Author Topic: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge  (Read 639 times)

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #15 on: March 31, 2017, 03:02:52 PM »
 I've learned that even with a buffer of time to pore over and createdit art, I am definitely not geared toward a seven-days-of-creation bent.

 Am currently at the end of building and though playtesting has been fun the most enjoyment I've had has been implementation of new ideas and construction and art, but then this has always been my thing so... not really relevantly helpful.  Building time, however, was massively underappreciated by me and I far overestimated my abilities to both build and playtest in reasonable limits.  However, I am also of the stubborn sort, so (as with my deepdelvers everbuild) I still work at it hours a day as I will.

 I chose to work up a story module for the march 2017 1-week challenge and the writing has been... interesting.  I chose names that are easy to misspell, conflate with other names, and due to the overriding arc/reason of the project kept to them (again, stubbornly so).  The dual spectres of ButWhatIfThePlayerDoesThis and ButWhatIfThePlayerDoesn'tDoThat constantly hovering at my shoulders, I tried to keep my head down and my focus on the plot and tale.

 Overall impression:  I learned that creating for FRUAdom can still be an exhilarating and enticing mistress, and I am highly anticipating completion so I can invest in all the goodies I see piling up on the Magic Mirror's newly added list  :)

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #16 on: March 31, 2017, 03:09:22 PM »
(sorry for this I quoted Ray's mention of sappiness and my entire post was posted as a quote... removed quote)

Sap away like trees, friend  :D  There were so many instances of you FRUAfriends in mind when I was/am building that it's a certain pleasure now: FRUAdom has long become one of those things that is part nostalgia and part community: the memories and people of the community always come to mind when I am midst-doing something FRUA.  For instance, I can't never think of Autery and Dika when I am mangling icons, nor Ben when trying to Verbose those long long draggy-long description texts, nor yourself Ray simply due to my reliance (and preference) for using the game00.dsn realmhak base.  These things, for me, have become inextricably linked and so working/playing with FRUA is a sap-soaked sapfest of drifting on a sapling-raft down a river (wilderness combat set) of sap.

Sap on brother!

(edit above)
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 03:20:01 PM by Kaz-Keith »

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #17 on: March 31, 2017, 03:17:42 PM »
I am partial to open world exploration on a 3d map. Unfortunately, this approach is hindered in FRUA by lack of a fog of war that would show where the player has stepped and squares yet to be uncovered. This makes it a challenge to place an NPC or important event in a more open field. Thus the benefit of using rooms, alcoves or other wall art that can provide a beacon for players to move toward.

I sometimes wonder if people use the Area view to navigate a map, rather than just as reference if they get lost. The dungeons I build in FRUA originate as top down design, and I think make more sense from a bird's eye view. I have learned that certain considerations have to be taken when translating to a first person view window.

(Sorry to mangle your quote)

I want to reply to this directly:  first of all, yea and yay to the 3D explorers out there! I am a die-hard aficionado and supporter of this and my first FRUA project was a demo in support of just this effort.

The automap was never a bane for me until a discussion some time ago regarding the frustration of it being turned off by many designers who try to reinforce the 3D mode, spawning a hak to turn all areas of a module's maps areamode on permanently.  With this in mind, I purposefully designed my current project with areamaps usable, 3D mode enjoyable, and a mix of both for my own preference: I have designed areas in whole, then with transport to decorated chambers of said maps located in respository areas created especially for that, maps turned off.  Having taken these steps to satisfy myself in this regard, I no longer worry myself sorry over whether someone will be turned off by maps turned off or not.  The illusion of areamaps on, control over what a player does, and wanting the adventure to go smoothly and to purpose are just that: illusion.  Not saying that any of this is what you were doing, just what I was doing and how I reconciled it.  I sincerely hope you keep at it and enjoy the 3D aspects of FRUA possibility, even if the entire system has an Off button for it.  :D

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2017, 03:59:36 PM »
The tower walls were created by Iranon are available in this thread:

http://ua.reonis.com/index.php?topic=1000.0

In truth, I don't recommend that people use them unless someone can figure out a way to make their file size smaller.  Using them almost completely broke the module, and is the leading cause of the bug that is reported when people are playing an older version (unless I failed to fix it with my last update...something I'll have to look into).
 

Looking at it, I would say, first, lose the arch (2nd wall in the set).  Just leave nothing but the transparent color (slot 255) in its place.  That would cut some size, and you could use the arch from the default Brick wallset in conjunction with the revised drop-in Stone Tower to still achieve the same effects. 

If that were not enough reduction, also lose the last wall in the set, again replacing it with nothing but empty transparency.  If you still wanted that wall, you could combine two drop-in sets: One Stone Tower missing walls 2 & 5, and another revised set missing walls 3 & 4. 

These solutions might require devoting two wall slots in one dungeon to reproduce that single Stone Tower set, but it should be a workable trade-off for future authors who can grasp this complementary aspect of Drop-In .tlb Walls.

This is something that once plagued me endlessly... until the .tlb dropins were developed and mastered.  Now, I consistently leave the first wall of any created set completely blank so that I never exceed the limit of any one wallset.  I understand tall walls are exceptionally exceptional, but this is how I deal with the issue of oversize at any point in a project design.

I love wallsets and using them for things over than walls, so I usually have a repository of mixed-matched walls in any given set available for use:  for example, out of a current project I have a 'base set' that includes a blank, an actual dungeon wall, dungeon wall with door, dungeon wall with stairs up, dungeon wall with stairs down that I then import for any given slot 1, 2, or 3 depending on what areas will be used for what.  In this way, I can have that base set available to mix and match and rely on its availability (as opposed to, say, reworking or scratching an area simply because the base walls aren't available do to space).  The most useful aspect of .tlb has been to customise an area's 3 walls no matter what I want to use it for:  linking areas by walls is a huge factor:  say, area one is all dungeon, area two is all forest and with dropins I can now have an area 3 that has some dungeon some forest so that instead of just having walls link the two I can have an actual area to explore the physical link... something that both plays to my internal preference for exploration and also ticks those logic boxes I cannot seemingly sleep well leaving unticked :)

I am slowly understanding the other side of the FRUA coin, as it were, after playing just a wee bit of Ben's first 1-week offering, and how the walls and issues .tlb dropins don't really affect can in turn be effective for -that- style of build/play.  In effect, just because it is something I prefer to never use doesn't mean I cannot learn from it -- tall walls being a giant exception.  I followed Brian O'Donnell's tutorial on them when he released a demo of them, and Darius' subsequent coauthor of another, and though they are fascinating I haven't dipped my toe into that particular graphics pool.  It is therefore of high interest that not only Ben used them, but that he used them to effect :)

To say that if this is all I end up learning from the 1-week challenge (which has not been the case) I could rest easy a happy peon of FRUAdom is a massive understatement.  For myself, class is always in session and I can't wait to play the designs this challenge has spawned.

Offline Ray

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2017, 05:57:01 PM »
(sorry for this I quoted Ray's mention of sappiness and my entire post was posted as a quote... removed quote)

Sap away like trees, friend  :D  There were so many instances of you FRUAfriends in mind when I was/am building that it's a certain pleasure now: FRUAdom has long become one of those things that is part nostalgia and part community: the memories and people of the community always come to mind when I am midst-doing something FRUA.  For instance, I can't never think of Autery and Dika when I am mangling icons, nor Ben when trying to Verbose those long long draggy-long description texts, nor yourself Ray simply due to my reliance (and preference) for using the game00.dsn realmhak base.  These things, for me, have become inextricably linked and so working/playing with FRUA is a sap-soaked sapfest of drifting on a sapling-raft down a river (wilderness combat set) of sap.

Sap on brother!

(edit above)

Thanks, Keith!  I am totally sappy.  Maureen always says that I'm too sentimental, and this community has become like family after twenty years of being a part of it.  I may not know all my cousins, but there's something special here.  In fact, even after all these years, this is really the only online community where I feel like an actual, active member.  I've posted on a lot of other groups, followed even more, but this is the only place where I feel like part of what's going on. 

I think I know what you mean, too.  I've long said that the whole purpose behind the Realm was to give back to all the folks who made their art, music, hacks, etc. available to all of us in design-land.  It's a total "without you, there would be no me" situation!  Also, it's interesting that you mentioned Ben and his advice on cutting down on verbose descriptions, because I don't think I've ever made a design without that running through my head at least a dozen times.  It was good advice, and well presented!




Offline Nol Drek

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #20 on: March 31, 2017, 09:24:14 PM »
Personally, I always explore maps in area mode. If there is something important to be seen, as a designer I throw in a blank sprite which forces the engine back into 3D mode. Granted, I miss some of the visual complexity, but I lost my patience for mapping out every dungeon on graph paper as I explored it back in the 1990's. The fun I miss out on by not seeing every wall is more than made up for by the fun I gain by never getting lost.

One of the things which I learned during the one-week challenge is:
You can get closer to a Sprite during an Encounter event by pressing the up arrow on the keyboard, even if the Approach option is removed by the designer. When you get up close, the Combat event will still fire. I learned this during play testing, when the Neverwinter guards only gave you two options, Fight or Retreat, and yet pressing the up arrow on the keyboard had the same effect as Approach.

I also learned, I think, that there is no way to use a Question Button event to achieve the exact same effect that you get with an Encounter event. I wanted a Question Button which said "Hide" instead of "Retreat", but could not find a way to get it to work that way. Too bad you can't easily rename the default buttons in an Encounter event.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2017, 09:27:51 PM by Nol Drek »
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Offline PetrusOctavianus

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #21 on: March 31, 2017, 11:26:59 PM »
Fights are always being critiqued as either "too hard" or "too easy." 

After playing dozens of FRUA modules I've come to the conclusion that balancing combats is difficult.
It doesn't make things better that some modules are designed for "normal" characters (for whom a Gauntlets of Ogre Power will be a major treasure), while others are designed for maxed out characters.


This is talking in general, not necessarily true for this community, where there's a lot of goodwill towards creators, and in the case of your design, of course it would have been a matter of a few minutes only to load up the editor and cheat around the issue (even though I don't really like to do that, and I feel the feedback wouldn't have been that helpful if I had cheated my way through the design). Keep in mind though that one reason why I (and possibly PetrusOctavianus) didn't play on in that situation is that this was already our second playthrough, out of curiosity how much in it would change, when the main story and general working of the design was already known. I'm usually not much of a fan of replays, so that might have added to the reluctance to invest much energy here. Another reason was probably a personal bias against mazes and random combats, based on bad experiences with countless FRUA designs of lesser quality that I've played in the last 20 years or so,

I was going to write something similar, so you saved me the trouble.  :)

The thing about Traps, at least the ones you are not given any warning about out, is that they reward maxed out and save scummed characters too much, IMO, unlike in combat where "normal" amounts of HP is not that detrimental to a clever player.

I'm glad to see Jadefang has updated his design, and I may very well give in another try when it's no longer fresh in my memory.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2017, 12:43:18 AM by PetrusOctavianus »

Offline hans

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #22 on: April 03, 2017, 03:45:42 PM »
I found that using a pseudonym, rather than attaching my own name to my Challenge mod, did help alleviate some of my insufferable perfectionism.  I minded less using rushed art with "rough edges," --that is, I would remind myself to stop at "good enough" and Two-Bit Termite found that acceptable. 

This may not strike anybody else as notable or insightful, of course, since I was the only entrant who adopted an alias...   :P
« Last Edit: April 03, 2017, 03:48:29 PM by hans »

Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2017, 03:39:28 PM »
Just completed the 1-week challenge here.

Clocking in at shy of 9-weeks, I found I was quite successful in navigating my anxiousness between perfectionism and quality assurance with considerable due playtesting.  Fix-It lists were abundant but surprisingly workable.  Graphical errors (many occurred right away with the FRAME art and several of the combat icons) were easier to fix this time as I kept the RGB colour values in a list, per graphics piece type, and just made sure they were matched if I was combining or carrying any over from one piece to the next.  Worked very well and I didn't have to pester anyone to visually error check them for me :)

The biggest pressure I felt was, of course, the challenge goal date.  I kept myself on track by setting aside specific times to work and with specific goals tendered out from a page-written outline of the project that I had made ahead of time, pre-editor-start.  These things, combined, really made the processes enjoyable from start to finish.  Even playtesting was enjoyable.

Would definitely participate again, and what I learned doing this challenge will certainly help me navigate the waters of my megadungeon project :D

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2017, 04:57:41 PM »
Just completed the 1-week challenge here.

Clocking in at shy of 9-weeks...

 ???    :dontknow:


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Offline Kaz-Keith

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #25 on: April 05, 2017, 11:10:56 PM »
Just completed the 1-week challenge here.

Clocking in at shy of 9-weeks...

 ???    :dontknow:

Sorry for posting this all I meant by this was that even though the challenge itself was 1 week it took me from the beginning of February through April 5th to complete, so about 9 weeks.  I figured if I posted that my 1-week challenge was complete, someone would point out that it's taken me longer than 1 week to complete and thus was not really a 1-week challenge.

Offline hans

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #26 on: April 05, 2017, 11:32:21 PM »
As the saying goes, "better late than never."   

That the Challenge encouraged you to deliver a new mod to our community is terrific boon, however you do the math! 
  :occasion18:

Offline steve_mcdee

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2017, 11:42:00 PM »
I really don't think it matters whether it was done in a week or not: the idea was to stimulate the completion of some modules in fairly quick time, and it has certainly done that.

Offline ProphetSword

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2017, 03:31:36 PM »
Sorry for posting this all I meant by this was that even though the challenge itself was 1 week it took me from the beginning of February through April 5th to complete, so about 9 weeks.  I figured if I posted that my 1-week challenge was complete, someone would point out that it's taken me longer than 1 week to complete and thus was not really a 1-week challenge.

I was just confused as to whether or not you meant 9 weeks or 9 days.  Didn't mean to imply anything else.
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Offline Olivier Leroux

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Re: What I Learned from the One-Week Challenge
« Reply #29 on: April 07, 2017, 04:50:12 AM »
Since this is Designer's Corner, this might be a little off-topic, but as a player I learned that apparantly my passion for UA has no expiration date, it can always be rekindled by the release of high quality designs like the ones from this challenge, even in 2017. :)