The Three Rules of Nival

The new Heroes games produced by Ubisoft. Please specify which game you are referring to in your post.

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Jolly Joker
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Postby Jolly Joker » Dec 8 2006, 15:53

Hey, azzy, great post, man!

For the good ole times, I'll never forget the fact that I couldn't play Wing Commander III when it came out - not because of specs or something, no the game would give an error when switching the first CD for the 2nd and that was due to my combination of motherboard and CD-Rom at that point, and you know what? Origin NEVER fixed that even though they did build patches at that time. They simply didn't find the solution for the problem, even though it was listed as a problem on their compuserve site. (Just as well I had lent the game only - if I had bought it I'd run amok, I think.)

By the way, SC, you don't mean Star Control, do you?

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Postby DaemianLucifer » Dec 8 2006, 15:55

Jolly Joker wrote:By the way, SC, you don't mean Star Control, do you?


No I dont,I mean starcraft.

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Postby nosfe » Dec 8 2006, 18:20

the good ol' times when gameplay was considered better that good graphics... baldurs gate2.... that was pure gameplay; i've actually played BG2 some 2 years ago for good ol' times sake, and you know what? it was still fun

good game getween h5 and warcraft? disciples, i really like that one; my hopes are still high for disciples3 :D

as for H5... I want a great story for the next expansion with lots of context :flame: How am I supposed to like the H5 world more than the others if i can't remember the characters names half way though the campaign?

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Postby ThunderTitan » Dec 8 2006, 18:23

I think he was talking about WC3, and Disiples 2 came out before it as i recall.
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Postby nosfe » Dec 8 2006, 19:04

ok, than the third expansion of disciples2 :P

disciples2 got released at the end of january while w3 in july same year so at least i wasn't off very much :D

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Postby fly away » Dec 8 2006, 21:39

zuraffo wrote:IMHO it's unfair to compare older games with newer games. The complexity just doesn't match.

Did you find some conceptual complexity in HMM 5? At best it's 50% more complex than HMM 3, which was 10 years ago... (I am not talking about graphics)

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Postby Jolly Joker » Dec 8 2006, 21:43

Err, I don't think complexity has something to do with how old a game is.

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Postby fly away » Dec 8 2006, 21:47

Jolly Joker wrote:Err, I don't think complexity has something to do with how old a game is.
Maybe complexity itself doesn't, but the implementation of it does.

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Postby Jolly Joker » Dec 8 2006, 22:10

Umm, what?
I'm sorry, but I can't follow you. The implementation of complexity? What does that mean?

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Postby Alamar » Dec 8 2006, 23:21

I'm having problems following it too ...

I think that the point of the post was that the complexity of HoMM 5 shouldn't be so much [compared to H3] that improvements in AI coding, CPU speed, memory amounts, etc. over 10 years would be too much to overcome.

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Postby azzy » Dec 9 2006, 1:01

OMG implementation of complexity :hail:

I think some of us smoke a certain source of inspiration :tonguehands:

and one tip to kind of stay on topic:
nowadays our CPUs are so busy calculating the grafics
that there are not enough free resourses left
to support a desent AI

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Postby val-gaav » Dec 9 2006, 1:01

DaemianLucifer wrote:
val-gaav wrote:but I simply love that they do realese patches monthly and I do hope that the last patch will be like 1.20 or over that number :)


Actually,FoH is version 2.2,so the last patch will be something like 3.5,or 4.5,or similar.Oh,and about the monthly part :rofl:


Nope Ubi/nival is going to patch expansions and normal game ...

It means that we will soon get patch 1.5 and patch 2.1 (for HoF)
(I think hoF is 2.0 corect me if I'm wrong)

It will be almost the same patch , though the 1.5 version will not adress things from expansion (caravans fortress etc etc ....)

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Postby fly away » Dec 9 2006, 2:06

Jolly Joker wrote:Umm, what?
I'm sorry, but I can't follow you. The implementation of complexity? What does that mean?

Consider the game to be a set of different pieces - skills, objects, creatures etc. One may want to have as many of them as necessary. This set and the rules about how the pieces interact determine "complexity". But the computational resourses are limited, so how all of the above will be implemented depends on the developer.
My point is that the number of pieces and rules in HMM5 is not much bigger than that in HMM3, but HMM5 is way slower on modern computers. So it must be bad inefficient programming,

Because
nowadays our CPUs are so busy calculating the grafics
that there are not enough free resourses left

is wrong for the most part. :)
I see no other explanation...

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Postby Pol » Dec 9 2006, 2:14

So it must be bad inefficient programming,


Sure is, but it will be having some "easy" engine for developers. It usually takes years to optimize these systems, even that, when one develop better others mostly go and bought it from him. Thus nowadays.
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Postby Paradox » Dec 9 2006, 2:18

DaemianLucifer wrote:Ok,you asked for it:

First,they decided to destroy the whole world of previous 4 heroes,and 9 M&M games(not to mention a few spinoff games).A reasonable decision though,because that world became quite tough to follow.But you know how nostalgia is like.People got tied to old heroes and creatures,so its tough for them to accept new things.Even though most of them wont admit it.

Second,the 4th heroes sequel came out too early and was extremelly buggy,so peoples lost faith in the game,and the series was hanging on a thin thread.The news of the 5th sequel were excelent for us,but we also had worries that the fiasco would repeat itself.Naturally,when the game came out as bugged as it was,people lost faith and thought that the error was repeating itself.

Third,there were lots of improvements in the 4th sequel(let me just mention the caravans and the fog of war),but some features were porrly implemented(heroes on the battlefield).Nival decided to disregard all of these features,both the good ones and the bad ones.This was a very bad decision,because lots of those stuff were excelent.Thus the cry for caravans,and other features.

Fourth,to further down the enragment of the fans,features from the third instalment were removed as well.Some of the buttons and screens were removed along with text bubbles which were excelent way of presenting the story,and the reason they gave was "speeding up of the gameplay".This would all pass,if not for bringing in features that slow down the gameplay(non flagable windmills,non acumulating dwellings,memory leak,loooong load times,etc,etc).

All of the above couldve been disregarded if the game had some good story and if the animations and voice acting were at least good.Sadly,this wasnt the case.

To go even further,the release of the game wasnt very smooth either.Let me just mention the wait american players had to endure,and all the limmited editions that brought nothing astonishing.Also,the communication and the patching of the game were horrible,to say the least.

One of the things above wouldnt be that bad on its own,but all of them combined,and you get a feeling of big unproffesionalism.Thus all the good things that were brought were mostly disregarded.

And to add a few personal things here,it is ubisoft that bought the series,and its a company thats not very user friendly in my eyes.

But dont get me wrong,the game is good on its own.However,it stands as a sequel to the series which was excelent even in its worst installment,so being just good simply doesnt cut it.


very nice accurate summany of Heroes 5 and why it sucks.

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Postby Caradoc » Dec 9 2006, 3:32

Quality guru Joseph Juran has said that quality problems are management problems. And this is, I think, the problem with Heroes V. The critical mistakes were due to bad management.

First was that the interface to the game's community was through Fabrice, a UbiSoft employee who it appears did not play a direct role in the game's development. The result was that the development team did not have a leader that embodied the game's vision. All great games are born of the passion of one person.

Second was, as DL pointed out, the abandonment of Heroes IV -- and also the neglect of WOG, which I think may be as significant. And even more so, the disdain which they showed for mapmakers. One of the great things about previous Heroes editors was that they were designed for users. The Heroes IV scripting system, buggy as it was, made it possible to create far better maps than we will ever see with Heroes V. Somebody decided that message boxes meant more text to translate and that this was a cost to be avoided. Idiot.

Third was the Dark Age between the initial dialog with the community and the release of the beta. They should have presented us with a description of what they planned to develop and had a review of the intended functionality prior to going ahead with coding. Like so many software projects, 'work' came to mean 'coding' and they started too soon. The result was the botched beta, major backtracking, and poor testing.

I ran this quote in another topic, but it bears repeating here. It is from Soren Johnson, the designer of Civilization IV:

"My most important source of information, my compass, so to speak, was always the online community. Game design, of course, always involves the iterative cycle of internal development and testing and refinement and more testing and so on. However, the topic of Civ was so broad, so all-encompassing, and so flexible that no one person could understand all the ways the game could be played or approached.

"As I discovered more and more paths to Civ, I became a better game designer. If Civ IV succeeded in areas where Civ III failed, it is largely because our understanding of the Civ community increased so much over the intervening years. In fact, the 100-person private test group for Civ IV – critical to the game’s development – was culled from our personal interaction with the many different groups and sites that existed on the net."
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Postby DaemianLucifer » Dec 9 2006, 3:49

azzy wrote:and one tip to kind of stay on topic:
nowadays our CPUs are so busy calculating the grafics
that there are not enough free resourses left
to support a desent AI


Completelly wrong.The memory of a graphics card is used only for graphics rendering.Boost it to couple of gigs and leave your RAM at 256 MBs and youll never manage to run heroes.Same goes the other way round.

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Postby PhoenixReborn » Dec 9 2006, 4:20

Caradoc wrote:One of the great things about previous Heroes editors was that they were designed for users. The Heroes IV scripting system, buggy as it was, made it possible to create far better maps than we will ever see with Heroes V. Somebody decided that message boxes meant more text to translate and that this was a cost to be avoided. Idiot.


I don't understand what you mean about message boxes. Is it an editor thing or an in-game thing? And what does that have to do with translating?

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Postby Demiurg » Dec 9 2006, 8:01

Caradoc wrote:All great games are born of the passion of one person.


Word.

BTW, PhoenixReborn, I think he means that in previous HoMM games the story could be told via message boxes, which made it possible for custom mappers to write more complex and interesting stories. Now it's told via cutscenes, which necessates voice acting - which of course is notoriously difficult and expensive to get right. Which makes me question Caradoc's surmised reason for it being implemented over message boxes btw. I mean, if you want to go cheap, why choose voice acting/cutscenes over message boxes? Sort of the same criticism some have of Oblivion vs. Morrowind. Of course, Caradoc can handle this answer better himself...

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Postby Jolly Joker » Dec 9 2006, 10:04

I disagree with many things said here.
I think, no one will deny when I say that Heroes II is for most of the fans what presents the basic HoMM design and the game that won the fans. Personally I think that H 3 is not better design-wise. H 3 is more stuff to play with, but the game is certainly not better.
H 4 is a different game because the basic design was completely different. I have difficulties to see the HoMM concept in there.
For me H 5 is clearly superior to H 3 and - as a HoMM game - to H 4 as well. It is by no means a perfect game, but I think that

Nival has captured the flavor and the style of the game nearly perfectly (hang me for that , but it is so).

As opposed to that, I think that WoG, after a very good start, meanwhile has slaughtered the game completely by overblowing it. I had gone back to playing the original H 3 before H 5 because WoG was unbearably cluttered.

Civilization, which was mentioned here, is a completely different case. The game has always been the same, and first and foremost you have to bow before the skill of the designers to sell people basically the same game for fifteen or so years. The game is REFINED, but the basic design keeps the same. It is no wonder they turn to the fans for ideas, it's mainly a question of detail.
With HoMM 5 it's a completely different case. Nival did a complete redesign and they did well. They are still changing things, and it's their right to do so. It's their game, not the fans' game. They are patching, they are balancing, they are refining.
The game certainly does not suck.


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