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Messages - ex_ottoyuhr

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A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Believe it or not, I'm not dead...
« on: June 07, 2008, 11:25:10 am »
Well, no response, so I guess the rest of the world is as guarded as I am on the subject. M&B 0.952 is incredible, but it would be an extremely large undertaking to mod, especially in the direction I mentioned going; and with any programming, especially with a mod, there's a very high risk that one's effort will be lost, will never reach a form in which it can accomplish anything or be used effectively.

That risk isn't as high when you're developing a setting's languages (which I've been doing recently), or writing a novel; so I've decided to call ASLOW off, basically, unless something unusual comes up. I really hoped that this would work; it turns out it didn't, but I've learned a lot in the process, and I enjoyed it to an extent -- especially early on. I wish the project could have worked, but it just can't at the moment; but with the least luck, the world hasn't heard the last of me -- even though it may be some time before I'm heard from again...

But still... I don't know. The move process took me a _lot_ longer than expected (I had assumed I'd be able to write back on this in a week); and while I certainly want to develop (a relative of) this setting, I'm having large second thoughts about the whole concept of doing it through a game.

If I do try to reboot ASLOW, it will be as a "space opera" along the lines of Asimov's _Foundation_ trilogy. I'd compensate for the huge playability problems created by guns in M&B by using restricted fields of view along the lines of the "Dungeon Mod" (I forget its name -- the one where you're escaping from a dungeon, where almost all combat is a couple of people at a time, but more importantly where all combat is fought in corridors and the like inside buildings); the "world map" would be deep space with inter-party combat having an enormous emphasis on boarding actions; and planets would be implemented by some combination of menus and playable screens -- "menu towns" for navigation between points of interest, and modern-M&B movement within them.

To clarify why I'm going in this direction, I'll -- reluctantly -- give away a chunk (but certainly not all) of what I had intended to have going on. The game was to have occurred on a lost colony; the SF reimagining is because I realized there was no good way to have the colonists lose as much technology as they would have had to, to make the old setting work. But the oft-mentioned "mainstream Honseli" are not inhabitants of elsewhere in the same world, although I was trying to make people think that. :)

Before I make any decisions as to whether or not I want to pursue any version of ASLOW, I'm going to have to see what the new versions of M&B are capable of; and past that I'll have to make sure that I'll be able to recruit enough of a team to make this work. I can't do all of this by myself -- and I don't want to get the project part of the way to completion and then abandon it, again. I'm trying to decide whether I want to start developing this setting with ASLOW or with a novel (written elsewhere in the setting, though). The advantage of writing a book is that it can be done on one's own, and doesn't require a development team; this may make it my only option, but I'll see at some point in the future.

However, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to keep up my creative energies more effectively this way, if I go with ASLOW. Part of my writer's block was having to figure out how the Honseli would devolve into a normal, agrarian pre-industrial civilization; it wasn't pretty -- their preindustrial society was a very different sort, urban before it was industrial (due to limited space and enormous offshore fisheries), and thus an "infantry culture" like Greece. Trying to imagine a Honseli society developing peasantries and aristocracies was hideous, and I quickly found myself not really wanting to continue to think about it...

There was also the Fire Emblem 4 problem -- that I never really did remove the FE4 elements from the mod adequately, no matter how far I'd changed it in other areas. That's where Sibilance's favorite unit tree came from -- along with the geography, the ideosyncratic Aimarine units, the horse archers in forests, the horror known as Lun, and the larger horror known as Sivas (which needs a rename urgently; I've developed the Honseli language a lot further than it had been when I started the mod, so I won't be raiding Eastern European maps for place-names again) -- but it started messing up my plot development practically as soon as I wanted to start developing the plot. That's another mistake I'll avoid in the future -- if, again, I do anything more with this.

But either way, I don't think I'll come to a conclusion just yet. I'll probably make up my mind in a few weeks, once I've had time to explore the new M&B version and give the whole question more thought; I'll try to watch this space until then, though.

(Anyone inclined to volunteer in advance would do a lot to sway me towards implementing ASLOW again instead of writing a novel, by the way... :))

A Shield Lying On The Water / Believe it or not, I'm not dead...
« on: April 29, 2008, 12:58:48 am »
and I'm beginning to reconsider whether the mod's dead, too.

First of all, I'm finally through my interminable job hunt and associated funk. I've found a new job -- in Boston, with a very well-established and reputable software company -- and start work Monday; but prior to this, I just wasn't able to make myself post again on these boards and "face the music" for having been gone so long. And the mod concept and setting have really changed, too -- as has M&B. Within a few days I'm going to have access again to a computer that can run it (the inability to run the game was one of the reasons I kind of disappeared), and I look forward to seeing how it's changed -- I started playing in .622, I was last able to play the first version that incorporated Battle for Sicily aspects, and it looks like things have changed enormously since then.

It also looks like most of what little I'd implemented with ASLOW is now unnecessary, and is done better within the game itself -- which suits me just fine, as I've fleshed out Honseli civilization much more thoroughly than it was when I started work on the mod, and one of the consequences of this fleshing out is that the mod's setting is invalidated -- it couldn't have happened in the way I was depicting it. Which is just as well; I was having all sorts of trouble figuring out how to make the story go anywhere -- having started from Fire Emblem 4 didn't help either. :) (A good game, but not remotely related to what I wanted to create. And at least for me, not having a clear idea what I'm working towards makes it a lot harder to work...)

So I want to start over, and do it right this time. But one of the parts of that is that I no longer dare to try to do it all myself -- trying to work on ASLOW in my spare time was a good part of what burned me out on my previous job (though working 60-70 hour weeks, every week, with no hope of comp time and little hope of an end to such weeks didn't help either :)), so this time, I want to be a designer-manager and scriptwriter, rather than a one-man band. (So I'll greatly appreciate offers from anyone who's interested. I'll probably want to teach myself art -- to be able to do concepts -- before seeking graphics help; but mechanics and script should come first. Note: most of the costume notes from earlier should still stand; I'll need to review them.)

I also want to draw up a full design document, before I write, or get anyone else to write, the project's first line of code. One part of this will be to work out stages of development, so that I'll know what to focus efforts on after getting to the equivalent of where I got stuck in my first attempt. Another part of it will be figuring out what, and how much, of the game as we have it will be usable here, and what won't; with how sophisticated the game has become, this new project could well turn out to be not "a new game with the same graphics engine" (as I originally envisioned ASLOW, back in .730 days), but "a couple of tweaks and a new script."

But I'm not sure that this is where I want to direct my efforts. I'm debating writing a novel set (very much) elsewhere in the Honseli "world" -- which would be a relatively more certain project than creating a game. And whatever I decide on, I'm going to be incommunicado for a couple of days, then starting a new job with all the challenges that that entails.

So, I won't be able to respond to responses to this posting for a few days at least (though I'll appreciate responses, and I will be sure to reply to them) -- and, I really shouldn't have posted this message this late at night anyways :), and I haven't read over the activity on this board since I most recently disappeared. But I'll see where this might go; I regret leaving everyone in the lurch so long -- and I look forward to seeing what's changed with Mount&Blade.

(All too much of this comes down to an unexpectedly long job hunt. I expected to find a new job in two or three months -- not in more than half a year...)

It pains me to see this alternate timeline when I've already revised the timeline myself. I did the same genealogical homework you did, and determined that if the game's backstory from the foundation of the Ajarine Empire to the beginning of the game was the fifty years I wanted it to be, and Emperor Kardis was the great-grandfather of the hero, then the conspiratorial Emperor Rishta, Arcos' cousin, is about seven years old as of the time of the game. That kind of surprised me.

I also noticed that I was doing everything wrong concept-wise. The intent was to subvert the "evil conspiracy attempting to take over world" meme -- the hero would discover about halfway through the story that the alleged centuries-old conspiratorial organization didn't actually exist -- but to subvert a meme requires the audience to buy into it. What was I thinking? Anyhow, they're now cut.

Additionally, the game wasn't opening with anything resembling a bang, and the backstory looked a good deal more interesting than the story story -- so I'm revising it accordingly. The game will now start at the end of the unification war it previously mentions -- Emperor Kardis, for example, will be on screen at the beginning, and thus we'll have a natural start-with-a-bang/tutorial to begin the game...

If you don't mind, though, I'm going to hang on to your alternate timeline for future reference. It's a very interesting one -- I especially like the idea of the Ayrunine woman being the one more or less responsible for the empire. It's even more interesting given that back in the cultural mainstream, the Misli frown on polygamy and try to avoid wars...

It didn't occur to me that Prince Rishta would be quite as messed up as he is -- a disinherited half-brother fifteen years older than himself... Not good. I can't help but think that in the original timeline, the one you're working with here, the Empire would never have formed in the condition it's depicted in -- Prince Shihab would have turned on his father at some point. This is not Saudi Arabia or China, where an emperor disinheriting one lineage in favor of another is nothing remarkable; this is more like England just before the Wars of the Roses. (Come to think of it, if Honseli have roses, Shihab has all the makings of Edward of York, Kinin could be Calais, and we definitely have our "Queen not worth ten marks...")

On Ambrolauri: The first empire's capital was there (and it's west of Chelm, not south -- I need to add a compass rose). Chelm is on the outskirts of Ajarine civilization -- see also Arnold Toynbee's discussion of how world-states tend to form from outsiders, as with the Macedonian conquest of Greece -- so the establishment of the Imperial court at Ambrolauri, though inconvenient and off-putting to the natives of Chelm (let alone the Karachines), helps to give the government some sort of legitimacy with the more civilized western Ajarines. Now that I think about it, it probably isn't necessary and isn't helping much, but I doubt that Emperor Kardis figured that out.

Neither dead, nor disinterested -- just sidetracked. Really sidetracked. This is, of course, a direct consequence of that strange job I've mentioned so often -- I left it at the beginning of August, having finally had enough, and managed to get everything packed and move back home (no sense paying rent -- a large amount of rent -- while unemployed and in the wrong state), but only a couple of months later.

At present I'm without a computer that can run M&B .89x; my development computer is in storage in Madison, Wisconsin, and I'm in the Nashville area of Tennessee (apologies to fans from most of the world for the intra-United States directions). I've got a very interesting set of job prospects, though -- it turns out that consulting for hospitals installing this company's software will pay much, much better than working for the company itself did. So I may be relocating to the new-game-company-friendly environs of Portland, Oregon soon, but "soon" means "at the end of the year" or later -- no one hires during early December, I think.

I'm trying to spend the time productively, though. I've gotten somewhere in developing "Honseli Latin," we might call it -- the acrolect ( form of the Peija language. It's a literary language not actually spoken much of anywhere, of course, but I'm going to use it to represent the spoken languages of the mod (and, knock on wood, other Honseli cultures -- I hope this isn't the last we see of them). I just completed the grammar yesterday, and will be moving on to developing words and sample texts. This is not a project directly apropos to ASLOW, but it only has to be done once, and once done it's sure to help me enormously with naming -- no more Turkish cities or heroes with Serbian names, at long last.

I find myself wondering at times what I'm doing developing ASLOW's setting at all when there are so many other, more important time periods in this continuity that I haven't much more than sketched out -- but part of what I'm doing with it is providing the world a proof of concept. That's important...

But I do hope to find more support when my next round of development begins than I did during the previous one. Maybe if I release more often... I look forward to working with the new system, though -- probably its code for some of what I'm doing will be cleaner than my version, and it'll spur me to finally include villages like I've intended to since very early on in ASLOW's development.

But naming 50+ villages and ensuring that their names don't duplicate too often -- and don't duplicate elsewhere in the setting! -- is going to be a tall order indeed. There are two ways to world-build -- the easy way, which produces vague, bad, or embarassing results, as it did even for Tolkien; and the right way, which is, well, a little long. :)

But in general -- I don't die, I don't lose interest, I just go into hibernation for very long periods of time. :)

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Suggestions
« on: September 18, 2007, 11:12:18 am »
I agree, a lot of stuff is badly under-done or unimplemented. Wives need a lot, a *heck* of a lot, more interaction with the player -- setting dialogue and so on is currently kind of stubbed out, as I've been working on the game engine (and, over the past year, mostly working on medical software for a thoroughly deranged company -- I left after putting in three months of consecutive fifty-plus-hour weeks; and now I'm working on finding a job). With the update to .890, though -- with Battle for Sicily now being in vanilla ;) -- it looks like that part of the job just got a lot easier, and I'll be able to focus more on the setting and on ASLOW-specific things in the future...

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Donation
« on: September 18, 2007, 11:07:29 am »
Servitor -- yes, if you could learn drawing, especially how to draw fashion plates for 3D modellers, that would be the most valuable donation you could possibly make. :) I'd love to see some of these concepts brought to life; there are now more of them in the wider Honseli world, but none that really effect the situation in ASLOW.

Well, one exception, that we're going to see later on -- I realized that based on their earlier history, having Galines in ASLOW is like having Carthagenians in the Second World War. That's going to need some changes, and the (to-rename) Sivaic styles of dress will need to be adjusted/rewritten correspondingly. I'll be sure to update the post for that, of course.

Please let me know if you're ever interested in doing, and able to do, art for the mod; please don't feel that it's obligatory, though.

(Edit: malapropism, used "compulsory" for "obligatory" in the last line.)

A Shield Lying On The Water / My current work feels a little obsolete. :)
« on: September 18, 2007, 11:03:03 am »
I'm still going to update names and so on and get a final .808 version out, but I'm going to have to explore .890 extensively and see what it's like relative to ASLOW. Battle for Sicily (and now probably Native) has different objectives from ASLOW -- working at a lower level, focusing on the individual fief, where with ASLOW individual territories won't be worth your bother for long, and eventually there'll be a much stronger "narrative" element.

Incidentally, the evil cult story arc is quite thoroughly cut from ASLOW. The intent was to subvert it massively -- no such cult actually existed, but the player would still spend most of the game opposing them before figuring that out. :) But in order to subvert a trope, the author must first get his audience to buy into a trope, and this is one of those so completely played out that it's just not worth it to subvert. Blame Fire Emblem 4, I guess -- in my other planned fiction I would've laughed this sort of idea off the drawing board in an instant...

Anyhow, the game's going to start with the end of the (needs-rename) Ajarine unification, with -- spoiler! -- the death of Emperor Kardis in battle and the subsequent question of the succession. It looks like the new system's going to help a lot in setting up that campaign, and all sieges and so on in general...

So, time to wait for the game to stabilize from any bugs found (although this certainly doesn't seem to be another .800), and for the next module system to be released -- although, again, I'll do the last .808 update first.

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Current status as of September 5th '07...
« on: September 15, 2007, 04:06:21 pm »
Status update: I need to find the authors of Europa Universalis III and either kill them or give them a medal. Maybe both. I did a little less on this mod this week than I should have -- although most of what I'm stuck on right now is figuring out what the bleep to rename the kingdom currently known as Sivas. I'm leaning towards Kentucky. ;)

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Current status as of September 5th '07...
« on: September 07, 2007, 06:28:36 pm »
Ron, I take it we need to talk further about this -- I'll send you an e-mail privately on where I currently am with regards to the RCM, item sets, and so on...

But, yes, things are still moving. What I need help with more than anything is working out the setting, which has been moving very slowly -- though it's obviously going to be pretty fundamental to the game...

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Suggestions
« on: September 05, 2007, 08:47:58 pm »
Great point on greenness, Servitor -- that'll be fixed next release...

I guess I failed to realize that heroic, florid backgrounds and four points of starting skills don't really mix. :P

A Shield Lying On The Water / Current status as of September 5th '07...
« on: September 05, 2007, 08:45:36 pm »
I have the mod in a near-releasable state, but not much has changed since last time -- a new set of weaponry and something close to the Realistic Combat Model, but not much else. The siege system is a long way from finished, though I've proof-of-concepted it successfully.

But I also need to pin down what I want to do with the story, the style of gameplay, and so on, and I really need to flesh out more of the setting. That'll do a lot to get me more NPCs, though; and some of the other recent releases have suggested some things for me. TLD's use of quest messages to display variables is worth remembering, and playing the awe-inspiring Battle for Sicily has reminded me that if I focus too much on the strategic elements of ASLOW, I'll get into territory where I'm pretty much outclassed... ;)

Anyhow, next release coming pretty soon. I'll try for a couple of days from now at the latest -- although it'll be more a matter of getting myself back into the habit. There should be more to come after that...

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Playing a female
« on: September 05, 2007, 08:29:50 pm »
Well female were not leading army in medieval time... so this might be the reason why.

Have you ever heard of Joan of arc? Obviously not! That was in medieval times...

Joan of Arc was burned at the stake...

By Englishmen, so it didn't count. ;)

(More seriously, the case was reopened at the request of her family about 10-20 years after she was executed, and the Pope declared that the verdict was as spurious as an ecclesiastical verdict could get, and of no validity or meaning whatsoever... Regardless, I think her dressing in men's clothing -- for security, though the English represented it as "cross-dressing" -- was an argument the English used, but I don't know how much they said about her leading an army. She didn't actually fight, of course.

Also, see my "current status" post for details on where the mod currently is...)

Telling the steward to attack a city will mean that his city's offensive parties -- raiders, armies, invasion groups -- will be sent at that city. It won't be immediate, but wait a couple of days and you'll see results...

A Shield Lying On The Water / Re: Playing a female
« on: August 16, 2007, 11:43:56 am »
Remember, Alec {zacool} -- just because the setting doesn't have assault rifles doesn't mean that medieval European cultural mores apply to it. Joan of Arc is almost completely irrelevant to arguments pro or con for playing a female character in ASLOW -- basically, my previous statements stand.

That said, perhaps I should say that to Selvhan more than to Alec...

And yes, Ron Losey is very right -- possibly more right than he realizes :) -- that the game would require heavy modification along the lines of a whole different track of the storyline to allow the player to have a female character. I'm not inclined to even attempt that -- the writing of ASLOW is going to be a tall enough order as it is...

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