[Custom Map] View from the Porch

Discussion in 'Custom Scenarios and Boards' started by Sir Knight, Dec 17, 2013.

  1. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Text before battle:

    Lumbrezz the Mad spends a nice afternoon with his buddy Meister the Geomancer, relaxing on the Order's back porch. Lumbrezz brought his pet Pthquth over (can't leave the poor fella home alone), and, as per usual, they've let it play in a pile of priceless treasures and magical artifacts in the yard. Then a movement catches Meister's stony eyes, and footsteps can be heard coming from all directions. It's possible this wasn't the best of plans . . .

    View from the Porch.jpg

    Text after battle:

    At last the pesky intruders are put to flight, dropping ill-gotten loot in their haste to flee the yard. Time for more tea!

    . . .

    In an earlier map, I'd wanted to allow the player to snipe out of windows onto an oncoming horde. It didn't really work. I'd also wanted to create distinct waves of enemies over time. Maybe that worked, but it wasn't very fun.

    So here's a total overhaul of the concept. I have the distances set up (for everyone's attacks and movement) so it plays very differently depending on what you draw. I think you can still win in most cases, and do so without dragging it out for too many rounds.

    P.S.: Yup, I know that other people have done "Lumbrezz has friends" and "slow down the enemy with a Geomancer" themes. I've been away for a bit.

    P.P.S.: The reason you do not see any tea next to Lumbrezz is because he is still holding the cup.
     

    Attached Files:

    Aldones and LeisureSuitLoli like this.
  2. tuknir

    tuknir #3 in Spring PvP Season

    i didnt try it yeat, going so later, but i must say i liked how you used that u shaped sewer wall thing as a castle wall, kinda looks cool :). always nice seeing the limited options of the editor being used in diferent ways
     
  3. Farbs

    Farbs Blue Manchu Staff Member

    Yes, I was starting to worry!

    I haven't tried the map yet, but look forward to it. Seems like a fun concept.
     
  4. Here's some quick feedback. To tell you the truth, this scenario was ok but after finishing it twice, I pretty much had enough. I think it needs something to make it a bit more fun, but I don't know what that something is. But my opinion could be affected by the fact that I've been messing around with goblins a lot and they start to get boring.

    Pros:
    - flavor text
    - porch design
    - the concept of "snipers" and advancing army

    Cons:
    - too easy
    - map is too symmetrical and doesn't look "real". Why would anyone have a maze-like yard, unless they are from the movie Shining? :)
    - having a treasure pile next to the porch is a bit.. weird. But is having a slime as a pet so I guess it works :)
    - Lumbrezz is a bit lame character for this scenario because he's very one-dimensional and Goblins have tons of counter.
    - goblins lack a leader
    - needs.. something

    Suggestions:
    - 1-2 ogres to mix things up. They could start behind those shredders. Whether or not they actually make it to the porch doesn't really matter. Their presence itself will make things more intense.
    - goblins need to have a leader
    - that house needs a couple of windows to overlook he porch. A very important change, I know.

    6/10
     
  5. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    In order:

    The ease is affected by enemy number and Victory Points, and I found it was a fiddly little issue. I'm quite open to suggestions, but remember that adding more also affects movement "speed." For one, I considered just changing the starting positions: perhaps each group of Grunts could have one Shredder "boss." That turned out to be less fun than it seemed, though.

    Symmetry, ehh . . . it's a forced game-design-in-a-map thing.

    For the treasure pile, though, that's the whole point. This is a whimsical map, as you saw in the flavor text.

    Yup, I'm sick of Goblins, too. Sick of them. But the premise of the map only works with enemies that have Block cards.

    Speaking of which: the only reason why Lumbrezz is in there is because his attacks can be blocked. I checked other characters and found that none of them were constrained as well as he. The map is based on the strategy of positioning, what with avoiding Blocks, flushing Blocks, and controlling enemy movement (both for avoiding blocks and inflicting damage).

    And my previous version of this map had windows onto the porch. I used the manor and tavern tilesets more (with windows), but then found that the visual of the porch only worked with something darker, and then had no good replacement windows.
     
  6. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    Have you tried dropping an extra full-tile shadow (or two) on the manor walls to make them darker?
     
  7. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Checking!

    . . .

    Hmm. What do you think of this? If it's an improvement, I'll update the file.

    View from the Porch update.jpg
     
  8. Aldones

    Aldones Ogre

    OMG that slime got ALL the pennies!
     
  9. You are only using 3 groups of monsters. You could have 5 groups which would give you more monsters without affecting their speed.

    I understand but I guess my point was that if you want it to be maze-like, you should at least make it asymmetrical visually. Currently those bushes and stones are mirror images. You could add some other type of blocking terrain which would make it look less symmetrical without affecting the gameplay.

    Ok, fair enough.

    Windows are an improvement but the shadows look weird to me. But it doesn't really matter because most people probably won't even notice these things, and even if they do, it's not like its a big deal. "omg those shadows are terrible!! I hate this scenario!!!!" :)
     
  10. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    Maybe it would look better if the shadows bled outside the house walls and not halfway up the walls inside. That way it would look like the house roof throws shadows on the porch and the grass. The facing of the door and the windows suggests the viewpoint is inside the room and actually the upper parts of the inside walls should be in shadow and not the floor and the lower walls if the idea is to represent the inside lighting situation. Doing it the way I suggest would place the light source in the sky also for the room area like it is for the outside areas.

    This is just my gut feeling looking at it, though, I have no experience with the editor or trying to represent light sources on flat art.
     
  11. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Hmm. Depending on what you mean, I did try this: I tried two groups of Goblin Shredders instead of one (and having them start from the same locations). Because each play of a card affects all minions within a group, it has quite an effect on their speed.

    But if you meant just adding four more Goblins (or whatever) in another group, then the question becomes what would be worthwhile. Say, mixing the third "skin" of Goblin Grunts in with the Shredders? Or more at the top, in with the other Grunts?

    And then there are two more parts of "speed": how fast the play feels for the player, and the harder-to-quantify issues from how each side can only move one group at a time (the latter being why normal parties max out at three characters, not four). For me, playtesting suggested that the back-and-forth felt about right, where the player runs out of cards on a round about as quickly as the enemies do, and therefore doesn't get bored waiting. And then, e.g., dropping terrain against the moving groups (where the AI can only move one group at a time) felt properly hectic, and Paralyzing Bolt had reasonable options, and so on.

    I'm just one playtester, of course.
    Oh, that. I just accepted that as somebody's landscaping. Any garden is artificial: I wasn't too terribly concerned if the gardener made it blatantly so. And, yes, I considered replacing some shrubs with Jungle "shrubs," and some stones with tree trunks, but then they just didn't communicate "landscaped back yard" as efficiently.
    Ah, it just might, but I was trying to follow the trend in the original maps. Blend in with the "Card Hunter style." See the shadows here:

    [​IMG]

    The facing on my door and windows, though, is something that irked me: "facing out" is also the style, and I knew this. But does it look as good? So I went with "facing in," and if somehow this map got into Mauve Manticore, the designers could edit however they wanted.

    Edited P.S.: You know . . . given these comments, things sure have changed while I was away. You folks have seen enough custom maps by now that standards are different. Interesting!
     
  12. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    I think the "facing out" makes all the difference on the Blue Manchu zombie map as there the roof is shadowing the outside walls as is proper. We don't even see the inside-facing sides of the walls. I'm afraid your shadowing makes no sense. Wouldn't extending the shadows a half square outside the walls achieve your purpose of darkening the house area? Then the lighting would look right, I wager. Again, I'm Monday morning quarterbacking here.

    I like your map idea, haven't had time to test it yet. Looks like fun! Love the little fella and his sandbox.
     
  13. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Uh . . . I'm lost. My shadowing is identical to the shadowing in the zombie map. Of course you can see the inside in the zombie map: see the checkered or wooden floors.

    The issue can be resolved by my swapping the direction on my door and windows. Right?

    Edit: if you're mistaking those floor tiles for roof tiles, just step back into Ommlet and look again. Blue Manchu has never shown "roof tiles."
     
  14. Kalin

    Kalin Begat G'zok

    I think Jarmo was saying that your door is backwards. It's also missing its shadow, but so is one of the Woodhome doors (far right).
     
  15. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    It's not identical. I'll explain in a bit. I didn't say we can't see inside the zombie/Woodhome map houses, I said we cant see the inside-facing sides of the walls. The wall tiles we see are the walls viewed from outside. On those the roof (which is magically invisible so we can see inside) shadows the tops of the walls as is natural.

    On your map the doors and windows indicate that either we're seeing only the inside-facing sides of the walls (with weird shadows creeping up from the floor, demonic miasma?) and their outside-facing sides are invisible or we're seeing the outside facing sides of the walls and the door and the windows are upside-down. In either case, like Kalin astutely noted, the door should be half in shadow like the rest of the wall tiles. Otherwise someone has installed a floodlight illuminating only the door or cut a hole in the roof over the door for some reason.

    This is like those young woman/old woman or chalice/two faces pictures. You need to switch the viewpoint in your head to see the map in another light, to move the camera from inside the houses to outside and back again. It can be tricky to accomplish when you have a clear idea of what your map is supposed to represent and you automatically interpret it accordingly, which is only natural. It is hard to unsee things.

    Yes, OR you can extend the shadows like I suggested in earlier posts. Either should do the trick. Rotating the door and windows 180 degrees would mean we see the outsides of the walls like on the Woodhome map and the current shadows would be correct.

    Not mistaking, just not mentioning them in earlier posts.
     
  16. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    Then I must say it's either another matter of perspective, or of confusing what the tiles mean. Just as the floor tiles are viewed face-on from the sky (and not from an angle), I've interpreted these walls as cross-sections: what you would see if you could view them from the sky without a roof in the way. Just as with the magical ability to see floor tiles inside a sealed building, having walls appear as funny cross-sections is what I've come to expect from miniatures games like this.

    In such a world, doors and windows are always a little weird, but the use of cross-section walls allows the gamer to fill in the blanks that the designer never could do, imagining that these angled doors and windows make sense in an impossible viewpoint from above. All designers who've ever used this method then have to deal with the bizarre question of "which way the doors should face," and they handle it differently: some have all doors face "down," i.e., either down to the left or to the right; some have all doors face "out," which looks like what Blue Manchu has done, and what you're expecting.

    But it's far from a guaranteed thing. All I did was have the door face "down" as per the standard in many games. Then I applied shading inside the limits of the "inaccessible region" as per the standard in Card Hunter. Which is another matter of interpretation versus misinterpretation, as what you call "shadow" I call "notation that this region cannot be accessed" (which often is done to OUTSIDE areas too: click here for more from Woodhome.) I really didn't expect to keep talking on the topic this long.

    Like I said: I can just swap the door and windows to face outward and this'll be resolved. Right?
     
  17. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    Ah, yes, quite right, after looking at the campaign adventure maps I now realize what I was unaware of. What I interpreted as shadows are actually nothing of the kind. I also noted this notation is very rarely used as the designers try to avoid dead space on the maps. The darkenings show up more often at map corners to add graphical depth but when they are used on houses, the intent is as you say. Thank you, this has been educational.

    It would look better to my eye that way (and probably to SLG, too). You might also want to add the darkening on the door to be consistent. Blue Manchu also seems to do it that way.

    From the "shadow" perspective it doesn't need resolving as that was a faulty perspective of mine.
     
  18. Sir Knight

    Sir Knight Sir-ulean Dragon

    And I apologize if I came across as sounding negative or anything during that whole discussion. I love every part of game design and want to communicate stuff.

    So! I've gone and replaced the file in the initial post. This includes adding tavern-style walls with an extra shade of darkness (not half-darkening: I'm talking about Kalin's suggestion), door and windows pointing out, and half-darkening on the door itself.

    I did not edit anything about map difficulty. Maybe I'm just not as efficient a player (in my own map?) but I've had enough close calls in this battle that I enjoyed it as-is. I did a bunch of goblin combinatorics already . . . I imagine that a real playtester would have to go through a lot more to hit a target.
     
  19. Jarmo

    Jarmo Snow Griffin

    Not at all, not at all. Thanks for being so responsive to feedback! I'll be sure to actually try the map once I get the chance (could be a while with the holiday stuff). I'll relate my experience of it after.
     
  20. Flaxative

    Flaxative Party Leader Staff Member

    Looks a lot better to me :)
     

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