Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Warcraft 3 Map v.001

This is SUPER LOOSE, but people have expressed an interest in my map that I'm building. I've made WC3 maps before that were sprawling 4v4 and 5v5 multiplayer affairs, but never anything that focused on bending the rules outside of basic skirmish rulesets or whatever.

I also got a direct email from the founder of a game studio that shall remain unnamed for now. He said he was impressed with my raid on Blizzard, but wants to know what else I can show besides cojones. As with what I was told by Blizz in Irvine, his own design director has said that something created is the best thing you can put in front of people, so I'm getting cracking on a map to show that I can push all the right buttons in editors and make fancy fun come out the other end.

This being the first posting, don't expect Naxx. It's a map I started just to play with quest triggers, thinking I'd be throwing it out, but then began to like it, and will be evolving it. I'm documenting the whole process in Word as well, and figure I may as well just post that stuff up here, too, for the curious.

Before anyone gets on my case about showing unfinished work, seriously... just hush. No New Document starts fully finished, and I'm a public kind of guy. I don't mind people looking over my shoulder, and in case you haven't noticed, you're kind of reading my diary. So, yeah. Also keep in mind some text and dialogs are just placeholder. I'm mostly concerned with making sure things *work*, and will go through polishing later. (requires frozen throne)

Anyway, here goes post 1. The map has three 'quests' so far, and I'm just roughing out the area boundaries.

Paste from Word:

10/15 (~6hrs) – Started Map. Basic implementation of various quest types, just to get a feel for the scripting engine, and how certain ‘standard’ quest types are achieved.

Implemented 3 quests in the southwestern corner of the map.

1) Kill 5 Racoons (peon by the farm right where you start) – Your standard Kill 10 Rats MMO quest, and fairly straightforward to produce. I followed a tutorial to get my feet wet. The Unit Group Loop to award experience and gold took a little fiddling, but once I made the ‘Pick every unit’ and the subsequent ‘ (Picked Unit)’ connections, it fell into place.

2) Find Timmy – Stuck Timmy out by a church, and had his mom in town (by the pond) giving the quest. Didn’t need to lean as heavily on the tutorial, once I got a feel for how the parts linked together. Having Timmy ‘go home’ was a bit weird, so I had him activate a town portal that his mom said he had, and wrote dialog around that. Then it was a simple matter of having the NPC teleport home (and checking to made sure he ended back up there).

3) Church Knight – The Church Knight is the first quest there was no kind of tutorial for, and I think it worked out pretty well. It isn’t so much a quest, as me figuring out how to have him ‘activate’ when timmy teleported home. This is a common theme in MMOs, where the guy standing next to the person you just completed a quest for lights up. I needed to make his quest appear in the tail end of timmy’s completion script, not create one that was there from the get go. This opens up the idea of quest chains, and wasn’t hard to figure out. After seeing how I helped Timmy, he decides to join the party, and switches from an inactive NPC (near timmy) to a teammate (with accompanying sparkle effects and text).

10/21 (~3hrs) – Initial ‘final concept’ for the map forms. I liked the Church Knight, and have decided to use the ‘form a party’ theme as the basis for the overall map. At first this map was to be just a test ground, but I like the way it’s coming along. I’ve decided that there will be four distinct areas of the map, each with their own hero, and as each quadrant of the map is ‘completed’ our hero for that section amasses a small troop. These will range from peons to knights to mages, but will have no air units. The quadrants are sealed off from one another, and each quadrant will need to be unlocked for everyone to come together for the final showdown. In this way, it could be a multiplayer map, but for simplicity during testing, I’ll be making it one player, where someone controls all 4 heros, with the ability to hop between them at will. This will create a fun way to break up leveling one guy. You’ll be leveling all four independently of one another, and then bring them all together for the boss fight.

The armies each hero amasses is crucial, as unlocking the gate at the end of each quadrant requires sacrificing units to unlock the door (this may be tricky). It would be interesting to have certain quadrant quests need to be completed to influence NPCs in other, different, quadrants as well... forcing the player to hop back and forth, rather than just bang them out in order.

After deciding to keep the original map, and build off it, I laid out much of the loose framework of the map. Dividing the quadrants with rock walls, and placing the 3 other heros in their starting places.

I also realized in playtesting that my initial XP/gold rewards were going to each hero, as I previously had ‘pick all units that are a Hero’, but manually changed quest rewards to only reward the hero in that quadrant instead (Pick all units that are type Paladin, etc).


Don't expect any fireworks to go off when you're 'done'. There are the three quests, and then I threw in random talking NPCs to describe each region (NPC closest to each other hero we control). Once the knight has joined your party, that's it for now.

I was also offered a job in SF recently doing call center stuff for IT, but have come back around to the fact that this gaming work is what I *want* to do. Not just take phone calls about Linda's print queue. I'm in a fortunate position where I have the luxury to commit to this (briefly, until my wife decides to kill me in my sleep), and I'm taking a chunk of time to work on this 9-5, until it's in a submittable format. I'll keep posting updates as the areas progress, and am open to feedback.


Larísa said...

You're amazing Ixo, you know that? It takes so much courage to do like you do - display your creative process and your learning curve in public. I'm glad to hear that there's some progress going on. Stick to your path. I know there's gold awaiting for you at the feet of the rainbow.


Jong said...

Nice job mang. I did the three quests with the paladin, but I didn't know what to do after I killed three razomanes.

I trained orc's Far Sight so I could explore areas for the warden to Blink into. The warden blinked all the way down and joined the paladin.

Valdas said...

Don't know what to say but wanted You to know that I admire your job, wishing you all the best luck, loads of inspiration and patience.

P.S. sorry for my bad English

Anonymous said...

Good for you, Ixo. I've been following your posts, and though I've never commented, I've understood where Blizzard (and others) are coming from when they ask for completed work. I've done quite a bit of work making Unreal Tournament maps and mods back before I started playing MMO's, and I can tell you there's quite a transition from paper to playable digital asset. So they're looking for your ability to be able to move your ideas into playable form.

But there's one other very important thing the studios are looking for. That you finish and polish your project. Ideas are easy and cheap, everyone's got 'em. The vast majority of gaming ideas never get made. Of the ones that do, the vast majority never get finished. It's hard to finish a project. It's even harder to make sure it's finished properly and polished to a sheen. And that, Ixo, is what the studios want to see.

Good luck! :)

Cap'n John said...

I also got a direct email from the founder of a game studio that...said he was impressed with my raid on Blizzard..."

That's it. 'Nuff said. Consider your Blizzard Raid a success :)

This is one commenter who's not Anonymous and is wishing you every success. Go for it, Ixo!

Hatch said...

Keep em coming, Ixo!

Rich said...

after the three razormanes, go south a bit, past the church to find timmy and the church knight.

One thing that's hard to realize is how close up the camera is IN GAME vs IN THE EDITOR. I'm going to see if I can't move it back a few feet, or I'll have to make the maps much more linear than I'm aiming for now.

Ah, the blink didn't occur to me, I'll have to choose another Hero. The point is that they aren't supposed to be able to get to each other! Hooray for volunteer playtesters!

Tesh said...

Sweet. Contacts from businessfolk are usually good news. *sends well wishes to Ixo*

In the meantime, it sounds like you're on a good track to making some "nuts and bolts" progress. I'm not sure if it's terribly helpful, but I've always earned brownie points professionally by making the existing system do things that it wasn't designed to do. (Like making Victoria Falls work in Tiger Woods with minimal assets.) It's fun bending the system that way.