Tolkien's Middle-Earth map for H3: Testers Wanted

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darknessfood
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Postby darknessfood » Apr 22 2008, 22:41

Well, when the full version is there, i am sure to go and check it out, thnx Yurian!!!
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Postby Yurian Stonebow » Apr 22 2008, 23:30

@Muszka and UndeadHalfOrc

Sorry for the mix-up. I'm thinking of you two as my dedicated map testers and H3 experts so it was no surprise that one of you got email that was meant to the another. I guess it was bound to happen soner or later. As I said, I'm sincerally sorry for my Forgetfulness.

Here's hoping you both will dig the map. :)


@darknessfood

Thanks for the kind words. I plan to make the final version as good as possible and aim to win praise from both Tolkien and Heroes fans alike. (or end up being beat the crap out by both of these groups)

I do hope people will find the map worth downloading.




With best regards,




Yurian
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Postby Muszka » Apr 23 2008, 21:07

Yurian Stonebow wrote:@Muszka and UndeadHalfOrc

Sorry for the mix-up. I'm thinking of you two as my dedicated map testers and H3 experts so it was no surprise that one of you got email that was meant to the another. I guess it was bound to happen soner or later. As I said, I'm sincerally sorry for my Forgetfulness.

Here's hoping you both will dig the map. :)
No problems anyhow :) Both UndeadHalfOrc and I can understand what hardworking means. So mistakes makes us human, nothing happened what couldn't have been corrected :)
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The Map has been sent to the CH staff

Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 1 2008, 20:06

Update, May 1st 2008



"Tolkien's Middle-earth" is now in the hands of the CH staff. I'm quite satisfied with the published version; I feel like a proud father seeing his newborn child for the first time. And to add to the allegory, my wife Tiare served as the projects Artistic advisor. ;)

When the map is released and you have given it a try, please send me feedback and/or rate the game. It helps me to design even better maps. I wish all of you the best gaming experience.

And last but certainly not least, a huge thank you is in order to express my gratitude towards the team of map testers both here at CH and elswhere. Your help is always appreciated.



With best regards,




Yurian
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Postby Artas1984 » May 2 2008, 11:11

Finnaly a good map of your's. Honestly your previous map suxed
(looked like "RMG" made), but this new "Middle Eearth" looks realy nice from the first view, at least you made it on your own. Ye i will play it soon. :hoo:

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Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 2 2008, 20:57

@Artas1084

"Finnaly a good map of your's. Honestly your previous map suxed
(looked like "RMG" made), but this new "Middle Eearth" looks realy nice from the first view, at least you made it on your own."

Thank you for the feedback. From now on, I promise to leave the random map generator alone and instead concentrate on creating quality maps.
Once again thank you for your honest words.



With best regards,



Yurian
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Postby Muszka » May 4 2008, 23:14

Congrats Yurian. You made an excelent map. I finished it today for the many-th time, and I can say that I rarely encountered a map with such a replayability. The balance is good, and it can be enjoyed even by the best players, since on impossible the player must gather his experience to finish it.
I'll mail you in a couple of hours with my personal feedback from the last test.
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Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 5 2008, 20:53

@Muszka

Thank you for the compliments on my map. I know that rarely there are people with such a dedication to playtesting maps and that makes your help even more appreciated. You must have gone through at least 6 different versions with each one being more complexly evolved from its predecessor.
And that's quite a feat. :)

Unfortunately, I am far more strict towards myself and can be dictator of a boss. I can spend multiple hours thinking of a such trivial thing like once again opening the editor and switching some trees from place A to place B to make the scenery look more real! There are times when I just hate myself for such perfectionism.

Anyways, I think that the faction balance is okay and also, the balance in Human player vs AI CPU is quite okay. Moreover, in higher levels of difficulty, the players will find the AI to be challenging, agressive and sometimes with a bit of luck, just unstoppable. If you try with Expert as the level of toughness you can see that things look much more dark in the beginning. With Impossible being your choice I bet you're looking for a real
chess-game with your CPU opponents.





With best regards,




Yurian




P.S

Thanks for the latest report on version 0.97. I read it and wrote a reply.
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Postby UndeadHalfOrc » May 5 2008, 23:23

I looked at the map again, I really like how you created Mount Doom, Yurian. The demonic army attacking you was a nice touch :)

BTW, I used to have a decently made Heroes 2 Tolkien map.

I erased it years ago (stupid, I know).

Anybody here still has it? Or know where I can download it?

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Postby Vlaad II » May 6 2008, 14:52

Yurian Stonebow wrote:Anyways, I think that the faction balance is okay and also, the balance in Human player vs AI CPU is quite okay. Moreover, in higher levels of difficulty, the players will find the AI to be challenging, agressive and sometimes with a bit of luck, just unstoppable. If you try with Expert as the level of toughness you can see that things look much more dark in the beginning. With Impossible being your choice I bet you're looking for a real chess-game with your CPU opponents.





With best regards,




Yurian
I am just a casual player and I defeated Mordor as early as month 1, week 4 at the highest difficulty. I could've done it sooner had I known which neutrals might join (as I do now) or had I got Expert Water sooner.

It's a very polished map, but hard it isn't.



With best regards,


Vlaad
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Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 6 2008, 15:46

@UndeadHalfOrc


Good to hear that you like the design of Mt. Doom. The decision to make it a two - level complex instead of just an upperworld thing was one of the most demanding of the whole project. Various forms and shapes were tried until I was finally satisfied with the execution of the plan. In older versions of the map, Mt. Doom appread too simplified and clearly a work-in-progress. (or at least, that is how it seemed to me)

As for the The One Ring, it is clearly an evil "being" with attributes beyond that of an ordinary artefact. It has a will of its own and that will is as evil as its master, Sauron. Thus I came up with the idea of having the cursed thing carry deadly guardians with it if someone tried to destroy it. Not quite canonical, I know, but a nice and in my opinion, fitting end to the scenario. (special victory condition met with the destruction of the artefact)

There are other surprises waiting the player in my vision of Tolkien's masterpiece but I think that it's best I leave further spoilers alone. Some stories are best experienced in the first hand and not by having heard them from somebody else.

I don't know where to look for your missing H2 map but other well-known HoMM fansites would be your best bet. Perhaps Maphaven used to have it? They sure had a number of Middle-earth based H2, H3 and H4 maps.

Best luck with your searching efforts.





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Postby Muszka » May 6 2008, 21:59

Vlaad II wrote:I am just a casual player and I defeated Mordor as early as month 1, week 4 at the highest difficulty. I could've done it sooner had I known which neutrals might join (as I do now) or had I got Expert Water sooner.

It's a very polished map, but hard it isn't.
Try it with Tan. I bet you can't do the same. That's the challenge, and not Green/Blue :). That's for hardcore players.
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Postby Vlaad II » May 7 2008, 3:41

Muszka wrote:
Vlaad II wrote:I am just a casual player and I defeated Mordor as early as month 1, week 4 at the highest difficulty. I could've done it sooner had I known which neutrals might join (as I do now) or had I got Expert Water sooner.

It's a very polished map, but hard it isn't.
Try it with Tan. I bet you can't do the same. That's the challenge, and not Green/Blue :). That's for hardcore players.
The Bow of the Sharpshooter and Dol Guldur in week 4. And I am not a hardcore player. :D
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Postby Muszka » May 7 2008, 11:43

:) But you're not a casual either... My first task is to assamble the Bow of the SS, my second and third are to flag the Rust Dragon dwelling, and to loot the Utopia. Also it's not enough to capture Dol Goldur. Mordor still has armies inside the mount Doom.... :) anyhow you seemed to enjoy it if you played it twice :D
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Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 7 2008, 14:39

@Vlaad

Hello and thank you for the feedback. I think you're not being totally honest when you claim to be a casual Heroes III player. Me thinks your actions dealing with Mordor and finding all the parts of the Bow of the Sharpshooter in such an early state of the game hint at a player who is quite familiar with Heroes III. And besides, not all casual players play with highest possible difficulty level selected. Also, your decision to attack Mordor early on tells about a strategist who knows what he is doing. So I can safely say that I spotted your bluff ;)

But anyways, it's good to know you seem to have enjoyed the map.




Sincerally,

Yurian
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Postby Vlaad II » May 7 2008, 18:05

Yurian Stonebow wrote:But anyways, it's good to know you seem to have enjoyed the map.
Oh, I have, it's a great map. :)

Don't take me wrong, I just wanted to say it could have been more challenging. Not that my H5 version is any better, mind you. My testers complained I should have boosted the garrisons between Gondor and Mordor and delayed the key battles. (In your case, e.g. Trolls instead of those Goblins...?) Look, it sucks when players are able to kill the Witch King as early as month one and when all that's left is the tedious cleaning of the map. But since I couldn't care less, I left my map that way. LOL On the other hand, you stated your scenario was hard, but it wasn't true. No big deal though.

The other negative point is originality (or the lack of it). Like I said elsewhere, there must be, what, 20 H3 maps based on Middle-earth (naturally, some very similar to yours). In addition, the game is almost 10 years old, but there is nothing in your scenario that makes me go "wow".

Since I know how important feedback is for mapmakers (just fame - no fortune or scantily clad ladies :D ), let me tell you again how much I enjoyed your map. I loved your spin on the concept, the overall design was professional (I could see this map on an official CD), the sides were balanced (according to the book)... but most of all I enjoyed the adventure map - rich and detailed, but clear and polished.

I'd give it 8 out of 10, and that's A LOT in MY book. ;)

P.S. Just don't wait till 2015 to make the H5 version. :devious:
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Postby Yurian Stonebow » May 9 2008, 6:51

@Vlaad (and others who have questions about balance issues in "Tolkien")


I may have been too optimistic when I wrote that the difficulty in "Tolkien's Middle-earth" is as perfect as can been achieved with reasonable amount of time and research spent on the subject. After more than 50 times playing the map through (all versions combined, that is), I felt quite happy with the way things appeared and then pushed onwards to release the map.

In my opinion, factors that have perhaps the biggest effect on game balance and difficulty in this this map include:

-CPU allies sending money and resources to the player
-availability of mines and the level of troops guarding them
-selected level of difficulty and starting bonus
-use of Diplomacy
-gaining Expert level of some certain Schools of Magic
-taking advantage of the CPU's playing habits
-availability of artefacts and external troop dwellings
-chosen alliancies, with the CPU or not

Now, that I think more carefully of the map's overall difficulty,
the real level of toughness might be closer to Hard than any other.
After all the bonuses given to enemy factions start to kick in after 4 weeks of game time, so from there things will look much more complicated for the human player (s). But, I stress this, the overall difficulty might as well lean towards Expert for we all are not seasoned Heroes III veterans.

I went through many different sets of guardians on Mordor's garrisons. Your idea of adding trolls and taking away the goblins is not a bad one but the same effect can be achieved by the means of adding more hobgoblins, perhaps by the hundreds. Believe me, the garrisons were of a major headache for me!

The lack of originality is of course quite understandble when it comes to maps created to use the concept and "feel" of a well-known classic of modern literature. Then we have two options left: follow the book and restrain from making any changes or then we might as well follow the guidelines but fill the gaps with our own vision. In both cases, the map maker ends up being criticised. You just can't please 'em all.

Feel free to rate the map here at CH. It's always nice to read peoples comment and see the grades you get.

As for Heroes V... I think that I'll never make maps to that game. I feel too suspicious about the AI and the map editor itself. What's the use of complex scripting when the dumb AI can easily ruin it all for you?
Same thing applies Heroes IV too, by the way.


With best regards,



Yurian
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Tolkien's Middle-earth 1.1 to be released soon

Postby Yurian Stonebow » Aug 6 2008, 9:01

Update 6th of August 2008


The version 1.1 is a balance patch that deals with faction balance and other important gameplay issues. (see the ReadMe for more information)
I would like to thank all previous testers and map commentators, especially Vlaad II whose feedback helped me to plan and prepare a better balanced Middle-earth map. (If you're reading this Vlaad II, thanks, and here's hoping you'll dig the updated version)


Tolkien's Middle-earth version 1.1 can be downloaded at the Maparchives,
CH members ByteBandit and Pol co-owned Heroes III fan site. Follow this link to get there http://www.celestialheavens.com/h3maparchives/
Once there, select "Maps U-Z" and then click "Files" and you'll come accross folder called Maps by "Yurian Stonebow". You'll need to register there first but it is free and fast too, so it should not be much of a headache. The site hosts hundreds if not thousands of quality H3 maps. Highly recommended.

The release of Tolkien's Middle-earth 1.1 here at CH should follow soon for I have already sent the map and its ReadMe to the Staff. Keep your fingers crossed. :)




Sincerally,


Yurian
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Tolkien 1.4 up for testing

Postby Yurian Stonebow » Mar 4 2011, 0:20

Friends,

I have worked like a mad duracel bunny on drugs, and I've just completed version 1.4 of "Tolkien's Middle-earth (Allies)". (H3:SoD, size XL) Any volunteers to try out the latest version before it is "officially" released? I could still use your feedback, fellow Heroes fans, to ensure that the map will meet the expected high quality standard required of such an ambitious H3/LOTR crossover project.

Please contact me if you're in, and I shall then send you the H3 map file into your email account.


WBR,


Yurian
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Re: Tolkien 1.4 up for testing

Postby Kalah » Mar 4 2011, 1:27

Yurian Stonebow wrote:I have worked like a mad duracel bunny on drugs


:lolu: *Just pictured Yurian dressed as a bunny, on speed* :D
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