in the mood for doing some sprites, I should get around to that. As for people saddened by the extremely short lifespan of Victor. I tweaked things a little to try to make him live longer, with mixed success. I just added another round of tweaks... we'll see how things go. I haven't playtested the tweaked version enough to make sure that he'll survive, but it's now less likely that he dies on the first turn. I have noticed that he seems oddly bloodthirsty for a unit with very poor attacks under an AI with high caution, grouping=defensive, etc. Maybe I'll add some forced goto commands depending on his health or something to try to make him less likely to rush out in front and die. It might also be the village that's a problem, I'll experiment with that.

In the mean time, I've gotten many of the basics of the second scenario done. It's missing most of the dialogue, and extremely rough around the edges, so I'm hesitant to release it until it's more polished. However, if someone would be willing to do some playtesting, I'd be happy to upload the rough version for those purposes. In terms of playtesting, I'm interested in one particular aspect of the campaign:

SPOILERS FOLLOW













During this mission, the Duke Chesterford must die. This is for plot reasons that will be clear over the next few missions. Of course, this conflicts with letting the player have control, and is a bad bit of deus ex machina. So there are good reasons that this scenario should just happen as a background plot event. However, by letting the player experience this scenario, I hope to achieve four things. First, I want to introduce them to Lenara, one of the heroines of the plot. Second, I want to introduce them to the shadowy figure (in this case, the naga that hangs back, which will eventually have a shadowy overlay when I get around to that). Third, I want to give the player a chance to get some experienced merfolk units that they can later recall. And finally, I want to make the death of Duke Chesterford seem more personal and real than just a few sentences in a [story] tag somewhere.

What I want to know is:
1. Does the scenario achieve any/all of the four objectives I have for it. Keep in mind that the dialogue is yet to come, so the question really is "Could the scenario, given the right dialgoue, achieve these objectives?"
2. How reasonable is it to save the Duke? At some level the ambush is a trap event, and thus bad: if you know it's coming, you can play differently to plan for it, and so your play styles the first and second time through are very different. If you know where the ambush takes place, you can pack that area with your units, effectively foiling it. I haven't yet but will implement deus ex machinations that kill the Duke outright even if you try your best to save him (i.e. even if he's at full health by the end of the scenario), but I'd rather he die a somewhat "natural" death. I'll try to make clear in the dialogue that you're not meant to save him.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated. Again, I'm only going to post the rough version if someone is willing to playtest it: I don't want people browsing for campaigns, downloading the mess that it's in now, and thinking "Wow, that's a crappy campaign".
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 TheJM » January 31st, 2009, 10:23 pm

I'll give it a shot. :) Sounds like an interesting concept. In essence, we have to try to protect someone who has to get killed? :lol2:

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » January 31st, 2009, 11:36 pm

Alright, thanks for your willingness to help. I've uploaded the new version including the rough draft of scenario 2. Just to clarify: the scenario is supposed to feel like a battle in which an allied commander gets killed due to a trap set by the enemy, not a scenario where someone that you're trying to protect gets killed despite your best efforts. But please, play it and tell me how it strikes you. Just keep in mind that the dialogue has a long way to go (most of it isn't even there yet).
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 TheJM » February 1st, 2009, 12:26 am

'k, gotcha.

I have to replay the first scenario quick, and then I'll get to the next one. :)

Edit: Ok, thoughts. I played through on easy (I'll probably go back and play on normal, maybe tomorrow).

First of all, I like how it's set up. The nagas are tough, but I wasn't totally overwhelmed at any point in time. Got a initiate to level 2 and a level 2 fighter (whatever they're called..). My ally helped a little bit where it could. (btw, suicidal knights are funny to watch.. :lol2: ) I had totally destroyed the naga fleet by turn 13, right before it ended, and this was on easy, so I'd say it was about right.

The only time I was a little confused was when the Duke suddenly decided it was time for him to leave. I'm assuming that there's going to be some dialog when he starts going toward the water? ;)

If I may comment on the map, the top right corner looks a little.. interesting? :P Is there any particular reason for the chasm around the land there? It looks a little odd.

Ok, enough critiques. It was an enjoyable scenario to play overall, fairly average as far as difficulty goes. :)

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » February 1st, 2009, 3:25 am

Good to hear that there's at least a semblance of balance at this point, although I intend to balance things more thoroughly later...

If by "decided it was time for him to leave" you meant "moved, when it was not his turn, into the water and then got surrounded by nagas", you *should* have seen some placeholder dialogue boxes at that point, with a short description of what the dialogue should be like. The fact that he wanders a little south of the battle before then is supposed to seem like simply a tactical decision, but I can adjust that.

Also, I should have mentioned the chasms. They will eventually turn into cliffs (If I get around to that) or be removed. They're chasms now because the cliffs will operate exactly like chasms in terms of game mechanics.
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 TheJM » February 2nd, 2009, 2:01 am

no, I got that part. It didn't really look like a wander south when her started south, to put it bluntly. It looked more like he was on a mission. :P I think it could be remedied by some dialog, maybe one of the mermen giving a warning, and the Duke acting all weird, or something.

It was a convincing kill though (or, will be, once you add the dialog.. xD), it really looked like he was under a spell or whatever.

And ah, gotcha about the chasms. :)

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » February 8th, 2009, 1:20 am

Alright... a new version is up. The basic outline of the scenario is the same, but a few things have changed a bit. It is now mostly finished, but needs some playtesting, polishing, and balancing. In some ways it's probably not a very satisfying scenario for the player, and it shouldn't last very long, but I think that the effect in terms of plot and player involvement is worth it. I'm interested in hearing several things from anyone willing to playtest it:

1. How does the dialogue and plot flow? Does is seem reasonably natural. If there are any specific lines or events that seem forced or out-of-place, *please* tell me. I'm pretty sure that the dialogue as-is will need at least some revision, but I need other people to help me figure out where/how. I welcome your nit-picky comments like "You should use 'hast' instead of 'have' there."

2. Is it broken? At more than 2000 lines of WML, not counting the 13 supporting macro files, the scenario is pretty complicated. There are several scripted events with complex dependencies, and it's entirely likely that some combination of things doesn't work. I've done some playtesting and tried to make sure that all of the major event orderings work, but if you break the scenario, I'd like to hear about it so that I can fix it, even if it's something crazy using debug mode that you don't think could actually be done normally.

3. Does it cause Wesnoth to crash for you? I'm running Wesnoth 1.5.9+svn, and sometimes when one of Duke Chesterford's lieutenants dies (Merrysworth, Glannisfield, or Kenning) the game segfaults (crashes with an error message about SIGSEGV, a segmentation violation, or something similar, depending on your platform). I've submitted a bug report, but I haven't been able to get a good lock on the bug, so until I put a lot more effort in to finding it, it's unlikely to be solved. However, I'm very curious as to whether other people experience the same behavior. To test this, try giving one of your units extra moves on turn 1 (:debug, then :unit moves=20), moving it next to one of the three Knights, and killing the Knight (I use :unit hitpoints=0 and then :unit side=2 on the Knight, then attack with the unit I moved). If killing one of them doesn't cause the error, try killing all three... (you can give your unit even more movement with :unit moves=20 again, and more attacks with :unit attacks_left=1 (or any number :)).

Any other comments on the scenario are appreciated. Note that it still doesn't have the custom cliff textures that I'll eventually make, so the north part of the map has some stand-in chasms that look odd. Also, the silver spire will eventually get custom terrain and item art so that it's not just a lighthouse sitting on some grassy road.

Thanks for the help with this campaign so far...
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 TheJM » February 9th, 2009, 2:38 am

I just replayed through this on medium.

First of all, the polishing has helped a lot. It rather helps to know what's happening. xD

The duke dying was very believable, I notice you have him say that reinforcements are coming before he heads toward the battle. It makes sense. Also, the ghost of his wife part was totally awesome. :)

The tweaking has actually made it fairly easy, although it doesn't look easy to begin with. As soon as the duke dies (which happened the turn he stepped in the water), all the nagas beat a hasty retreat. I realize that it makes more sense story-wise to do this, but it does make it really easy, as the nagas choose to run away as opposed to the closest ones staying to fight a little longer. I've not sure if you can do anything about this, or if you even want to. Just a thought. I understand if you want to make this a fairly easy scenario and stick to the story.

It's definitely a unique scenario, and I did enjoy playing it. (I'll also note that one of the lieutenants died, and it didn't crash. I'll see if I can get it to crash by abusing debug a little bit. :P )

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » February 9th, 2009, 2:59 am

Thanks for the feedback. Good to know that it's coherent, after all the time I've been spending on it these last few days :)

I did some hard thinking about whether to make it actually difficult, but I think that I'm fine with this being a throw-away scenario in terms of difficulty. The only asset that you'll be getting from it is more experienced units later on, so the real difficulty is getting some units to level up/get some experience without getting them killed... If you're good, I think you might be able to get 2 or 3 level-2 units out of the scenario alive on medium difficulty. That said, I haven't even attempted to balance easy or hard yet, but that can come later. Basically, like you said, it's fine if this scenario isn't actually difficult, since it's more there for plot reasons, and because you won't be carrying out huge piles of cash or absurdly leveled units, this mission being easy to win doesn't make the rest of the campaign too easy.

It's good that other people aren't experiencing the crash... I want people to be able to play my campaign :). Looks like I can move on to developing scenario 3 for now without worrying *too* much about 2, beyond knowing that it needs some balance tweaks, art (eventually) and maybe a bit more polish.

It's really great to have feedback on this, so thanks a bunch, TheJM. I'll get to work on the next scenario now.
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 solsword » February 13th, 2009, 7:58 am

A new version is out that includes scenario 3 (an all-story scenario) in just text form (bits of that are going to become in-game cutscenes; also, the text is still incomplete) and a reasonably complete version of scenario 4 (things like the story are missing...). I'm not looking for any particular feedback right now, but if you have some I'm always glad to hear it. I'll probably try to finish the story and cutscenes for 3 and the story for 4 before moving on to scenario 5. Also note that this update breaks saved games. I had to mess around with scenario 1 in order to properly merge forces in scenario 4, so you'll need to re-play the campaign from the beginning to get to scenario 4 without things breaking.
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 TheJM » February 13th, 2009, 5:27 pm

Hmm, I redownloaded and it's not showing any changes.. Are you sure you uploaded the latest version?

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Re: Campaign: The Knights of the Silver Spire

Post by solsword » February 13th, 2009, 5:42 pm

Sorry... I left it to work overnight but something went wrong. I should have held off my post until I was sure that the upload had gone through. There should now be an update on the server, version 0.1.3 (previously version 0.1).
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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