Author Topic: Mapping  (Read 3222 times)

Offline Dorateen

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Mapping
« on: October 25, 2015, 10:27:08 AM »
I was thinking today how I have always enjoyed when an auto-map feature is tied to some game play element.

It would be neat if there was a way to create a special item like a map, compass or other navigation tool that when present in the party's inventory, enables Area View. And without it, the Area View for locations would be disabled.

I suppose it would require some scripting and hacking to make the area view setting function like this, dependent on a Specia Item requirement. Does anyone know if such a method was ever used in a hacked module?
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2015, 10:35:46 AM »
Nobody ever does anything with Area view; because there are tools that will turn on Area view for each level in a module even if the designer has disabled it.  There is no way to prevent this.  It's the same reason why no one ever protects their module with a password anymore...it's exceptionally easy to break, even without a special tool. 

What you're asking about could probably be done in Dungeon Craft.  In FRUA, the only way you *could* do it would be to create two different versions of a map, one with the Area view enabled and one with it disabled, but this could cause a problem in tracking events if you transfer the party from one location to the other.  In the end, I'm not sure it would be worth it.
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Offline Dorateen

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2015, 10:39:22 AM »
Right, probably way more effort than it is worth. Especially making duplicate maps.

I was just thinking of a way to alleviate the dis-use of Area View, if players were given an incentive to find an item that would then enable it.
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2015, 12:47:03 PM »
Even without all the fancy tools, a player can easily go into the design and turn on Area view or look at the map layout themselves.  After all these years, we've just mostly accepted it as a limitation of the system.
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Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #4 on: November 06, 2015, 08:28:37 PM »
I was thinking today how I have always enjoyed when an auto-map feature is tied to some game play element.
;D

Nobody ever does anything with Area view; because there are tools that will turn on Area view for each level in a module even if the designer has disabled it.  There is no way to prevent this.  It's the same reason why no one ever protects their module with a password anymore...it's exceptionally easy to break, even without a special tool.
Even without all the fancy tools, a player can easily go into the design and turn on Area view or look at the map layout themselves.  After all these years, we've just mostly accepted it as a limitation of the system.
:o But that's cheating! >:(

It wouldn't take any work if you don't use only once flags. If you just copy over the area to a blank dungeon and change whether the area map is active then it won't matter if they go from one to the other unless you use only once events. So you could either just use quest item checks for the events you only won't to happen once or make it so you can't go from one to the other.
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #5 on: November 06, 2015, 09:28:35 PM »
:o But that's cheating! >:(

Doesn't stop it from happening.

In addition to all this, people can also use outside programs to handle their mapping, whether area view is on or not, like Gold Box Companion:



Quote
It wouldn't take any work if you don't use only once flags. If you just copy over the area to a blank dungeon and change whether the area map is active then it won't matter if they go from one to the other unless you use only once events. So you could either just use quest item checks for the events you only won't to happen once or make it so you can't go from one to the other.

It's unlikely that someone would build a map that they want to hide from the player that would also have all events that are endlessly repeatable.  It *could* happen, but I don't see it as something that you'd want to do very often.  One place where this does happen is in towns, but denying the player a map of the town is just silly.
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Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2015, 09:59:08 PM »
So you could either just use quest item checks for the events you only WON'T to happen once or make it so you can't go from one to the other.
WANT! Why do I always make such stupid mistakes when I type?

What I mean is you could flag the once only events. One time event 1 only happens if party doesn't have Q1 item - chain to, give item: Q1. One time event 2 only happens if party doesn't have Q2 item - chain to, give item: Q2. Etc. Then just clear all the quest items at the end and copy it. It would only be a little extra work and wouldn't be at all complicated.
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2015, 10:22:37 PM »
What I mean is you could flag the once only events. One time event 1 only happens if party doesn't have Q1 item - chain to, give item: Q1. One time event 2 only happens if party doesn't have Q2 item - chain to, give item: Q2. Etc. Then just clear all the quest items at the end and copy it. It would only be a little extra work and wouldn't be at all complicated.

You could do it that way if you have enough unused Quests remaining in the game (which is likely). 

However, you're going about it the wrong way.  Rather than doing it this way:

Event Chain - All Events Set To: (Happens if Party Doesn't Have Q1)
Chain to: Give Special Item: Q1


If you want my advice from years of experience, it would be better to do it this way:

Quest Event: Q1-Step 1 - No Question - Happens Automatically
On Accept:  Event Chain


The reason it's better to do it that way is:

* You don't have to make sure every event has the "Happens if Party Doesn't Have" flag is set in the whole chain...because the chain will only fire once when the quest event is accepted (which happens automatically).

* You can create events that chain off other events.  So, if you set another group of events to "Quest 1-Step 2," they will only fire after "Quest 1-Step 1" has fired and not before.  If you're using a long hallway or something where events happen in order and the players can't do them out of order, this reduces the number of quests you need to pull this off.

* This also allows you to set conditions, like "Quest Failed" or "Quest Completed," which can also be useful if you want to allow any decision making in that map and allow for different outcomes.

* It'll be easier to read.  Your event chain will always be started with a Quest Event, and all accompanying events will be found inside that.  It will be easier to deal with than a group of events followed by a Chain event.

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Offline Platinum Bearer

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #8 on: November 07, 2015, 05:58:27 AM »
I haven't used step chain events at all because I didn't understand how they work, still don't to be honest. It's the only thing I don't get.

You can do everything you want without using though but you have to use more events. There were a few times where I had to repeat event on alternate chains and use very temporary quest items to make a chain work. It got really complicated at times at sometimes even I got confused trying to follow events that I set up days before. ???

The description it gives for step events isn't really clear, at least not to me. It's probably really simple and I'm just being a bit think. I tend to have blind spots to things that are sometimes very simple.
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2015, 09:13:08 AM »
Sorry, I used "Step" in my last posting, when I actually meant to use "Stage."

Which is it that you don't understand?  Step Events (which fire after X number of steps in a zone), or Quest Stage events?  I'll be happy to explain both of them to you, as they will greatly increase the number of things you can do with FRUA.
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Re: Mapping
« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2015, 10:46:19 AM »
Quest stage events.

With step events I just always leave them on every step and put it on the lowest chance if I don't want it to happen often. I don't see the point in using a higher chance over multiple steps. I haven't needed something that rare yet, the areas aren't big enough.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 10:52:17 AM by Platinum Bearer »
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Offline ProphetSword

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2015, 11:52:37 AM »
In regards to Step Events, you might sometimes want an event to happen after so many steps in an area.  As an example, I frequently put "flavor" encounters in my modules when a player walks through a town, where they encounter NPCs or witness things happen.  I don't always want these things to happen in predetermined locations, so they might have a 50% chance of happening every 20 steps or so.  This adds a lot of random flavor into the module.

Another option is that you might have a dungeon where, for example,  someone has to clean out 12 roaming bands of orcs.  Instead of having them in predetermined locations, you could approach it by having a step event every 15-20 steps with a percent chance of it firing.  Eventually, the party will find all 12 roaming bands of orcs, especially if you build your events so that it tracks how many of them they have encountered (and I would also make each encounter different as well, but that's just me).  As a result, the player can search all squares of the dungeon and still not find all 12 orc bands, and it gives them the sense that they are moving around and the dungeon is alive with activity.

These are all personal design choices, of course, but you shouldn't limit yourself to just one way of thinking when it comes to building a module.


But, on to Quest Stage events...

Quest Stage events are fairly easy to understand.  The real issue is that the documentation doesn't explain them to you and neither does the information inside the game.  Once you understand how they work, they will become a powerful tool that you will wonder how you got along without.

Let's say that you have a group of quests that the Mayor of a local village wants to give out to the party.  He first wants them to kill a goblin chief.  Then, he wants them to deliver a message to one of his forest scouts.  Then, finally, he wants them to confront a dragon and kill it.  He will reward the party after they do so. 

If you don't understand Quest Stages, you probably figure the best way to do this is to have the party return with the "Goblin Chief's Head," which will be a special item.  Then you will give them a special item called "Private Message" that they must deliver, and maybe even have them gain a "Dragon Scale" special item when they kill the dragon.  Or, if you use Quest Events, you might give them Quest 1 when they kill the goblin, Quest 2 when they deliver the message and Quest 3 when they defeat the dragon.

And all of that would work.  But, it uses a lot of resources that you might need later in the module (especially if it's epic in scope).  Using Quest Stages, though, you could do all of this by just using Quest 1. 

Quest Stages occur in order (there are ways to alter that, but that's an advanced topic for another time, so for now just focus on them happening in perfect order). So keep in mind that: Quest 2 - Stage 4 will not fire until Quest 2 - Stage 3 has fired, which will not fire until Quest 2 - Stage 2 has fired, which will not fire until Quest 2 - Stage 1 has fired.  If you step on the square where Quest 2 - Stage 4 is located and you haven't encountered Quest 2 - Stage 3 yet, FRUA will ignore it.  It will wait patiently until the condition becomes true, even if it never does.

So, using Quest Stages, our example quests above would look like this:

Quest 1 - Stage 1: Mayor asks party to kill goblins.
Quest 1 - Stage 2: Party finds and kills goblin chief.
Quest 1 - Stage 3: Mayor rewards party and asks party to deliver a message.
Quest 1 - Stage 4: Party finds the recipient and delivers the message.
Quest 1 - Stage 5: Mayor rewards the party and asks them to kill the dragon.
Quest 1 - Stage 6: Party locates the dragon and kills it.
Quest 1 - Stage 7: Mayor rewards party and says he has no more for them to do.

Doing it this way, we have done a couple of important things:

1) We have made it so that we have only used one resource in the module (Quest 1).  We didn't have to use Special Items or more than one quest.

2) We have set things up so that they happen in order.  Players can't kill the dragon before they deliver the message.  They can't deliver the message before they kill the goblin chief.  Maybe all these things are related.  Let's say the message the mayor sent to his scout was about the goblins being in league with the dragon and he needed a return message from the scout to know where the dragon was located.  By keeping things from happening out of order, we make sure that the party can't encounter the dragon before all the other steps occur.

3)  We know that all "Quest 1" stages deal with the missions given by the Mayor.  If we had another story where the party was taking missions from the local Warrior's Guild, those could be "Quest 2."  Missions from the Wizard's Guild might be "Quest 3" events.  And events given to you by Farmer Brown could be "Quest 4."  Each of these could have multiple involved steps.


Quest Events also have additional settings that can change the course of the game.  You can make a Quest set to Failed or Completed.  Then, events can fire based upon that, which is why events have the conditional: "IF QUEST HAS FAILED" and "IF QUEST IS COMPLETE." 

Quest Events can fire without the player even knowing.  For example, once the player has killed the Goblin Chief, I might want to advance the stage without asking them a question or without them knowing.  I would set the Quest Event to "ACCEPT: AUTOMATIC (NO QUESTION)," which means it does not ask them a YES/NO question about whether they want to proceed.  Then, on the next page, I put any events that I want to occur as a result of this Stage firing into CHAIN ON ACCEPT, so that they fire only one time, since this is the only time that Quest Stage will be true (again, there are ways to alter this, but unless you're trying to alter it, it will always remain true).   See the screenshots below for more information.

So, for example, if I want to make sure the players can't encounter the Goblin Chief until the Mayor gives them the mission, I would put the encounter and combat with him in the CHAIN ON ACCEPT chain within Quest 1 - Stage 2.  That way, if they reach the goblin caves before talking to the Mayor, they won't encounter the Goblin Chief.

I probably babbled a lot.  I'm willing to clarify anything you want or answer any questions.  If this has given you a basic understanding, I suggest loading up FRUA and throwing in some example events to test it out on a single map (that's actually how I figured it out).  Hope this helped.
« Last Edit: November 07, 2015, 11:59:39 AM by ProphetSword »
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Re: Mapping
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2015, 12:23:28 PM »
Wow, thanks for taking the to to explain. I've totally hijacked Dorateen's thread. Sorry mate.

The times I've thought that using multiple steps would be handy is when you want enough variation in the random fights for the lowest % chance to not be low enough.

I think I get quest stage events now, at least how they basically work anyway. It is a lot simpler than it seemed. Number 2 you can do with multiple quest items though, I did that loads.

I wanted to limit the number of random fights so that the areas can be cleared but it would have meant giving them a quest item after combats, then checking what quest items they've got before giving them the next one, and multiple quest item checks before possible combats. It would give the player the sense of progression and prevent xp hoarding. A really nice way would be for the % chance of combat to drop after every fight. Quest stage could be useful for this but it might still be a bit of a pain to set up. Increasing the % would be easier, you could just add the same % again but decreasing it would mean setting up each one to only fire once.
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Offline steve_mcdee

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2015, 02:32:18 PM »
Great post, Ben.

As to step events to occur randomly, I tend to set them to occur every three or four steps (with a suitably higher percentage chance of occurring), rather than every step, because I think it would be annoying to hit random encounters two steps in a row. It will still feel just as random to the player.

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Re: Mapping
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2015, 09:21:25 AM »
Going back to the original purpose for this, wouldn't it be easier to use one quest item for each event anyway if there's enough spare as I described? Otherwise the events would have to happen in a certain order. How simple is it to set up all the stage events to happen in any order?

In regards to Step Events, you might sometimes want an event to happen after so many steps in an area.  As an example, I frequently put "flavor" encounters in my modules when a player walks through a town, where they encounter NPCs or witness things happen.  I don't always want these things to happen in predetermined locations, so they might have a 50% chance of happening every 20 steps or so.  This adds a lot of random flavor into the module.

Another option is that you might have a dungeon where, for example,  someone has to clean out 12 roaming bands of orcs.  Instead of having them in predetermined locations, you could approach it by having a step event every 15-20 steps with a percent chance of it firing.  Eventually, the party will find all 12 roaming bands of orcs, especially if you build your events so that it tracks how many of them they have encountered (and I would also make each encounter different as well, but that's just me).  As a result, the player can search all squares of the dungeon and still not find all 12 orc bands, and it gives them the sense that they are moving around and the dungeon is alive with activity.

These are all personal design choices, of course, but you shouldn't limit yourself to just one way of thinking when it comes to building a module.
I think you might have misread what I said. I used random encounter step events quite a lot, I just always left the steps set to one with a low % chance. In one area I added lowest % encounter every time the go up to a new level so that the fights become more common and more varied every time they go up some stairs. That worked nicely.

As to step events to occur randomly, I tend to set them to occur every three or four steps (with a suitably higher percentage chance of occurring), rather than every step, because I think it would be annoying to hit random encounters two steps in a row. It will still feel just as random to the player.
I thought about doing that but I only had that happen once when I was testing it and it makes sense for the sound of one fight to attract others.
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