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Topic Subject: RMG status?
posted 04-18-02 06:05 PM EDT (US)   
Quoted form a posting by Josh AOW on the Beta Demo forum:

Quote:


AI is the main item left on our to-do list, so difficulty will increase.

Does tis mean the Random Map Generator is not in danger any more (contrary to the rumors)? RMG is very important for me, so I would definitely like to know what is happening to it.

Meanwhile, I am downloading the Demo...

Aub

Replies:
posted 04-18-02 07:04 PM EDT (US)     1 / 29  
Random Map Generator is looking very unlikely to make it into the initial release. It is simply too much work to get working well, and releasing it in a partially-finished state is not something we want to do. Aditionally, we want to spend as much time as possible polishing up, tweaking, balancing, and testing every aspect of the game, and the RMG would take away a great deal of time from things like AI and Multiplayer testing.

We are big fans of Random Maps, and plan to do them right. Ufortunately, that probably means, not right now.

We will be looking at the possibility of an editor function that pre-generates random terrain for a newly created map. This would not be too difficult, would not require much testing, and would IMO be quite useful to mapmakers...


Josh Farley
Programmer
Triumph Studios
posted 04-18-02 07:47 PM EDT (US)     2 / 29  
Oh!

Thanks for the reply tho, I appreciate the frankness.

Does "not right now" mean "in the first patch" or do we have to wait for 9 months for an expansion pack?..

Aub

posted 04-18-02 07:57 PM EDT (US)     3 / 29  
Assuming we do an expansion pack (not my job to decide or announce that), it would be a primary feature in that, and would be given the time and energy it desrves to be a quality addition to the game.

As for timeframes and patches, it's a little early to speculate.


Josh Farley
Programmer
Triumph Studios
posted 04-18-02 09:39 PM EDT (US)     4 / 29  
That sounds bad. That sounds like RMG may not be released at all, forget seeing it in an early patch

For me this means I may not buy the game at all, definitely not before RMG is promised for sure. As I play mostly multiplayer and skirmishes, I feel the game value is very much reduced without the RMG .

Too bad. A sad, sad day.

Aub

posted 04-18-02 10:43 PM EDT (US)     5 / 29  

Quoted from Aub:

For me this means I may not buy the game at all, definitely not before RMG is promised for sure. As I play mostly multiplayer and skirmishes, I feel the game value is very much reduced without the RMG.

Then you will be missing out on a lot of great play time with a great game. Your attitude is very poor Aub. The AOW community has been playing AOW constantly since 1999. Check out the number of people engaged in PBEM games right now, and the number of MP games at the LeagueAOW. There is no shortage of quality, custom-made scenarios where the author has taken time to craft a map that provides a compelling story and game play experience.

As fun as random maps may be, a randomly generated map will NEVER generate a compelling story or fantasy RPG experience.

When you say you mostly play "multiplayer and skirmishes," it sounds like you're talking about an RTS. You are aware that AOW and AOW2 are not RTS games, but are in fact turn-based strategy games? In the genre of Heroes of Might and Magic, Discipels and Warlords III.

If you want skirmishes, may I direct you to my brothers and sisters at Age of Kings Heaven and Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds Heaven.

posted 04-19-02 00:24 AM EDT (US)     6 / 29  

Quote:


Then you will be missing out on a lot of great play time with a great game. Your attitude is very poor Aub. The AOW community has been playing AOW constantly since 1999.

This is not a question about attitude at all. It is a question about what I enjoy in strategy games. The only "attitude" thing is posting it on the forum. Well, this forum is to exchange opinions, is it not? And if I post this, I might influence the chances for RMG to be added at least a tiny bit. Why reprimand me?

Quote:


When you say you mostly play "multiplayer and skirmishes," it sounds like you're talking about an RTS. You are aware that AOW and AOW2 are not RTS games, but are in fact turn-based strategy games? In the genre of Heroes of Might and Magic, Discipels and Warlords III.

Now this is probably intended to be an offense (mild enough to be posted?) Come on, Draco, I can tell an RTS from a turn-based strategy game. And I haven't bought a single RTS game in more than 2 years. I tried to fall in love with them, but I simply cannot.

Can a turn-based game cannot have a random map? The great games of the past (MoM, Civ, Warlords III, and of course MoO I-II, ...) had it, and that probably got me spoiled. Now there is a trend not to include a RMG any more (Heroes IV, Disciples I-II, AoW I, ...) and I think this is a very bad development. And yet when someone says a word about it, you call it a "very bad attitude".

You see, I want to play AoW the same way I play MoO - you don't ask for a designed map there, do you? In other words, I value the strategic depth, balance etc. more than the RPG element. That's all. Playing a map designed by someone is usually somewhat like solving a riddle, and I hate that. With a random map, it's your wits against the opponent, in a "natural" setting.

And for multiplayer, how can you play with exploration on when you know the map?

Aub

posted 04-19-02 00:43 AM EDT (US)     7 / 29  
well I guess the mapmaker will still have a job in AOWII.
posted 04-19-02 02:59 AM EDT (US)     8 / 29  

Quote:

We will be looking at the possibility of an editor function that pre-generates random terrain for a newly created map. This would not be too difficult, would not require much testing, and would IMO be quite useful to mapmakers...

YES! That would help the map making community A LOT! (That΄s 5 Jerks out of 5 possible)

EDIT: Just to avoid confusion: 5 Jerks is GOOD!


ThEJeRk

My Hotmailaccount sometimes fills up. Please try this adress if that happens: aow2mail@yahoo.se

[This message has been edited by The Jerk (edited 04-19-2002 @ 03:00 AM).]

posted 04-19-02 03:49 AM EDT (US)     9 / 29  
I could think of endless number of things to do with a RTG (random terrain generator)...even if it just draws the general land masses, it would help us tremendously.

Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall
posted 04-19-02 10:19 AM EDT (US)     10 / 29  
I think the random terrain generator will be a great bonus to the mapmaking community -- I think it will especially involve people like me who are more interested in tweaking and playing with things than in drawing large maps from scratch. Ugh, I'd rather pull out my toenails.

Anyway, I don't think NOT having a random map generator will really affect the replayability of the game. When I finished playing all the custom scenarios included with the original, I started downloading other peoples' maps, and I still haven't had time to really play them all. I guess I just don't see ANY advantage to a computer-generated map over a handmade one. I think that 99.9% of the people posting here would agree with that... however, I suppose everyone is entitled to their opinion, however misguided it may be.

posted 04-19-02 11:03 AM EDT (US)     11 / 29  
i didn't noticed Josh said there might be an randomn terrain generator. That would be simply awesome.
posted 04-19-02 11:14 AM EDT (US)     12 / 29  
Random map generators are time consuming to create and test (heroes 3 had one for the x-pack, and it was not exactly very good. Odd stuff appeared in odd places). One reason why they're left out of recent games, I guess, probably because recent games have MUCH more things going on on the maps, and making sure the things turn out right isn't easy. Games are there to make money, after all, and game publishers tend to be rather cash hungry and impatient (I'm sure the makers aren't that cash hungry. I hope. ;P).
posted 04-19-02 12:57 PM EDT (US)     13 / 29  
Aub, your "bad attitude," in my opinion, stemmed from your statement that you are not going to buy a game for the SOLE REASON that it doesn't have a RMG. Those type of statements sound just like the kids tossing a tantrum over at the Black Isle Studios forums, screaming, "I'm not going to buy IWD2 because there are no kits!" Give me break.

I don't think AOW2 is any less of a great game because it doesn't have a RMG. It would be a bonus, but it would still be a great game even if we never got a RMG. I remember people asking for a RMG for AOW1 as well.

Quoted from Aub:

The great games of the past (MoM, Civ, Warlords III, and of course MoO I-II, ...) had it, and that probably got me spoiled. Now there is a trend not to include a RMG any more (Heroes IV, Disciples I-II, AoW I, ...) and I think this is a very bad development.

Did you ever think that the reason why the modern trend excluding a RMG is because it's nearly impossible with the complexity of today's modern games? And incidentally, the RMG with Warlords III sucked.

I think wanting to play AOW2 the same way you play MoM is a pipe dream. AOW2 is infinitely more complicated than MoM.

As Cloudkill pointed out, there are so many things going on in a map that a RMG is tough to make. Even Ensemble Studios has proclaimed the difficulty of making a balanced RMG for AOK, and the only thing really involved with those maps is placement of gold, stone and sheep and a starting forest.

AOW2 has cities, and crypts, caves and tunnels and ruins and monster placement and many more elements that make balancing all the more difficult. Scenario designers have a difficult enough time making a custom-made map balanced for all players (Just ask Jerker as we tried to balance the "World Cup" tourney maps). I can't imagine the difficulty involved in make a RMG that would do this on the fly.

Quoted from Aub:

Playing a map designed by someone is usually somewhat like solving a riddle, and I hate that. With a random map, it's your wits against the opponent, in a "natural" setting.

What maps have you been playing? That statement is completely untrue. And just what is a "natural" setting? Many map authors create a map with the sole intention of having it played in MP or PBEM. Look at some of the great maps, like "Gates of Aldora," or "Forgotten Evil," "All Things Unequal" or "Coming of the Dread Lord." Those maps are all about "you vs. the opponent." Are some maps specifically created with the single-player in mind? of course, but so are some RTS maps. The ones by Gordon Farrell come to mind.

I happen to hate "exploration off" with turn-based games. Why? Because every move is critical. It's not like an RTS where if you want to explore the map, you just send your scout off and 30 seconds later you'll know the lay of the land. A map is "unexplored" for about the first 5 minutes of the game. I (and a lot of players) LIKE to look at the entire map in the editor when playing a PBEM for example. The strategy doesn't come from not knowing the map, it comes from the choices and decisions of your opponent.

[This message has been edited by Angel Draco (edited 04-19-2002 @ 01:02 PM).]

posted 04-19-02 01:01 PM EDT (US)     14 / 29  
Josh: what will the "Random Terrain Generator" place on the map? How about mana nodes and neutrals to guard them? Maybe something else (like guard towers?)

In short, can one just generate a random terrain and start playing, without farther tweaking (even tho the map sucks of course)? I am looking for ways to do multiplayer with that feature.

Thanks -- Aub

posted 04-19-02 01:08 PM EDT (US)     15 / 29  
Xenobea: Anyway, I don't think NOT having a random map generator will really affect the replayability of the game. When I finished playing all the custom scenarios included with the original, I started downloading other peoples' maps, and I still haven't had time to really play them all.


Yeah me too. It'll be nice and helpful. But it's not a must-have.


Bluecollarheaven
"Where there is imagination, the possibilities are endless."
Age Of Wonders 2 Heaven | AOW2H Scenario Designers' Hall
posted 04-19-02 01:10 PM EDT (US)     16 / 29  
You can't just start playing after generating terrain as there's nothing on the map to play. All you have is terrain. There's no cities, or units, or gold mines, nodes, ect. Thus the name, "Random Terrain Generator."
posted 04-19-02 02:29 PM EDT (US)     17 / 29  
I agree though that lack of RMG will lead to alot of screaming on newsgroups, forums etc. From my personal vantage point though, random maps add absolutelly nothing to this game that a good handcrafted XL could.

If Middle Earth was a random world instead of hand made by Mr Tolkien, would it have looked as detail rich as it does now? Of course not. It certainly wouldn't have generated any movies or fans.

How about Greyhawk? The Forgotten Realms section? HARN? Nope, nyet.

Only a human can do a real fantasy world with todays computing resources. Perhaps a true evolution sim combined with about 2 zillion of factors determining a planets natural evolution. That would do it , maybe when Quantum Computers break through?

BM

posted 04-19-02 08:22 PM EDT (US)     18 / 29  
Hi Draco,

I think you're a bit tough on Aub, though you have your reason. I do agree with most of what you said though.

By the way, knowing the map makes a big difference in deciding your strategy. That's why Nojd decided not to play in game exploration in World Cup, when facing you and Frogman as opponents.

And, Aub, you can still play a map with no one knowing the map in adavnce. Just find an unpublished map and ask the map maker to set up the game for you and other players, Though with RMG you have less trouble in finding such a map.

posted 04-19-02 10:54 PM EDT (US)     19 / 29  
Well, I still stand behind everything I said, but maybe I was a bit harsh. So... I'm sorry for going off on you there Aub.

I had just come from the Black Isle IWD2 forums and when I saw another "I'm not going to buy the game because XYZ feature is not included" post, I wanted to scream.

posted 04-20-02 00:29 AM EDT (US)     20 / 29  
Heh, I will get both IWD2 and AoW2...but that's not a surprise.

I don't care if it has or doesn't have the random map generator, as I always prefer to play hand made maps. I just love to make an xl map out of scratch, and stuff it full of ideas, and with AoW2, I can add many things that were impossible in AoW...oh I want the editor...I want it now!


- All you need is love -

The Wizards of Creation

posted 04-20-02 09:46 PM EDT (US)     21 / 29  
You like the IWD series El? Score! We gotta hook up and do some MP sometime!
posted 04-20-02 09:57 PM EDT (US)     22 / 29  
Oh yes, I have loved all the infinity engine games by Black Isle so far, and ID is no exeption.

And with the Heart of Winter expansion, ID is even better than it was.


- All you need is love -

The Wizards of Creation

posted 04-20-02 10:34 PM EDT (US)     23 / 29  
To me a random terrain generator is a huge improvement over starting with all ocean. As a map tweaker not a map creator, I just never could spend the time to make one from scratch. Give me something to work with though and I think I could do some good maps. A random terrain editor will give us many more user maps and avoid the novice trap of making everything symetrical.

RTG is great, heck, I never really believed a RMG would be worth a crap anyway. The ai can hardly play the game, never mind design a map the way a human can.

posted 04-22-02 05:53 PM EDT (US)     24 / 29  
looks like it will have to be an expansion pack then. As far as i am concerned, not a big deal. The way I see it, rmtg maps would be good for a quick map made for a single game. However, what happens if I want an XL map...with loads of cities....and also the max number of aow2 multiplayers (8?)with lots of nodes.....with both levels......hmmmmm not so fast now is it? Add to that will the map be any good. Only a human player can guarentee balance in a map. I have to say that exploration is obviously important, because you need to know the layout of the map. This makes for some interesting strategies in multiplayer because you have to scout each other. The important thing here is that the need for exploration is not detracted by knowledge of the layout of the map. If anything, the shift of exploration from exploring the land, to keeping tabs on your enemy, seems to me to enhance strategy. It makes things a bit more tense if you both know that city x could potentially be a red dragon factory (or whatever) and you have to think whether you want to devote yourself to getting the city before your enemy does, even if it kmeans going out of your way, or even if he is purposely going to leave the city there as some sort of trap as your uber stack is half dead after capturing it and his millions of soldiers come pouring out of the woods...

The point here is that, while a RMG might be "nice", a buggy, unbalanced and idiotic RMG would be.....undesirable!

Thus, let the developers do as they will, without pressrue from us, and create a brilliant RMg that we wil still eb referring to as the standard in 10 years time, even if it means I have to save up for the expansion pack!!!!


BLOODYBATTLEBRAIN, last of the Azrac warriors.
posted 04-23-02 05:39 PM EDT (US)     25 / 29  
yea starting w/ all ocean really sucked in Civ 2

King Timmy

posted 04-23-02 06:10 PM EDT (US)     26 / 29  
RMG aside:

Some random should be there to choose the non-random maps.

Like all Blizzard's series of Wars and Starcraft, it's a large collection of premade maps.

They just need to be categorized like aoe2 (continental, island, coastal, # players, etc.)

The random part would be for the random selector to randomly select a map in the category.

I hope the random selector's there.
==================
RMG relevant:

A random terrain generator would be totally playable. It just has to verify that no part is completely blocked by mountains. Other than that, it'd be a normal civ/mom game, where you build your own cities, escape from tiny starting islands, and build the world.

posted 04-24-02 01:06 PM EDT (US)     27 / 29  
Well a random terrain generator would be fine too, if the AI is able to use pioneers ...

Perhaps some random lairs too, and voila...

Bit on the other hand: where is the difference between random terrain and random map generator?

Or was the random map generator meant to be a random szenario generator?

cu
Skar

posted 04-24-02 01:18 PM EDT (US)     28 / 29  
The random terrain generator that may make it into the final release will only generate the terrain: water, grass, desert, snow, underground etc. It will not place cities, lairs, wizards, units and that sort of stuff on the map. I do hope it will generate forests, however.

So Skar, you're right, the random map generator was meant to be a random scenario generator. (although without a story)


"I wanna be Sultan instead of the Sultan!" - Grand Vizier Iznoghoud, 2nd and honoured member of the BTOOIC (Buildable Teleporters Off Option in Cities)
Admin of the BTOOIC site and forum.
posted 04-24-02 02:37 PM EDT (US)     29 / 29  
Thx Iznoghoud.

Well, if it is not a problem to generate a map (terrain) whats the point about putting 1-8 starting citys in it and chose random or selected predefinied wizard/race combos?

Sure there would be no relays/nodes etc but they could fix that part later...

Well sure for MP a well balanced map is a must...but not for single player.

cu
skar

Age of Wonders 2 Heaven » Forums » AoW2 Gameplay Help & Strategies » RMG status?
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