Mount&Blade Expansion > A Shield Lying On The Water

Believe it or not, I'm not dead...

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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...)

Hey, great to hear from you! Your project was always very interesting to me, and if you decide to work on it again I'd be curious to see what you do.

Congratulations on getting the good job! I know how hard (and long) that can be.

Great to hear it!

This was my absolute favorite mod for .808, glad it's making a comeback!

Thanks for the heads-up. I'll love this mod forever, even if only for the presence of M&B's only dance troupe. As a dance instructor, waltzing into battle with my posse of Dancers throwing funky moves just sets my heart aflutter. I say, development must continue! :green:

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... :))


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