Campaign Standards of Today

A collection of past threads worth keeping for the community to read.
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Meta » Tue Jan 15, 2008 4:49 am

JimmyJames wrote:A flexible world to work in could be one factor in the reason behind the WC3 community's inability to release projects. Another reason could be the 'feature creep' borrowing the term from Maglok's post where campaign creators put too much work in front of them to finish. But to point at another paragraph in my topic post, does anyone agree that another reason could be the ease and learning curve of the Campaign Editor itself. There is the architect and his tools. If he gets new tools and they are hard to figure out, chances are the person would go back to using his older tools or stop his work altogether. This might also run into why people in the Starcraft community are more successfully productive than the Warcraft community.


First thing, this thread is absolutely a must for all those who intend to make maps for SC2, IMHO. So many quality posts... :)

Yeah, I was speaking with Maglok on MSN about the "feature creep" and how we must all be aware of it, not being overambitious and all. Of course, ambition is definitely needed or your campaign will end up mediocre, adding nothing new to the community... but knowing your limits is absolutely needed. Don't aim for cutscenes if you've never ever made one, or your project will just suffer a huge delay. Many veterans got caught by it, like Auspex in TAC 3 and others.

I agree with the campaign editor thingy though. It was so easy to make simple maps in SC compared to making simple ones in WC3... hopefully SC2 editor will be more userfriendly than Worldedit - Blizzard said it'll be, but we'll have to wait and see. woot.  ;D

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby TPC » Tue Jan 15, 2008 9:54 am

Shit, there goes this podcast idea.

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Lavarinth » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:05 pm

Ahahahaha!
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Marine » Tue Jan 15, 2008 12:12 pm

Maglok wrote:I'd boggle that last point down to the fact Warcraft 3 was, A: Not as popular as Starcraft, and probably still isn't and B: Warcraft 3's setting was quickly sequeled by World of Warcraft. If you are a Warcraft fan you'd move on to WoW, sure not everyone, but a lot.


I still wonder though how they are suppose to make like a WarCraft 4 story because WoW jsut keeps producing more stories. Instead of like a final showdown say between the Burnign Legion and Azeroth on an RTS say WC 4 they might just put it on WoW.
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Mucky » Tue Jan 15, 2008 1:08 pm

JimmyJames wrote:But to point at another paragraph in my topic post, does anyone agree that another reason could be the ease and learning curve of the Campaign Editor itself. There is the architect and his tools. If he gets new tools and they are hard to figure out, chances are the person would go back to using his older tools or stop his work altogether. This might also run into why people in the Starcraft community are more successfully productive than the Warcraft community.


You're saying that nearly an entire community is unwilling to make campaigns because WorldEdit is "too hard to learn"?

Bullshit.

Do you remember when you learned StarEdit? Would you say it was a cakewalk? If so, you're probably lying. One does not open up a map editor and expect to learn all of its intricacies overnight. It takes time. WorldEdit certainly takes more time to learn than StarEdit, but that's because it has more things to learn than StarEdit. If you were to keep a list of what WorldEdit can do next to list of what StarEdit can do, you'd see that StarEdit has next to nothing, and in my perspective, that's nothing but a gift. But according to what you say, newer and better tools works out to be a disadvantage for the mapmaker because he's too used to his old tools. This is utterly false. If anything, it's your own emotional laziness.

Imagine you're a carpenter. You're sawing a log. Your saw has become quite dull, to the point where you need to put force in your movements. A co-worker suggests to you that you sharpen the blade, or get a newer one. You reply to him "I would, but I'm too busy sawing this log!" Not really related to learning an editor, but the concept of emotional laziness still applies. If you don't want to sharpen the blade, you are free to spend 5 minutes doing a 2 minute job. And if don't want to explore what WorldEdit has to offer, you are free to jump through hoops to get something simple done in StarEdit.

I'm not even arguing that it's worth your time to make a campaign using WorldEdit. I'm just saying that to reject a newer generation editor simply because it has more stuff in it is foolish. Implying that an entire community has done this is even more foolish.

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Legion » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:21 pm

Well spoken.

If you're willing to actually accomplish something, you'll do it. I once worked with WorldEdit, then after a few maps said to myself, "Nah, I'm never going to get this." Turns out Warcraft maps just really weren't my thing, and that was the underlying problem.

Yes, I am saying that if you find that any editor is too complicated for you, you really just don't want it all that badly.

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Ricky_Honejasi » Tue Jan 15, 2008 2:58 pm

Personally, I believe gameplay is more important than story.

Yes, story is usually what is more memorable about a campaign but it is gameplay that truly compels you to play from start to finish.

Let's go with the extremes :

Awesome gameplay but crappy story
You might wonder the point of the story but you could care less because you enjoy beating up whatever there is and the original gameplay is refreshing.

Awesome story but crappy gameplay
You feel compelled to play at first since the story is very engaging however you sooner or later give up because the gameplay is so horrible that you want to give up in the first 15-30 minutes. In a best case scenario, players uses cheats just for the propose of seeing mostly the story.

Remember that players will be "stuck" 80-95% of their time with a campaign's gameplay vs the story that would take 5-20% of their time. In addition, normally bad story is skippable with the ESC key (in War3) in a worse case scenario. Meanwhile, bad gameplay cannot be entirely skippable even with cheats (provided you are trying to get anything off the campaign).

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Maglok » Wed Jan 16, 2008 1:54 am

I disagree on the gameplay being the motivator. For you mabye, personally I play most games for the story. See games have evolved, they are almost like movies in some cases. If I were to now play a Starcraft campaign, I'd do it for the story, effects, voices, etc. Anything I had not already done a million times. The gameplay I usually have. This is me, not you, but it does show gameplay is not the main motivator for everyone.

There is something growing which I like to call cinematic campaigning where the story is more important then the gameplay. I can reference a LotC map where you defend earth in orbit from zerg. Basically you cannot loose that map, since the time limit you have to hold out will always be over before all units are gone, so there is not much gameplay to speak of in that map. But the story behind the map is actually quite an interesting thing and this one map is dedicated to showing the take down of the defense fleets and the betrayal of the protoss. The entire map is a 'cinematic'.

With Starcraft 2 cinematic campaigns will become ever increasing. With the addition of storyspace, where we walk around talking to people, basically playing a RPG I predict story can be a great motivator. Let's face it, if I wan't to play some SC2 I can just log on battle.net (or whatever incarnation it takes). If I want to experience something different then the gameplay I play a good campaign. Don't get me wrong, gameplay is important and there are of course enough gameplay ideas that do not revolve around build a base and kill the bad guys. Hell you can shut my argument down with 'it's a game not a movie', but really the difference isn't that big anymore.
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Meta » Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:23 am

I'll have to somewhat agree with Ricky - I don't think gameplay is more important than story, but to me they hold the same importance and must be balanced - and, from what I've seen, most of the campaignmakers don't care much about gameplay at all, and that's a reason why campaigns aren't very popular with the Battle.net veterans. This is also responsible for most campaigns being too easy to beat, and that's completely anti-climatic and a potential killer of the whole atmosphere and storytelling. B&D campaigns, with the regular "melee" gameplay, also tend to be absolutely boring, since one can really pull off very interesting minigames and stuff using Staredit or Worldedit, thus making your campaign's gameplay something very unique.

I'd never segregate gameplay from plot; I understand the whole "interactive movie" thing, but if the gameplay is repetitive and/or meaningless, I wouldn't give it much attention, no matter how cool the story is: walking around and talking to people is something I've done a hundred times in games, and that eventually gets boring as well. But I'm aware that many people will disagree: if you say the word "LotC", I'd never recall the "defend Earth orbit from Zerg" map: that awesome installation map inside the battle platform, that desperate Protoss defense vs Zerg on Aiur or the Ion Cannon map... those are the ones that come to my mind. They all had great, unique gameplay as well. I believe it just shows how everyone has his own preferences. :)

However, to be honest, I don't think gameplay is more important than story. If gameplay is most of your motivation, just go ahead and make UMS maps and be happy with it.  ::)The magic word to me is balance between story and gameplay, and innovation as well: just as your plot or should be unique, so should the gameplay, the terrain, the ambience, the characters, and so on. :P

Also changing subject a little, I don't think one should make campaigns to please others, since it's impossible to please everyone. Just make whatever you want to play, and, if others like it, yay. We're not getting paid, anyway, and don't have any obligation to make what the masses want ("DotA", "supah revenge of duran and da hybridz" or "BGH", anyone?  ;)). Just don't forget to take beta testers' words seriously - these can be really helpful, but otherwise it's all about having fun.

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Ardis » Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:17 am

The Vision of the Future series is what got me into modding to begin with. My first mod, Dark Era, I worked on (on and off) for about five years and finally gave up on it last year. Now I'm working on a new one, it's a total conversion.

I see gameplay as the highest priority to focus on, once you have the gameplay down, then you can work on a plot, cinematics and voice acting.  Because if you finish the plot before the gameplay is done, you might have to change the plot or the gameplay if you end up making something that can ruin the whole thing. What I did was I came up with a basic idea for the plot while I was working on the mod, then I'm going to focus on the campaign after I have the mod finished.

Ricky made some good points on the gameplay vs plot as well. In all reality, they are both equally important, you just have to figure out which one you want to work on first. If you work on the gameplay first and provide screenshots of it, then people will take interest. But if you focus on the plot first, all you have to show is a bunch of text really, and the human brain responds better to pictures than letters (which is why most people can't stand using DOS.)
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Legion » Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:30 am

Maglok wrote:I disagree on the gameplay being the motivator. For you mabye, personally I play most games for the story. See games have evolved, they are almost like movies in some cases. If I were to now play a Starcraft campaign, I'd do it for the story, effects, voices, etc. Anything I had not already done a million times. The gameplay I usually have. This is me, not you, but it does show gameplay is not the main motivator for everyone.


This actually sounds encouraging to me. I was never able to create great gameplay maps. :D

One other thing, I can never bring myself to sit through all the Blizzard campaigns. One of the things that's always bothered me (which some campaigns do a lot), is when you have a great map with a great story and you have to bring heroes here, there and everywhere and it's all going great until this message appears...

HOLD OUT / DEFEND YOUR BASE /  WAIT FOR REINFORCEMENTS for like 30 MINUTES...

WTF!?

For instance, I've never even waited for Zeratul and Artanis to complete 'working in the temple'. I'm not much of a cheater, but this is when I start doing it. :D

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Maglok » Wed Jan 16, 2008 5:39 am

It sounds a bit familiar. I do try, but I am not the best player and a map can just be hard. When that happens I tend to not want to have to replay it all, I don't mind breezing through a campaign. I can do a lot of things with my time, read a good book, go to the cinema, play ANOTHER game. I usually don't like to have to replay the exact same thing. This is my style of play though.
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Marine » Wed Jan 16, 2008 8:30 am

Legion wrote:
One other thing, I can never bring myself to sit through all the Blizzard campaigns. One of the things that's always bothered me (which some campaigns do a lot), is when you have a great map with a great story and you have to bring heroes here, there and everywhere and it's all going great until this message appears...

HOLD OUT / DEFEND YOUR BASE /  WAIT FOR REINFORCEMENTS for like 30 MINUTES...

WTF!?

For instance, I've never even waited for Zeratul and Artanis to complete 'working in the temple'. I'm not much of a cheater, but this is when I start doing it. :D



Same thing, like in StarCrafty original when you haev to survive for 30 minutes and wait for the Terran Dropships come, I played it once but when I like to re-do the campaigns I always either cheat through that one or just skip that one in the level select because I haet waiting for a half an hour and they barely attack me.
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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby Ricky_Honejasi » Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:00 pm

Mr. Meta wrote:Just don't forget to take beta testers' words seriously - these can be really helpful, but otherwise it's all about having fun.


Yeah, that's actually a biggie. I personally did test in-depth two different projects from other people back then and I eventually gave up testing them over frustration.

It REALLY don't help an alpha/beta tester when he actually take the time to make a clear list of issues to change or fix AND 80-90% isn't fixed after 10-15 updates of the project sent to you back.

It's a true pain because if you want to make your tester job right, you are basically forced to test from the very beginning each time there is an update since all and everything could have been changed and you need to notice it to actually report it.

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Re: Campaign Standards of Today

Postby IskatuMesk » Wed Jan 16, 2008 4:20 pm

Ricky WILL test my LoL campaign if I ever make it, though.

For me, I've never been big on campaigns. Very few ever had the initial bang to carry me through the first map, let alone the entire thing. I like unique gameplay with a twist, it can be challenging, but not absurd. But story is also the most important.

As you may have guessed I get very bored, very fast of campaigns using the original story as a background. The only Blizzard universe I really liked was Diablo and even then, player-built expansions on it tend to suck and lack any real creativity. That isn't to say the SC community lacks creativity (especially here), but they lack the power to really give me interest. WoS - now there's a campaign I played quite a lot of, simply for the story, and the fact the gameplay was a fresh change from wc3 in that in some missions you actually had allies and stuff.

If I made a LoL campaign, it would have a whole shitload of cinematics and stuff. I could aim to make the gameplay really challenging, and surely I'd know how to make it unique, but I'd refrain from making it too ridiculously hard. The goal would be to immerse players in the new universe and characters. Also to be inane.

I had attempted a wc3 campaign before on a new universe called Eternity, and this did get quite far, but what really killed the campaign was the horrendously stupid AI in wc3. It would run around in circles doing nothing and completely killing the map performance or get stuck on the simplest of terrain features. So, if I made a campaign, I'd have to manually trigger every single AI action to get them to be almost as intelligent as SC's AI was. At least SC's AI actually attacked things and knew what a cliff with a ramp was.
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