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BoE Non-Technical Questions



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I have been trying to get these questions answered for the past week, but Jeff seems to not pay attention to them.
What can I say? It's a busy thing running a software company, and advice type questions sometimes have to wait a little while to be reached.

How long does it take for a scenario to post? (I submitted mine about 10 days ago.)
It can take a week or two. We have a lot of things to get done, and there's only three of us. We'll do what we can, but be patient. We'll get to it.

Also, bear in mind that if your scenario needs frequent updates, we'll tend to be much slower to update it. After all, frequent updates put an unfair burden on us.

Did you get my scenario? I uploaded it a few days ago. Thanks.
Everyone needs to calm down. We can only spend so much time downloading, looking over, and virus checking scenarios. We'll try to do it within a week, but can make no promises.

Do you need my scenario's password?
I don't need people to send me their passwords. I have my own sneaky ways to get into them.

I deeply sympathize with the needs that forced your posted change to scenario listing policy. However, you neglected to say how it will now be determined that a scenario _does_ get listed. Do you (Jeff) play it a little, and pitch all the obvious losers? You certainly can't play all of them all the way through, and if this catches on you won't be able to play even the beginnings of them all.

Or have a peer review group? Maybe volunteers? Or make it a requirement of listing that the author review N other scenarios? Or let the submitter find his reviewers, and require submission of N email addresses of those who had played it through and vouched for it?

The spur that prompted this note is Prazac's Quest. According to the README, the author is in 4th grade. On the one hand, it got a BoE error message (jump to non-existent town) in the startup town. On the other hand, all of it that could be seen was _very_ impressive for a 10 year old and (depending on what the rest of it looked like) might even be enjoyable for an adult. How are we supposed to rate that?
I'm answering this instead of Jeff. I (Mariann Krizsan) handle the web site, I can be reached at krizsan@spidweb.com.

Basically I look at all scenarios submitted to us with a master scenario editor. Scenarios are then easily judged. If I can look at the entire scenario on one screen, with the only dialogue being something like "hi my name is Bob", we reject it as being trivial. If there is more meat to a scenario, then we usually accept it. I check the dialogue randomly, we check the towns and outdoor sections for quality of painting and complexity. This is always what we have done before however we are more strict now because we are getting more trivial stuff then ever before.

Prazac's Quest is an example of a borderline case. It is not very good in terms of plot but for a 4th grader it's excellent, and he clearly put a lot of time in painting towns etc. I think he deserves some "peer review" and credit.

I was reading about how trivial scenarios are not wanted. I have made a small scenario that you consider trivial. It consists of just 1 town, an arena. You may bet or fight for treasure in the arena. Tell me if this trivial. If so I will send it to you as an augment for other people who wish to have an arena in their scenario.
If something like this is really complicated and shows interesting concepts other designers can use, we may place it in the Scenario Workshop. If it's not really something, though, we prefer not to get fragments of scenarios.

Also, we don't need any more generic party-builders, check out the Scenario Utility page for things like that.

I'm just now finishing up a scenario on my Mac. What do I need to do, if anything, to modify or convert the .meg graphics file so it's usable by PC users?
Submit it to us. We'll do the conversion ourselves, making sure that the palettes match up and everything like that. It's a service we're more than happy to provide for hard working Mac and Windows scenario developers.

Is there any way to transfer saved game files between PC & Mac?

How do you change a scenario's name after it has been set?
Just change the name of the file. Make sure it ends .exs. This will work correctly.

I also said I have a suggestion. Do you think you (Jeff) could put a little document up on the Scenario Workshop page that describes the thought process you go through when designing dungeons, puzzles, and Terrain.
I just think them up. That's really all I can say. I sit and think of things that would be neat. I also read the New York Times addictively .. it's a great source of cool ideas.

Why is there a limit of 50 placed special nodes in any given town? I have run up against this several times.
You have to limit things somewhere.

Recently, I have been trying to find out if anyone making a scenario for Blades of Exile can use graphics from Realmz scenarios. I contacted Fantasoft1@aol.com on the matter and they said that the artwork is under contract and can only be used in Realmz.
This is correct. Do not take graphics from Realmz.

Not only is this depressing, but it's also puzzling; the Exile trilogy and Blades of Exile use many graphics from Realmz, so I'm contacting you.
Realmz and Exile co-licensed a small set of graphics, which they share. All of these graphics are already in the Blades of Exile graphics set. We will not help distribute any scenario which contains Realmz graphics.

Is it possible to use Realmz graphics in Blades scenarios under these circumstances? Should I contact the artist of the images directly?
No. And no. These are Fantasoft's graphics. Please don't touch them.

OK. Could you please tell me what the artist's web site or e-mail address is?
We can't use Realmz images, but there is still a chance he can take requests (just make different versions for requested creatures). Thank you for helping clear this up.
The artists E-mail address is Wormius@aol.com, but please don't ask for graphics unless you're willing to pay for them. Also, Fantasoft's web site lists the URLs of other people who've done art for them.

How do you figure out the ratings for the submitted scenarios.
Use your own common sense, and read articles on the subject in the Scenario Workshop.

To this I append a list of questions about the nature of the world of Exile.

1. Is it true that there is constant daylight on the surface world?

2. Is the world round or flat?

3. Do cave trees photosynthesize? Can they die? Are they really made of wood?
Yes, yes, yes. They're magically mutated.

4. Do demons have wings? Some? All?

5. Does the world become colder or warmer as the depth increases? Two items of consideration: Morog sends the party down to a frigid area, while the Slithzerikai fear cold (builders in Exile III) and would naturally live in warm places.
Colder, but sliths live near volcanic areas. When they can.

6. Are there infinitely many gods on which priestly magics of the abundant different cults can call upon? Or are priest spells simply mage spells in disguise?
Whew. Good question.

7. What is the explanation for the abundance of life in the caves without energy from sunlight?
Magic. And I wave my hands really hard.

8. When Grah-Hoth uses Linda's soul for the demon-gate in the Tower disaster, how does the real Linda manage to hide and speak?
Her soul is torn apart. A shred remains, enough to make her (barely) alive.

9. How do the Exiles tell time? They obviously wouldn't see the sun rise and set, so when do they know to go to bed? How do they count the days?
It's pretty messed up. Each person basically lives by their own biological clock.

I have an idea for a future scenario that basically has all of the action taking place within one city, but with each building (or a selection of them) actually consisting of 'stairways' taking you to another town that is the buildings "interior". My question is, what are the limits of this? How many stairway specials could I have within one town?
No limit to this, except, of course, for the number of specials you can have in a town.

Would it ever be possible to allow new PC races? Vahnatai, troglos, goblins, or any of the other humanoid races?
Nope. Doing this requires modifying the code itself, and isn't something I can figure out how to do properly.

Were scenarios intended to be released as shareware in and of themselves?
Read the license agreement. You can't charge for scenarios. People can ask for donations, but they can't put in shareware barriers or such. I'll put a clarification for this on the web site.

Even though Blades Of Exile is based in medieval days... would a modern day scenario stand a chance? (if so you can bet to get one from me)
Sure. Sounds neat.

Also, is it kosher to create scenarios that are completely unrelated to the Exile world? My first question was also asked with this in mind.
Go for it! There are practically no restrictions placed on scenario content itself. I only ask that people not set scenarios in heavily trademarked worlds (like Star Wars).

The problem is, these scenarios will have a lot of material (monsters, items, etc.) based on a different fantasy background, which I envisage fitting in well with the Exile world. The problem is, where would I, and you (regarding the contest and also distribution matters) stand, as the stuff I would be using would not, in effect, be mine.
As long as you aren't using anyone else's material (for example, a South Park or Star Trek scenario), I have absolutely no problem with this. I knew, when I made the editor, some people would want to make their own fantasy settings which have nothing to do with Exile.

Would you be mad if I have major NPCs named Mully and Sculder and a friendly alien beast named "QueeQuag"? I COULD always name the alien beast "Pooky" if there's a problem.
(grin) Having named the casts of entire towns after characters from TV shows, I can't see how I could object.

You mention for the design contest no EXPLICIT sexual content....please define Explicit for me. I mean, would it be ok to have a bordello in your town. You can't see them naked and can't get it. Also, would it be bad if almost everyone responds to the word rape. You can't actually complete this task. All they do when you ask about rape is run away and the town gets angry at you. Well, sometimes they don't get angry....depends on the character.....
This sounds like an R rated scenario. There's nothing inherently wrong with this. Things can be adult. Just try not to go out and offend people. As always, try to use some common sense. Imagine what it would be like for someone else to play it. Show it to other people. Common sense, sometimes, is our only real weapon.

BTW- You said it is okay if a person expresses racist feelings against the nephilim but it is bad if you must get slaves to win a game. If your characters are working for the empire is it okay for them to express hatred against the vahnatai, or is such thoughts as "You promise to kill the vahnatai for what they have done to you" a no-no?
This is really a common sense thing, and what I was mainly thinking of was using real-life people in the scenarios (a kill all the black people scenario, to name one unpleasant example). Saying awful things about an evil tribe of Nephilim is OK. Saying awful things about the Jews will get your scenario taken off my web site.

I was reading some of your tips on how to improve scenarios, and one of them was of course that things like profanity were not really acceptable.
In one of my towns there is a man who is very angry with the Nephilim. I wanted his dialogue to include "Those damn cats".
Excellent question. If you'll look in the Scenario Details window, you will see that you can set your scenario's rating (G, PG, etc.). Use this feature! If you want to make a scenario with more adult language and themes, go for it.

Softer language ("damn", "ass", etc.) is not terrible objectionable, and would not hurt one's chances in the scenario design contest. Stronger language (the f-word, etc.) is a different story. A lot of users find very strong language quite bothersome, especially considering the relative youth of many Exile fans and the fact that many parents play the game with their children.

So "damn" is pretty safe, though I'd probably rate the scenario PG just to play it safe. More than that? Use your judgement and common sense.

I like making graphics... but is it advisable to add many graphics?
This is your call. Adding a bunch of graphics is a great way to put your individual stamp on a scenario.

I use windows 3.11 so I'm impatiently and eagerly waiting for B.O.E. to come out for windows... I know you said February... but isn't there a chance of getting it out earlier? *eager expression*
Absolutely none.

You are going to produce more scenarios for BOE, right? Because all the ones I've played so far really kinda suck.
Beyond Bandit Busywork? Doubtful. We're working hard on Nethergate. But be patient ... the custom scenarios are getting better.

When I try to run Busywork Bandits, it gives me two standard 'scenario screw-up' messages, one with error 35, one with 36. Then BOE quits because of error type 2. What gives?
The first upload of this was corrupted. Try it again.

Any chance of your putting Exile I, II, or III on BOE (or someone else who you think can do it)?

Right now the story is that he's avenging the death of Erika Redmark and in order to stop him you have to bring her back in the form of a Crystal Soul. The question is -- am I allowed to do this? Is Erika an untouchable NPC?
Erika is dead. I dunno - I, personally, for the sake of the story, would prefer she stay dead. While using characters from the games is cool, people should probably think twice about doing major things to them (like killing them or bringing them back to life), because other people will be wanting use of those characters in their scenarios.

So I went and threw in the Friendly Spiders and made them Depressed. I did it too well and it makes my previewers cry. That defeats the point of this very silly scenario! Should I mess it up so it's not so good? Should I do something else entirely? Should I get new previewers?
Even friendly spiders have bad days. The spiders have often been depressed in the Exile games, like when the aranea took their eggs, for example. I don't see why this should be a problem. Of course, on the other hand, when all your testers really hate something, it's often worth rethinking.

Why Can't I Play My Scenarios On My Copy Of BoE (Unregistered)
It needs to be registered.

I have lots of cobblestone roads in my various towns, only to find that when the game automatically converts some of them to diagonals, they show up as diagonals on top of cave floor - in a town on the surface.
That's right. The game adjusts cobblestone roads on the fly. If you don't want this to happen, make a new terrain type with the cobblestone graphic.

I really don't want people to drag in their invincible parties and end the Pax Romana with Divine Thuds. Is there a patch to disable spells and/or prevent people from importing their experienced parties?
No, and no. If a player wants to take in a really buffed party, that's the player's right. Some people like to burn through the scenarios with really powerful parties. It's just sort of one of the assumptions that comes with the world.

Is there a way to charm one or more party members so they end up fighting against the party?
Not until Nethergate.

Also, is the requirement for moving quickfire that you can see through it? I haven't had time to test this. There's my problem. Solve it (please!).
Quickfire moves through any space you can see through.

I only have one gripe with the scenario editor. When you place anything except terrain, you have to click on the button again, which really sucks.
The documentation does list keyboard shortcuts.

, - edit monster
~ -place same monster
. - edit item
/ - place same item

I use these all the time.

I can see I'm going to have trouble with the limits. My first town has ~105 special nodes ~80 squares with specials and 25 personalities. That is after much scrimping, and leaving in a few bugs. At least some of the limits have workarounds. (special terrain, multiple identical towns etc.) but I am getting worried about the event horizon. I cannot keep using scenario specials to take up the slack.
Spread the encounters more. Instead of using on 64x64 level, use 2 48x48 levels, and spread the encounters among them.

How does saving and restoring interrelate with editing the scenario? I can see problems coming if I need to play through the entire scenario just to get to the point I need to test.
Read the chapter in the docs on testing and releasing your scenario. You can continue to use save files in the scenario after editing the scenario. Just always restore the save file after saving a change, and hit ">" to reset a changed level before editing it (while on a different level).

Why is the starting town forced to be medium - especially given that it can be changed to another town after beginning?
It just is.

How do you make a road? The only icons are the ones for a dot of road but they don't connect when you place them next to each other.
Go ahead and draw them in the editor. They will be joined in the game.

Mr. Vogel, BoE gives us the right to make adventures aimed at high-level characters. However, I don't see a way for players to make a high-level party without going through a couple other adventures first.
Yes, they could use the character editor, but that encourages cheating. Is there a way to let players make a party with more than 60 character points apiece to start with?
Nope ... this involves changing the code itself, which only I can do. After going through the 3 BoE scenarios, players will be pretty powerful. And if they aren't, is using the character editor really such an awful thing? Go ahead and make your scenario whatever level you want.

I also can't figure out the mechanism for importing PC's from another saved game into my scenario. Also, can they only be from a Blades scenario or can they be from any previous Exile release?
Only a party made in Blades. Take a party not in a scenario, load it, and hit the Start Scenario (or whatever it was) button.

To e-mail it you say to use Stuffit Deluxe. I use Zip. Is this okay? How I exactly send in my scenario? The instructions seem to make no sense.
You can E-mail a scenario file to us. You make the file an attachment to the E-mail message. How you do this depends on your E-mail program. You can also send it by anonymous ftp to ftp.spidweb.com/incoming. You may need to learn how to use ftp. Finally, you can mail it on disk to PO Box 85659, Seattle, WA 98145.

Sending files zipped up or compressed using compact pro is OK.

Do I have to compress my scenarios with a program like Stuffit or is that optional???
It's not absolutely necessary, I suppose. If your scenario is small, just go ahead and send it uncompressed.

Where can I get a copy of Stuffit Max? I need to know if I am to submit any Scenario's for BoE.
Do a web search for StuffIt, and you'll find plenty of places to download it. There are no shortage of downloads sites with shareware utilities for stuffing files.

In the manual for the Scenario Editor you mention that you can open scenarios in debug mode. I was wondering how you do this.
The game must be registered. You can then play your scenario in debug mode in the game by loading a save file in the scenario editor, pressing 'D' (capital D) and entering your password. In debug mode, the monsters become much easier to fight, so you can play through faster.

When you press the tilde key, it displays a distorted monster PICT in the terrain window. Is it supposed to do that? Why?
In the game? This is a debugging tool, so I can find out what's going on in memory.

What do you use to program and compile the exile games? Visual basic? C++? The only real programming and compiling I've done is in FirstBasic (like QBasic except it allows you to compile the programs into *.exe files etc...) although I've made some reasonably good games from that.
Mac - Codewarrior gold. Windows - Borland Turbo C++ 4.5.



I have not seen an answer to this on the FAQ page. It seems there are two general classes of "good" scenarios: neat little packages which hold together well and epics. Are these rated differently for the purpose of the contest or will the epics likely dominate?
All other things (incl. quality) being equal, the larger scenario will probably win.

In the contest instructions you say that maps must be made with the scenario Editor. How do you make maps? There is no way that I can see.
This is a mistake ... when I say maps, what I mean in the dungeon levels themselves, not the maps you read like in Exile III.

How many scenarios have already been submitted and how many do you estimate there to be at the deadline?
Look on our web site to see all the worthy scenarios which have been submitted. How many more will come in? Beats me.

I know that the max size of the scenario entered is 1MB but is that 1MB zipped or unzipped?
Eh, say zipped.

Hi, I didn't know which of your E-Mail addresses to send this to, so I picked the one that had the most to do with Blades of Exile. Hopefully, I will be submitting a scenario to your contest: Is there a size limit for submitted scenarios?
1 MB zipped.

Can you submit multiple scenarios?

If so how many?
As many as you can write, although you're better off writing one serious and good scenario than scads of so-so ones.

Do earlier submitted scenarios have a better chance of winning? (since, if you wait till the last date, there isn't much time for the judges to play it)
Not really. Note that there is a chunk of time between the deadline and when prizes will be announced.

Are there any more hints than the ones on the page? I know designing a scenario is tougher than it sounds (I used to make scenarios for games not unlike B.O.E. in dos).
People are building Blades of Exile pages. I'm sure ideas will show up there.



Also, I recently received the registered version of the game, and I would like to know if I'll receive registered updates of the game if any are made.
Patches will be placed on the web site when available.

Will any adjustments ever be made to the Editor? Like a spell editor, or objects that react to spells?
It's possible. However, updating this sort of system can cause lots of problems. When I release Blades of Exile 2.0, everyone with 1.0 will be unable to play all the new scenarios unless you upgrade, which would cause a huge mess. Plus, many of the old scenarios wouldn't work right anymore. It may happen someday, but it'll have to be for very good improvements.

I've noticed that the default "Transform to what?" field for all terrain is 0. This causes a problem when using the "Transform Rectangle Terrain" node. When used, it causes all terrain within the rectangle to change to Cave Floor. I tried to go through and change the "Transform to what?" fields of all the terrains, but it turns out that the editor won't let you change that field for the first 90 types. It seems to me that the default "Transform to what?" field for each terrain should be that terrain's number, with the exception of the levers.
This is a good point. I'll do something about this in the next upgrade.

If I start a new scenario using lets say v1.0 of the scenario editor then upgrade my scenario edited to v1.0.3 will my scenario that I started with v1.0 be upgraded???
Yep. At this point, all of the scenarios made with all editors work with all other versions of BoE.

In future updates of the scenario editor, could you add some if-then specials that check whether any of the members of the party are Nephilim or Slithzerikai (similar to the 'has cave lore?' and 'has woodsman?'specials)? I remember that either Exile II or III could do this, but it's not currently a part of Blades. Thanks.
This is a great idea for a 2.0 expansion. Thanks.

I was just wondering what in-game effects setting monster types to Important or Magical Creature have... the other ones are pretty straight forward...
At this point, not really anything. Later expansion is a possibility.

I've noticed that the default "Transform to what?" field for all terrain is 0. This causes a problem when using the "Transform Rectangle Terrain" node. When used, it causes all terrain within the rectangle to change to Cave Floor. I tried to go through and change the "Transform to what?" fields of all the terrains, but it turns out that the editor won't let you change that field for the first 90 types. It seems to me that the default "Transform to what?" field for each terrain should be that terrain's number, with the exception of the levers.
This is a good point. I'll do something about this in the next upgrade.

An update for blades of exile win95/mac that would include the option of editing spells only in that scenario.
I can guarantee this will never happen. Editing spells is just too much of a mess.

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