Everybody likes a good story. I think that's hammered enough but I just nailed it into the wall for your consideration.
Now before you read any of this, I am just an observer right now and I'm telling you what I've seen and remembered. To date, I have never released a map or campaign but I've fiddled with Starcraft's Campaign Editor and I've fiddled less with Warcraft's WorldEdit... so any replies from an actual campaign maker is greatly greatly appreciated.
So this is a topic about the campaign standards of today and what could be improved to make campaigns easier to make. Accessibility is all a game needs to have a creative fanbase!
With Starcraft 2 in progress and Warcraft 3 pretty much in an odd desolate abandonment from campaign makers, what standards do you think Starcraft 2's fan made campaigns will place on the community? Will there even be one or will it be as active as Warcraft 3?
Of course stories are key,
but since dialogue is a common way to develop a story, people will expect good voice acting. Bad voice acting will do worse than no voice acting at all unless it's a bad in a good way like a spoof.
Ruben Moreno's or Auspex's The Antioch Chronicles was the first to implement an engaging story and professional level voice acting into one package. If their third episode came out, I think a custom soundtrack would've also been included along with new modded units.
The cream of the crop in modding for me was RazorclawX's Vision of the Future series and the Oracle's The Legacy of the Confederation along with Fallen Angel. A custom soundtrack was beautifully chosen in the world of Ranma for VotF and the luxury of composer Joel Steudler enhanced the experience to the Oracle's works. Steudler even went as far to create a custom cinematic which no other Starcraft campaign had achieved yet (One for LotC and one for Fallen Angel).
While they were shiny, going back to storytelling, the best that I can remember after TAC was Desler's Celestial Irruption also because of its voice acting.
The one's with the most unique gameplay that stood out brilliantly were VotF series and Fallen Angel.
So what I have so far:
Story, definitely a requirement.
To complement telling a story, Professional Voice Acting, Custom soundtracks which don't exactly have to be original because that's also very luxurious.
Custom cinematics is the hugest luxury of all while many would just substitute with many in-game cinematics since Warcraft III.
Gameplay, the second biggest consideration.
To complement gameplay, the elements include terraforming/terrain because this can be as subtle as the music soundtrack. Finding new gameplay that strays away from the RTS concept or even better, evolving the RTS gameplay is another thing. And finally, modifications of units and abilities.
One problem with the Warcraft Campaign Maker's Community are large standards. The Campaign makers worry about too many things at one time and that made their projects lose hope and fail. A blessing to the story telling elements is Warcraft's cinematic mode which is also a curse because a Campaign Maker would then have to really know how to compose a shot to film and therefore knocking the barriers between Film Making, Storytelling, and Gameplay Composing. In Starcraft, all you needed to do was center the only game screen you had and if you did that, that was the best camera operation everybody was satisfied with while the composition of game elements within the screen wouldn't be as scruntinized as people in Warcraft III was. While the Warcraft III WorldEdit was more complex allowing scripts other than trigger commands to do just the same thing, it was less accessible to the community because there was a larger learning curve to even be able to read the damn things! (That was one of my frustrations with the WorldEdit).
But not all the faults lie within the Blizzard Campaign Maker's Community (BCMC?). Blizzard itself is to blame where they don't officially offer as much support for the Campaign Editors as they do with the Game itself. The cinematic mode they inputted into the editor was a great addition indeed for storytelling but I don't think enough was added for the ease of storytelling. They mainly concentrated on a mapmaker's potential to form gameplay instead of story. For instance, one thing that I think would solve the high standard of dialogue and voice acting is to have dialogue bubbles that are ably attached to the unit itself just like an actual RPG... and then you could have the option to have it fade out or clicked/commanded to disappear as another bubble could be commanded to appear from another unit. The Starcraft had to deal with uninspired display text over the screen. It didn't have the same pulling effect as a dialogue bubble would have. Warcraft III, other than the display text now has bottom display space under the letterbox mode which is a nice improvement, but again, it's not as powerful as a dialogue bubble. Dialogue bubbles have more attitude and personality than boring text falling by the wayside (Silent movies had better strategies when they covered the whole screen to display dialogue!). Blizzard needs to input more storytelling capabilities into their campaign editors.
Doctor Doack said in the Starcraft 2 centered topic:
I'm not sure if you were directing this at custom maps on Bnet AND Warcraft 3 Campaigns but I want to emphasize the reason why Warcraft 3 campaigns weren't being made in connection to the other UMS maps too....Wc3 has shown me how much blizzard's mapping community completely fails at making ums maps, so I am not really caring about that. I'm mostly worried about modding... but Blizzard will never be open to modders, let alone on the level actually decent companies are (Epic, GPG), so it's probably a lost cause to really hope.
I will repeat once again from the beginning:
Any additional corrections, comments, and replies are greatly appreciated:So this is a topic about the campaign standards of today and what could be improved to make campaigns easier to make. Accessibility is all a game needs to have a creative fanbase!
I was mainly exposed to TAC, and CC's Campaigns and that was it. If anyone has any others they would like to mention, please educate me.