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CaptainPicard 05-16-2006 02:09 PM

The Staff of Revival

The way I've set up the Staff of Revival is that the hero will revive instantly at the staff, but then be paused and invulnerable for two seconds so that the creeps will start attacking the staff. The hero is then paused and vulnerable for another eight seconds so that if the hero is revived in the middle of battle the nearby creeps have a definite advantage. The point of this was largely to prevent the staff from being abused in such a manner. However, I suppose I could make the staff a higher priority and give it a weak, passive damage aura or something? Would that work?


I think everyone underestimates tomes of damage when combined with.....the IMBA MASK OF DEATH ITEM!!

Well, I was a bit worried about that item. I'll nerf that one a bit, too. The Summoners' Orb is also very powerful, but it's what comes with the dedication of seeking out and killing powerful creeps spread out over three maps. The Blizzard people provided an even worse Mask of Death item (the Kil'Maim axe) in the Orc-X campaign that you got from just killing a level 12 creep that was barely off the required path, and so I thought that a similar item with not quite so intense a life gain would be acceptable. But, I'll nerf it down to, say, +25% hp recovery maximum and +12 damage.

I did try to keep the bash item (Balde of Al'Panjaar) balanced--I think it builds up to at most 20% chance to bash. I realized that your heroes could become very agile, and so effectively arrest any one unit. Of course, if your heores dp get that powerful, you've essentially said that you're willing to work patiently and that you don't care if the gameplay gets boring.

What about nerfing the Staff of Revival by dealing 125 damage to the ward every time a hero revives, and increasing the pause duration slightly? That'd allow you to recover four times before having to re-position the ward, and since the item cooldown is rather long it would force you to be more careful with it.

One other thing I've been noticing is that the sight range on your heroes is sometimes not what it should be (i.e. during the day in Majh'Nam). I think this may be a bug in Blizzard's coding--in step with the geography being at a northern lattitude, I made the days shorter and the nights longer (we're assuming that Azeroth has an axial tilt); I also increased the overall number of seconds per day to around 640 or so. But something seems to have gone wrong, in that on some days your heroes (probably all your units) only see as far as they are supposed to during the night. Anyone have an idea for fixing this?

Finally, has anyone completed the Starlets of Ezune quest? They're all in the main map (you can cheat by looking in the editor to find the region where the staff gets placed). Which item did people choose? My favorite is the Ruby of Ezune, which builds up to give a you a 500-damage zap ability. The sword, Icaber, becomes a nice cold damage + (minor) Critical Strike item, and the Shield of Atahme builds up to bestow a nice Command Aura, armor and Spell Shield ability (the Ring of the Wendigos also builds up to confer a Spell Shield ability, and both have 10-second cooldowns--I've tested this, and if you go into battle against a few creeps at once, even with these spell shields your heroes still take some hits). I'd never put a spell immunity item in there, though--that'd be "IMBA."

GaDDeN 05-17-2006 06:01 AM


Originally Posted by CaptainPicard
Did you see the cinematic at the end of the volcano level?

Did you obtain the third hero?

Did you travel to Gahl'Dun yet?

Just curious, no pressure. Thanks for your thumbs-up review! :emote_dance:

Haha sorry i actually didnt do much at all, i got the staff of revival and that stuff. I was actually at a friends house and he got bored so i had to quit. Dont take that personally though, id gladly have continued since i was having fun.

CaptainPicard 05-18-2006 12:50 AM

Some changes made

Just checking in here. I've made most of the changes I said I would, particularly about the archers at the start of the game and nerfing the imbalanced mask of death item. Still not sure how to better prevent abuse of the Ward of Revival, but I think that what I've got is actually pretty good--I know I've died when I tried engagin a lot of enemies very close to my ward. At some point, I think, if the player works enough at it the heroes will just get so powerful that the game becomes easy. What I've got seems to present a reasonably adaptive challenge to keep a fairly constant pressure on the user, but there's always a limit.

I'll upload the latest changes as soon as I've tested them out.

When might a third official tester find the time to give this map a run? Should I do anything else, or just sit tight?


GaDDeN 05-18-2006 05:36 AM

You cant do more than wait ^^

Ill try to get one of the lazy shits to test it :D

CaptainPicard 05-19-2006 01:32 AM

Yup, it's a lot faster at the start, now
I was a bit worried long ago that some archer escorts would make it too easy, but that's definitely not the case. It just goes faster at the beginning. No more spamulet, from what I can tell. I want to make one more adjustment, which is going to be notching up the levels for respawning creeps when your heroes reach level 6, not 5. But that's simple.

I'm already thinking about the opening scenes of Act II. Big, big cinematic, with Anitarf's cinematic system if I can swing it.

Zoxc 05-19-2006 12:50 PM

I’m finding this campaign very close to approval, but there is a few things bothering me. The loading time is quite long and the map lags at start-up. Since you called this campaign “open-source” I guessed you haven’t used any optimizer to make the maps run faster. The start was a bit hard. The forced switching of the healing item could be avoided by allowing the item to heal “self” or simply make it easier. Also the princess doesn’t have any guards and you get a more scout feeling. The terrain was a bit colorful. The cinematics was great. (…and of course I missed voice acting, like always) When I got to the outpost I was told I got some help, but only a little guy came to me. I wasn’t really sure of what to do so I flied to the dragons. After a long loading and some lag I found them at the fountain. So I used the little revival staff and killed those that didn’t heal. I was unable to kill the healing ones, which resulted in a mass revival. Therefore I went lower down on the map and used the staff there. Then I killed my followers. The spawn time of the dragons was a bit low so it took some time to kill them. So I got up and find a magic wall. Then I looked for other ways. After meeting some spawned dragons I found me some undeads. I almost got stuck reviving there. Then I saved and went to bed.

Things to do:
  • Reduce lag.
  • Lower spawn rate
  • More linear gameplay

I thing that might help with lag and spawn might be if spawns where created where you go instead in map startup. (I think you create all units at start?)

CaptainPicard 05-19-2006 08:56 PM

Need to DL from my home site

Did you download from http://mccammon.ucsd.edu/~dcerutti/ ?

If you download from there, you'll have the most recent version where I gave the Princess a pair of guards. That will relieve the need to swap the amulet, and make the game play a lot faster in the beginning. I'll try to upload the new version to the Dwarf Campaign Wiki server as well.

As for the lag, I'm not sure I can really do much--these are very complex maps, and loading one after another seems to just be hard. I'll try to optimize some things in future versions (if you could suggest an optimizer, I've never heard any of them!), but that'll be future levels. For now, I'd rather avoid making major changes to Act I and look forward to making Act II even better.


(Edit) About the linearity of gameplay--I've made these maps precisely to be NON-linear. More exploratory, like The Legend of Zelda and that genre. There is something of a suggested order to the quests, particularly that you rescue the captive elves before scaling the firey or icy peaks around Majh'Nam. Rescuing the captives will get you a number of bonuses, and even open up more optional quests. I'd go for the sub-maps, and particularly the bosses in them, ONLY after completing at least a couple of the optional quests. I uploaded the new version to the Dwarf Wiki server, by the way. Have fun.

blu_da_noob 05-20-2006 07:07 AM

I should be testing this today (or soon, as time allows) because Tim tells me too :).

On the subject of optimisation of the maps:
I understand that you want to keep it open source, but the decreases in lag/loading time etc that some of the optimisers can bring about are too great to ignore. My suggestion would be to have two versions; one release version which is fully optimised (not openable in editor, made for playing) and a second copy which is open source for those who wish to look at how things were done.

I haven't worked with campaign files before, so I'm not sure how exactly the maps fit into them. The two standard optimising programs are PitzerMike's Widgetizer and Vexorian's Optimizer. Whether those can be used on maps in a campaign file, I don't know, but it is atleast worth checking out.

Edit: A quick browse around the campaign editor tells me that it could work. Extract all of your maps from the campaign file, widgetize and Vex optimize them, and put them back in. I might test this myself to see the kind of performance increase this results in.

CaptainPicard 05-20-2006 07:38 AM

I'll take a look at the optimizers, but I don't have time to do serious experimentation right now. If you're mroe skilled with the optimizers, I would very much appreciate your contributions to the project (worth a mention on some of the credits, certainly). I'm going to start tinkering with Anitarf's cinematic system sometime in the next month, which pave the way for some really quality cinematic action. I was quite happy with what I could do with dount-down timer accuracy, but this should be another league.

blu_da_noob 05-20-2006 07:54 AM

I'm testing to see if optimized versions work in campaign files atm. Another useful feature of optimization is file size reduction. For example, the first map (Twilight) went from just under 3mb to about 2.1mb after optimization.

Edit: Hmm. The optimization reduced the overall campaign file size by a bit over 2mb. However, the load time for the first map was only about 8 seconds shorter (57 down to 49) :/

Tim. 05-20-2006 03:25 PM

Somthing is better than nothing I supose :/

CaptainPicard 05-20-2006 07:15 PM

Optimization, and me...
It doesn't surprise me all that much. I tend to write pretty optimized code in one sense, but fail to do so in another that doesn't lend itself to automated optimizations. I kind-of out-smart the compiler twice, so to speak. On one of my old C-programs, I was finding that things only ran 10% faster with high-level optimizations. I've since made the thing much faster by better cache utilization.

I suppose one thing I could do is go through the various cinematic triggers, and (once they're no longer going to be used again) call that DestroyTrigger function. That would probably save some time on repeated loads, and help the game to progress more smoothly. I think another thing that I'm doing (that may not lend itself to automated optimization) is using many similar triggers for creep patrol and creation. For every creep on each map, there are two triggers (one to spawn periodically, one to patrol periodically). In future maps, I'll try to write a new creep creation system that uses far fewer triggers. That ought to cut down the number of triggers in each map by up to 50%.

Other than that, I really don't know what to do. Thanks for testing the optimizer, blu!

CaptainPicard 05-23-2006 02:09 AM

Again, just checking in here.


Any more comments on the map? I was looking back over your criticisms, and aside from some of the issues which I believe were fixed in a later version which I've now posted online, the creep spawn rate you said was too high can be explicitly set by the user (it makes a nice player control in addition to the difficulty, which of course sets the enemy player handicaps).


You were running up against a wall when you tried optimizing; any more notable results? Can you make any suggestions on the gameplay other than what's already been covered?

CaptainPicard 05-27-2006 05:48 AM

Zoxc, blu!

Where are you guys? I've been one vote (or half a vote) from approval for more than a week...

It's killin' me, guys! Killin' me!

blu_da_noob 05-27-2006 08:32 AM

I haven't had time to finish this, but I have noticed a bug where neutral creeps revived by Staff of Reanimation seem to be issued their patrol orders and move away from your group at random times. Should be fixed :)

But I think I've seen enough. Approved.

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