Cythera 2; Editor Required



  • I must agree with almost everyone here that Cythera is a very good game and it establishes a most interesting world in which sparks many people's imaginations. It has been shown by thousands of posts and hundreds of stories for this to be true. If only Cythera had the plug-in architecture that the Pillars of Garendall or Escape Velocity series had. I believe it would be prudent to allow the fans of this game an editor so that we may extend the life of this game we have bought. Even Harry gave us an editor, and people used it to make good scenarios to the game. I imagine a set of resedit or resorcerer templates would do, just as in the EV series. I imagine the people here are clever enough to create their own bible. Imagine what life and excitement this would bring to the project! Let's bring Clan Lord into this-- it has much poorer graphics and engine than Cythera, but Delta Tao always adds more to it to make it exciting. Now I'm not asking for a multiplayer Cythera, that doesn't seem to fit with the game, but it is obvious that Clan Lord is a very old game and very old games can still be quite popular when new content is added. This is something we could do, and there are people who are willing to do so, but the developers aren't heeding their customer's wishes. I feel that since I have bought Cythera, I should be entitled to an editor...

    ...and remember: Putting wine in a bucket is a crude and boorish thing to do.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • Quote

    Originally posted by DataSpot:
    **I must agree with almost everyone here that Cythera is a very good game and it establishes a most interesting world in which sparks many people's imaginations. It has been shown by thousands of posts and hundreds of stories for this to be true. If only Cythera had the plug-in architecture that the Pillars of Garendall or Escape Velocity series had. I believe it would be prudent to allow the fans of this game an editor so that we may extend the life of this game we have bought. Even Harry gave us an editor, and people used it to make good scenarios to the game. I imagine a set of resedit or resorcerer templates would do, just as in the EV series. I imagine the people here are clever enough to create their own bible. Imagine what life and excitement this would bring to the project! Let's bring Clan Lord into this-- it has much poorer graphics and engine than Cythera, but Delta Tao always adds more to it to make it exciting. Now I'm not asking for a multiplayer Cythera, that doesn't seem to fit with the game, but it is obvious that Clan Lord is a very old game and very old games can still be quite popular when new content is added. This is something we could do, and there are people who are willing to do so, but the developers aren't heeding their customer's wishes. I feel that since I have bought Cythera, I should be entitled to an editor...

    ...and remember: Putting wine in a bucket is a crude and boorish thing to do.

    **

    Let's hope it would be pretty much as easy to use as the Harry editor.



  • That's quite doubtful; I believe it would be more akin to EV or PoG which are full-fledged RPG's, as it has flags like IsFireProof, control bits which affects how people and things react to you in different stages of the game, items which are similar to outfits but have a location in the map, not to mention @text @parsing which brings back fond memories of playing text-based RPG's on my Apple IIe. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that Harry isn't an RPG, and since these role-playing games are like a complex spider web draped over a map of Cerigo, it'll be a complex thing to do. But since I've had experience with EV plug-ins, I believe this will be something that we could actually do. I mean, I can't work very well with a hex editor going through the data fork. That suc-- was not fun, to say the least.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • ( I don't normally wax philosophically like this, but hey, it's -9� out there - and that's our high, up from -25� this morning )

    Cythera (or more properly "Delver") does not have a simple "click and point, set this, set that, magically everything works" editor. The editor provided the ability to edit the artwork (a simple paint window for retouching things, but mostly just copy/paste from something else), a map editor, and an "object" editor (characters, monsters). That was pretty much the extent of the editing capabilities.

    The map editor was the most extensive, since that did all the "paint terrian, put objects on terrain" work (with some fancy tricks to, for example, generate random caves, or help paint both sides of a river bank, and even "wall paint"). This is pretty much what most people would have thought of as a "level editor". There was a lot of special things that the map editor did. For example, set up the various "props" (everything that wasn't "terrain"), making the roof of a building, setting up waypoints for an NPCs schedule (as well as editing the conditions for that schedule), etc.

    The object editors only set some basic properties (for example, you'd set the stats of the characters, or some attributes of monsters such as "immune to fire"), but these were all fairly limited in what they could do - for example, there wasn't anything that let you "use" an item in that.

    The editor did provide one other critical service - it would compile scripts from text files. The scripts are where all the "interesting" stuff and heavy lifting was done. For example, the entire combat system was implemented in it, as were all the magic spells, conversations, interactions, etc... How much damage does a sword do? That was set in the script (and object might have a "weapon" property which meant that it could be used as a weapon, and did a specific sort of damage).

    So the editor didn't have any concept of "weapon" or "damage" or anything like that which could have been easily set with any sort property - it basically only knew what the engine needed to know to render the display (did this tile block sight? Is this thing animated?), or things like stats shown in the character window (since the engine did that).

    As a result, the editor wasn't a simple "click and point, and suddenly a complete scenario drops out".

    Delver also wasn't designed to be easily expandable by dropping in a new module. It was designed to make it easier to make a whole new "world". There are some hooks for add-ons, but there are a number of subtle reasons why they wouldn't work as well as you might think. For example, all the "mutable" data for the game is stored in the player (since you can move/change anything, and it stays like that). As a result, to add an add-on, you'd have to start the game over from scratch (for example, if you added a new building in a city, you might get the walls that were part of the terrain, but the doors & furniture wouldn't be there since your mutable data for the city doesn't contain them, and there's no reliable way to "merge" new data in.

    Furthermore, there are issues about "removing" add-on, which might cause the building to go away, but the doors & furniture (which are in the player file) would remain when you went there (at best). At worse, it would crash - for example, if you added a cave entrance that lead to a new level, that entrance would be part of the player file, but the level data wouldn't be, so if the add-on weren't there, garbage would happen.

    There was also no provision for handling "collisions" between two add-ons - there were fixed numbers of available things - if you made level #50 be your cave expansion, and somebody else used level #50 as the second story of their castle add-on, well, only one would work correctly (and you might end up with a cave for the second story of a castle).

    Some simple modifications could be done easily enough (assuming that it only modified "static" data that wasn't stored in the player file), which was the whole point of the "magpie patch manager" (so making an addon that changed some graphics was easy and safe, as would be something that only changed code, so I could make something that change the behavior of existing items).

    It would be possible to make a complete "authorized" expansion (using the patch manager that would merge the thing into the game data) which could add "stuff" in a well controlled fashion, but not a general purpose third party ad-hoc sort of thing. Even still, developing such a thing is a signficant undertaking (it also requires a sepcial version of the game that has a built in debugger to help get around some of the rough spots and detect other problems) and personally don't have the free time available to donate to such an endevor, nor the inclination (since there nothing in the existing Cythera universe that I wish to expand at this time), and, in general, my time is better spent on other projects.

    ------------------
    Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know...



  • Wow, I was drooling for a moment there. Heck, that sounds a bit more complicated than EV (as there are maps instead of just planets) but still more intriguing, as the elements of a classic RPG are there, as PoG is. Then I read that last paragraph; I know, I should've expected this since I've read some past comments on editors, but still, this saddens me deeply.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • The only remaining question in my mind would be regarding the storylines for the sequel(s), which I remember hearing had been previously written (at least partially). Would you be willing to release those to someone interested in creating a sequel using Coldstone or Neverwinter Nights?

    ------------------
    -TDD-
    "Verizonish" -Texas Rangers' Outfielder Carl Everett, when asked how he felt after being hit with a cellphone during a game.



  • I think a better sequel would integrate the first Cythera with the second's storyline, so you never leave the land after you cure Alaric; It would be like completing the first half, and the second half is the same land but differences, such as an increase or decrease in monsters (perhaps the arrival of sylphs or undine to fight) as well as characters having a different attitude, and different houses having different power. Sure, Alaric would have more control over things now, new challenges should arise, perhaps freeing the island of the threat of the scylla or uniting all of the elements under peace -- I imagine a new LKH which has a compass, and Alaric would be at the centre, then in the corresponding directions around the compass there would be the Seldane with earth & mushrooms, Undine with pools of water, Ignae with lava, and Sylph over the starry abyss.
    Some quests that should be added to the first part are:
    Rescue/Find Larisa
    Use the Timeflux book to bring the wine of the Northshore Vineyard back to regularity, and thus be able to fulfill the wine contract
    Aw, heck, I just did some 'gravedigging' (as some call it) to get some ideas. Sorry about my posts, this was five years ago, okay? I was, like, 10 years old. (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/000111.html")http://www.ambrosias...TML/000111.html(/url)

    From another thread I got this information (quoth Glenn Andreas):
    "To say that the editor is buggy and not user friendly is an understatement (I believe I can still crash it by typing command-Q while in certain dialogs, for example, and there are other times that if you switch to another program it will pretty much require you to reboot your machine). However, the underlying architecture of the Delver engine is pretty flexible (for example, there is even the ability to make the correct file and drop it in the folder with the app and completely replace anything, including the UI).

    The biggest problem isn't adding in new items, new UI, etc... but how to handle the maps. For example, let's say that you wanted to add a cellar to a building in town (and that cellar might lead to a bunch of tunnels or something). Well, suppose we wanted to have that trapdoor locked, and put the key in a given chest. Now what if the player has already been in the room with the chest, taken the chest, and then destroyed it, where does this new key go? On the floor where the chest was? Is the key destroyed with the chest?

    Or suppose we add a building, behind a locked door, and part of the plot is to figure out how to get in the building. How do you prevent the player from just walking to where the building will be when the add-in is applied, quit, and then apply the add-in?

    The only safe way to handle this is to permit new add-ins to only appear when the game is restarted, but how many times do you want to start the game over to use the latest add-in?

    If we can't do this sort of thing right, our energy is probably better spent elsewhere (like trying to fix the leak in my basement)."

    I do think it's reasonable to ask people to restart their games once a new plug-in is created. In my opinion, it would be better to play the game from the start with all the extras.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • Quote

    Originally posted by DataSpot:
    **I do think it's reasonable to ask people to restart their games once a new plug-in is created. In my opinion, it would be better to play the game from the start with all the extras.
    **

    If restarting proves to be a significant problem, what if plugins just allowed an advanced startup option? Where they would have a listed "level 1" character (maybe tweak the level system?), but their stats are maybe already researched (to a somewhat medium level) and they've got basic adventuring items, like potions and food, and the other kinds of items they'd normally have after a few hours of adventure. Depending on how the plug-in was made, the 'storyline' could assume a character had already completed certain events in the original game and replace the new character files with stuff similar to what those players will likely have attained up to that point. So, it wouldn't be like completely starting over, but it would generate a new player file.

    Unless the dialogue and player stuff can't be changed, that is. Even if it can't, I agree with DataSpot - forcing a player to start over with every plugin wouldn't be that bad; especially if many significant changes to the map and cities/dungeons were made in a plugin - they'd want to start over to experience it fully.

    ------------------
    "What? A 4.0 won't automatically get me into heaven? You mean I actually have to believe in God now?"
    -B. Fry



  • Quote

    Originally posted by DataSpot:
    **I think a better sequel would integrate the first Cythera with the second's storyline, so you never leave the land after you cure Alaric;
    **

    The sequel is set "a ways" in the future from the first - and its critical that your character leave for certain key events to happen. Basically, the Undine have lost their most powerful artifact to the hands of their most hated enemy, who now has the opportunity to learn to use it and transcend even his current ability. And the sequel is set after that is "resolved".

    (The sequel also requires a new engine, since a certain critical "feature" of the world isn't possible with the current one, and, as far as I know, has never been done in any other CRPG).

    ------------------
    Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know...



  • Well, I think you've convinced us to eagerly await the sequel. Now, don't you feel a little more obligated to give us one? ;)

    ------------------
    (~%) ssh localhost
    The authenticity of host 'localhost (127.0.0.1)' can't be established.
    RSA key fingerprint is 93:33:b4:fc:b8:03:b4:45:15:31:99:1a:a3:1f:a5:ac.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?



  • First off... wow. 2 Gandreas posts in one topic!

    And secondly, I would agree with Pallas.

    ------------------
    But Ma, I WANTED to contract seven rare and dangerous diseases found only in cult rituals involving mice!

    (This message has been edited by Mr. Somebody (edited 02-01-2004).)



  • Wow, the fact that Glenn gave any hint does seem odd... very unlike you, after all these years, especially when, as I recall, you said you didn't want to talk about the sequal because then you would feel more obligated to do it. ;)

    Quote

    Originally posted by DataSpot:
    **Let's bring Clan Lord into this-- it has much poorer graphics and engine than Cythera, but Delta Tao always adds more to it to make it exciting.
    **

    Whoa...there's a blast from the past... I helped beta-test that game, whatever became of it? Did you play during the beta (ie. Did I know you?!? :eek :). Loved that one until they're computer burnt down and we all had to start over. Well, I guess I loved it even then until they brought it out of beta and started charging per month or some such thing. Ended that pretty fast.

    ------------------
    "I don't need a plan, just a goal. The rest will follow on its own"
    - MtG, "Temper"
    The One And Only:
    (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/000506.html")~Theo Nean Donly~(/url)



  • Sounds like there are some very interesting ideas floating around, and Pallas brought up a good point, but then again, Pallas may have made Glenn bite his tongue; I'm surprised he's been as open as he has. It seems to me that although everybody would love to see a Cythera II in any form, Mr. Andreas just doesn't want to do it right now. I know that it can be done; how else are other Ambrosia products being done? Now it's apparent that unlike other great game developers such as FantaSoft, Delta Tao, and most notably Spiderweb Software, Ambrosia doesn't have RPG's (with the exception of the almost-RPG Escape Velocity) on the top of it's list, or on any list, which doesn't surprise me. <sigh> I guess that's the way it is.
    I eventually realized I'd have to get my RPG fix elsewhere, and although not nearly as good as Cythera, two of my favorite RPG's are the Avernum and Geneforge series.

    And no, I just played Clan Lord to get the experience of different RPG's. It seemed to me one step up from Angband, graphics-wise. Of course, Diablo was basically Angband with graphics. The gameplay of Clan Lord seemed to have been pretty good, though, because Delta Tao updates it every now and then, and people play and pay for it. MMORPG's seem pretty popular nowadays. I've only played Diablo II, but from what I take from it, the storyline suffers from this feature. Of course, that's just from playing one game that isn't considered by some a massively multiplayer RPG, I may be wrong, but that's my theory as to why He doesn't want to make a multiplayer version.
    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)

    (This message has been edited by DataSpot (edited 02-01-2004).)



  • I think the only suitable "multiplayer" style for Cythera would be a GMed campaign, in the fashion of D&D; or the Team Stories. Of course, a new storyline would have to be invented every game, but it would be the GM's job, not the programmer's.

    ------------------
    (~%) ssh localhost
    The authenticity of host 'localhost (127.0.0.1)' can't be established.
    RSA key fingerprint is 93:33:b4:fc:b8:03:b4:45:15:31:99:1a:a3:1f:a5:ac.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?



  • Multiplayer would detract from the total experience of Cythera. The fact that anything and everything can be manipulated in some way and remain like that is one of the major selling points. Games like Diablo II use multilplayer to make up for the sad lack of storyline. The Baldur's Gate series, and such, had more interactive secenaries, but the the game itself was huge and many things weren't intercative. Plus many things didn't stay where you put them.

    A Cythera II would be amazing. The hint we got of a story line sounds, very interesting.

    ------------------
    Our greatest strength is not never failing, but rising everytime we fall.



  • I would have to say that almost everybody and everything about Cythera was interactable, and that makes it a very good game indeed. I've played several other RPG's, and the level of detail of this game surpasses all of those games. I was surprised I could milk goats then make butter, or make flatbread, or attempt to fill a bucket with wine, turn lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, the list goes on... One thing you said, Cody, that wasn't quite correct was that things do disappear, especially when left outdoors or in most towns and places. Land King Hall is one exception. I don't like this that much, especially since you can leave your crolna (or kelp) somewhere and never get it again; which isn't good, because if that was your second piece of kelp or your crolna you just lost, you just lost something else: the game. I guess that's why PoG won't let you drop mission critical items.
    While I'm on the subject of items, I once saw in that certain popular children's game for that little hand held console a feature that automatically organizes your person's items into different pockets on a bag. If applied to the new Delver engine, I imagine one pocket could hold Oboloi, others could hold Potions, Mission Critical Items, or Weapons & Armor.
    People also seem to like to organize their notes. Notes could be organized by date taken, person speaking, or your own categories, such as under missions. Perhaps notes could be dragged into the missions tab to appear under the pertaining mission.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • Quote

    I was surprised I could ... make flatbread...

    And even more surprised that this was a mission-critical ability! ;)

    Quote

    One thing you said, Cody, that wasn't quite correct was that things do disappear, especially when left outdoors or in most towns and places. Land King Hall is one exception. I don't like this that much, especially since you can leave your crolna (or kelp) somewhere and never get it again; which isn't good, because if that was your second piece of kelp or your crolna you just lost, you just lost something else: the game. I guess that's why PoG won't let you drop mission critical items.

    I would rather see objects as either all sticking, or having a "must stick" flag for items which should never disappear. Then, having a house (another one of Cythera's details) could be useful.

    Quote

    While I'm on the subject of items, I once saw in that certain popular children's game for that little hand held console a feature that automatically organizes your person's items into different pockets on a bag. If applied to the new Delver engine, I imagine one pocket could hold Oboloi, others could hold Potions, Mission Critical Items, or Weapons & Armor.

    I think this is something that should really be left to the user. Perhaps one could flag a particular container as being a "money container" or a "weapon container", but I would dislike a system being forced on me (and it would be somewhat contrary to the spirit of Cythera). Also, I don't think that the user should be told which items are misison-critical; if a player stumbles on a piece of kelp ten minutes into the game, should they really be told that it's needed to complete Cythera?

    Quote

    People also seem to like to organize their notes. Notes could be organized by date taken, person speaking, or your own categories, such as under missions. Perhaps notes could be dragged into the missions tab to appear under the pertaining mission.

    Again, up to the user, but sounds useful.

    ------------------
    (~%) ssh localhost
    The authenticity of host 'localhost (127.0.0.1)' can't be established.
    RSA key fingerprint is 93:33:b4:fc:b8:03:b4:45:15:31:99:1a:a3:1f:a5:ac.
    Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)?



  • Quote

    Originally posted by Pallas Athene:
    **Also, I don't think that the user should be told which items are misison-critical; if a player stumbles on a piece of kelp ten minutes into the game, should they really be told that it's needed to complete Cythera?
    **

    Exactly, how do you know which items are mission critical? (the game knows, but does the player?) If you secretly added a "don't remove" tag as earlier mentioned, then maybe they can try to retrace their steps and figure out where they left that kelp.

    ------------------
    Its all fun and games until a rampaging robot destroys half of your city.



  • Well, skip the Mission Critical part, then; I understand where you guys are coming from, and I guess the idea works better when your system just has six buttons and a d-pad. That flagging idea is a good one; perhaps command, shift, option, or control keys would change the mouse into a different pointer: one to toggle map-stickiness, and the others to be user assignable to certain bags that the user or the npc's in your party have so when an item is clicked on it is sent to that bag.

    ------------------
    (url="http://"http://www.johnforster.com/ART_NINE.html")Article Nine(/url)
    Peace through technology and technology through peace.
    (url="http://"http://www.stanford.edu/group/pandegroup/folding/") The world understood as only a computer could. (/url)



  • Well, I think that having the sticking property only for critical items would be as bad as the organizer for them. You just drop everything you have, then come back. If you needed it, it'll be there.

    Also, I think objects not sticking is an important roleplaying feature. The world isn't only yours, if you leave something lying around other people are going to take it. What I think could be improved about Cythera is the ability to get those things back. In real life, when something disappears some else usually has it. What if, in Cythera, when you leave stuff lying around, they are moved to the most logical person to take then (with a little added randomness). Things such as food and obol would be used, and not likely to get them back. Other things you could get back, but you'd have to figure out who has your (now their) stuff, and convince them to give it back, or just kill them for it. Some places I would think would be relatively safe to leave things (the depths of Lands End Volcano). Other places things should disappear relatively quickly (in the streets of Cademia, things could disappear if you just moved like 20 steps away).

    Rationally, I know this would be a little too much work to do in great detail, even if Glenn was willing to renew work on Cythera. sigh I will dream.

    ------------------
    "I don't need a plan, just a goal. The rest will follow on its own"
    - MtG, "Temper"
    The One And Only:
    (url="http://"http://www.ambrosiasw.com/webboard/Forum5/HTML/000506.html")~Theo Nean Donly~(/url)


Log in to reply