"The Order of Operations"

AuthorTopic: "The Order of Operations"
Lifecrafter
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To veteran scenario writers: I'm curious. In what order do you recommend I write the files for my scenarios? What way would be easiest to make the story flow smoothly?

The reason I ask is because my scenario seems pretty weak story-wise (among other things). It's kind of late to go changing it now, but in the future I'd like to know the best way to do it.

With ItSoD, I didn't really have a method of doing it. I just kind of did stuff as I thought of it. Then stuff got added on after I'd started actually writing it, creating what I'm sure are some sizable plot holes.

Anyway, thanks in advance.

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Do not provoke the turtles.
They do not like being provoked.

-Lenar

My website: Nemesis' Refuge
Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #1
Well, it depends on what kind of story you're shooting for. For something fairly linear, like DoK was, I like to just work on towns in the order that they appear in the plot.

EoR was a bit different for me, because I knew the plot was going to be a bit twisty. In that, I just kept flipping between scripts as they were called upon in the plot, occasionally going back to ones I'd believed to be finished to work on a new element of the plot.

However, for something like what I'm working on now, I don't have a plot yet. So I'm making skeletons of all the outdoors and friendly towns first, and worrying about what happens later. I don't recommend this... I have no idea where I'm going with it yet. If nothing else, it'll look cool, and then I could give it to someone else to do something with.

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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
Off With Their Heads
Member # 4045
Profile Homepage #2
I assume you mean scenario creation from the ground up, as opposed to something more specific. In that case, I tend to work from large to small. Here's what I've done, although it may not be the best way for everyone:

* Basic plot outline. Who are the major characters? What are their roles? What is the role of the party? What happens to the party, and what does the party do? This happens before I even touch the scenario editor.

* Basic engine adjustments. One of the first things I did in Exodus was design the special spells and artifacts, which turned out to be a very good thing to do. Then I was tinkering with them (although perhaps not as much as I should have been) for the rest of the design process. Similarly, I figured out the no-magic alchemy-based system in LP pretty early on.

* Outdoors. Not every detail in the outdoors need be accounted for (and most of the special encounters will not be, at this point), but some general map of the land is useful.

* Friendly towns, in approximately the order that they're visited. First layout, then encounters and dialogue.

* Hostile towns. Layout first. Combat and puzzles last. This has the advantage that one can focus on plot more in the beginning, which is fairly critical.

I may do something totally different for my next scenario, though. Who knows.

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Arancaytar: Every time you ask people to compare TM and Kel, you endanger the poor, fluffy kittens.
Smoo: Get ready to face the walls!
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The Archive of all released BoE scenarios ever
Posts: 7968 | Registered: Saturday, February 28 2004 08:00
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Well for my first scenario (Dilecia) I started with my first NPC town, then worked from there. Unfortunately I didn't have any idea of where I was going with things, so I wound up with the entire plot presented in the last couple minutes of the scenario almost as an afterthought (whoops, though I did do my best to fix this during the beta.) Plus I had to axe a few towns that I realised were completely pointless.

My second time around I started from the beginning and moved from there, this time with a general outline in mind but nothing set in stone (which has worked much better as opposed to going in with absolutely no idea what I wanted, and no idea what I was even doing with the editor). Now 20 towns in, I look back and am fairly pleased with my earlier towns. Though I'll be redoing the first two, the introduction sucked, and I'll be rewriting and editing dialog to comply with new plot twists. I think this is unavoidable. I personally can't stand to just write everything out and then design it, and an unfortunate side effect of leaving yourself lots of leeway is that early towns, when you don't have a good idea of what you want the finished product to be, can look a little bit out of place in hindsight.

Wow, that was almost incoherent. I really need to get some sleep, staying up late studying for math (yes, 10:00 is late) and then trying to design/post is a bad idea.

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Guaranteed to blow your mind.

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Posts: 900 | Registered: Monday, August 8 2005 07:00
Master
Member # 5977
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I'm not really "veteran," but who cares.

With things like these I tend to work in total chaos. "Where the Rivers Meet" started with the idea "I want to make a scenario." That changed into a basic plot idea, and I startred building on that. When I had creaed three town, I made a major change to the plot, and this way I continued, getting it to what it is now.

My second scenario I'm making in a totally different way.

- First I layed out the plot in general terms: where will it be (caves or underground), what will the party do, what is the basic goal. When I figure that out, i start designing.

- First I make a small list of things I definetely want to try (like special spells and abilities).

-After that I start designing the outdoors and twon in a chronological order:

* First I make the outdoor section the party will start in, same for the towns.

* Then I start to lay out the route the party will follow in the outdoors. I do not design the whole outdoors! I start with the first tghree sections and design the towns in it, in a chronological order: the town the party encounters first will be designed first.

- While designing I also code. I don't code a whole town upon finishing it, though. That's what I did with my first scenario, and I regret it until now. First i code the things that are important now, which are is mainly plot advancing dialogue, cutscenes or special rectangles. All the secundary stuff which isn't really plot advancing, I code last, certainly with dialogue. There is an exception to that: puzzles. As soon as I know how to code a specific puzzle I will code it immediatly and test it, even though it might not be plot advancing.

I hope this helps you a bit. It's actually simialir to Ephesos's way of designing.

EDIT: typos

[ Wednesday, December 06, 2006 05:30: Message edited by: Thralni ]

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Where the rivers meet
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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4826
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Here's my way:

1. Come up with a plot on the spot and type it in the intro.

2. Design and code bits and pieces.

3. Become really discouraged by a bug.

4. While fixing the bug, realize that I don't even know how to create a download for the scenario anyway.

5. Lay aside the scenario.

6. Find the scenario months later and trash it.

Let me know if this works for you. :P

EDIT: Crud. Didn't even realize I was reviving.

[ Monday, January 22, 2007 16:36: Message edited by: Gust of Ice ]

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Bring back TM or [i]DIE.[/i]

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Posts: 458 | Registered: Friday, August 6 2004 07:00
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Reviving is excusable, throwing away scenarios is not. GIVE THEM LIFE, DAMN IT!

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Guaranteed to blow your mind.

Frostbite: Get It While It's...... Hot?
Posts: 900 | Registered: Monday, August 8 2005 07:00
Lifecrafter
Member # 7538
Profile Homepage #7
quote:
Originally written by Gust of Ice:

Here's my way:

1. Come up with a plot on the spot and type it in the intro.

2. Design and code bits and pieces.

3. Become really discouraged by a bug.

4. While fixing the bug, realize that I don't even know how to create a download for the scenario anyway.

5. Lay aside the scenario.

6. Find the scenario months later and trash it.

Let me know if this works for you. :P

EDIT: Crud. Didn't even realize I was reviving.

Yeah, don't trash finished scenarios. Now that you're a member here, ask one of the good Spiderwebbers for help. As you can see, there are many that are quite willing to help if you have a question.

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Do not provoke the turtles.
They do not like being provoked.

-Lenar

My website: Nemesis' Refuge
Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Guardian
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #8
My scenario's short, boring, and has a plot hole the size of Montreal, yet I'm still planning to release it.

When I get around to it. Eventually.

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Belkar: The only thing I can do with a scroll is beat someone to death with it.
Vaarsuvius: Belkar, you are a RANGER!!
Belkar: So what? That just means I can beat him with both scrolls at the same time!!
Vaarsuvius: No, it means you could cast healings - or at least, you COULD if you did not possess a Wisdom score normally reserved for lemmings.
(OotS #58)
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4826
Profile #9
quote:
Originally written by Nemesis:

quote:
Originally written by Gust of Ice:

Here's my way:

1. Come up with a plot on the spot and type it in the intro.

2. Design and code bits and pieces.

3. Become really discouraged by a bug.

4. While fixing the bug, realize that I don't even know how to create a download for the scenario anyway.

5. Lay aside the scenario.

6. Find the scenario months later and trash it.

Let me know if this works for you. :P

EDIT: Crud. Didn't even realize I was reviving.

Yeah, don't trash finished scenarios. Now that you're a member here, ask one of the good Spiderwebbers for help. As you can see, there are many that are quite willing to help if you have a question.

They aren't finished, they're usually about 1.5 towns and 0 outdoor sections complete. And I've been here long enough to know how willing-to-help Spiderwebbers are.

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Bring back TM or [i]DIE.[/i]

To spread the hype, as well as cause your crush's name to appear on the screen, copy this into your signature.
Posts: 458 | Registered: Friday, August 6 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #10
quote:
Originally written by Gust of Ice:

They aren't finished, they're usually about 1.5 towns and 0 outdoor sections complete. And I've been here long enough to know how willing-to-help Spiderwebbers are.
*sigh*... you know, it doesn't help when you don't ask. You can solicit help outside of the boards, and I know that a lot of us list AIM IDs and other contacts. I don't know how you got burned before, but we're actually more willing to help than you might think.

Also, weren't you Shard of Fire before?

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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
Infiltrator
Member # 4826
Profile #11
Yeah, I was Shard, Fire Shards at first. My moniker theme is elements in somewhat impossible forms (Slice of Water, Sliver of Air, etc.).

I never meant to suggest that you guys were really unhelpful or had "burned" me at some point. Spiderweb's pretty darn good in that area. Sorry to confuse you.

Oh, and...

DIE TOPIC DIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

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Bring back TM or [i]DIE.[/i]

To spread the hype, as well as cause your crush's name to appear on the screen, copy this into your signature.
Posts: 458 | Registered: Friday, August 6 2004 07:00