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Topic Subject: Farewell to the depths?
posted 01-29-02 06:55 PM EDT (US)   
I was browsing through a few dozen AoWII screenshots over at Gamespot last night when gradually something occured to me. Never more than two levels are indicated on the global minimap: surface and underground.

Are three map levels out?

~Fingers~

Replies:
posted 01-29-02 07:44 PM EDT (US)     1 / 28  
Well there's not that much difference really between Caverns and Depths in AoW1 is there? And from all that lava, that looks more like something you'd find in the Depths on an AoW1 map anyway, so I don't think you can tell anything from that. A more important question is will we be able to put the full range of surface features in the "underground" layers? I brought the question up awhile back when Josh noted that the underground would also have a "3d look" and his reply was only that there would be "a lot more objects" available for it. I see mountains there but they appear to be quite specifically "underground" mountains rather then "surface" mountains
posted 01-29-02 08:22 PM EDT (US)     2 / 28  
Ah more features in the underworld, we like that a lot. To bad the depts thing is gone though. I think it was a bit of a challenge keeping up with all that happened on 3 levels, not so on 2 levels.
posted 01-29-02 09:22 PM EDT (US)     3 / 28  
Hmmm... I too liked the 3-levels thing. It was quite innovating (at least compared with the 2 planes in MoM ).
If 3rd level is gone, let's hope the only underground level remaining will be more variegated than in AoW.

"This is NOT happening."

- Lucas of Hilm

posted 01-29-02 09:26 PM EDT (US)     4 / 28  
Well, why not be like Diablo, and have 16 levels?
posted 01-29-02 09:43 PM EDT (US)     5 / 28  
Hmm... I sense you are being a little sarcastic, aren't you?

"This is NOT happening."

- Lucas of Hilm

posted 01-29-02 11:09 PM EDT (US)     6 / 28  

Quoted from ChowGuy:

I brought the question up awhile back when Josh noted that the underground would also have a "3d look" and his reply was only that there would be "a lot more objects" available for it. I see mountains there but they appear to be quite specifically "underground" mountains rather then "surface" mountains…

I’ve read a few of those earlier comments as well and am hoping for some screenshots that reveal more of that ‘3d look’ down there. I wouldn’t have expected any difference in the terrain types available in the editor between two subterranean levels. Although as a mapmaker I would appreciate it dearly if the devs gave us the freedom to place any type validly, above or below ground. Let everyone's imagination run wild, for better or worse.

Perhaps Josh would give us some more info?

Quoted from ChowGuy:

And from all that lava, that looks more like something you'd find in the Depths on an AoW1 map anyway, so I don't think you can tell anything from that.

It’s the two little buttons along the top of the minimap I was going by. Unless everything has changed, they probably toggle the main view between levels. I saw no more than two buttons, ‘surface’ and ‘underground,’ in the screenshots I examined.

~Fingers~

[This message has been edited by Fingers (edited 01-29-2002 @ 11:18 PM).]

posted 01-29-02 11:12 PM EDT (US)     7 / 28  
What's wrong with 16 levels like Diablo? I mean it would be a wonderful game if it took us 100 earth years to finish a game.
posted 01-30-02 02:39 AM EDT (US)     8 / 28  
the 3rd level is gone, as it seemed pretty redundant w/ the 2nd level... the underground looks much prettier, with 3D walls, and a variety of terrains (I believe all terrains are available, but I haven't checked some of the weirder ones)...

Josh Farley
Programmer
Triumph Studios
posted 01-30-02 05:34 AM EDT (US)     9 / 28  
Great! Does it mean we'll have larger maps? Will we be able to have huge maps if we go for just one level instead than two in the editor?
(biggere is better, as everybody knows)

posted 01-30-02 11:02 AM EDT (US)     10 / 28  
Hmm... I was wondering if, along with the editor, all map-making tools will be released as well.
I mean: in AoW we couldn't create campaigns and couldn't edit all "fixed" aspects of the game (attributes, skills, etc.): is this going to change with AoW2 editor? Will it be more "developers-used-only-this-to-create-all-maps-and-campaigns-l ike"?

"This is NOT happening."

- Lucas of Hilm

[This message has been edited by Lucas of Hilm (edited 01-30-2002 @ 11:03 AM).]

posted 01-30-02 08:38 PM EDT (US)     11 / 28  
Me?? Sarcastic?? Noooo....

I am glad to see the third level gone though. Having three levels did seem to be tedious, especially since not many people seem to have liked having to go underground. Except for those maps with the terrain inversion, so it's like three levels of surface area. Now that was cool.

posted 01-31-02 01:27 PM EDT (US)     12 / 28  
Well... "De gustibus non est disputandum"

Anyway, ehr, Josh?
You aren't answering about Editor tools, so chances are that:

1) Triumph Studios has not yet decided which tools will be distributed with the game

OR

2) the editor WILL be a complete campaign generator and unit tweaker, but you don't wanna us to know that (sort of "SURPRISE! SURPRISE!" thing... )

OR

3) you didn't notice my question

OR

4) you're wondering why I'm asking questions when I'm not supposed to have an answer...


"This is NOT happening."

- Lucas of Hilm

[This message has been edited by Lucas of Hilm (edited 01-31-2002 @ 01:32 PM).]

posted 02-01-02 09:47 PM EDT (US)     13 / 28  
Thanks for responding, Josh. Hmmmm… but will the maximum size for each map level be quite a bit larger?

If not, the loss of a whole level strikes me as a potential minus, and I beg you guys to reconsider. True, the majority of maps created for the original AoW tend to be pretty unspectacular visually where they’ve made full use of two underground levels. But as Newsboy also mentioned, there are some really exceptional custom scenarios in which inversions enliven things so well down there. As the methods for employing terrain tricks grow less mysterious, such maps are appearing more and more it seems, and I dare say they have a high incidence of being popular among players who frequent this site. Hunters of Blood II, The City, and Athendore are just a few that come to mind -- some of the hugest 3lvl maps ever made for AoW, and the most fun to explore from my standpoint as a player. Far from plumbing the depths of redundancy, these gems should offer you a glimpse of the sort of design feats mapmakers would be willing to lavish on the underground, given the sequel’s enhanced terrain and editor tools. Take a look at them in the editor if you haven’t. Three fully developed, interesting levels, all of them.

~Fingers~

[This message has been edited by Fingers (edited 02-01-2002 @ 10:19 PM).]

posted 02-02-02 02:56 PM EDT (US)     14 / 28  
Sadly, for the depths, there can be but one outcome now. Fingers you know I agree with you, but I have the feeling that this is a foregone conclusion. I also doubt that the developers have even looked at the maps you speak of, (thanks for the mention). Maybe the argument of redundancy is more applicable to AoW I. I mean without inversion all that underground could get pretty boring. But now with most tile sets available in the underground it seems counter-intuitive.
So on the one hand you expand what can be done, but on the other hand you reduce it. In 'The Coming of the Dread Hobbit'
I used the depths as the astral plane. there are no direct connections to the underground. Fairwell depths.
posted 02-02-02 06:52 PM EDT (US)     15 / 28  
Hm...if the current map makers can make 1 surface and 2 underground look like 3 surface levels or one extremely huge surface only map, we can most certainly make 2 levels seem like 16 if we put our minds to it.


I am curious if that would mean the maps can be wider than the current largest size.


Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall
posted 02-02-02 08:25 PM EDT (US)     16 / 28  
You know what would be really cool
25 levels!
2 levels that are heaven
below that would be the sky( only flying units can go here)
then below that would be the normal terrain, then 20 levels of underground( more cavernous though, so you could have caverns 10 levels tall and so forth) then 2 levels of hell

neat huh?

posted 02-02-02 09:35 PM EDT (US)     17 / 28  
no
posted 02-02-02 09:37 PM EDT (US)     18 / 28  
(you are being sarcastic, right?)
posted 02-02-02 09:57 PM EDT (US)     19 / 28  
yep, but it would be somthing to see!
posted 02-02-02 10:32 PM EDT (US)     20 / 28  

Quoted from Newsboy555:

You know what would be really cool
25 levels!
2 levels that are heaven
below that would be the sky( only flying units can go here)
then below that would be the normal terrain, then 20 levels of underground( more cavernous though, so you could have caverns 10 levels tall and so forth) then 2 levels of hell

I think I am up to a game like that. It might take me a hundred years to win one map, but hey that is only a minor triviality.

posted 02-03-02 00:27 AM EDT (US)     21 / 28  

Quoted from Ffbj:

Sadly, for the depths, there can be but one outcome now. Fingers you know I agree with you, but I have the feeling that this is a foregone conclusion.

You’re right, it is sad. And on the surface it does seem rather counterintuitive, a step forward and backwards as it were. I do not doubt that AoWII will be a great game or that it will outshine AoW in more ways than I can guess. In fact, with only my very fuzzy picture of it pieced together from what has been revealed so far, even in light of a few things that don’t exactly strike my fancy, it already has all the makings of my favourite game ever. It’s just that with perhaps as much as 1/3 less space to work with, by golly geez, I just have to hope that particular ‘improvement’ it isn’t etched in stone quite yet.

Quoted from Ffbj:

I also doubt that the developers have even looked at the maps you speak of…

I can sympathize with Josh and company a little, since they are reportedly kept in confinement and slapped around on occasion by their evil master, who we all know grows positively bestial if their activities shift from finishing their work on the sequel. They would do well, though, to take a gander at those beautiful maps. Really they would. Minds might indeed change.

Also, (and I’ve only just thought of this) a developer might observe that the AoWH map archive keeps a download tally for each map that it contains; while its probably not a very good gauge of which maps are actually good, the raw statistics seem to suggest that players who do go there looking for scenarios may be more inclined toward trying the XL scenarios than the ones of smaller size. There are no signs of the huddled masses shying away from the prospect of big, long games. At any rate, I can say from personal observation that it is often the really, really huge maps that are popular with the PBEM crowd. And certainly in that section of the forum, where the bastion of AoW fandom does not fade a wink, folks are not biding their sweet time away for nothing playing the same maps over and anon. Not unless they’re fun to explore through and through, time and again. In all my time hovering around the fringes of the discussion forums on and off for the last couple years I always see the same old diehards from way back getting as deeply involved as ever in games with some of the original colossi. By Dix, for instance. I’m not sure, but I believe Dix’s maps were among the first to appear with inverted terrain, although he’s been gone from the community for an age as far as I know.

Why is HoBII still so popular then, one might ask? Because it’s deep, both literally and figuratively: brilliant for its storytelling, but in no small part for its spectacularly creative terrain on (Josh, Lennart, take note) three levels. Remove one level from such a map and I suspect the whole grand scheme would begin to pale. But maps like HoBII, The City, Athendore, and many others we are blessed with don’t grow pale or grow old, neither fester nor fade. No, never yet. Why? Because…(deep breath) they’re _deep_, with _three_ levels bursting at the seams with gorgeous detail.... Try to fit as much detail into two levels, and KABLAM!!!, things would burst. Or get all mashed and jumbled together hoplessly.

Keep it deep, I say. Mmmmm. Three layered lasagna. Three layers....

Incidentally, Ffbj and Blue (actually, it was you who wrote the story for HoBII, didn’t you? Yes, you did. ), and Dix (wherever), I have always considered you my mentors and your maps my chief inspiration for making a couple of my own. I never would have bothered but for you.

~Fingers~

[This message has been edited by Fingers (edited 02-03-2002 @ 00:55 AM).]

posted 02-03-02 00:57 AM EDT (US)     22 / 28  

Quoted from Fingers:

Incidentally, Ffbj and Blue (actually, it was you who wrote the story for HoBII, didn’t you? Yes, you did. ), and Dix (wherever), I have always considered you my mentors and your maps my chief inspiration for making a couple of my own. I never would have bothered but for you.

I think many mapmakers feel the same way as you do Fingers. Truly ffbj, blue and many others have inspired many of the new mapmakers to make incredible maps. To turn the praise on you, Fingers, I have always seen you as a wonderful mapmaker to look up to. In terms of single-player made scenarios, there aren't many who come close to rivaling you. I have played FoG and MoG many times over. I personally prefer your touch where you make the underground seem like the overworld, yet still retain the vestiges of the underground (The underground feel isn't that bad, when used appropriately).

BTW great observation that the AOWII game only has a max of 2 levels.

posted 02-03-02 08:27 AM EDT (US)     23 / 28  
Hey Fingers always nice to hear from you. I think there is some co-inspiration going on there. Anyway thanks. Yes Dix was certainly an inspration to me, and I think he was the first, and the best map-maker to use inversion. Also thanks Tekk for your many fine comments. And to Blue whose continued
support and CMM page were a great help. There continue to be some really fine maps coming out and it's nice to think I had a small part in their creation.

Fingers, I agree about the massive maps, though some may shy away from them, they give you the feel of a really huge world,
that you can get lost in. Took 2 months to finish HOB II.
(Go read my short story, 'An Ancient Tail' on the story board).

posted 02-05-02 10:28 PM EDT (US)     24 / 28  
Let the praise go all round then, Tekk. Your Silmarillion - Dagor Bragollach is a stunning depiction of those earlier histories, and in my opinion one of the best Tolkien--themed maps around. I think many would agree. (psssst... check it out!)

Not to doubt your creative genius, Ffbj, but... ewwwww! Nasty human-like beings -- they should have left those poor, defenseless brains in peace.

~Fingers~

[This message has been edited by Fingers (edited 02-05-2002 @ 10:35 PM).]

posted 02-05-02 11:48 PM EDT (US)     25 / 28  
hm thanks for the nice comments. I really love working on those inverted maps and putting 'history' into them. Dix was the first to make inverted terrain maps that don't crash (Dix is here.. he's just lurking - I think I saw him online while surfing here last night... hehe)

I like FFBJ's action packed maps too. I tried to do that with one of my own solo-creations, which unfortunately didn't turn out all that great. lol

I noticed the new bunch of maps just recently... I haven't been playing much AOW (or anything) of late - taking a break from it all. I need to get AOW back to take a look at Tekk's work.

I'm glad that site of mine helped some. It was meant to complement Jpinard's map ratings site. (don't know where he is... but I know he has his own URL: www.jeff-pinard.com , but it has been inactive)


ah.. when there is imagination, the possibilities are endless.


Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall

[This message has been edited by Bluecollarheaven (edited 02-05-2002 @ 11:55 PM).]

posted 02-06-02 11:54 AM EDT (US)     26 / 28  

Quoted from Fingers:

At any rate, I can say from personal observation that it is often the really, really huge maps that are popular with the PBEM crowd.

Indeed. 99% of all PBEM games I've played are XL, 3 levels. Love it! Unfortunately, some of these games are hurt by the fact that the game gets overwhelmed by shear number of objects on the map and crashes a lot when the game gets really bit (around 700-800k).

If reducing the game to two levels means that the largest, busiest maps don't crash, that's okay with me, but I will miss 3 levels.

posted 02-06-02 12:38 PM EDT (US)     27 / 28  
I like to make my maps huge...I just want to stuff all my ideas into one map, good or bad.

And if we talk about Dix, he was inspiration to me, well especially his HoB II map, my all time favourite.


- All you need is love -

The Wizards of Creation

posted 02-06-02 07:51 PM EDT (US)     28 / 28  

Quoted from Fingers:

Let the praise go all round then, Tekk. Your Silmarillion - Dagor Bragollach is a stunning depiction of those earlier histories, and in my opinion one of the best Tolkien--themed maps around. I think many would agree. (psssst... check it out!)

Well...thank you very much for your praise on my scenario, I am not sure whether it really deserves such praise. The scenario did not quite come out like I had wanted it to. I will be doing a major overhaul on it very soon, once I finish the other map I have been doing. Hopefully, I will be releasing the new map this weekend if I can find time to finish beta testing.

Quoted from Bluecollarheaven:

I need to get AOW back to take a look at Tekk's work.

I would recommend that you play the slightly revised version of the scenario. It is not available at Draco's site yet, so if you would like to play the revised version I can send it to you by email. However, most of the changes are fixing a few of the really harmful bugs that hamper the fun of a simultaneous single/multipler game in the first few turns (the game was designed originally for PBEM gameplay, but like a lot of people I still prefer the simultaneous mode setting). Give me an email at Tekkaman_Zero@hotmail.com if you would like the new version.

Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW2 Gameplay Help & Strategies » Farewell to the depths?
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