Hearkenwold Beta

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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:27 am

Asherim completed, party over 9000xp now :) .

I revisited one of the old wizards (with a house on a hill in a plain where I can also rest). Unfortunately, he did not have any new info for me. So a nudge for the final arc of the lich quest is most welcome :) .
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Mon Aug 13, 2018 1:04 pm

youngneil1 wrote:I revisited one of the old wizards (with a house on a hill in a plain where I can also rest). Unfortunately, he did not have any new info for me. So a nudge for the final arc of the lich quest is most welcome :) .


To complete this quest, you will need to

Return to Kelton Manor. On the map near the ruined marble walls is a pentagram circle on the ground. Step on that square, and it should bring up the encounter with the lich. If you have cleared the Secret Tower, then you should have destroyed the phylactery. Make sure to mention that to the lich when talking to it.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 6:29 am

Ah, thank you :oops: . I had been there and defated him once, but did then forgot about the need to do it properly (again). He now rests in peace for good :mrgreen: .

All unfinished arcs closed :D (well, I am 100% certain there are quite a few side quests and secrets I have missed nonetheless, Hearkenwold is just wonderfully massive and complex).

So, a bit more feedback on Hearkenwold (great idea with the spoilers written in white font and marking it for readability):



I am so glad that you have the persistence to grow Hearkenwold all the time through the various iterations of IB. It feels like a professional (indie, of course) game by now, which is awesome. It gloriously succeeds with the very core idea of the IB project - bringing back the magic of the gold box games in modern (well, at least more modern :P ) form.

Also, I very much like the open nature with lots of player agenda (where to go first) that you design the campaign with. The dialogues are sharp and often have a great sense of (black) humor, lots of references to especially literature in them, too. The very frequent usage of the party dialogue system is excellent - by reading through the possible answer options the player characters are fleshed out with personality. There's an overwhelming treasure trove of art from the gold box days cleverly composed which makes exploring a joy. Combat balance was really spot on - I felt challenged quite a few times, having to retreat for resting quite often. Still, I could eventually overcome all obstacles and felt really powerful in the end.

Finally a few thoughts on elements where might be room for improvement, from my limited perspective (which very well might be off anyway):

- dialogues (triggers) are often placed in front or around token graphics of NPC. This has caused med to enter lots of dialogues unwantedly (and repeatedly). I think it would be clearer íf the trigger is right under the NPC (or use dialogue from prop directly). Exception would be situations where you imagine the NPC actively addressing the party first on approach.

- orientation in the world of Hearkenwold is difficult. Part of this is caused by the rather small maps of size 16x16, fenced off by the marble border. Larger, cohesive areas migth make it easier. Another ereason is that sometimes the party does not arrive in a the location on next map that I would expect (eg you leave a map toward south and begin new map from the east).

- itmes felt a bit overpowerd for the level of the characters. This is compensated by the tough encounters, but makes granting even mor powerful items later on more difficult.

.. Train arrives, later more...
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Tue Aug 14, 2018 1:50 pm

Thank you very much for the write up, youngneil1.

Moving forward, I think balance is a concern, the larger this campaign grows. I've been thinking in terms of reaching a plateau of progression, when leveling will slow and the power curve will flatten some. As more content is added, I need to refine the xp awards, to spread out the rate at which characters gain levels.

There are a few overpowered weapons, aren't there, ha! I had fun when I started adding spell effects upon successful attacks. This is something I was interested in hearing more feedback. On the other hand, with some of the tough encounters, as you mentioned, those items can be a difference maker.

I will work on better placement of triggers. It helps if I can position an NPC in a nook or corner, or their own room, so it only requires one square to step on to trigger their conversation upon approaching them.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Sun Sep 02, 2018 5:37 pm

September Update

I have updated to build 120 of the IceBlink engine. This can be downloaded here with the module included:

https://neverwintervault.org/project/ic ... earkenwold

The most important feature relevant to Hearkenwold, is the inclusion of map coordinates in the lower left hand corner. This should facilitate better exploration, at least making it possible to note locations, which need to be returned to. The map below shows the party just in front of a house in Skardale, with a woman who will make a fancy shirt for the characters. The coordinates are (9,8) in the First Common District.

Image

I will share a little secret. When I started working on Hearkenwold, even though it is a top-down 2d map, I designed it as if it were an old school first person dungeon crawler. That's why there are few enemy NPCs represented on a map, and encounters might seem to pop out of no where. It has always been intended as a tile-based, event square triggered adventure. The notes I have from when I played Pool of Radiance, for example, include x,y coordinates taken down to mark special landmarks like training halls, shops and temples; or important locations in a dungeon. I'm glad to have these now in Hearkenwold as a means of guiding the player.

Moving on to the Halls of Hamhock content I am working on, here is a view of the library I mentioned previously. I just about finished the Fourth Hall. This month I am starting to put together the level above. Both these levels represent a break in the action from the combat when the party first enters the Mountain. But that doesn't mean they won't find other sources of conflict.

Image

And here is another conversation that makes use of the key-word input UI. I really love the ability to pose a question to the player, with the expectation they must remember information previously gathered. This is how I've always wanted a sequence like this to play out.

Image

On a side note, when I used the question marks in the line that prompts the input window, it caused an error in the script trying to fire. I guess "?" is used as part of scripting language. Removing the question marks allows the script to work as intended.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Tue Sep 25, 2018 3:44 pm

Great to hear the coordinates work out well :). I also like taking notes and using coordinates later on for points of interest to return to/keep an eye on. That being said, some free style ingame player notes function would be nice for the future (not a high priority, but still). Also, I have soem ideas for "maps" that the party can use which show the lcoation of the party eg on a world map (or a higher level area map). These "maps" migth actually be areas made in toolset (or painted) and the party would be marked with a special little icon at a location determiend by real current area the party is in. Maybe these "maps" can even re scrolled, so they can fill more than one screen.

I must look into the positioning of the clock (time and place) info line as it is displayed too high in the screenshots (it shoold be right above the little toggle buttons).

The library shot looks very nice - I already see lots of tasty lore incoming :) .

Finally, it's awesome to see that you put the key-word input UI to good use. The issue with "?" is strange, I have added it to my bug list.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Tue Sep 25, 2018 5:22 pm

Thanks, youngneil 1. I wouldn't worry too much about the question mark issue. There was something odd going on with that particular input box. Since I got the error message with the statement phrased with "?", and then it fired correctly when I removed the punctuation, I thought it might have been relevant. I ended up removing the conditional altogether and set a new one again. I think that fixed the problem. Need to test a few more times.

More maps seems like a good idea. I'd be interested to get a minimap system working, to show a zoomed out view, more of a global map or the surrounding areas.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 7:03 am

The overview map system is high on my agenda, too. It will go a long way in making the player feel the potentially immense scale of a gameworld early on, which I always like in games (like seeing a book with 1000 more pages to read/explore , such a reassuring and joyous feeling :) ).

Did you have a chance 1) to test the new delay button in combat and 2) the height level system for encounter maps yet? I think particularly these two additons might complement Hearkenwold very nicely (but that's just my gut feeling, of course).
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby Dorateen » Wed Sep 26, 2018 2:28 pm

youngneil1 wrote:Did you have a chance 1) to test the new delay button in combat and 2) the height level system for encounter maps yet? I think particularly these two additons might complement Hearkenwold very nicely (but that's just my gut feeling, of course).


I'm afraid I am a bit behind on the updates. I still want to get the reinforcements system working in a couple of battles. Then I will look into making adjustments on the encounter maps. Delay command will come in handy for some of narrow corridors or blocked doorways.
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Re: Hearkenwold Beta

Postby youngneil1 » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:08 pm

No need to rush testing stuff - the nice thing here is that we all have no time or commercial pressure, which feels really good. Delay and reinforcement system combined have a bug issue in early iterations (which is fixed in the already released later beta versions), just something to keep in my mind when progressing forward with beta versions later on.
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