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The Druid

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:09 pm
by ebc
There's a lot of stuff I should have probably worked out before making this post, but I'd rather try to commit myself to something than get lazy and miss the deadline for announcing the project.

I will start off with the ultimate Starcraft Campaign taboo by using a Xel'Naga as the main (or, rather, initial) character...

"The Xel'Naga have a well-known proclivity for trying to "play God" with lesser species, and while the race has apparently been extinct for quite some time, small groups of survivors are rumoured to remain, hiding on fringe worlds, far from the Protoss/Terran/Zerg theatre of war.  One such survivor has been experimenting with lifeforms less powerful than the Protoss, Terran, or Zerg, trying to unlock some sort of strength or psionic potential within those beings (and, of course, killing time before Starcraft 2 comes out and he can figure out what really happens to his race), but his grand experiment may be in danger as the growing conflict between the three races of StarCraft envelops progressively more star systems."

The campaign will not center around the experiment of this lone Xel'Naga, but rather, the fruits of that experiment.  This project will explore the fighting ability and strategic capabilities of selectively bred and genetically engineered strands of -- wait for it -- CRITTERS. I'm thinking that a more lighthearted approach to a storyline may help alleviate the problem that the concept of killer critters doesn't really make sense. I'm modding the datafiles from scratch (so that it blends the best it can with BW 115), with some inspiration from a critters mod I showed to a few people a long time ago. 

I figure that a campaign would be the best outlet for a Killer-Critters concept, since a TC would demand that I replace all the units for a race, while with a series of UMS maps, I can limit the tech tree and abilities (with my last mod, MLTC, I had to rationalise some weird anomalies, just because I couldn't get rid of certain abilities), and develop some meaning behind some of the whack ideas I'm coming up with.  Hopefully the novelty of being the first "Critters" campaign will keep this interesting.


P.S. There will be no supah Xel'Naga war cruiser.  If the Druid character has a ship, it will be a transport with very limited, if any, weapon capabilities. 

Re: The Druid

Posted: Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:14 pm
by IskatuMesk
ebc wrote:P.S. There will be no supah Xel'Naga war cruiser. 

I shed tiny black tears.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 2:42 pm
by Legion
I WANT to see those killer critters!

Sounds very interesting, man. Looking forward to this.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 4:09 pm
by Meta
Bob Levels comes to mind... definitely looking forward to this. Keep us updated!  ;D

PS> arenĀ“t you the same guy who created the awesome Mercenary Legion TC?

Re: The Druid

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 10:31 pm
by ebc
Doing the modding aspect of this has taken much longer than I wanted it to, but I was throwing things together too fast, and the mod was getting more and more prone to crashing, so I'm starting over again, and going with a more conservative approach to modding: changing things little by little to make sure that the game is stable with each change, and extracting, modifying and replacing GRP files where I can, instead of IceCC-ing everything. The sea of ICE is a bunch of clutter that I don't need. Fortunately, being unproductive has allowed a lot of ideas to become more developed, and I can present to you a skeleton of the Tech Tree, as well as ideas for the units. Another plan I have, in addition to the tech tree (attached), will be to restrict the units that can be built on different tilesets (e.g. no Ursadons in the desert) to put more demand on the player's strategic mind.

Ragnasaur (Ashworld): Builder, Gatherer
Built at: Crystal Formation
Weapon: Seismic Shock (Linear-splash attack, like Lurker)
Not listed on the tech tree is the Assimilator, which has become the Ragnasaur Den.  The Ragnasaur does not have to return to the crystal formation to harvest gas.

Bengalaas (Jungle): Scout, Fighter
Built at: Stone Temple
Weapon: Pounce (Close-Range)

Rhynadon (Badlands): All-Purpose Fighter
Built at: Stone Temple, requires Critter Nest
Weapon: Spirit Horn (Long-Range, ground or Air)

Ursadon (Ice): Support Unit
Built at: Stone Temple, requires Tree of Life
Spells: Blizzard (this will cause damage to units, as well as temporarily freeze organic units), Mirage (just hallucination... I might get rid of it)
I may make Blizzard especially powerful, since the Ursadon might be restricted to very few (probably just one) tileset.

Root Worm (Jungle): Precurser
Built at: Stone Temple, requires Tree of Life
This will be essentially cloaked units with the Zerg Larva sprite. I might tinker around with it, to somehow create the look that the unit is underground. The utility of the Root Worm will come when two join together to form a Treant.

Treant (Jungle): Defensive Structure (A defensive unit that will not move)... it will be a tree that attacks stuff.
Built by joining two Root Worms
Weapon: Something with linear splash, probably an exact copy of the lurker weapon
Spells: Surprise... I don't know yet.
A cunning strategy may be to hide small, invisible root worms in someone's base, send in an attack force while simultaneously morphing them into Treants, building a defensive front for your attack force to reatreat behind after whatever the build time is on these guys.

Kakaru (Twilight): Transport, Air Attacker, possibly a detector?
Built at: Critter Atrium
Weapon: Airbourne Claws

Gargoyle (Twilight): Air-to-Ground attacker, Detector if the Kakaru isn't
Built at: Critter Atrium, requires Lattice Fortress
Weapon: Ore-pedo (torpedo... get it? I'll figure out a different name, but it will be an exploding ore crystal fired at ground enemies)
The gargoyle is a flying mollusk-ish thingy that has evolved to blend in with the crushed rock background of twilight worlds.

Scantid (Desert): Long-range attacker
Built at: Critter Atrium, requires Sand Pit
Weapon: Venom Spines

Roc (Badlands): Powerful air unit
Built at: Ziggurat
Weapon: no clue yet

Golem (Ashworld): Support Unit
Built at: Ziggurat
Weapon: no clue yet
Spells: Volcano: a long, massive eruption of fire and explosive damage


Yeah, I'm the guy who did Mercenary Legion TC.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Mon Dec 24, 2007 11:46 pm
by IskatuMesk
Don't ever, EVER use ICE. Only use IceCC. Unless you like crashes. That along with datedit and such you can use those and pretty much avoid any crashes at all. Otherwise post your specific issues/scripts on here and I'll take a look at them if you need help.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 1:53 pm
by ebc

I've been able to implement all of the ideas I'd proposed earlier, except for one (which I will do soon), and begin working on the first mission. 

The following are developments in addition to what I proposed earlier:

The Treant can move, although very slowly, and its spell is "Tornado," a slow-moving field spell that does a number on enemies (and your own units, if you're not careful) caught in its wake.

The Roc's air weapon is a short range splash attack called "West Wind," while its ground weapon is a long-range explosive (but not splash) attack called "Big Loogie," and that's exactly what it looks like.

There are a couple buildings which I'm trying to get to have different graphics for each tileset. They look great in game (hopefully will make gameplay more immersive), but they crash the game when they're damaged enough to burn.  I've never edited *.lof files, so unless someone can help me, I may have to take this feature out, or find time for a lot of trial and error.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Wed Jan 09, 2008 12:18 pm
by Lavarinth

Re: The Druid

Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2008 8:30 am
by Revan
Did you give up on this project? :( A xel-naga campaign would have been something entirely new, something great.

Re: The Druid

Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:47 pm
by Lavarinth

Re: The Druid

Posted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 8:35 am
by ebc
Revan wrote:Did you give up on this project? :( A xel-naga campaign would have been something entirely new, something great.

It's not a Xel'Naga campaign; it just has a Xel'Naga character.  This will be a Critter campaign, and I haven't given up on it.  I tried to take a little bit of time off in order to adjust to a new semester of school, and that 'little bit' turned in to way too much time.  What I've been able to do as far as developing the critter race looks pretty good to me, and i don't want it to die.  Where I left off at the beginning of the month, I was trying to test the race in melee to make sure all the features worked right, and it kept crashing as a result of my attempt to have two buildings whose appearance varies with the tileset. All I could figure was that it had something to do with the .lo* files that Starcraft reads when I wants to decide how a building will "burn" (or bleed, or leak plasma). Since I was dealing with unfamiliar territory, the only solution that came to mind was to use .lo* files for the vespene geyser, since it's the only building I know that has overlay files, and varies its appearance with the tileset.  Unfortunately, it looked ridiculous in game: the two buildings would bleed, burn, and leak plasma, not just on the building, but several squares away from the building, and it was pretty discouraging (I know that sounds like a stupid reason) so I put it on the back burner.

I've spent too much time thinking, rather than doing, but Lavarinth's reminder of the rules prompted me to crack this stuff back open, and I had an epiphany:
The .lo* files give information on how a building is to burn for each frame of the building, so all I needed was some building with as many frames as there are tilesets, and whose burn animations weren't too ridiculous.  The Sunken Colony doesn't bleed too much, and its GRP has a tonne of frames, so I tied it's .lo* file to my two tileset-dependent buildings, and that's been pretty encouraging for me.  I'm marking goals on my calendar for how far I need to progress with planning, terraining, and implementing each level of the campaign, as well as features to finish up the mod (group wireframes, tran-wireframes, and other features unnecessary 'till the end). 

My school schedule gives me completely free tuesday, and a mostly free thursday, so it's just a matter of deciding to wake up and roll up my sleeves. 

Here are a couple screenshots as examples of Critter Bases, and arrangements of buildings which I plan on using.  I wonder what other people would think, but I find that using doodad-based structures, and no team colours is more immersive to the theme of playing the ordinarily "neutral" units. Also, just for kicks, the advisor (portrait used on the buildings) is a crystal whose colour varies with what number the player is; by varying what team colour the human is on each map, I've made the colour of the player's advisor dependent on what tileset the level is on. 

Re: The Druid

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 10:08 am
by ebc
Working on giving a particular mission the feel of a broken down installation, distinctively out of commission, so I'm editing a tileset file... I'm still trying out different "looks" but it's an aspect of modding and a feature of 'atmosphere' that I'd never tried or thought of until now. 

Re: The Druid

Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:21 pm
by Lavarinth