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Stronghold 2 » Forums » Stronghold and Crusader: Scenario Design and Modding Forum » 20-question SD questionnaire
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Topic Subject:20-question SD questionnaire
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lord_yoshi
Archer
posted 01-16-04 04:39 EST (US)         
I'm bored and this forum has been so quiet lately that I've decided to post this public interview to boost forum activity here. You don't have to answer each and every question in this enquiry (you can answer each question, of course). I've written these questions a long time ago and some may have already been asked in some previous surveys we've had before. Ignore those questions if you've answered them already in similar inquiries.

***

1. Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the exact tasks for every day?
2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?
3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?
4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?
5. How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this in question #1)

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6. What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)
7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?
8. What do you like and what do you don't like about the SH editor?
10. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?
11. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?

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12. If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue)
13. What makes a scenario fun to play?
14. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?
15. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?
16. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?

------

17. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?
18. After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to ensure the success of your scenario?
19. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?
20. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?
21. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?

***

There's no question #9, because I deleted that one. It was about the future SH2 editor and that needs not be discussed in this thread.

I'll post my answers later today.


"That buzzing-noise means something. You don't get a buzzing-noise like that, just buzzing and buzzing, without its meaning something. If there's a buzzing-noise, somebody's making a buzzing-noise, and the only reason for making a buzzing-noise that I know of is because you're a bee." ó Winnie-the-Pooh, the World's greatest philosopher

Tower of Stronghold & Crusader Scenario Design

AuthorReplies:
Timballisto
Archer
posted 11-24-06 00:32 EST (US)     26 / 31       
Hehe this should be interesting...

1. Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the exact tasks for every day?

A schedule??? Yikes. No schedule for me, I just sit down to do a map when I have time to. Well, when I make a level how I do it really depends on what it's purpose is. Sometimes I make a level because I feel bad about something, so I embody that in a sad level (although I've never released any of these, and some of them I haven't finished). Some of them I do simply because they're next in line in a campaign. The others come from random inspiration I guess. Wherever the idea comes from, I usually get it in my head what it is that I want landscape-wise, and how I want the map to feel as you play it? I rarely ever take to paper and pencil except for when I get an idea in school, just because I have no other place to put it. Usually here I figure out the terrain, why the terrain is the way it is, and how the technical end of things are going to be worked out (especially so, because if I don't the level can be ruined), a rough outline of the story, and probably most of all how to achieve whatever effects I may be looking for in the level. Like, is it dark or happy? Is it rugged terrain or is it fertile and glorious on which a nation could prosper with well over a thousand people (in Stronghold terms )? Or is it just lonely, as if the nothingness pressed in on your little settlement whatever that might be? There can be a lonely forboding or a lonely yet neutral setup. Moving on the next thing I do is load up Stronghold of course and pick a map size. Normally, I start doing the terrain now. I figure out roughly the heights I want in which areas using the min, med, high, and max height tools, or if the level doesn't call for that as much or it calls for more rounded edges I'll use the mountain and hill tools in combination with the aforementioned ones. About now I will start smoothing down the level and fine tuning heights and at the same time I'll start working on certain areas a little at a time. So I do one area completely up, trees, bushes, rocks, the works, and move on to do another little area. This style can be seen especially in my level The Unexpected. In levels with cliffs, I usually will start working on the cliffs first, and then go back in and put in forests. Any rivers I do come with the patch construction or somewhere in the middle when their courses are defined well enough to put them in. For example I first made the heights in Staking a Claim and then I put in the rivers before doing anything else (by this I also mean the rocks dirt etc around the rivers). Really this whole stage can vary a bit though, and the order of actions taken to complete any level is really mostly random, what I have said above, starting with the terraining, is a rough guideline, and it in itself is already not so specific, so you can imagine how I do things. However last of all I usually will place the keep. This is one thing that is actually fairly consistent for me. Then I'll build any castle around it that happens to be there or any ruins etc. Basically, anything involving buildings and troops. However there are a few exceptions with the whole patch-construction thing. Mostly these exceptions would be ruins. The next thing I do is type in the story (again usually). After that it's off to scripting and playtesting. Playtesting is obviously irritating but I do it until the level is good. I can't really describe what 'good' means to me, but, there are a few examples. One would be when I got done playtesting Outlaws' Revenge. The ending was brilliant. The other would be the feeling I got from playing Staking a Claim the last time. I had struggled through that level, but I won out anyhow (even if Duc de Noisiel did annihilate that map O_o). Basically though the whole determining factor would probably have to be, did I do what I set out to do? Is this how I wanted it to feel? I want it to be that and a good challenge. If I have those two things I will usually have a readme typed up sometime by then, so then I prepare the map for uploading and then I send it in.

2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?

Uhhhhhh...that's tough...give me a minute or two...

...

If you're having trouble coming up with some good ideas, think about random stuff for awhile. It could take from a few minutes to a few days, but if you really want to make a level that is something different something will hit you sooner or later. I mean, seriously. Think about cheese or something random like that...

3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?

Well, uh, if I'm making a map with anything really big, obviously I'm going to go with the 400 x 400 option. I've never made anything that big yet. Sometimes I use smaller maps because of technical reasons. For example in Staking a Claim I used 200 x 200 because otherwise the rivers would have to be stretched out more than I'd like. Not to mention I wouldn't need all that room. Also if I want a fastpaced map or something as such I'll use 200 x 200, such as with Out of the Night or my upcoming level Revival. A 300 x 300 I use when I feel like I need the feeling of a vast landscape (well no duh). A 400 x 400 I rarely have need for. If I used one for most of my existing maps it would be a huge waste of space (imagine Staking a Claim but twice as big!). It's strange...but map size alone can really be used to change the feeling of a map. If you want an example, go play Gathering the Lost. Even if you've done it already, go there and look for what I'm talking about. Maybe you'll find it...

4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?

Extensive playtesting on my own basically. If they don't kill most of my men or make me stand on my toes most of the time I clamp down a little tighter, and a little tighter, and a little tighter, until it's just right. Of course, on the other end if I get killed with about 50 enemy troops left, I either try again if I think I messed up real bad or I tone it down some. If it's impossible for things to work out how they're supposed to, I change the level around. For example in Outlaws' Revenge I changed the level so that you basically just had to live long enough to get your reinforcements, and after that you had to move fast enough to take the castle. At first I had repeating invasions with loss timer and you had to build up enough of a force to take the castle on your own. This was a disaster. I couldn't have the level take too long due to story issues (one guy was way too old to start with) and there was no way I could win without majorly reworking the level. So I changed it. As for events, I try to use them sparingly, as too many can ruin a level somehow. I mean, there are ways to mitigate some things, but things like hopweevil and the event where your apple trees don't make apples are sometimes unable to be helped. You just have to suffer. So just suffering too many times is...well...stupid, because then you can't really do anything. So if I have events like that in a level at all, they will usually average once per year or once every two years. Oh, and I think the outlaws event is really cool. Honestly I had no good idea where I was going to go with my campaign after the first level, and then I thought about those outlaws...

5. How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this in question #1)

Really it varies. It's taken anywhere from two days to two months really. Take my seventh map in the campaign for example. It's been landscaped and everything since I don't know when, but it's not ready yet...

6. What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)

You're not going to make this easy are you? Ugh...let me see...

I'd have to say wooden platforms/stairs are my favorite, because they are functional and they are eyecandy, and wood is awesome...yeah, I like wood...like, a lot...so wooden platforms allow me to be free of those towers. It's awesome.

7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?

I rarely design for anything except Stronghold anymore, so no. Although if I did have a map going in some other game there'd be nothing stopping me from designing it at the same time.

8. What do you like and what do you don't like about the SH editor?

Oh my. Well I like how everything is still realtime. Yet I don't like certain aspects of the scripting. I think it could be way more advanced (custom messages for example, although you can already do that with the sounds I mean with the text too. Like you should be able to enter in a message in the editor. It wouldn't play any speech, but it'd show up as text. I played Stronghold a long time without sound, and I got used to that. Lol, Stronghold with sound seemed like an entirely different game almost). Next I don't like how the alliances are preset. I wish that you could make it so that the Snake, Pig, Rat, and Wolf WERE NOT allied with eachother. In fact I wish there was a diplomacy tab period. That could lead to so many things...just imagine... But anyhow I like all the glitches in the editor obviously. That combined with the real-time aspect produce some amazing effects not usually seen in other games. The trees growing/not growing thing, I know most people don't usually like, but I think it can be a plus. If I want a forest that looks mature or if I want a sapling, etc I can get it by waiting a bit and erasing what I don't want (if anything). Something I really wish they would have put in the editor would be circular brushes and square brushes. I mean, I know they already have one type of square brush, but what I'd like is if there was a brush that ran with the grid if you know what I mean.

9.

I don't know how to answer a question that says " ", but I have one for you: Where's question number 9?

10. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?

So far I've playtested all of them myself, but the latest map I've been working on I've sent to Sir Ravenclaw for playtesting, although I've playtested several times already myself.

11. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?

When it's done. If it feels right then it's done. That's it.

12. If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue)

Probably not. I mean, maybe, but it'd have to look really good and it'd have to be a minor interruption in the level. If it ruined the basic idea I'd find a substitute or leave it out altogether.

13. What makes a scenario fun to play?

What the heck??? Geez that's hard! Fun...well, if it's challenging, I guess, and if it's different somehow. If the landscaping conveys a certain feeling to you as well. Basically it's fun depending on the aura given off by a level. If it feels like you're really into the feeling of the level, like this battle really is important or you can feel the energy of the fictional characters or whatever. Basically, a big part of it is, can you bring those sprites on the screen to life in my mind? Am I a part of this? That's one of the most awesome things, although I have to note, just in case anyone thinks otherwise, that I distinguish between reality and imaginary (imagine when you're really into a book that's exciting. that kind of 'into it' is what I'm talking about). A level can be fun too purely for the strategic element. If it's kind of like a puzzle, that's entertaining. Oddly enough a level can also be fun simply for being a classic example of map type x. Like, if you have a generic invasion, only it's the equivalent of a book that is the embodiment of a certain genre of literature. It's hard to explain what I'm trying to say here...

14. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?

Uhhhhh not really sure I have the ability to claim this position. If I do, then it comes from...randomness. If I get any good/unique ideas they come from some part of me I'm not aware of.

15. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?

I have no idea. Personally I don't view maps together. I can only look at them one at a time. Personally I'd like it better if I made one scenario and it got a 5.0, but I wouldn't mind ten 4.0's either. For me it's like, okay I'm done with this map now, so send it in. I don't conciously go okay I need to make more maps so make more. Ugh, this is hard to explain...basically I just work on my current map until it's satisfactory, for me. This doesn't mean it's satisfactory for everyone else to the degree of a 5.0, but really working like this prevents any problems with me regarding this question.

16. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?

This varies. If I'm stuck with one map I start another. If I'm going fine with a certain map and I have no other projects in the works then I work on that map. I don't find that doing multiple maps at once is distracting or anything like that.

17. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?

I work on them whenever I feel like it AND have time. So this could mean regular and irregular.

18. After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to ensure the success of your scenario?

Uhhh...I just make the level until I like it and then I hope people have similar tastes basically. In my book it's more of a success if I make something I like. Sure, I'll count a 5.0 review as a success too certainly, but really I can never really know what to expect here. It takes a while to develop any sort of a following. Really I don't worry about this much at all.

19. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?

I'm never certain about anything that people will say about my scenarios. Again, I just get it to where I like it and send it in. I don't think about this at all. However, with what's happened so far, if a map of mine was rated below a 4 I don't think I'd like it myself, so I wouldn't send it in at that point anyway...

20. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?

Uhhh...Well, they look/feel really cool when they're done, especially if you do something unique. It's like that feeling 'I made something'. I started designing scenarios I know not exactly why. I feel like I have to make my own levels of everything I guess...(lemmings, AOE, TZAR, and if I could I would in many other games too (Zelda, Yoshi's Island, Super Mario World for example)). It's simply because, it's neat. I can't really explain it. It's like "Here's the game kid. What would you do with it if you could make the level?" In the level editor you can find out...

21. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?

Uh...stop designing scenarios maybe? It's not like I worry about them and try to get myself re-motivated or whatever. It just comes and goes...

Hm...Good questions. They give me insight on how I design that I didn't have before...

Poisonium
Archer
posted 01-06-07 09:02 EST (US)     27 / 31       
1. Step 1: Get an idea. Step 2: Work on it Step 3: Ehhh... Haven't yet managed to finish a serious scenario
2. Be sure you can finish whatever project you migth start
3. I guess.
4. I don't.
5. A millenium
6. Giant Watchtowers
7. Yes, I have 2 projects running in Age of Mythology at this time, and are thinking about making one in Stronghold: Crusader.
8. Heigth limits (i use Crusader) I don't like the amount of trees (too few) and I don't like that there is impassable and unreplaceable terrain on the top of cliffs
10. Do it myself.
11. 1: When I'm content with it, or 2: When I decide that I'm too perfectionistic
12. If it's an eyecandy map, yes, if not, Playability>>Graphics
13.
14. I am not considered a creative Crusader designer, but I'm considered very creative in my aom designing (made an endless staircase some time ago).
15. Quality>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>Quantity. (stupid perfectionism)
16. I do concentrate all my efforts at one at a time, although I do work on more in kind of "Week Shifts".
17. Depends on my motivation.
18. I do nothing but wait, and let the people decide.
19. No
20. I've always liked making games. That keeps me designing, too. I looked and learned from maps downloaded from ESO.
21. I don't design scenarios when I'm not motivated.

Rain is coming down
PWRmad
Archer
posted 03-23-07 13:46 EST (US)     28 / 31       
1. Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the exact tasks for every day?
Ideas can come to me at any time. Iíll be reading a tutorial on SHH, watching a news report, or thinking about an historical event, television program, or movie. Once Iíve settled on an idea I break it down into goals that a scenario must meet in order to simulate the idea. I start working by laying out the terrain of the map and then place buildings on it. I set the availability of building construction based on the idea Iím using, as well as restrictions on recruiting of soldiers, items that can be traded, etc. I constantly adjust all of the elements of the scenario while Iím working on it, and often a happenstance combination will lead to a new idea or heavy modification of the original one. Once everything is in place I playtest the heck out of it, changing any aspect that doesnít seem to be working. When I get to the point where I canít do anything more with it, I write up the descriptions and any text files I want to include, zip it up, log on to SHH, and submit it. I then cross my fingers and hope the comments and reviews wonít be too bad.

2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?
Take your time. Thereís no need to rush things. No one can write a top notch scenario in just two hours. Put some thought into it and set it aside every once in a while. When youíre finally ready to submit it, youíll have something to be proud of.

3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?
I like to stick with the smaller sizes (300x300 and less). The action in most scenarios can usually fit within those confines. A smaller size also means less terrain to have to work on, especially in areas that arenít really used much during the mission. Also, my poor old computer has trouble handling the larger size maps! :^(

4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?
Playtesting is the best way to see if what Iíve created works correctly or not. Trying out different strategies and tactics will demonstrate whether what you have works and is better than any amount of analysis. Iíll play the game once, adjust the parameters, play it again, adjust them again, play it again, etc. etc. etc. until Iím satisfied it works.

5. How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this in question #1)
It depends on how much free time I can devote to it. My most recent efforts have taken approximately 4 weeks each.

6. What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)
I love things with lots of movement. My favorites are waterfalls and Iíve managed to incorporate one into every design Iíve submitted so far. The built-in foam and spray effects mean lots of motion there. Lately, Iíve been adding patrolling soldiers to maps with a pre-positioned keep. A map that opens with everyone just standing around doesnít look very realistic to me. Also, they draw the playerís attention to important parts of the map.

7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?
Iím currently designing for Stronghold only, although Iím thinking of picking up Battle for Middle Earth II as it seems to have a good mission editor in it as well.

8. What do you like and what do you don't like about the SH editor?
Ease of use is the best part of the editor, in my opinion. The controls are intuitive and can be learned quickly. I can sit down in front of a plain, green square, and within minutes have mountains, hills, rivers, and forests covering the land. The editor is flexible enough that I can make a map as detailed or broad as I wish, and still have a good-looking product. The scenario parameters editor has a well thought out design. Itís easy to set up starting forces and resources, building availability, and equipment limits. The event scripting feature is my favorite. I can have all sorts of events occurring at pre-set times and under a wide variety of conditions. Itís almost like writing a play. My biggest beef is the inability to program custom messages into the scenario, youíre limited to the messages used in the missions that came with the game. The ability to have the Scribe say something like ďSire, the 12th Elven Archbow Brigade is assaulting the north wall!Ē would be a big plus in whatever future editions of Stronghold come along.

10. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?
I always run through the scenario myself before giving it to someone else to look at. Itís a great way to find out if something works or is falling apart. It can also be a springboard for new ideas. I havenít asked for playtesters for my efforts yet, and I think my quality has suffered for it. I want to establish a decent reputation before making such a request, but that time is coming. Iím really not a very good player of Stronghold (this is one reason I design maps, that way I donít have to play them) :^). I tend to make scenarios that are too easy to win as a result. Having others test my design will help alleviate that.

11. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?
When it fulfills all of the goals Iíve set for it, Iíve run out of new ideas to add to it, and Iím satisfied that it is winnable.

12. If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue)
I donít think that is a decision a designer has to make. Eye-candy, by definition, serves no functional purpose other than making the map more appealing to the player. As such, it is used to fill unused or little-used portions of a map, similar to the way mapmakers of the middle ages used to decorate blank areas of their maps with pictures of sea serpents and such. Trouble was some sailors believed that such creatures actually lived in those areas of the world, and refused to go there! If the designer keeps the active area of the map functional and doesnít overburden the computer, I donít see any problem with loading the rest of the map with as much decoration has he or she wants.

13. What makes a scenario fun to play?
Something that always involves the player in the course of the game and gives the player a sense of making progress in it. I like giving a player a series of ďmini-victoriesĒ while a game is running. Solving a particular piece of a puzzle or surviving a vicious bandit attack gives the player a sense of accomplishment and promotes the feeling that they just might beat this game after all. I also like providing the player some indication of whether or not they are on the right track while the game is in progress or should scrap it and start over again. Very little frustrates me more than playing a scenario for three hours, only to find I lost because of a mistake I made six minutes into the game.

14. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?
So far Iím scoring a perfect 5.0 in the imagination department, so I guess people must think Iím creative! :^) Iím really not very good at coming up with original ideas on my own. What I seem to be able to do is take other peopleís good ideas and assemble them in new and unusual ways. Iíll see a way a building is designed in a tutorial and think, ďWow, I could use that on my map!Ē Or Iíll see how a person handled a particular script event and say ďHey, make this little change and I could have it in my scenario, too!Ē (rampant plagiarism is my specialty!) :^) I love history, so I find inspiration in events I read about. Since Iíve begun designing for Stronghold, I find my self thinking of how I can adapt my favorite historical events into a medieval setting. Almost any situation can be simulated in this game, if you give it a little thought. My advice to other designers is to expose yourself to as many sources of information as you can, and think of ways to take what you find and use it in this game.

15. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?
I definitely fall into the Quality camp on this one. With the large number of scenarios available on Stronghold Heaven today, I think itís no longer necessary to crank out large numbers of good, but not great, scenarios. SHH visitors can pick and choose which ones they want to play, and naturally theyíll gravitate towards the ones that show the greatest promise. This is why an active review system is so important today. It gives visitors information on what is the best out there.

16. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?
I find it best to have several projects going at once. Concentrating on only one can present problems when I reach a point where Iím blocked. Trying to overcome that block in order to make any sort of progress puts too much pressure on me in something thatís supposed to be fun. If I get to a point where Iím blocked or just plain bored with it, I set it aside and work on another scenario, or simply get up and go do something else. When I come back, I usually have thought of an answer to the problem and I can go on.

17. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?
Since this is supposed to be a hobby, I work on them whenever I feel like it. One reason I donít announce my projects is so I donít feel pressure to get them done. Besides, I like surprising people.

18. After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to ensure the success of your scenario?
Please see my answer to question #19.

19. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?
I have absolutely no idea how well a scenario I submit is going to be received when I present it. Some of what I thought were very clever ideas have been greeted with a so-so response, while others I thought were weak efforts have been getting rave reviews. All I can do is write a mission that I like to play, that I feel I have put my best effort into, and is something I can be proud of. I then release it and cross my fingers, hoping that others will enjoy it too. And besides itís the public, God Bless ĎEm, that have the final say, donít they?

20. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?
The feeling of accomplishment I get when I put the final touches on a scenario and release it is what keeps me going. Itís the same feeling people get when they finish restoring a car, writing a novel, or getting a good grade on a test. It allows me to express my creativity in ways not available in other parts of my life.

21. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?
Play board games, toot on my tuba, watch my favorite TV shows and movies, surf the Internet, kiss my wife. :^)



Always Learning.


Don't make me cry in my beer. It'll make it all soggy.
Dpminatr
Archer
posted 03-08-08 18:08 EST (US)     29 / 31       
I suppose I could do this again; my answers will probably vary greatly from my previous answers


***

1. Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the exact tasks for every day?

When I do start designing a map, I'm usually just creating stuff in the editor, which is scrapped. However, sometimes I get ideas while sitting around doing classwork or taking a shower, or at some other random time. I would think about what the basic map would look like, and just go into the editor and start using the tools. I rarely do this, however, though I do wish to use some of the ideas that pop up into my head.

2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?

Use the many tutorials that can be found on this site, and at our neighboring site Stronghold Knights. Also, observe other maps to get a feeling of what a good map should and should not have.

3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?

I typically go with the 400x400 map size, as it gives me the most space to work with, though I may size it down a bit.

4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?

I rarely actually work with these tools

5. How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this in question #1)

I am not sure, as I rarely do finish a map that I start

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6. What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)

It is very difficult to decide what my favorite type of eye-candy is. As for the most common eye-candy which I use, I occasionally go into the editor and create bridges, fountains, or armories that could withstand full scale sieges.

7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?

Yes, though as I mentioned before, they usually get scrapped. I rarely work on an actual scenario to distribute.

8. What do you like and what do you don't like about the SH editor?

The Stronghold editor is simple to use; it is very similar to regular gameplay. Some of the features seem limited, though it's difficult for me to explain

10. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?

I would do both, as people would have varying methods of playing a scenario

11. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?

The map would fit what I expected, as closely as possible, and playtesters would confirm that the map was indeed playable.

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12. If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue)

I would have to leave out the eye-candy. As marvelous a sight it may be, if it impeded on the ability to play the scenario, I would have to get rid of it.

13. What makes a scenario fun to play?

A fun scenario would be challenging, and keep the scenario interesting with multiple attacks to fight off, for example.

14. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?

I haven't been considered much of a creative designer yet. I have created and submitted only one or two maps in the past, back when I put very little thought into their creation, and I admit, they were not good maps.

15. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?

I believe that designing ten 4.0 scenarios is better than creating one 5.0 scenario. Both 4.0 scenarios and 5.0 scenarios would be good quality, 4.0 being equivalent to a 'B' grade, and 5.0 the equivalent of an 'A'. One 'A' could be considered luck by some. A string of 'B's would gain recognition in the community

16. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?

I would prefer to focus on a single scenario at a time. When working on multiple scenarios simultaneously, it could be easy to get confused as to what you are doing.


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17. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?

I work on my scenarios irregularly. There are many other things that I do, such as homework, work around the house, or playing one of my many other games.

18. After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to ensure the success of your scenario?

I am an optimistic person, and am very confident of my skills. To ensure the success of my scenario, I would have to dedicate time to build the scenario, both inside and outside of the editor.

19. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?

I may submit the scenario even if I was quite certain that it would not gain a 4.0 or higher, though if I believed it would be far lower, I would most likely keep it to myself or attempt to improve it in some way

20. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?

I don't remember why I had started designing scenarios, as it was quite some time ago. When I do design scenarios, I continue them for fun, for myself and on occasion for other members of the community

21. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?

I would probably spend my time playing another game.


***

"If your rich uncle bought a new house and you had to help take the wheels off, you might be a redneck." -Jeff Foxworthy
"There was this one girl I was seein' for a few weeks, 'till someone took the binoculars outta my truck." -Larry the Cable Guy
ericgolf
Earl
posted 01-27-09 15:15 EST (US)     30 / 31       
*Bump*

Peter2008 was saying to me recently that he enjoyed reading the answers to the "Designer Twenty Questions" and that having some of the more recent map designers answering these "Twenty Questions" here would be good fun for them and interesting reading for other members. And I thought he can't be the only one who would enjoy reading new responses here.

So, map makers, please roll up and spare a little of your valuable map making time to let us read your answers to this questionnaire.
Lord_of_Hell
HG News Director
posted 12-08-10 14:16 EST (US)     31 / 31       
1. Describe the process of making a complete scenario starting from the idea and ending in the submission of your finished scenario. Do you have a schedule in which you have written the exact tasks for every day?

The process is long and very dinamic as the order of tasks and the tasks themselves can change from a map to another. A very basic scheme would be: 1. Idea -> 2. Historical research (if it's a historical map from any point of view) -> 3. Terrain Designing -> 4. Troops/Castles placement on map (but ussualy that's before terrain designing) -> 5. Scripting -> 6. Playtesting -> 7. Final adds to the scenario, design and gameplay improvements -> 8. More playtesting to make sure things are just right -> 9. Steps 7 and 8 repeats if neccesarry. -> 10. Making the Story and/or Instructions

2. What is your first piece of advice to a new scenario designer?

1. Have patience, don't rush things.
2. Try high-rated maps and observe how the author has planned everything.
3. Experiment yourself in the editor.

3. How do you decide the map size of your scenario?

I choose mostly 400x400, I need lots of space.

4. How do you balance your scenario (invasions, events and victory conditions)?

By lots of playtesting.

5. How long does it take you to design a scenario? (you don't have to answer this question if you have already mentioned this in question #1)

About 1 or 2 months, usually a scenario would take more than 3 months if it's really complicated, big scripting and hard to win and the playtesting requies huge effort to make sure things works fine.


6. What is your favourite eye-candy and why? What is the most common eye-candy you use? (note: this does not exclude natural eye-candy, such as rock formations, erosion etc.)


I like the snow trick a lot, though I don't really use it. There is no "the most used" eye-candy by me, I like to put togheter as many as possible without affecting the overall scenario.

7. Do you design scenarios for multiple games at the same time?

Sure, to avoit getting bored.

8. What do you like and what do you don't like about the SH editor?

I don't like the 400x400 map size limit and the max height limit. Should be bigger / higher

10. Do you playtest your scenario yourself or do you ask for playtesters?


Myself mostly, playtesters needed only on bigger projects. Helps and avoid further scenario updates.

11. How do you know your scenario is ready to be submitted?

I listen to my heart.

12. If a fancy eye-candy you want to have on the map requires you to make playability worse, would you add that eye-candy on the map? (i.e. the graphics vs. playability issue).

No.

13. What makes a scenario fun to play?


Constant difficulty and a nice design.

14. If you're considered a creative designer, then what is the secret behind your imagination and creativity?

I don't really know if I am, lol. I think the "secret" is to do something undone before in the editor, or to do it in your very personal way.

15. Which one is better, designing ten 4.0 scenarios or one 5.0 scenario (quantity vs. quality)?

I'd choose quality of course

16. Do you work on many scenarios at the same time or do you concentrate your efforts on a single scenario at a time?


I do more at a time so I'll have more fun.

17. Do you work on your scenarios regularly or irregularly?

Irregularly, not always much time avaiable.

18. After you've submitted a scenario, do you feel confident or uncertain of the success of your scenario? How do you try to ensure the success of your scenario?

I feel confident everytime but aware in the same time that certain mistakes might have penetrated into map, and always ready to learn from those mistakes.

19. Would you submit a scenario if you were certain it wouldn't be rated high (high is 4.0+)?

ONLY if it's fun like hell

20. What keeps you motivated to design scenarios? Why did you start designing scenarios?

I design maps because I like to, and also because I have with whom to share my works.

21. What do you do when you're not motivated enough to design scenarios?

Play other games for a short while, or watch TV. The mood will come again soon, it always does.

__________
ę------// ęę Cherub ĽĽ \\------Ľ
ę---\\ Lord_of_Hell //---Ľ
ę-\\ ----------- //-Ľ
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