Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

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Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

Postby {CH}ArticleBot » Oct 13 2020, 8:33

Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

Guys, girls and dinosaurs, it's HeroofPunk (and I really wish I could go by another alias by now..) I present to you, Michael Wolf!

Michael Wolf brought us maps such as "Twins", "Heroes of Might, Not Magic" and the "Secret Campaign" from Armageddon's Blade which brought us a good play, but also some good laughs.

So, Tim Lang (our interview with him can be found HERE) decided to set us up and this is basically the result. We put a lot of time into discussing the Map Editor and how you make a good map, but also got to know the really funny internal name for "Shadow of Death".

Please let us know what you thought of the interview and let us know, who do you want us to interview next?

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Re: Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

Postby Pol » Oct 13 2020, 21:57

Done, HoP is no more, welcome MadMax! :D

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Re: Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

Postby Quantomas » Oct 16 2020, 12:40

Hello MadMax, first kudos for doing these interviews. It's a milestone for CH.

You asked for feedback and what could be improved. Well, there is a lot and I will go over it in a minute, but first I would like to give you my recommendation whom to interview next.

I heard that you consider to interview the devs of Songs of Conquest. Well, in this case I'd advise against it. Why? It's not only that they haven't proven that they can develop a worthwhile game. In principle the interview would amount to little more than a showcase what they have planned, mostly in terms of graphics design and game mechanics. I talked to the guy in charge of their AI and he seemed clueless, totally convinced that he can juggle Unity, UI development and AI at the same time. No chance that this will yield a quality AI, so no high hopes here. Unfortunately these days most devs of strategy games still don't get the difference between a quality strategy game (backed up by competent AI, non-cheating of course) and a strategy game that lacks persistence (by breaking the rules with cheats).

But whom I warmly can recommend to do an interview with is Fabrice Cambounet, the producer of Heroes of Might and Magic V. He is the guy, aside from the devs at Nival, who did the most to make Heroes V into a quality game. He has actually quite a good story to tell, from success factors that made the game better and the only true HoMM success of Ubisoft, to his private journey. He actually left Ubisoft to pursue his own goals many years ago.

Regarding my feedback, I felt that you let the interview simply drift. Actually Michael Wolf did admirably to fill this void with interesting stuff.

But you don't want to do this. Instead you need a clear understanding of the context, what part(s) of the games industry does this interview relate to and what are the topics of most interest to the audience. Once you have this understanding you can structure the interview and break it down into segments. This sounds more abstract than it is.

In this case you would have made a plan like this: 10 min introduction - 15 min the situation at NWC - 10 min the structure of the mapmaking process - 15 min mapmaking essentials - 15 min story and flow of a map - 15 min specific game mechanics - 20 min how the map works while playing with the AI - 10 min what he is currently doing and plans.

In each of these segments you need to make sure that you keep the interview on track. If it appears that a topic is running out of steam you have to drill deeper with additional questions. Or if the focus shifts, move it back. Like when Michael said that the AI just wanders around, there is nothing you can do, you need to drill deeper by asking how he did make the map a success with players. If he then just answers, it's mainly playtesting again and again, you have to drill deeper to ask for specifics, like how important it is that a castle is defended well, if it wouldn't be better if a specific hero is encountered in a specific area, whether there are means to control the development of enemy heroes and so on. A guy who worked many years on a subject simply has to know his stuff, even if he is not aware of it.

There is nothing wrong with agreeing an interview structure with the interviewee in advance. Naturally, asking fans for questions beforehand helps as well. In essence it means, be prepared, structure the interview well, and stick to an agreed plan.

It requires good insight and experience within the games industry is beneficial. Naturally, you don't have this at the beginning, but I can help you here and we could prepare the next interview together, if you like. Feel free to contact me at Discord if you are interested.
Last edited by Quantomas on Oct 16 2020, 12:43, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Michael Wolf (Level Designer) on Heroes of Might and Magic 3 Map Making, Part 1

Postby Panda Tar » Oct 16 2020, 22:47

Pol wrote:Done, HoP is no more, welcome MadMax! :D

Did he change the official nick? It's like losing a friend. :sad:

And gaining another. :-D

That's quite a great advice! :applause: One helping the other is how we go forward.
Last edited by Panda Tar on Oct 16 2020, 22:50, edited 1 time in total.
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