I want to try designing with BoA

AuthorTopic: I want to try designing with BoA
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Any words of wisdom for someone getting started? I definitely want to start really small, perhaps smaller than what is recommended because I really don't have alot of general computer knowledge, at least relative to what I would suppose alot of BoA designers have. If I could get a couple working towns, an interesting story line, a couple working dungeon/objective areas, and some basic usefull scripts I'd be happy. Any suggestions about learning the scripting language? What about putting your ideas to paper before getting to editing? Are maps and flowcharts a good idea?
Posts: 23 | Registered: Saturday, September 6 2003 07:00
Off With Their Heads
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quote:
Originally written by Grignard:

If I could get a couple working towns, an interesting story line, a couple working dungeon/objective areas, and some basic usefull scripts I'd be happy.
That is exactly what's recommended. Keep it small and simple.

Be sure to read the Designer FAQ and check out the linked utilities. There's a great deal of BoA resources out there, although some take some digging.

Probably the best way to learn how to script is this:
1. Read a little from the docs to get a general sense of how it works.
2. Look at other people's scripts that do similar things to what you want (putting dialogue on the screen, for instance).
3. Refer back to the docs to look up what's going on in others' scripts.
4. Write a tiny bit of your own code.
5. Test that little bit of code to see if you're getting how it works.
6. Repeat until you've made a scenario.

And, of course, if you have any questions, post them here.

[ Monday, March 27, 2006 16:19: Message edited by: Kelandon ]

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Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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Putting your ideas to paper is definately a good idea. My four BoE scenarios had no planning done on paper, and well...to be frank, they suck. Xerch'de (BoA) had some planning, and it turned out tons better than my previous work.

So, paper and pencil first: good thing. I've never done maps and flowcharts, but I can see how they'd help.

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Posts: 549 | Registered: Thursday, October 17 2002 07:00
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Wow... a new designer who actually wants to start small. I am truly impressed.

As Kelandon said, check out all the wonderful FAQs. Of course, that can make your head spin after a while, so don't hesitate to just make a test scenario and fiddle around with stuff before launching into a full-scale scenario.

We're all here to help. Good luck in your designing.

EDIT: And I also feel that I should support the idea of planning out scenarios beforehand. I went into writing my only BoA scenario rather unsure of how it was all going to play out, and I wound up improvising an ending due to a pressing contest deadline. I don't recommend it... if only because I really didn't like the first release version of my scenario.

[ Monday, March 27, 2006 16:28: Message edited by: Ephesos ]

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Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
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Well, I dont want to sell myself short, I think I have some pretty cool ideas, and I don't consider myself by and large a stupid individual. But I also realize that part of the power of the BoA editor is it can be fairly low level. You can get into the guts of things. This means you are essentially programming a game, even though the tools makes it a hell of a lot easier than starting from scratch. This is still a tall order, especially considering that any time I've tried to learn a programming language ive failed miserably. I just realize that its probably very complex just to get one scripted NPC working.

I would like to start with maps for no other reason than I like maps. I like reading them and making them. When I used to make D&D campaigns, I was unusual in that I would begin with a map, then go from there. I guess I'm just a very visual oriented person.
quote:
Originally written by Ephesos:

Wow... a new designer who actually wants to start small. I am truly impressed.

As Kelandon said, check out all the wonderful FAQs. Of course, that can make your head spin after a while, so don't hesitate to just make a test scenario and fiddle around with stuff before launching into a full-scale scenario.

We're all here to help. Good luck in your designing.

EDIT: And I also feel that I should support the idea of planning out scenarios beforehand. I went into writing my only BoA scenario rather unsure of how it was all going to play out, and I wound up improvising an ending due to a pressing contest deadline. I don't recommend it... if only because I really didn't like the first release version of my scenario.



[ Monday, March 27, 2006 17:01: Message edited by: Grignard ]
Posts: 23 | Registered: Saturday, September 6 2003 07:00
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Making a map is not at all a bad place to start.
I'm a big fan of flowcharts, myself; but you actually need a story first, right?

My advice as a current first-time writer (though Kel already mentioned this) is to play the scenarios that are already available, and to look through what makes them tick, if you find them interesting.
Check out the stuff that is available: individual webpages, the Louvre, the Codex, and other resource sites, for example. Why try to come up with stuff of your own if someone else has created what you need, right?

Remember, everyone on this forum is available to help, whether for scripting, testing, or just idea bouncing.

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Posts: 735 | Registered: Monday, January 16 2006 08:00
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quote:
Originally written by Lenar Labs:

My advice as a current first-time writer (though Kel already mentioned this) is to play the scenarios that are already available, and to look through what makes them tick, if you find them interesting.
Quite good advice, really. Sometimes you just run up against something that makes you wonder, "What if x, y, and z bounced off this idea?" Say you wanted to know what happens to Vahkhos between DwtD and becoming head of the Aizoan Empire (this will only make sense if you've read the RP in General), or you want to follow the Slith Wars of ZKR's time period. You can make a scenario set somewhere new, which just explores those old ideas.

quote:
Originally written by Lenar Labs:

The Silent Assassin is currently at work on a grass-shortening device.
I want to know where all of my lawn chemicals went.

This was just too funny to not quote.

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
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Member # 5459
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quote:
Originally written by Grignard:
Any words of wisdom for someone getting started? I definitely want to start really small, perhaps smaller than what is recommended because I really don't have alot of general computer knowledge, at least relative to what I would suppose alot of BoA designers have. If I could get a couple working towns, an interesting story line, a couple working dungeon/objective areas, and some basic usefull scripts I'd be happy. Any suggestions about learning the scripting language? What about putting your ideas to paper before getting to editing? Are maps and flowcharts a good idea?
I didn't know a thing about scripting when I first started designing. I still don't see myself any good at it, though I am a very self-critical fellow. For example, I only learned how to use the "while" function when I was halfway through designing MoC. This is how I got started:
1) I started to read the BoA editor Docs. after a short while I stopped and decided to skip to parts I wanted to learn first like writing dialogue.
2) I created a scenario and slapped together a town and placed a guard there and began to write his dialogue.
3) After over an hour of failed attempts and error messages I stopped reading the documents, since I couldn't even understand half of the basic stuff, and decided to see how it's done from the scripts of other scenarios.
4) This was an almost immediate success. After that it was relatively painless to write more dialogue options. After that I started messing around with SDFs and saw if I could make dialogue options appear only after something was said/done.
5) Feeling satisfied with my dialogue scripting skills I moved on to general scripting. I placed special encounters in the town, created special items, custom items and initialized a quest and made it possible to finish it. Then I messed around with outdoor scripting and voilá! My masterpiece was complete.

By the way, this isn't Backwater Calls I'm talking about. I still use this scenario when I want to test something I'm not sure would work.

In short what I'm saying is: when your scripts don't work or you just generally fail to do what you wanted, don't give up! Try to fix the problem, work around it, or come here and ask for help. And for the sake of whatever deity you worship, finish and release your scenario! Even though you as a designer think your work sucks (BC and to a lesser extent MoC) others will see it in a different light.

As for writing stuff down and drawing maps. I didn't do any of that in BC and-uh it shows. I had an idea for a scenario that could work but I thought it would be too ambitious a starter scenario. So I decided to start with something more simple and made BC. Looking back at it, BC is just something I slapped together without much of an effort. For MoC I did write down ideas and draw maps and personally I feel it's a good way of keeping your thoughts together and it helps you write a more solid scenario.

Good luck in your designing efforts!

(MoC wasn't my ambitious scenario. Neither is the one I'm working on now.)

[ Friday, March 31, 2006 23:31: Message edited by: Kaupunkijaakari Smoo ]

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Posts: 211 | Registered: Sunday, January 30 2005 08:00