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How to design a scenario

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Tutorials, Reference, & Guides' started by Plotinus, Dec 24, 2005.

  1. johnnyjal

    johnnyjal Prince

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    Oh, this is great!
    Not that I'll ever have time to seriously finish my own scn
    but having this put in clear and complete format makes
    it so much easier to learn as one goes along.

    Danke..
     
  2. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    It's always possible to find time to fiddle with the scenario. Go for it!

    [Rambuchan] I've added a section on Governments, with your tips on the subject too. Thanks!
     
  3. The Last Conformist

    The Last Conformist Irresistibly Attractive

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    Something that's very simple but easily forgotten: Fiddle with the aggression levels for the various civs! A point of aggression up or down can have pretty large effects on how an AI plays.
     
  4. 7ronin

    7ronin 海軍少佐

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    Do you have any suggestions for streamlining? For example what can you chuck out to make a scenario less cluttered and load faster? If I'm never going to get out of ancient times do I have to keep things like tanks and the space race?
     
  5. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    I'd certainly cut out any unused units, buildings, Wonders, etc. I don't think it really makes any difference to how the scenario plays or how much space it takes up, but it makes it much easier to edit it if you're only having to deal with stuff that actually appears in it.

    Note that deleting things can have slightly odd effects. For example, if you have a Wonder that spawns units, and you delete some units, your Wonder may now be spawning a different kind of unit. This is because the game stores the information by numerical index rather than by name. So it's a good idea to do all of this deleting at the beginning - either that, or check everything thoroughly once you've done it. Don't do what I once did and do the deleting last thing, then post the scenario without playing it through!
     
  6. 7ronin

    7ronin 海軍少佐

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    I have a few more questions after looking at the new Rood and Dragon. How do you create the background for the tech tree and the "picture frames" for the LH and diplomacy dialog? Also, where in the files do you stick them?
     
  7. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Well, the backgrounds for the tech tree are found in art\advisors. They are called science_ancient.pcx, science_middle.pcx, science_industrial_new.pcx (note the "new" part here), and science_modern. If you change the tech tree, you have to draw the arrows on yourself here, manually. And of course you can add other pictures and decorations to go behind the icons and arrows, should you so desire!

    The diplomacy pictures go in art\diplomacy.

    Like all still images in CivIII, these are pcx files, and you need a graphics program that will handle pcx files to deal with them. With the tech tree, making the background pictures is a bit of a trial. My method goes something like this:

    (1) Make the techs in the Editor, assign icons, etc.

    (2) Load up the game and go to the Science screen. The techs should be there, probably in the wrong places. Flip between the game and the Editor to fine-tune the x and y coordinates of the techs, until they are all in the right places.

    (3) Load up the game again and use PrtSc to copy and paste the Science screen in a paint program. Now pull up the original science_ancient.pcx (or whichever one it is) and copy and paste just the borders of this (that is, not the central area where the techs actually are) onto the borders of the image with your techs on it.

    (4) Now erase the arrows that are in the wrong places, and draw new arrows of your own in the correct places.

    If you want to have a background image as I did in the new Rood, you need to do this between (2) and (3). Get your image and paste it onto the science_ancient.pcx in the appropriate place (I'm assuming that you've already copied this file into your mod folder, of course, so this is the one you're messing about with). Now when you load up the Science screen, you should see your image behind the tech icons instead of wrong arrows.

    I hope that makes some vague sense!
     
  8. 7ronin

    7ronin 海軍少佐

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    Thank you and it does make sense. I originally intended to become an illustrator so I have some small artistic talent. My problem is translating that into something useable via the computer (I've been hanging around since long before the electronic calculator era).
     
  9. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Could you possibly add to the section on maps a bit about terrain graphics and especially how to utilize landmark terrrain.
     
  10. 7ronin

    7ronin 海軍少佐

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    Could you possibly add some info on the whys and wherefores of the Civilopedia? For example, how to ensure that entries fit on the screen, the formatting of entries (how do you use "^") and so forth. How to do links and anything else that might be of interest.
     
  11. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    Hi there 7ronin. Thanks to you I just went and wrote:



    :) ~~~ "A Civilopedia Modding Guide" ~~~ :)

    - Intro -

    Why bother getting involved with Civilopedia modding, when it is one of the most time consuming and potentially boring aspects of scenario creation?

    Well, in my opinion, it's plain courtesy to tell players what each modded feature of your scenario does. Trying to play a scenario which has not had its Civilopedia altered is frustrating beyond belief and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It can make a scenario completely unplayable if no one knows what anything does but you!

    The Civilopedia also happens to the main part of a scenario where one can learn the most about the historical (or fantastical) detail of the scenario's subject matter. This is where players learn about the people, cultures, technology and other fine points that made your scenario's time period and subject matter so worth playing.

    You can go to town on it, or give the bare bones. But for Sid's sake, do something with your scenario's civilopedia before you release it. At least include some simple text about the function of your unit / improvement / tech etc.

    The good news is, it's best to leave all the 'pedia modding until you've truly finished all the other modding aspects of your scenario. There is no point in making changes to your 'pedia if you're still going to be altering functions in the biq.

    Now here's how to do it...

    - 1 -

    To mod your own Civilopedia entries you will have to open up the 'Civilopedia' text document. This is found in 'Your Scenario Name' Folder > 'Text' Folder. Go ahead and have a look now, if you haven't before, but do NOT alter it until you:

    MAKE A COPY OF YOUR CIVILOPEDIA TEXT FILE AND SAVE IT SOMEWHERE SAFE.

    - 2 -

    Firaxis have given us good instructions on the format used in the Civilopedia Text File. You can find this by opening up the 'Script' Text document, which also sits in the 'Text' Folder. Right at top of that file are the precise parameters for altering it. I quote the first 8 points here for your convenience and reference. They deal with most you would want to know to create your own 'pedia entries, but there are more.
    Spoiler :
    - 3 -

    It's worth remembering you can use "CTRL + F" to find a particular word in these long and unwieldy text files. It's the best way to navigate around them.

    - 4 -

    In terms of fitting your text to the pedia entry's page/screen, you will mainly use two features of this file:

    a) Points 7 & 8 quoted in the spoiler above relating to "^". That's the symbol you need to get used to using. It appears often to space your text with new lines or centering.

    b) The "#DESC_" prefix. This is what sets you up for the second page of the 'pedia entry (accessed in-game by clicking "Description" on the right of the pedia screen). Text placed after this will have a whole blank page of entry to play with. So feel free to use it in your own style. You will of course have space before that prefix, which will appear on page one but it isn't as much. Page one is best used to state clearly what the Unit, Tech, Improvement etc actual does in game.

    Don't break the rules in the instructions though. If you misuse the "^" or any other symbol then you'll end up with some funny spacing or ugly malfunctioning text. Trial and error through the points below will soon get you into it though.

    - 5 -

    I have found that the most convenient way of drafting and checking your modded 'pedia entries is to have open the following:


    a) Your 'Civilopedia' Text file, which you will be altering.

    b) Your scenario ie. in-game, which you will be repeatedly restarting (don't worry, it all loads a lot quicker after the first few times).

    [Optional]

    c) The 'Script' file, which you will need only while you're getting familiar with the way things work. Once you've got the hang of 'pedia entries you will most likely have just a) & b) open for your 'pedia modding sessions.

    d) Your predrafted word file. I usually draft all my pedia entries out in a word document. I find it helps to organise them in groups of entries like Wonders, Units, Techs, Tribes and so on. It's up to you how you research and write your text of course. :)

    - 6 -

    So, go ahead and draft the entries as you wish and then simply paste them into your 'Civilopedia' text file. Then add the necessary "^" marks to space it all within your page/screen.

    If you haven't drafted them in a word document beforehand, just make your alterations straight inside the Civilopedia text file.

    If you don't know yet, see point - 9 - on adding links to find out where in the civilopedia.txt file you need to place the text for each item.

    - 7 -

    With the instructions to hand, let's make a little change now!

    Inside the Civilopedia text file, hit "CTRL + F", to open up the find function. Type in "archer" (case doesn't matter afaik). When you hit enter you will be taken to "#PRTO_Archer". That's your cue to edit the 'pedia entry for the archer, so let's edit the first line, which currently reads:

    "^[Archers] are late Stone Age warriors armed with sinew bows and flint-tipped arrows."

    Let's change it to:

    "^[Archers] are very cool units."

    Don't forget to leave the "^" as it is. Once you've done it, save it. Then fire up your scenario and look up the 'Archer' entry in the civilopedia. If you've done it as described, our seering wit will have been writ for real into the game. Congratulations :goodjob:

    Now you can carry on making your own changes, following the instructions that appear in the 'Script' file. I recommend trying it first with some extra "^" marks. See what happens.

    - 8 -

    You don't have to do it all yourself actually. Firaxis and the Editor do some for you. You will not have to account for the following in the text file, as changes in the biq are automatically declared for:

    Name, Shield Cost, Resource Requirement, Tech Requirement, Attack/Defence/Bombard/Transport Capactity etc values.

    - 9 -

    Doing Links: These are important and easy to do. This is what they look like in the civilopedia.txt file (Blue text is the 'apparent' text ie. the words that will appear for your link in the pedia, red text relates to the pedia entry being linked to. The rest is 'functional' text which actually does the linking):

    Standard Firaxis unit link text.
    $LINK<frigate=PRTO_Frigate>

    Standard Firaxis resource link text.
    $LINK<uranium=GOOD_Uranium>

    From a scen (The modded 'Fakir' unit, is using the standard 'Mursilis' graphic).
    $LINK<Fakir=PRTO_Mursilis>

    For example, if you are making an improvement for your scenario and this will auto-produce units, the player needs to know this. Sometimes, like in this example below, they will not be able to make the unit otherwise. Further, it helps a lot if a player can click the 'pedia entry for your improvement/wonder and get to the particular unit entry from that page (rather than going to the units index in the pedia). Here's an example:



    Note the line with the Blue link text to Fakir's Lodge. This is what that link looks like in the text file:
    Fakir's lodge is the apparent text in the link, "BLDG_Secret_Police_HQ" is the pedia entry reference text.

    In my own way I have used the 'Secret Police HQ' as a base for the Fakir's Lodge in my scenario (I simply renamed the SPHQ to Fakir's Lodge in the biq and gave it new settings). So I also have a bit lower down in the 'Buildings' section of the civilopedia.txt file my entry for the Fakir's Lodge, using the SPHQ's #BLDG_ line:
    You can see a resource link in action there too. :)

    As long as you observe the "$LINK<apparent text=PEDIA_Entry_Reference>" format you will have a working link. It's up to you how frequently you use them, but it helps loads!

    - 9 -

    Housekeeping: As a general note for planning your 'pedia modding work - ORGANISE YOURSELF. Create a word document and draft everything in there. Use alphabetical ordering for all your units, buildings, wonders, techs and so on. Create sections in your word document for these different categories. This will help a lot when you come to placing the text into the civilopedia.txt file but also in your researching and editing phase.

    7Ronin said - Personally, I like a "clean" civilopedia and think that any GCON's which don't apply should be chucked out (otherwise you get an "invalid" entry). GCON's also seem to be an area largely overlooked by most moddist/scenarists when adding new content to their games.


    Other tips (in no particular order, to be arranged at a later date)

    *TIP*

    ";" indicates a line which is not read and can be used for notes etc., and particulary for "dividers." (from 7Ronin)

    *TIP*

    If you leave a line as a space without including the "^" sign, you will lose content. Make sure that you have "^" on each blank line.

    *TIP*

    If you have very long lines of text, the game will insert odd spaces into it when displaying it in-game. So despite what the Firaxis advice says, it's best to split your text into shorter lines rather than have each paragraph in a single line in the text file. (from Plotinus)
     
  12. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    Rambuchan beat me to it. Great advice there, and I agree that giving information on what things do in the pedia is essential, while giving information on what they are/were etc is a very good idea. Here's an extra tip: if you have very long lines of text, the game will insert odd spaces into it when displaying it in-game. So despite what the Firaxis advice says, it's best to split your text into shorter lines rather than have each paragraph in a single line in the text file.
     
  13. 7ronin

    7ronin 海軍少佐

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    Thank you, Ram!
     
  14. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    'Beat you to it', Plot? I was trying to take some of the burden off your hands! :lol:

    Anyway, there is much more that can be said, in more detail. I very nearly went into specific examples of bolding, italics and *adding links* (think I will deal with this sometime), with screenies but that isn't totally necessary. If you feel there are more comments to make, PM me with them or leave them here like Plot, then I shall edit them in for completeness and coherence. :)
     
  15. Plotinus

    Plotinus Philosopher Administrator

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    And then I'll stick it into the opening posts somewhere. Assuming there's room. I should have reserved one or two more - it didn't occur to me that there might be more stuff to add later. Foolish of me!
     
  16. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    Added the following to the pedia guide:

    - Adding links
    - Housekeeping
    - Tips from friendly modders

    Keep em coming and do please add your corrections/clarifications/further tips.
     
  17. The Last Conformist

    The Last Conformist Irresistibly Attractive

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    I only indulge in that sort of organized behaviour if I've got a gun to my head. :p
     
  18. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    It's really worth considering a scenario creation wiki. CIV has one. We've certainly got a bigger knowledge base. It's just scattered and buried.
     
  19. pinktilapia

    pinktilapia Homeless

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    I never knew there was a way out of the odd spaces popping up in the pedia. It seems I have to reformat my pedia completely :eek: Nice thread you have built here, thanks for referring to RFRE, I appreciate!

    @Ram - It would be good adding a tip on the maximum content a pedia entry can hold (about 9 lines without links if I remember right?). Too often do we see text coming out of the box, overlapping other stats below.

    Agree :) It would be really good, even if just for the sake of recording it somewhere, although a bit late to be really useful.
     
  20. Rambuchan

    Rambuchan The Funky President

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    Good point. I thought of that before actually but I couldn't be arsed to fire it up and check then. I must say, I can't be now either :lol: But it is noted.
     

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