Somewhere in this post is a link to the Minerva Developer's Kit, for those of you wishing to contribute something to the map. Please read the READ ME file for more details on submitting works for inclusion in a future version of the map. It includes the full map in its current state. Also included are several other previously unreleased files that may shed some light on my own development process. This link will be available for 72 hours.
Ooh! I'm on it!
Well, once I find the link I will be.
Edit: Alright, I'm not finding this link anywhere. Am I just missing it?
Messing with command blocks today to get a feel for the new commands and scoreboard functions. For testing purposes in my laboratory world I made a device that summons bats, counts them, and kills them all with lightning if they reach the upper detection limit. Haha.
Getting some good ideas. Thinking about shrines where players can spend XP levels for buffs like temporary extra health, dmg resistance, strength and maybe other effects.
e: anyone want to try their hand at making us a Criswelvania title screen panorama?
Yes Deep_Pixel did a really great job and I totally dropped the ball earlier this year keeping on top on submissions, too much work and no play time made Criswell a sad man.
I need a name for the Hero team in the scoreboard. Thinking Lightbringers vs Darkness. What do you think? This might turn into the Rachen update.
Also, what do you think of having the option for a set number of lives? For Hardcore multiplayer, this could result in fully killed-off players being switched to the Rachen team. I could also include 1up rewards for certain challenges.
The Rachen will sooner or later be getting his own parallel storyline and goals. Breaking through the ice of using the scoreboard properly, it doesn't seem that far off any more.
What if you could regain your humanity somehow? With at least one player constantly "it" (in the proposed Hardcore Multiplayer mode). I am also considering the Rachen to have some challenges which would be more platform-y, as well as strategic than the heroes, such as the ability to possess and curse entire towns, in-between harassing the players, or the ability to mass-convert all torches in an area to burnt-out (redstone) torches or similar effect. I'm also seeing new possiblilties for some powerful spells for Zederakh and maybe even some miracles from Vandrake. Ooh, maybe even shurikens for Jyodi, wow. Character ultimate attacks?
I'm thinking the Rachen could be called a "Darkwalker", based off of the lore ideas I had a while ago, in the scoreboard. I do think a scoreboard would break immersion, though, so...
That aside, the hardcore mode could be more of a relic hunt? rather than the complex long adventure that is the standard mode? Because if they try to play normally with the hardcore mode, they ain't lasting. But maybe have that as an option: which sub-option to choose for Hardcore.
Regarding the scoreboard, if and as much as possible I want to have it hidden, although I want players to be able to see their next objective somehow, maybe when holding certain items such as maps, and to track kills/deaths and other events in an actual automatic scoring system improving on the original honor-based scoring system (including for finding relics etc.). Basically if it's a feature in Minecraft that can be used to add some polish to make the map feel more like it's own game, I'm going to use it.
If people want a map just for free roleplay with no hand-holding, I don't know that the next version is going to support that. I'm trying to reduce confusion and the amount of manual tracking of objectives and abilities as possible, which is going to make the map more game-y. Which is what I really want, a game that makes sense by itself, with no honor system required, something first-timers can grasp readily. The overarching purpose of this project is to create a self-contained adventure game inside vanilla Minecraft, then possibly evolve it from that into a full mod, but that's putting the cart way in front of the horse at this point.
The biggest complaint I get about the map usually is that people don't know where to go next or what order to do objectives in, and of course in Criswelvania they can do them in almost any order, but there is definitely an optimal flow through the full map that I could help nudge them towards as far as my intention for full exploration.
There already are relic hunt challenges, the Hardcore in this case refers to the fact that the game mode would be finite with clear win/lose conditions, not related to the Hardcore Survival mode native to Minecraft. Maybe the map is too long for such a game mode, I dunno really. It's an idea that is spun out of the Rachen features in development, as I do like the idea that the Rachen can kill players off to gain more allies. We'll see, it's a complicated idea for sure.
At any rate, I've been at this pretty steady every single day for the past month, think I'm gonna take the weekend off from Minecraft and maybe just mess with some ideas on paper. See you guys on Monday!
Thing is, the whole manual tracking of objectives and abilities is the sugar in the pumpkin pie that is Criswelvania (weird way to put it, I know). It's confusing at times, aye, but it's because that's how adventure maps used to be back in the golden days of minecraft. Since people are more used to being lead through (Hypixel's maps are an infamous example), the adventure maps become just linear, boring on-rail dungeoneering maps. The issue many people have, though, is that they're (unfortunately) used to this new, yet forever obsolete, method of guidance. In many ways, having to figure out what the objective is in Criswelvania is what leads you to explore the map, to pay more attention to your surroundings than your inventory (which gets a bit annoying, as it breaks the flow of things).
And, perhaps some form of guidance or hints is needed at certain points, and I am sure it can be worked out easily (I need to think of a few suggestions I can provide regarding that). But relying so much on command blocks or the game's mechanics for adventure maps is rather sketchy, as it can end up hurting the map's originality and/or trademark theme and flow very greatly.
Idea 1 regarding hints or guidance for players to use to know where to go or what to do:
If we have some lore, substantial enough to get the players immersed and to allow them to figure out what is going on and what needs to be done, perhaps we can give them nudges without them even noticing that it's a guide. If the lore leaves clues that are rewarding to figure out, and motivate them to check something out, we could be giving them the key to unlocking the ideal map-progression order you had in mind. What do you think?
I do like the lore-as-hints route, I was planning on including that as well and can certainly use your help in fleshing this out. I appreciate your thoughtful input and will keep in in mind as I work with the scoreboard to track objectives. I am not a fan of the constant overlay of the sidebar and whatever solution I come up with using it will not display all the time, only timed, critical notifications. The Tab list can hold most data that needs tracking (lives, score, etc.), maybe schematics unlocked could be tracked there since I don't get the feeling that people use the guidebooks for notes, or even have time to. I found it tedious myself since there are so many schematics (consolidating some schems into sets would alleviate this to an extent).
What are your feelings about using /title splashes for introducing the various chapters?
One thing that you don't have to worry about the map becoming is linear. There is no way to make the map linear without eliminating side routes, and this is a major part of the design, I have no intention of taking that out. Book II is even less linear, once you get your horses (or wander the backroads on foot if you are bold), there are many options for exploration. Even the interior of the Gorgulvalt has multiple routes that allow taking the challenge head on, or circumventing difficult areas (i.e.: the Cell Block) with stealth. You may even find a way to be launched over the wall directly to the guard towers and skip the fun of being incarcerated and (spoiler)
having all your gear confiscated.
I am pretty happy with the way the maps work to guide the player to areas of interest. I don't really think we need a naggy overlay to remind us. I do feel like it could serve some purpose if it would flash up for a few seconds and then go away, at the very least for achievements. As the designer, the challenge for me is to use the features of vanilla MC fully and effectively, and demonstrate mastery of the toolset. As a side goal I envision this map as an extensive tutorial on mapmaking itself. Open to further suggestions.
I am now situated in my new place in Los Angeles, but the wifi only works on my laptop, no internet yet on my main rig. So I'm working offline mostly for now. Hope to have some progress updates during this week, we'll see how this works out.
Any feedback from those who grabbed the MDK would be most welcome.
I got the MDK, I looked through it all, it looked awesome, I came up with plans, and then I was not able to begin working on any of them just yet. I got sidetracked by a non-Minecraft world-building project, but I'm thinking by Minerva work will probably begin in the next week or so.
Interesting that you mentioned Garlis soup because my first task was going to be building the town of Garlis at the edge of a forest.
Did the guidelines in the readme make sense? I kinda banged them out. I will probably release an updated MDK once I see room for great improvement, but the map area open for contributions will not change significantly. I might expand it slightly if I get a clear concept of the boundaries where Book III will terminate. I plan to have a great deal more transportation options to open up the world in the final episode: rail, horse, boat, portal and other means.
My method with this map is to work with the landscape, not fight it overly. Some terraforming is unavoidable, but overall I view the terrain as a primed canvas and its features should generally be enhanced, not destroyed. Plant trees and fields, and carve into mountains. Build them up, but don't flatten them. Find the Venus de Milo within the block of uncut marble.