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Topics - peewee_RotA

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General Discussion / Knights of Andrew map 2
« on: February 20, 2017, 08:43:04 AM »
There's a lot of strange architecture in this one with a lot of doors that lead to the same places as other doors. Was there a different design that got reverted for this one?

I've seen a couple spots where it seems like a couple sectors got moved up instead of down by mistake in other levels. Are the walkways in the room next to the tomb supposed to be stairs?

Editing A&A / Community Mapping Repository
« on: January 14, 2017, 11:48:35 AM »
Greeting folks!

One of the great challenges for making community maps is making sure that our quest numbers and map numbers do not conflict. So far we've just discussed this in the forums, but now we can kill 2 birds with one fireball spell. There's now a Github repository for mapping.

All of my existing quest sources (including script sources) have been added. Quest 10 map 5 is being developed on a specific branch.

How to contribute?

Use your favorite Git client (I really like Source Tree) to clone the repo. Create a local branch. When you are done, submit a pull request and you're map is on the list!

I think that this will really help people get started in making maps, and as we go on there can be more tools to support development.

General Discussion / Action RPGs
« on: December 06, 2016, 12:25:50 PM »
The reason I found AA originally was searching for Action RPGs. I've always had a healthy obsession with games like Zelda 2, Secret of Mana/Evermore, and Willow (NES). So finding AA was a natural progression. So the topic of Action RPGs and what they mean in the Indy world of action RPGs today has me thinking.

There's a few data points that I draw from with a lot of the following examples. So if you want to check them out, it's a good exercise for A&A's era of RPGs and how there were being interpreted into first person shooters.

The main topics will be Hexen, the Wrath of Cronos mod for Hexen, Amulets and Armor, Hexen II, and a Hexen II mod of my own called Game of Tomes.

So the topic starts on Hexen and how it relates to a board game called Heroquest. In most RPGs, monsters are made out of delicious experience points. It tastes like candy and the best way to eat it is bashed into a bloody pulp with a spiked mace.

Heroquest was a GamesWorkshop colaboration based on Warhammer and didn't have a concept of XP. Similarly, so does Hexen. Every monster that you fight is a risk. You spend HP, Mana, and Items to pass by them, and skipping a fight is good. Without the incentive to kill monsters for XP, it becomes more creative. Which is both good and bad. "Yay" for more role play than game. "Boo" for no XP and leveling.

Hexen II tried to add missing RPG elements. Players had stats, had starting HP, could increase HP and Mana limits. Gained lovely XP from killing monsters. They even got skills that helped them fight. The problem is that the XP was scarce, levels were rare, and the bonuses were flavor not features. Hexen II simlpy had MORE rpg flavor but no calories. Killing monsters was a burden on resources that mattered and didn't provide any incentive for fighting. And with the level design, there was no skipping monsters through clever means. Not that the levels were bad, just not supportive of the game play. And the biggest issue with the RPG part was there was no way to level grind. There is a finite amount of XP in the game.

Enter Wrath of Cronos. A Mod for Hexen. It's a pretty big T.C.. It includes tons of features from other mods. New weapons. Tons of skills. An alchemy system. Leveling. And new monster types. It's actually so featureful that it forces a relatively simple strategy to succeed, instead of encouraging players to explore their options. But overall, a really solid implementation of an action RPG.

So why is this significant? Because that's the story of Quake. The original game design was to be some kind of Hammer totting RPG character who brained bad guys in a fantasy setting. Partway into development they realized that it wasn't fun. What they wanted to do was really difficult in 3d. And that's where Hexen II left itself. It was a mod of Quake and turned out to be the best attempted to make an official quake-like RPG.

So there I saw myself at the 20th anniversary of Quake. It needed an RPG. Something simple enough that you want to explore all of the features, not find a single winning strategy. So I started with grand ideas of making a Quake RPG only to realize that the Hexen II source code (scripting) was available. So off I set on Game of Tomes.

Game of Tomes is an attempt to accentuate the RPG features of Hexen II. To take them out of the background and put them on the front. There were a lot of challenges. A lot of weird little wrinkles, but in the end it was a great learning experience.

So the first influence was obviously Wrath of Cronos. Along with an older mod called Korax, it represents Hexen RPGs done right. So little by little concepts of thate game were taken. Suddenly players could gain attribute scores instead of just hp and mana. Player's were healed back to full at every level. XP requirements were reduced and made managable. All of the weapons were refactored to run off of attributes. New little "skills" (like the crusader draining health) were added. It became a game where you WANTED to smash monsters for squishy, delicious XP. (I should point out that I used a similar stat distribution method as A&A because of how well it works, and probably should be expanded upon in future discussion.)

But there was still one big issue, and after that long introduction, it's the main topic for this particular post. (but all game design discussion is welcomed in this thread) There still were not enough monsters to kill in order to grind.

The neat thing is that Wrath of Cronos has a brilliant level grinding mechanic. Wandering monsters! Built off of the way that Hexen already respawns monsters after a given time, this mod spawns more and even bigger monsters. The longer a player fights through a map, the more chance that wandering XP bags will come by.

But there's more. The problem with all RPGs is finding a way to scale the challenge with the player levels. Most games simply boost health. It's an effective way to make an individual monster tougher but it doesn't necessarily up the challenge. And if monster health scales equally to player advancement, then player advancement is meaningless (I'M LOOKIG AT YOU DIABLO II!!!!!!!). So Hexen did something AMAZING with monsters. Most monsters have about the same health as the basic monster (the ettin). The next tougher monster (the afrits) has significantly less health but can fly and shoot fireballs. The next up has the same health but can block shots with a shield. Monster skills establishes the difficulty, not stats. Just like in Tabletop games. Sure health goes up, but you don't see a lot of metal eating goblins in D&D. You have to RISE to that challenge.

Wrath of Cronos enhanced this feature by making every monster that you encounter have a chance of becoming stronger. Sometimes they were big and tough, sometimes they could shoot fire spells, sometimes they could spawn other monsters. It added a level of difficulty that ramped up as more monsters appeared. The more monsters, the higher chance of getting a tougher version. I borrowed this in Game of Tomes. Every monster had about a 10% chance to spawn as a special monster (spectre, ghost, giant, leader). One addition was that all monsters respawned anywhere between 2 and 7 minutes after dying. So there was a randomized restocking of monsters. And as players gain levels, the chances of a tougher monster increases. So the difficulty scales with the player on top of the fact that progressively stronger monsters are encountered along the way.

So that feature boils down to two things. First, the strength of monsters is random. Second, the restocking happens in unpredictable ways. It's not so much about having a new experience, as it is about taking the stale difficulty scaling of health and damage (I still blame you, Diablo II) and replacing it with an advanced way of distributing the challenge. It's less about being random and more about making the distribution better.

Back to A&A. I don't think that respawning monsters is a good idea. It would definitely throw off level design. Plus, scripting allows map makers to add this feature in when they want (which is exactly how Hexen did it). But, understanding the impact on randomized monsters can direct where we go with future advancments.


General Discussion / Discord Server
« on: October 25, 2016, 11:24:31 AM »
Set up a Discord Server for the group. Here's the invite link

Use it to organize games, get dev help, or generally banter with like minded murder hobos in the A&A universe.

Editing A&A / [COMPLETE] Quest Pack 10 - The Sorcerer's Keep
« on: October 25, 2016, 11:19:25 AM »
I'm far enough along on the quest pack that I really should be putting out info and updates. This next adventure will be taking a break form Lord Marcus' insurrection (but not without honorable mention) and will challenge players to investigate a ghost town, make their way through an active battle field, scale a mountainous landscape, and fight through a wizard's keep all to stop the rise of an unstoppable evil.

All that being said, I'm 2.5 maps into the 5 map quest. My general design principal has been to target a wider level range than the originals so that players can take on an extra challenge if they want to attack it at a lower experience level. It's meant to be really difficult and force players to choose if they want to explore further, or find the exit.

I'll have some teaser screens shots later this week.

That being said, I had to pause development this week due to the day job. However, I'll be back to the grind this weekend which should give me time to release the latest alpha build of the mod with the push/pull spell experience boost changes. But other bug fixes are on the back burner at the moment.

Map pack complete! Download at the following link! See latest post for more details

For players new to AA, install the latest version of the mod with the map included:

Editing A&A / Server upgrades (pie in the sky talk)
« on: July 16, 2016, 07:32:47 AM »
After some thought about the minor patching to the networking I think that it's not the best approach. Especially since the persistent world is a very popular idea. So with that in mind, I think I'd like to start rewriting the server and networking. It would use the same basic protocols and packet format, but the server itself would start holding world information and player lists. More of a client/server architecture. I want to start simple first, and then build upon it.

For example, chat! Right now every client holds a list of all of the players who are in their current area. Areas are sectioned off by either a specific map or by town. Then clients are in charge of searching through their own list of players in their area and sending packets to everyone in that list. Instead I think that the server should hold these lists, and clients should request the data. Especially when it comes to chat. Another issue caused by this approach is that chat messages can be missed depending on area. If chat were persisted on the server and fetched by the client periodically, then a more complete chat history can be served.

I've been, and will be for the next two weeks, throwing my free time at the Quake Expo. But during August I'd like to ramp up development on this again.
(Note: I've used a lot of the neat FPS/RPG tricks that I learned in the A&A source base to start developing a hexen 2 mod)

Speaking of quake expo, there is this amazing booth that seems really obvious once you hear it. IRC chat support in game! Now I'm not proposing this for A&A but once the client/server chat features are in place it would be much easier to hook in something like this!

As a last aside, .NET core (a cross platform version of the Microsoft .NET framework) was released recently. So things like the server can be written in C# without causing platform dependence! I've probably said some lame things about not using C# in the past. Well, shame on me because I was totally wrong!

Editing A&A / Level editing: Git or Dropbox?
« on: April 09, 2016, 11:04:46 AM »
I've previously jumped between two separate machines while doing level editing. Passing files via email was fine but I've had to add a 3rd place to work. So I'm thinking of putting some time into having a better work flow. Especially one that can handle version histories.

I typically use source repositories for plain text type projects and use dropbox for art assets. I feel like levels and their accompanying script files are an inbetween concept. What does everyone recommend?

Secondly, when this is all set up I think it would make level numbering much easier if the repository is open to anyone who wants to do editing. Not that we would mess with eachothers maps, but if they all had one home then we could set asside a set of numbers for a specific project.

Editing A&A / Dev Stream
« on: March 31, 2016, 08:53:41 PM »
Testing out the idea of hosting a dev stream... On that note, I'm going to start streaming pwmod changes now.

General Discussion / AA Favorite Details
« on: March 28, 2016, 11:29:22 AM »
I've never been the biggest fan of JRPGs, in fact they completely lost me in the late 90's and I've never looked back since. I'm more of a fan of what I like to call American RPGs. These were games defined by attempting to take the freedom of narrative tabletop role playing and fit it into a computer game. There were plenty of mechanical influences with turn orders and player stats, but the driving force was interacting with the world through narration. Games to keep in mind are the Forgotten Realms series, the Ultima franchise, Elder Scrolls, Wizardry, Strife, Stonekeep, and even the Japanese made Faxanadu for NES.

The thing that caught my attention with these games was the freedom. Players have many ways to solve problems and thousands of choices on how they want to start their characters. Everything in the world is interactive one way or another. The player character is really just a conduit for you as the player to touch the virtual world. That's awesome, and A&A makes the list with flying colors. This added lots of little gimmicks and jokes for players to enjoy.

So with that in mind, what are your favorite little details about A&A? Not major gameplay features, just little nuances that were fun.

For me it is the carrots giving night vision and the wand of lightning shocking players. There were such charming features to find out for the first time many years ago.

Editing A&A / Scripting Help
« on: March 11, 2016, 03:26:04 PM »
I'd really really really like to add a status effect to a player in scripting based on them stepping into a sector. So far the only command that I think can do it is Effect, but most effects related to the player crash due to having a NULL p_owner. I couldn't find any similar functionality in the original level sources.

Is there a way to do this with the current version's scripting functionality?

Bug Reports / [Feature] Script Engine completion
« on: March 10, 2016, 12:10:24 PM »
There are a lot of script engine commands that need only a small effort to fix. Since I've brought up the conversation of releasing a new version, would it be wrong to finish these out so that future maps can take advantage of the features?

When completing a quest in multiplayer the success dialog does not display, the target item is not taken, and the reward is not given. As a side effect, the town progress is not updated to open new items.

I know that there are a bunch of other glitches related to multiplayer but I think this one is a higher priority. Although there's a hurdle to solve (making sure that at least one of the players has the target object and somehow divvying up the reward proportionally) I plan on putting in a fix for this over the weekend but there's a bigger issue that should be discussed.

Can we make a new installer for the official version once this bug is fixed? There's a couple major features waiting to be released. The lighting compiler for sure and a few other I'm forgetting.

Editing A&A / Outside environments
« on: March 04, 2016, 09:19:22 AM »
Doom fans will recognize the biggest limitation for 2.5 d engines for outdoors is not having ramps. There are lots of cool tricks to help and since I'm in the middle of a similar area in a new map pack this image from Arequipa, Peru is really inspiring:

Bug Reports / [BUG] Holy Light causes blindness
« on: February 27, 2016, 05:46:33 AM »
The holy light spell causes the player to dim instead of gain night vision. The cause is simply a wrap around error when converting an unsigned int to a signed int.

General Discussion / Really funny comment in the codebase
« on: February 16, 2016, 09:20:41 AM »
In Client.C in the function ClientDied:

Code: [Select]
/* No matter how bad it is, you don't die while not in the */
/* game. */

I understand why this is there. If anyone tries to drink poison or potions of pain in the town UI... but the wording is great

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