H7 vs taking things into our own hands

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Quantomas
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H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Quantomas » Jan 1 2016, 20:30

Happy new year to the fans of our beloved Heroes strategy games!

A lot has been said and it is time that we *do* something.

If we wish, we can create a greater more advanced game, a hub like DotA only for TBS, including:

* A spectator mode for arena based multiplayer and an elimination tournament mode

* a superior AI that can measure player performance and a ranking system similar to chess' ELO

* adaptable simultaneous turns that speed up gameplay without turn limit

* a logical expansion of the gameplay rules as we see fit based on a pattern system that allows for infinite combinations

* a superior single player experience that gives mapmakers more options and advances the unique combination of storytelling and strategy that is HoMM's trademark

If we desire we can indeed move forward. Ubisoft and Limbic can become natural participants in the process required (even a rerelease of H4 with an upgraded AI is thinkable), but ultimately we need to be prepared to move forward on our own by creating our own engine and setting up our own professional development effort. Whereas WoG remained tied to H3, we would finally move on our own, create our own Cities: Skylines if we have to.

The AI we need is mostly done. Once complete it will have a competitive playing strength to challenge the best human players, and feature very fast response times because it makes at the start of the computation a sound guess of its best options, so that it will be as fast as H3's nearly instantaneous turn times.

The other tasks are doable and I have no doubt that we can manage these if we put a proper effort into them, not a modding effort but a dedicated professional and reasonably funded endeavor.

The name of this endeavor shall be:

HEROES OF THE ANCIENT ORDER

I will set up a proper project management and crowdfunding website that will provide details.

While I naturally would have waited until the upcoming AI is complete, it deemed necessary in all this gloom that surrounds the release of H7 to set a signal of hope. I don't think we should simply sit here and wait what Ubisoft cooks up for us. The reasons are in this thread.

The situation right now, regarding the AI and my work, is that things are very tight. I had a food poisoning and needed to do a professional detox, which unfortunately delayed the completion of the AI and even today puts additional constraints on the time I can manage each day to work on the project, as lacking funds complicate things even further. But although I can't provide an exact date, the AI is completed step by step, day by day. I want to finish this task first, the work on the project website will follow.

Regarding the discussion of the project, now that it is revealed we can begin to stake it out. But please don't be surprised if my responses will take some time and focus only on the most significant topics as I am working on the AI.

(This message is on Heroes Community *and* Celestial Heavens)
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Kalah
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Kalah » Jan 1 2016, 20:54

Good to hear from you. :)

I think that what's needed with regards to H7 is the release of several user-made maps and campaigns of good quality. We need to resolve some of the issues surrounding the distribution of these, and the thing that will resolve this is the actual release of new material. If people start to make maps, we will also get a better picture of fan activity.

Developing a new AI for H7 would be welcome, but probably take years. Other (smaller) mods would be interesting.
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby mr.hackcrag » Jan 2 2016, 7:06

He's not developing an A.I. for H7. He's making a new game in HoMM style.

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Kalah » Jan 2 2016, 15:50

In that case, this belongs in the Heretics Hall forum. I will move it there. If it turns into a big success that needs its own subforum, we can create one later like we did for Equilibris and WoG.
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Pol » Jan 2 2016, 20:25

Quantomas, Happy New Year to you too! :)

How you created your AI? I think, everyone here would like to know more, at least briefly.

I remember from VCMI forums that they assumed that your AI for H5 cannot be used for them, that they have too different approach. Is your AI independent from the game engine?


Wouldn't be feasible to make the project Open Source? You know, nowaday, the AI is generally ignored in development process (skipped), in this shortened cycle all is going to promo and graphic. So, there is great demand for it in general.
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby mr.hackcrag » Jan 3 2016, 5:33

Kalah wrote:In that case, this belongs in the Heretics Hall forum.


The real heretics are Ubi and friends who turned a strong series into a weak one. :capricornus:

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby cjlee » Jan 3 2016, 8:31

Just read anywhere, and you find the same thing. Poor reviews. Even the latest patches get at best lukewarm reviews. I can see Kalah trying his best to sound upbeat in his own review, but it is hardly overwhelmingly enthusiastic also.

On this forum, the Heroes 7 discussion is all but dead. On other forums the heroes 7 discussion is marginally better.

In 2003 this franchise was worth a lot. By now it is not worth much.

Now I just finished Blizzard's Starcraft 2 campaign. It was great. I am even considering preordering their Covert Ops expansion. While enjoying the ending music, I looked at the credits. It seems at least 1000 people worked on the game in some way.

Quantomas will need to assemble a considerable team in order to make a replacement Heroes. Even considering how talented and committed our fans are, to have a good quality heroes game we probably need at least 100 people. Obviously they will not all be doing the same thing at the same time - eg maybe only 2-3 people will be artists who commit 1-2 hours a day for the coming year to do the artwork part.

The funds are not an issue. Nowadays people can organize online. And most of the work is really a labour of love anyway.

It is time for the fan community to start ignoring Ubisoft. They will never make a game we want to play. I wish Quantomas the best, and hope that within 2 years he can produce a good game and sell it for a modest price.

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Groovy » Jan 3 2016, 9:35

Hi Quantomas

It's awesome to hear from you!

I've spent the time since Eternal Essence closed down working on my own fantasy world, tabletop game and novel. It's far from finished, but if there's anything there that you'd like to use, you are more than welcome to.
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Quantomas » Jan 5 2016, 20:16

@Groovy
Cheers, good to see that you have the stamina and will to keep going. It's astounding how much time some tasks can consume. As the years pass you realize time is relative and doing your own thing helps you growing.

The reason that I posted here is that H7 is in a way the current state of the franchise and the question is whether it makes sense to develop an alternative independent Heroes game. Things have changed a lot in the last ten years, we have now crowdfunding and digital distribution and H6 and H7 leave many things to desire.

Given that we have the biggest technological challenge (AI) already solved and that an engine and solid tools are much easier to acquire today, we have indeed a real opportunity to do more than just wait for Ubisoft to present the next installment.

While I have no doubt that I would make the step and go for an independent development, at present we are at a stage where the community can speak about what they think of this endeavor. It is a kind of a unique opportunity to be heard, a bit like the old adage "speak up now, or be silent forever".

@cjlee
Blizzard possibly spent a third of the budget on testing and an equal amount was probably required to get SC2 to the level of polish it has. So, we don't need a team even nearly of that size. What we will need, if we have to develop all artwork and in-game objects from scratch, is a good number of artists and other talents who can work on content.

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby cjlee » Jan 6 2016, 6:52

You have my best wishes Quantomas.

May the gaming gods be with you!

btw I notice small response on this site. H7 traffic is very poor. Do post on as many sites as possible. You really need all the help you can get.

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Groovy » Jan 6 2016, 7:21

Quantomas wrote:While I have no doubt that I would make the step and go for an independent development, at present we are at a stage where the community can speak about what they think of this endeavor. It is a kind of a unique opportunity to be heard, a bit like the old adage "speak up now, or be silent forever".

I'm also fully committed to my project, which has its roots in the Heroes games, but has since evolved beyond them. The independent route was an obvious choice, since I can't tell how long it's going to take or what it's going to look like when it's finished.

I'll definitely support your project. I'd love to get directly involved as well, but this would depend on how closely aligned it is with my project. Basically, if your vision allows me to realise mine, then I'm all for it. :)

I'll wait for you to reveal more of the details about what you are up to, and take it from there...
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Steven Aus » Jan 16 2016, 15:10

I have been trying to load Heroes Community and apart from a good period of time of only a few minutes I have been unable to load HC. How about others?

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Steven Aus » Jan 16 2016, 18:39

I see they have a new server. I wonder how long they've had it?

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Kalah » Jan 16 2016, 23:39

Don't know, don't care. :tongue: ;)
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Steven Aus » Jan 20 2016, 10:59

Has Quantomas made any other posts? Does anyone know his email address?

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Kalah » Jan 20 2016, 22:28

He's a man of few words. I know he lurks the forums from time to time, but I'm sure he doesn't want scores of fans to pester him about all sorts of things - he likes to focus on his work.
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Steven Aus » Jan 21 2016, 3:33

He has replied in the Heroes Community twice on this page:

http://heroescommunity.com/viewthread.p ... umber=1303

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Steven Aus » Jan 26 2016, 7:35

Hi Quantomas,

The VCMI team encountered Brian Kemper, an artist from H3 and H4, when they were talking about secondary skill icons. You might want to get in touch with him and other members of the old team. As he says here:

http://forum.vcmi.eu/viewtopic.php?t=48 ... c&start=45

"I was planning on reuniting the original Heroes team members to recreate a game in the same style as the original games but haven't done so.
thanks,
Brian"

AFAIK, he is still available. One of his main websites, where he can be contacted, is:

http://brianscottkemper.prosite.com/

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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby bitmaid » Jan 29 2016, 17:58

I'm all for it. There is so little strategy left in the game that it felt like an RPG to me. Anything to drastically improve the AI, seriously. Good work with H5 Quantomas btw!
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Re: H7 vs taking things into our own hands

Postby Quantomas » Jan 30 2016, 22:35

Thank you.

Well said. HoMM is a strategy game foremost. I get the impression that this focus on story and roleplaying and other stuff is mostly a reaction to hide the deficiency and their failure in developing AI. Vice versa, if we have a fully fledged AI (soon!) we can create unheard challenges for the strategically minded fans, sound gameplay that offers many different paths to succeed.

Steven Aus wrote:The VCMI team encountered Brian Kemper, an artist from H3 and H4, when they were talking about secondary skill icons. You might want to get in touch with him and other members of the old team. As he says here:

http://forum.vcmi.eu/viewtopic.php?t=48 ... c&start=45

"I was planning on reuniting the original Heroes team members to recreate a game in the same style as the original games but haven't done so.
thanks,
Brian"

AFAIK, he is still available. One of his main websites, where he can be contacted, is:

http://brianscottkemper.prosite.com/

Noted. Thanks.


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