This is the Thread to Vote for
Andelin's Quest, a map submitted under the Historical Theme for the Winter 2008 Mapmaking Competition. Read the discussion below by our judges and then post your score for the map and leave comments in the thread below. Score once for each map, 1-10 points. Voting Closes at the end of March.
Part of the judges discussion is below... the full text will be made available before the judging ends.
Disenchanted: FYI I continued to have some problems with Andelin (which I'd like to ask you about) which made it take way longer than I expected, so I think I'm STILL not quite ready to discuss it Enginerd: ok.. ask away.. Disenchanted: ok 1 sec Disenchanted: have you noticed any problem with fire timers? Pawel: not me Enginerd: Yeah.... sometimes... Disenchanted: like, am I supposed to be chasing reapers around on day 5? Enginerd: lol... reapers on day 5!!! Pawel: I don't think I had them earlier than day 8 Enginerd: Sometimes that can happen but it never did when I playtested. I did see spiders that were summoned (and expected them to show up). Sometimes you'll see a hell hound. Never saw a reaper. Cool. That would make it really really hard…. Or maybe even impossible Disenchanted: yeah the first 2 stacks (top left, level 7 hero + reaper + wraith + demon etc) got released day 5 or 6 I think Disenchanted: it's not impossible but it difficult and time consuming to fight off those invasions. Disenchanted: and they made my archers run around a lot when they could have been conquering the old world… my archers are in very good cardiovascular health now Enginerd: Arctic Wolf told me about his challenges with fire timers and how they don't always work the way they were supposed to. The troops sometimes will just wander through the fire, take the damage and then move on. The intent of the game was to have most of them show up around day 15-20 (can't remember exactly which day).
Pawel: the fires on some stacks with heroes and reapers are set to day 8 Enginerd: Day 8? I'll check my map. I don't think I remember wanting them to show up on the northernmost isle until a few days after that.... I wonder if I somehow missed it and meant it to be day 18. Pawel: sorry, I didn't check the fires before the teleporters Disenchanted: the ones I'm talking about are set to day 18 I think Disenchanted: and yes, there are 2 fires for some reason Enginerd: I think I found with one fire they would sometimes go through early, I think I put the second one there to discourage them even more... it worked for me but Dis was the lucky one to have them come out early on him. Pawel: I don't remember exactly, but I think they didn't show up earlier than day 18 for me Disenchanted: you should ask AW if there is a trick to prevent this, or maybe Pawel knows Disenchanted: there was a theory that it was due to fires spreading onto the units, so some people said you should use the smaller fires I think? Disenchanted: or maybe putting an ice hex in between would work Pawel: I don't know, I never made a map for aow1 Enginerd: Didn't know about that fire spreading thing... it could be part of it. Enginerd: Well... do you want to try and evaluate it today or just bug me about a few things and we do it later? Disenchanted: I thought that maybe there are 4 hexes marked when you select “large fire” in the editor, even though they only occupy 1 hex, because they have a chance of spreading to the three surrounding hexes Disenchanted: well I know they have a chance of spreading the question is if it's ONLY the large ones Pawel: in AoWSM you can just use spawn events Disenchanted: that would be very helpful if we were making maps for SM :P Enginerd: lol Enginerd: Yeah... SM has a lot of power in those scripted events. I can bug AW about it, he might know more. I certainly don't. Enginerd: What else? (I'm still laughing about a reaper on day 5) Enginerd: Draco played through it a couple times and said once he even managed to stay alive on the island. Disenchanted: well there were lots of other things that caught me by surprise, but I'm sure they were all intended. I just didn't look at the map very carefully in the editor (deliberately) so it would be more interesting...heh Pawel: I had a problem with the boat Pawel: I couldn't make the boat join me when I didn't have any swimming unit there Enginerd: The idea behind the boat was to force you to abandon some troops and only take a few with you to the new world. I know of two easy ways to get the boat. Disenchanted: I thought you're supposed to make a penguin Disenchanted: that's one of the things I didn't foresee thanks to not looking in the editor Enginerd: The prison had a ranger in it (swimming) who was supposed to be freed. Enginerd: The penguin was the other easy method. Pawel: maybe I didn't read all the messages carefully Pawel: I used the ranger, but it delayed my journey to the new world a bit Enginerd: Well.. I said there were prisoners... I didn't say what kinds on the sign. I think the unicorn in there was valuable too. Enginerd: Draco gave me some good comments on how I could have used the signs and stuff to better convey the intent of some of those things. Disenchanted: yeah but if the ranger is *required* to get to the old world a stronger hint would be nice Disenchanted: ...well it's not an absolute requirement but having to install + make penguin and get it to the boat sets you back like 6 days Enginerd: I meant for things to be hard.... I sometimes go overboard on the hard part... better info on the signs could be improved I think. Enginerd: Buy you did figure it out! Enginerd: When I playtested I always just abandoned the old world... did you guys try and keep a force alive over there? Pawel: I was surprised that I couldn't get the boat because it works differently than in SM Disenchanted: yes but because of all the undead problems I didn't even try to leave until day 10, so now I won't be leaving until day 16 Disenchanted: it's going to be a bit of a problem Pawel: I didn't leave, but it was really hard Enginerd: What's going to be a bit of a problem? Enginerd: Leaving on day 16? Enginerd: Yeah... ideally I think you do well on this map if you can clear the prison, maybe get an item or two and rush to the boat with the ranger and get across the waters around day 10-12 or so. I should probably make it clearer in the game the importance of leaving. Disenchanted: it's not a problem, in that I will eventually be able to complete all the objectives, but it might take me a long time, and I have to hang on to the old world city a long time after the world "ends" Enginerd: Yeah.. my spoiler message should probably say that you might find the game easier if you just leave the old world and come back in 20-30 days when you're strong enough. Pawel: in my game only Andelin went to the new world, John Alden was trying to keep the old world under my control Enginerd: How far into the game are you? Disenchanted: I think about day 12 it's going a lot faster now, no more reapers coming in Pawel: I think I almost finished it Enginerd: Wow... you've still yet to have all kinds of fun with goblins and azracs in the new world! Pawel: I have a "small" problem with The Old World city Enginerd: say more. Pawel: it got razed by the Goblins, and there are no Builders Guild nearby Enginerd: lol.... Pawel: so, I have to make a balloon and transport a builder from the new world. I have to do it, because it's required to win Enginerd: If you go take over the goblins in their caves you can build a builder down there (I think) and go through the teleporter back to the old world. Pawel: yes, it's an option too, I haven't thought of it Enginerd: It's hard to predict what the AI will do. I didn't put any builders in the old world because I didn't want anyone building boats over there. Yeah... that makes it tough for you to get a builder all the way over too. Pawel: but I think it will be faster to use a balloon, so I can capture Manaus and rebuild the Old World about the same time Enginerd: Never thought about the AI razing those two towns. I only put those in as victory conditions so you would be forced to go back at some time. There are a couple ways to do it but we may be telling Dis more than he wants as he isn't finished yet. Disenchanted: it's ok I don't think you've said anything I wouldn't have thought of eventually Enginerd: How much of a problem were the azracs and goblins in the new world? Enginerd: Most of the time the Azracs wanted peace with me, you never know where the goblins are going to show up, sometimes they show up in the new world, sometimes in the old world. Pawel: I changed the Goblins from Expander to Aggressor, maybe this makes them raze more Disenchanted: maybe you shouldn't have messed with the settings then lol Enginerd: ouch... that was harsh! lol Enginerd: I'm still laughing. Pawel: I just didn't want to use the same settings for two races. I also changed the Azracs to Normal Enginerd: It made for an interesting twist anyways.... Pawel: Disenchanted: well it seems like poetic justice that he set them to aggressor and they were aggressive ... Enginerd: I think my intent was to have the goblins be a nuisance, not as bad as the undead. The Azracs are weak but can make lots of elephants which can be tough sometimes. Mostly it was a minor obstacle to keep you busy while you explored the new world. Enginerd: guess pawel made it a major obstacle.... works for me. So... I guess Dis needs another week to finish the map? Enginerd: Disenchanted: yeah sorry Enginerd: Hey.. it's a hard map. Pawel: in the download description you wrote that I can change the AI settings, so I did it Enginerd: I guess I can't fault you for doing just that... makes it a unique experience. Disenchanted: ...myabe it should say "at your own risk" haha Pawel: btw do you know what the expander setting does? Disenchanted: I thought it just makes them want to capture as many resources as possible while aggressor makes them attack anything in sight Enginerd: In theory.... it's supposed to make them want to expand and explore... however... not sure it really works that way. I think Dis explained it well. Pawel: ok, thx Disenchanted: also don't use scorcher unless you really want to see some razing... Pawel: I know, that's why I'm not using it
(break… and now a week later)
Enginerd: I'm pulling up my notes from last time.... we had discussed the first several days fun.... Disenchanted: this could be the only discussion where we also have the mapmaker.... Enginerd: hehehehehe Enginerd: Anyways.... 10's across the board, let's move on! Disenchanted: (impressed by the impartiality of the moderator ) Enginerd: With the other maps we kind of talked generically about the map before diving into the details. Is there anything you want to discuss about the map in general? Enginerd: Historical context, single player, playable races, etc.... Disenchanted: the first two maps (Mene in Venezuela and War of 1812) had much more serious gameplay problems (especially with balance or challenge level)… this one is closer to the mark Pawel: the historical context is quite clear to me, it's about your family history Disenchanted: also it has a richer story I agree Enginerd: I wondered if I was putting too much personal stuff in there.... I tried to put enough but not too much. Pawel: the map doesn't resemble the true Europe and America, but it kind of "symbolizes" them Enginerd: Yeah, the new world is much the same.... kind of a north and south america.... but purposefully not like the real world. Enginerd: So I guess... the history is real.... the terrain is "symbolic" of reality Enginerd: Any other comments on the historical piece? Pawel: I wonder what the Undead part of the map represents... Enginerd: Er... um... all the things that caused people to want to leave and emigrate. They come in force to drive you out. Disenchanted: for your previous question, it's OK, I think there were a few message events that were a little too personal/trivial, but it wasn't a big deal. Disenchanted: the only thing that bothered me was talking in the first person...it kind of breaks the illusion Enginerd: Didn't think about that. Cool. Enginerd: What else? How about gameplay then? Disenchanted: well it was somewhat challenging but probably wouldn't have been if the day 20 stack hadn't been released on day 5... Enginerd: Sorry about that.... (lol) Pawel: for me it was quite challenging even when they were released on time Disenchanted: it's OK, I think it might have been boring if I had the whole 20 days to prepare Pawel: that's probably because I tried to defend my cities in the Old World all the time and went to the New World too late Enginerd: When I rushed through the first several days I tried get off the old world in about 10-12 days. I never had the guts to try and stick around the whole time, hats off for doing that. Disenchanted: you mentioned the intention was to have the player abandon the old world and come back later Enginerd: Yes.... in the full and complete story line I remember a trigger where I talked about my posterity... so... letting them go forth and conquer the world in whatever way they wanted. Enginerd: The victory conditions forced you to go back with strength, eventually. Disenchanted: I think most people need more prompting to do that Disenchanted: it's kind of instinctual to try to defend your island Enginerd: Yeah... Draco kind of said the same thing about the signs and message triggers. Enginerd: Yeah, instincts are there to defend, it's hard to abandon good holdings. Enginerd: I kind of hoped that would make it an interesting map where you are almost forced to start over with a small stack 15 or so days into the map. Pawel: I think it's good that there isn't only one possible strategy… it can be played in many different ways, depending on the player's style Enginerd: Yeah, I don't like the single path games with only one way to play. What else? Disenchanted: it seems like if I had played more like it the way it was intended I would have spent more time in the new world and less time defending the old... Disenchanted: Speaking of which, the New World needs to be more challenging Enginerd: How did the Goblins behave over there? Were they a factor? Pawel: for me the new world was challenging too, because there were lots of Azracs everywhere at the time when I got there Disenchanted: no I never saw a goblin, and the Azracs did nothing of any importance Enginerd: Interesting.... Pawel: I saw them spawning in the old world several times Enginerd: Goblins had a few teleporters and they could spawn in the old world and in the new world.... I toned them down from earlier versions while playtesting. Interesting.... Pawel: so my uberheroes had lots to do there - not only fighting the undead, but also goblins Disenchanted: also both the objectives (concord and manaus) and the areas around them are controlled by indies Disenchanted: if you use the teleporter you can get to both without ever fighting any Azracs Enginerd: Assuming you mean, make them harder by having them controlled by the AI. Enginerd: Got it. Pawel: they were controlled by the Azracs at the time when I got there, maybe changing them from Defender to Normal helped them to expand quicker Enginerd: (oh yeah... those initial settings I told you to play with if you wanted) Enginerd: What about the waters.... did you try and control them wiping out the area guards or did you just cut a path through them? Pawel: the latter Disenchanted: I stayed and defended the old world...I never built a ship Enginerd: What else really bothered you (or that I need to fix). Pawel: I built a balloon to transport a builder to the old world, but I managed to find a safe spot for it when moving over water Enginerd: (must find path Pawel used and set one more area guard!) Pawel: btw I saw the area guards killing an Undead Black Dragon over water Enginerd: Yeah... that was one of the real reasons for them. If I didn't have scores of area guards you'd have black dragons and demons in the new world and I wanted to keep them contained in the old world. Enginerd: Although... that would make it more challenging What else? Pawel: as I said earlier, I'd prefer if you make it more clear that you can't get the ship without a unit that can move over water Enginerd: Got it. Top of my list was to do more with custom heroes and items. I just didn't have time to get to it and I wanted to do more of that. Pawel: an item with Fire Musket would be close to the historical theme and helpful when exploring the new world Enginerd: exactly my point, so much more could be done like Fire Musket. What else do we need to discuss about this one? Disenchanted: what is the point of Canada? Disenchanted: in the game I mean, not just in general... Pawel: Enginerd: The wintery area up north is supposed to represent that part of my life where I went to college, got married. It snowed lots. Just a nice diversion and something to explore but not central to the map. Enginerd: (if you actually went up there the lovely heroine Julia is in a prison to be rescued, my wife's name is Julia) Disenchanted: ok, I was just thinking that no one would ever go up there because it's so easy to carve a path to Concord and take it out (actually I didn't even have to fight to get there because almost none of the independent stacks ever move….) but if it's mostly to enhance the theme there's no problem with it being there Pawel: yes, there are some areas of the map that don't have to be explored in order to win it Enginerd: I did try and add a few key spells in the towers if you wanted them to help you in things, but yeah, hard to make a map where you have to explore everywhere. Pawel: the same with the southern areas, you can just skip them by using the teleporter to go to Manaus Enginerd: (I flew by plane to Brazil when I went there) Pawel: the goblin caves don't have to be visited either, unless you abandoned the old world and need a fast way to go back there Disenchanted: wow...seems like everything represents something real Disenchanted: what is the significance of the tree at corrdinates 29:21 Disenchanted: Enginerd: I don't have the map up? Give me a sec. Disenchanted: I was just trying to be funny...I don't think every tree is signifcant Enginerd: lol (jerk) You got me on that one. Pawel: the sign there is quite enigmatic Enginerd: If you've ever driven across Nevada those signs will all make sense.... 400 miles of nothing and the most exciting thing you see are the signs about Winnemucca. Pawel: speaking of signs, I just spotted 2 empty ones in "Canada" Enginerd: rats... One more thing to fix (well two). Good thing those signs were in the "bonus" area for those adventurers that like to explore. Enginerd: What else? Or shall we wrap it up? Pawel: I wanted to say something about the map design Enginerd: ok Disenchanted: maybe we should talk about how it could be improved...although that always seems to me to be a rehash of the problems we found with it… (Pawel should say his thing first though) Pawel: the details are ok, but the overall layout of the map is a bit uninteresting, especially the old world is just three "blobs" Disenchanted: I was going to say something similar Enginerd: Go on... I can take it. Disenchanted: I was focusing more on the coastline of the old world. It just looks weird. Unnatural. Pawel: also the goblin caves look quite boring (I never got there, but I see them in the editor) Pawel: it would look better with more rubble, an underground river, some lava or something Disenchanted: Pawel, do you mean you think the gameplay would be improved if the layout were more complex? Or just the appearance? Pawel: the latter but it's important for me too Disenchanted: I have to agree...many areas of the new world and underground look too plain/amateurish/unnatural Disenchanted: the old world looks better Enginerd: Great comments, what else. Pawel: that's all from me Disenchanted: I just want to focus for one more moment on my main gripe and how that part could be improved Enginerd: go for it Disenchanted: my main thing again was that the new world is too easy because the Azracs and Indies do nothing Disenchanted: Pawel suggested that switching the Azracs from defender to normal helps Disenchanted: I think maybe all areas shoud be controlled by different AI races...at least 3 total… and they should be normal or expander Enginerd: (explain 3 total, 3 total in new world?) Disenchanted: yes… there are 3 parts. I don't know what they're called...maybe north central and south america Enginerd: got it Disenchanted: so you could either have Azracs control all 3, or 3 different warring tribes or something Pawel: I think Frostlings, Azracs and Lizards will fit there Enginerd: The juices are flowing... change southern to lizards and north to frostlings... yeah Pawel is thinking that way too. Disenchanted: the way it is right now my uberhero can just walk up to Concord and capture it without fighting along the way Disenchanted: Pawel said in his game the Azracs controlled those areas, which is hopeful, but I bet they didn't build a lot of defense, did they P? Pawel: they had hordes of units, mainly lvl1, but I saw a few Djinns too Pawel: maybe they were not "defenses", they were just moving along Disenchanted: hmmm...I still think it would be better if they started out with that city, or at least closer (or a different AI race), so it's not up to chance whether they ever go there Enginerd: Great feedback, I appreciate it. Last chance before the scoring. Disenchanted: One more small question…. does the AI understand the importance of the objectives? Defending them I mean Enginerd: lol Pawel: I don't think so, they weren't exceptionally defended Disenchanted: so if you put AI races in charge of the 2 city objectives just put a couple extra stacks on guard so they will actually defend them Pawel: good idea Enginerd: I think the only way to change that is to make them part of that race initially which can be done in the New World but it doesn't quite fit the story line in the Old World, good comment though. Enginerd: OK... Scores? Pawel: hmm, I don't understand your last comment Pawel: about "making them part of that race initially" Disenchanted: I think he means it would violate the story if the city were controlled by AI from start...but then you mention old world, which IS controlled by highmen at the beginning Enginerd: The highmen are expected to die when the undead come in hordes, I didn't want a strong highman/undead war going on with you stuck in the middle. Pawel: they didn't die in my game, and I had an alliance with them later Disenchanted: right...so because the Undead don't have the city from the start, you can't put a strong Undead stack there and set it to guard Enginerd: The concept and idea you bring out is sound though, find a way to make the AI defend those locations. Disenchanted: but as long as you do that with Concord and Maunaus in the New World it would be a great improvement (at least for the problem I was complaining about) Enginerd: Easy to do in the New World, a bit harder in the old. Disenchanted: ok, I think we're done? except for scores
Part of the judges discussion is below... the full text will be made available before the judging ends.
(break… and now a week later)