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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.