Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

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Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby {CH}ArticleBot » Oct 16 2016, 21:57

If you are a long time fan of Heroes II. there's high chance that you already heard about it, if not check it now.

 

Project Ironfist adds new monsters, maps and spells to Heroes II. with help of scripting. Together with a new campaign(s). It all started by reverse-engineering the game in August 2010 by Darmani, who now asked me to help him to allure more people in his team. The mod is now in version 1.2.1 and you need windows version of the game to playing it.

Just before that I recommend you to see following videos, as it's said that one picture is for thousand words, so one video must be, ..even better. Below is link to campaign trailer "Last Stand" and modding tutorials: Introduction, Scripting, Adding New Creatures and Modding the Code.

//www.youtube.com/embed/rqWAOItrlqQ?rel=0

 

Who is needed? Let's hear:

"We’re on the prowl for new programmers and web-designers, so if you are one or know anyone with the awesome skill to join our super ninja programming team – please send us a shout. :-)

Send a sample of your work to homm2ironfist@gmail.com . Do you have what it takes?
We’re now looking for the following roles:

  1. Graphics Designer (both 2D and 3D) - if you can turn 4 colors into a lush forest - then you are the one we’re looking for - Join our elite team to be a crucial part of the development of this awesome adventure!
  2. Code Ninja - if you have the talent and speed to dive into a codebase and build new features, or even reverse-engineer old ones, come join our elite group of developers and help shape this awesome Cyborg campaign! Also, did I mention the technology that makes our modding possible is seriously impressive (developed by an MIT computer scientist).
  3. Sound Designer - if you are able to manipulate sounds so well that you’ll be able to re-make retro music in a cool new campaign bringing sci-fi and fantasy into a unique clash - come join us!!
  4. Concept Artist - if you a have a passion for both Sci-fi and Fantasy, and you think you can bring to life the awesome characters and environments we’ve created - come test your skills with us!!
Join us in this amazing campaign to breath life into this awesome sci-fi fantasy game!!!
 

The Project Ironfist topic in our forums ishere, where you may follow its regular updates.

Did I mentioned cyborgs? No? Huge mistake, they are there too!

 

 
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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby iLiVeInAbOx05 » Oct 16 2016, 22:35

Wish I didn't have so many projects already or I would definitely help out :(

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 17 2016, 13:53

As much as I loved H2, I really question whether there is a need to do this project. Ultimately H2 is severely outdated.

Already H7 does not meet the GUI expectations of modern gamers, much less H2.

How are you going to make the game still look good on a 24" screen which is standard nowadays?

How can these tiny battlefields, cartoonish animations, small numbers of abilities and spells and hero leveling and options, how can they even compare with H4 let alone H5.5 mod?

Content simply can't match modern expectations anymore. You can level your hero to superhero status in H4, with as many as 60 slots to fill.

H3 has 9 races/factions.

H5.5 gives you the ability to fill up 8 abilities/ skills.

H7 has even more skills, abilities and spells that you can cast.

H7, 5.5 and 3 all have well over 100 creatures and tons of artifacts and combo artifacts. And battlefields of an amazing number of sizes and backgrounds.

To make H2 worth playing over these other games you will need to add a lot, a lot, a lot of content. Wouldn't it be better to work with established teams to make more modern Heroes games even better?

Back in the day I was a fanatic for H2. Not any more. I know I sound discouraging, but I really want to put forward some perspective. Modding H2 is like rebuilding the Model T Ford. It was a great car back in those days, but nowadays is really too much work to keep up. For all your hard work, you run the risk of having only 1000 downloads and 200 diehard fans after a year has passed.

If you devoted the same energy and passion towards a Heroes 7 Patch 3.0, that solves most of the AI problems, the stability problems, and offers the Inferno faction to boot, I'm sure you will get 100000 downloads and 20000 diehard fans. Isn't that a greater goal?
Last edited by cjlee on Oct 17 2016, 14:04, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Namerutan » Oct 17 2016, 17:59

cjlee wrote:As much as I loved H2, I really question whether there is a need to do this project. Ultimately H2 is severely outdated.
Already H7 does not meet the GUI expectations of modern gamers, much less H2.
How are you going to make the game still look good on a 24" screen which is standard nowadays?

"look good" ... :)
A nice look is positive always, but I prefer to focus on other aspects of a game; some games looks pretty, but they are almost as watching a movie, and some other games looks ugly, but I still play these, even 30 years after... surely I'm old... :-D


cjlee wrote:If you devoted the same energy and passion towards a Heroes 7 Patch 3.0, that solves most of the AI problems, the stability problems, and offers the Inferno faction to boot, I'm sure you will get 100000 downloads and 20000 diehard fans. Isn't that a greater goal?

That seems like a good goal for a company focused on economic results :D
Last edited by Namerutan on Oct 17 2016, 18:00, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 17 2016, 20:59

Namerutan wrote:
cjlee wrote:As much as I loved H2, I really question whether there is a need to do this project. Ultimately H2 is severely outdated.
Already H7 does not meet the GUI expectations of modern gamers, much less H2.
How are you going to make the game still look good on a 24" screen which is standard nowadays?

"look good" ... :)
A nice look is positive always, but I prefer to focus on other aspects of a game; some games looks pretty, but they are almost as watching a movie, and some other games looks ugly, but I still play these, even 30 years after... surely I'm old... :-D
That seems like a good goal for a company focused on economic results :D


It really boils down to what the OP wants to get out of his Project Ironfist.

If he is a diehard H2 fan, then of course he should stick with Project Ironfist regardless of how much interest there is in it.

If he is a programming/ modding fan who just likes to work on projects like this, or if he is merely a general heroes gaming fan who can play H3, H4, H5, H7, then I very strongly urge him to direct his energies where most people can benefit for the longest time - ie in Heroes 7.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Vitirr » Oct 17 2016, 21:02

Nam, please check your private messages :)

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Erwinner » Oct 18 2016, 12:48

cjlee wrote:If you devoted the same energy and passion towards a Heroes 7 Patch 3.0, that solves most of the AI problems, the stability problems, and offers the Inferno faction to boot, I'm sure you will get 100000 downloads and 20000 diehard fans. Isn't that a greater goal?


lol

that is absolutely not going to happen mate no matter all the abstract rhetoric, nobody talented enough to do it is that bored and masochistic lol

you deeply underestimate how ****** up Heroes 7 is from a technical perspective lol

by the time it happens (if ever) H7 will be as outdated as H2 lol
Last edited by Erwinner on Oct 18 2016, 12:50, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 19 2016, 20:46

Erwinner wrote:
lol

that is absolutely not going to happen mate no matter all the abstract rhetoric, nobody talented enough to do it is that bored and masochistic lol

you deeply underestimate how ****** up Heroes 7 is from a technical perspective lol

by the time it happens (if ever) H7 will be as outdated as H2 lol


olo

is this your infamous habit of using three letters in place of the full stop olo

I can't believe I am doing it myself olo

I don't know coding so I can't tell how bad the H7 engine is olo

looks like we're stuck with the latest version of heroes at 5.x olo

very much a pity because monitors keep getting bigger but our graphics are like 10 years behind olo

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Erwinner » Oct 20 2016, 15:49

cjlee wrote:lol

is this your infamous habit of using three letters in place of the full stop lol

I can't believe I am doing it myself lol

I don't know coding so I can't tell how bad the H7 engine is lol

looks like we're stuck with the latest version of heroes at 5.x lol

very much a pity because monitors keep getting bigger but our graphics are like 10 years behind lol


no worries mate wasn't intended as a personal comment at all,
I'm just saying you wouldn't believe how monumentally botched that game is technically even if you already cast a cold opinion of it lol

actually it's not even an issue of the engine, H7 uses the Unreal Engine 3 which is highly optimised and used by all sorts of great games, it's pure and simple dev incompetence and rush now, think later production which screwed it lol

if you go over to HC and have a chat with my modder buddy LizardWarrior he can explain the massive structural issues of the game, basically he is trying to exactly do what you suggested above but it is borderline impossibru lol

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 20 2016, 16:36

OK, I'm totally ignorant of programming Erwinner.

But is it possible that a relatively small and dedicated team of fans can produce a better game over the next 2 years?

Again and again over the years I have seen the awesome results of the fans: WoG, Equilibris, and now Heroes 5.5.

Since part of the work has already been done - eg the music, the graphics, the 3D models, the game engine - isn't it possible for enthusiasts to get together and remake the game into heroes 7.7?

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Erwinner » Oct 20 2016, 17:34

well to break it down the best I can (I ain't knowledgeable myself, this is just from osmosis), thing about these games is there's the soft coded and the hard coded aspects lol

soft coded stuff can be modded very easily with the right programs, like a map or a piece of text or art, these can be edited in all Heroes games more or less to some extent just by swapping out the existing assets lol

hard coded stuff is the fundamentals of the game like the AI and the basic game logic and stuff, or adding whole new assets, this is immensely difficult to change without the developer source code (which Ubisoft refuse to ever release to the public),
this is why there are limitations on modding for H1, 2, 5, 6 and 7, nobody really cracked the code lol

the Project Ironfists, WOG and HotA guys have been able to basically break down, study, interpret and reconstruct the hard code of H2 and H3, which is quite difficult and time consuming to do, and they can edit it completely, also Quantomas was given the source code of H5 on a contract and thus worked on his AI lol

however, it's easier to crack the code of these games, simply because 1) they're better games and thus attract more talented people, and 2) they're older games and thus more compact (H6 and H7 are much, much, much more bloated and slapdash and would take incrementally more time to figure out, to the point that it's just not worth bothering) lol

technically I'm sure it would be possible for the fans to make a successor of their own (VCMI for instance is a reconstruction of H3 from scratch), but that would need a lot of leadership and talent to pull off a new game, especially as far as coding the game logic and competent AI, which I can't possibly overstate how difficult it is (if you notice for H7 Limbic employed a fan intern to make their AI and he did an absolutely terrible, truly god awful job, and he had the incentive of pay) lol

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Dalai » Oct 20 2016, 23:30

Erwinner wrote:also Quantomas was given the source code of H5 on a contract and thus worked on his AI
I didn't know it. That explains his evasive answer when I asked him about moral aspect of working for a company which destroyed Heroes franchise.
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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 21 2016, 2:56

Erwinner wrote:well to break it down the best I can (I ain't knowledgeable myself, this is just from osmosis), thing about these games is there's the soft coded and the hard coded aspects lol



the Project Ironfists, WOG and HotA guys have been able to basically break down, study, interpret and reconstruct the hard code of H2 and H3, which is quite difficult and time consuming to do, and they can edit it completely, also Quantomas was given the source code of H5 on a contract and thus worked on his AI lol

however, it's easier to crack the code of these games, simply because 1) they're better games and thus attract more talented people, and 2) they're older games and thus more compact (H6 and H7 are much, much, much more bloated and slapdash and would take incrementally more time to figure out, to the point that it's just not worth bothering) lol

technically I'm sure it would be possible for the fans to make a successor of their own (VCMI for instance is a reconstruction of H3 from scratch), but that would need a lot of leadership and talent to pull off a new game, especially as far as coding the game logic and competent AI, which I can't possibly overstate how difficult it is (if you notice for H7 Limbic employed a fan intern to make their AI and he did an absolutely terrible, truly god awful job, and he had the incentive of pay) lol


OK, i have an idea what you are talking about now.

I remember H2 was only 50+mb without the animations. Let's say 5mb was just code - maybe 5000 pages of text or whatever. It takes a long time to look through, but an experienced coder has no problem, just like an experienced lawyer will look at a huge fat contract and figure out the loopholes after a day or so.

H7 is 10GB and another maybe 40GB of patching. The code is maybe 5GB. That would be 5,000,000 pages of text, most of which is repetitive, badly organized with unclear logic, some is self contradictory because the intern forgot what he was doing and thus created bugs that had to be addressed in later patches, etc. Probably this fool intern just wrote his code once and never read it again, and he copied and pasted vast sections of it and made small adjustments whenever he came across bugs, resulting in tons and tons of bloat and redundant code and internally contradictory code which is why the game takes so much memory and is so slow and crashes so much.

But there are surely certain discrete pieces of information that are undoubtedly useful, aren't there? EG the graphics, the animations, the 3D models.

Now if you have an entire system for which the code is built up from scratch and already understood by an entire team of people, that would be H5.5.

So can't the H5.5 people grab the animations and 3D models of H7 for their AI? The gist of what I am scratching at, is that by now Heroes 5 looks like how Heroes 3 looked 10 years ago. It really looks a decade old - like a game published in 2006. It's the equivalent of giving your car a modern hybrid engine in a 1950s body. All the PVC and long tailfins just looks so dated. I can't see us attracting a new fan base with that. The awesome work of our modders is just going to an established old fan base that will fall off by attrition over time.

One of my friends just bought a 30" monitor and is praising it to high heaven. 30" is my next target size, and it may come as early as 2 years from now.

Can you imagine playing H3 on a 30" monitor? It will be practically pixelated minecraft.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Namerutan » Oct 21 2016, 8:42

cjlee wrote:Can you imagine playing H3 on a 30" monitor? It will be practically pixelated minecraft.


I play Heroes4 (and sometimes Heroes3) using a Samsung 28" monitor, 4K resolution, and I still prefer these 2 over any of the posterior games. ;)

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Erwinner » Oct 21 2016, 8:53

Dalai wrote:I didn't know it. That explains his evasive answer when I asked him about moral aspect of working for a company which destroyed Heroes franchise.


nah I think that was at the time of Tribes of the East working with Fabrice to fix Nival's terrible AI IIRC, that was before Erwin came in to destroy the franchise lol

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Erwinner » Oct 21 2016, 9:11

cjlee wrote:I remember H2 was only 50+mb without the animations. Let's say 5mb was just code - maybe 5000 pages of text or whatever. It takes a long time to look through, but an experienced coder has no problem, just like an experienced lawyer will look at a huge fat contract and figure out the loopholes after a day or so.

H7 is 10GB and another maybe 40GB of patching. The code is maybe 5GB. That would be 5,000,000 pages of text, most of which is repetitive, badly organized with unclear logic, some is self contradictory because the intern forgot what he was doing and thus created bugs that had to be addressed in later patches, etc. Probably this fool intern just wrote his code once and never read it again, and he copied and pasted vast sections of it and made small adjustments whenever he came across bugs, resulting in tons and tons of bloat and redundant code and internally contradictory code which is why the game takes so much memory and is so slow and crashes so much.


that is exactly my interpretation as well, you phrased it way better than I could lol

cjlee wrote:But there are surely certain discrete pieces of information that are undoubtedly useful, aren't there? EG the graphics, the animations, the 3D models.

Now if you have an entire system for which the code is built up from scratch and already understood by an entire team of people, that would be H5.5.

So can't the H5.5 people grab the animations and 3D models of H7 for their AI? The gist of what I am scratching at, is that by now Heroes 5 looks like how Heroes 3 looked 10 years ago. It really looks a decade old - like a game published in 2006. It's the equivalent of giving your car a modern hybrid engine in a 1950s body. All the PVC and long tailfins just looks so dated. I can't see us attracting a new fan base with that. The awesome work of our modders is just going to an established old fan base that will fall off by attrition over time.


I think at least in my opinion, any serious effort to make a fan game from the ground up will basically pretend H6 and H7 never existed so as not to suffer from negative association lol

fans wouldn't want to just cover for Ubisoft and make them look good by fixing their horrible mess directly, they'd probably want to make a Heroes with its own soul and identity lol

plus, the art direction of those games isn't good IMO, it's not really Heroes art, it's Erwin/Ashan art, and it looks cheap and soulless, tossed together on the unforgiving production line lol
also if we were getting a proper fan game with a modern, working AI I'd imagine it would rely on Kickstarter just to be sustainable, and would have to stay away from the Heroes license for copyright reasons, which are three reasons why those assets are functionally useless outside of placeholders and stuff lol

I don't think art and animations would be as big a challenge for the community as the AI and the coding of game logic, there are many fantastic artists in the community but not as many prodigious strategy game coders lol

but, I'm just speculating here, Quantomas is the only one doing any of this AFAIK (and with greatest of respect to him, he's been delayed for years and years, so getting harder to imagine anything coming of it) lol

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 21 2016, 18:26

Erwinner wrote:I think at least in my opinion, any serious effort to make a fan game from the ground up will basically pretend H6 and H7 never existed so as not to suffer from negative association lol

fans wouldn't want to just cover for Ubisoft and make them look good by fixing their horrible mess directly, they'd probably want to make a Heroes with its own soul and identity lol

plus, the art direction of those games isn't good IMO, it's not really Heroes art, it's Erwin/Ashan art, and it looks cheap and soulless, tossed together on the unforgiving production line lol
also if we were getting a proper fan game with a modern, working AI I'd imagine it would rely on Kickstarter just to be sustainable, and would have to stay away from the Heroes license for copyright reasons, which are three reasons why those assets are functionally useless outside of placeholders and stuff lol

I don't think art and animations would be as big a challenge for the community as the AI and the coding of game logic, there are many fantastic artists in the community but not as many prodigious strategy game coders lol

but, I'm just speculating here, Quantomas is the only one doing any of this AFAIK (and with greatest of respect to him, he's been delayed for years and years, so getting harder to imagine anything coming of it) lol



Well you're basically right; I didn't like H6 and 7 art much. Too much copying from other franchises, and somehow too many creatures look alike. Now that you're blasting Erwin, I think maybe the artwork was the product of one or very few people under a tight deadline.

The H5.5 mod has done some really awesome jobs in new character portraits and a few new units. Their new heroes all look different, all look like different individuals. With one glance I can remember who they are. I didn't get that feeling from H6 and 7.

But there's no escaping the fact that H3, 4, 5 creatures and animations are really too old and low rez. Some individuals like Namerutan may still be able to accept aged animations and illustrations, but I'm thinking of the franchise as a whole. Are we really going to get more support from other gamers and new timers? Or are we just an ageing, dying, shrinking community?

Probably for every 1 new gamer who takes up WoG, Equilibris or Mod5.5, we lose 10 who quietly stop playing heroes. That's why the forum is quiet and there are not many new mapmakers or new maps.

We gotta update the looks, no matter what. Heroes 5 graphics look like a joke now. I look at the games my friends play, and except for the games their KIDS play, all have far superior graphics.

I want to play with dragons that look like Lord of the Rings/ Game of Thrones realistic. Not something that reminds me of The Gummi Bears (the Hanna Babera cartoon from the 1980s) or Smurfs. Most of the games in the market look practically photorealistic now. I'm still looking at blocky animations in H5.

I'd like to add that I am pretty big about giving feedback on everything because that's the only way I know how to contribute to this community. I can't code, so I can only play and give thoughtful opinions.

There are many innovations which can greatly enhance our gaming experience, and different versions of heroes have them. It won't always be possible to put all the innovations together in one game, but we can learn from the best ideas of each game. One innovation that I'm really happy with now, comes from H5.5. The H5.5 guys have greatly increased the difficulty of each structure, for instance.

Now if each structure were to continue giving their old rewards, there would be very little incentive to fight these battles. Who wants to take on legions of foes, risking hundreds of his own creatures, for a useless +2 artifact or 2000 gold? But the H5.5 buildings don't just give a fixed bit of gold. They give what appears to be an amount of gold and resources linked to the cost of the creatures you destroyed, plus give you a modest number of 'freed prisoners' corresponding to the type of creatures you already have in your army - in effect replenishing your losses. This guarantees that even in late game you will want to continue attacking these structures, and that nothing on the map is useless scenery.

I wish this innovation could be applied to all versions of Heroes that people are working on now. (Hint: it is time for Heroes 2 to stop featuring, for instance, pyramids with a fixed number of mummies. Back in these days I loved hitting these 'average speed' walkers with Mass Slow for experience and free top level spells - but maybe now we should have more challenging pyramids.)
Last edited by cjlee on Oct 21 2016, 20:34, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby Namerutan » Oct 22 2016, 0:08

cjlee wrote:I wish this innovation could be applied to all versions of Heroes that people are working on now. (Hint: it is time for Heroes 2 to stop featuring, for instance, pyramids with a fixed number of mummies. Back in these days I loved hitting these 'average speed' walkers with Mass Slow for experience and free top level spells - but maybe now we should have more challenging pyramids.)


This is an interesting idea. I need to think more about it.

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby iLiVeInAbOx05 » Oct 22 2016, 15:25

Namerutan wrote:I play Heroes4 (and sometimes Heroes3) using a Samsung 28" monitor, 4K resolution, and I still prefer these 2 over any of the posterior games. ;)


I actually play everything on my 55' tv. Can't seem to go back to a regular monitor anymore. The only thing that I've played which was noticeably pixelated was mario cart on n64. HOMM2 and up still look fine for me :) But then again, I typically go back and play through older games so I may just be used to the graphics still :)

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Re: Heroes II. - Project Ironfist

Postby cjlee » Oct 23 2016, 3:05

iLiVeInAbOx05 wrote:
Namerutan wrote:I play Heroes4 (and sometimes Heroes3) using a Samsung 28" monitor, 4K resolution, and I still prefer these 2 over any of the posterior games. ;)


I actually play everything on my 55' tv. Can't seem to go back to a regular monitor anymore. The only thing that I've played which was noticeably pixelated was mario cart on n64. HOMM2 and up still look fine for me :) But then again, I typically go back and play through older games so I may just be used to the graphics still :)


Seriously, I can't bring myself to even look at most older games anymore. They were wonders in their time, but now look crude and childish.

The other day I picked up an old copy I had of Robinson Crusoe while cleaning the house. I haven't read this for 30 years. Reading it, I wanted to vomit at the racism in the book. But when I was a kid, the character Robinson Crusoe was awesome; a hero that boys wanted to look up to.


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