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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Emperor: Game Help » Tale of the Kitchen God - Gweilo's Design Blog
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Topic Subject:Tale of the Kitchen God - Gweilo's Design Blog
Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-19-17 08:46 ET (US)         
Zao Jun is one of the least-used heroes in this game, and so I have decided it is time to feature him in a custom campaign. So I am pleased to announce I have begun working on a new campaign titled 'Tale of the Kitchen God'.

There are several different Chinese legends about the origins of Zao Jun and his ascension to becoming the Kitchen God. I will focus on telling the most common version of his origin, which is explained in the 'Heroes' section of this Emperor Heaven website. However, I have decided to make a few variations in his story, both for playability and to inject you (the player) into the plot. I plan to tell the story in 3 acts (missions), and confine the gameplay to one custom map.

Even though the main story is a fictional legend, the background will be historically accurate. The campaign will be set in the 2nd century BCE during the Han dynasty, under the reign of the great emperor Wu Di. The Han armies have just pushed the Xiongnu out of the Ordos Desert, and the emperor wishes the region colonized. This opens the story for me to create a new 'enourmous' size map with arid climate.

This project is still in its early phases, but my best guess-timate is that it will be released sometime in October or November of 2017.

Watch for further updates in this blog. As always, feel free to leave comments here if you wish.

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AuthorReplies:
Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-20-17 06:22 ET (US)     1 / 22       
I have built the playtest album in the Emperor Heaven Gallery, and posted the news announcement for this project on the Emperor Heaven and HeavenGames main pages.

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Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-20-17 12:29 ET (US)     2 / 22       
Here is the draft of the mission spoilers. Each mission will have a time limit goal.

Mission 1 - Of Betrayal and Building, 5 years, from 126 BCE to the end of 122 BCE.

Mission 2 - A Memorial for Zao Jun, 12 years, from 121 BCE to the end of 110 BCE

Mission 3 - A God's Wrath, A God's Birth, 6 years from 109 BCE to the end of 104 BCE.

There is going to be some military action in this campaign, but overall it will be a peaceful playing experience. The storyline will feature two other Gods/Heroes in addition to Zao Jun (injecting them into the story is where I'm departing from the traditional legend).

I've completed drafts of all the mission splash screen texts and campaign intro and victory texts. Now the biggest part of the project lies before me - creating the map. Arid climate maps are deceptively difficult to make interesting for a player, but I have some ideas to try out.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.

[This message has been edited by Gweilo (edited 09-24-2017 @ 08:20 AM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-22-17 17:49 ET (US)     3 / 22       
Today I made great progress on the arid map for the campaign. I'd say it is 80% done. I just need to add rocks and trees and it should be done. So far I'm happy with how it turned out, we'll see what tweaks I need to make when I start the alpha testing.

I also uploaded a screenshot of the empire map into the campaign teaser album, you can see it here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album22

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Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-23-17 09:58 ET (US)     4 / 22       
I finished the draft of the map and uploaded a minimap of it to the teaser album, you can view it here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album22

I started playtesting mission 1 and the map seems to play well so far.

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Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-24-17 07:48 ET (US)     5 / 22       
I had forgotten that Confucius's blessing on a tumulus is bugged, so that forced me to redesign a good bit of missions 2 and 3, and even rewrite parts of the storyline. I have edited the post above to show the corrected mission teasers.

I completed initial scripting of the third mission and now I need to play through it all again.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
user3
Pleb
posted 09-24-17 12:23 ET (US)     6 / 22       
No beaches again?
Been to a Sand Dune beach?
Cool mornings you dip your feet into the water, later you plunge in. Best thing is next time you visit the beaches and dunes; they have shifted. No two years are the same.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-24-2017 @ 12:24 PM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-24-17 15:51 ET (US)     7 / 22       
The minimaps I uploaded into the teaser album for the new map are showing sand dunes as brown patches. I did put a lot of sand dunes on this map. I like them too! I just need to be careful not to go too crazy since those dunes are like rocks, i.e, impassable terrain.

I have spent all day playtesting. Everything was good until mission 3, then I found that micromanaging Zao Jun's 'delicious food' walker blessing is just too cumbersome and frustrating to put up with for a full city's food supply over several game years. So I'm going to revise the scope to which a player will have to summon and use Zao Jun's blessings. That means introducing a new food type on the main map, so it's back to playtesting from mission 1 again.

I'm still happy with the direction this campaign seems to be going.

I uploaded a couple of new screenshots into the teaser album.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.

[This message has been edited by Gweilo (edited 09-24-2017 @ 03:53 PM).]

user3
Pleb
posted 09-25-17 08:09 ET (US)     8 / 22       
I meant something like this image which would be unusable terrain. Cross-country walker should be able to go over the dunes but not the water & beach tiles (shrug).
Maybe another desert map.
dune beaches

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-25-2017 @ 08:19 AM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-25-17 13:06 ET (US)     9 / 22       
That's an interesting usage of beach tiles. I like it. Maybe someday I will use it on a campaign map.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
user3
Pleb
posted 09-25-17 18:27 ET (US)     10 / 22       
Thanks for consideration the above idea.

I was thinking about the in-passing and blessing abilities of Zao Jun. I'm fairly sure that the food storage is somehow tagged to prevent restocks downgrading to a lower level until all the delicious food is consumed(8 months normally but I'm not sure if the 'special tagging' is time limited to say 6 months or less). Did your testing check for housing de-evolvement? The Market blessing lasts about 6 months, so why the change?

The player need only visit the Elite Markets -and/or- Elite housing every 6-12 months. Its not like 'Perfect Hygiene' is essential; they dropped the idea of entertainment & health goals along the way but left the text hints in the editor. Near Perfect Hygiene (normally distributing Tasty) is good enough IMO. Excellent/Good Hygiene(3 food types) is still a positive City Sentiment modifier. He does festival help for those that don't normally use Festivals/zodiac bonuses.

PS: if the above info becomes spoiler info you may/should edit it out. Your call.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-25-2017 @ 07:16 PM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-26-17 07:29 ET (US)     11 / 22       
I saw lots of housing de-evolution as soon as Zao Jun's delicious food was used up. In that test, the houses were pretty much empty of food by the time he passed by, so it was consumed by the citizens almost by the time I could walk him passed their house again (depending on the size of the housing block).

Here is the way I saw his blessing work on food vendors at the markets: his blessing immediately raises the food quality by one level, but the blessing only lasts until the market distributor cart has passed out all the food. It does not last beyond that. I had hoped for a time limit duration, like the 6 months you mentioned, but I didn't see it working that way. I dont' think it is a bug because it is stated to work that way on this page:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gameinfo/heroes/zaojun

Last night I did some rewriting of the mission 2 introduction text, specifically with you and Beijing Tag in mind. You will recognize the part when you read it

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Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-27-17 06:24 ET (US)     12 / 22       
I playtested missions 1 and 2 again last night. The minor revisions I made seem to work, but the real test is in mission 3. Hope to test it later this week.

Even after all these years I still feel frustration over the text limit on mission splash screens. For example, in the Kitchen God legend, Zao Jun starts out as a mortal man named Zhang Lang. He is later renamed Zao Jun when he is deified. Since this campaign involves Zao Jun as both a mortal and a god, I would have loved to refer to him as Zhang Lang and then later explain his name change in the story. However, I have so much other important information (hint: clues!) to pass on in the mission splash screens that I have no extra space available for explaining this name change. So I am forced to simplify the whole thing by just referring to him as Zao Jun from the start of the story. An unsatisfying compromise for me!

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
user3
Pleb
posted 09-27-17 13:25 ET (US)     13 / 22       
That frustration could of been avoided if you used the tutorial message, replacing the EmperorText.eng with your modified version. There are stock images that you could use with a little more learning effort.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-27-2017 @ 01:30 PM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-28-17 07:43 ET (US)     14 / 22       
user3, of course you are correct, but one of my design rules is to always create something that a player can download and play easily and immediately, without having to manipulate the game files.

Someday I may break that personal design rule, because Armel's recent submission is really interesting, but for now I'm sticking to it.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
user3
Pleb
posted 09-28-17 10:00 ET (US)     15 / 22       
What is more easier then perhaps an Installer/Uninstaller for the player?

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-28-2017 @ 10:16 AM).]

Brugle
HG Alumnus
posted 09-28-17 10:23 ET (US)     16 / 22       
What is more easier then perhaps an Installer/Uninstaller for the player?
To not do an Installer/Uninstaller.
user3
Pleb
posted 09-28-17 13:03 ET (US)     17 / 22       
lol, that's looking at the designers perspective not the players. I do see a valid point that nasty viruses and spyware could be included so its a bad idea; causing greater workload for staff by virus/spyware scanning before authorization.

The whole ENG file, messages and campaign/mission text could also be corrupted by profanity, so thats a bad idea. Good thing nobody used 7up to extract the data.cab's and used unshield compiler code to provide the official languange files(EmperorText.???/EmperorMM.???) from the language updates.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 09-28-2017 @ 01:16 PM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-28-17 14:18 ET (US)     18 / 22       
Today I almost finished the Readme text file for this campaign. I only need to polish it up a little bit after final playtesting of mission 3.

Everything is on track to release this campaign sometime in early October.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-28-17 19:38 ET (US)     19 / 22       
I finished playtesting mission 3. It required a few adjustments to scripted events, but overall it played well. I have uploaded five new screenshots from the testing, viewable in the campaign teaser album, here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album22

All If have to do now is polish the readme a little to wrap this up. I hope to release this campaign within the next few days.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.

[This message has been edited by Gweilo (edited 09-29-2017 @ 05:24 AM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-29-17 05:34 ET (US)     20 / 22       
I remembered something else I noticed last night while playtesting, and wanted to share. It's about how Zao Jun's blessing on food vendors works. It's true that the blessing only lasts until the food distributor cart is empty, but while that distribution is going on, if the food level in the blessed market drops enough to trigger a market lady to go get more from the mill, and that market lady can get there and return to the marketplace before the food distribution cart is empty, then when she delivers the food at the market it too will automatically receive the blessing that is still in progress. So I think the best way to take advantage of this is to:
1) place multiple food vendors in the marketplace(s) you want to bless.
2) make sure you have mills set properly to maximize their restock rate.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
Gweilo
Angel
posted 09-29-17 15:50 ET (US)     21 / 22       
This campaign has been released:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/downloads/showfile.php?fileid=517

Happy gaming!

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
Gweilo
Angel
posted 10-01-17 06:47 ET (US)     22 / 22       
I have uploaded a modified version of the Ningxia map for use in open play. You can get it here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/downloads/showfile.php?fileid=518

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
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