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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Quest Work Continues...

Just a note to let you know that work continues on the quest code for RealmSpeak. I've been working fairly closely with another Magic Realm gamer (Steve S) to iron out a lot of the details, and for testing the application. Once we feel this is ready for prime time, I'll make the new version available, along with a bunch of quests.

Also, as a reminder: if you are designing quests in the builder, keep in mind that there may be drastic changes in the next release that will render your quests nonfunctional. Once I have a stable release, I'll let you know.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quest Reward Groups

I've gotten some questions about the "Reward Group" concept in the quest builder. Let me explain that a bit.

When a character completes the requirements of a particular step in the quest, there's always a chance for the quest designer to supply "rewards". In many cases, the rewards are clear cut, but suppose you want to give the player a choice of rewards?

There are 26 rewards groups (A through Z). If you specify more than one of these reward groups, RealmSpeak will provide the player with a choice of options. If you play the DragonSlayer quest, you see this right at the beginning, when the player gets to choose starting equipment.

There's also another reward group marked only with a dash "---". This reward group is ALWAYS given, regardless of the player choice. Say for example you wanted the player to have a choice between a horse, weapon, or 10 gold, but you want the "Old Man" to join as a Minor Character regardless. You would make the "Old Man" reward as a dash "---", the horse as "A", the weapon as "B", and the gold as "C".

Of course, you can have more than one reward land in each group. If you want the player to have the choice between a Warhorse or a weapon plus 10 gold, you would set it like this:

--- Old Man
A Warhorse
B Weapon
B 10 Gold

Friday, April 22, 2011

Version Released

Here's a new release (finally) with a few minor changes, and one big change. The big change, you may have guessed, is that this is the first to support any form of "questing", an idea I originally heard about from Jay Richardson's "Book of Quests" (find information about that here).

Now before anyone get's too excited, keep in mind this is more of a quest-beta than the final product. In other words, there's still a long ways to go. That said, there is actually ONE quest in this release based on the Book of Quests: Dragon Slayer.

When you start a new game of RealmSpeak, you'll notice a new "Victory Conditions" section:

To try out the quests, you'll want to select "Sudden Death", and "Book of Quests" like I did above. The other two questing options do NOTHING, so no need to even select them. Choose a character like normal, and then you'll see new gold button on your character pane:

Click that button, and you should get a quest chooser popping up, with the lone quest "Dragon Slayer" as your only option. Notice that you can click on the little shields to see how the quest all fits together. Click OK, and the game is on!

Notice now that there is a new quest tab:

This is where you'll periodically want to check back to see what it is you need to do. The gold shield with a Green check mark, is the setup step, and you've already done that. The two gold shields without a green check mark indicate the next possible steps in the quest. The gray shields are not achievable until you've completed those. Click on the shield, and there is a description about what that quest step requires. Once you have completed the requirement, the shield will automatically get a check mark, and gray shields will turn gold. Complete that last shield on the right, and you win the game. (I'll be honest, this is a bitchin' hard quest to complete)

Now if you've played the Book of Quests before, you'll immediately notice some shortcomings. Remember, this is supposed to be a beta!! I'll get to that stuff eventually, but this is what I have now. Also, there is only the ONE quest...

If you look in the download, you'll see a new batch file called "launchQuestBuilder.bat". This will actually launch the beta version of the Quest Builder for you to play with. WARNING: I will likely be changing things about the builder, and any quests you may assemble now will likely be broken later. Please don't put a lot of work into any quests with this tool! Once it is a bit more solid, I'll lock it down, and you can design to your hearts content!!

Ok, my wife is bugging me to wrap this up so we can go grab a bite to eat (is it really 8pm already?) Here's what's new:

  • Quests
    • Completely revamped the victory options in the setup dialog:
    • Choose between Endless, Timed, and Sudden Death games
    • Optionally select one of the questing choices: Book of Quests, Questing the Realm, or Guild Quests (only Book of Quests works right now)
    • Currently only "Dragon Slayer" from Book of Quests is provided. Many more to come, as well as a tool to make your own!!
      • The quest itself, should work. From rescue, to looting, to slaying the dragon, to returning the girl home to her family.
      • Some aspects of the quest not yet implemented (for example, you still earn fame/notoriety even though the quest states that you do not)
    • New Quest tab added to character window for following quest results
  • [1744] - New house rules to make character development easier
    • No VP Ramp: 1 VP per chit regardless of level
    • No VP Restriction: VPs count towards level regardless of initial allotment
  • [1748] - Fixed a bug that caused the SEARCH function to crash when the character is located in a clearing that doesn't lead anywhere.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Quest Actions

Just for fun, thought I'd list some of the actions that can be applied for a given quest step, once the requirements have been met:

InformationDisplays a dialog with information in it. This is a good way to inform the player what is happening.
ItemAdd an item to the character inventory, or take one away. Allows for choosing items from a group.
AttributeModify Fame, Notoriety, or Gold. Can either add or subtract points/gold.
HirelingAdd or remove a hireling.
CompanionAdd or remove a monster ally.
MinorCharacterAdd or remove a Minor Character. Must create Minor Characters BEFORE creating this reward.
TeleportTeleport the character to a new location. Must create a QuestLocation BEFORE creating this reward.
RelationshipSetSet the relationship of the character with a particular native group, or all natives in the clearing.
RelationshipChangeModify the relationship of the character with a particular native group, or all natives in the clearing.
QuestCompleteTells RealmSpeak that the character has completed this quest.
QuestFailedTells RealmSpeak that the character has failed this quest.
SummonGuardianFor a specific quest location, summon the treasure site guardian (if any)
ScareMonstersRandomly move all monsters in current clearing to other clearings either in the same tile or other tiles, as defined.
AlterHideChange questing character's hide status (from hidden to unhidden, or the other way around).
MarkDenizenMark a particular denizen for later reference. This is useful if you want to make sure a character kills (for example) a particular monster.
StripInventoryRemoves ALL inventory and (optionally) gold from the character.
LostInventoryToLocationAll future lost inventory from this quest will go to a specified location.
LostInventoryToDefaultAll future lost inventory from this quest will go to wherever they started the game, including treasures. This is default setting.

I should mention that there are actually more actions planned, than those listed above, but these are the ones I have going so far.  This list also covers everything I need to complete the Dragon Slayer quest.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Amazon Quest

The quest integration with RealmSpeak is coming along. Thought a teaser was in order (click for a full size view):

What you are looking at is the Amazon after having selected a quest. This quest, "Dragon Slayer", comes straight from Jay Richardson's Book of Quests, so you may recognize his wording copied verbatim here. Notice that this is a new tab (yeah, there are a ton of tabs now...).

At the top of the tab is the quest name, followed immediately by a short description of the quest. Below that is the quest step tree, which describes the order that the steps must be completed. As you can see, the first step (left-most shield with a green check) has been completed. That step was actually the "setup" step where the starting reward (warhorse, weapon/armor, gold, etc) was chosen. The next two shields appear as "gold" because they are the next up. The top one (currently highlighted in green, if you can see that) is "The Rescue", and the step description is immediately below. The shield below that is "The Treasure", and details that you must draw a treasure from the same HOARD or LAIR that you rescue the girl from.

The rest of the shields are gray because they cannot be considered yet. Notice that two of the gray shields are dependent on "The Rescue", and the last shield is dependent on those two, plus "The Treasure". Complete that last step, and you will receive appropriate rewards, and finish the quest. Hooray!

This quest was created by the quest builder tool (described in some detail in a post from Aug 15 last year), and saved as a file to a "quests" folder with RealmSpeak. RealmSpeak automatically recognizes the quest file, and makes it available when the character chooses a quest. As myself and others make more quests, there will be more to choose from, much like the custom character design.

Ok, so what I'm not telling you, is that there is still some work to do to get the Dragon Slayer quest working, and a bit more work after that to get the builder tool ready for prime time. I'm really quite pleased that the integration of quests with RealmSpeak went so smoothly, so now its just a matter of filling in the blanks. Like I stated previously, I'll make the Dragon Slayer quest work mostly like Jay Richardson intended, and then release that with the next version (hopefully). Shortly after that, I'll release a version of the tool that will let you design your own quests.

They said it couldn't be done.... :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Slaying the Dragon

I've had a few e-mails about the next release. I haven't put anything new up in a while because my goal is to have some form of RealmQuest working in the next release. At the very least, you will have the first quest in the Book of Quests (Dragon Slayer) in all its glory to play with.

The challenge is making sure that every aspect of the quest can be encoded using the Quest Builder tool, without requiring any technical knowledge of the underlying data itself. One of the toughest parts of that, is giving the quest designer a way to reference any piece in the game, like a Magic Sword, or a T Dragon (flying or land).

The way I'm accomplishing this (partly) is through regular expressions. If you are a software programmer, you've probably heard the term, and if you are a Perl programmer, you likely use them every day. As you may or may not know, regular expressions are used to search strings for patterns, and can be very powerful tools. Regular expressions can also be very complicated, but I'm hoping to alleviate the pain there a little bit. When you design your regular expressions, you'll have a usage key visible, and a live list of RealmObject data updating live as you tweak your search. It's pretty intuitive, I think, so we'll see how that works once I can put it your capable hands. :-)

Not sure yet whether I'll also release the quest builder tool this time around, but it is coming. You see, I'd rather not enter all the quests into RealmSpeak myself, so I figured I'll let you guys work on that. ;-) Seriously though, its much like the character builder: the more people designing stuff, the more fun they are to play.

Anyway, look for something in the next month. If I get time during Spring Break, I may have something even sooner than that.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Version Released

Mostly fixes to expansion features. Here's what's new:

  • Added a "flies" notation to the remodeled/Frenzel chits (helpful with expansion monsters and natives)

  • Search hint for "Peer Neighborhood Clearing" no longer shows current clearing hints

  • Holy Relic will work to prevent undead from generating at the Tomb now
  • Removed Stink W from carnoplants summon box (didn't like that these could appear at the L Fire)
  • Added the "flying" attribute to some monsters that were missed:
    • T Harpy
    • H Harpies
    • Wasp Queen
    • Wasps
    • The Fairy from the Fairy Ring treasure
    • Dragon Men (yes, flying natives!) - makes for some interesting hirelings that can carry you around...

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Version Released

Some bug fixes, some expansion game changes, and a couple neat new features. Wanted to get this out before my next online game so that it is ready to go. My favorite new feature is the search table hint system.

Sometimes when I'm playing with someone new, I get the question: "Which search table do I use to search for the path?". If you are a veteran realmer, the answer is obvious, but even though there is descriptive text on each button, it's still an issue. Oh, this is especially true with the expansion games, because there are a lot of new pieces, and it isn't always clear which table does what.

Now, when you are presented with your choices of search, you will also see what applies in your current clearing. For example:

You can quickly tell, for example, which button to press to search for the hidden path, and which to search for the Status. Also, the "hints" only show things you haven't yet discovered, so you will be less likely to click the wrong button when searching for a secret passage versus a hidden path.

Anyway, here's what's new:

  • Hint system for search table buttons
    • Peer: shows icons for hidden paths you need to find
    • Locate: shows icons for secret passages, treasure locations, and other chits you need to find
    • Magic Sight: shows all the chits you need to find, or can loot
    • Other search actions (Read Runes, Capture, Open Vault, etc): identifies the game piece being acted on

  • Moved all game play menu options into a single dialog called "Options..." under the File menu (there were just too many, and I found it confusing)

  • Fixed another problem with the map rating system, that sometimes caused primary dwellings (Inn, Chapel, Guard, House) to be placed in unreachable clearings.
  • Fixed a bug with the GM tool that would crash when Wasps were on the board
  • [1743] - Added code to catch and report an error when custom character files cannot be unzipped.

  • Expansion spell "Heal" now allows you to target up to four chits, instead of only one.
  • Presence of Holy Relic will stop Bones X from summoning undead.
  • Changed the name of the treasure location "Labyrinth" to the "Maze" (because it fits better on the chit!)
  • Changed the name of "Labyrinth Map" treasure to "Map of the Maze".
  • No longer able to "Run Away" from the Maze until you've discovered it.
  • Moved the Murkers to Monster Die "5"