Picture Wars

Full Version: How to match, beginner and advanced edition.
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Hello everyone, while I realise most of you are too busy wondering why exactly I'm so beautiful, others are sat around wondering how exactly I'm so good at matches. Well today I will tell you exactly why, it's mainly because I taught myself pretty much everything I know. In other words, I learnt from the best, and in this thread, so shall you.
The art of matching is the most important skill to master in PW, for matching is PW itself. You can have a beautifully sprited army which falls flat on its face due to ill thought out fluff or downright boring descriptions. Similarly, an averagely sprited army can quickly gain popularity simply due to the way you use them in a match.
Of course, all this relies on you knowing how to go about making your turns, so before we get into that I'll give the new people a little run through the basics and everything you'll need to know to start playing Picture wars.

Match Types
There are quite a few different kinds of matches, ones beyond those listed are likely part of Gamemodes or are a glorified sandbox.

Regular Match - PW in its purest form, the regular match usually consists of two armies doing battle on a normal map, more players can be present but usually those matches die quickly. (After all, relying on 1 person rather than 3 certainly gives you a better chance of completing a match)
Example Match title:
No chance in hell - SuperChocobo VS. Mirokan

Defend the Keep - This match sees one or more armies in a defence position, usually prebuilt with no means of extra units surviving against continuous waves of an opposing army. DTK maps often have a big base built into the map
Example Match title:
[DTK] : A Birthright Strikes! - Photocopier VS. Phtoot

Arena - A match on a small map with a preset army, it is unusual for there to be any way of making new units. Usually arenas are used by those wanting to quickly get into action to test an army. Often seen as a somewhat lazy and boring match type.
Example Match title:
[Arena] :  Northern Monkeys  - Ziggurat VS. Deathstrike

Sandbox - Usually a match which everyone can join, sandboxes often take place on huge maps and have many people playing, great for new players, testing out new armies and general chaos. Not so great for a story based conflict. (Many different kinds of match types fall into this category as sandboxes can have a variety of different rules to change them)

Farm - A match performed by a single person to demonstrate an army or to tell a story of a part of that army's fluff. A dying breed of match, they often never even get close to ending due to the poster getting bored.
Example Match title:
[Farm]: Inverted Nipples - The Void

The Match
It's best to start an example off by using the Regular Match type, you can assume that this is part of a match which has been going on for some time and we're witnessing a small skirmish on an outpost. The armies I'll use are my very own Conflict Age Cocos, and some rather nice Robots from LtObvious. (Map also by Lto <3 )

First things first, let's paste our units in who have just arrived at an enemy building via a cave system.
[Image: tute1.png]
Ok you'll want to open your sprite sheet and select the unit you want to paste in and copy it, in this case the Scouting Mech.
[Image: tute4.png]
When you paste you'll want to make sure that your secondary colour is set to the background colour of the spritesheet you've just copied from (For me, it was white) this applies all the time when you're moving or copying sprites - if you don't want it to drag the background with it, set your secondary colour to the colour of the background. For this to actually work of course, you'll need to have selected the background transparency option, which is circled in red.
[Image: tute2.png]
Now we'll need the Mech to face the other way, to do this right click while selected and choose the rotating option.
[Image: tute3.png]
Select horizontal flip and click ok to continue, your sprite should now have been turned round - place it where you want it to be.
[Image: tute5.png]
Ok so we've got the scene ready, now it's time to actually begin some turns.
[Image: tute6z.png]
Ok first up some movement, in general you shouldn't have your units moving vast amounts of distance in a turn - it looks kind of silly and in most cases could be perceived as unfair. Of course this can all vary on a number of different things, if the distance to get to the enemy is long you'll generally want your units to move a little faster, no one wants to see 3 turns of travel. On the flip side, if you're close to your enemy, magically walking straight past him and his mates and shooting them all in the back is a little silly! With movement, and pretty much everything else in PW the key is to use Common Sense.

Ok so our mech has moved forward a tad and the Cocos behind it have taken cover behind some crates, later on I'll talk about turn descriptions but we'll keep it simple for now.

[Image: tute6.png]
Our enemy looks like he's preparing for combat, let's teach his mech a lesson shall we?

[Image: tute7.png]
Right, here is where things get a tad more complicated, right now our mech has fired but as you can see his projectile is frozen in mid-air. The often unspoken rule is that projectiles from weapons which could cause heavy damage tend not to hit their target immediately, while shots from small arms almost always impact within the same turn they are shot.

There is also a rule which can be used in two different ways which I sometimes (never) refer to as the "Projectile Rule" the P-rule governs how exactly a projectile acts in each turn and the two major ways this can occur depends entirely on how you and your opponent wish to play things.
1. The projectile stays where it is in your opponent's turn, to leave you to edit it in your next one.
2. The projectile impacts on your opponent's turn, its damage and direction are decided together with, or solely by your opponent.
Personally I recommend 2, it keeps the spirit of fair play alive and also prevents projectiles being stuck in mid-air for more than 2 half turns (which looks awfully stupid) though it is up to you and your opponent - it is however best to decide what way to treat projectiles before you start a match.

[Image: tute8.png]
We'll assume we have decided to go with option 2, our opponent kindly allows our projectile to deal a critical blow to his Mech, also note that he has cleaned up our effects. This is something which is almost disgracefully overlooked in many PW matches, even by experienced members. Remember Always clean up your opponent's effects in a non-sandbox match. Explosions which last longer than a projectile takes to hit are pretty ridiculous after all.

It looks like your enemy has shot your mech up a bit, remember to clean the effects!

[Image: tute9.png]
Ok so we've cleaned up our own muzzle smoke, and cleaned up the enemy's firing effect and his mech - It's always handy to keep a spritesheet of your opponent's army handy for when you need to edit their sprites.

At this range it's safe to say that Coco can get a pretty decent shot in, but we need to consider that he is also shooting a robot made from a presumably futuristic alloy, so despite we get a nice shot to the head it only manages to smash his visor. Generally most units will die in one shot, but allowing some to survive can give an interesting twist - turning a regular soldier into "That one that survived the attack" from there your opponent can go onto make that soldier a named character now something of importance has happened to him. Even if they don't become a plot-vital character, it's still nice to see some beat up and scarred soldiers around.

For now I'll end the example here, and do a small summary with a Very Important side note. Next I'll talk about base building, resource usage and match flow. After I'll mention Characters and fluff, and how we can really make a match a beautiful thing with turn descriptions.

- Move your units depending on the situation, if you're close move them small distances, if you're far move them somewhat large distances
- Choose how Projectiles will be treated, with option 2 usually being the most desirable
- Always edit your opponent's effects, left over effects make for messy matches
- Don't pull of beautiful shots from half way across the map
- Be reasonable with damage, your shit isn't always going to be a headshot and sometimes may even miss completely
- Use Common sense with all these things, and you should be fine.

Useful links for matching -
Gamefinder thread - http://picturewars.net/smf/index.php?topic=23.0

Super Incredibly Important Side Note Which Should Probably Be More Than A Side Note
While PW is a game, and many forms of it can be competitive the sole purpose of it is to have fun. Due to the nature of PW, being unbalanced is very easy to do by accident and if you take winning too seriously you can find yourself getting very upset about actions your opponent may perform. Above all, matches provide entertainment to you and your opponent, but also to those reading it - If the entire thread is full of both of you arguing people are generally going to be put off reading that match (And probably any future matches). To make a match interesting it is necessary to be unbalanced within reason which is why communication with your enemy is paramount, how much you speak is up to you. I shall go more into the communication aspect when explaining a match's more advanced features (Plot and Characters). I insist however that if you take one thing away from this tutorial it is that PW is not all about winning

Base Building, Resources and Match flow

A somewhat crucial part of many matches is the idea of your army building a base, bases provide pretty much everything to your fighting force. From factories to breeding grounds, it is understandable why many armies can't do without them. However this also raises issues, it is possible to build a base too fast or too slow and as with most things in PW will often have to be adjusted as the match goes on. While I won't be telling you how to sprite a base, I'll be giving advice on how to adjust your base building and remember - Contact with you opponent is vital!

If your intention is to only use your base for breeding and minor defence, or even as a staging ground for the final battle you should probably take it's building somewhat slow. After all the focus of your match is less on the base and more on the fighting. The same can also apply to those of you wanting your base to become a major weapon, let's say for example it gets legs and begins to walk I won't be the first to say that that happening within 20 or so turns is probably a little fast! On the flip side, you may want your base to be relatively large from the beginning if you intend to have a match based more on the infiltration of bases. It's somewhat tricky getting the speed at which you build bases right, but as long as it's ok with your opponent don't be afraid to do a bit of Turbobasing. Turbobasing is when you build a part of your base, or finish your base at an accelerated rate because you've buggered your timings up earlier on, it's pretty handy and even I've had to do it on a number of occasions. Generally how a base is built relies entirely on, beyond match focus, a game's flow.
[Image: tute10.png]
A nice example of a late game Goblin Base (By Metal Chao)

Game flow is pretty much what is happening and how fast, it governs most of your actions which take longer than a turn. That is -
Breeding, Construction (Bases/vehicles) and even major weapon countdowns. This is somewhat hard to explain so I hope you'll understand me, it's mostly just common sense (as usual) and once again it requires communication with your opponent.

I'll give an example using Metal Chao's goblins, and my own Cocos.
[Image: tute11.png]
Here we see a breeder making quite a lot of Cocos, in fact he's been making one every turn up to press!
[Image: tute12.png]
Unfortunately the goblin mother has had a bad case of Baby Constipation, and has only managed to squeeze one out. The idea now is for me, as the Cocos to agree with Chao to stop making them so fast. So while I reduce my breeding to maybe 1 per 2 or so turns, Chao would increase his to around 1 per turn. That way the baby making is somewhat equalised and the match can continue on with more interesting fights (Unless plot specific, 1 sided battles are pretty boring to watch)
[Image: tute13.png]
If you apply these general ideas to most of your extended actions it will be pretty hard to go wrong.

- Adjust rates of actions according to your opponent or intended actions
- When wanting an adjustment of breeding or base building, consult with your opponent (If you wish for him to slow down, or if you wish to speed up)
- Common sense as always!

Quick Note about resources
Resources aren't often used in PW these days, they're finicky things and often end up being completely forgotten late game (even if used exclusively to begin with) it's up to you if you want to make resources important during your match - they're usually quite nice at the start of medieval matches but generally are quite annoying to keep track of.

Turn descriptions, plot and characters
No pictures here I'm afraid, but bare with me - this is potentially one of the most important parts of making your match something enjoyable and if done right will help to expand your army fluff too!

Let's start with Plot. Having some form of match plot is a great start to making it more interesting to read, let's list some ways we can go about doing this.
1. Full communication with Opponent - This is where almost everything plot significant is decided by both of you before it happens, all major happenings are planned and performed in the way you both decided. This can be very good for story heavy matches, but to some might remove the fun out of wondering what your opponent is about to do next.
2. Half communication - Probably the most frequent plot development, this is where parts in the storyline are decided beforehand but for the most part the match is played out and improvised along the way, this can often make a very interesting match for the players as they come up with ways to meet the specific points in the story.
3. Minimum communication - With this you'll set out an ending point, a place to work towards. Everything in between is improvised based on what is occurring during the match, the two players don't really discuss much beyond your general match manners.

In the end how you do this is up to you, I personally find 1 and 2 to be the more fun ways of doing a match, others will find 3 more desirable and some may like no communication at all!

While I cannot tell you exactly what to do with your plot, it helps to think about certain things when deciding what exactly is going to happen. Why are the two armies present? (assuming it's a 1vs1 match) Are they friendly to begin with? If so what sparks the conflict? If not, why? Is there an extra sinister force present? Will there be in fighting? Does a big event occur? If so does it change the armies in any way? Does it change the world?
Just asking yourself questions like this can really help to get some form of plot planned, you can always start a match with a basis and come up with stuff as you go along. Heck you can even add an extra player in to surprise people! Just try to keep it cool and interesting and you'll be well on your way to making a match worthy of MY AMAZING SKILL (Not likely but it's nice to aim high)

Turn Descriptions
Turn descriptions are an equally important part of delivering the plot well, but also of telling your opponent and everyone else what exactly has happened in your turn. There is one rules I want you all to burn into your minds, because to break it is to break my heart.
Never Leave a turn description blank.
When you don't have much to talk about, or when what has happened is obvious you're presented with the perfect opportunity to delve into the history of your army a bit, or to have your units strike up a bit of conversation with each other. Let's spruce up some pretty boring non eventful descriptions.

Quote:Two Coco builders continue construction on the castle
A caveling appears in the caves below
Ok, it gets the job done but it's not really very interesting. Let's add some speech to give these two builders a bit more character (Often having specific phrases etc to fit in with your army is good)

Quote:One of the builders wipes the sweat off his brow, evidently fed up with his work. He sighs and turns to his workmate who is also working on the expansion of the castle
\"I'm not quite sure why we're buildin' this 'ere lad\"
The other builder turns round to meet his look and chuckles
\"To be honest, neither am I. 'er grace must be testin' us eh?\"
\"That or our captain is a madman!\"

Meanwhile, a caveling is awakened by the sound of work - his next meal is close.
Generally this post gives a pretty boring task a bit more character, and if we really wanted we could add in some history regarding the caveling. That way we get to see the opinions of the workers and get a bit of back story on a fluff-related creature.

Quote:Cavelings, for those not quite in the know are blind beasts infamous in Coco stories for their brute strength and violence. They are often red, with a large mouth being their primary feature. Using nothing but smell and sound, these creatures can detect Cocos or otherwise from deep within their cavernous habitats. It is said that in the early medieval days, the Grand Knight's first reincarnation himself rode one of these mighty beasts to battle. It quickly became a solo warrior's test of courage - He who has slain a Caveling had proven himself more than worthy to lead armies of mercenaries, or even in some cases the king's armies themselves. However slaying and taming are vastly different, and no Coco since the Grand Knight has ever tamed a beast of this strength.
It's so easy to fill in a blank description, that it surprises me that even these days we still get them.

All too often the first turn in a match is delivered with no backstory and no reasoning. The army just turns up and that is that. Why not set the scene? Prepare the readers for the story which is about to unfold in the match.

Quote:A group of Cocos arrive in some mountains, lead by Dracoco
For my first turn in a match with Metal Chao, I could have easily put something like this. Instead I told readers their reasoning for being there, went into a bit of backstory regarding Dracoco, and set them up for the match to come.

Quote:A band of Cocos militarily led by Dracoco and funded by the Hermit Priest (Being a hermit, one might question how he obtained the money) Cocoswald arrive inside a nearby cave. The group has set off in search of an ancient ruin said to exist in this general area. A crystal of great power is said to be hidden within these ruins, having never studied items with supposedly magic qualities Cocoswald decided he had to organise a trip to this place in order to further his knowledge in this area.

Dracoco is a Captain of a band of Coco mercenaries known for their excessive usage of mechanical barrels, or \"Barrellers\" to the Cocos. He has a close tie-in with the famous Badger Brigade, and has the modified Magnolias Horn to call upon them for reinforcements or supplies as needed. It is worth noting Dracoco's experience in battle and life in general, he is the first Permaseedling to lose it's permanent infancy and grow into a Coco and thus has great knowledge and experience of the world around him. As such he is well known by other groups of mercenaries for his prowess in both tactics and combat itself. Some say he is blessed by her grace, others say he is a freak mistake of nature and more aligned to FatherCoco's ideals. Perhaps he will become a great hero, or perhaps he will spend the rest of his days escorting mad priests to magical crystals.

No one can tell for sure.
Much better, I'm sure you'd agree. While you won't quite attain my standards of beauty, it is worth putting a large amount of effort into your turn descriptions. I can guarantee you it will make your matches many times better, more so than any improvement of sprites could ever do.

- Never Leave a turn description blank
- If nothing much has happened, add some banter or history
- Give a reason for your army's actions, show what they're thinking via speech or description
- Make your first description a good one, it really helps to gain interest from readers.

One final thing I'd like to delve into is the idea of Characters - named units who are a tad more powerful than your everyday unit and have a somewhat divine plot protection. How you go about making characters is up to you, I'm just here to advise you use them because of how great they are.

A character for the most part is a plot-important unit, one which will have some impact on the story in the future or at least have abilities which make him worthy of naming. A normal unit can also become a character after surviving an event, or being part of something which justifies giving them a name (such as a normal man being the first of his race to be taught magic) A character can make the difference between a good match and a great match, for an almost certain crowd pleaser the reintroduction of a past character who was popular in a previous match is a great thing to do. Once you start using characters you'll hopefully, like me, want to tie them in with different plot lines which already exist - this gives fluff lovers a great opportunity to write big back stories for their characters.

For example, the Coco's "Steam Badger" was a character in a match many years ago, due to his popularity I weaved him into the fluff of the Cocos and came up with his very own history, in a recent match he made a reappearance - adding even more to his fluff and eventually making me dedicate an entire age to him.

Of course it's also very easy to get carried away with the amount of characters you use, as such I recommend trying to keep them to about 1-3 in a match...too many more and names become hard to remember and their characteristics end up being much more diluted

- Characters provide a good way of advancing plot and having a unit people can form an opinion of and either like or hate (whichever is desired)
- Great for Fluff lovers, enabling reappearances of said characters to the delight of their fans
- Don't go overboard with characters though, too many can get confusing and stray from the original intention of characters (A purely unique unit)

A note on sub-turns
I only remembered this just recently! Basically sub turns are a great way of showing what happens during a match - They're basically small turns with descriptions telling what has happened in between the last turn and the current one (following all the rules still which I've listed!) As usual though it is necessary for you to talk to your opponent about these sub-turns as they can often seem to show you doing more in a turn than is perceived as fair. You'll be OK if you use them mostly for combat and try not to go too overboard.

Quick example of subturns -
[Image: birdmentime28a.png]
To which it would lead onto this (with some speech from the tree of course)
[Image: tute14.png]

So then, that pretty much concludes this massively huge big tutorial. I hope you honestly read it because I think it might just help! Of course if anyone notices I've been disgusting and missed out something obvious please tell me, I'll endeavour to add it in. Thanks for reading.

I admire you for typing all of this up. This is much better than the guide at Facepunch :v:


Superb work!
I agree with aliendrone, this is much better than FP-Tutorial and i actually learned something.
The guide at FP is actually the previous guide that was written up for the PW forums.
But yeah, gj choco.
I salute you and your work
This tutorial is so terrible blood sprayed from my eyes upon opening the topic. Now I'm blind. Thanks, jerkface.

Spoiler :
heh just kidding, good work
That's great. I have one problem. With the new MSPaint (I refuse to use the messy hell that is GIMP) how do you toggle that the background is transparent?
[Image: 5EqGz.png]

This maybe?
It seriously took me about 10 seconds to find that, and half of that was finding Windows 7 Paint (since I've deleted the shortcut to it).

Or you could just get Vista paint here or XP paint here or even GraphicsGale here.


Oh shit, he's sorry for being less awesome than you claim to be.
Saying something is easy to find =/= proclaiming myself God.
To be honest I have to agree with Elf, he's new and there's no reason to respond so harshly to an honest question
Wow why is there even arguing in this thread.

It's a tutorial for goodness sake of course people are going to be asking questions.
Just saying the images aren't working.
Yep, images are broken
(02-14-2016 09:35 PM)Chaotic Skies Wrote: [ -> ]Yep, images are broken

Well , he posted it 2 years ago , no need to add more two years after.I dont think hes still here to fix them anyway.
Please, don't necro dead threads unless it's really necessary. It's obvious, without anyone else pointing it out further, that the links are broken and probably will stay broken.
I'm not sure that necromancy applies to a subforum with only 3 threads in it. Maybe someone will come along that has the images.
Picture Wars before Oct 1, 2013
[Image: o56FENw.png]
Picture Wars after Oct 1, 2013
[Image: KuwL9iL.png]
(02-20-2016 09:45 AM)haribo841 Wrote: [ -> ]Picture Wars before Oct 1, 2013
[Image: o56FENw.png]
Picture Wars after Oct 1, 2013
[Image: KuwL9iL.png]

Hmm. What happned the first october 2013?
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