Mod plan: Beginner's guide to Daggerfall

Talk about the mods or features you'd like to see in Daggerfall Unity. Give mod creators some ideas!
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Jay_H
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Mod plan: Beginner's guide to Daggerfall

Post by Jay_H » Thu Oct 18, 2018 1:12 pm

A discussion on git led to a good idea that needs refinement (first credit of all to MeteoricDragon). I was originally in favor of depositing a helpful hintbook in each new character's inventory as a part of the game, but I see there are a few downsides to it, one of which being "the ritual" of dumping out that book when you're on your 17th new character. It would get tiresome. Instead, a mod would be a sensible way to implement it for those who feel it useful.

The parameters I have in mind so far are as follows:
  • In-universe and not immersion-breaking
  • Hinting at and suggesting helps and solutions in the Daggerfall universe most new players wouldn't guess
  • Contains information most players would want to know on their first run through Daggerfall but don't want to spoil themselves with an in-depth wiki search for
This topic could be used to gather ideas on what could be useful content, not seeking to make a 100-page game manual but a collection of things to respond to the thought, "I wish someone had told me that when I first started playing."

Before proceeding, I should mention that so far there is no mechanism to actually implement this. No one has volunteered to create the mod or give the book at chargen, so this is still up in the air. Until then, this will stay in Mods General instead of Creator's Corner.

Here are some quick examples I wrote up, not necessarily intended as a look at a final product:

========

CREATURE RESISTANCE

Unique to the Iliac Bay are various beings resistant to certain types of metal. One well-known example is the imp, which suffers no harm from iron weaponry. The wary traveler will wield steel or a more precious metal for such an encounter or resort to hand-to-hand combat.

========

CONTAGION

In spite of the long-standing civilizations in both High Rock and Hammerfell, most of the wilderness is entirely untamed, leaving room for all manner of infectious diseases. Rodents and the undead are well-known culprits of the spread of illness, though no scholar has yet taken an exhaustive inventory of the causes thereof. Temples earn a great deal of profit by curing the diseased persons brought to them during seasonal outbreaks.

Experience speaks to the dangers of prolonged contact with werewolves and vampires. Hunters of each of these species have reported suffering hallucinations during rest, evidence of an infection received during combat with them. The onset of lycanthropy or vampirism can be prevented within three days of the initial contamination.

========

If other users believe this is a worthy idea, feel free to add ideas about what you think would be meaningful additions to a beginner's guide to Daggerfall.
Try over 120 all-new quests in the first Daggerfall Unity Quest Pack.

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pango
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Re: Mod plan: Beginner's guide to Daggerfall

Post by pango » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:21 pm

I saw some of the pros and cons on GitHub just now...
I'd like to add that classic didn't only came with a tutorial, but also with a ~90 pages user manual, like many games back in the day. Putting that user manual back into the game is probably not the best idea (for one it was full of inaccuracies, having been written before the game was finished, but it is also tied to its media, you don't write the same way when you have hypertext and stuff at your disposal); but it legitimates the idea of giving some lore and gameplay elements to the beginner.

I can think of 4 types of information, at least:
Background lore
Not only as I just wrote the average player of Daggerfall classic had some user manual, but from a RP point of view your hero is 20ish years old at the beginning of the game, so hopefully he or she has some basic history and geography in head, that makes sense. Maybe about the same amount of lore as the user manual could be okay. Maybe even including some of its inaccuracies, unreliable narrator-style.

Character creation
Very important part of gameplay, that an in-game book won't cover!

Basic gameplay mechanics
I see nothing wrong about explaining the interface, how to access inventory, fast travel, that kind of thing; Specially since DFU is currently emulating the classic interface, and the fully screen view at that. That should be moddable, so that when the interface is replaced, the documentation can be updated (or the now useless explanations can be hidden). I have helped several streamers with that kind of things, and explaining how to use info mode on buildings, how banking works or how to access zoomed region view makes a lot of difference in terms of comfort and just knowing game possibilities. And also how to customize controls to be bearable, but with DFU that's already obsolete knowledge, for the most part ;)

Deeper gameplay mechanics
That's obviously the most controversial part, because for some it's a big part of the gameplay to actually explore and figure out mechanics and strategies, while others prefer to have at the bare minimum the game mechanics explained to them black on white. It feels important to satisfy both classes of players, if possible.
Personally I'd go the RP way again, scattering pieces of knowledge among tavern elder residents all around Tamriel. With some talking shit in the mix, so you'd better not believe everything that you hear, either :lol:

I also do remember an excellent video tutorial serie on Daggerfall, but it was in french (I could translate if needed), and more importantly I don't remember on what platform it was (YouTube? Twitch? Something else?). Very broad but not too deep, I think it was fine.
P.S. found it again, it was John Beavers'
P.P.S. he says quite early on that his tutorial is based on "The (In)famous Beginner's Guide to Daggerfall" by Mark Stinson
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
-- Charles Goodhart

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Jay_H
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Re: Mod plan: Beginner's guide to Daggerfall

Post by Jay_H » Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:33 pm

pango wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:21 pm
Deeper gameplay mechanics
That's obviously the most controversial part, because for some it's a big part of the gameplay to actually explore and figure out mechanics and strategies, while others prefer to have at the bare minimum the game mechanics explained to them black on white. It feels important to satisfy both classes of players, if possible.
Personally I'd go the RP way again, scattering pieces of knowledge among tavern elder residents all around Tamriel. With some talking shit in the mix, so you'd better not believe everything that you hear, either :lol:
To me the line is about things that the game takes for granted, impacting the player visibly, but makes no explanation about it. One common example IMO is the use of letters of credit. Nowhere does the game explain that letters of credit even exist (besides the bank, which makes no explanation about their use). The problems are several:

1. Players who don't know they exist think they have a strict gold limit they can carry on hand, leading to mystifying questions about how to buy that Daedric Longsword that retails for 32,000 gold. This is reduced in Daggerfall Unity but still relevant due to the wagon's weight limit.
2. Players sell exorbitant amounts of items and are given over 100,000 gold in return, but when they try to fast travel, they are told "You do not have enough gold." They think it's a bug making their money disappear.
3. The bank UI does not properly distinguish between gold and letters of credit, so the player thinks they can deposit 10,000 gold when in truth they have 500 gold and 9500 credit.

These are backed up by examples here on the forums. I worry that people will think of these fairly large unmentioned features as bugs. We can help people get their feet on the ground without having to come back to the forums every so often asking whether something is meant to happen or not.

Suggestions on how to play should be left out, but explanations of large, standard concepts should be put in. This is my thinking so far.
I see nothing wrong about explaining the interface, how to access inventory, fast travel, that kind of thing; Specially since DFU is currently emulating the classic interface, and the fully screen view at that. That should be moddable, so that when the interface is replaced, the documentation can be updated (or the now useless explanations can be hidden). I have helped several streamers with that kind of things, and explaining how to use info mode on buildings, how banking works or how to access zoomed region view makes a lot of difference in terms of comfort and just knowing game possibilities. And also how to customize controls to be bearable, but with DFU that's already obsolete knowledge, for the most part
For out-of-person explanation, perhaps modding the in-game tutorial would work best. I'm not sure how to proceed there but I think there may be value there. I think in some regards people will find out about DFU through word of mouth and other people's videos, which to some extent will detail these kinds of basic mechanics.
Try over 120 all-new quests in the first Daggerfall Unity Quest Pack.

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pango
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Re: Mod plan: Beginner's guide to Daggerfall

Post by pango » Sun Oct 21, 2018 12:20 am

Yes, I put banking in basic game mechanics: there's not a lot of strategy to it, it's just that the interface is rather unhelpful. In other words I think it should be explained to beginners, because there's not a lot of fun to be had in decrypting how it works on your own.
But ultimately the banking screen should be redesigned to be more intuitive using the available higher screen resolution and advance in ergonomics.
Jay_H wrote:
Sat Oct 20, 2018 10:33 pm
For out-of-person explanation, perhaps modding the in-game tutorial would work best. I'm not sure how to proceed there but I think there may be value there. I think in some regards people will find out about DFU through word of mouth and other people's videos, which to some extent will detail these kinds of basic mechanics.
I'm not sure the current in-game tutorial is the good starting point, it feels that a lot of new features would need to be added (to the quest scripting, to rendering,...) just for that purpose...
When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
-- Charles Goodhart

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