(UPDATED)Long way to France
All I get is crap so my maps are now gone good day. AND VERY RUDE EMAILS.
Posted on 12/02/05 @ 04:05 PM (updated 12/30/05
For the people that have sent me the code to my email i will still do the drawing.
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|Ingo van Thiel
Nice scenario! Not sure what you intend with that 100 $ thing though... better give that money to charity, quite a few people downloaded, played and enjoyed your scenario anyway. Also, as somebody else said, the message with the "code" flashes by in like half a second when the last yellow house goes down: "email me [insert unmemorable code here]" ;-), I don't get any victory message, and instead return to the AoE III intro screen. Never mind, I didn't play it for money anyway. Here's my view:
Playability: The battles and the side quests were fun (see balance) and I was motivated to continue until I had won it. Still only an average 3, because some problems harmed the fun and the playability.
First: Lag, although it was played on a high-end system (AMD 3500, Geforce 7800) which can handle water maps on highest settings without problems; the lag got extreme when I received those heavy cannons to take down the French town.
Second problem: Players are forced to walk long distances there and back again, with long intervals where nothing happens. For future scenarios, I suggest to design a different route back for players, or have some surprise attackers created with triggers when players are on their way back.
Another problem, which didn't affect the rating was the pathfinding (see map design): The forest was designed in a way that it would always scatter your army and sending your units piecemeal into strong enemy groups, and it was very hard to hold them all together. Were there hidden cliffs with open gaps in the forest?
Balance: Just right! This was the strongest point, well-made for average and good players. You can easily lose if you don't pay attention, but all enemy forces can be beaten with some micromanagement. Heavy cannons and organ guns mostly did the trick for me, with the mortar taking out larger buildings. The hardest, but fair, part were the big groups of samurai in the cave.
Creativity: The side quests were nice features and fairly new to Age III, although some features are well-known from RPG's of the previous Age games (e.g. kill wolves to get a reward). They brought some variety into the game, so that it wasn't a straightforward Fixed Force. Since these still are the early days of AoE III and those features have not been used often yet, the creativity is well worth a 4.
Map Design: I am rating this according to the AoE II rating tutorial (http://aok.heavengames.com/blacksmith/reviews/howtoreview.shtml), which gives random map an automatic 3. The map design was OK, and some more effort was put into some areas, so this would be a 4. I liked the starting scene with the sunk ships and the Indian village to the East. There was a lot of bland terrain though, and when it was mixed, it was not always mixed well either (e.g. northern grass into tropical grass, sharp edges at the shores, and in the French town, street pavement layers were placed upon a different color type of pavement, which looked odd). On the other hand, the lanterns and the plant pots were a nice touch.
Story/Instructions: I knew what to do most of the time, got confused with a sidequest when the chief asked me to kill some "outlanders from the west" - I wasn't sure which color I was supposed to kill and if I was supposed to only kill someone in the west of the village. There were some spelling mistakes, but nothing bad. I found no background story, which would have been nice: Who is my hero? Why is he stranded on the beach with his men? Which battle took place there, with all those corpses? Who is he figthing against and why? Such things might greatly help to spice up the game, because it helps to identify with the mission.
Overall: Nice scenario, I hope you continue!
[Edited on 12/09/05 @ 03:47 PM]
It was very easy to play and there were no major problems like some I've had trying to make these scenarios. The only big "problem" I had was that the message at the end was up for such a short time that it caught me by surprise... so I played it again and could STILL only get THE LAST FEW WORDS... if you know what I mean 8-)
The balance wasn't there for someone who might try to run through this thing. You are right... it IS a looooooong way to France! Could become boring to many.
Much more original than the majority of those I've seen. But except for the cave, it looked computer geberated.
Map Design: 3
I'm not much of one for the long and winding trails through an endless maze of possibilities. 8-) I know that every AOE campaign known on this Earth has at least one of these... maybe that's why I don't like them. 8-)!!
You did an OK job with the instructions and the messages but some triggers didn't seem to work. I enjoyed the objectives and sub-objectives... they flowed nicely. Sometimes, though, the bad spelling and grammar was a problem.
Additional Comments: The English in the scenario needs some serious help but that could be because I'm an English teacher... who knows?? 8-) Besides, I have no idea if you're a native English speaker or not.
Were you aware that you can run your mortar along the side of the river and eliminate much of what is in the cave (and in the French fortress)??
[Edited on 01/04/06 @ 09:07 PM]
Long way to France is a fixed force scenario, taking the player on a journey through many battles to defeat the French.
Mainly the playability of this scenario was good and I was kept interested and enjoyed the scenario throughout. The battles were never too far spaced apart which helped keep me involved and kept my attention, although there were several occasions when I had to traverse over half the map to get to the next objective. Either as a change to this scenario or for the future I’d recommend making the distances shorter, for example in this scenario a passage out of the back of the caves back behind the native camp would have been useful to save the player spending 5 minutes moving his units back. There were several bugs however that hampered the experience somewhat. Halfway through the scenario I received a chat message that kept repeating throughout the rest of the scenario. Another problem (though not entirely the author’s fault) was that in the paths separated by trees unit path finding became a real problem; often my units when tasked into areas or onto enemy units became entangled in trees. I would suggest making the paths slightly wider, or at least sections of the paths wider so that units can have spaces to be manouevered in. Lag-wise I found little problems with a medium to low spec computer, although in the French town all the units and smoke from the buildings slowed it down a bit. In conclusion, a good solid playing experience hampered by a few bugs. 3+.
This was the best section of the scenario. For me the balance was perfect, requiring a few restarts but not too many to cause frustration. The battles were well thought out and required some interesting tactical challenges - dealing with those ronin in the caves proved an interesting problem for me and required some thinking, which was fantastic. The player was presented with reinforcements at just the right times within the scenario when my numbers were dwindling. Another aspect I liked was having to look after your mortar carefully as you only have once. Battles required micromanagement, thought and were easily lost if you made the wrong move. Overall, this deserves a 5.
I’m not sure if this was a base random map or not, but overall I felt the map could do with a little more work to make the scenario more enjoyable. The opening scene with the dead units and destroyed boats after a battle was good, although the waves that were further away from the shore looked a little odd. The main area of the map was the forest/path area and I felt it looked a little bland; there wasn’t much variation in the terrain or any additional eye-candy, although the area with the wolves was nice. The area to the right of the two English outposts that was sunken was a little strange – my units could go down there and were hidden from view, and some were momentarily stuck down there until the path finding sorted itself out. I would suggest using cliffs instead there or blocking the player from going down. The caves were fairly well done, but again needed a little more embellishment and variation, and the grass edge looked slightly strange. Occasionally the terrain mixing also looked a little rushed, with some ‘square’ joins and uneven transitions. 3.
I thought that overall you did a good job with making the scenario interesting by adding in side-quests and varying objectives. Although these sorts of quests have been done before in RTS games they added a little extra to the game play and kept the objectives varied. In order to score higher I would have liked to have seen something slightly further from the ‘kill’ or ‘collect’ objectives, but AoE3 hasn’t been out long and these sorts of features haven’t really been seen yet. I did like the idea of having the outlanders in the caves. 3.
The instructions for the most part were clear and useful, although on a few occasions I was unsure of what the instruction actually meant and whether I had completed an objective. It would be more helpful if the instructions and objectives had a bit more depth to them to make it crystal clear what the player has to achieve. There were no moments where I was completely in the dark about what to do, but at places such as the start for example, I knew I was supposed to be looking for some men but I had no idea where they were, who they were or why I was trying to find them. I had similar problems throughout the scenario – one notable occasion was when I was told to go to the natives for help across the river, which I took to mean I was going to be given a boat or have a bridge built, which was not the case. It was slightly disappointing not to have a storyline or any background detail; I had no idea of the motives behind my characters mission or the current situation, or even why I was there, which would have added so much more to the scenario. 2+.
There is some real promise shown here, and you have the premise for a good, solid scenario. With a little more work it could be a lot better. An impressive first scenario. I would like to see more.
I am going by HeavenGames guidelines with this so cry to them and not me. If a player can go through this the first time, it's too easy. Also, if there are flaws which you hadn't noticed which makes the game easier to overcome it actually deserves a 1 in this area. I was able to skip portions of your objectives by destroying the weapons caches and some of the French city with my mortar which I moved along the river. After I had already destroyed the majority of your watch towers in the French city. The motar was also able to free the prisoners at the back of the cave before I had reached the front entrance.
A little too easy for your claim of being for experts only. You could possibly obstruct the mortar's ability to destroy so much within the cave from the river.
Except for the addition of the cave, it looked like a computer generated map which gets a 3 according to guidelines. I gave it a 2 because it wasn't very creative in the sense that most every RTS game on the market has a scenario exactly like this.
Map Design: 3
I would say that it is an average map with a cave added so that put you at a 3. The mortar allowed me to bypass many obstacles, like the tower.
Very little story line with no cinematics. There wasn't a lot for my hero to do except sit in the back until everything was made clear for him to collect treasures. Also, according to guidelines, you should take care of the sloppy spelling and grammar to make yourself appear more intelligent and give people the idea that this was something well thought out and not just thrown together. Use a spellchecker/grammar checker as that included in my most word processing programs.
I don't know about any of the 'rude' emails you're talking about and I don't what 'flaming' HeavenGames is talking about but in looking at the many posts by you, it would appear that your attitude toward others has brought a great deal of this reaction on to yourself. ---- (HINT: It would help also if you'd stop 'your roommate' 8-) from giving you your only sterling reviews. It looks very odd and suspect.)
[Edited on 01/02/06 @ 05:32 AM]