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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Emperor: Game Help » "The Tale of Tongguan" - Gweilo's design blog and commentary
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Topic Subject:"The Tale of Tongguan" - Gweilo's design blog and commentary
Gweilo
Angel
posted 04-29-20 15:51 ET (US)         
My Covid-19 self-isolation continues, but at least I have time to think of new campaign ideas. And one has arrived. I have always been fascinated by Tongguan or "Tong Pass" which was a mountain pass strategically located between the major cities of Chang-an and Luoyang. Adding to its importance was the fact that it also sat near the convergence of the Yellow and Wei Rivers.

It was inevitable that Tong Pass would catch the eye of the best military minds in the ancient Middle Kingdom, and the famous warlord Cao Cao was the first to see its possibilities. In 196 CE he began the construction of a fortress at Tong Pass. Eventually, a major battle of the 3 Kingdoms period was fought there, and that will be the climax event of this new campaign.

I am excited to return the the 3 Kingdoms period, because it is my favorite in all of Chinese history. This new campaign will have one enormous map featuring my adaptation of the Tong Pass geography. There will be 3 missions on this map.

In the days ahead I will create a teaser album in the Emperor Heaven Gallery and post screenshots there. I will also share updates on the Emperor Facebook group, if you follow it.

Feel free to leave comments here, or ask questions about this campaign and its development.

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 04-29-2020 @ 03:52 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Gweilo
Angel
posted 04-30-20 07:14 ET (US)     1 / 7       
I have made quite a bit of progress on this campaign. It will be designed at the 'normal' difficulty level with no time limits. It will be comprised of these missions:

M1 - A Pass of Prayer and Prosperity, starts in 184 CE

M2 - Fortress Tongguan, starts in 196 CE

M3 - The Battle of Tong Pass, starts in 211 CE

I uploaded the first 6 screenshots from the design and playtesting into the Gallery teaser album, viewable here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album28

At this point it seems pretty clear I will be able to release this campaign during May, 2020.

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 05-01-20 06:41 ET (US)     2 / 7       
I have completed a first test of mission 1. The map seems fine and all scripting fired as intended. It is fun to script some of the same historical events as I have done in other campaigns that overlap this same time period ("The Warlords of Koguryo", "A Xia's Diary III").

I have also written the mission 1 introduction and victory text.

Next step is to script mission 2 and begin testing it.

I uploaded 8 screenshots from the mission 1 playtesting, viewable here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album28

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 05-01-20 09:34 ET (US)     3 / 7       
As I began scripting mission 2, I realized it was a little lackluster. I didn't want this mission to be just a quiet "evolve housing in your city and raise your treasury" play experience. I found a way to energize it by injecting Cao Cao's military campaign for control of the north into the storyline. This required me to add one new city to the empire map, but I believe it will be worth it.

Adding the new city means I will need to replay the campaign from the start, but that's ok.

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 05-02-20 09:24 ET (US)     4 / 7       
I have been playtesting the second mission and I've finally convinced myself there is an annoying "feature" with how invasions spawn on the player's map. Here is what I believe is happening: the game engine will disregard invasion points for its random selection if the invasion point(s) are separated from the player's city by a "deep water" source, and pathing cannot be traced around that deep water source to the city. I am going to adjust the invasion points on the map and also add at least two pre-placed bridge over the rivers (i don't believe ferries will work) in hopes this will allow the game A.I. to use the invasion points separated by deep water. Crossing my fingers.

Otherwise, the campaign is going well. Mission two introduction text is written and most of the mission 2 scripting was firing as desired. I will tweak a couple of things.

I did take time to add 8 new screenshots to the teaser album, viewable here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album28

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 05-02-2020 @ 10:53 AM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 05-03-20 07:19 ET (US)     5 / 7       
My redesign tweaks to the map and invasion points were successful in allowing invasions to spawn north of the river. I spent all day yesterday tweaking and testing this, but it was worth it. I uploaded 3 new screenshots of my battles, viewable here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album28

I finished a good run-through of mission 2 and I think it plays well. I still need to write the victory text for it.

Today I will begin scripting and playtesting mission 3. I'm trying some tricky scripting at the beginning of this mission so I will just script that part and test it before doing anything else with the mission.

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 05-03-20 22:12 ET (US)     6 / 7       
I have spent all day testing mission 3 and writing its storyline. Everything went well and only some minor tweaks were needed.

I did do some internal debating on whether this campaign should be rate 'hard' instead of the 'normal' category. The battles in mission 3 are certainly more intense than the 'normal' category, but I am going to stand by the categorization of 'normal' for several reasons.

1. I provided a bit more starting treasury than usual.
2. The mission goals for housing allow the player much more freedom than my usual designs in deciding how much to evolve their common housing.
3. My design allows a player to really overbuild and over-evolve their elite housing (especially in mission 2), and this
can make the final mission much easier.
4. Sabotage by spies is allowed.

I am happy to say the campaign software itself is complete now and I am wrapping up this project. I did upload a final batch of screenshots to the teaser album, which include mini-maps of my solutions for winning the missions. You can see them here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/gallery/album28

My final work for this project is to write the Readme text file. I will begin on that tomorrow. Unless something unforseen happens, I expect to release this campaign sometime in 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 05-03-2020 @ 10:23 PM).]

Gweilo
Angel
posted 05-05-20 07:55 ET (US)     7 / 7       
This campaign is now released! You may download it here:

http://emperor.heavengames.com/downloads/showfile.php?fileid=591

Happy gaming, and please stay safe wherever you are in this world.

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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