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  #49  
Old May 18th, 2021, 09:20 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

I agree with @Shiftrex and @TREX .

Here's what I'm picturing for Engineers of Valhalla:

1. An "Engineering Review Board" with defined members that vote on whether designs are EoV approved. This approval is to signify the design's quality and compatibility with existing Heroscape terrain/figures/canon.
2. Designs to be submitted must include certain elements (the first two I stole from TREX)
a. DO, a passive terrain piece, or an interactive terrain piece
b. Competitive maps, or scenario/for fun maps
c. Rules design (added on a to-be-designed EoV template card like glyphs and DOs have)
d. Access instructions (this could be an .stl file, a papercraft .pdf, a set of instructions for sculpting out of foamcore, a commercial SKU/product ID. It just needs to be a way where somebody can make/buy the design for home use)
3. An individual (on the ERB or not) can only have one design in review at a time.
4. Some voting threshold for approval, which adds you to an index of approved terrain elements.
5. A checklist or grading guideline for the ERB to weigh approval with. Questions can include:
a. Does the design fit into HeroScape canon?
b. Is the design reasonably made or procured?
c. Are the rules coherently written?
d. Do the rules interfere in a negative way with gameplay?
e. Has the designed been playtested/how does it play?
f. Are there examples uses of the design on maps provided?
g. etc
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  #50  
Old May 18th, 2021, 11:28 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by S1R_ART0R1US View Post
I agree with @Shiftrex and @TREX .

Here's what I'm picturing for Engineers of Valhalla:

1. An "Engineering Review Board" with defined members that vote on whether designs are EoV approved. This approval is to signify the design's quality and compatibility with existing Heroscape terrain/figures/canon.
2. Designs to be submitted must include certain elements (the first two I stole from TREX)
a. DO, a passive terrain piece, or an interactive terrain piece
b. Competitive maps, or scenario/for fun maps
c. Rules design (added on a to-be-designed EoV template card like glyphs and DOs have)
d. Access instructions (this could be an .stl file, a papercraft .pdf, a set of instructions for sculpting out of foamcore, a commercial SKU/product ID. It just needs to be a way where somebody can make/buy the design for home use)
3. An individual (on the ERB or not) can only have one design in review at a time.
4. Some voting threshold for approval, which adds you to an index of approved terrain elements.
5. A checklist or grading guideline for the ERB to weigh approval with. Questions can include:
a. Does the design fit into HeroScape canon?
b. Is the design reasonably made or procured?
c. Are the rules coherently written?
d. Do the rules interfere in a negative way with gameplay?
e. Has the designed been playtested/how does it play?
f. Are there examples uses of the design on maps provided?
g. etc
This is a great outline. We will want to put this in a thread probably called welcome to the EOV. (Engineers of Valhalla). Other bits we will want to put somewhere will be how long members will have to vote on a design. If a member is on hiatus too long and it holds up the process it leads to stagnation of the project and frustration for fellow members. We will need a play test minimum set in order. Nothing too crazy. These pieces should be fairly easily to spot if they are broken for competitive play, which would move them to the for fun category if changes are not made. Unless they arenít fun and are game breaking , then at that point it should be reworked or discarded.

To add to examples of what should be asked, it should be similar to a play test used in other groups:
1. Is the design fun
2. Is the design fun for your opponent
3. Is the design something you would want on the battlefield.
4. Are elements of the design game breaking.
5. Does the design bring something new to the table.


I like where this conversation is heading. So far it looks pretty good.
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  #51  
Old May 19th, 2021, 05:30 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

I think we really need to focus more on "step 0" though:
0. One person works on a design with input from others.
0.A. Someone creates initial design based on physical object (STL/Print-n-play) and rules.
0.B. People make suggestions
0.C. Playtest
0.D. Iterative revisions (A-C again)
0.E. "Submitted" for approval and final tweaks.
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  #52  
Old May 19th, 2021, 09:20 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

This is so awesome!! Glad to be a part of it!

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  #53  
Old May 19th, 2021, 11:44 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

Looks like we have a firm hold on what are vision is for the project. Also, looks like the official name will be Engineers of Valhalla. Our final designs will need to each have a post. I think we should call them either “The Schematic of”. Or “The Blueprint of”. What do you guys think?
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  #54  
Old May 20th, 2021, 08:38 AM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

I think "Blueprint" is a bit more understood and will be misspelled less often! though I think Schematic is cooler!

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  #55  
Old May 20th, 2021, 09:57 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by lefton4ya View Post
I think we really need to focus more on "step 0" though:
0. One person works on a design with input from others.
0.A. Someone creates initial design based on physical object (STL/Print-n-play) and rules.
0.B. People make suggestions
0.C. Playtest
0.D. Iterative revisions (A-C again)
0.E. "Submitted" for approval and final tweaks.
I see what you mean here, and am more than happy to do this. I think having this type of workflow well defined will be a boon to the project's credibility.

The design would then fly through my 1-5 criteria, but the 1-5 also allows for a non-Engineer of Valhalla to create additions as long as they meet a quality standard. In some way this is like VC where C3V is a group that works on designs and SoV is a group that approves existing designs.

I also like Blueprint.
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  #56  
Old May 20th, 2021, 10:08 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

I like what you guys have going for a simple rules overview. If one of you wants to take on the reigns for updating our rules thread, you can start it up in a post for itself and call it welcome to the Engineers of Valhalla. That makes 2 for blueprint. I’ll go with the majority on blueprint or schematic. I like them both equally.
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  #57  
Old May 21st, 2021, 01:17 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

I vote for blueprint it feels a bit more retro, scape is definitely retro lol.

I also like the discussion on workflow, that looks both clear and concise. Processes shouldnt be muddled or overly redundant or its just discouraging.
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  #58  
Old May 21st, 2021, 03:05 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

Quote:
Originally Posted by TREX View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by S1R_ART0R1US View Post
a. Does the design fit into HeroScape canon?
b. Is the design reasonably made or procured?
c. Are the rules coherently written?
d. Do the rules interfere in a negative way with gameplay?
e. Has the designed been playtested/how does it play?
f. Are there examples uses of the design on maps provided?
To add to examples of what should be asked, it should be similar to a play test used in other groups:
1. Is the design fun
2. Is the design fun for your opponent
3. Is the design something you would want on the battlefield.
4. Are elements of the design game breaking.
5. Does the design bring something new to the table.
I would suggest that some kind of "beauty standard" should also be expected and evaluated. Perhaps "Does it visually fit into classic Heroscape" or "Does it look like Hasbro could have made it." If all of the focus is put on the mechanics while the aesthetic side gets loosy-goosy, then the project will be serving only half of what makes Heroscape so special.

Various customizers (myself included) have put things together for ourselves that aren't really "worthy" of the Hasbro 'Scape aesthetic. That's fine for individual fun, but a semi-official fan-canon project should probably aim higher than that. For me, this is even more important for terrain than for figures, because of the high standard Hasbro established and then expanded upon. Scape maps are freaking beautiful, and they have an internal standard of quality. That is something that should be protected.

As personal examples, I would not want to see rectangular buildings from some other game shoehorned onto tiles and randomly covering up weird fractions of hexes, real rocks/seashells/whatever glued onto plastic, a TARDIS from a keychain turned into a "teleport shrine," stuff like that. As stunningly beautiful as flocking is, it really doesn't have a place in this particular project. And so on. Even though I've done things like these personally for fun, a serious fanon terrain project will really need to start out from day one with a mechanism for discipline and restraint, so that the results work for a wide section of the player community and the project builds credibility rather than runs itself down with too much clever mechanical indulgence at the expense of the beauty side.

Both things need to work together in harmony; my suggestion is that this should be a requirement. It's easy to make beautiful designs that don't work right, and also easy to make clever designs that don't look beautiful. Anybody can do that. A committed team of talented people in different disciplines should be able to dedicate itself to finding the sweet spot in the middle, every time.

The VCs have shown us that gravity pulls a team in the direction of doing a great job focusing on the gameplay, yet sometimes ending up with visual compromises that don't really feel like they belong in the game. (We can probably all think of our own examples of units we don't like seeing on the map visually, and I'd rather not call out any specific ones here.) Naturally, when cringy aesthetics happen they get rationalized because "gameplay is more important." And yeah, I do agree that gameplay is super-important, but that's no reason not to get both sides right. Striving for the best is what makes these projects worthwhile. Good design resists and compensates for gravitational pull that is working against the balance of form and function.

And really, that's what I'm advocating: form + function = success. If the team is lopsided with function advocates, things will not look good. If it has too many form advocates, things will not work great. Successful teams diversify themselves and undertake the hard work so they can bring both sides together, even if it costs a little more, takes a little longer, and heats up the discussions more than they would like.

This is the kind of success objective I would want to see. And I'd be happy to help if I can.


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  #59  
Old May 21st, 2021, 05:44 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

@Just_a_Bill , well put. I also don’t want a bunch of random pieces of junk for items on the board. I think the best approach to this would be to have each design have a 3D printable model represent the piece of terrain. There can also be alternates for the models, but I would want that to be the precedence. If there isn’t a perfectly suitable model to represent the item, in most instances I can create said model. I’ve come a long way and wouldn’t mind helping 3D model some of the designs, or use other free shareable files to kitbash the model we want. For the most part, these things should be easy to obtain with the amount of 3D printers available. Also If you are interested you are surely welcome to join the team. Your insight is very useful, and I would be happy to have you aboard.
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  #60  
Old May 21st, 2021, 08:50 PM
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Re: Interactive Terrain Brainstorming thread

Hey everyone. I popped in here today to look at something else and noticed your thread. Sounds like a worthy topic to advance 'Scape. And one that (over the many years I was active here) I personally tried to achieve in the creation of all of my custom terrain for this game. Of course my main goal was similar to yours, to maintain a high level of quality, esthetics, and playability and I'm glad to see this group wishing to do the same. I look forward to seeing what you all come up with!

However, I couldn't help but notice the title of your thread. "Interactive terrain". Lol. A term I tried to advance in this game years ago when I created my superhero rules (even though I specifically called them ITFs: "Interactive Terrain Features"). Back then I did get some push back from the community on the use of that term, so it's actually refreshing to see a custom terrain group wanting to use the same terminology! But, with that said, the first thing I think you should do is settle on the actual terms you intend to use for what you intend to create.

So, and please forgive me here, but I would like to point out that "Interactive Terrain" should actually mean terrain that you can "Interact" with (pick up, throw, set down, activate, etc). Otherwise the terrain just sets there, only to be climbed on or block line of sight. In a sense they're just "Objects", like the castle wall. Other than climb on it you really can't interact with it.

Regardless, if I might help in some small way, I'll include the terminology that I've used in all of my fan made systems of terrain over the years. Feel free to adopt this, or something similar.

My Terrain Terminology and Notes:
To start with here’s my terminology as it pertains to my terrain features on the battlefield.
• I identify 4 types of terrain on the battlefield:

1. Terrain Tiles (or just Tiles)
These are the actual tiles that you build the battlefield out of (grass, rock, sand, water, ice, snow, road, lava, lava field, etc.). At the moment I do not have any specific rules regarding these types of tiles other than the normal Heroscape rules associated with those tiles.

2. Objects
These are basically Non-Destructible Objects. They are placed onto the battlefield, but you cannot interact with them, nor destroy them.Some examples would be buildings, trees, large rocks, castle walls, bridges, etc.

3. Interactive Terrain Features (ITFs)
ITFs are terrain that is placed on the battlefield that you can use, or interact with. You can pick up these items and carry them, or use them as weapons. These items are such things as cars, street signs, computer consoles, train cars, equipment "glyphs", etc. (In my system of Interactive Terrain Features they all fit neatly into 1 of 5 categories, or Classes. If you're interested I posted some abbreviated rules recently on my Custom Terrain Thread).

4. Destructible Objects (DOs)
There are only two Destructible Objects (or DOs) associated with the official game, the castle door and the wall section of the ruined warehouse. However, the framework surrounding both of these “destructible parts” (the door and the wall section) are just static “Objects”. I currently do not have any specific rules regarding this type of terrain other than the normal Heroscape rules for them. My group always felt that DOs were way too limiting in what you can actually "do" with them, which is to just destroy them and remove them from play. Why they're called Destructible Objects honestly. Unless they are part of a very specific scenario objective (like destroy mole man's underground earthquake beam before it destroys New York) I do not use Destructible Objects.

So, that's what I do. Keeping it simple is very much in line with what Heroscape tried to do with their terrain and terminology. Do what you want of course, invent your own terminology if you think it's necessary.

One last thing. If you attempt to create square objects on the hex battlefield you will have to deal with half hexes as the line on two sides will go against the hex grain. Otherwise you will have to have zig zagging structures (like the castle wall). If you do wind up creating terrain that does this you'd be more than welcome to use my rules on half hexes. They've been throughly play tested over the years and work extremely well. Just credit me if you don't mind!

I'll probably check in now and then to see your progress on this. I just hope I've helped in some small way, especially since I've been working on stuff like this for such a long time. Perhaps I've given you food for thought as you move forward! Looking forward to what some fresh faces can do.

My Custom Terrain Thread: http://www.heroscapers.com/community...read.php?t=448
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