7 comments on “Less is More, the Magic Number, and Three Up

    • Ooh! I am excited for this. What are your thoughts for mission management? It would be awesome if it were as easy as “drop archive into folder, choose which to play from mission folder on game startup.” I imagine that some authors may want to include their quest with the original campaign, while others might want to create a new campaign independent of the original missions.

      • I’ve been debating how to approach additional maps to the game. In it’s current incarnation, you could just add another set of maps on top of the game as long as you have a unique 16-bit number for your map. I suspect people would be better served with a ‘campaign’ selector that allows users to choose a set of maps and possibly additional unique items/creatures/etc. Campaigns would not mix with other campaigns (but you certainly could steal). Unfortunately, this means characters created on one campaign can not be ported to another.

      • Oh, hey, didn’t notice you had updated a bunch recently. Sorry to hear about what happened. I hope everything’s going okay.

        On the subject of characters, campaigns, and mods, I had some musings:
        You could separate character storage and campaign storage into different files. Each character would get its own save directory, and then in the save directory, you store the main character file (e.g. “AA\char\char0000\char.dat”), which contains your character’s independent data, then you also have one file for each campaign the character is currently involved in (e.g. “AA\char\char0000\campaign\funtimes.cpn”). These files would store the progress-related data for that campaign, so that if you hop back and forth between two different campaigns, you can keep your progress in both. Essentially, from the user’s point of view, you’d create your character like now, then you’d get a list of campaigns to choose from. At any point, you could select a different campaign to play in, similar to how quests currently work in AA, but since a campaign would be a collection of quests, it would be one level above that. Alternatively, campaigns could work at the same level as a quest, meaning that all the quests currently in AA would each be separate campaigns. There’s nothing really wrong with that approach, but I think it’s more interesting the other way.

        In order to allow characters to be compatible with multiple campaigns with different item, enemy, spell, etc definitions, these should be required to be stored in a separate modpack file (e.g. “AA\mods\ExtendedWeapons.mod”). A campaign would specify its mod dependencies (and could be easily packaged with its dependencies for distribution), and when a character plays in that campaign, the character would also inherit those dependencies. From there on out, the character would always read from the inherited mod dependencies so that extended properties on the character could be interpreted properly in any campaign. It may also be possible for a player to remove dependencies from a character, as well, and this would destroy any extended properties reliant on them.

        Note that in order to prevent conflicts with common definition IDs in a modpack (e.g. two different people naming a new item ‘BlackSword’), a unique identifier system should probably be implemented. Internally, any definition ID used in a campaign could have the campaign’s name prepended to it. So, while a modpack named “ExtendedWeapons” might define an item named “BlackSword”, internally the game would see it as “ExtendedWeapons*BlackSword”, where the asterisk is any special character that modders cannot use in definition IDs. This also provides a convenient reference for which modpack defines which extended properties on a character. The only potential name conflict after that is two different modders having a modpack with the same name, but that isn’t a major problem; it’s relatively easy to predict, recognize, and fix. In the event that two different mods alter the same property (e.g. changing the mana regeneration scale for a mage), you’d have to figure out some method of resolving the disparity (seniority preference?), or just erroring out.

        Of course, none of this is really necessary; you could only allow characters to be engaged in one campaign at a time or only one campaign ever, and conflicting mod dependencies would result in an automatic failure. I think players tend to value their characters a lot, though, so letting them keep the same character around as long as possible is generally a plus. I know I still cart out some of my old characters in AA just to play around.

      • Your do make some good points. I’m working on the next developer post about the Community Edition. Some of what you talk about is to be covered (although lightly).

  1. Pingback: Party of Four? Your Windows Game is Ready, Wix is Evil, and a Three Pronged Plan for the Community Edition | Amulets & Armor Developer

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