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Scenario Design
Moderated by alincarpetman

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Topic Subject: What do you think makes a scenario good?
posted 07-20-10 02:39 AM EDT (US)   
I've never been much of a "hack and slash," "adrenaline rush" gamer. I've written one scenario which got positive reviews here, but I'm not the sort of person who plays RoN all the time or downloads a new scenario every day or anything like that. I've been thinking about writing another scenario, and I'd like to know what it is that people like to see in a scenario. Are you guys mainly just looking for decisions, like the option to buy mercenaries, or is there anything more?

I would be most grateful if you would all tell me what elements it is that you look for in scenarios that you think make them fun.
posted 07-20-10 03:13 AM EDT (US)     1 / 10  
I think a scenario should be slower paced, so that a player may enjoy it for a longer time. Also, the scenario should have some nice twists, and some decision-making, to allow more different ways of playing the scenario.

It should also have some large-scaled fighting, but with no overpowered weapons/units/buildings/players.

Check out the "Ultimate Napoleon" scenario made by Otter.
posted 07-26-10 09:08 AM EDT (US)     2 / 10  
Well I was hoping to get more than one response to this, but thanks for your input.
posted 07-26-10 02:43 PM EDT (US)     3 / 10  
Well, I also like scenario's with lot's of scripting rather than just giving someone a big army, giving the CPU a big army and saying "here, fight each other till one of you has lost all units". I like to be able to make decisions, have those decisions impact how the game plays out, also, I don't mind pop-up's, I guess I just hate when at the beginning of the scenario people put like 50 pop-ups all at once right at the start and it takes 10min just to get to the battle, pop-up info is great, just space it out in the scenario as the story unfolds.
posted 07-26-10 02:55 PM EDT (US)     4 / 10  
I think a good scenario is well scripted, well tested and well balanced.
If a scenario hasn't got a script, it doesn't necessarily make it crap, but it means that there isn't as much imagination in the scenario as there could be - the designer hasn't thought about what he wants to do.
If the scenario is well tested then you can be sure that the designer has thought about what he's doing and hasn't rushed the job.
And if the scenario is well balanced then it will be a challenge, but not impossible; too many scenarios do what motter complained about and simply pit one good army against another one that's useless.

Also, scenarios with believable and thought out plots are better than wildly mad ideas about global nuclear armageddon and madly overpowered units

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst (and use this phrase to justify your actions when it goes wrong)
posted 07-27-10 06:29 PM EDT (US)     5 / 10  
Thanks for your answers, guys. This will help me out in designing my new scenario. I find it interesting that you all seem to be saying storyline is important. I do think that also, and sadly, most game makers seem to have forgotten about that.
posted 08-07-10 06:05 AM EDT (US)     6 / 10  
I think a scenario's gameplay should be different, compared to the gameplay of battles like Conquest, Tactics, Field Battle etc. In my opinion, a good scenario shouldn't look too much like a regular Rise of Nations game(if one wants regular RoN games, he can play quick battles, so he has no need to play scenarios).
I also think a really great scenario needs to have a unique theme(well, I'm not saying that a WWII scenario can't be good but I'd rather appreciate a scenario with a unique subject).
Scripting is obviously very important. In my opinion it separes the good from the great. Map design is important as well, and if you design a scenario based on history then historical accuracy is important too.
posted 08-10-10 00:09 AM EDT (US)     7 / 10  
Thanks for reviving this. I'm interested in getting as many opinions as possible.

You have an interesting perspective. I'm curious to learn what you mean when you say the gameplay should be different, though. There really isn't that much you can customize in RoN, as far as gameplay goes. It's mostly a war strategy type of game.

Based on what you've said, I think you might actually like the only scenario I've ever written. It's called Archimedes, and it's easy to find, it's on the beginning of the Top Rated page. There's certainly no obligation to play it, and I'd certainly like to hear your insights even if you choose not to try it out. I'm just throwing it out there because it sounds like what you're saying you're looking for.
posted 08-10-10 04:48 AM EDT (US)     8 / 10  
I played your Archimedes scenario recently Arlo and it is REALLY good. Well balanced, well scripted and no bugs at all. It was fun and it took a bit of time to do, unlike some scenarios. Do you think you can make more scenarios like that - you could enter it into motter's contest

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst (and use this phrase to justify your actions when it goes wrong)
posted 08-10-10 07:21 AM EDT (US)     9 / 10  
For example, I think diplomatic options are rather poor in RoN. If you want your scenario's gameplay to be different, you can add more diplomatic options through scripting. So you can give the player the possibility to trade cities, for example(if the player presses the 2 key, let's say, a popup will appear that will ask the player if he accepts to give one of his cities for one of the nation 2's cities). Of course, this should depend on some conditions, like the number of buildings in the player's city should be equal with the number of buildings in the AI player's city etc.

EDIT: I've played your Archimedes scenario and it was great fun sometimes, but it eventually became too easy for my taste. I especially liked the first part of the scenario, in which the Romans were stronger and the game was more challenging. But after I wiped them out from my island everything became much easier, and the Romans weren't anymore much of a problem.
After that, I built the Colossus and and trained a large army, and I prepared to conquer them. But then I've noticed that the Romans' score was stagnant at roughly 9000, only growing from 8900 to 9030, then going down to 8900, and so on. Is that a bug? I'm asking this because I even let the game run attended for more than a half of an hour, and nothing changed, they didn't attacked me and their score remained the same. Then I crushed the Romans in the last 10 mins without any problem.

Overall, it was a great scenario, especially enjoyable in the beginning. I liked the fact the catapults were really useful, and thus Archimedes really played a significant part in this scenario. The only negative thing I have to say is about that possible bug. I also think it would've been better if the time limit had been 60, not 90 minutes.

[This message has been edited by LordBJ (edited 08-10-2010 @ 07:43 AM).]

posted 08-10-10 09:21 PM EDT (US)     10 / 10  
Programming your own sort of gameplay like that is an interesting idea. I've thought about doing something like that once or twice, but never really got much into it. I guess what most people seem to be saying is that they want decision-making options throughout the scenario. Maybe I'll try something like that if I do write another scenario.

I appreciate your feedback on my Archimedes scenario. I'm pretty sure nothing in my code would prevent the Romans from wiping you out once you conquer the island. I know I definitely didn't program anything to manage how the Romans attack you. Almost everything I wrote dealt with the opening sequence, in which you need to gather enough knowledge to invent the catapult. Like I said, I've never been a hardcore hack-and-slash gamer, so modifying the actual battle portions of the game isn't something I would do very much. I pretty much just gave the player a map, modified the scenario so the Romans couldn't build catapults, and scripted a nice introduction sequence, and then I said "Okay the game world is yours now, do what you want." I'm proud of the work I did on it, but to be honest, I actually was surprised when it got put on the Top Rated page.

As for the difficulty of the game, I just set the Romans to have the medium level. I knew if I gave them the maximum level, they would have 4 cities by the time the introduction was over, and the player would have no chance of winning. At the same time, I didn't want to give them an easy setting either. I wanted the player to be challenged, so I tested it a little and I found that the medium difficulty setting was best. Now that I have your feedback, I think maybe I should have added some code to increase the difficulty level once the player conquers the island, or something like that.

Anyway, thanks again for the feedback. I honestly wish more people would have left constructive criticism about the scenario. For some reason, people have been very polite in their comments about it, and all they've really said is that they really enjoyed it. That's good to hear, but I also would like to get more feedback about what people didn't like, so I know what not to do in the future--hence my posting this thread.
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