Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Threads related to coordination in lore, border regions, objects, implementation, etc with Tamriel Rebuilt
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worsas
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Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by worsas » Fri Oct 21, 2016 7:48 am

I've been thinking about how it could be most efficiently achieved to get these two regions complete, in order to allow development on something new. I wonder where you others see priority of development and how you would approach it.

One topic at a time: At first put all synergy on creating needed assets, afterwards put all energy on creating exteriors, then interiors and afterwards npcs and quests (on a complete region basis). Other areas could be worked on in parallel, just that people like me who are capable in several areas would focus on one of them at a time and have the benefit of seeing the todo-list of this area shrink. Example: If I decided to put my main effort on finishing all the reach exterior claims, I would have the advantage of being able to churn through a shrinking list of claims. Or if I decided to focus on all of the modelling claims at P:C it would be likewise.

Focus more on getting a limited area complete: This approach would focus on release areas. And create assets, exteriors, interiors and npcs and quests for a more limited section. Rather than doing exteriors that are far away from being npced or assets that are far away from being put into use, focus on doing a more holistic development with the focused attention of the team on this particular section. Advantage would be that it would be more likely to create something relevant and coherent to release and would have a more balanced stress on the various aspects of creating a world. It would mean that volatile modders like me would always engage on the currently active stage of this area, like say, create interiors when there are currently interiors needed. Claim quests, if this area is at its questing stage.

There is also a step always taking place before everything else: Conceptualisation. Overly rushed creations are prone to later fixes, after all. Essentially, conceptualisation is work like any other, so it could be organized in claims with predefined aims to be worked on jointly. This is just a thought, however. Ideally you will get a coherent roadmap for the modelling, exterior creation, from it.

Or third option: Let the chaos reign. 8-)

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Infragris
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by Infragris » Fri Oct 21, 2016 9:14 am

Interesting topic. From my experiences with Stirk, I would make conceptualization and asset creation my twin priorities. Stirk's initial concepts were rather hit-and-miss, often giving little thought to the nature of a certain place or the role a character was to play. It also caused the city to be a lot bigger than it really needed to be. At the same time a lot of attention went to giving every character a detailed background, which turned out to be impractical. Assets were also a big problem: a lot of time was wasted because low-quality assets had to be manually replaced with updated versions, or because things like flora variations had to be implemented. An incomplete asset library means we have to return time and time again to update finished areas: Stirk's Ayleid ruin, for example, will need another pass once clutter and furniture are in.

For Stirk, two things still need to happen: quests need to be implemented, and some assets need to be changed or added (the armor changes and Ayleid ruin update). Future areas, like the northern Gold Coast, are also dependent on new assets (mostly environment).

worsas
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by worsas » Sun Oct 23, 2016 12:55 pm

I have thought about a number of potential problems that either cause content needing to be fixed afterwards or productivity going lost over other channels:

Overhaul problems. Content needing to be partly or completely remade:
- Something being in need of rework due to being poorly planned out previously.
- Something in need of rework due to an influx of previously missing assets.
- Something in need of rework because the previous assets were not in satisfactoy quality or variety and things needing to get adjusted.

The way I see it, the first variant is the one leading to most work-intensive overhauls, while an adjustment of assets will comparably take less time and effort and will be a necessary evil in some situations.

Bottleneck situations. Situations where one modders needs to wait on another modder in order to work on something:
- Exterior modders not being able to work due to missing plans and assets
- Interior modders not being able to work due to missing progress in the exterior section or missing assets
- Quest modders not being able to work due to npc files being incomplete.

Bottleneck situations are difficult to avoid. When they show up, the first modder should just try to finish his current part in the "production chain" as quickly as reasonably possible. Some of these situations might be averted by clever scheduling.

Motivational problems:
- Many different things can cause loss of motivation.

Motivational problems are probably the most serious ones. But the factors leading to a decline or rise of motivation are different for each person. If the project makes good progress and there are new things to be seen, it will generally lead to improved overall motivation, though. This borders with the issue of whether new people will feel inspired to join or old members inspired to return.

----------------------------

In the sum motivational problems have the largest impact on progress. The only thing that rivals it are massive scale overhauls (like Almalexia or Map 1+2 at TR).

At the moment, with only a handful of people around, it boils down to what we can do to improve our very own motivation here. The measures would be purely situational. For me productivity increases the less I think about the overall extent of work needing to be done and the more I focus my mind on the thing I'm currently working on without worrying about the rest. But this a stance of mind that I just have produce within myself.

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On the topic of bottleneck and overhaul problems, however, we could consider doing some kind of guided planning-work evolving around release areas and with the concrete aim of creating well-planned exterior claims and modelling claims for everything contained in them. The current planning process is not bad, but it is likely to leave planning holes and things being quite spread out across subforums and threads, so it's hard to wrap your mind around what's going on and to get a grasp of what is to be done next.

We could use the following list of checkpoints or something similar to fill planning holes. If all of these points are set, there should be nothing keeping us from creating the respective exterior claims and create modelling claims for what's missing to work on something within an area.

-Release Area

--Contained region chunk
---Overall characterization of the chunk of the region contained in this area
---List of ground textures and environmental assets. Which assets are still missing?
---Creatures
---Important landscape features like rivers, cliffs, etc.

--Exterior Claim

---Contained region chunk
----More detailled instructions for the particular region chunk contained in this claim

---Settlement
----Overall Characterization of the Settlement
----Important sites and people
----Faction sites and their rough role
----Size of the Settlement and rough number of inhabitants aswell as inhabiting ethnicities
----Industry and professions
----Which houseset and other needed assets? Which assets are still missing?
----Further instructions

---Dungeon
----Overall characterization and purpose
----Type, Tileset. Which assets are still missing?
----Small, medium, large?
----Creatures


The advantage of this approach would be that we would have a shape allowing us not only to cover directly relevant areas, but we could also decide to use this approach for a chunk beyond our current boundaries in order to figure out what keeps us from working on it respectively.

We could use it to create a larger range of immediately available claims for people. When there are options, someone will not have to stay idle, if he/she doesn't want to (thus decreasing the bottleneck problem). We could do initial forays into nibenese areas or whatever we want to create options for someone. Though, it would be essential that we always end up with concrete claims after each release area planning.

However, I'm not sure of how much this planning process would take and what amount of time it would take to imagine all kinds of details about a location that is in no way visually present.

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Infragris
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by Infragris » Sun Oct 23, 2016 7:37 pm

Might be a worthwhile approach. For current bottlenecks, we're in kind of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't situation: we could start opening up new release areas and claims, but without the needed assets and concepts we would condemn ourselves overhaul them time and time again.

Bringing together all necessary topics and information on a case basis instead of separating it out by subject or kind could work very well. I feel confident in saying that most essential information about the northern Gold Coast is out there: we have posts detailing the landscape, a detail map, lists of needed environment assets, lore and faction stuff, etc. But they're scattered all over the place.

How would this workflow revision impact the forum structure? Some parts of the forum, like Region Planning, are pretty much never utilized. The way I see it, your proposal would shift the way we discuss and disseminate designs: instead of having a Kvatch, Sutch, and Skingrad topic in the Quests & NPC subforum, we would have a Quests & NPC topic in the Kvatch, Sutch, and Skingrad subforums, so to speak.

EDIT: it should be noted that, while we still haven't published much in the way of release areas, our understanding and conceptualization stand a lot further than what we had a year ago.

worsas
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by worsas » Sun Oct 23, 2016 8:44 pm

Claims that cannot be worked on, could still be initially created with a description of the modelling claims they depend on (missing modelling claims are created alongside).

It would be a worthwhile undertaking to put this effort into assembling and completing existing data on the gold coast areas based on checkpoints like these. I can easily say that the majority of these points have not been settled for any past exterior claims, leading to exterior modders having to fill many holes with their own understanding of things, which in Anvils case has led to some aggravating disagreements. We already have this handy claim system that should be able to contain all needed implementation information.

How about doing a chat meeting where we can discuss more details like concrete release area boundaries and exterior claims in them, etc. ? Or, if a meeting is too much trouble, one of us could just propose some release areas for a start. I only suggest a meeting to make it a common process without it being burdened on anyone in particular in the team.

Probably every release area should receive a discussion thread in the region subforums showing the respective release area cell map with claim boundaries and a summary of which information is set and which information is still needed. After we have set up the release areas and their discussion threads, those can be filled with discussion in the following days and weeks and should eventually lead to modelling and exterior claims.

We do have a lot of head-dependencies for almost any future content (Remaining Ayleid assets, Reman stuff etc.) but we could just treat those like any other dependencies. It would already be useful to have a clear picture of what needs to be developed to finish a certain area 100%.

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Infragris
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by Infragris » Sun Oct 23, 2016 10:14 pm

That's a good point. Besides, while this is definitely not true for all cases, some claims can continue no problem with only part of their assets in place: the recently proposed armor variations, for example, could easily be set up in data and used in the gameworld right now - we would simply have to exchange their meshes at a later date. The same goes for creatures that can be added retroactively through the leveled lists.

I will try to finish up some WIP concept documents on major factions and the like. They won't be very polished, but they should contain all the basic ideas and necessary information to further refine them. Laying a common groundwork on these things should help to minimize these kinds of disagreements.

A chat meeting would be a good idea. In fact, I was wondering how much trouble it would be to set up a dedicated discord server. Some issues of presentation notwithstanding, it's a pretty useful service.

I have a detailed map of both Gold Coast release areas here, which I guess is what you're after. This post would also be appropriate. The map in cartography has the old release area borders in black - am I right in assuming you want to revise/subdivide these?

worsas
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Re: Finishing the Reach and Gold Coast

Post by worsas » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:46 am

We could ask TR to allow us to have a channel on their server? Apart from that, there is still our irc channel that has survived for years against all odds.

If we already have these two release areas defined, we'll be able to just start to assemble missing information. The only thing we have to do is requesting discussion and missing information based on this checklist and target towards getting all the loose ends together.

The basic faction layouts are a good precondition for a lot of things. I'm fine with waiting on that to be completed first.
The map in cartography has the old release area borders in black - am I right in assuming you want to revise/subdivide these?
Yes, I would definitely subdivide the further east ones into smaller portions. I would also like to add additional locations to the northern gold coast release area.

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