Improving the in-game Help

Discussion in 'Community Projects' started by Sitra Achara, Oct 9, 2009.

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  1. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    I've noticed that many of the new spells have no help entries at all, only the short spell descriptions (that are often inadequate or confusing).
    In addition, many entries could be improved and expanded upon:

    • Summon spells - Summon Monster, Nature's Ally and Vermin currently involve a lot of guess work and trial & error. It could certainly use:
      • An update to reflect new monsters added. The higher level ones actually have "todo" written in them...
      • Stat detail for every monster.
    • Weapons - It wouldn't hurt to have an alphabetic list of weapons, detailing weapon size, proficiency, whether it is one or two handed, and base worth. I'm mainly thinking of early-game shopping where you can't conveniently find out these attributes before you actually buy the item.
    • Crafting -
      • Magic Arms and Armor: Unfortunately, the crafting screen doesn't provide any information as to what any enchantment effect does, and what the exact requirements are. An expanded entry would be very helpful here.
      • Rods and Staffs: Even worse are the Craft Rod and Staff feats, which give you no hint of their uselessness :) Kidding aside, they could use a list of in-game craftable Rods and Staffs with a brief summary of properties.
    Now all we need is volunteers to compile all the relevant information in one place to facilitate modding it in. Any takers?


    DONE:


    • Important heads-up
    • Animal Companions


    _________________________________________________________

    Guide to messing around with Help.tab and spell descriptions

    Spells have short descriptions and detailed help system entries.

    The former are used in the spellbook/levelup UI, the latter appear in the game's help system. (hotkey access - 'H' + click on spell)


    • Short descriptions - data\mes\spell.mes
    • Help entries -
      • data\mes\help.tab
      • Spells are linked to the entries via the file data\rules\spell_enum.mes.
        The links to help nodes are in the {20XXX} range, where XXX is the spell's number.
      • Written notes are linked to the entries via the file data\rules\written_ui.mes.
      • Help entry format:
        • Code:
          NODE_ID    [tab]    FATHER_NODE   [tab]     [tab]    CONTAINING_NODES    [tab]    TITLE     [tab]  TEXT   
        • NODE_ID - The node's "address" or "alias".
        • FATHER_NODE - When you press the up arrow in the help system, it will navigate to the FATHER_NODE.
        • CONTAINING_NODES - a list of node IDs (separated by spaces) which will auto-generate links to this note by using the command [CMD_CHILDREN].
        • TITLE - the entry's title.
        • TEXT - The actual description. See Text format below.
      • Text format:
        • Creating links:
          Code:
          ~Displayed Text~[LINK_NODE_ID]
        • Creating line breaks: There's a special character used for this. I just copy-paste from other entries.
          There might be issues with using simple text editors. Personally, I just use BeyondCompare, seems to work fine.
        • [CMD_CHILDREN] will create an auto-generated list of all the entries that list the current node in the CONTAINING_NODES field.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2010
  2. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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  3. taltamir

    taltamir Established Member

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    can someone else pick up where he dropped off? (as in, ME... not asking an arbitrary "you" out there to do so)
     
  4. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    I don't see why not, but your lack of capitalization has me concerned. ;)
     
  5. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    That's what this thread is for, Tal :) Go for it.
     
  6. taltamir

    taltamir Established Member

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    That is limited to forum posts. I will take great care to proofread and not cut corners when working.

    Should I resurrect the other thread or did you mean this thread?
    And do you want me to post modified files or just text in the forum to be implemented by someone on the team?
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  7. Gaear

    Gaear Bastard Maestro Administrator

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    I'm sure this thread would be fine, and you could at least start by just posting text here that we could cut and paste into the proper files if you don't care to get in too deep.
     
  8. taltamir

    taltamir Established Member

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    Will do.

    Question, does "detect magic" actually allow someone to concentrate for 3 rounds to glean more info? AFAIK in TOEE it only shows items as magical or not, it does not actually tell you the school of the magic or its power level.

    A few spells say "in TOEE this can do such and such" to denote differences from pen and paper. Should I aim to include such clarifications whenever TOEE differs from pen and paper, or remove such qualifiers and only describe what things do within TOEE without such note?

    Or start a discussion about each relevant spell and see what people think on a case by case basis?

    EDIT: Looking through it, most items in the "craft wonderous item" simply have no description, and a short description can easily be copy pasted from within the SRD. (ex: Amulet of Health This amulet is a golden disk on a chain. It usually bears the image of a lion or other powerful animal. The amulet grants the wearer an enhancement bonus to Constitution of +2, +4, or +6.)

    Looking it up there instead what I post here would be equal amount of work. So I think I should probably go ahead and actually do something more than just copy paste out of the SRD, such as inputting it in a correct format in a file of some sort.

    I am going to start reading through the editing tutorials here Which file contains the item / spell descriptions?
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  9. taltamir

    taltamir Established Member

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    ok. I am having some trouble with the dat extractor, in the meanwhile I will start by listing things. And I guess there is some work to be done editing the info in the SRD.

    EDIT: I crafted a few of those. While there is no description in the crafting screen, there is an item description available when you shift+click on it. So copy pasting the shift + click description to the crafting menu itself would work for most items.

    I do have a suggestion though, start with a short specific description and then continue with the fluff.

    SRD example:
    Amulet of Health +2
    This amulet is a golden disk on a chain. It usually bears the image of a lion or other powerful animal. The amulet grants the wearer an enhancement bonus to Constitution of +2.

    My suggestion:
    Amulet of Health +2
    Slot: Amulet
    Enhancement Bonus: Constitution +2
    Appearance: This amulet is a golden disk on a chain. It usually bears the image of a lion or other powerful animal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  10. taltamir

    taltamir Established Member

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    Robe of the Archmagi (black): no problems
    Robe of the Archmagi (gray): should have "Prereq: Alignment: Neutral"
    Robe of the Archmagi (white): currently says "Prereq: @-2Alignment: Good"; should say "Prereq: Alignment: Good"

    all three have a description that is spilling out of the description box, but I am using wide screen mod so I am not sure if it normally does so (will test more later)
     
  11. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    Most of the relevant files are in the data\mes folder:


    • spell.mes -
      • Contains all the brief spell descriptions (shown when hovering the cursor over a spell in the character/inventory UI).
      • The description entries are in the 5000-6000 range.
      • e.g.:
        Code:
        {5437} Slay Living {[Necromancy] Touch attack kills subject, unless creature makes a Fortitude save.}
        
      • From my experience with dialog files, the game ignores anything outside the curly brackets. Still, it doesn't hurt to stick to the above format.

    • help.tab -
      • Contains the elaborate hyperlinked Help System entries.
      • Example entry format:
      • Code:
        TAG_ABILITY_SCORES    TAG_ABILITIES            Ability Scores    Ability scores are created by rolling four six-sided dice. For each of the six ~abilities~[TAG_THE_ABILITIES] roll the four dice, disregarding the lowest die roll and totalling the three highest ones. The result is a number between 3 (horrible) and 18 (tremendous). The average ability score for a typical commoner is 10 or 11, but your characters are not typical.Your rolls will be displayed on screen. If you are unhappy with them, you have the option of rolling again (not in the ~Ironman Mode~[TAG_IRONMAN] however) until you are satisfied with them. You then will need to assign the six die rolls to that character's ~abilities~[TAG_THE_ABILITIES].After each assigned die roll, the ~ability modifier~[TAG_ABILITY_MODIFIERS] will be displayed. Finally, it is important for spellcasters to know which ability governs bonus spells for their particular type of magic. ~Wizards~[TAG_WIZARDS] use ~intelligence~[TAG_INTELLIGENCE]; ~clerics~[TAG_CLERICS], ~druids~[TAG_DRUIDS], ~paladins~[TAG_PALADINS], and ~rangers~[TAG_RANGERS] use ~wisdom~[TAG_WISDOM]; ~sorcerers~[TAG_SORCERERS] and ~bards~[TAG_BARDS] use ~charisma~[TAG_CHARISMA]. If the spellcaster's abilitiy score is 10 or lower, you will not be able to cast spells tied to that ability.
      • the "TAG_X" signifies an entry's handle.
      • As you can see, you can create hyperlinks in the following format: ~link text~[TAG_X].
      • So for example, suppose you wanted to add links to available enchantments in the Craft Magic Arms and Armor entry - you'd have to look up "Craft magic arms and armor" inside the help.tab file, and change the existing entry:
        Code:
        TAG_CRAFT_MAA    TAG_FEATS_DES            Craft Magic Arms and Armor    You can create magic weapons, armor, and shields.     Prerequisite: Caster level 5th.     Benefit: You can create any magic weapon, armor, or shield whose prerequisites you meet.  Enhancing a weapon, suit of armor, or shield takes one day for each 1,000 gp in the price of its magical features.  To enhance any of the above items, you must spend 1/25 of its features' total price in XP and use up raw materials costing one-half of this total price.     The weapon, armor, or shield to be enhanced must be a ~masterwork~[TAG_MASTERWORK] item that you provide.  Its cost is not included in the above cost.       You can also mend a broken magic weapon, suit of armor, or shield if it is one that you could make.  Doing so costs half the XP, half the raw materials, and half the time that it would take to craft that item in the first place.
        By adding, for instance:
        Code:
         Available enchantment effects: ~Holy~[TAG_HOLY]~Frost~[TAG_FROST]
        etc.
        (note that apparently the Holy, Frost, etc. entries already exist, they just aren't linked from anywhere)
      • Line Breaks:
        Apparently there's a special linebreak character used in that file (). I haven't tested what happens when it gets replaced with an ordinary linebreak, but I suppose it's worth testing.

    • description.mes, long_description.mes -
      • Contain item descriptions in a fairly straightforward format.

    • spell_enum.mes -
      • This one's in the data\rules folder.
      • Contains references to the Help System for every spell in the 20000 range. Some of the new spells have no such reference (and no help.tab entries either).
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2009
  12. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    You don't need a dat extractor, you know, the files are already there if you're using the Co8 mod.

    As for entry format guidelines:

    Sounds ok to me.

    If the PnP description is very longwinded and irrelevant, I vote for the latter, otherwise the former.
    Nah, I think that's too redundant and time consuming for something like this.


    No idea. Unfortunately in ToEE the CRPG, such divination spells are fairly worthless.
     
  13. Shiningted

    Shiningted I want my goat back Global Moderator

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    We could add a floatline-base system that could do that. Liv was working on something similar for Detect Evil, so you got the 'stunned' effect if you tried it n a high-level character.
     
  14. Sitra Achara

    Sitra Achara Senior Member

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    How do you detect NPCs entering the cone?
     
  15. Basil the Timid

    Basil the Timid Dont Mention the War

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    Sorry for the tangent, but why was Read Magic chosen by Co8 to ID potions and not Detect Magic. Is it because the latter cannot be targeted to affect inventory, or could it?
     
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