Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by Anarchy, Jun 25, 2017.
These are actually pretty nice, I like the style.
Keep up the good work!
I've decided that I haven't been ambitious enough. Roarian sent me a picture of a fan-made map, and I realized just how truly lacking my mapmaking skills were. Hogwarts is supposed to be massive. Like, I made 100 rooms for my current version, but really, how much is 100? I have 2 dungeons, a main floor, and 7 floors above. That averages to 10 rooms a floor, which truthfully isn't that many.
I looked over some helpful guides, and the biggest takeaway I have is that I shouldn't be so conservative with map size. Also, most examples I've looked at have all the connecting corridors actually having enough room for all the rooms that are connected to it. That's not something I gave enough thought to, and would certainly help fill out the castle.
So, what I'm going to do is sketch out Hogwarts proper, rather than just having it so linear.
Also, I've given thought to the overworld. Right now, it's not really much to look at. It's supposed to be a quick travel method, like you left Hogwarts and it's fifteen steps to hogsmead, as both sprites are just 1 square big on the overworld. Then I thought about it, and thought - why not have the outside be to scale like everything else? what if it was a massive map (perhaps broken into small chunks if necessary) but you could actually walk to Hogsmead, and it will take 300 steps or whatever. What if you could actually take a carriage there? what if you could actually see the facade of Hogwarts? Like, I'm picturing something like what I posted earlier, except on a much larger scale. Also, why wouldn't the actual overworld be a map of england? Like, you'd have the Dursleys, the Burrow, the Ministry, Diagon Alley, and Hogwarts be the point of interests on it. That's makes a lot more sense to me than having the overworld map be Hogwarts, Hogsmead, the Forbidden Forest, Hagrid's Hut.
While I agree to the Hogwarts idea, I think you're going to far with the rest. There is truly no need to expand much on the overworld map, especially for first year as most of the thing happen within the castle. Why don't you make events for fast travel?
Hogsmead: Talk to Filch with your permission slip/Use the proper password for the secret passage
Dursley: Board the Hogwart Express at Hogsmead at the end of the school year
Diagon Alley: Use the Chimney in the 3 Broomsticks
There's pros and cons to it. Year 1, Hogsmead doesn't matter, other than at the beginning of the year where they get off the train and take the boats across the river. I hadn't plan on having that in the game (just having it start during the sorting). But, Harry does go the Hagrids hut several times, the the quidditch pitch several times, and to the forbidden forest. I'm just thinking that it would be neat that if every time you go down, theres different npcs out in the world to interact with. It's not something that is strictly necessary, but I feel like it would do a lot to make the world feel more organic and alive, rather than being confined to the castle for the whole game.
Anyways, I'm going to try and do something similar to the movie Hogwarts.
I think the overworld map may look empty if you want to expand it outside of Hogwards's grounds
I've still been working pretty hard at this. I actually sort of restarted the whole thing. After seeing some examples of other peoples rpgs, I realized I could go a lot bigger, so I did.
So, here's the master plan of the first half of Hogwarts, level - http://imgur.com/GK1OUYr
Then, you take away the inside of the rooms, so you cant see them from the corridors. Each room will have it's own submap- http://imgur.com/N3x3eXb
Finally, You're left with just the corridor, with all the entrance that you can see from the corridor, like - http://imgur.com/1uwKpcx
Of course, these are just the very basic room outlines. Everything needs to be decorative and such, and I do need to figure out where each classroom is. The layout matches the movies, but the movies aren't that consistant, and don't really line up with the books. Like, the Gryffindor common room is on the 7th floor, but I don't even think the movie castle has a 7th floor.
Here's the starts of the second half of Hogwarts. This map is massive, so massive that I can't even zoom out far enough in the program to see it all - http://imgur.com/6AbL1YA
As a random aside, I'm still trying to figure out the spell system, specifically the elements. It makes sense to have fire, water, earth spells, etc. But someone mentioned something about having it be charms, conjurations, curses, jinxes, etc instead. The one issue I had with that would be that there would be way more charms than anything else. However, the one solution I think would work is to have every spell be a dual type. I do believe there is a plugin that will give that functionality. So, you can have a spell be a fire charm, or a water hex. I'm not sure if it's possible to have spells be three types, so fiendfyre probably can't be fire, dark, and curse.
Of course, the spell types do need its own functional identity, which I'm not completely sure about yet. The only thing I can really think of is wands that give a +boost to transfiguration or something. I don't want it to just be similar to the elements.
I haven't abandoned this or anything like that. There's just only so many hours in the day, and between my lego addiction, and how much I play mtg, it's hard to find more than a few hours to work. Anyway, here's an update. BEWARE THE UPDATE IS 3400 WORDS LOL!
Characters: I settled on the 8 "main" characters that will be available as a party member. I chose 8, because that's how many sprites fit on the tileset. Some of them need some tweaking, as there's not enough variation between the skin color, but for now, it's fine. I'm at work as I type this so I don't have a picture available.
The starting 8 are Harry Potter, Ron Weasley, Hermione Granger, Michael Corner, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbott, Draco Malfoy, and Daphne Greengrass.
There's issues, of course. The trick is to make characters that feel different and unique, and aren't just the same people with different names. Warning - the bulk of this update is spent trying to address this, and I rambled on quite a bit. As for why I chose those characters, I really wanted to show some diversity.
They'll all have different method's of unlocking, and of course, nothing is actually set in stone yet. For example, Ron will be immediately available after the sorting. That probably isn't changing. Hermione will be unlockable after the troll event. If you go to rescue her (the default canon path), then she will be availble for your party. If not, perhaps there will be a way to unlock her later (I haven't given that much thought to it yet). I'm not sure about Michael Corner yet - I just wanted a Ravenclaw as a possible member. Same with Susan and Hannah. The idea I had for them was the you could only have them together, which would be neat flavor, but it kind of restricts your party composition, and I don't think it's really necessary. For Draco, my current plan is that there will be a requirement that you have neither Ron nor Hermione in your party, and if you did a certain amount of specific quests a certain way, then he will be available (such as not dueling him over the Remembral thing). Daphne will probably just be a long series of quests where you have to melt her icy facade obviously.
There are some notable omissions, notable enough that having just 8 characters doesn't make the most sense. Neville, for example. You should be able to have a party of 4 Griffindors for the first year, but right now, it's not possible. That being said, I will try and balance the game in such a way that you don't need a full party for the encounters.
Others will be unlockable in later years, Ginny for year 3, Padma/Parvatti/Cho for year 4. I would like to make Pansy as a playable character, since it would be cool to have a "dark healer" type of character, but I'm not sure where she would fit in. There's also temp characters, but I'm not sure how that works, if you can have a temp character join a party that is already full. My guess is no, but I'm not sure. Same thing with characters joining/leaving the party, I'm not sure how the mechanics of that actually work, but it would be simple to see with actual testing (like if they retain their stats and gear and stuff like that). I'm picturing Hagrid/Fang joining your party for the Forbidden Forest, or Cedric joining your party during Voldemort's resurrection, and is scripted to get killed (if possible)
Maps I've made good progress, but the amount of maps needed is extremely ambitious. Like I said in a previous post, I restarted from scratch. I've done about half of Hogwarts so far, around 200 rooms. That just means that I physically made the rooms and they exist in the file. Essentially, just a master floor plan and the individual room. I still need to actually connect most of them with event doors. That's not too hard to do, just time consuming. with the NJPW G1 tournament going on, there's a hundred hours of grinding background noise for me to do it. Then, of course, there's actually furnishing the rooms, to make them distinct, and to have various events in them, be it npcs, encounters, or chests. All of the mapmaking is the groundwork for me to actually start making the game, like I can't even make the sorting event without having the Great Hall done. Sure, I can plan it out in my head, but theoreticals only go so far.
Plot This is pretty straightforward, I'm currently working on a word document on what exactly the plot is. Basically, I have it broken down into 3 categories. I have Keystone events, canon events, and side quests. Keystone events and canon events are the same thing lorewise, but gamewise, they serve a very different purpose. Keystone events are events that simulate the passage of time, and are usually major events from the books. For example, the Sorting Ceremony is the first major Keystone event in the main game. Then, you have things like the Halloween Troll event, and Christmas as some other keystone events. I pretty much just have to go through the book and pick them out. Canon events are things that happen in canon that don't necessarily trigger the passing of time. For example, going to transfiguration class on day 1 is a canon event. Some of these are optional, some aren't. There will usually be one key chain that leads to the next Keystone event happening.
The idea is pretty straightforward, and it's pretty much just to the world a dynamic feel. The point is that when a Keystone event happens, you get a new set of canon and sidequests in the world, simulating the passage of time. So if you go to your transfiguration class again after completing a keystone event, you'll have a new "lesson" there. As for what those lessons are, sometime it's just lore, sometimes you get xp, sometimes you learn a new skill, and occasionally, you'll get a quest.
Another example of a canon quest would be any of the Hagrid quests. I'm picturing at the start of a new Keystone event, you'll get an owl message from him, asking you to come visit, and that will go into your quest log.
Side quests are exactly that, side quests. Things to do on the side, that aren't necessarily canon, but rather, things that could have been canon if JKR wanted to write 2000 pages for each book. These should all be optional. They can be quests from other students, or teachers. Or perhaps it's a quest you got from an item an enemy dropped, or you discovered a tome in a hidden room that gives you a long quest that ultimately rewards you will a cool spell.
The whole idea is that I'm trying to make it so that the Canon path is the default path, but you're able to stray from it enough, but still accomplish the main goal. If I were to be more ambitious, I'd have the option to be in the other houses, and the option to stray away from the station of canon and essentially have as many different plots as you want in an open world kind of game, but that's way more than what I'm capable of. You probably need Bioware or CDR for something like that.
Character "classes/roles" I talked about it briefly above, but the characters need to have some sense of individual identity. The tricky part is the nature of the world - nearly everyone is a witch or a wizard. So, using traditional rpg mechanics have to be contorted a bit. Normally, every witch and wizard can learn every spell, that's what Hogwarts is. But, if I were to do that, you'd end up with 4 identical party members who all have the same exact skills.
So, how to get around that? It's not easy, and there's no single solution. Rather, I think there's a bunch of smaller solutions that will add up to the feel I'm looking for, but I'm still working on it. Some of the traditional roles may be offense, defense, support, healer, or minor variations of that. For example. I want Susan Bones to be a primary healer character. So, how do I represent that? Firstly, I'll give her some starting healing spells. Then, I can set it so she learns specific spells at specific levels. Then, I hit a snag. I want characters to be able to learn spells, but I don't want them to be able to learn every spell. How do I make it so some skills are locked, or class/character restricted? As far as I can tell, there's not an easy way to do it.
I'm not sure the answer to that, and it's kind of frustrating. There's a lot of plugins for the game, but nothing that did exactly what I wanted. So I guess I really need to look at how many ways I want skills to actually be distributed/aquired.
1) starting the game with them. Everyone begins with the same basic, generic minor attack spell, named Magic Sparks. Think back to when Harry first got his wand and all he could do was get sparks to shoot out. It's not a perfect solution, but a character really does need a way to defend themselves at the beginning of the game, and I don't really like the idea of having a wand equipped but only being able to use it for default melee attacks.
I guess the idea is that different characters will have a few basic spells they start with. So, for Susan, in addition to Magic Sparks, she will have Minor Heal, or something like that. Now, the question is why shouldn't Minor Heal be acquirable by other characters at some point, and the answer is, that it should be. That makes sense lorewise, but not really gameplay wise. Lots of RPGs have skills that only specific characters can learn. Now, perhaps the answer for Susan is that she has her own character specific heal, but also the minor heal which is later attainable by others, and her character specific heal is the one that improves every X levels, while the minor heal is improved through events/spellbooks/classes etc.
2) Levelling Up. Straightforward enough. As mentioned above, levelling up can unlock a new skill. There's one issue about that. Learning up from XP shouldn't allow you to learn a brand new skill. It should only allow you to improve upon a skill you already know. Like, Harry shouldn't hit level 15 and suddenly learn Stupefy. That doesn't really make sense, as this isn't actually pokemon. Not to mention, XP level doesn't directly translate to game progress. Like, Harry, in canon learns Stupefy in year 4, so it would be weird if he was still in year 1 and unlocked it because the player grinded to level 15. So, I think the level up method will only be used sparingly, and, as far as I know, there's no way to make it so skills learned from other methods can attach themselves to the level up method. Like, I don't think you can learn stupefy at level 30, somehow attach that to you player level, and then the game sees you hit level 35, and gives you the next level of it. Not using the actual level up skill screen. There is probably a way to do it, like when a player gains a skill, it creates an event that records the players variable, and then when the variable is 5 levels higher than the beginning variable, it gives you the next skill. That's pretty much the same shit I spent 5k words on in an early post.
3) Classes/events. It makes sense that going to charms class would let you learn a charm. The issue is that if you're trying to restrict some classes from learning some spells, it doesn't really work. Like, every character who attended that class should get that spell. The restricting I'm talking about could simply be emulating a character sucking at certain types of magic or whatever, but I haven't seen a way to do it in game that feels logical.
For example, I can create an event that goes "If Harry Potter doesn't know Spell X, then Harry Potter learns Spell X" and have it for each character. I can simply just leave a character out, and that means they won't learn that skill. I can also make it that if they already know the skill, then perhaps they get the next rank. It's a lot of text probably. This probably works though.
4) spellbooks. This is real the main issue is. There's several problems actually. First off, are spellbooks multiple use, or single use? From a lore perspective, spellbooks should have multiple uses. They don't suddenly disappear once one person uses them. In other systems, it was explained by the user drawing magic from the book, learning the spell, and rendering it useless. I don't mind that, but that's not really HP, but it does make sense mechanically. Multiple use also makes sense, and isn't a big deal. You have a spellbook that teachs Incendio rank 1, you can teach it to everyone you want, and then even sell it when you're done. No big deal. The issue with that is inventory space, and I don't know what the cap is. It can add an interesting dynamic depending on what the inventory cap size is, (or if there even is one)
Then, the same problem as above. Character restrictions. I don't want every character learning every spell, since that doesn't make sense. I don't know how to restrict items. I actually downloaded a plugin that is supposed to do that, but I couldn't get it to work. I was testing a restriction that Ron could learn the spell, but Harry couldn't, but for whatever reason, when Harry would use the spellbook, he'd still learn the spell. Besides, i'm not sure which feels better, putting the restriction on the spellbook, or on the skill itself.
So, what are the answers to this? I researched and tested stuff for hours, and it actually frustrated me. My lack of knowledge was shining though, just as it was when I was trying out the way for skills to level up.
There's three ways that can fix this, or at least emulate it, and I'm not sure I like any of them.
1) Add more skill types. If you look at this pic - https://i.ytimg.com/vi/FjUnDws-vbM/maxresdefault.jpg - you see there's a selection called "skill type" normally I don't think this is something you're supposed to mess around with. By default, there's three options here - normal, magic, and special. Normal is normal, melee attacks, etc. Magic is magic, whether its healing, dark arts, transfiguration, etc. Special is for special attacks, I think it specifically is used for limit breaks.
What makes this a possible solution, is that on the actor screen, you can give them the ability to use it. Like, all witches and wizards have a trait that says something like "uses Magic" and that Magic skill types is what encompasses all the magic skills in the game. So the solution is to break down all the skills into individual types. Healing would be its own type, so would transfiguration, charms, dark arts, etc. Essentially, a character would be able to use a healing spell, unless they had that ability to use it unlocked.
I don't think this is the most elegant solution. Like, I want characters to have some access to healing magics, just not full access. Like, I want Hermione to be able to learn some minor healing spells, just not be a dedicated healer. The answer to that is to have the basic skills just fall under the generic "magic" category, while the full on skill trees would be unlockable later (perhaps third year when you choose electives. Or, 6th year when you take NEWT classes, but I feel like that is way too late into the game). Like, it would just be weird to have a Stunning Charm not be a charm, while spells later in the game would be a charm, an that without the "Charms" skill tree unlocked, you'd be able to use the stunning charm but not the later charms. The issue there I guess is that the word charm is right there in the name.
A possible solution to the possible solution is that have some skill trees universally unlocked from the beginning (or quickly unlockable), while others aren't. Like, most classes should have access to charms, but only some will have access to Dark Arts and Healing. But then again, aren't some Dark Arts and Healing just Charms anyways? Or maybe thats an answer - the first few healing spells are just actually charms, while the heavy stuff is actually Healing.
So, with that in mind (yes, I am coming up with solutions as I'm actually typing this), it would make sense that the four traditional support classes would each have exclusive access (at least, until deep in the game) to a specific skill type. So perhaps the actual skill type should be split into offensive magic/defensive magic/ support magic/ other.
2) Trait bonuses. Perhaps the answer is simply to incentivise a player to simply load up a single character with all the healing spells. Example, give a healer a +100% boost to healing spells. That means a healing spell has to have the "healing" element, and not the healing skill type, as mentioned above (though I suppose it could be both!)
This can also decentivise people. Say a character is bad at transfiguration, it could be possible to give them a -50% debuff to transfiguration spells, making you less like to give him those type of spells to use.
3) Manually going in and creating workarounds for every single event. If an event would add +1 skill to someone, instead, I need an event that replaces it with an event that checks to see if a character is in the party, and then checks to see if that character already has it. Then, I have to decide right there if I want that character to be able to learn that skill. So, instead of simply having a database or excel spreadsheet of what a character can and can't learn, I have to do it on an event-by-event basis. That seems like a lot of work, even with copy/pasting. And, I decide to later add another character to the game, I have to go back and add them to every single spell learning even.
So yeah, there's a lot of thought process going to it, and like I said, it's frustrating at times. The one annoying part is that I'm not a programmer, I have zero knowledge of how to create a script. I can copy/paste just fine, even emulate given enough instruction, but creating something for my own purpose is beyond me. Like, in a previous post I mention the hiccup of the game not being able to keep track of when a specific actor is doing an action, and the same thing is happening here. It's possible with a script I think, but in the normal event creation interface, it's not. When I go to make an event, I use a conditional branch, which is simply If/Than/Else. Creating the "If" clause is where the hangup is, because I can only check to see if a character is in the party, not that the character using the item, or interacting with the npc.
The one workaround was that when I would use an item, it would apply a debuff state to someone called "Target." Then, I would have a background event run that checks to see when a character has the debuff "Target" state and then run the event. It's the same thing I tried for when I was trying to make the spell XP system. I couldn't get this to work either, despite it working in theory. In that instance, I probably just need more experience with the program, since it should work.
Not much to say about this. The armor system is simple enough. I also added wands, but right now, they're all the same, except with different names. So, Ron's default weapon is "Ron's Wand" etc. I'm not sure if it's worth the effort to give minor bonus, but if I were to have one wand be better for transfiguring, then I definitely need to sort out the problem above. I should also probably lock that specific item to the character, but again, that probably means figuring out the problem above, elsewise you'd have Ron using Harry's wand. Or perhaps if I just keep all the base level wands the same and not give any stats, it just doesn't matter.
Ok, I guess that's enough for now.
Keep up the good work, stay motivated!
Here's the very basic plot skeleton I'm working on. Still a lot to do, a lot can change. I will have to put it into excel so I can visualize the main plot chain better, so I know which quest influences which.
GAME INTRO: ???
Halloween - 1981: James/Lily murdered, Harry orphaned, brought to the reluctant Dursleys
1991- Dursleys - Harry gets his letter
Diagon Alley: (tutorial)
Harry is getting school supplies. Hagrid gives him gold for each quest item. Return to Hagrid with the quest item to complete quest and move to next.
Gringotts - Gold
Madam Malkins - Robes
Flourish and Blots - School Books
Slug and Jigger’s - Potion supplies + cauldron, + vials, brass scale
??? - Telescope
Ollivander - wand (sample duel with training dummy)
Eeylops - Hedwig (Hagrid gets her while Harry is at ollivanders
Hogwarts Express: ???
Sorting: (A) - Start (First classes)
Duel /w malfoy (y/n)
Hagrid - owl letter asking Harry to come by for tea. Sees the newspaper article about the break in at gringotts
(snape bitten in leg)
??? Quidditch, Harry nearly cursed off broom,
Mirror of erised
Post Christmas (D)
Discover Nicholas Flamel
??? Quidditch - Harry follows snape into the forbidden forest afterwards
Confront Hagrid about Stone - Norbert Hatches
Norbert - bites ron, hagrid agrees to get Charlie to come and take it to a dragon preserve
Detention - loses points. Students are mad at them for losing so many points
Overhear Quirrel talking about Snape. They assume Snape is browbeating Quirrell
Serve detention in the forbidden forest
Through the trap door
I was hoping that I wouldn't have to do any Quidditch related stuff, but it looks like I will have to do something. Probably just a cutscene in big open field with the hoops, and some broomriding sprites. I can set movement parths for them to make it look like they're flying. It is probably technically possible to actually make a quidditch game inside of the game, but I have no interest in that.
Same thing with the Dursleys. I don't really want to do anything with that part of the story. I'd rather not have you have to actually walk around the Dursley's house, so it will probably just be a couple of cutscenes. Maybe the very first one where Harry is placed at the Dursley's, then another when he is trying to get his Hogwarts letter.
And then more than likely, the same thing on the Hogwarts express. Its the second time Harry meets Malfoy, so it's probably important to include, but It's a lot of extra work, but I think it can all be done with event scripting.
I busted out a bunch of maps today. The total is exactly 500 right now. Hogwarts is almost entirely done, I just have to finish the Ravenclaw tower, and Dumbledore's tower. Then, there's the dungeons, which I'm not sure if it's 1 or 2 floors yet (probably 2 with the second floor being "abandoned" and just all encounters. Other than that, there's the immediate outside, which includes the greenhouses. So, I'm almost to the point where I can start populating everything with NPCs and personalizing all the rooms. Oh, and I guess there's still secret passages to consider, and then the larger outside world where I'm still not sure how I'm going to do it.
One part of me wants to do the entirety of the hogwarts grounds on one map, so you can walk directly from Hogsmede to Hogwarts. But the other part of me realizes that's probably overkill, and I should have an overworld map to quick travel to the other places.
If you want your characters to learn spells by leveling up but you dont want stupefy in year 1 it might be possible to have a level cap that you change with an event (like at the start of a year or after every fight with Voldemort)
I have no constructive advice to add, because I control-F'd and it looks like you've already made sure to include Daphne Greengrass (I had no doubtz), and ++ Ice alignment. So I will only that this looks really cool and to offer encouragement. Good luck bra
I've been distracted the last few weeks by various other things. Namely, a couple of video games, and a few fics. Also, a few writing attempts. We'll, I've finished the videos games, grew bored of the fics, and my writing attempts went predictably nowhere. So, I found myself with nothing to do, so I picked this back up. Oh, and I also reread HP1, so now everything that happened in canon is fresh on my mind.
TBH, not really all that much happens in the first book. There's only like a dozen plot points from the point of the attempted robbery at Gringotts to Harry confronting Quirrellmort. And several of those points are literally Harry just being at the right location at the right time to get a critical piece of information. That literally happens like 3 times.
So, really I have the difficult task of balancing gameplay mechanics with the story. For example, in the story, Snape discovers the trio loitering around outside during a break between classes, and see that Harry has a library book. (Quidditch Through the Ages). He takes that book (saying that library books aren't permitted outside). A couple hours later, Harry is bored and decides to go and get the book back from Snape. He figures the place to do that would be in the staff room, with the thought that Snape wouldn't say know if other professors are present. When Harry gets there, Snape just happens to be getting his leg bandaged by Filch after a run in with Fluffy.
The question is, how do I emulate that in the game? I can do the Snape + Filch cutscene easily enough (probably), but what's the setup for it? The setup doesn't really make sense in the context of the game.
Currently, the idea is to break down the questline into segments. I've probably mentioned that in previous posts. Like, there will be Blocks A,B,C,D, etc. Block A is the beginning of Hogwarts, Harry has his first classes. There are two major quest lines. The first Neville getting his remembrall taken by Draco, leading to Harry getting it back, leading to both Harry getting on the Quidditch team, and leading to the duel with Malfoy, leading to them running into Fluffy. The second major questline is Harry getting invited to tea with Hagrid, and discovering that there was a break in at Gringotts that just happened to be the day that he was there with Hagrid. The first quest line is going to be the "boss" for whatever that means, which means after that quest is done, the world resets/refreshes, meaning Harry will have new classes to attend, npcs will have new dialog, there will be new sidequests, etc. I have a preliminary list of how I'm breaking down the quest blocks, but after rereading the story, it's going to have to be redone.
Anyways, quest block B is going to be the bit after the duel, culminating with Halloween and the troll fight. There's not as much here, as I expect most of the initial exploring will be done in block A. Block B will have things like Harry getting his broom (and his first quidditch lesson). It also has a keynote Charms lesson where Ron makes Hermione cry, leading to the troll attack at Halloween. So, not that much actual content (it's only 1 chapter in the book) but refreshing the world with new npc dialogue and such will make it feel longer.
Block C is where my example would take place. It will culminate with the quidditch match, where Harry is nearly cursed off his broom.
The issue is the setup. How would I get Harry outside, to trigger the scene where Snape takes the library book, which then makes it so Harry has to go get the book back from Snape. Not to mention, what if Hermione isn't in the party? I'd need Harry to get the book some other way - perhaps an alternate quest from Wood during quidditch practice. This isn't the only quest with that kind of problem. It's easy enough in a written chapter to just have the characters where you need them, but in the game, the player needs to get the character there themself. I mean, it it possible for me to just place a character wherever, but still in the context of this example that doesn't work either. Ultimately, I'm not sure if I should jump through hoops to try and make the whole arbitrary "Snape taking Harry's book" thing work, or alter it to make it work in the game.
Then there is Quidditch. I detest Quidditch, but it really is interwoven into canon. Every single quidditch match pretty much has a purpose. The first one, Harry nearly gets cursed off his broom. The second one, Snape is referee, so Harry catches the snitch super fast before Snape can do anything, and afterwards, he sees a dark figure rushing into the forbidden forest so Harry spies on them.
I'm not going to make it a subgame. I'm sure it's technically possible, but that's not something I'm interested on. So, then it would just be a cutscene, where various characters are flying around on brooms while plays happen. Perhaps it goes for 30 seconds. That's not terrible. I think that will work for HP1, but I'm not sure about the later books.
There are some other issues. For example, the invisibility cloak. On the surface, it seems easy. I can make it so only some quests or areas are available only while wearing it, or I can make it so you can't have random encounters with Filch (or other things, I guess) while wearing it. But there's a deeper issue - do I need a night/day cycle? There's like 3 times Harry uses the cloak, and they're all at night. The first two are related, in that Harry uses the cloak to go to the restricted section to find information on Flame, and he also comes across the Mirror of Erised, and uses it to sneak out to visit it. Then, they also use it to sneak Norbert up to the astronomy tower.
Not to mention, how can I do the Mirror of Erised? How can I get the player character to accidentally just come across this very specific storage room, and that's ignoring the plothole of wtf is protecting the Stone for the six months before the Mirror is in the trapdoor room. The only thing I can think of is a scripted encounter. Harry is going through the restricted section and accidentally picks up the wrong book, Filch comes to investigate, Harry runs from Filch, and nearly gets caught by Snape. Having it be scripted isn't actually that bad of an idea, now that I think about it.
It does bring up another issue though. Being an RPG means that Harry is always travelling with a party. But, Harry visits the restricted section alone, and finds the mirror of erised alone, the first time. It seems clunky to have to shed party members for a quest, and pick them back up a minute later. Ron is the NPC that would have to trigger the quest sequence for the Mirror, but he can't both be an NPC and be in your party at the same time. I mean, gameplaywise he technically can but it doesn't make sense. It's another of those situations where I have to balance gameplay vs story, and I'm not sure the answer.
Anyways, last comment. I've mostly finished the maps I talked about in the last post. I've completed the entirety of the inside of Hogwarts, minus actual furnishings. So, pretty much 600 empty rooms. I figure I'll populate them as needed, as the vast majority are going to be unused. There is the small issue, of that actual layouts don't make much sense, neither the book, nor movies. In the books, practically everything is on the first and third floor. There's so much shit on the third floor it's ridiculous. And the problem with the movie layout, is that there's so many unused rooms, but it doesn't match the book at all. I went with the movie layout because there's an actual castle layout and it's easier to visualize. But, like I have no idea where the actual third floor corridor is, or where the Gryffindor common room is in relation to everything else, or the hospital wing. Pretty much, I have to figure that all out myself, and every single location needs to be assigned a room, and I have to plan for the later books.
Also, I'm still not sure what to do about outside. I've done a few of the immediately outside areas, like the bridge that connects the two parts of the castle, and the greenhouse area. Again, the issue is that there is no clear-cut layout. I've looked at a bunch of maps online, and they're pretty much all different. I'm just not really sure where everything is in relation to each other. And I still don't know if I'm going to have a massive outside map where you can actually walk to Hogsmead from Hogwarts. I do like the idea of having some outside though, where you'll find students just relaxing, or throwing around a quaffle, etc. Maybe the solution is that Hogsmead is actually too far to just walk from Hogwarts casually, but stuff like the lake, whomping willow, forbidden forest, hagrid's hut, and quidditch stadium are all close enough to be worth making outdoor maps of.
FWIW, I'll probably post the actual Hogwarts room layouts if anyone wants to help me populate what each room actually is. I'm guessing there's going to be a lot of storage closets though, but I'm also picturing mini-suites for quests and teachers, lots of unused classrooms (at least 1 for each year is my guess), lots of bathrooms, etc.
Are you sure that you even need Harry to come across the mirror? Why not make it an optional encounter in one of the empty rooms, and if the player doesn't find it you can make the final boss more difficult to defeat. This would give players an incentive to explore the castle and remove one of the scripted events which, in my opinion, should be kept to a minimum in an RPG.
I haven't read the books recently but I'm fairly sure that the mirror doesn't do much to advance the plot and Harry doesn't need to know how the mirror works for events to play out the same way. Its not like Harry's desire to stop Voldemort getting the stone will suddenly change just because he hasn't seen the mirror before. The only real problem is that you can't use it to simulate the passing of the year like you mentioned earlier in the thread.
I think you're overthinking it. I remember couple times from GTA where cutscene happened with my point of contact whenever I came there, regardless of what point in time it was - both on timeline and from day/night perspective - and not once I thought "hang on! they would react sooner/faster/whatever". If player is engrossed, whatever cutscenes don't have match 100%, unless they nerf the avatar (taking stuff, etc.) Then it's a shitstorm
A lot things you've problems with are on "story / exactly as in books" <===> "whatever player might cause" (as you mentioned). I would say, that you should err on the side of the caution, and put stuff more close to the interactivity, and be happy with that - I don't think anybody will be very closely watching if something happened two days or two weeks ago, in the game.
- Mirror of Erised? Whatever, put it in the middle of the first treasure zone, and player going for chests will find it.
- NPC triggering a quest happened few times in the first Fallout, IIRC, and it never was a "hold on!" moment. Something triggers your party member, and he wants to do stuff. I'd say it actually makes to gameplay better (your party aren't just assholes having stuff you don't want to bring yourself, but people with some goals, however scripted)
- The layout literally doesn't matter from the "as in the books" or "as in the movie" perspective. If it flows well in the game, no one will care whether the location is in the sameplace as was mentioned/shown in the aforementioned.
Also, many things from the source material simply don't matter, because unless a.) you've read/watched source recently, b.) have great memory or c.) are Taure, people are horrible at remembering details, not to mention interpreting them, as is obvious if you've ever read any thread here or on reddit. So if thing A should be on the third floor (from books) or second floor (from movie), in the game it's completely okay to put it on the fourth floor if there's location B, where you have to bring the thing A.
I think your best bet is going for playability/fun first, canon compliance second.
I've had an idea in regards to a day/night cycle. If I could get around actually having such a thing, I would. I mean, I guess technically I can. But some events in canon only happen at night (such as the end of book 3 with Lupin, any time Harry goes out with the invis cloak).
In of itself, making it nighttime is simple. I'm pretty sure there's a screen filter where you can just make everything go dim, and you have have whatever events you want trigger it. The issue is that the actual content of the map changes, like there won't be any NPCs pacing the hallways at midnight.
The solution to this is to have an actual night time map. That's a really shitty solution though, as that essentially means I need two copies of every map. Actually, now I think about it, maybe not. I have have nighttime on a switch, where some npcs only show up if that switch is on, and the rest are turned off when the switch is off.
I was thinking that the actual solution is to just have specific quest sequences be at night, like have that specific part of the map be a quest specific instance of it. So, if you're doing the Detention quest where Harry goes to the forbidden forest at night, you simply have the quest flag put Filch at the Hogwarts entrance, and then talking to Filch simply puts you at the Forbidden Forest map and it'll be night. And when the quest is over, you'll be put back at wherever and it'll be morning the next day.
As a side thought, I had continuation though of the quest block system I was working on, and a "catch up" method. Starting the next quest block is only triggered by a specific quest (such as finishing the mirror of erised quest), but you can only get the next classroom sequence if the previous one is finished. So if you have a whole bunch of History lessons you haven't done, you can simply do one, go to sleep at your bed, and then the next one will be ready.
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