Blades of Avernum News and a Sample Script

AuthorTopic: Blades of Avernum News and a Sample Script
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I'm been trying to get a lot done on Blades of Avernum lately. The code is moving along well, and we'll start porting Valley of Dying Things in the next few weeks.

We are considering adding some sort of custom ability facility to the game. Someone made a very good suggestion for how this work work. It would be an ability you create which calls a scenario script. You could have this script do whatever you want, including act roughly like a spell.

You could then make a few custom spells if you wanted. The spell wouldn't be able to have a specific target (like 1 PC or 1 enemy), but could do a huge amount of things.

But the thing I'm most excited about is that scripting is in the game and working the way I want it. Here, for example, is the script for doors. If you want to put in the work and really customize your scenarios, you can, for example, massively change how your doors work. (If you don't want to pay attention to scripts, your scenario will be provided with the default scripts it needs to fuction.)

So here is how default doors work. It may not make sense now, but, of course, the game will come with documentation.

Door.txt script:
ftp://ftp.spiderwebsoftware.com/temp/door.txt

Some interesting things about this:

i. You can attach a stuff done flag to a door to remember that it's been unlocked. Doors won't become relocked when you re-enter the town.
ii. This script includes having doors which can be unlocked by people with the correct key.
iii. What is a memory cell? Every creature or terrain space has ten memory cells attached to it, each of which can contain a number. The cells determine how the terrain spot acts. For example, when you place a door, all cells attached to it are 0. If the first cell is 0, the door is unlocked. If you change that cell to a number above 0, it becomes locked.

I love scripts. They're incredibly powerful and versatile. The possibilities in Blades of Avernum are orders of magnitude above what you could do in Blades of Exile.

- Jeff Vogel
Spiderweb Software
http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
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This sounds great!
When do you think you will be able to screenshots up of BOA?

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This is also a good site
Posts: 650 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Triad Mage
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This looks very promising. I'm just wondering, but this is the base door script, right? Will we need to deal with C at all during scenario creation? That's not really such a big problem for me, but it may scare some other people away.

[ Thursday, December 19, 2002 02:53: Message edited by: Drakefyre ]

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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
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Would I be right in saying that the BoA scripting system will be almost identical to the Geneforge scripts (because this door script looks very familiar to the GF scripts)?

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Posts: 530 | Registered: Sunday, September 1 2002 07:00
Law Bringer
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quote:
Originally posted by Spidweb:
If you don't want to pay attention to scripts, your scenario will be provided with the default scripts it needs to fuction.
I think that's a fairly clear indication that those who are not so inclined will not need to look at the scripts, Drakey.

Jigga: The code above and the Geneforge scripts are both in C++. Since it's a perfectly good programming language, I don't think Jeff will try to alter it just to make things more confusing.

—Alorael, who now has all sorts of new ideas. First of all, doors that are immune to Unlock level 3 sound very good. Second of all, having floors turn bright red when you walk on them could have possibilities...
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Guardian
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-EEPLegolas, who suddenly sees a good idea from a subline in the above post...
Yes, floor plates that turn colors (graphics, whatever) when stepped on IS a good idea

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Posts: 1582 | Registered: Wednesday, November 13 2002 08:00
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"This looks very promising. I'm just wondering, but this is the base door script, right? Will we need to deal with C at all during scenario creation? That's not really such a big problem for me, but it may scare some other people away."

Oh, it'll be complex. And yes, it will scare some people away. But that's the nature of the beast. Blades of Exile was pretty darn complex too.

The scripting language is not C or C++, though there are surface similarities. It is FAR, FAR simpler. (I am a mediocre script engine programmer.)

The form and syntax are identical to Geneforge scripting.

- Jeff Vogel
Spiderweb Software
http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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"Yes, floor plates that turn colors (graphics, whatever) when stepped on IS a good idea"

There are numerous ways to implement this in the engine. Since there can be a limited number of scripts in each town, I would do this in the script that runs every move when the party is in a town. it would poll the party locations and if they're on the right sort of floor type, change the floor under them.

- Jeff Vogel
Spiderweb Software
http://www.spiderwebsoftware.com
Posts: 960 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
Warrior
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Can you try to make a manual to use C? I know it will be quite hard.

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Posts: 93 | Registered: Friday, November 1 2002 08:00
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Humm...If C programming exists...there must surely be a manual for it published somewhere...Or is it not?

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Posts: 46 | Registered: Friday, October 25 2002 07:00
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There are tons of manuals for C and C++ programming, though many of them are made for specific programs (like borland, visual C++, codewarrior, etc).
Anyway, he already said that it wouldn't actually BE C or C++, there would just be 'surface similarities'.

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Posts: 298 | Registered: Tuesday, September 10 2002 07:00
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I hope there is gunna be some basic thing that we can use too... cuz I sure don't think I can figure out all that scripting language stuff. I tried that in Morrowind, and it was HECK. (wait am I aloud to say the other for heck?)

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Posts: 1582 | Registered: Wednesday, November 13 2002 08:00
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I like what I'm seeing from the Beast so far, but as of right now, I only have sticks and stones to slay this beast with. In BoE (which, might I add, is an extremely simple medium- this feels far tougher), there was a manual to explain things in the editor, and what they did. Will there be any sort of crash course manual that will come with BoA?

How many "scripts" will there be per town, and will there still be a system somewhat like nodes, or will all messages/effects/traps take place via scripts?

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Posts: 6936 | Registered: Tuesday, September 18 2001 07:00
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I can't wait for BOA! It will be the first game I register (sadly). I'm hoping that I will be able to do this programming stuff. I want to re-create some classics, and make classics of my own. I'm really excited about it. Anyone bent on remaking ATG?

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Posts: 281 | Registered: Saturday, June 8 2002 07:00
Triad Mage
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You can't remake it, only *i can. And he won't, as far as I can tell. It's best if you don't try, either. Focus on your new scenarios and getting acquainted with the new editor.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
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Sorry to revive this age-old topic, but I have a few questions.

First, if the scripting system is used for stuff as low-level as doors, is it possible to modify the battle mechanics the same way? (hopes that some helpful soul will make a blank template scenario with the battle system changed to be somewhat closer to its A1 or A2 form, so that level 1 characters wouldn't kill all low-level monsters with a single hit. Remember how fun fighting that apprentice mage in that bandit fort near the beginning of Avernum was? With A3 engine he'd die in a single round. Timo not like. And I still don't understand the weird damage system of A3 weapons.)

Second, I wonder if Jeff'll change his mind about some sort of a spell-like targeting thing for custom abilities. I'm sure every BoA-awaiter in the world would cheer if it was added. (Spell-like abilities with custom graphics and effects...)

And third, will it be possible to make in-game cinematics like the beginning and end demos of A3?

(edit) Forgot one thing : can you give a character or a monster a modifier (like haste or divine warrior) that will stay as long as you want? Like boots that make you permanently hasted, a shade in a crypt helping a battle against a lich with Divine Warrior since you helped it, or that same shade making you permanently slowed until you find someone to lift the curse? That'd be fun =).

Oh, and the new script system is *cool*. So much better than the weird nodes and events of BoE.

[ Saturday, March 15, 2003 07:04: Message edited by: Timo ]
Posts: 23 | Registered: Sunday, May 5 2002 07:00
Law Bringer
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I don't remember Jeff ever saying explicitly he will include cinematics, but they can already be made in BoE. It takes a long time, but it's possible.

The scripting system is more for use in special encounters than for altering the mechanics of the game. By editing monster stats and weapon stats it should be possible to approximate the old combat system, but weapons from other scenarios would be overpowered and it probably wouldn't be exact. I miss the old system too, but I think the best solution is just to make the monsters much tougher.

I don't know about permanent modifiers, but you could set up areas where a script called automatically every few turns casts some effect on your party, effectively making it permanent for the duration of the fight. It will probably be possible to do the same thing with monsters, but I don't know for certain. Permanent status equipment seems more unlikely, but it may be possible.

—Alorael, who would also like to see targeting for custom spells appear. Jeff seems set against it, though, and it probably would be at least a minor hassle to program. Jeff wants to avoid engine changes at any cost as well.
Posts: 14579 | Registered: Saturday, December 1 2001 08:00
Shock Trooper
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quote:
We are considering adding some sort of custom ability facility to the game. Someone made a very good suggestion for how this work work. It would be an ability you create which calls a scenario script. You could have this script do whatever you want, including act roughly like a spell.

You could then make a few custom spells if you wanted. The spell wouldn't be able to have a specific target (like 1 PC or 1 enemy), but could do a huge amount of things.[
Wow, looks like Jeff has changed his mind about including the things we wanted. Cool. :) Too bad Alcritas has already left.

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Posts: 346 | Registered: Sunday, December 30 2001 08:00
Triad Mage
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Alcritas has said that he will return for BoA's release.

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"At times discretion should be thrown aside, and with the foolish we should play the fool." - Menander
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Encyclopedia Ermariana - Trapped in the Closet
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Posts: 9436 | Registered: Wednesday, September 19 2001 07:00
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Didn't he say that he might or might not return, and if he did it was unlikely he'd do much with BoA?

Or has he posted something that I missed?

[ Tuesday, March 18, 2003 12:16: Message edited by: jwj442 ]

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"If you held a weapon to Fwiffo's head, he would say anything you wanted him to. In fact, if you held a vegetable to Fwiffo's head, he'd say whatever you wanted him to." - Spathi high council, Star Control 2.
Posts: 346 | Registered: Sunday, December 30 2001 08:00