Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

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MoonyDragon
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Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Hello everyone,
I am glad to introduce the campaign "Palms amid Blue Dunes" to the wesnoth community! It has been a pet project of mine for quite a time, experiencing varying degrees of productivity and interest. And as with all projects, it is a most rewarding feeling to finally announce the release!!!

thread-image.jpg
Description
"Seeking access to spices, the dunefolk began building trading outposts on an island in the Sleepless Sea. But communications stopped and when news of a goblin attack arrived, the city-state of Serrul had to act. An expedition was sent, only to uncover that the unorganized goblins are just the tip of many factors...

(Intermediate Level, 12 scenarios.)"


Download
You can download this campaign from both the 1.14 and 1.15 add-on servers. It is fully playable on both versions!
The total size is about 18mb, of which 8mb are music, while another 8mb contain artwork of all kinds.

Gameplay
The setting of this campaign is tropical, complete with islands, jungles, caves, deserts and erupting volcanoes! The map design might differ from most wesnoth maps in style and terrain composition, such as large amounts of difficult terrain. Probably the most defining feature of this campaign is the addition of ships into wesnoth gameplay, which have the ability to transport other units. Another gimmick is that you play as the reworked 1.15.2 dunefolk faction. Over the course of the campaign, you fight against goblins, undead, trolls, orcs and hordes of user-made monsters.

Feedback
As always, feedback is a great help in improving content! I generally appreciate every kind from feedback, be it a bug report, an idea for a future patch or simply the statement that somebody liked my campaign! The following questions are merely suggestions of what you could write about:
- Was the gameplay balanced / fun ?
- What would you change to improve your experience?
- Do you like the current map designs?
- Is the story interesting enough to prevent you from pressing "escape"?
- Which parts of the WML could I improve?

Status
DEVELOPMENT HALTED FOR 1.14. Undergoing rework on 1.15.
Last edited by MoonyDragon on April 24th, 2020, 9:19 pm, edited 7 times in total.
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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Version 1.0.1 has been released!

While the icon is now shown when connecting through the wesnoth client, I see only a blank space on the add-on website. In case somebody wants to help, you can see a copy of the _server.pbl contents in the _main.cfg file (without passphrase and email of course).
Last edited by MoonyDragon on March 1st, 2020, 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Version 1.0.2 has been released!

This patch fixes some balance problems in the early scenarios. The gameplay experience has also been enhanced by giving certain allies (spoiler alert) their own side. All important issues seem to be addressed, so I expect 1.0.2 to become rather stable for some time. I recommend to update to the latest version as soon as possible.
Last edited by MoonyDragon on March 1st, 2020, 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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WoodenGoblin
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by WoodenGoblin »

I have just started the campaign but I have a bad habit of not finishing them so I'll just offer some early feedback for now. Playing on 1.14.9.
- Tropical themed maps and weather effects look really nice.
- It's impressive how AI can use boats, but why a dozen goblins can fit in a rowboat and I can only load one unit on a huge flagship? (Or at least if I can load more I don't know how)
- Turn limit in the prologue seems a bit too tight, even on the beginner difficulty I have only managed to reach the caravel on the last turn and goblins wasn't even attacking me.
- 40% gold carryover on second (talk-only) scenario looks kinda unprofessional. There is no way to get much money in the prologue anyway, so why not just set zero carryover in the first two scenarios?
- Skirmishers have 0% defense and no movement costs so they cannot move at all. Maybe because duneelusivefoot movetype does not exist in 1.14?

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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Versions 1.0.3 and 1.0.4 have been released!
WoodenGoblin wrote:
February 21st, 2020, 6:44 pm
I have just started the campaign but I have a bad habit of not finishing them so I'll just offer some early feedback for now. Playing on 1.14.9.
- Tropical themed maps and weather effects look really nice.
I'm happy to hear that the maps left a good visual impression! I am especially concerned about the first 3 maps, which are full of difficult terrain and water. To have any meaningful movement, the player is supposed to use ships.
WoodenGoblin wrote:
February 21st, 2020, 6:44 pm
- It's impressive how AI can use boats, but why a dozen goblins can fit in a rowboat and I can only load one unit on a huge flagship? (Or at least if I can load more I don't know how)
The ships can carry up to 6 units (from every adjacent hex), but you can only load/unload all of them at once. Thus, if you have a ship with one unit and you want to enter with another, you first need to leave the ship with the unit already in there.
WoodenGoblin wrote:
February 21st, 2020, 6:44 pm
- Turn limit in the prologue seems a bit too tight, even on the beginner difficulty I have only managed to reach the caravel on the last turn and goblins wasn't even attacking me.
It's easy to be biased towards one's own creation, and I think I messed up greatly with the prologue level design. I have reworked the prologue to feature more than one playable unit. I also changed the ending to include a little tutorial on how to enter and leave a ship.
WoodenGoblin wrote:
February 21st, 2020, 6:44 pm
- 40% gold carryover on second (talk-only) scenario looks kinda unprofessional. There is no way to get much money in the prologue anyway, so why not just set zero carryover in the first two scenarios?
- Skirmishers have 0% defense and no movement costs so they cannot move at all. Maybe because duneelusivefoot movetype does not exist in 1.14?
Again, thanks for your feedback! I removed the carryover bonus from dialogue-only scenarios and have fixed the issue with the missing skirmisher movetype.
Last edited by MoonyDragon on March 1st, 2020, 10:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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shevegen
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by shevegen »

I have played this but I stopped at the dungeon level where there are lots of critters.

I do not want to be too negative; but I will also not wing it and praise things that do not
work very well.

Instead, let me state that I think the campaign has potential. Evidently the thread here
is very young, so I keep this in mind.

Before I refer to the points that, well ... sucked (sorry), I will mention what I LIKED.

- First, I think focusing on SHIPS, is a GOOD idea. You added some new vessel
types which I think is nice; makes me want to explore how good every ship type is.

I especially like the small faster vessels shooting 8 times. These are fun. I even
put them in the dungeon level as defence against the bugs. :P

- I like the dune folks in general. In fact my two favourite campaigns, the one
with the djinni, and the other one with the dwarf hero who can ride a bear
later on, have to do with dune folks or more like arabian night style campaigns.

- Freeing sea folk is nice; gives some strategic planning to do on the map e. g.
where to send units, to unlock that level 3 naga thingy.

ALRIGHT!

Now the thinks that suck.

1) This is not your fault, but the raining effect slows down the whole game.

This has happened in other add-on campaigns too, so in the long run it
would be nice if this could be fixed; in the short run, it would be nice if
we, as players, could disable this. The effect is fine, but the lag makes
playing this ... really difficult.

2) Some scenarios are INSANELY difficult. There are like 10 goblin leaders
or so, and we have 32 turns to kill them all, while navigating through
water and enemy vessels come in, then units jump out and attack too.

I think this needs to change a bit.

First, I would recommend to reduce the number of enemy leaders, but
if you want them to have more units, add more recruit-tiles. That way we
can focus on, say, 4-5 target spots on the map, rather than like 10 or so.

This problem happens in later scenarios too by the way, in particular
that cave map. How many enemy leaders are there? 20? 50? 100?

I feel this creates a really annoying scenario where the enemy literally
recruits ALL THE TIME, and my units can not kill them all quickly
enough before new ones go in.

But some other problems are with the shipping style ...

The ship can attack, then the units can jump out, and attack too.
Hmmmmmmmmmm. Feels unfair in general.

Also if a ship is destroyed, the cargo is placed on the map. This
did cost me some units, because I would kill a ship, then the enemy
goblins would kill my injured units. That is unfair.

I have no good solution for this but perhaps if the ship is destroyed,
the units in that ship also take damage. Does not have to insta-kill them
but I mean ... they lose their ship, and continue fighting without a problem?
Perhaps add a slow effect to them for that turn or something like that.

The scenario with the treants/ents was fun; lots of treants appear, but
similar problem as before. You seem to love having like 10 enemy
leaders that can recruit units. ;)

Anyway, the scenarios were managed, but I just played that cave
scenario and that one REALLY pissed me off.

First here ... we have dune people ... we have SHIPS ... and
then we enter a cave? A cave with like 20 enemy leader heroes
that recruit non-stop bugs? Some bugs which are mega-fast,
have slow effect, lightning wha not? Are these dragons???

Also cave movement is annoying to no ends.

The only fun part was that I could place ships. :P

Part of the problem here is in particular the poison. Without
poising this would be simpler. The herbalist is annoying,
and nobody can cure poison, so we have to use these
anthills, where ants pop out and aggregate too. This was
very unfun, in particular that scenario.

I would suggest to rework that cave scenario in particular.

I don't even know where to go, a gazillion bugs appear
and it's so strange to have a ship style campaign where we
then end up in a dungeon anyway. It may be better to
cut down on that dungeon scenario, make it easier, more
straightforward (I have no idea where to move), cut
down on the enemy heros (and if you must, add more
recruitment tiles), and make movement in the cave simpler.
And perhaps add another scenario where we can test the
vessels.

IMO the vessel idea is by far your best idea here. I would
focus on that. Perhaps also add some really large ship,
some galeere or so (you know that big row-like thing
that was used by the romans and stuff... just something
with a lot of hp too, and transport a lot of stuff).

Also by the way, hero units should be able to move
into a ship too. It is annoying that they currently can not.

Another idea might be to add some merchant ships or so
that could generate/yield a bit of money; or perhaps when
they claim a new village, these ships could add some
gold for establishing a trade route. Just for a bit more
gold or so.

I think the campaign has potential - but right now it could
need a lot more re-balancing efforts. Hope that feedback
is somewhat useful, it is at least honest feedback.

PS: Would be nice if the hero-units could also get a few
special abilities. Should not be too overpowered but
fun. By the way, missing better cures against poison is quite
crippling. Perhaps the main healer hero could get that
at some rank 2 or 3? Just like the healer for elves.

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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Version 1.0.5 has been released!

This is a rather small unit and code cleanup. But in the next updates, I will take on some of the larger problems concerning balance and gameplay experience.
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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

shevegen wrote:
February 28th, 2020, 3:12 am
...

I thank you for providing such extensive feedback! I appreciate it that your criticism touched both up- and downsides and you recognized that this campaign is still in its early, unpolished stage. I have to admit that so far, my tests consisted of mainly debugs rather than actual playtesting.
In the near future and next patches, I am going to balance intensively ^^

I am sorry for the current unsatisfactory gameplay experience. Publishing WIP campaigns without some sort of warning is as insensitive on my side me as it is unfun for the tester. The rather obscene amount of enemy leaders and units is a design problem which I will try to reduce in the future.
Resulting problems such as inability to cure poison ought to be solved on the part of the enemy units and scenario balance, rather than giving a leader the cure ability. The hero units already have some special abilities, which I want to keep in limits.

The inability of leaders to board ships is because messages are not displayed when the speaker is in a ship...
Perhaps the transport mechanic has some deficiencies aswell, which you describe as being able to enter and leave without penalty. This was an attempt to make this mechanic seem more smooth and thus fit into traditional wesnoth gameplay. I will consider changing it if other players voice similar concerns.

The cave scenario is indeed in need of a terrain rework, but it has its place in the story. While ships and water movement is a large part of the campaign, they are not the exclusive theme. But I will consider adding another naval scenario.

If the weather effects cause lags, you can disable them in 'Menu' > 'Preferences' > 'Display' > 'Animate map [x]'

Again, thank you for taking the time to state your opinions and ideas for improvement!
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WoodenGoblin
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Joined: May 23rd, 2018, 8:10 pm

Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by WoodenGoblin »

MoonyDragon wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 12:43 am
The inability of leaders to board ships is because messages are not displayed when the speaker is in a ship...
Can't you just display message from the narrator in this case? Something like this:

Code: Select all

[if]
	[have_unit]
		id=leader
	[/have_unit]
	[then]
		[message]
			id=leader
			message= _ "Message text"
		[/message]
	[/then]
	[else]
		[message]
			speaker=narrator
			caption= _ "Leader's name"
			image="portraits/leader.png"
			message= _ "Message text"
		[/message]
	[/else]
[/if]

Otdoy
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by Otdoy »

Hi there! Just finished this epic campaign. Long Dunefolk campaigns, so much fun, much like Return from the Abyss!

Sorry but I'm not good with specific comments. I will say this : the @!#$%@#$&% armored centipedes that are skirmishers AND marksmen are way too overpowered. And wait a minute, in the final scenario were they able to move and attack in the same turn they were created?? I couldn't deal with it any more - whenever I saw them it would be debug -> kill unit -> nodebug. It was still a hard scenario to beat. Those pirate ships were terrifying! haha

Other than that it was great fun. Love the naval action, the storyline, the great variety of units. Thanks for all the hard work!

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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

WoodenGoblin wrote:
March 3rd, 2020, 5:38 pm
MoonyDragon wrote:
March 2nd, 2020, 12:43 am
The inability of leaders to board ships is because messages are not displayed when the speaker is in a ship...
Can't you just display message from the narrator in this case? Something like this:

Code: Select all

[if]
	[have_unit]
		id=leader
	[/have_unit]
	[then]
		[message]
			id=leader
			message= _ "Message text"
		[/message]
	[/then]
	[else]
		[message]
			speaker=narrator
			caption= _ "Leader's name"
			image="portraits/leader.png"
			message= _ "Message text"
		[/message]
	[/else]
[/if]
I appreciate your help! However, I am currently working on the larger problems of my campaign such as gameplay and balance. As most units leave their ship on the same turn they entered it, this bug shouldn't be too glaring. Nonetheless, I will consider using your solution in the future!
Otdoy wrote:
March 5th, 2020, 7:06 pm
Hi there! Just finished this epic campaign. Long Dunefolk campaigns, so much fun, much like Return from the Abyss!

Sorry but I'm not good with specific comments. I will say this : the @!#$%@#$&% armored centipedes that are skirmishers AND marksmen are way too overpowered. And wait a minute, in the final scenario were they able to move and attack in the same turn they were created?? I couldn't deal with it any more - whenever I saw them it would be debug -> kill unit -> nodebug. It was still a hard scenario to beat. Those pirate ships were terrifying! haha

Other than that it was great fun. Love the naval action, the storyline, the great variety of units. Thanks for all the hard work!
Thank you for playing through the entire campaign, even it its current imbalanced state... Nonetheless, I am happy to hear that you liked the story and the general theme of it all! I am currently rebalancing the entire campaign and guarantee you that a lot of monsters will be nerfed in the next version.
Concerning the pirate ships, I consider adding another naval scenario right before the trade outpost siege where the dunefolk fleet breaks the undead blockade.
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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

Version 1.1.0 has been released!

This update aims at balancing the first six scenarios and enhancing the gameplay experience. Among other things, I reworked 05 and 06 to include navigable waters and have nerfed some monsters. Because only the first six scenarios are properly balanced, I included a warning which notifies the player that the next scenarios are still being worked on. In future 1.1.x patches, I expect to further playtest and improve the gameplay of the later scenarios. And afterwards, I will work on the storyline of 06-10, perhaps inserting another naval battle along the way ^^
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It's just us who are colorblind.

klein_atuin
Posts: 24
Joined: March 28th, 2009, 1:42 pm

Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by klein_atuin »

Hi there,

first: nice campaign so far. just found it and tried on normal difficulty. sometimes it tends to look hopeless but is not really, so the first scenarios feel nicely balanced now. those ship supported island battles are interesting.

but then i was lead into a feral jungle. lead - until the guide lost his way. he suddenly turned back and since then wildly runs around in small circles, killing goblins.

maybe i missed some trigger? but it really doesn't look like T. had reached the destination already.

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MoonyDragon
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Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by MoonyDragon »

klein_atuin wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 9:59 am
Hi there,

first: nice campaign so far. just found it and tried on normal difficulty. sometimes it tends to look hopeless but is not really, so the first scenarios feel nicely balanced now. those ship supported island battles are interesting.

but then i was lead into a feral jungle. lead - until the guide lost his way. he suddenly turned back and since then wildly runs around in small circles, killing goblins.

maybe i missed some trigger? but it really doesn't look like T. had reached the destination already.
Hi,
I'm happy to hear that you found it balanced and interesting to play. I am aware that Tromdombrom may take excursions and hunt for goblins, but him running in small circles has never occurred to me. But this bug should not be gamebreaking, since you do not require him to fulfill any of the scenario's end goals:
Spoiler:
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klein_atuin
Posts: 24
Joined: March 28th, 2009, 1:42 pm

Re: Palms amid Blue Dunes [Dunefolk Campaign]

Post by klein_atuin »

ah, thx for the hint, i presumed his presence at the aimpoint would be necessary. i'm gonna do some exploration on my own then.

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