Update 5/22/2023 – Quest Machine/Writer Roadmap

Alutra recently built a very complex “Quest Machine” that reads all the work he has done in his “Quest Spreadsheet” and compiles it into a set of scripts and spits out a finished quest. This will save the team hundreds or thousands of hours of work manually creating these quests.

Quote from Alutra –

“As mentioned, I’ve been hard at work on something that will be a boon to quests in EQOA. Slight backstory for those that don’t know;

I had been working on a format to write EQOA quests for years, but in 2020 I made a complex Excel workbook that guides a writer through all the steps of writing a quest. It walks them through all 1-20 starter city quests (there are 75 race class combos, 10 starter quests each = 750 total starter quests). This workbook compiles each of the 10 quest set into 1 giant spreadsheet. There weren’t any programmers at the time ready to interface on quests (Hagley and EQOAEmu existed, but weren’t ready yet) so I had to do a lot of guesswork as to what a programmer would need. Anyway, I’ve written about 270 quests using this tool. I’ve had to pause to work on general dialogue and other things, but looking forward to getting back to the writing.

Fast forward to this year, TargetAcquired has worked on code to get quests going in EQOAEmu. I believe he got Freeport Magician lvl 1-15 quests done. He was reading the spreadsheets and writing the code on the spot. All this worked well but was really time-consuming. There are many micro steps to make a quest. I wanted to see if I could help and asked to look at the Lua code where the quests were written. I’m not a programmer, but an avid Excel enthusiast and had the theory that I could get Excel to read previously written spreadsheets and write the Lua code automatically. So the last several months that is exactly what I’ve been working on. The new Excel workbook (I call it the Converter) is almost done. We are pretty much just stomping out some bugs at this point, and have successfully written and tested the code for several quests.
What does this mean? This means that

A) We will be able to convert the already written 270 quests into code in short order
B) all future written quests can be added to the server quickly

Most importantly, this frees up the programmers from doing 1000 hours of grunt programming, to get the quests in.

An adjacent topic here is that in order for the quests to work, the “support content” has to be in place. Quest NPC’s, Mobs, merchants, items, store lists, mob drops, etc all have to be set up. In a lot of cases, this work is already done, but there are some missing details here and there regarding support content that still need fleshing out. So even if the quest data is there, some of those support details might be missing at first.”

Alutra also updated us with his personal roadmap.

*Finish bug testing the quest-to-code converter
*Stamp out the existing 270 quests into code
*Go back to general dialogue and finish all general dialogue content for the world. I think we are at maybe 50%, not exactly sure.
*Go back to quest writing and finish all quests
*Assist with any missing database details