Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

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BasiliskWrangler
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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by BasiliskWrangler » March 19th, 2014, 9:14 am

Prismatic Maelstrom wrote:So instead of being "negative" about the ending could we make a new one? We could have the player choose a side and then flee the battleground at Macross Point with the Crux stones? Depending on which side you chose Malkur or Erubor/Lilith could confront you and from there the possibilities are endless. Cinematic are unfortunately not possible but we could work around this.
Cinematics could be possible, though not quite to the degree that the hard-coded in-game cinematics are. You could use a series of "display" script commands to cycle through images.

I am sorry you didn't like the ending. It was perhaps the most polarizing thing I've done in the series, and I've had an even balance of email from people praising the ending and others saying they hope Basilisk Games doesn't survive to make another game.

For the record, I didn't like Matrix Revolutions either. But I do love movies and books the leave a lot of room for discussion, for possibilities, for what-ifs.
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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by xolotl » March 19th, 2014, 10:47 am

I thought the ending was fine, though one thing I wouldn't mind modding-in would be some more "lead up" to the actual end battle. On my first playthrough it was a little bit of a shock to suddenly find myself at the endgame.

From a technical perspective: After the encounter with Karamiklan, you get teleported to battlefield.map, and it's presumably the "special_event 17" in that map's entry script which kicks off the actual battle and sets entity friendliness, etc. Possibly what one could do to implement a longer endgame would be to replace battlefield.map with something which doesn't call the special_event, and then once you're ready, you'd send the player to a different map which calls the special_event. You'd have to make sure that that map had the teleport-target surfaces available for the waves of enemies, but I'd bet you could modify to suit. Maybe even wall some things off so that you've got to fight off the hordes on your own!

Anyway, fun possibilities. :)

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by munster » March 19th, 2014, 7:53 pm

Prismatic Maelstrom wrote:This could happen before you choose which side to fight for. I see the potential. Does anyone else?
I admit, I was a bit disappointed with the ending - not the open-ended, ambiguous "Who was telling the truth or was anyone at all sincere?", since that was a brave move on BW's part not to give us the pat "This guy is the villain, now he's been defeated destruction has been averted" ending.

But the final confrontation really wasn't that - in Book I we end up at the Chancellor's tower, in Book II we fight General Ghorr, but in Book III we get to meet Karamiklan (who really is impressive), and it looks like we're set up for an epic clash with either Erubor or Malkur (depending which side we choose), and instead there's a lot of skulking around the battlefield at Macross Point until the two Dimensional Eyes show up and we help fight off one - and even there, in one save, I didn't strike the finishing blow myself.

It doesn't feel like I've really defeated whichever one I turned my back on/decided was the real villain all along, when I only read a block of text about my encounter with him after the battle is over. :(

So yes, an option to avoid the battlefield while you sneak into the headquarters of Crius Vindica/Malkur's secret lair to try and destroy the Crux held there and then you encounter Erubor/Malkur for a grand finish would be great!

I hate sounding so whiny about the ending, because Eschalon has given me so much pleasure and I'm enjoying myself immensely playing the mods, but yeah - the ending was a bit abrupt and "Huh, what? That's it?" for the battle - not the final philosophical quandary, the 'darn, I never got to shoot Malkur in the face with the plasma wand' part :wink:

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by Ssschah » March 20th, 2014, 8:52 am

Perhaps if you threw something into the game that could make it so you could stay to fight Karamiklan. For example, if you decide to stay, Erubor casts some spell that protects you from the majority of the Dragon's wrath, just enough so you can survive his blasts but not enough that it doesn't hurt you. Assuming you win this fight against the dragon and Malkur, you could then take the crux and give them to Erubor, or not :P
Edit: Of course, unless a physical unit for the dragon and Malkur is added, this won't work.
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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by IJBall » March 20th, 2014, 11:26 am

Ssschah wrote:Edit: Of course, unless a physical unit for the dragon and Malkur is added, this won't work.
Yes, and, of course, that's the problem - we all want a "dragon sprite", but as far as I can tell, there isn't one in the game, which means we'd have to, 1) make one from scratch, and then, 2) have a sophisticated enough Editor so that we could load our "dragon sprite" in to a Mod once we made it.

I think we're still a long ways off from all this, unfortunately... :(

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by xolotl » March 20th, 2014, 11:38 am

IJBall wrote:Yes, and, of course, that's the problem - we all want a "dragon sprite", but as far as I can tell, there isn't one in the game, which means we'd have to, 1) make one from scratch, and then, 2) have a sophisticated enough Editor so that we could load our "dragon sprite" in to a Mod once we made it.
The editor as actually already pretty well-positioned to support custom entities. We already read the entities data from the CSV contained in the datapak, so modifying that to load from a mods dir wouldn't be problematic at all. Likewise, loading a custom graphics file for an entity wouldn't be a problem.

Honestly, the biggest hurdle for entity creators (once we get the ability to override entities.csv) will be the graphics work of making decent-looking sprites, which is something which my map editor is unlikely to support. That kind of thing'd be better handled by other tools. I seem to recall that BW said he models these things in Blender and then exports the graphic images. If you hadn't seen the entity graphics files, they're basically just a grid of static images, one per frame of the various animations available.

So yeah, supporting custom entities via the editor is unlikely to pose problems - it'll be creating new graphics, for folks who don't want to use the existing ones - which would be the majority of the work.

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by IJBall » March 20th, 2014, 12:24 pm

xolotl wrote:So yeah, supporting custom entities via the editor is unlikely to pose problems - it'll be creating new graphics, for folks who don't want to use the existing ones - which would be the majority of the work.
Technical question, closely related to this (sorry to temporally thread-jack here...):

How hard, xolotl (and SS), do you think it will be to "port" or "convert" Book I sprites to Book III format for Mods?

I know the Book I sprites are at a different "resolution" (i.e. a different image "grid" size) than in Books II & III, so I gather part of the issue would be to properly "scale up" Book I sprite images to Book III "size".

I ask this because, I, at least, am highly interested in getting my hands on at least the Bloodsipper "Bat" sprite from Book I (as bats don't appear again in Books II or II), and possibly also a few other sprites such as the Fanged Salamander, (edit:) and I'd also really like the "Thug" one too as much for potential NPCs as for Mobs (also, the huge Spider sprite that the Goblin Wizard turns into at the end of Book I would also be another good one to get...). And I'm wondering how much work it's going to be to get things like the Bloodsipper Bat sprite over in to a Book III Mod...
Last edited by IJBall on March 20th, 2014, 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by xolotl » March 20th, 2014, 1:14 pm

IJBall wrote:How hard, xolotl (and SS), do you think it will be to "port" or "convert" Book I sprites to Book III format for Mods?
As you mentioned, image scaling would be the main problem. I think the tile width went from 52px in Book 1 to 64px in Book 2 - at that resolution, it's not exactly pixel art, but any kind of automated resize would be likely to turn out pretty terribly.

So at that point, we'd essentially have two options: 1) Redraw the sprites from scratch, using the existing ones as a template (or by utilizing tricks like Blender image exports, ourselves), or 2) simply adding more "space" around the Book 1 sprites and keeping the actual images the same.

Option 2 would probably look pretty ridiculous for human-scale entities, but it actually might be okay for something like the bats. They'd look smaller on the screen than they did in Book 1, but they probably wouldn't look terrible.

An Option 3 which is out of our hands would be to see if BW still has the original Blender models available, and could easily re-export them on the Book2/3 scale. :)

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by IJBall » March 20th, 2014, 2:16 pm

xolotl wrote:So at that point, we'd essentially have two options: 1) Redraw the sprites from scratch, using the existing ones as a template (or by utilizing tricks like Blender image exports, ourselves), or 2) simply adding more "space" around the Book 1 sprites and keeping the actual images the same.
Yeah, I've thought about Option 2 as a quick "fix" in the past, and I suspect it would definitely be a potential solution for the Bloodsipper Bats and even the Fanged Salamanders (though those were already "small"-sized in Book I!).

But, you're right - I'm pretty sure that won't work in the case of something like the Thug sprites, so then we'd be stuck with Option 1.

Option 3, of course, would be great... :mrgreen:

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by raverdave2k » March 20th, 2014, 2:17 pm

I've seen a few mentions now of porting Book I and II over the Book 3 engine and it is definatey something I'd like to see, I am curious though what the score would be there with regards to registration?

How would you enforce some one needing to own Book I / II before they can use the mod version with III?, although they have been out for a while I'm sure they are not at the stage were they have stopped making BW money and he would be wanting to give free access?
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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by xolotl » March 20th, 2014, 2:18 pm

IJBall wrote:But, you're right - I'm pretty sure that won't work in the case of something like the Thug sprites, so then we'd be stuck with Option 1.
Perhaps one of those unused teleporters actually takes you to Lilliput?

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by IJBall » March 20th, 2014, 2:20 pm

raverdave2k wrote:I've seen a few mentions now of porting Book I and II over the Book 3 engine and it is definatey something I'd like to see, I am curious though what the score would be there with regards to registration?

How would you enforce some one needing to own Book I / II before they can use the mod version with III?, although they have been out for a while I'm sure they are not at the stage were they have stopped making BW money and he would be wanting to give free access?
A "professional" enough job on a Book I "port", and I suspect BW might want to "take ownership" of it, slap a few code enhancements on it, and potentially have BG resell it as "Book I Platinum Edition" (something he's talked about doing in the past...). I doubt anyone involved in such a project would object, and I for one would be willing to sign away any personal rights if I worked on such a "porting" project, if something like that could potentially happen...

Book II, OTOH, is a less clear issue, I grant you.

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by xolotl » March 20th, 2014, 2:22 pm

raverdave2k wrote:How would you enforce some one needing to own Book I / II before they can use the mod version with III?, although they have been out for a while I'm sure they are not at the stage were they have stopped making BW money and he would be wanting to give free access?
That could be a good point; we'd have to figure out what BW's thoughts would be on that. There's certainly no way for us to actually enforce anything like that using only the modding tools.

Realistically, it'll be awhile before anyone actually gets something like that out, anyway. It'll be a pretty big undertaking, and would require some extremely thorough access to all of Eschalon's datafiles to pull off. Some of it (like the "special events") may not even be possible without additions to the Book III engine. Good to think about, regardless - I hadn't considered that before.

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Re: Book III Mod Discussion - New Ending?

Post by BasiliskWrangler » March 22nd, 2014, 10:38 am

Prismatic Maelstrom wrote:Would changing almost everything from the moment you enter Alundar's Dungeon be considered disrespectful and offensive to Basilisk Games?
Nope.
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