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adamantum
Developer
25 Jun 2007

Location: Belgrade / Velika Plana

As I mentioned before, on that Old Ebonheart Mages Guild interior claim, I've been planning to use that cell for my brand new (questing) showcase. Honestly, I thought I'd finish it much sooner, but finally, here it is.

The quest (id: 000TR_AdamantumShowcase - added the zeroes just to keep it on top) starts when the player finds the 'cursed' diamond in the Mages Guild basement. Then, after you've spoken with Maniel (the enchanter I made for the sake of the quest) about it, he sends you to get ten cursed gems (the ones that summon a dremora) from daedric altars. When the player gets them and waits a week, Maniel tries to show him something, but it goes wrong and an angry dremora pops up. When you kill it, you're given a choice to either tell Maniel to go on with the experiments or warn him to stop risking his neck. Either way, he'll tell you to come back in a week. If you warned him, he'll be alive and well, and give you a CE summon dremora amulet as a reward, and if you didn't, you'll find him dead in his room with two dremoras and a cursed amulet that can summon a (permanent) hostile dremora every week when you equip it.

That's the summary, have a look at the file and tell me what you think. I've used my newest i3-280 file, so you'll need both files to run the quest right.

Cell of interest: TR_i3-280_Basement



TR_i3-280_Adamantum.ESP
 Description:
The interior file required.

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 Filename:  TR_i3-280_Adamantum.ESP
 Filesize:  89.74 KB
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TR_AdamantumQuestShowcase.ESP
 Description:
The quest showcase itself.

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 Filename:  TR_AdamantumQuestShowcase.ESP
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Post Sun Sep 16, 2012 12:09 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

Nice int and nice quest - and it does fit within the concepts I have for the OE Mages Guild questline.

There are typos, but I wouldn't care much about them at this stage.

If the quest is to be merged into the Mainland (which I consider a good idea), it should place at least 10 new cursed gems on daedric altars across the Mainland (for the case the player has already used up all the others in alchemy). Also, please use TR naming conventions.

Some might disagree about the balancing of the Dremoric amulet (constant effect summon dremora) and about its name either. But I'm fine with them.

More important things: dialogue is quite good, although Maniel doesn't have a unique style like several NPCs on map 3 do. Not sure if this is a problem, though. When the MG questline will be done, I'll make sure that this is tied in correctly (the MG questline as planned right now starts with the vaults of the MG being robbed; obviously Maniel is trying to create a better protection for them).

I don't think the player should be greeted by 2 dremora in the MG basement if he tells Maniel to continue research. Maniel isn't the only person in the Guild and someone else surely has cleaned up the mess. The real consequence should be two corpses of dremoras, a corpse of Maniel and some very angry mages (with forcegreetings that involve moddisposition -15 and faction rank decrease)

TR_AddSwcs_AmuletScript: You should somewhere set doonce to 1. Optimization: You could put the "if ( dayspassed >= 7 )" block inside the "if ( armed == 0 )" block, and even inside the "if ( currentDay != Day )" block.

I personally wouldn't give a trader a TR_random_soul_gem (this levlist includes grand soul gems, which are too good to be sold by merchants randomly, even though Tribunal has such a merchant), but that's probably your choice. You might consider giving him some restocking non-random scrolls, too (divine intervention, first couple of barriers, falling barrier etc.).

Maybe remove the reflect_20 spell from creature "tr_addswcs_dremoralord", or else he might kill Maniel without the player being able to interfere. (Also, for the sake of better controllable quest difficulty, you can replace their random weapons by pre-determined ones, but that's a matter of taste.)

Good work, except for a few minor flaws!

PS. To make this clear: this is not a complete review as I haven't looked much at the dialogue, but once you fix the above I'll do the rest.
Post Sun Sep 16, 2012 5:34 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
adamantum
Developer
25 Jun 2007

Location: Belgrade / Velika Plana

Thanks for the quick reply avisrend, here's an even quicker update Smile. Here's what I did

- I tried to rename everything according to the convention, but since I don't know the quest number, I used TR_m3_q_XX_ as a prefix. The journal entry is called TR_m3_OE_MG_Gems. But then again, I would know those things before I start moding if this weren't a showcase.
- I couldn't place the new cursed gems because I didn't know where to put them - I don't have the exteriors and interiors. But they're included (TR_m3_q_XX_Dae...) and ready to be placed.
- The Dremoric Amulet is now Dremoratrap Amulet (little less cheesy, I think), and it isn't CE anymore, but a ten minute long cast when used with just enough charge for a single cast.
- I've also written a bit of dialogue for other MG members on the topic, and also a script and that forced greeting that should be put on the highest ranking mage.
- The poor dremoras now have no health and the dremora lord lost all his spells. No more casting fireballs for him.
- Optimized the amulet script (TR_m3_q_XX_AmuletScript). It didn't need that 'armed' variable at all.

I think that covers everything. Looking forward to more feedback.



TR_AdamantumQuestShowcase.ESP
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The Upload.

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Post Sun Sep 16, 2012 8:28 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

That was a quick update update indeed, nice!

One thing I've forgotten: In TR_m3_q_XX_AmuletScript, you might want to replace line 16 by "set dayspassed to ( dayspassed + Day ) - currentDay", since otherwise the amulet doesn't charge up when it's in a different cell than the player (unless this is how you want it to behave).

I think the parentheses on line 11 of TR_m3_q_XX_GemScript are wrong. (I also tend to use
Code:
if ( getDisabled )
    enable
endif

instead of "enable", and
Code:
if ( getDisabled == 0 )
    disable
endif

instead of "disable" to ensure that things get disabled/enabled only if they aren't already; but I'm not sure whether this is really useful for optimization or just cargo cult. (There are definitely people advising this.)

Wrong parentheses in TR_m3_q_XX_GuildHeadScript as well; also, add a whitespace on line 18 before the 0.

If you look at how naming conventions are being followed in TR_Mainland.esm, you'll see that the normal way to name a guild quest is TR_m3_MG_CursedGems, not TR_m3_OE_MG_Gems. Not that I see much of a problem with your naming, though.

Still haven't looked into the dialogue; sorry. Hope to do that later today!
Post Mon Sep 17, 2012 10:39 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
adamantum
Developer
25 Jun 2007

Location: Belgrade / Velika Plana

Fixity fixed. TR_m3_OE_MG_Gems became TR_m3_MG_CursedGems, fixed the parentheses (the compiler didn't tell me anything is wrong when I saved the scripts though, but still, to be safe...) and rechecked the scripts. I haven't really given much thought to optimizing the scripts as much as possible, if I did, I'd probably be using more self-terminating global scripts. I'd definitely be doing that in the future, as it seems as a much better choice than using the big looping ones, but I'd really hate to go change every single one now that they're finished... Also added the GetDisabled checks - never thought about that before, but it makes sense if enabling/disabling eats a lot of processor time...


TR_AdamantumQuestShowcase.ESP
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 Filename:  TR_AdamantumQuestShowcase.ESP
 Filesize:  30.79 KB
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Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 1:28 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
arvisrend
Lead Developer
04 Oct 2010

Location: substitutional world

You don't generally have to optimize scripts running in an interior only. Scripts running in exts (including scripts running on pickable items) and global scripts (which run for longer than a few frames) need optimization. In your case, I have brought up the issue solely to make you aware of certain things that you can do if you have to actually optimize a script.

Dialogue:

You have a couple of typos ("Ebonhearth", "risk out lives", "carefull", "wasnt", "accidentaly", "Wonderfull", "promissed", "usefull", "truely"), some questionable grammar ("to see what did he find out", "I should go see how is Maniel's research progressing", "This encounter, although unfortunate, have given me an idea") and the famous missing comma before %PCName ("Thank you %PCName"). Now, I don't consider these to be significant issues. More problematic is occasional bad writing:

Quote:
Record: INFO "12215175641231624" (Journal:tr_m3_mg_cursedgems) Flags:0x0000 ()
INAM: ID:12215175641231624
PNAM: Prev_ID:281955771816224536
NNAM: Next_ID:8068421450721540
DATA: JournalIndex:31
NAME: Response:
Maniel is dead. I guess I'll never find out what can be learned from those cursed gems.
QSTF: Quest_Finished


This sentence makes no sense here (how does the player know that there is noone else studying these things) and seems to be a trope used way too often. What about "If there is something I can get out of his studies, then it is a lesson not to lose causion in summoning."? (Not very good either, but hopefully going in the right direction.)

"I should"s in journal entries are to be avoided when possible -- a journal is not a walkthrough. "I should come back later to see the results." could be replaced by "Time will show how well he delivers on his promises." (There is another journal entry that explicitly tells the player to go see Maniel; that's more than enough. The very existence of an unfinished quest in the journal will force the player to talk to Maniel regularly!)

Quote:
Record: INFO "1394626551618518186" (Journal:tr_m3_mg_cursedgems) Flags:0x0000 ()
INAM: ID:1394626551618518186
PNAM: Prev_ID:25250983606732476
NNAM: Next_ID:
DATA: JournalIndex:82
NAME: Response:
I found the corpses of Maniel and two dremoras in his room. I guess one of his experiments went terribly wrong, and the mages aren't happy about that. Not happy at all. There was a potent looking amulet on his body, but I think it's cursed.
QSTF: Quest_Finished


The repeated "not happy" doesn't seem to fit very well within the MW journal style (which tends to be more laconic and distanced; "not amused" would probably be enough). But I'd wait for a second opinion on this.

As far as I understand, the journal entry appears before one even looks at the corpse, let alone analyzes the amulet. That's probably forgiveable, though, as some players otherwise wouldn't notice the amulet.

Quote:
Record: INFO "2895329301975032567" (Topic:cursed gems) Flags:0x0000 ()
INAM: ID:2895329301975032567
PNAM: Prev_ID:20987101631725314748
NNAM: Next_ID:508710994474526354
DATA: Disposition:50 Rank:None Sex:None PC_Rank:None
ANAM: Cell:TR_i3-280_TopFloor
NAME: Response:
A cursed diamond? I don't know anything about that, maybe you should check downstairs.
*SCVR: Index:0 Type:(Journal) Function:(Journal_Type) Comparison:(<) Name:TR_m3_MG_CursedGems
INTV: Compare_Value:80

Record: INFO "508710994474526354" (Topic:cursed gems) Flags:0x0000 ()
INAM: ID:508710994474526354
PNAM: Prev_ID:2895329301975032567
NNAM: Next_ID:1035577402273312895
DATA: Disposition:50 Rank:None Sex:None PC_Rank:None
ANAM: Cell:TR_i3-280_GroundFloor
NAME: Response:
A cursed diamond? I don't know anything about that, maybe you should check downstairs.
*SCVR: Index:0 Type:(Journal) Function:(Journal_Type) Comparison:(<) Name:TR_m3_MG_CursedGems
INTV: Compare_Value:80


Maybe better: "I don't know anything about that, but if you found it downstairs, maybe you should ask around down there as well."

The "Don't mention them to me, %PCName. Ever again." replies are a bit too repetitive, but then again we can't do anything until we have the guild NPCed. (Most likely every NPC should have his own reaction to this topic, some even sympathizing with the player and Maniel, some others being like "LOL he got what he bargained for" etc.)

Greeting 1 is dirty ("Please, %PCName, let me go and rest" is modified); otherwise the file is clean.

This reply:

Quote:
Record: INFO "21522135972558811316" (Greeting:greeting 1) Flags:0x0000 ()
INAM: ID:21522135972558811316
PNAM: Prev_ID:909729990247199608
NNAM: Next_ID:25479859243044839
DATA: Disposition:0 Rank:None Sex:None PC_Rank:None
FNAM: Faction:TR_MagesGuild
NAME: Response:
%PCName! You fool! Do you know the first thing about experimenting with dangerous magic? I know you encouraged Maniel to dabble in unsafe daedric summoning. It could've ended much worse, believe me, we're lucky he was the only one killed. Maniel paid with his head, but you %PCName, I'm demoting you for this blunder. And you should be lucky I was so gentle!
*SCVR: Index:0 Type:(Local) Function:(Variable_Compare) Comparison:(=) Name:doOnce
INTV: Compare_Value:0
BNAM: Result: ;The ID should be set to the head of the OE mages guild

PCLowerRank TR_MagesGuild

set doOnce to 1

ModDispostion -20

Goodbye


needs more "detailing". First of all, the PC won't be demoted from guildmaster, for sure. Second, this is a bit of a hackneyed rant ("you should be lucky I was so gentle" etc.). I am just saying this to give feedback; as for the reply itself, I assume it will be rewritten once the guild head has been NPCed anyway (because guild heads in MW tend to have unique characters and their dialogue has to be "in character") and therefore you don't have to change anything.

Most of this are trifles, and you've done well in the big picture. Recommended for promotion!
Post Tue Sep 18, 2012 2:32 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

I just checked out the dialog and scripts and I have to say it's looking really good so far. I'll update this post once I've had a chance to playtest this quest, give it 6 hours or so.
Post Wed Sep 19, 2012 11:04 am Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
Why
Lead Developer
04 Jul 2009

Location: Utrecht

Double post because I'm an attention whore who's bad at reviewing things in time!

I found one silly little bug that prevented me from starting the quest. In the script on the diamond, you forgot to change the name of your journal so the script wouldn't run. A small mistake, easily fixed and forgiven.

The rest of the quest was quite excellent. Arvisrend already voiced his concerns and I find myself agreeing with him, so do keep those things in mind in the future.

A few other things, the dead Dremora that appear alongside Mariel's corpse assume their waxy/ashy-dead form which makes them sort of hard to notice. Maybe a Daedra that doesn't turn to stuff when they die might be better here, like a Clannfear, Golden Saint or Daedroth (or, for maximum lulz, have the guy lay crushed under a dead Ogrim) would be better, since the corpses are easily glanced over now. Ten gems is a bit much, but when I mentioned this to arvisrend he said he actually liked it being quite the challenge, and I suppose that's a good point if the quest is given early in the MG questline and can be done alongside the other quests of the chapter. The fight with the Dremora Lord was a bit sudden, but given that the player has been fighting these guys to collect the gems anyway that's fine, I like surprises. I like that you implemented all sorts of stuff for when Maniel dies.

Concluding, this is a solid quest with a few issues that are easily addressed, once fixed it'll be a good fit in the OE MG line, and I'm confident that you'll be able to handle quest claims quite well!

Promoted, congrats!
Post Thu Sep 20, 2012 7:53 pm Send private message       Send e-mail       Reply with quote                   up  
adamantum
Developer
25 Jun 2007

Location: Belgrade / Velika Plana

I know it was sudden Twisted Evil. Yay, second showcase done, only exteriors to go. Those questing claims won't know what hit them.
Post Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:56 am Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
Terrifying Daedric Foe
Developer
26 Aug 2010

Location: England

Congrats and welcome to the team! Very Happy
_________________
'The strange thing about TR is that I think it is by and large accepted that we will finish. We are all the sort of crazy people that would do such a thing. We are inevitable.' ~ Thrignar Fraxix
Post Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:06 pm Send private message             Reply with quote                   up  
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