Collaborative H4 campaign

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Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 15 2015, 8:49

Hello!
I had a dream - a dream of H4 campaign made by multiple authors! :devil:
Few of You were interested in this project so I created a topic about it.
I was thinking a lot about collaborative campaign and in my belief there is a way to do this and not work too much :lol:

My approach is that:

Firstly we think out a story. The story shouldn't be too complicated and must have something like "story milestones". Story milestones are events in the story which are easily created in the campaign as a map.

Story milestone: for example: "Our hero Duzeom fights with dragon slayer over supremacy in Dragonians highlands. He beats a dragon slayer but he finds out that he was his lost brother."

Now I can create map from it and other person can create also part of his story starting from this milestone. For example:
"Duzeom after finding that he killed his own brother seeks a forgiveness in a monk sanctuary. But the sanctuary is guarded by the deads"
And someone makes a map about it. THAT'S IT.

Later we add all maps to one campaign and we have an awsome campaign ! :gking2:

Now every participant must think out of his story and make a map with his owns details about the story. For example I can a bit diverge from main story milestone (SM). For example: "Duzeom to beat the dragon slayer must persuade dragons to stand behind him. To do this he must give them an sacrifice of 100 halfings". AS LONG AS THE END OF CURRENT MS IS THE SAME AS START OF NEXT MS WE HAVE CONTINUITY AND EVERYTHING IS OK.

But really we need SIMPLE stories because collaborative campaign isn't about the story IMHO. It is about making a diverse campaign with lot of different strategies and styles. Collaborative campaigns which were consistent in 100% were already done. We must do something new so we must not worry about small inconsistencies. It can be really crazy when we turn on our fantasy!

Ok so I will gather here all rules of our little playground:

1. Campaign should have 4-5 map. One map for one mapmaker.
2. We use H4WOW version.
3. Mapmaker is fully responsible for its map. It means that the map must be playable, must be tested and follow the rules written here.
4. Maps should have slight number of scripts.
5. Maps should use following winning conditions:
- Defeat all / capture all towns;
- Defeat army / hero;
- Capture castle;
- Capture artifact.
- Gather X material/ X creatures.
6. Maps should be difficulty of Intermediate/Advanced, and should be balanced for every difficulty level. (on every level it should be beatable and adequate to the level).
7. Maps should have limited number of power ups. Number of power ups will be discussed.
8. Maps should have well defined level caps discussed in this thread.
9. Maps should use main heroes of the story and represent the story milestone (ST) discussed here.
10. Maps should place pressure on economy and tactics not RPG style and scripts, and on pretty landscapes.
11. Maps should be created in the way it could be unit tested (tested without other previous maps, see discussion)
12. Maps can't have scripts which give or restricts skills of heroes.
13. Maps can have different sizes but must represent ST in it.

PS: we need a good project name :D any ideas?
Last edited by Anonymous on Dec 30 2015, 22:17, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 15 2015, 23:05

asuming it's a four map campaign - the awsome foursome? :devious:
or A map maker's dream..
well, it's hard without a story line or theme.

Anyway, if this approach is used
Idea comes to mind, it could be made like WoW or TGS, seperate stories with same start and end?

we could each do a 1/? of the final map, if it were to be an all vs. all ending.
If it's a carried over hero, throughout all maps, it'd mean a heavier work-pressure on the makers of the first maps, due to testing only being possible once the maps has been completed. That would also require some shared info about available skills and used power up's etc.
So I'm thinking that perhaps a one hero story would take up alot more time to properly balancing compared to seperate hero maps..?
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 16 2015, 9:02

Yeah testing ... is pain in the ass you know, but I was thinking about it before.

There are two approaches. One: a little modification of yours idea. Mapmaker tests his map (A), then sends a save to mapmaker B, then C etc. But it has a lot of issues here - for example saves aren't really so portable. Secondly time of testing is long because one map depends on the second map.

However there is better approach - every mapmaker tests his own map - even with carryover hero. How? Level Caps!
For example for map A there is level cap 12. So in map B you will have hero with level 12 or less. You can test it with hero having level 12. Of course there are power ups and etc. But on easy difficulty you can ignore it. So I have this methodology where I test on easy difficulty - and map should be easily beatable. and then I make game harder on every level. In practice I test only on easy or intermediate. If game is hard on easy - then its ok, because if there are powerups in level before the diffuclty will be right in the middle.

If map maker of map A use 21 powerups or ... 100 ? Then he is bad mapmaker :rofl: . We should use low number of power ups and we can make a table where:
SMALL - max 3 power ups
MEDIUM - max 7
LARGE - max 12
XLARGE - max 20.
So that we can more or less estimate the power of 12 level hero in level B, C, D.

OF COURSE IT HAS FLAWS.

But...

As I said we should make A SIMPLE story so that the hero doesn't get godlike in first map.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Taro » Dec 27 2015, 14:05

I was sceptical about such thing but it would be interesting experiment, so.... who knows. But there are more problems. Should this campaign be easy or hard? Hero oriented or creatures oriented? Heavy scripted or not? I think in h4 there is a lack of classic campaigns like in h1, h2 or h3 where you need an army to win and we should make scenarios where strategy is important and you have to think about movement and economy. So here is my proposition:

1) Four scenarios.
2) Every scenario should be on advanced (not hardcore but still challange). With this there will be no boredom and no frustration (FLOW).How to achieve this? It's up to mapmaker.
3) Level cap should be 5 for first scenario, 10 for second etc. Why? Because the main problems with overpowered hero are: damage, health, attack and defense. The first two we get from level ups so strong level caps should prevent a player from creating a "single slayer hero". Attack and defense comes from skills and power ups, so we should make restrictions with one or another. Power ups with skills are fine for me.
4) Main hero should have five different skills from the start without combat skills. For example, main hero is a wizard nerd with order magic, life magic, nature magic, nobility and tactic. We can also give a player choice which skill should be improved in the first turn. Or one artifact to carryover.
5) No hardcoded scripts, just simple solutions.
6) Chosen difficulty should have strong impact on the gameplay without scripts. We can place neutral armies on important spots or not place them were AI has it's area etc. With this gameplay should be intuitive.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 27 2015, 22:50

I have no objections to Taro's first two propositions.

#3 I think would limit, at least the first two-three map sizes to small and medium, due to level cap. Perhaps three and/or four could work as large, but it's no fun hitting level cap half way through a map in my opinion.
In general I'm pretty open minded regarding 'restrictions and orientation'. But we could set level caps for skills or decrease hero stats by scripts, if say we want the hero to benefit from Melee's increased 'divide by' or first strike/strike twice but not it's increased attack stats.
#4, unless it's because it story related (preset), I'm pretty sure most players would like to be able to at least choose some skills themselves.
It's easy to ban skills or set caps to avoid the one hero army issue.
#5 no objections.
#6 I don't see why not. Alot of ideas were posted in another tread about boosting AI on different difficulties, and I think even simple scripts can be quite useful. Player won't only encounter neutrals, so I think it would only make sense, if that difficulty set scripts are used if we want chosen difficulty to have strong impact on the gameplay. Eg. important AI heroes having more/better spells on Champion than on Novice.
Regarding general map difficulty I guess it's debatable whether the campaign should set a standard difficulty for all the maps or each map should be allowed to be harder/easier than the previous one. Again, I don't have a preference.
But I agree it should be decided whether it should be Hero or army oriented. Scripting is always a solution, but I agree it's easier to plan and balance if either one is decided for all maps. I know Taro likes the army oriented, and it's fine with me. It would be fun to force players to use certain strategies and where decision making has an impact.
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Dr.Marsupio » Dec 27 2015, 23:48

I find the carry over nature of collavorative campaings to be a pain in the back, balance and play testing becomes such a quagmire. I can do the part I exell at and enjoy the most (the terraforming bit) of a small map and then donate it to another map maker that enjoys the other half to fill the details/story/triggers/battles etc.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 28 2015, 12:43

Taro wrote:I was sceptical about such thing but it would be interesting experiment, so.... who knows. But there are more problems. Should this campaign be easy or hard? Hero oriented or creatures oriented? Heavy scripted or not? I think in h4 there is a lack of classic campaigns like in h1, h2 or h3 where you need an army to win and we should make scenarios where strategy is important and you have to think about movement and economy. So here is my proposition:

1) Four scenarios.
2) Every scenario should be on advanced (not hardcore but still challange). With this there will be no boredom and no frustration (FLOW).How to achieve this? It's up to mapmaker.
3) Level cap should be 5 for first scenario, 10 for second etc. Why? Because the main problems with overpowered hero are: damage, health, attack and defense. The first two we get from level ups so strong level caps should prevent a player from creating a "single slayer hero". Attack and defense comes from skills and power ups, so we should make restrictions with one or another. Power ups with skills are fine for me.
4) Main hero should have five different skills from the start without combat skills. For example, main hero is a wizard nerd with order magic, life magic, nature magic, nobility and tactic. We can also give a player choice which skill should be improved in the first turn. Or one artifact to carryover.
5) No hardcoded scripts, just simple solutions.
6) Chosen difficulty should have strong impact on the gameplay without scripts. We can place neutral armies on important spots or not place them were AI has it's area etc. With this gameplay should be intuitive.


1. Size: Four. It is a perfect number. But five is good too.
2. Difficulty: Advanced/intermediate. I don't think that the goal of this project it to make ultra hard campaign - it is about a fantasy and cooperation.
3. Level caps are too low in my opinion. If I were doing 4 map campaign I would make level caps like that: 12, 22, 30, no cap.
4. Why do we need to give skills at the start because I don't understand what's the point.
5. Aye. NO GLOBAL SCRIPTS. I mean no global script which power up AI.
6. The game should be a challenge for a beginner as well as a professional. It is called BALLANCE.

Hero oriented/army oriented?
Army oriented

Heavy scripted/slightly scripted?
Slightly scripted (scripts which display text are welcome but also not too much, as I said we must do it SIMPLE)

Skills restrictions/ No restrictions?
No restrictions (apart from number of power ups)

I think we should make something that Taro described as classic campaign. Small number of scripts, a pressure on pretty landscapes, tactics and battles. Vicory conditions which we can use (used in H3 and H2):
- Defeat all / capture all towns;
- Defeat army / hero;
- Capture castle;
- Capture artifact.
- Gather X material/ X creatures.
- Do one of above under some time condition (but be cautious with that)

PS: did You come up with our project name? I was thinking about Hydra Project :D

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 28 2015, 13:22

1) I guess numbers of maps is either pre determined and x number of maps makers join or it's set by the number of volunteers with the max limit of say 5. I agree that when looking at level cap and general hero power, a max of 5 maps seems reasonable if we want it to be army oriented (this by the way seem to be agreed upon so far).
Duzeom, so far we are 4 posters, but Dr. Marsupio's post still leaves at least an open spot for finishing his map, if he joins. But I suggest that you sum up the vital parts that's been agreed upon so far, as Consider you project leader :)
3) I guess a level cap for 8-12 level is in my optic more reasonable for the first couple of maps. Regarding stats is should be agreed whether std or Equi version is used, as Equi also increase attack/defense pr. level.

The lighter scripting def. appeals to my involvement, as I don't see myself having the time to put like 3-4 months into a single map for this project. And if it the tactic/batlles and not the scripting that's in focus, that pleases my ear.
A multiheaded project - clever thinking :)
Got no better suggestion.
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 28 2015, 13:32

Has anyone gotten any ideas for a story?
Are we set in Axeoth, Enroth or 3rd/unimportant world.
If either of the first two, do we continue with existing heroes/nations or new ones?
Idea came to mind, pre TGS story focusing on how Hexis came to the point where he needed to be stopped? (ofcourse Equi would be required for any custom portraits, but the level stats could be annulled with simple script).
I guess I'm just so unimaginative that I find it easy (but also interesting) to explore the existing worlds and their already existing heroes :)
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 28 2015, 13:44

I won't use already existing heroes for one crucial point: I don't know it very much and others could also don't know them. I vote for imaginary story which is kind of simple.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 28 2015, 13:49

@Dr. Marsupio, thank You for your feedback, but I worry that no one will polish your map because no one likes testing and scripting :devil:

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 28 2015, 20:48

Hehe, I think you're right on that last point Duzeom :lol:
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby iLiVeInAbOx05 » Dec 28 2015, 20:55

I actually enjoy the scripting and subsequent testing to see it work, however, I also enjoy the story points quite a bit :D

The only thing I don't like about scripting is when I do it wrong and have to start over :(

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 28 2015, 23:28

The only thing I don't like about scripting is when I do it wrong and have to start over :(
yeah, this is definitely something that should be banned :-D
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 29 2015, 14:10

Ok so I will gather here all rules of our little playground:

1. Campaing should have 4-5 map. One map for one mapmaker.
2. We use H4WOW version.
3. Mapmaker is fully responsible for its map. It means that the map must be playable, must be tested and follow the rules written here.
4. Maps should have slight number of scripts, no global scripts regarding AI (maybe some armies and gold at the start no weekly bonuses).
5. Maps should use following winning conditions:
- Defeat all / capture all towns;
- Defeat army / hero;
- Capture castle;
- Capture artifact.
- Gather X material/ X creatures.
6. Maps should be difficulty of Intermediate/Advanced, and should be balanced for every difficulty level. (on every level it should be beatable and adequate to the level).
7. Maps should have limited number of power ups. Number of power ups will be discussed.
8. Maps should have well defined level caps discussed in this thread.
9. Maps should use main heroes of the story and represent the story milestone (ST) discussed here.
10. Maps should place pressure on economy and tactics not RPG style and scripts, and on pretty landscapes.
11. Maps should be created in the way it could be unit tested (tested without other previous maps, see discussion)
12. Maps can't have scripts which give or restricts skills of heroes.
13. Maps can have different sizes but must represent ST in it.

What more?

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 29 2015, 18:02

7) Are we talking strictly stat boosters like gems, training grounds or do we also include skill level/hero level boosters?

8) I suggest higher level cap than 5 pr. map, but if main hero is say lvl. 30+ by map 4, and with no ban or restrictions of skills like Combat skills, I think it's hard not to reach some state of god like main hero.

9) story ideas are still to come..

11) shouldn't be hard as long as there aren't many hero scripts, but the focus on simple scripting should help in this matter.

What more) do you want only 1 main hero or should it be party/additional carry over heroes?
I assume we allowplayers to buy other heroes (this would be rather classical)
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Taro » Dec 29 2015, 18:25

If we give five skills to starting hero we will be sure that player will not choose combat skills (because slots are taken). And I insist on low level caps. If they will be high and combat skills will be allowed, then we will make another campaign with god like hero. And I want totally opposite effect.

And I don't get why do you talk so much about testing. Do you think campaigns from h3 or it's expansions were tested? Of course not because they didn't have time for it. We don't have to check every single map one by one before testing entire campaing if it's not heavy scripted. Let's just make it, play it (with cheat codes if needed) and then think more.

And about the story... I think the world of Axeoth will be fine. We can take some classic hero (Sorsha, Yog, Christian....).

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Karmakeld » Dec 29 2015, 20:50

Setting all 5 skills from start, would definitely be something that would risk reduce replay value greatly.
I very much sense that you wish to create a H4 campaign where the hero has a more 'traditional hero role', meaning more supportive than actual fighter. Thus I don't see why not ban Combat skills entirely. MR can be given with artifacts and attack/defense will also increase with both artifacts and stat boosts. The reasons for god-like heroes are the combat skills. High combat = strong defense. High Melee, powerful attack, first strike and strike twice. Archery allows the hero to shoot, possibly two times and MR can also make the hero completely invulnerable to magic.
I just feel a low level cap, like 5 pr. map, will destroy the sense of hero evolvement. If we also restrict skill levels up's, by restricting power up's, then we restrict each map to be small maps that shouldn't take long to finish, as player could otherwise have reached the hero's max evolvement by the end of months 2.
Might I suggest a slightly higher cap than 5 pr. map or a slow decrease with each map, like: 10, 16, 20, 24 or 8, 14, 18, 22.. Remember you level faster at first, than later on.

Well I asume Duzeom just want it to be each map makers job to balance his/her own map to speed up the proccess. You're right that the fewer scripts, the smaller odds are for unwanted bugs, but if we want it fairly balanced for novice as well as champion, I do believe some testing is required to ensure a decent balance. And wheter each map maker balance his own map or we play all maps, is open for debate. For my part, I most likely won't be able to balance it for champion players and what might seem easy for me, might not be for novice players.. In the end, that depends on how well balanced we want it..

Axeoth and any of it's heroes (classic or not) is fine by me.
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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Duzeom_ » Dec 30 2015, 11:30

Setting 5 skills at start is very bad decission. I agree here with Karmakeld.

About combat skill - if we wisely put number of power ups I think that the combat won't be so god-like skill. And under term "power ups" I understand everything which power up stats which Karmakeld mentioned or add skills. (adventure objects which power up hero skills and statistics, in editor you have a special tab with it + power ups in the towns itself for example in barbarian towns). A power up isn't for me for example a stone of knowledge because it will give you experience which the player will gain after all and doesn't affect balance since there are level caps.

I would not ban combat skill. The campaign will need a one or more playthrough after all, we will decide then if we ban this.

Karmakeld wrote:Well I asume Duzeom just want it to be each map makers job to balance his/her own map to speed up the proccess. You're right that the fewer scripts, the smaller odds are for unwanted bugs, but if we want it fairly balanced for novice as well as champion, I do believe some testing is required to ensure a decent balance. And wheter each map maker balance his own map or we play all maps, is open for debate. For my part, I most likely won't be able to balance it for champion players and what might seem easy for me, might not be for novice players.. In the end, that depends on how well balanced we want it.


Bingo!
Playing all the maps alltogether is inevitable, but assuming that any map made by mapmaker is playable and balanced it will be a LOT EASIER to test a whole campaign. I during my creation of campaigns test maps separately.
How to balance the map you ask if you don't have champion skill...
The solution I written somewhere in this thread before.
Play it on your difficulty and on easy for example and check if it is adequate. If we will use small number of scripts the only difficulty will be AI and the monsters. Monsters are handled by the game itself. Ai is stupid on all difficulties. So only way to balance is to make game same difficulty for AI. We don't want to have a SUPER BALANCE, we just don't want an effect of a very easy map just after a very hard map on the same difficulty.

Also I would a make a rule that the play time on each map should be proportional to its size. Playing small map for a year (in game time) and the play XL for a half a year is a misunderstanding.

About level caps - I written my proposition to level caps earlier.

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Re: Collaborative H4 campaign

Postby Maciek » Dec 30 2015, 12:23

Since you want army oriented maps instead of hero oriented, why not carry over armies (and perhaps some artifacts) instead of heroes?

I wouldn't fit the project unless the map I happen to be making happens to fit your story. That's because I start with gameplay tricks, not with story. I doubt the map I'm making (still far from complete) would fit your campaign, because it's too tricky and there won't be much army on player's side, especially early on (later on you'll have access to some Bandits, Orcs and Trolls and that's probably it).


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