History of the community

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AuthorTopic: History of the community
The Establishment
Member # 6
Profile #25
I'm not sure how much the community can do to get new people to create scenarios with BoA. The learning curve is quite steep and we can help people with that. However, designing scenarios is an effort of sheer determination. There is not much we can do for that until testing.

There were many scenarios that were released in BoE that were old style and not all that great, but they were of adequate quality and earned relative praise. Of course the standards go up with subsequent scenarios, but as long as they meet the minimum bar of requirement, we are pretty receptive. I do not hesitate to tell people what they are doing right, nor do I hesitate to tell them what they are doing wrong.

Undead Valley, when described as a cheap kill Rentar-Ihrno flick full of overpowered loot definitely drew criticism. Had it not been for the "kill Rentar-Ihrno" part, I would not have had much in the way of major criticism for it. Something like that is quite crude and the community should discourage that aspect.

Unfortunately, the community leadership is partly made up by professionals with other lives to live. We try to give the resources we can, but we are limited as to what charitable causes we can give. So to better help us focus our energies, I pose a question:

What action should the community take to assist in bring in new designers?

Saying not to be critical is not an acceptable response to this. Criticism is a central role in which good pieces of work are produced. What is a concrete action, not inaction, that can be taken?

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Your flower power is no match for my glower power!!
Posts: 3726 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Warrior
Member # 4599
Profile #26
You have an amazing talent for making conversations very intriguing Kelandon. I am afraid I have never played BoE, but I will say this whole topic has inspired me to buy it (at least when my next paycheck comes in).

I have no interest in making scenarios, but I can tell you all work hard to do something for free. Especially considering your feelings with Jeff Vogel for not providing more help in the days of BoE.

For all intents and purposes, I am a newbie who has not played any other Spiderweb games outside of all of the Avernums and Geneforge 1+2. A little bit of the first Exile, but I had to put it down.

When I first came to these boards I personally beleived I was not "shunned" in any way, though, like my previous statement, I have nothing to do with the scenario aspect of the Blades community.

Well, there was an instance where I first encountered Alorael. Nothing bad, I doubt Alorael remembers it anyway, he was very nice about it too, so I think it was a good thing for me. The people here, for the most part, have struck me as intelligent and kind. Maybe I just need to be around longer to see instances like the one with Solberg.

Sorry if this comes off as more of a rant then anything else.

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Part of me wants to say, "Well, it's good enough for me, and it's my damn scenario," but another part of me sort of wants to hold back. I've settled on this compromise. -Kelandon
Posts: 135 | Registered: Tuesday, June 22 2004 07:00
BoE Posse
Member # 112
Profile #27
Rant? Do you mean ramble, perhaps? :P

I honestly don't see the problem. Plenty of scenarios - good scenarios, too - have been released since BoA came out. It's just that a lot of them have been made for BoE.

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Rate my scenarios!

Areni
Revenge
To Live in Fear
Deadly Goblins
Ugantan Nightmare
Isle of Boredom
Posts: 1423 | Registered: Sunday, October 7 2001 07:00
Warrior
Member # 4484
Profile #28
I didn't mean it's easy to write scenario. I mean, if you just don't have any idea about the plot, just don't write one !

I have some ideas, but I can't script. I don't write scenario. Some can script but don't have any plot. Why do they write scenario ?
What they're thinking ?

The thing is, nobody's gonna be beat you if you don't write scenario. I prefer to not release scenario than release a stinky one.

If you want to help the newbie to release scenario, just write articles. Drakefyre done it. Erik Westra done it. If you think there's a serious plot problem, write your own plot help book. If you think the newbie are afraid of scripting (and I think they are), write a beginner's tutorial.

And, yes, if you're not english native speaker, it's uncredibly difficult to make a really good scenario. But we can't help with that.

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"Il est interdit de se battre sur le Champ du Massacre; dit-il avant de marquer une pause, le temps de reflechir a la logique de ses propos."

Discworld, The Colour of Magic
Posts: 178 | Registered: Monday, June 7 2004 07:00
BANNED
Member # 4
Profile Homepage #29
A start would probably be a tutorial to designing of some sort- although the biggest problem with that is shelf space. Newbies come to Spidweb for their designing tips, and Spidweb simultaneously makes it heinously difficult for newbs to get sound advice. (Heck, locating the editor can be a feat. Which reminds me- why is the onus on us to encourage people to increase the value of Jeff's product? Oh well.)

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人 た ち を 燃 え る た め に 俺 は か れ ら に 火 を 上 げ る か ら 死 ん だ
Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
BANNED
Member # 4
Profile Homepage #30
Both Westra and Drakefyre released a scenario apiece, though. (Admittedly, Drakey's is crap and is from long ago, but...) Plus, articles are written- so what? How many people get to those articles? I think that we NEED an easily-accessible tutorial to the Blades of Avernum editor for newbies to begin coding in earnest, and we as a community don't have the ability to properly reconfigure spidweb.com to do this.

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人 た ち を 燃 え る た め に 俺 は か れ ら に 火 を 上 げ る か ら 死 ん だ
Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Lack of Vision
Member # 2717
Profile #31
Couple of points:

(1) I'm glad to hear we're not very far from each other, TM - I did not, and do not, advocate a "no criticism" approach. I was arguing for offering more constructive criticism and use of probing questions to encourage beginners to keep trying.

(2) I don't like to quote my own posts, but TM and I are clearly thinking along the same lines - as I wrote previously -

"I think an excellent way to help budding designers is for someone who knows, and understands, the BoA editor, to write a tutorial that takes a reader from the start to the end of the scenario design process - including writing dialogue scripts, quests, etc. - explaining things every step of the way. Jeff's "tutorial" is inadequate to teach someone anything except how to place a couple of walls and a couple of enemies. His tutorial ends at about chapter 2 of what should be a 20 chapter tutorial.
"

I also stand by my assessment that Jeff's documentation for the editor is poorly written and unnecessarily complex.

Z

[ Tuesday, February 08, 2005 07:04: Message edited by: Zorro ]

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Pan Lever: Seventeen apple roving mirror moiety. Of turned quorum jaggedly the. Blue?
Posts: 186 | Registered: Thursday, February 27 2003 08:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #32
It is noticeably poorly organized. Reading the docs straight through is nearly useless. I'd like to think that my article for beginners could be useful, but I haven't bothered to get SW to put in among their articles, since I hate the way they manage their site.

Someone made a Wiki of the docs at one point... I'm going to go see if that's still around. If so, we might as well take advantage and start making the docs more user-friendly.

Once we have a good product out of the Wiki, we might want to tell SW about it so that they can link to it.

EDIT: Yeah, it's here. Although the person who set it up seems to have departed the community, it's still a Wiki, so anyone can edit it.

[ Tuesday, February 08, 2005 08:51: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #33
This topic has moved along nicely. I think I'll put in some more of what I've encountered.

I want it to be known that I have played Avernum since it's inception, but I have never repeat NEVER come onto the boards before just a few weeks ago. I never played BoE.

Someone said that there was no problem with BoA's scenarios as it had quite a few, and very good ones, since it came out, the only problem was that they had already been released for BoE.

I say, in EARNEST: What the ****!? You don't see any minor problem with the fact that the only designers making anything are BoE desginers? Don't you realize that means you're getting NO new talent, that means your getting NO community growth? That might not seem important since you already have a large and well-established community. You might think "Well, since it's worked so well up till now, why not keep status qou?"

Stagnation. NOTHING causes a decline in a community better, ANY historian or physcologist can tell you think. And I'll be brutally honest: I came to these boards because BoA was coming out, and I had some great (in my opinion) scenario ideas. I intend to work hard as hell on my first scenario. But guess what? Even though I'm designing for story, which lends perseverence to my effort, eventually I'll have a thought process resembling this, if all I can get is "you suck, your scenario is a piece of crap":

Why bother showing my stories to people who won't appreciate them? I can always find another medium to tell stories over, and even if it isn't the same stories, I'll think of ones just as good. Don't think that the only designers worth having are the people who can hold out through lambasting.

It takes ENORMOUS strength of will to keep plugging away and sapping your energy when your having NO visible effect. It's DRAINING to FORCE yourself to go through that ORDEAL. The few people with the strength of will to do it won't bother over a ****ing game made for enjoyment.

This doesn't mean "Coddle crap" either. If a person makes what you consider a ****ty scenario, ask them what thier idea was. Maybe they made it just to get a feel for things, maybe they had a great plot and lost thier idea.

For example, maybe they wanted to do something but found they didn't know how to script it. Heres a solution to that problem: Script up what they wanted and send it to them. Encourage them. Maybe they'll re-release it as something GREAT, just because they now believe they can do what they wanted.

Maybe they lost thier inspiration for plot midway through. Have them take you through whatever it was they thought was so good about the plot. See if you can help them back on the right track. The important thing to remember here is, don't think about what YOU would do. Think about what THEY think would be cool in THIER scenario. you should know well enough, now that they've spammed you with plot-related text.

Maybe they just made it for practice. Evaluate it, and if it's still mediocre despite that, they deserve a lot of praise: A simple practice scenario turning out well is no joke.

Maybe they made it to tell a story. If you feel the story is told unclearly, ask them. "Why are there hordes of undead there?" Maybe they dont really know, just got frustrated and lapsed into Generic Syndrome, which is where you fill up a dungeon mindlessly out of frustration or fatigue. Help them put back together the dungeon. Maybe they had a good reason for doing it: Tell them to convey it more clearly.

Betatesters and the makers of the game should get CLOSE. You should speak over IM's, not over forums, so you can hold a real conversation and really figure out what the deal is, instead of just sending a "Report", since that will usually look official and non-personable.

If it's a persons first attempt and it's crap, and the above doesnt work, then try to point out whatever IS good about it, or at least not horridly bad, and try to convince them to make another scenario based on that. Or a remake.

If they make a second piece of crap, first make sure they aren't just doing this to screw with your head, then make sure they're on the right track. Maybe YOUR the problem: Maybe it's a remarkable new genre of scenario that you think is crap because you dont understand how to play and enjoy it yet. Maybe the designer really DID know what he was doing. Don't be too quick to assume that just because he asked you to betatest, he thinks your opinion is all powerfull. Make sure to ask.

Maybe they dont know, they just got inspired, and failed to convey it properly. Always ask. If the third scenario is crap, then it's time to stop coddling, because if all the above didn't work, you got a problem. At this point maybe what they need is a strong kick in the right direction, before they try out whatever idea or inspiration is failing them here. If after all you've been through with thier previous scenarios, they're ready to quit just because of a good shove in the right direction, then maybe it just isn't meant to be. At least you, and the community as a whole, got three scenarios that someone can play to pass the time. Maybe another designer can come in and remake them into something worth playing.

Thats my idea on what to do with newbies. And as if this post isn't long enough, let me put in this as a last gasp of my stinky breath :P

The community has been quite friendly to me. Granted, I see some posts here and elsewhere that can look gruff, but when I've sent PM's asking for help, there isn't a person here who's been rude to me. All have tried to be helpfull. I've even gleaned good ideas from people I disagree with.

For example: Thuryl told me to do something in my scenario I was going to do anyway. But he then gave a reason for it. That reason happened to get me thinking about something, ADHD as I am. It resulted in a really sweet idea for my scenario.

Inspiration is hard to come by, but it usually takes some level of inspiration to get someone to make a scenario. No one here has been an ass to me yet when I asked for help, and while forums like this one can get heated as hell, it works out well in the end to my limited experience.

But newbies don't know that! Make sure they DO. Look at thier rank, consider thier number of posts, before you decide to shoot down ideas. I'm still not saying "coddle crap". Instead I'm saying "Coddle newbies" whether they release crap or not, because they might need it, and the above steps might fix the problem. If I'm seeing the scenario tables right, BoA needs some new talent.

Where will it get it? RIGHT HERE. But if you guys think you can convince a sproutling newbie designer to grow into a tall, strong tree that grows scenario-fruit (horrible analogy) by not watering it, giving it attention, whatever, so as to "Buff it up and teach it to take the hard knocks of life" well.....your sproutling is gonna die. And when that happens it isn't the sprouts fault, it's YOURS. For sitting on your computer when you shoulda watered it ;)

I hope my rant offered some insight into helping fix this problem. It certainly wasn't easy to type and I see flames rolling in my way on the frontier, but hey: Some newbie had to say it. At least I reframed from pointing fingers or calling anyone an ******* (And I'm not referring to ANYONE with that remark. you've all been constructive.) And by the way: *I, while originally I didn't try to change things with my opinions, since you've now asked me to, well, here it is ;)
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
BoE Posse
Member # 112
Profile #34
You completely misunderstood me. People were complaining that far less scenarios had been released in the early days of BoA than in the early days of BoE. I was simply pointing out that BoE did not have a rival editor (and a much easier-to-use one at that) at the time it was released. Count up the number of scenarios that have been released for either system since BoA's release and you'll come up with a similar number to pretty much any other year. If there was a time to worry, it was the 6th contest. For an entire year, we had 9 scenarios released. 3 were by TM. We currently have, what, 8 BoA scenarios released with 2 in beta? Plus probably a dozen BoE scenarios. There is no scenario shortage. That's all I was trying to say.

EDIT: Also, one could well ask why you criticise people for tearing newbies apart instead of encouraging them for the good things they do. :P Quite aside from the fact that, I think, the community is by and large very encouraging and helpful.

[ Tuesday, February 08, 2005 18:59: Message edited by: The Creator ]

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Rate my scenarios!

Areni
Revenge
To Live in Fear
Deadly Goblins
Ugantan Nightmare
Isle of Boredom
Posts: 1423 | Registered: Sunday, October 7 2001 07:00
Warrior
Member # 5415
Profile #35
I have to agree with Solodric. I'm new here, but so far have been rather unimpressed with the replies old-timers give out to people in the threads I've seen.

There is such a thing as constructive criticism, helpful comments, and just plain common sense. Without those it's a rather unfriendly place, and then the scenario developing community suffers and you don;t get as many to play.
Posts: 62 | Registered: Thursday, January 20 2005 08:00
Warrior
Member # 3978
Profile #36
As I said, no one thusfar has been rude to me when I asked for help. But some things need to change.

No matter what you do, any established group will have an established hierarchy. the thing is, suddenly everyone who played or designed in BoE is in a hierarchy over all the new BoA players. I'm not saying that having experience is a bad thing - that would be ludicrous. I'm saying that the general tone newbies get here can be somewhat discouraging.

Regardless of that, the community is, by and large, helpfull. Just a bit calloused, basicly, because of thier experience. I'm suggesting thinking in terms of the newbies as much as possible, you were a newbie once, it's true, but you can't equate your experiences with thier's. They're coming into a much rougher world.

The editor for BoA is very annoyingly, cumbersomely C++ coding. Hopefully, someone will get really industrious and make little buttons like "Create Coversation for Selected PC" or whatnot. Stuff that will automate that type of thing.

Until such a time, it's much harder for newbies now than it was for newbies then, best I can tell.

As a footnote: If you want to really understand what I'm talking about, think about how parents tell thier kids "I was a kid too, once, yknow, I know exactly what it's like". True, they were a kid. But technology has jumped forward a lot, and things in culture have changed SEVERELY. It's different. The same applies to the newb community.

And once again I've spammed my own topic. If anyone got offended because of this, stop and read it again. I'm not pointing fingers, no, not even at you Creator ;) Not even when I disagreed with your statement. I was just using it as a basis for what I had to say.
Posts: 125 | Registered: Friday, February 13 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #37
quote:
Originally written by were244:

You have an amazing talent for making conversations very intriguing Kelandon. I am afraid I have never played BoE, but I will say this whole topic has inspired me to buy it (at least when my next paycheck comes in).

Perhaps Jeff should put Kel on comission. :P

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The Encyclopaedia Ermariana <-- Now a Wiki!
"Polaris leers down from the black vault, winking hideously like an insane watching eye which strives to convey some strange message, yet recalls nothing save that it once had a message to convey." --- HP Lovecraft.
"I single Aran out due to his nasty temperament, and his superior intellect." --- SupaNik
Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #38
YES.

In other news, a work to remake the BoA Scenario Editor is underway. The new editor will be user-friendly and have much better code than the old one. That, at least, is being done. I hope to write some more tutorials, too, and we can work on the Wiki to help fix the documentation. All of this can be (and is being) done.

Which reminds me that the developers of the new editor wanted me to do something. I should go do that now, just as soon as I figure out what it was.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.

Kelandon's Pink and Pretty Page!!: the authorized location for all things by me
The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
Agent
Member # 2210
Profile #39
Part of the issue with the editor is beta testing.

Because there are numerous problems with the different version of windows, and Mac OS the fixes which occur have to work on multiple platforms. Different errors will appear in different versions of windows.

Another issue is finishing testing. Right now, most scenarios go through at least three rounds of beta testing-- sometimes four or five. This is partially due to the buggy nature of BOA, it hasn't been around long enough to identify what the common errors are in scripting.

Right now for example, I am beta testing two separate scenarios-- Backwater Calls, Lost Basshikava, ( and if it ever moves forward Undead Valley.) So testing is going on for multiple scenarios right now.

I think there will be more scenarios available soon.

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Wasting your time and mine looking for a good laugh.

Star Bright, Star Light, Oh I Wish I May, I Wish Might, Wish For One Star Tonight.
Posts: 1084 | Registered: Thursday, November 7 2002 08:00

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