New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

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chris
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by chris » Fri May 01, 2020 12:39 pm

Arkanis wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 10:08 am
chris wrote:
Fri May 01, 2020 7:18 am
Arkanis wrote:
Thu Apr 30, 2020 3:19 pm
Would love to try this out once it gets out but... couldn't it be somewhat ackward since these campaigns are from different authors, made at different times and not necessarily complementary or part of a "same" timeline?
Oh don't worry about that, it's very rare campaigns that get a recommendation conflict with each other and those that do are also conflicting with the canon plotline as well anyway. I think I can take some of those and use them as "what-if" campaigns, similar to what marvel has planned to do next year with all of its past movies.
Yes but I said it mostly because this idea of an "expanded universe" would really be an aggregation of various universes (since each author is not necessarily bound to each other and could at any time expand on their own universe disregarding the others).

Nonetheless it looks like a good idea to have a set of custom campaigns considered as "good" or "recommended", since there are really a lot of them and, sincerely, not all of them may deserve a try (without disrespecting anyone, but some campaigns I've come across the years have been... well, ugh).
This would only be a problem if the authors were still active or if they were authors interested in expanding on their own universe. The only authors who have made previous releases and are actively making serious work on campaigns currently are David Kang and Andrea Rosa, Andrea Rosa's work isn't going to conflict with an extended universe, in fact the campaigns created so far act as great glue for such a project. David Kang meanwhile is working on something completely new and promising. Pr0nogo is active but he isn't working on anything serious and I don't see a much hope that he will ever finish the two serious campaigns that he claims to be working on.

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Sun May 03, 2020 3:45 am

chris wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:25 pm
You cannot use David Kang for beta testing a map. I had to remaster his campaigns because they were on a difficulty that only he could possibly beat.

Surely not for beta testing, however DK's playthroughs gave me a couple of ideas on how to improve ToH, since the first version was really too easy, but I hadn't realized it until that moment. He also spotted some problems that I had overlooked, such as the needing to duplicate the transmissions sent by a Tank depending on whether it's in normal or siege mode.

chris wrote:
Wed Apr 29, 2020 12:25 pm
You also cannot use Pr0nogo anymore because he is burnt out and thinks everything is terrible, as discussed earlier.

Actually, the last thing I would want to see is one of my campaigns featured on his channel, not out of concern for his negative comments (everyone is entitled to their own opinions), but for all those omnipresent obnoxious sound effects (cawing crows, explosions, maniacal laughters, crying infants, etc) and the silly voices he makes when he reads the dialogues. Maybe he intends it as comic relief, but the overall impression is that he deliberately makes fun of other people's works. By the way, he has recently ascended to a new level, since he is now shitting even on his own creations (specifically, Inconsummate, which I have never played but looks really amazing)... I wonder if this is even his final form LOL
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Mon May 11, 2020 1:43 pm

UPDATE


ALL MISSIONS

- The campaign has been rebranded as "Veteran Level"
- Auto-centering function for "End of Briefing" (mainly for those who have StarCraft Remastered).


MISSION 3 "DARK STALKERS"

- Fixed a bug that could prevent the position of the Healing Station from being shown on the map.
- Minimal changes to the map.
- The last transmission of Dr. Martens has been slightly changed.


MISSION 4 "PRODIGAL SON"

- Fixed a bug that, on some rare occasions, could break the cutscene in which Tassadar and Zeratul board the Shuttle.
- Protoss Reavers can no longer upgrade to 125 damage (this was not done by disabling the upgrade, but by modifying the Bonus value of the Scarabs)
- Sunken Colonies have +1 armor.
- New triggered attacks.
- The available resources have been slightly increased.


MISSION 5 "DIVIDE BY ZERO"

- The available resources have been slightly increased.


MISSION 6 "THE SKIES DARKEN"

- Auto-centering function for the in-game error messages related to the creation of Warlords.
- The available resources have been slightly increased.
- The "Thank You" text is now yellow colored
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by chris » Tue May 12, 2020 12:21 am

Updated the files on the spreadsheet, also updated the following scores:
map: 80% to 85%
customizations: 0% to 5%
production value: 65% to 70%

As a result, overall score has gone from 75% to 76%

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Arkanis » Tue May 12, 2020 2:49 am

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Mon May 11, 2020 1:43 pm
UPDATE


ALL MISSIONS

- The campaign has been rebranded as "Veteran Level"
- Auto-centering function for "End of Briefing" (mainly for those who have StarCraft Remastered).


MISSION 3 "DARK STALKERS"

- Fixed a bug that could prevent the position of the Healing Station from being shown on the map.
- Minimal changes to the map.
- The last transmission of Dr. Martens has been slightly changed.


MISSION 4 "PRODIGAL SON"

- Fixed a bug that, on some rare occasions, could break the cutscene in which Tassadar and Zeratul board the Shuttle.
- Protoss Reavers can no longer upgrade to 125 damage (this was not done by disabling the upgrade, but by modifying the Bonus value of the Scarabs)
- Sunken Colonies have +1 armor.
- New triggered attacks.
- The available resources have been slightly increased.


MISSION 5 "DIVIDE BY ZERO"

- The available resources have been slightly increased.


MISSION 6 "THE SKIES DARKEN"

- Auto-centering function for the in-game error messages related to the creation of Warlords.
- The available resources have been slightly increased.
- The "Thank You" text is now yellow colored
Cool, I'll give it a try this week. ;)

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Lavarinth » Tue May 12, 2020 3:40 am

@Andrea Rosa, hello. I just want to drop off a quick note for you while you continue to produce what some would call "art". Campaigns, maps, scenarios, mods, fiction, anything is art here. With that said my only words of advice are older than the game you are using to create your work, but a truly quoted and practiced method here over decades in my and many other's experience:
Don't listen to what anyone has to say. This is for you, first and foremost.

You are not here to appease other people, only yourself. If you enjoy the work you have created, then what value is there from those who throw percentages, ranks, fact-checking, correction, or anything else at you in attempts to essentially sway your creativity in their direction. Be your own inspiration, let your own imagination grow and prosper. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Tue May 12, 2020 7:37 am

Lavarinth wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 3:40 am
@Andrea Rosa, hello. I just want to drop off a quick note for you while you continue to produce what some would call "art". Campaigns, maps, scenarios, mods, fiction, anything is art here. With that said my only words of advice are older than the game you are using to create your work, but a truly quoted and practiced method here over decades in my and many other's experience:
Don't listen to what anyone has to say. This is for you, first and foremost.

You are not here to appease other people, only yourself. If you enjoy the work you have created, then what value is there from those who throw percentages, ranks, fact-checking, correction, or anything else at you in attempts to essentially sway your creativity in their direction. Be your own inspiration, let your own imagination grow and prosper. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Wise words Lavarinth, I couldn't agree more. Over the twenty years I've been creating custom content for StarCraft and other games, I've always been faithful to my principles. Even though recognition is important to me, I do what I do for myself in the first place (but also for other people, otherwise I would just keep my creations in my hard drive). At the same time, I'm not an integralist: I'm very open to suggestions, taking into great consideration what I perceive as useful advices on how to improve my works and make them more user-friendly. If an idea is good, there's no reason to ignore it just for the sake of being creative in an absolutist way. Conversely, If I don't like a proposed change, I will explain why I won't do it. According to my experience, this is a constructive approach to any kind of online community, and a viable way to build relationships with other fellow designers and/or players. With all this said, thanks for dropping in (to see what condition my condition was in, LOL)
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by chris » Tue May 12, 2020 12:18 pm

Lavarinth wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 3:40 am
@Andrea Rosa, hello. I just want to drop off a quick note for you while you continue to produce what some would call "art". Campaigns, maps, scenarios, mods, fiction, anything is art here. With that said my only words of advice are older than the game you are using to create your work, but a truly quoted and practiced method here over decades in my and many other's experience:
Don't listen to what anyone has to say. This is for you, first and foremost.

You are not here to appease other people, only yourself. If you enjoy the work you have created, then what value is there from those who throw percentages, ranks, fact-checking, correction, or anything else at you in attempts to essentially sway your creativity in their direction. Be your own inspiration, let your own imagination grow and prosper. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I've sent you a PM but I'll say this part publicly: I believe Andrea will vouch that in his campaign threads me and Eredalis have in no way been judgmental but have instead focused on being encouraging and helping to stamp out bugs, as well as discussing our love for starcraft and custom campaigns and criticizing those who ARE judgmental (like Pr0nogo).

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Wed May 13, 2020 7:29 am

chris wrote:
Tue May 12, 2020 12:18 pm
I believe Andrea will vouch that in his campaign threads me and Eredalis have in no way been judgmental but have instead focused on being encouraging and helping to stamp out bugs, as well as discussing our love for starcraft and custom campaigns and criticizing those who ARE judgmental (like Pr0nogo).

There is no need to vouch for that. Anyone who has been following my campaign threads for a while will know that both Chris and Eredalis have been greatly helpful, not judgmental, and they haven't been trying to sway my creativity in their direction in any way. Indeed, I wish there were more people like them in this community (both here and on Staredit Network).
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Arkanis » Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am

Ok so I've finally played this campaign. Overall, it has the atmosphere of the original SC Zerg campaign. In line with TOH, terrain and doodad/unit placement for all maps look very professional and polished, specially when compared to the original SC campaigns (which I recently revisited as a result of playing your campaigns and wow... I had a memory of them being much better, but they are actually jokingly simple and dull in many cases).

I like how you mix main objectives with creative challenges, so it's not just a repetitive B&D gameplay but actually one where you must be strategic and boldly chose your targets. And this, despite the limitations of StarEdit (or, maybe, taking advantage of them, which is commendable). Just as in TOH, I've also seen AI workers "freeze" in some missions (Mission 4, Yellow in Mission 5), but at this point I must assume this is an issue of the SC engine itself and not of the AIs. Now, the specific review for each mission.

Mission 1: The premise is very interesting; you have to destroy a number of Siege Tanks within a given timeframe, and to do so you must coordinate a pincer attack from two opposite locations in the map. I required some micromanagement and careful attack planning early on to ensure both bases grew evenly, but it is a realistic objective and a good start for your campaign.

As a suggestion: I see that one of your defeat conditions is that you lose all of your buildings before Switch 1 (the one that leads to the Drone appearing and moving through the canyon) is set. However, you are required to destroy the Tanks at both sides of the canyon in order for the Drone to survive. Due to the map design, and since you aren't allowed to build any air units, Nydus canals or research Ventral Sacs, you can't reinforce your forces in the other side, so you must actually maintain your two bases in order to win the mission. Thus, losing either of them should be a defeat condition of its own, even if your other base is on steroids, because there is no way you can win the mission if you can't destroy the Tanks in one side.

Mission 2: Another B&D mission with some specific objectives that make it more entertaining and compelling. The introduction of Epsilon Squadron and the active use of Science Vessels by the computer is a nice touch to the plot. The Orange Zerg uses the same 'Zerg Campaign Easy' AI script which, as in TOH Mission 1, will actually attempt to build Guardians, with the downside that Guardians are not disabled here for P5. Not sure if this is a desired effect.

About the Garm/Fenris Broods, a minor (and rather cosmetic) suggestion: I didn't remember the broods' names having been directly mentioned by Zerg characters in the original SC or BW storylines, so I checked to see and I could confirm only a brief mention to the "Garm Brood" in The Culling, and just in the mission objectives (Daggoth actually referred to it as "Zasz's Brood", never as Garm). I've always wondered whether the broods were named like that by the Zerg themselves or those were just some sort of 'code names' put by the Terrans to identify them, considering that one wouldn't think of the Zerg using some Norse-mythology names to brand their broods. Maybe it'd be a good idea to have Daggoth & co refer to those as "Zasz's brood", "Nargil's brood", etc. to remove any possible artificiality to it. Nonetheless, this would be merely a cosmetic issue.

Mission 3: One interesting feature is the Infested Terran character (one which is short-lived and ultimately expendable, ok). Since Zerglings and Hydraliks would be unlikely to manage computers, this is a very accurate and clever approach; in fact, Zerg campaigns in the official SC/BW storyline are characterized by a lack of installation maps, save for The Amerigo one in which you get to use Kerrigan.

This map in particular speaks well of you since it shows the level of detail you put in your work. For example, it's nice to see someone actually taking the care to do something consistent with the installation walls. Most custom maps I've seen just leave the random tileset configurations (heck, even some official SC/BW installation maps, such as The Amerigo or Patriot's Blood, didn't pay enough attention to that). The fact that there's almost no wasted space, the secret Terminal allowing you a Healing Station to help you face the final Tank/Marine ambush and the clear distinction between the research squad (Epsilon) and the attack one (Alpha) further confirm this impression.

Mission 4: This mission was a tough one to beat due to the continuous DT harassment, but it makes an impressive use of triggered attacks. Precisely, you did get to make it look as if it was the AI that was launching those DT attacks, but they're all triggered by using the hero DT unit.

Dark Swarm proved very useful in this mission against Dragoons and air units, whereas Mutalisks did the day against Reavers. You made sure to make the Protoss strong enough so as to prevent the player from launching early attacks, so it was a must for me to amass a large force before going into the offensive. I got frustrated at some moments since I couldn't reinforce Nargil in any conceivable way without wiping out the Protoss first, but that's the whole point of the mission I think.

As for the Tassadar/Zeratul cutscene, Zeratul is a DT so it feels weird for him to make an appearance but remain invisible to the player's eye. I'd recommend using the 'Turn ON Shared Vision for Player 4' AI script for this until he loads into the Shuttle, then toggle it off, but I don't remember if it was StarEdit-compatible.

Mission 5: This was one hell of a mission, probably the hardest in the campaign for me, because 1) of the AI scripts at use, 2) the fact that I have to build my own base from scratch and 3) the relatively small room that the map design allows (it's a 128x128 one with three -initially allied- computer players). I had to restart it two times and save/reload VERY often because I become overwhelmed from all sides very quickly. Basically, I've to go into the offensive while withstanding constant nuking attempts (courtesy of 'Terran 12 - Nuke Town'), Plague+Ensnare combos from Yellow (the hand of 'Protoss 9 - Spell Zerg' can be seen here) and some occasional BCs. Oh, and the lovely Infested Terrans from Yellow. Ironically, the Orange Zerg which use 'Zerg Campaign Difficult' are somewhat kinder to me at first (though once it goes Muta/Guardian-mad it's nightmarish as well). The Terrans also almost immediately upgrade all techs up to tier 3.

While you are obviously intent on the Terrans and Yellow Zerg using nukes and spellcasters, I'd suggest to balance the AIs by leaving the player some more time to prepare at first, because those two scripts weren't designed to work in tandem. P9 is thought for throwing itself against Protoss (or, at least, a more prepared player), whereas T12 is originally used in a TvT map where the White base is much farther away from the player (which, btw, starts with a stronger army and more resources, while White didn't have any pre-established silos and had to build them first). The only realistic way to win for me without cheating was to take Yellow out first before I ran out of resources at my starting location while holding off White/Orange attacks, then assaulting the Terrans with Guardians. And I didn't manage this in one try. I've seen DK's playtrough of this mission in Youtube and even he, as an experimented and very agressive player, has serious issues at handling this during the first half of the mission. Targeting the Psi Scrambler to have both Yellow and Orange attack the Terrans seems too much of a commodity here.

There is a small "bug" where I can see Yellow ground units being allowed to run freely around the high platforms surrounding the Terran base before the Scrambler is destroyed (probably Orange ones could do this as well, though I haven't seen it due to their base being farther away). This is because OLords will drop them off there before the failsafe triggers you put in place force them to run back to their towns, but I guess they're not intended to do that. Further, it's not frequent but I've seen the Orange Zerg actually bypass this failsafe by entering the Terran base from the other side.

Mission 6: This mission is clearly inspired by The Invasion of Aiur and Full Circle, but it provides a great improvement to those. Particularly, the quality of terrain and doodad placement of those missions pales in comparison with what you achieved for The Skies Darken.

While in this one you had to manage yourself with care to avoid alerting the Purple and Red AIs ahead of time, the fact that they don't start attacking you right away made this mission easier for me than Divide By Zero (the Warlords and the pre-established Creep Colonies around possible expansions also helped, btw).

I hope I didn't miss anything. I saw you were working on a Protoss campaign to serve as some sort of third installment to this saga of yours, so I hope I may be able to play someday. ;)

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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm

Thank you very much for your detailed review, Arkanis. Here's my considerations:

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
As a suggestion: I see that one of your defeat conditions is that you lose all of your buildings before Switch 1 (the one that leads to the Drone appearing and moving through the canyon) is set. However, you are required to destroy the Tanks at both sides of the canyon in order for the Drone to survive. Due to the map design, and since you aren't allowed to build any air units, Nydus canals or research Ventral Sacs, you can't reinforce your forces in the other side, so you must actually maintain your two bases in order to win the mission. Thus, losing either of them should be a defeat condition of its own, even if your other base is on steroids, because there is no way you can win the mission if you can't destroy the Tanks in one side.

This totally makes sense. I will make this modification in the case of a future update.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
The introduction of Epsilon Squadron and the active use of Science Vessels by the computer is a nice touch to the plot. The Orange Zerg uses the same 'Zerg Campaign Easy' AI script which, as in TOH Mission 1, will actually attempt to build Guardians, with the downside that Guardians are not disabled here for P5. Not sure if this is a desired effect.

Over the countless times I have tested and played this map, I have never seen the computer using Guardians, not even when I completely ignored the Orange Zerg, so I didn't feel the need to disable them.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
About the Garm/Fenris Broods, a minor (and rather cosmetic) suggestion: I didn't remember the broods' names having been directly mentioned by Zerg characters in the original SC or BW storylines, so I checked to see and I could confirm only a brief mention to the "Garm Brood" in The Culling, and just in the mission objectives (Daggoth actually referred to it as "Zasz's Brood", never as Garm). I've always wondered whether the broods were named like that by the Zerg themselves or those were just some sort of 'code names' put by the Terrans to identify them, considering that one wouldn't think of the Zerg using some Norse-mythology names to brand their broods. Maybe it'd be a good idea to have Daggoth & co refer to those as "Zasz's brood", "Nargil's brood", etc. to remove any possible artificiality to it. Nonetheless, this would be merely a cosmetic issue.

You are right, the Brood names are code names created by the Terrans, and the Zerg don't use them. This is a liberty I took for the sake of narration (besides, Zerg shouldn't be supposed to speak English either) so the player can instantly recognize the Broods involved in the storyline. Moreover, there wouldn't have been a way to refer to the player's Brood. As a side trivia, not all Broods are named after Norse mythology names: a couple of them originate from Babylonian culture (Tiamat) and Jewish beliefs (Leviathan).

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
This map in particular speaks well of you since it shows the level of detail you put in your work. For example, it's nice to see someone actually taking the care to do something consistent with the installation walls. Most custom maps I've seen just leave the random tileset configurations (heck, even some official SC/BW installation maps, such as The Amerigo or Patriot's Blood, didn't pay enough attention to that). The fact that there's almost no wasted space, the secret Terminal allowing you a Healing Station to help you face the final Tank/Marine ambush and the clear distinction between the research squad (Epsilon) and the attack one (Alpha) further confirm this impression.

It was a very time consuming process (especially because I dediced to go the extra mile and edited also the walls facing in the opposite direction), but it was well worth it: installation maps look much more realistic when some consistence is applied. Basically you must think in the opposite way as when you work with cliffs. I'm glad that you got the distinction between the two Terran groups... indeed, the white Terrans are an Alpha Squadron contingent detached to this research lab: it is implied that Dr. Martens requested their intervention when Epsilon Squadron could no longer handle the situation on their own.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
You made sure to make the Protoss strong enough so as to prevent the player from launching early attacks, so it was a must for me to amass a large force before going into the offensive. I got frustrated at some moments since I couldn't reinforce Nargil in any conceivable way without wiping out the Protoss first, but that's the whole point of the mission I think.

The whole mission was designed with this handicap in mind, and obviously the main source of inspiration came from Norad II. The hardest part in designing this mission was to prevent Nargil from suffering excessively heavy attacks, so keeping Reavers and Carriers away from his domain was mandatory.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
While you are obviously intent on the Terrans and Yellow Zerg using nukes and spellcasters, I'd suggest to balance the AIs by leaving the player some more time to prepare at first, because those two scripts weren't designed to work in tandem. P9 is thought for throwing itself against Protoss (or, at least, a more prepared player), whereas T12 is originally used in a TvT map where the White base is much farther away from the player (which, btw, starts with a stronger army and more resources, while White didn't have any pre-established silos and had to build them first). The only realistic way to win for me without cheating was to take Yellow out first before I ran out of resources at my starting location while holding off White/Orange attacks, then assaulting the Terrans with Guardians. And I didn't manage this in one try. I've seen DK's playtrough of this mission in Youtube and even he, as an experimented and very agressive player, has serious issues at handling this during the first half of the mission. Targeting the Psi Scrambler to have both Yellow and Orange attack the Terrans seems too much of a commodity here.

I think that the map works well as it is - keeping in mind that it's meant to be hard. The two AIs were not designed to work in tandem, yet they work quite well, in my opinion. Their task is to harass the player while the Orange Zerg grow in power, then the Orange Zerg will become the main threat. I wanted the Terran to launch nukes even before the player is able to set up a base, and I like the final result. You have adopted the right strategy: it is also possible to claim the resources on the right of your base, but wiping out the Yellow Zerg first is the best solution.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
There is a small "bug" where I can see Yellow ground units being allowed to run freely around the high platforms surrounding the Terran base before the Scrambler is destroyed (probably Orange ones could do this as well, though I haven't seen it due to their base being farther away). This is because OLords will drop them off there before the failsafe triggers you put in place force them to run back to their towns, but I guess they're not intended to do that. Further, it's not frequent but I've seen the Orange Zerg actually bypass this failsafe by entering the Terran base from the other side.

Yeah, I'm aware of these funny side effects. According to my experience, Overlords are much harder to trick into doing something they don't want to do than Dropships or Shuttles, especially when the AI orders them to load or unload units. I'm satisfied enough that the Overlords stay away from the Terran base most of the time.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun May 31, 2020 4:27 am
I hope I didn't miss anything. I saw you were working on a Protoss campaign to serve as some sort of third installment to this saga of yours, so I hope I may be able to play someday. ;)

Yes, I started working on it two weeks ago. The first map is 50% done, I hope I will be able to finish it before the end of the year.
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by chris » Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:19 pm

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
Over the countless times I have tested and played this map, I have never seen the computer using Guardians, not even when I completely ignored the Orange Zerg, so I didn't feel the need to disable them.
Assumptions like that are a bad idea to make. You should definitely disable any and all units that you don't want the AI spawning (although, be careful. disabling ghosts on terran insane AI will cause starcraft to crash). By the way, Andrea. Did you know that scmDraft can be used to disable players from spawning brood war units on scm maps? Doing so would make it so that the map can be played both on brood war and original starcraft without being able to spawn undesirable brood war units. This will definitely come in handy for your Protoss campaign, let me know if you would like me to do it for your maps. :)
Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm

It was a very time-consuming process (especially because I decided to go the extra mile and edited also the walls facing in the opposite direction), but it was well worth it: installation maps look much more realistic when some consistency is applied. Basically you must think in the opposite way as when you work with cliffs. I'm glad that you got the distinction between the two Terran groups... indeed, the white Terrans are an Alpha Squadron contingent detached to this research lab: it is implied that Dr. Martens requested their intervention when Epsilon Squadron could no longer handle the situation on their own.
Installation walls are one of those things you really take for granted to be set up properly and normally I don't really notice any irregularities, even if there are a few inconsistencies.... That is, unless we have a situation like the one in mission 2 of Dark Swarm (made by Legion in 2008)

..... This was so bad that it was impossible for me to suspend belief during the mission. Both the mapping score and the plot map relation score on my spreadsheet were hit.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm

Yes, I started working on it two weeks ago. The first map is 50% done, I hope I will be able to finish it before the end of the year.
Woohoo, glad to hear work has started :)

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Arkanis
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Arkanis » Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:03 am

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
Thank you very much for your detailed review, Arkanis. Here's my considerations:

You're welcome. ;)

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
This totally makes sense. I will make this modification in the case of a future update.

In fact, of my whole post this would be the most game-breaking issue, since it opens the possibility of the player being left in an unwinnable position if he loses one of the bases. So, it speaks very well of you since it means the maps as a whole work nicely and as intended.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
Over the countless times I have tested and played this map, I have never seen the computer using Guardians, not even when I completely ignored the Orange Zerg, so I didn't feel the need to disable them.

It also depends on how fast you beat the map, because scripted attacks with Guardians are late. But they will eventually come if you use the 'Zerg Campaign Easy' script and let the AI build Guardians (btw, by this point you'd have noticed that I really hate the 'Zerg Campaign Easy' script LOL)

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
You are right, the Brood names are code names created by the Terrans, and the Zerg don't use them. This is a liberty I took for the sake of narration (besides, Zerg shouldn't be supposed to speak English either) so the player can instantly recognize the Broods involved in the storyline. Moreover, there wouldn't have been a way to refer to the player's Brood.

Yeah, I did imagine that, but it was something that has caught my attention (though I'm also somewhat of a perfectionist at times and may notice things that other people may just ignore). It's a minor issue anyway, and I'm aware that an equilibrium must be reached between naturalness and precision. ;)

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
As a side trivia, not all Broods are named after Norse mythology names: a couple of them originate from Babylonian culture (Tiamat) and Jewish beliefs (Leviathan).


Yeah, I know. In fact, Grendel and Baelrog are not even based in any mythological creature at all: the first one is a character in the epic poem "Beowulf", and Baelrog is an obvious reference to the LOTR's creature. Nonetheless, it was funny how they mostly chose names from either Norse creatures (Surtur, Fenris, Jormungand, Garm) or names of mythological sea serpents/creatures (Tiamat, Jormungand, Leviathan and -less known but still nominally canon- Kukulkan (Shadow of the Xel'Naga) and Bahumut (Insurrection)) as Brood names.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
It was a very time consuming process (especially because I dediced to go the extra mile and edited also the walls facing in the opposite direction), but it was well worth it: installation maps look much more realistic when some consistence is applied. Basically you must think in the opposite way as when you work with cliffs. I'm glad that you got the distinction between the two Terran groups... indeed, the white Terrans are an Alpha Squadron contingent detached to this research lab: it is implied that Dr. Martens requested their intervention when Epsilon Squadron could no longer handle the situation on their own.

Indeed, but as you see it is a process which in the end pays off. It is one of those little things you can do with the classical StarEdit that looks as a minor nuance at first, but which helps increasing the map's professionality by a great deal.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
The whole mission was designed with this handicap in mind, and obviously the main source of inspiration came from Norad II. The hardest part in designing this mission was to prevent Nargil from suffering excessively heavy attacks, so keeping Reavers and Carriers away from his domain was mandatory.


I see. You did greatly at achieving this, since I mostly had attacks from Zealots and DTs, which were still painful at times but manageable nonetheless.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
I think that the map works well as it is - keeping in mind that it's meant to be hard. The two AIs were not designed to work in tandem, yet they work quite well, in my opinion. Their task is to harass the player while the Orange Zerg grow in power, then the Orange Zerg will become the main threat. I wanted the Terran to launch nukes even before the player is able to set up a base, and I like the final result. You have adopted the right strategy: it is also possible to claim the resources on the right of your base, but wiping out the Yellow Zerg first is the best solution.

Probably, but I found it quite frustrating most of the time.
I tried going for the resource cache on the right first, but since you need to destroy the small Terran outpost there (which the main Terran base will attempt to reinforce if in peril), you'd ultimately end up very exposed: directly from the Terrans attacking you as well as from the Orange Zerg which may occasionally show up there, and indirectly from the Yellow Zerg because not attacking them right away means they'll keep growing and strengthening themselves. In the end, the easiest route is to take out Yellow first since you have up to three resource nodes available in their area, plus the fact that you'll have one enemy less to worry about. But I fear you are limited to do this. Going for the Terrans or the Orange Zerg first is nigh to impossible with the current design, I think.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
Yeah, I'm aware of these funny side effects. According to my experience, Overlords are much harder to trick into doing something they don't want to do than Dropships or Shuttles, especially when the AI orders them to load or unload units. I'm satisfied enough that the Overlords stay away from the Terran base most of the time.

It's because, unlike Dropships and Shuttles, Overlords are sentient beings. The also have their feelings!
Just kidding, tt's probably because of the Overlords' role in the game. As supply providers, the computer will always have tons of them (unlike Dropships or Shuttles, of which the AI may build a few but never in those quantities). It's frequent for the Zerg AI to send massive waves of Overlords to any single location to unload their units. And the fact is that even preserved triggers are not entirely automatic: they'd need about 1-2 secs to restart, which is just enough to allow some of the Overlords to reach destination and drop their units before being sent away. I think this could be solved by making the NoFlyZone locations larger (currently they are 2x2, small enough to allow some Overlords to bypass them within that 2 second-timeframe), but I am not sure it's worth the effort since it's not such a big issue anyway.

Andrea Rosa wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 5:17 pm
Yes, I started working on it two weeks ago. The first map is 50% done, I hope I will be able to finish it before the end of the year.

Cool to hear that. ;)

I for myself have been toying with the idea of making a campaign myself. I actually have some material already in place which I've created throughout the years for fun: a storyline, characters, some maps... but I'm very detailist and, in the end, I remain weary to release anything that does not fully please me. Maybe I can give it a try, who knows. :lol:

chris wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:19 pm
Installation walls are one of those things you really take for granted to be set up properly and normally I don't really notice any irregularities, even if there are a few inconsistencies.... That is, unless we have a situation like the one in mission 2 of Dark Swarm (made by Legion in 2008)

..... This was so bad that it was impossible for me to suspend belief during the mission. Both the mapping score and the plot map relation score on my spreadsheet were hit.

You can actually find such examples in some of Blizzard's campaign maps. BW Terran mission 7 is just horrible, there was clearly no effort at making anything regular with installation walls there. In SC Zerg mission 5, they only did it for some specific areas but the rest are chaotic as well. They only took it seriously for SC Terran 4 and SC Protoss 6, and with some inconsistencies anyway.

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Andrea Rosa
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Re: New StarCraft campaign: Voices of the Swarm

Post by Andrea Rosa » Sun Jun 14, 2020 8:05 am

chris wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:19 pm
Assumptions like that are a bad idea to make. You should definitely disable any and all units that you don't want the AI spawning (although, be careful. disabling ghosts on terran insane AI will cause starcraft to crash).

I think I'll leave it that way. The Orange Zerg in this mission are really weak, they are more of a nuisance than a real threat. Even if they were able to spawn an handful of Guardians it wouldn't be a big issue, since the player has access to air units (differently from the first mission of TOH). Thanks for the useful info about Ghosts.

chris wrote:
Sat Jun 13, 2020 11:19 pm
By the way, Andrea. Did you know that scmDraft can be used to disable players from spawning brood war units on scm maps? Doing so would make it so that the map can be played both on brood war and original starcraft without being able to spawn undesirable brood war units. This will definitely come in handy for your Protoss campaign, let me know if you would like me to do it for your maps. :)

Good to know that, but can the maps still be opened with StarCraft's StarEdit after this treatment? (You know, Brood War's StarEdit is slightly different from the original one).

Arkanis wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:03 am
It also depends on how fast you beat the map, because scripted attacks with Guardians are late. But they will eventually come if you use the 'Zerg Campaign Easy' script and let the AI build Guardians (btw, by this point you'd have noticed that I really hate the 'Zerg Campaign Easy' script LOL)

No matter what strategy I employ, I can't beat this mission in less than one hour: by that time, Guardians should appear, but it never happened. Probably it also depends on which race the computer is facing, because I have seen Zerg Campaign Easy using Guardians when I was playing as Terran (the first mission of Enslavers is the first example that comes to mind) and it happened well before one hour or playing, and only when I started attacking his base.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:03 am
Indeed, but as you see it is a process which in the end pays off. It is one of those little things you can do with the classical StarEdit that looks as a minor nuance at first, but which helps increasing the map's professionality by a great deal.

The left button of my mouse was crying at the end LOL. I really wish StarEdit was able to cycle through the various terrain types instead of laying them down randomly (this is most evident when working with Badlands/Jungle cliffs, as there are some types of cliff that appear very rarely).

Arkanis wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:03 am
I see. You did greatly at achieving this, since I mostly had attacks from Zealots and DTs, which were still painful at times but manageable nonetheless.

A good conservative strategy is to keep Nargil's Zerg burrowed (the technology is available by default), unburrowing them only when some Protoss come to attack the Sunken and Spore Colonies.

Arkanis wrote:
Sun Jun 14, 2020 4:03 am
I for myself have been toying with the idea of making a campaign myself. I actually have some material already in place which I've created throughout the years for fun: a storyline, characters, some maps... but I'm very detailist and, in the end, I remain weary to release anything that does not fully please me. Maybe I can give it a try, who knows. :lol:

Well, if you already have a storyline in your mind, then you are at a good point. All I can say is go for it. Once you have some maps done you will feel the urge to complete your project, and you will always be able to make some adjustments to the parts that do not fully please you.
My only fear is to run out of beer

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