Hello, and a Big New Project!

Sorry if this should go in the Hello/Goodbye forum. I chose to come here because its a bit more of an introduction, but I might as well introduce myself.

My name is Cory. I'm one of those guys who played Graal way back in the day. I was probably around 10 to 12ish (guesstimates) when I played and I loved the game. It actually really effected my classes (middle school doesn't really count though) because I carried around a secret Graal folder with Graal maps and stuff that I would flick through during the day. I loved the game, being a huge Zelda fan, and thats what Graal was, a Zelda clone.

Anyway, we all know what happened and I stopped playing around 2001. Every once in a while I would check out what Graal had become, it was horrible. And every time I get the idea to start my own server with that 1.39 server that was floating around. Problem always was, how do you get more then 5 people playing? I think we can fix that though, and I'm really glad I found this place. This weekends been full of nostalgia and things I thought everyone else had forgotten about. It seems like everyone has different motivations here, but heres mine. I want to somehow bring back a game I loved, to play on the weekends and make friends on, to chat on, to have a good time. Yeah I'm 20 now and way busy with school (regardless of my grades in middle school I made it to university and now I'm a psych major.) And I think we can bring that back.

I don't know if any of you remember ShockedFrog, he ran the site graalupdate.8m.com and it changed urls a few times. I've bee emailing him and hes said some very true things about Graal.

[quote] The world was pretty good when it was more about adding things than destroying them. Avalon and Destiny were the first sign of the game being taken over by the minority, though the damage was only really done after the change to Tyhm's ideas - he did some good stuff, but I still wish he'd made his own server instead of messing with one that really didn't fit his methods.
The way players can obtain all hearts, weapons, items etc. - most MMOs turn into a level or equipment grind, I enjoyed the lack of any forced-for-progress grind, though PKing was the most common next step there was also the option of just exploring, lazing about and chatting, or hosting player events. The Game Coordinator team should have encouraged player events, but the prizes effectively meant people were only interested in staff events instead.
The potential for player content. While at the time I started (early 2000) it was pretty weak anyway, it was in late 2000 that it started to become clear that the game was being controlled by staff and a minority of players - Avalon and Destiny were the first sign, though the damage was only really done in 2001.
The playerbase - 400 players packed into a decent sized world was hugely fun. Going pay to play slashed the playerbase in half, but I think a lot of the damage was done by the world being so much larger that players didn't see so much of each other.
PKing was a mixed bag. Fun but ultimately pointless most of the time, I really enjoyed the times I actually had reason to PK - guild battles, or intentionally targetting random PKers as part of an anti-PK guild, that kind of thing. Sparring was pretty fun too, especially with different rules like agreeing to use certain NPCWs. While some no-pk areas are neccessary, I felt some places needed to stay PK - when the main bridge became a no-PK area, that really spoiled things.
That 'every man for himself' style was great. I've never liked people who think multiplayer games are about groups much :slight_smile: Not that I didn't like guilds - at least initially, they were usually just good small groups of friends, and that's the way I liked them. During the unofficial guild time (early 2000), the guild scene was really active, with all kinds of alliances and wars going on between them. The return of official tags wasn't a huge problem in itself (though the website was a bit of a hassle to go through) but after paying accounts became needed to make guilds, they developed into huge, kinda soulless things - I liked VV initially, they did a lot to start some enjoyable big guild battles, but eventually things just went too far.
Running Graal Update was fun, most of the time. I was a bit disappointed that a lot of areas of the site didn't get much attention, but the fact that the site as a whole was so surprisingly popular meant a lot to me.
Playing offline. As well as the official level sets, the Jedi Knights and Bravo offline games were enjoyable and losing offline saved games really destroyed them. The loss of offline multiplayer was a shame too, though I didn't use it much.
Loads of other stuff too, but I think that's enough for now. [/quote]

So, why isn't this just an intro? Well, for one I am working with the classic levels in my free time. (I work at the university library so they let me do homework there) and my girlfriend isn't a big fan of me sitting at a computer for hours, but she usually works a bit later than me, so that gives me some time. I'm pretty good with the level editor but not npc script, although people have been really helpful on IRC, and I'm surprised to see more people here then there. Get on IRC and get playing!

Well, my idea for a server, I’ll just post what I said in IRC. I want to maintain Graal classic like the “Graal apocalypse” never happened, yet still, keep on growing, player created content. I also want to clean it up a bit, divide it into islands. Heres what I said:

Of course, thats in so many worlds.

I wondered why there were only 2 players on a server at a time, asked around in IRC. And no offense, you guys don't advertise!

So I was thinking, I work on this, keep it from getting to large at first, (I'll add in more custom levels and larger islands, elements from other classic PWs to later) and get some friends playing. My girlfriends younger brother is really into this sort of thing. I know I dont want it populated by 13 year olds but still, they're a start. And I can start advertising all over the place. I mean, the original graal (olllldddd versions) that were just sub par clones of Zelda got big enough! Maybe with your guys help.

Also, ShockedFrog and I sorta came up with the idea of a Graal tribute site, a site tributing the way it was back when we played. And of course, I’d use that as an opportunity not only to be nostalgic, but to get people interested in this, and directly link here. I know Unixmad’s legal threats are bs, I’m not 13 anymore. I know theres no way hes going to be able to sue (or send the police! WOOOO!) from France to “take me away” over a near decade old game. Law just doesn’t work like that, or maybe I’m just really not familiar with French law :stuck_out_tongue:

Then, heres what will kill it or make it thrive. I don't know if any of you have an account on Something Awful. I searched archives for Graal online and there happened to be LOTS of goons who played, and were nostalgic. LOTS of goons (for those of you who arent SA members, a goon is just an SA member, in short) who were very interested in starting a goon server. They were just limited, they didnt have the level packs, the clients, or the 1.39 server that was floating around.

And for those of you who don't know, SA is a MASSIVE community. If we can build a small community here, explode the size, make it a COMMUNITY where people dont just try it out but become active in developing it, then there we have it, we've revived Graal the way it should be.

And I have to say, thank you for all your amazing work. And for not forgetting a (past) amazing game that had so much potential, we need to resurrect this and I really think if we all put a lot into it, we can. And keep the nostalgia that was classic (not like the p2p servers butchered classic) but a bit more well “organized” and able to attract new players. I’ve noticed the little advertising thats been done is either to the 10 year olds paying for crap Graal (do we really want them?) or people like me who had played so long ago.

All I want is this amazing Zelda clone back how it was, a free, open community. I’m hard to get a hold of sometimes, but any ideas or help, would be amazing. I will occasionally start up “beta” servers but my first goal is to divide main Graal into several islands. It sounds weird, but I have some good ideas. And maybe, not deleting some of the more useless stuff, but pushing it a bit to the side and replacing where it was with things a bit more impressive, monuments to what was, I dunno. Let me here your ideas, criticisms. If this is in the wrong place, sorry. I know its ambitious, but I’m 20 now, not 12. I think (hope) I have a greater understanding of what can and cant be done.

EDIT!!!: And I forgot to ask, I've gotten all the PW files from you guys to start with (WOW! What a collection) but which graal classic should I start with? Which one contains the most complete or latest levels/graphics?

[Levels] Graal Classic January 2000.rar
Graal Classic (2000).rar
Graal Classic - 12-9-06.rar
Old Classic.rar"?

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

Personally, I always liked the 2000 level pack of Classic. That was the old school, smaller version I remember playing a little back in the day. The 2006 pack should be Graal the Adventure, which was the huge revamp of the world into islands (kind of like you described?).

I like the enthusiasm in this post. I've read a thread or two at SA and they seem like ok people. I think we'd let anyone in to push our playercount up at this point anyways :stuck_out_tongue:

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

As I've read your post, I just feel happy. I'm 19, gonna be 20 this year, and always wanted this feeling back from playing graal when I was 10-11. I totally support your thoughts! Someone needs to host Graal Classic and keep it moderated.

Skip this file: Graal Classic - 12-9-06.rar that's CrapGraal Classic

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

The nostalgic SA members sound like a great move, as far as players go; here,
we tend to keep getting 12 year old trial players from places like UN on the shit graal who never even post on the forums or play (probably because the client was too complicated for them or because they were scared away by our awefull playercount :P), and every now and then we get an einstein who becomes a regular here and makes their own stuff, but we have little actual players :frowning:

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

Well, I'm glad to hear support from you guys. Makes me that much more set on doing this and doing it well.

I haven't decided how much to change things yet. Graal was open ended, I am not going to add in any running plot that goes from point a to point b (like they tried to accomplish near the end of when I stopped playing.)

I do though think some of those classic, simpler quests need to be a bit redone, it cant survive on the players who used to be there alone. And no offense to the old quests, but they can really be extended on.

I'll release each individual quest redone when, well a version is done. I want some opinions on if I'm improving on the original, or destroying the original (Even I can make mistakes)

For example, the Master Li quest. Its a classic (short) quest that everyone did right away, it can't vanish. It is just a simple hack and slash through a zig zag of trees fighting some standard baddies (are they supposed to be ninjas?) And so, I want to add a lot to this quest(for example.) Its still going to stay the same basic concept, but just designed a bit better and master Li isn't going to be look like a big toe anymore.

Graal City will stay mostly how it is, and a lot of other places important to the vibe of graal classic.

I’ve been playing through classic today, making notes though, and what do I do with places like Fuitads house? Or some of those other houses that are “just houses” outside of Graal city? They could be replaced easily with more “adventure” but would that be to much change? What would you guys think?

I want to add a bit more direction though, trying to keep to the philosophy that Graal is a Zelda 3 clone, just a Zelda 3 clone in a whole new world. And in all Zelda games, how do you progress a lot of the times? It isn't spelled out for you, but a perfect example is finding Sahasrala or whatever his name was, you have to go to Kakariko village and eventually find a villager who tells you where hes going.

I think Graal classic needs some more of this. More NPCs to get you going in the right direction, because on classic, if you weren't following a guide or didnt know where everything was by heart it was hard to get past a few extra hearts.

I don't want to be adding tons of fancy NPCs though, I think thats what separates a lot of sub par playerworlds from classic, the focus should be on level design and adventure. The concept needs to remain, you're an adventurer in this world and… whatever you want.

I’ve always looked towards the fox levels for inspiration, I thought they were amazingly well done and had an amazing ambiance to them. I want to add a lot of this, and the “islands” thing. I’ve noticed its been hard to explain where I’m going at with this, but its all about the “directionality” issue in graal. I think by dividing Graal up into subsections and cutting down a few things, replacing them with real adventure will make it a lot more beginner accessible, and gives me an opportunity to add some nice wilderness levels surrounding the islands and I think a bigger sense of exploration (like wind waker had.) Most everything will remain on one big island, it’d be dumb of me to cut up graal city in 5 island :stuck_out_tongue: but I just think a few things need to be cut and moved to the side.

So, I'll start posting these levels when I finish each quest. Or have an unfinished version, whenever. Any other ideas on how to keep classic, classic, yet more accessible and better, I would love to hear. I want it to be like p2p and the death of classic hadn't happened and we had been going on this whole time just like we had been 99-2001 (or before, thats just around when I started)

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

shockedfrog! All one word, all small letters!

I didn't just come here to complain about that :slight_smile:

While my main hope for the future is a new game that captures what makes Graal fun without any copyrighted stuff or being held back by some of Graal's limitations, I do of course enjoy the nostalgia a fair bit myself and I'm all for this just for fun.

So, a bunch of thoughts on everything again!

The name - 'Graal the Adventure' was the name of the game at the time I started (early 2000), until the serverlist was added, after which it became 'Main Server', then 'Graal Classic' when G2K1 was released. It then became 'Graal the Adventure' again. There's probably additional confusion because of 'Graal 2000', also known as 'Classic Graal', which were the poorly judged attempts at reviving the 2000 levels. Of course, we're newbies compared to those who started when it was just 'Zelda Online'.

As far as existing quests go, I think the main thing to focus on is bugfixes. One or two minor graphical adjustments might work in some places, but no crazy retiling of everything. That said, I agree that a few quests might benefit from bigger changes. Also, I'd like to see a lot of the completely broken content fixed or removed - some of the quests that were lazily disabled before I started, for example, it would be nice to repair the better ones and clear out others to make space for new things.

Since you mentioned it, my thoughts on one quest in particular - The Master Li quest. It's one most Graalians will remember, and a good one, but I do think it's one example of making sensible improvements. I don't know how many people figured out that they needed to buy the ninja clothes at Taylor Richards by themselves, but I do know many either read it in a guide, and some (like me) discovered it while playing with the offline level pack. While I'm not saying all quests should be obvious, for an item as essential and required as early as the axe was, it didn't quite feel right. Also, the fact that it was purely based on whether the player had bought the clothes at that shop was also kinda daft, as someone else who made the exact same outfit through other means would be denied entry, while someone who'd bought it yet changed later into something completely different would be allowed in. Perhaps it could be said that the visible outfit itself wasn't the determining factor - that perhaps it included some fancy accessory which is what the guards at the door were looking for? - but still, a stretch. Fighting off a bunch of baddies through the forest was good fun, though. So I'd like to see that kept the same, but the clothes part of the quest modified to make it a bit easier to access overall.

Houses are a tricky issue. At the time, so many of the houses meant something to someone - either because they made them or knew the people who did, or they squatted there, or enjoyed the content - whether just decorative stuff, or mini-quests, or out of the way sparring arenas. Whether they still mean as much today is another story, however. I don't think there's any simple way of marking what's essential and what isn't - for example, I'd argue that the houses of major Graalians such as Fuitad should stay, but at what point is someone considered important enough? I'd say SilenceCoG's place needs to stay simply because of the sparring arena, but there will be many who never fought there, and others who did and don't see it as such a good place as I did. Ideally I suggest leaving them initially intact, and allowing players to readjust to the world, deciding what they feel is essential. After a brief settling in period, make modifications on a case by case basis - have a council thread, list the scheduled demolitions and then if no-one bothers to reply with a reason to keep a specific place, then they can hardly complain if it gets demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Graal's world was odd in that stuff all seemed to fit together even though some of it was so random, and that was a great part of its charm. I'm not against shifting some things around, but don't let it become too organised. I don't really think Graal's world suits islands. I'm all for a limited number of warps to seperate island-ish places - the classic examples being Big City and Chaotica - and perhaps a case could be made for Avalon, which was a seriously flawed place but did have a certain style to it. I'm 100% against having one huge map seperated into a number of islands, though. Also, the classic Graal mainland not having much of a coast other than for decoration, seems to make later expansion fit better - cutting down a forest to open a new path seems sensible, for example, while shifting the entire coast just feels weird.

Giving clues as to where to go really depends on the size of the world, I think. At mid-2000 size, pre-Avalon, I think very few pointers would really be neccessary - perhaps one or two giving a few clues to the more important, but slightly obscure, quests. Perhaps the clues should be found through quests or minor secrets themselves - for example, an NPC appears if you kill all the baddies on an otherwise kinda pointless level, giving a clue. That method was used a few times in the old Graal levels, I think, though sometimes buggy.

And now to focus on fitting new content, since that is such an important thing and one that the admins of most 'fake classics' get wrong.
Things that matter to me:
1 - Filling the gaps. Not the spaces so much as all the unused houses - I'd love to see Big City filled up, with a mixture of places like Tseng Town and a few more humble houses, and I'd like to see some of the dead spots of the mainland given a little life. Just a little, though - it's good to have focus on some areas. Graal wouldn't be Graal without level13/level14 PK-fests. :slight_smile:
2 - Giving players real control over the world. Players encouraged to submit quests, which will be used for major rewards. While I'm completely against a 'hera' type system covering everything, I feel that having multiple quests contribute to one reward is reasonable on occasion. Also, having multiple quests with the same reward is also an option - a few of these existed in 2000, probably not usually intended but it did mean players had different options on how to get a few things and it also means players who've gotten everything can still enjoy doing the duplicate quests just for fun.
3 - Common sense. :slight_smile: Standard rules in terms of not letting players add stuff that completely unbalances things.
4 - Useful new stuff. I'd quite like a place where players can retrieve any NPCW they've earned, allowing them to delete ones that are cluttering up their inventory without losing them permanently. This would make adding new NPCWs without everyone needing to spend ages finding the one they want a lot easier. Also, perhaps charge some money to retrieve a NPCW, making gelat actually have a purpose. :slight_smile:

Anyway, this obviously doesn't anywhere near cover everything, just a bunch of random thoughts for the moment. And btw Cory, I'll get round to finding and sending that stuff sometime, hopefully. Some clue of where it is but the place is a bit of a mess right now. :slight_smile:

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

Ah, the great Wall of Text. I've scan read through the post…isn't anything we don't already know (for us oldbies).

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

Naturally :slight_smile:

Re: Hello, and a Big New Project!

You should come on the IRC channel shockedfrog. I didn't even know about this place until after I emailed you, how did you find your way here? lol

I hope you dont mind that I quoted you, you seem to be a lot better at wording all of that then me, and have a better idea of what made Graal a great game. I haven't gotten far past the idea stage yet with this (ran into some weird medical problems, I'm fine I think, but just weird stuff) but I think, people should start playing on Aidy's server to. I'm not sure what year his classic is from, but its pretty much the classic I remember (maybe a little too new)

I don't know if its against the rules to post a link here, but I came across the old Kharlia levels, the one that wasn't a real separate playerworld. I don't think anyones going to be to mad with a link to it, it wasn't really a leak but given out on the Valikorlia forums or something.