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    posted a message on Philosophy of Design - Educational Developer Series

    Your "Philosophy" title aside, your video is little else but a series of yawns, nit-picking, racial slurs ("Xel'Nigger crystals"), derogatory insults ("Haha, it's really hard to save face," "That was pretty dumb", "We got a dumb, gay thing happening at our base", "This is pretty lame", "That's pretty silly") and half-finished arguments ("It doesn't look like the map-maker really understand...," and then nothing). The idea that you improve a community by taking someone else's work and picking it apart in a public video strikes me as... strange.

    How about making a tutorial? Your own campaign? Vortex of the Void is a bold piece of work; a stunning achievement in a scene sorely lacking in stunning achievements. What did you expect reactions to this video would be? Gratitude? You present yourself as an authority on the subject of custom campaigns. No, DudkiSC2 is an authority.

    Quote from Pr0nogo: Go

    As for being like Jayborino, there's almost no chance of that, as he has far lower standards than I do and doesn't seem as interested in cultivating a community that produces high quality content.

    Jayborino is a champion of this community. More than anyone else, he has helped us spread the word about the existence of our work. Despite not being a map-maker himself, he understands how much goes into making a map, and knows that harsh criticism is counter-productive.

    Jayborino's standards aren't low. To say that is to show how little about his work you know. Your standards, on the other hand, are ridiculously high. People make these things on their free time. Give them some slack.

    "The best way to criticize a movie is to make another movie," Jean-Luc Godard said. I wonder, how good would your campaign be? There are handful of people on this forum with the same high standards as you. They work and work on their projects and don't release them; they're the greatest things you'll never get to play.

    Jayborino's been going at it for a while, and I don't see him stopping any time soon. I don't predict a long life for your series. Jayborino's videos will continue because they are fueled by enthusiasm, and yours will not because they are fueled by what comes of as mild annoyance, disguised as serious criticism.

    Even more, the people you criticize are the same people that make up your audience, which is an... interesting business model. Such an approach might work in academia, which you seem to aspire to. But map-makers are first and foremost entertainers.

    That being said, feel free to play my campaigns.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on Allied Commanders Gameplay vid

    New video (and a new name):

    Posted in: General Chat
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    posted a message on Campaign Tutorial

    Oh, really? What does "wikipedia style" mean?

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    Great write-up, Jaybo!

    I have a new tutorial up as well! Check it out!

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on Campaign Tutorial

    Story Beats

    In this tutorial, I will be showing how you can structure your story while planning it in a way that makes it easier to juggle plotlines with gameplay elements. I can’t stress enough how important this. Letting the story get too much attention can make it harder to come up with creative gameplay mechanics, as the constraints set by the story might limit how many you can come up with. Similarly, the more you focus on gameplay, the more you limit your story possibilities. Finding the right balance is crucial to creating a good campaign.

    StarCraft and StarCraft 2 are great examples of this. In the first game, story is clearly king, and the gameplay consequently suffers from lack of variation (obviously, there are other explanations, such as technology limitations, but for the sake of the example, we’ll overlook that). Meanwhile, the sequel favors gameplay, often to such an extent that it feels like the story is merely wrapped around.

    The Tychus arc is a good example of this. Gameplay-wise, you’re doing a lot of cool things, like escaping fire walls, standing off against Protoss with a laser drill, and racing Zerg to an end-point. But story-wise, all you’re doing is collecting a bunch of artifacts. True, they end up being massively important in the end, but before that, they’re indistinguishable from glowing rocks.


    A very effective way of countering this problem is to utilize what I like to call “beats”. This is a term I encountered in interviews with prominent TV writers, who use the word to refer to important story elements in a script. See, in any TV show there might be a number of writers collaborating. But each episode is usually written only by one writer. To ensure that the tone of the story is kept consistent and that no plot event is lost, each writer has a list of “beats” that he must hit (think of it like a drummer nailing a rhythm). These are essentially vital scenes and moments that are required for the overall story arc to make sense. So while each writer is given some freedom (so to best utilize his creative abilities), he is still bound to a checklist.

    You as a writer can use beats in a similar fashion. The idea is to start writing only the “bones” of a story first, where you don’t go too much into the details. The focus should be on scenes that are required for the plot to advance, or that are just generally important for you to include. These are the aforementioned beats, which you spread across your missions, creating a structure that could, for example, take the following form:

    1. Main character is introduced. Secondary character is introduced.
    2. Major event, like a town being set on fire, kick the plot into action.
    3. Main faction attack the group it thinks is responsible for the fire.
    4. Secondary character is revealed to be main villain, and the true culprit for the fire.
    5. Showdown between the main character and the villain.

    It’s pretty simple, right? Imagine all the gameplay possibilities within each mission. Because the story is practically anorectic at this point, you can pretty much almost do anything without “breaking” the story. We could also do it the other way around, starting with gameplay:

    1. Small, micro mission. Introduces main gameplay mechanics.
    2. Intense rescue mission.
    3. Macro mission, main objective being to destroy the enemy base.
    4. Stealth mission that ends in a major reveal.
    5. MOBA-like mission.

    Notice that both structures could lead into the other. But also notice how many other structures could they could inspire. Again, the key here is starting small. If you write the entire story first, you might find it difficult to add gameplay to it. Good gameplay should support the story, and not just be the events in-between it. Similarly, if you start out with too specific gameplay ideas, you might find it hard to write a story.

    Note that there isn’t anything inherently wrong with being too specific. Sometimes you might get a very cool idea, and you shouldn’t limit yourself by not trying to find a way to fit it in some way. I’ve had some pretty nifty ideas, several of which have had major impacts on my campaign. A very good example would be the gameplay mechanic in Crimson Moon 09, which is essentially a MOBA-map where your assist units are hostile to you. That mechanic would eventually inspired the entire Bayo arc in Amber Sun, something I definitely had not planned.

    Amber Sun

    Let’s use Amber Sun as an example of how the beats system can be implemented. Note that the writing process was messier than I portray it here, but it wasn’t too dissimilar. Here’s how the story beats could be presented (contains spoilers, obviously):

    1. Henderson and Janus are reintroduced as main characters. Geraldus are reintroduced as main villains.
    2. Bayo is introduced. Hint of his importance is given through player color.
    3. The Khaal-Ro is introduced. Seeds for mission 9 is sown.
    4. Henderson and Janus have a fight, but reconcile at the end, learning a valuable lesson. Janus learns about Facility 17.
    5. Henderson and Janus returns on Amina. Bayo reaches his destination. Foreshadowing for mission 9.
    6. Janus enters Facility 17. Kovac, A.P.R.I.L. and Geraldus Rose is introduced. Janus is captured by the Khaal-Ro.
    7. Gorgons are transported. News of an Amina rebellion reaches Henderson.
    8. The Aminas attack the rebels. Ryan reveals himself as their leader, and shares you helped him smuggle Gorgons in the previous mission.
    9. Bayo plotline is resolved.
    10. The Aminas attack Geraldus on Roverville. A.P.R.I.L. is revealed to be Corelia’s adjutant. Geraldus Rose reappears. Ghost Caine dies. Kovac activates Amber Sun. Ryan kills Henderson.

    Note how at several occasions, there’s foreshadowing and set-up for future events in some missions. By writing the story in such a simple fashion, it gets easy to figure out where to plant the “seeds” of coming denouements, an act that in a more complex structure could be far more difficult. Imagine having finished a book manuscript and suddenly realizing you want a new, important scene somewhere in the middle. Writing the scene might not only prove to be very hard, but you might end up creating new problems, especially if the scene disturbs an all-ready well-flowing narrative.

    By following the story beats, gameplay mechanics can begin to take place, which might give us something like this:

    1. Amina vs. Geraldus, the latter of which is in hiding at first.
    2. Bayo vs. Zerg.
    3. Bayo vs. Khaal-Ro and Zerg. A diversion tactic is used to turn one enemy onto another.
    4. Alzadhar. Enough said.
    5. More Amina versus Geraldus. Bayo doesn’t need to appear until the end.
    6. Stealth mission.
    7. Survival mission, focusing on Gorgons remaining afloat long enough to escape.
    8. Dark mission. The good guys hunt down their old buddies, who are now enemies.
    9. Bayo versus the Khaal-Ro. Foggy mission.
    10. Amina vs Geraldus. Janus vs. Ghost Caine.

    Note how things are still very vague. Yet, at the same time, several small elements begin to appear. We know mission 8 is supposed to be dark, and so we have to figure out a way to express that. How about burning terrain? Great! Next, we’ve decided that mission 9 is supposed to be foggy, which gives us inspiration for both the setting of the mission and its main gameplay mechanic (reduced sight). And so on we go, juggling back and forth.

    Final words

    I should point out you don’t need to be as rigid as I have been here. Writing a story is messy, and you’ll find out that ideas often take on lives of their own. However, having created three campaigns, where each one was better planned than the last, I can safely say that planning of the kind I presented here not only improves the story, but also makes it easier to write. For Aureolin Eclipse, a campaign heavy on foreshadowing and seeds being planted for future events, this was especially true. Here’s how the structure of that campaign could be presented (again, I warn of spoilers):

    1. Present Corelia, Walker and Meridian. Walker complains about his hellbat being unable to transform into hellion mode. Meridian shares he’s working with Geraldus.
    2. Ryan is reintroduced, says he wants to become a Perfect Soldier.
    3. Dunbar is introduced. Ryan returns, his memories now erased. Corelia looses it, and sets the Zerg loose upon Geraldus. Walker dies because his hellbat remains unfixed. Corelia shares Meridian’s secret with the Hand of Volos.
    4. Corelia returns to Amina. Poke is freed. Corelia and Dunbar fly to Borealis.
    5. Cenereal returns. Thinks he’s fighting Geraldus, but it’s really Corelia, who has fooled him. Dunbar secretly survives.
    6. Meridian shares his true intentions. The Hand of Volos attacks.
    7. Ryan is killed.
    8. Yojimbo steals minerals from Geraldus.
    9. Yojimbo assaults Geraldus. Meridian and Cenereal are killed.
    10. Corelia faces off against Kovac, Dunbar (who is revealed to be the main culprit of the previous mission’s murders) and Janus (who has a secret to share). Poke returns.

    Posted in: Tutorials
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    I do pilot F16s while going to work.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    I had them up, but not anymore. Sounds like a thief to me.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    Don't bother with patterns. Just move around, save, and be patient.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)
    Quote from DEFILERRULEZ: Go

    Noob question, does exist a way to defeat the widow mine section? Because i am stucked from countless time

    There's a slight bug that lets you blink past closed doors if you click close enough to the other side. You can use that avoid the room altogether. By the way, anyone knows how to fix that?

    Alternatively, you can go into the editor and make the timer longer, the widow mines bigger or slower, etc. I did release this mission a bit earlier than I usually do, so consider it still being "tested", so to speak. I have considered making the timer 6 minutes.


    This is the final mission. Some challenge is to be expected. I just need to find the line between challenge and frustration. Not that easy, I've found. I did test the mines endlessly, and it was very easy to go from hard to very easy. Finding an in-between point might not only be difficult, but also needless.

    I am sympathetic, though. It's no fun to struggle.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    For those that hasn't noticed, the final mission is up. The mission launcher too!

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on [REVIEW] Aureolin Eclipse/Perfect Soldiers Trilogy

    I've actually never played a Fallout game! I heard the track Metallic Monks used in Mass Recall, got hold of the soundtrack, and was immediately hooked! The track Vats of Goo from the first game actually opens the entire campaign (it's basically my Roverville theme), which made it extra fun to discover it being used in Patriot's Blood in Mass Recall. They probably chose it independently from me, but it felt like the circle was complete anyway.

    I began listening to the soundtrack for Fallout 2 as well, sitting hours on end in school. Then the track Gold Slouch played, and Ossos was born. Seriously, that one track is the entire reason that mission exists. Listening to it just gave me a vision of a shantytown in Amina, and although the final concept is very different from how I first imagined it, the core idea remained the same.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on [REVIEW] Aureolin Eclipse/Perfect Soldiers Trilogy
    Quote from JayborinoPlays: Go

    @EivindL: Go

    You've broken my heart :P

    I meant the comments. You know, the kind without capitilization, punctuation and the expression of good manners. Your feedback is always constructive and insightful.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    Yeah, several. I took a break in Amber Sun for a few months after I started studying economics, as I wanted to get a feel of the work load. Realizing I could combine the two, I got back on the train and finished the campaign. Then I took some time off to write AE. I also had some breaks making that, both in holidays (I don't take my computer with me when going "home"), and at stages where inspiration proved lacklustre.

    I like doing it, though, and have detailed plans for the 3-race campaign I've been going on about. However, I've kept most of that secret, and only a select few people know many details. Really, only StealthToast knows the truly juicy parts, like how the story and characters develop, and how the many plot twists play out.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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    posted a message on [REVIEW] Aureolin Eclipse/Perfect Soldiers Trilogy

    I make it a general point not to comment about opinions. I don't want to be that guy. I'll happily discuss everything else, be it suggestions to gameplay, confusion about story elements, bugs, etc. I don't want to put a mouth piece on people. So I don't have a problem with DC's review.

    Whether or not we need to be more positive or not is another discussion. I agree that, in general, we need to champion the community, though people should still be able to say what they want. Constructive criticism is a vital component of improvement, and we do want improvement.

    DC's review is definitely constructive, and therefore a welcome deviation from some of the stuff you'll find on, say, YouTube or Battle.net.

    Posted in: Map Review
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    posted a message on Perfect Soldiers (trilogy campaign)

    At that point I'm probably sitting in a library, solving differential equations and calculating optimal tax rates.

    Posted in: Map Feedback
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