[BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Contest Begins: November 21st, 2011
Contest Entry Cut Off Date: December 31st, 2011
Contest Monthly Updates Start: January 1st, 2012
Contest Ends: July 31st, 2012

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[BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Thu Dec 29, 2011 8:08 am

Name: HelpMe
Age: 29

Direction: Miriam is a ghost-in-training who's being transferred to a different hub, due to some past problems at the Academy she was in. She sees it as an opportunity to start her military life anew. Soon after she arrives, however, Miriam bears witness to a strange incident: a group of men stealing technological and intelligence property from the quarters. Among them she recognizes a number of people from inside, trainees she had met earlier on her first day. Appalled by this, Miriam seeks the Chief Instructor of the grounds and reports what she had seen, but her words are taken too lightly. To make matters worse, the culprits of the theft soon learn of their exposed identity, and from that point on Miriam's safety is at risk.


THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS will unwind a story of mistery and intrigue, making you question each character's credibility and motives, leading up to an unpredictable climax. That's my ultimate goal for this campaign.
Last edited by HelpMe on Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Campaign Creations » Thu Dec 29, 2011 10:04 am

Approved, and thanks for your submission.

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Thalraxal » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:35 pm

Ooo! Mystery and intrigue. Sounds like fun, HelpMe!

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Church » Sun Jan 01, 2012 3:09 pm

Quite the adventure you're preparing us for. I'm excited to see what you have in store for us. Do you have an idea of how many maps there will be yet?
Also, what other characters are appearing? Or is that a secret? ;)
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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:22 pm

Jim_Raynor wrote:Quite the adventure you're preparing us for. I'm excited to see what you have in store for us. Do you have an idea of how many maps there will be yet?


Not sure, maybe around 5-6 maps. Not too many!

Also, what other characters are appearing? Or is that a secret? ;)


Besides Miriam and the Chief Instructor? Well the Academy has a training system that includes "tutors", who oversee your progress and give you tasks to perform. So Miriam will have a tutor as well, who is quite an amusing character, and an essential part of the story. That's all I'll say for now. :P

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:05 pm

With the official start of the contest taking place, I thought I'd take a moment to describe what my intentions are for this project:


PRELIMINARY NOTES


The main draw will be the story.

I think it's relevant to point out why exactly you -- or anyone -- should invest their attention in THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS. While it may sound like I'm tooting my own horn, the honest answer would be because it will offer a well-thought out story with a good amount of intrigue and suspense. Yeah, I think that's what it's shaping up to be. And with the addition of original voices, I believe it will succeed in keeping you immersed in its own little world.


It will be strictly a Terran affair. No other races will be featured.

"Why Terrans only?", you might ask. I've given this some thought, and decided that a Terran-exclusive campaign would be best for the kind of story I want to tell. Allow me to explain.

Firstly, at this point I'm somewhat tired of Zerg-related problems in campaigns. To be more precise, what annoys me is the effect Zerg have on the mood of campaigns. It's what I call "Zerg Hysteria". I believe we're all familiar with it: lots of screaming, desperate shooting, dialogue lines such as "It's teh Zerg! Ahhh!!". Yeah. Well, that's not what I have in mind for THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS.

Rather than that, my intention is to have more of a subdued, constant tension. Right now I'm in the process of writing the script, and I realized very quickly that this effect or mood is much harder to achieve than the aforementioned "Zerg Hysteria". It's taking a good deal of effort, but I think I'm on the right track.

Additionally, I decided not to include the Protoss either, but for a different reason. Yes, it happens in the Starcraft universe, but it's very much a grounded story, with issues not unlike those in movie thrillers that are not sci-fi related at all. Bringing in the Protoss, with their Protoss-y manners and demeanor, would destroy the mood completely. Especially because so much of this story will be centered around unmistakably human qualities, such as arrogance, pettiness and deceit, and also more positive ones like friendship. And for portraying those things, having an all-Terran cast of characters will help in making it relatable and closer to the viewer.


Difficulty-wise, it will range from straightforward to moderately challenging.

This may sound like a bad design choice for some, but my concern here is to always keep the story flowing. The last thing I want is for you to get aggravated and rage-quit the missions, only returning to the campaign weeks or months later because the thought of enduring such punishment was keeping you away from it. At that point the feeling is long gone. Did I just say "feeling"? Yes. So the idea here is to have as few bumps in the road as possible. Of course, some highlights of the story will equate to moments of increased difficulty, but instead of detracting from the enjoyment they will add to it.


Custom content will include:

Soundtrack: I've begun selecting music pieces from different artists to use, since I have no intention of creating original music myself. The way I see it, that would take time I rather spend on other aspects such as writing and polishing the maps.

Original voice-work: this has been confirmed by a soon-to-be collaborator; THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS will be fully voiced. However, I've yet to find a female voice actress to lend her talent in playing Miriam, the protagonist. Once I have finished the script and mapping progress is more advanced, I'll begin my pursue of this unknown lady.

Light Modding: yes, "light" because it will be limited to fairly standard business. Custom portraits (think Cynon portraits from Maplantis), some weapon modifications, and maybe a little something extra, which I won't mention as it's still unconfirmed. Don't expect brand-new units or anything of that level, though.


That's it for now. Hopefully in the next update I'll throw in a screenshot or two for some visual excitement; I know it gets boring just reading text. Meanwhile, any questions or comments are 100% welcome. :]

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Church » Mon Jan 02, 2012 6:40 pm

Intriguing! I like where you're going with this.

HelpMe wrote:Firstly, at this point I'm somewhat tired of Zerg-related problems in campaigns. To be more precise, what annoys me is the effect Zerg have on the mood of campaigns. It's what I call "Zerg Hysteria". I believe we're all familiar with it: lots of screaming, desperate shooting, dialogue lines such as "It's teh Zerg! Ahhh!!". Yeah. Well, that's not what I have in mind for THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS.

I know what you mean. A lot of campaigns have this premise, and I'd be lying if I said I haven't made campaigns like this...
However, it's good to see you going for something new.

HelpMe wrote:Especially because so much of this story will be centered around unmistakably human qualities, such as arrogance, pettiness and deceit, and also more positive ones like friendship. And for portraying those things, having an all-Terran cast of characters will help in making it relatable and closer to the viewer.

Great! I love exploring this type of thing with Terrans.

HelpMe wrote:This may sound like a bad design choice for some, but my concern here is to always keep the story flowing. The last thing I want is for you to get aggravated and rage-quit the missions, only returning to the campaign weeks or months later because the thought of enduring such punishment was keeping you away from it.

This is an interesting philosophy, and I can't wait to see what you do with it. This will be especially nice for me, being the mediocre player I am... ;)

Great stuff so far, and keep it coming!
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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby mark_009_vn » Mon Jan 02, 2012 11:37 pm

HelpMe wrote:Firstly, at this point I'm somewhat tired of Zerg-related problems in campaigns. To be more precise, what annoys me is the effect Zerg have on the mood of campaigns. It's what I call "Zerg Hysteria". I believe we're all familiar with it: lots of screaming, desperate shooting, dialogue lines such as "It's teh Zerg! Ahhh!!". Yeah. Well, that's not what I have in mind for THE MALICE OF DIAMONDS.


Well, originally the Zerg was designed to be a very mysterious entity, a race that would give the Terran campaign in the original Starcraft a sense that something far bigger is happening in the background, something that the Terran could never imagine to reach. The "Zerg Hysteria" thing is just the result of the constant botching done by various novel writers that doesn't even have anything to do with Blizzard.
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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:08 am

@Jim

Living up to expectations -- particularly yours and Darion's -- is one of the reasons I'm focused on crafting a worthwhile experience. :]


mark_009_vn wrote: The "Zerg Hysteria" thing is just the result of the constant botching done by various novel writers that doesn't even have anything to do with Blizzard.


"Nothing to do with Blizzard" is a bit much. I remember at least a couple of cinematics from the original SC/BW campaigns were essentially marines getting diced by hydralisks. And lots of screaming and shooting. So they certainly portrayed that angle pretty thorougly in the canon story. Mind you, it was necessary to the story being told, and it was still fresh at the time. We all enjoyed it -- I know I did, as I still get nostalgic over it. However, at this point I believe a little innovation is required in order to keep the flames burning.


Well, originally the Zerg was designed to be a very mysterious entity, a race that would give the Terran campaign in the original Starcraft a sense that something far bigger is happening in the background, something that the Terran could never imagine to reach.


Ah, yes. You worded it perfectly. At first there was indeed mystery to the Zerg, while we hadn't yet fully experienced Starcraft. Although by the time I completed the BW campaign that mystery was dispelled; they were just the Zerg. That's how it was for me, at least.

I do see your point, though. If I may add, what you described sounds a lot like the "cosmic horror" of H.P. Lovecraft's stories: the idea that humans are no more than a tiny, insignificant speck amid the vastness of the universe, where great unknown forces dwell, completely indifferent and dispassionate to our existence. You might want to check the "Cthulhu Mythos" if you're interested. :)

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Pr0nogo » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:14 pm

The Zerg lost their allure when they were humanised in the fourth vanilla mission. Kerrigan became their representation, and she was mostly human in intention, emotion, and psyche. The Overmind was no longer the focus, and this was a flaw.

Nonetheless, glad to see you're headed in a new direction. You know who to call for beta testing.

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:45 pm

Pr0nogo wrote:The Zerg lost their allure when they were humanised in the fourth vanilla mission. Kerrigan became their representation, and she was mostly human in intention, emotion, and psyche. The Overmind was no longer the focus, and this was a flaw.


Quite true. Well at least she made for a fun villain.

Nonetheless, glad to see you're headed in a new direction. You know who to call for beta testing.


That will take a while but good to know I can rely on ya. ;D

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Thu Jan 05, 2012 3:54 pm

A little update. I promised a screenshot, so... this is the hangar of the Academy. It's a segment of the first mission, which will depict the arrival of Miriam and her first day on new military grounds, her new home. Mind you, this is strictly terrain and no units have been placed yet, nor any triggering done.


Image


For the moment that's all the visual I will disclose. I really don't want to reveal too much of the place; I'd rather have you guys discover it for yourselves when you play the mission. I will say this though: I'm putting a lot of effort into making the installation setting a more exciting place to be. In my opinion, it is kind of a black sheep when it comes to tilesets -- the palette looks bland for the most part, there's not enough doodads, the terrain is not as versatile as others -- it's lifeless, sterile and boring. But I intend to change that somewhat, or at least stray from the beaten path as much as possible.

Also, I'd like to add an observation for my fellow map-makers: it's uncanny how the terrain of a map can give you ideas for the story. Most of the time it's the other way around: the writing dictates what the terrain will be like. But on a quite a few occasions, while experimenting with different layers and doodads, what you see on-screen tells you what should happen in the story. Lavarinth wrote a bit on this aspect on his 'The Bunker' development log, and it couldn't be more true. As a result of that, a pretty cool idea crossed my mind today and I'm quite pleased with how it's shaping up.

Ok enough talking, back to work...

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Thalraxal » Sat Jan 07, 2012 4:14 pm

I find the same thing with terrain, it's as much a part of the story as the dialogue, since it pretty much is most of the descriptive text you'd be using to describe the setting of the scene. Making good terrain is, sadly, a bit of a thankless task though, since it blends in seamlessly. Bad terrain, however, will always draw attention to itself.

If you're finding the default installation terrain a bit bland, try and hunt down a copy of Wargiant's Improved Installation terrain. RCX used a modified version of it in Prophecy and Final Destiny. It adds a lot of useful doodads to the installation terrain. Sadly, I'm not sure where you can still find a copy of it anymore.

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby Pr0nogo » Sat Jan 07, 2012 8:42 pm

I saw you mention that in your All Confeds Must Die thread, Thal. You should see if you can find a copy of it. I can't find anything in Google.

..Not that it'd be any use of me, considering I'm making a Protoss campaign, but it'd serve a lot of other people's purposes.

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Re: [BW] The Malice of Diamonds

Postby HelpMe » Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:00 am

Thalraxal wrote:Making good terrain is, sadly, a bit of a thankless task though, since it blends in seamlessly. Bad terrain, however, will always draw attention to itself.


That's a sad truth for the most part. Unless we're talking about some freaky extended piece with lots of sprite usage, the kind of thing you can't help but notice. Still, that's especially true for "natural landscapes" such as forests, wastelands and such; when they're properly done, the viewer just takes it in without much consideration.

If you're finding the default installation terrain a bit bland, try and hunt down a copy of Wargiant's Improved Installation terrain. RCX used a modified version of it in Prophecy and Final Destiny. It adds a lot of useful doodads to the installation terrain. Sadly, I'm not sure where you can still find a copy of it anymore.


Nice, that could prove quite useful. I'll try and ask about it at SEN, maybe they have it over there. Or maybe I could send a message to RCX asking if he still has it (the original Wargiant's one). That could be more effective, I think I'll try that first.

Pr0nogo wrote:I can't find anything in Google.


Yeah same here. :'(

How come we don't have our own terrain resources here at CC? They're such handy tools. That's a big thing SEN has that we don't. (Yeah I know, "so why don't you move over to SEN" etc etc :sweat:)


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