News


Jon Van Caneghem
January 2017
JVC 2016


Regular readers will know this name well: as one of the original founders of NWC and creator of the Might & Magic games, Jon is considered the spiritual father of the franchise. As he said it himselt: "I wrote the first Might and Magic while finishing college on an Apple II, and I’ve been making games ever since." After 3DO went belly up in 2003, he moved on to other things while Ubisoft would eventually pick up the baton and continue the series. Currently, he's CEO of VC Mobile Entertainment. After the release of Creature Quest, we were able to get him to answer some questions for us.

CreatureQuest 41. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.
"CEO, so I oversee everything involved with running the company, but I try to spend as much time on game design as possible."

2. What's your favorite part of the job?
"Designing new games and playing new games, but working with a talented and enthusiastic team is by far the most fulfilling."

3. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
"Hopefully doing what I’m doing now but with multiple teams."

4. What do you like to do in your free time? Do you still race cars?
"Yes, I’m quite active with several racing organizations and I won a national championship with NASA-pro racing 4 years in row! I still play lots of games on PC and Mobile, but my hobby has always been racing cars."

5. What was your inspiration for Creature Quest?
"I was enjoying many of the current mobile games and I had the idea to bring some of the elements that made Heroes so much fun to the genre. So many people who have mobile devices have never experienced anything like this."

6. What are you most proud of?
"When making something new, it’s very difficult to create a game that’s fun and addicting. I’m very proud of how the game has evolved, the decisions we made along the way and how much fun it is to play."

7. How big is the team?
"We just past 20 people and growing."

8. What are you hoping for with the global release?
"We all hope for a big hit, but just having a large number of players try the game and enjoy playing will be awesome."

9. You're just now launching globally; why the "soft launch", why didn't you launch globally right away?
"In the mobile world, this is quite common. We have made a tremendous amount of changes and adjustments during our soft launch, which is difficult to do in the PC/console world, but it gives us a chance to iterate and polish before we go out to a large audience. Its especially important for free to play games that only generate revenue from players sticking around."

CreatureQuest 510. What are your future plans for the game?
"We have an entire roadmap for the next year and beyond. It really becomes a live service like the MMO world where we have the ability to constantly add and improve the game, and respond to consumer feedback."

11. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?
"The combat system has the same feel as the early M&M RPG’s (party of portraits, taking turns attacking waves of creatures). The adventure part of the game is like exploring maps in Heroes, find treasure, resources, battle blocking armies, completing quests."

12. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?
"Embracing the input differences is probably the biggest challenge; swiping and tapping is very different from keyboard / mouse / controller. The play session length also makes for very different focus and scope. This means different types of games will work better than others. The list goes on, but at the end of the day it still must be fun!"

13. Fans like to think about "the road not taken" - did you have any specific plans for the future of the M&M/Heroes series, lore-wise and gameplay-wise? Did you have any visions for Heroes V or other games?
"I really wanted to make Might and Magic Online a long time ago, this was before EQ and all the MMOs. We started on it and had a lot of great systems and ideas, unfortunately I was never able to finish it. For Heroes, I had a very cool design for V that I would still like to do and now with all the connectivity and server power available, so many new cool things could be done with the Heroes franchise… (raising and waving hands in air)"

14. Were you proud of the creature lineups of HOMM IV factions? Were you planning to do radical changes in HOMM V factions due to fan reactions?
"Yes and yes, but the most heated debate was whether or not to allow the heroes on the battlefield (H3 vs H4)"

15. Do you think there's a chance you might work on M&M/Heroes related titles in the future?
"Hmm… maybe?"

16. What do you think is the future of gaming? Will mobile games grow at the expense of PCs and consoles?
"The future of gaming is… more gaming. I think all the platforms will grow, although mobile will always reach a much larger audience."

 

That's it - big thanks to Jon for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

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Ultimate Mod for Heroes IV Released

HEROES 4 ULTIMATE includes:

  • ModdedH4Rs
  • New Objects
  • Modded EXEs
  • Cheat menu-enabled EXE
  • Creature Ability Plugin by RoseKavalier
  • HD Wrapper by Verok
  • New Maps
  • Remastered Campaigns
  • New Brushes
  • New Object Palettes
  • Unique Hero Looks
  • Altered Creatures Graphic
  • New Spells with Icons
  • And Much More


Gameplay:



Quoting NimoStar:
"Oh, by the way, here's an incomplete list of stuff I made exclusively for the mod besides the creature recolor:

  • 50+ new map objects (including *many* failed versions of each, whicharen't included of course).
  • Hundreds of spell icons edits and changes, including reskin.
  • 73x2 Creature icons changes, including reskin.
  • 200+x2 hero icon changes, including reskin.
  • Graphics configuration experimentation and adjustment.
  • Creature ability testing and thousands of JSON changes.
  • Hundreds of creature table edit iterations.
  • Hundreds of spell table edit iterations.
  • Dozens of artifact table edit iterations.
  • String and description edits.
  • Mass spell discovery and edit (exe).
  • Hero skill edit (exe).
  • Necromancy edit (exe).
  • Hundreds of sprite list hex alterations.
  • Spell animation testing and switches.
  • Thousands of edits to mantain readme up to date, and to explain the many changes and the reason for each single one of them.
  • And of course hundreds of hours of testing."

You can DOWNLOAD the mod from MoDDB page and get in touch with author at HC or Discord channel. Enjoy!

H4_Ultimate_V3R-BF2-U1-R.rar//164.21mb//md5: 94a4dd2925b422c2f6394c2fae411e04

Without exagerrating this is greatest news from the times of Equilibris! applause


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Tracy Iwata
January 2017



CreatureQuest 31. A quick bio: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

I got hooked on video games when I was a kid. I took classes for programming and graphics, aiming to be an animator or programmer to work on a game. New World Computing was my first job, thanks to Julia Ulano who liked my fantasy art. It was fun creating 2d animated sprites for Heroes II and seeing the game box in the stores. Things shifted to 3d for Might and Magic VI. From that point on the games used 3d models. When NWC relocated to Solvang, I went around different companies and learned new skills along the way, but I still missed working on fantasy games. Then JVC sent me an email and now I’m working on his Creature Quest project. It is so exciting to be working with familiar faces that I have not seen in years.

 

2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

I create the visual effects that are used to enhance gameplay on Creature Quest. They help pop out a feature in the interface or creature - such as sparkles over a button, or flames from a creature.

 

3. What's your favorite part of the job?

Watching other people having fun playing the game.

 

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I hope to be working on a creative project in some form.

 

5. What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy drawing creatures, and playing video games.

 

CreatureQuest 26. How many creatures are there?

There are over 500 creatures in the game, including all the variations of evo states.

 

7. What’s your favourite aspect of the game?

The map quests, I enjoy exploring and uncovering goodies. It is also a good way to collect items that level up your creatures.

 

8. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

It is from JVC, lol. The strategy of building a team of creatures and improving their stats is there.

 

9. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?

There is a smaller limit on the amount of data a mobile game can push compared to a PC. I would love to have higher particle counts for each creature. As the chipset technology improves, mobile devices will eventually play more graphic intensive games.

 

Editor's note: Thanks to Tracy for taking the time. smiley
Creature Quest launches globally in two days, on January 26th. It will be available for free download on Google Play and iTunes.

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The Eleventh Newsletter About Forest Dragon and Coke Machine Always Catching Fire

 FST Forest Dragon

Hey, All.

Welcome. Hope each of you is doing well.

This month I have five topics, followed by part four of my interview with Behemoth Cave (Webpage & Facebook).

As always, ‘thank you’ to everyone who wrote, especially those with positive sentiments. If you have any questions or comments, regarding Fanstratics (FST) or Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (HoMM3), feel free to send them along, and I’ll try to answer them in future newsletters.

Please keep in mind, it may take at least 14 days before I reply (it’s taking longer-and-longer as production continues).

Until next time.
Greg

Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
 

*****

Fanstratics Troop: Forest Dragon.

When I began searching for a concept artist, Justin stood out for many reasons.  Variety of characters and creatures were a large part of it.  Justin has rendered numerous Dragons, along with some wonderful Treefolk, but he has never rendered a Forest Dragon.  Until now.

This month, I emailed to him a list of conceptual candidates, and asked which Troop jumped out at him.  His enthusiastic reply was, “Forest Dragon!”

What more can I say... he nailed it.

For those of you who want to see Justin actually render the drawing, you can watch a VOD of his Twitch stream.

Bonus... if you liked the Medusa Vanguard, it’s inspiring to others as well.

Fanstratics Faction #7: Boggish.

From deep in the Swamp lands, lurk the cold-blooded Reptilian Boggish.  Secretive and isolationist, they typically foist their influence on other civilizations, from the shadowy cracks and corners, via bribery, blackmail, and sabotage.  While they rarely venture forth from their homelands, when they do, they are a truly frustrating foe.

Anyone following the monthly Troop reveals will be unsurprised by this Faction’s inclusion, and will immediately recognize its similarity to HoMM3’s ‘Fortress’. Representing the Boggish is the Gatorkin Caster, which can be viewed in the Fanstratics Gallery.

Fanstratics Feature: Community Map Editor & Random Map Generator

Some of you may be a little surprised by my listing ‘Community Map Editor & Random Map Generator’ amongst the ‘new’ features for Fanstratics.  Why?  Simple.  People keep asking, “Will there be a Map Editor?”  Obviously, “Yes.”

I will do what I can to make an easy to use community Map Editor, very similar to the HoMM3 editor.  As for the Random Map Generator, there have been numerous advances in algorithmic content manipulation since 1999, and I really want to do some deep research before I finalize my plan.  So, at this stage, I cannot say how the RMG will operate.

When will the Map Editor and Random Map Generator be released?
Before I answer this question, I must first tip my hat to ‘Timothy’ (you know who you are), who wrote and pointed out a mistake I made in an earlier Newsletter.  Specifically, I said, “HoMM3’s map editor and random map generator were released with its first expansion pack ‘Armageddon’s Blade’. For Fanstratics, I expect to rollout both a Community Map Editor and a Random Map Generator, well after the game’s official public release.”

This was incorrect.  HoMM3’s Map Editor was initially released with Restoration of Erathia.  HoMM3’s Random Map Generator was released with Armageddon’s Blade.

My goal for Fanstratics is the same.  Release the Map Editor with the base game, followed by the Random Map Generator sometime thereafter.

It may be too early to ask, but still, “Will HoMM3 have a limit of 8 players with more than 8 factions?  Will there be a similar limit in Fanstratics?”
Yes.  In Fanstratics the maximum number of players will be eight, and the maximum number of Adventure Heroes on the Adventure Map will be eight.  As for Factions, nine are being developed, but one, two, or three more could be added with DLC, assuming the game is successful.

HoMM3 Recollection: The Day the Coke Machine Caught Fire.

Some of you may remember this story, but three weeks from finishing the game... the New World Computing (NWC) Coca-Cola machine... caught fire.

Once ‘crunch’ was declared, at 7:00pm each night, Mark Caldwell would unlock the company Coke machine.  No need to feed the machine money, just pull open the front half of the appliance, reach inside, and pull out a cold can of... whatever.  If you have ever purchased a can or bottle of soda pop from a vending machine, you will know these machines are big and made to endure all sorts of vandalism.

I vaguely remember griding away, at my desk, with my office door open.  Prior to NWC’s growth and expansion, my room was sandwiched between the offices of David Mullich and Benjamin Bent (NWC Office Manager and part time Producer (Vegas Games)).  Outside my office, the hallway diverged, leading to the Tester’s Room and the Break Room. 

As my office wasn’t too far from the Break Room, I remember sitting there... smelling smoke... thinking, “Is that smoke?”

A moment later, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a young man dart into Ben’s office.  I heard a muffled, hurried exchanged, followed by the same young man rushing out of Ben’s office... followed by Ben.

Now, I could definitely smell smoke.

Down the hall, I heard an additional, brief conversation, after which I saw Ben calmly returning to his office.  I caught Ben’s attention and he took a detour to my doorway.

Me, “What’s going on?”
Ben rolled his eyes, “The Coke machine caught fire.”
“It caught fire?”
“Well, it looks like opening and closing the machine sheared some electrical wires, and they caught fire.”
Ben shook his head, “This idiot tester just stood there with a soda can in one hand, pointing at the fire.”
Me, “Do we have a fire extinguisher?”
“Yeah, but just unplugged the machine.”
“So, we have warm Cokes now?”
Ben chuckled, “We will.  Get ‘em while they’re cold.”
A moment after Ben returned to his office, David Mullich appeared outside my office door, “Do I smell smoke?”

I remember this event rather well for a couple of reasons.  First, its absurdity fit within the general absurdity of game development.  Second, in many ways, it was an apt analogy for game development... something goes wrong, someone panics, someone else calmly solves the problem, and work continues.

"In game development, the Coke machine is always catching fire."

*****

Behemoth Cave Interview

2020.11.10
Questions 7-8c, of 18

This interview was conducted by Behemoth Cave (Webpage & Facebook) and originally published on November 10th, 2020. It’s another relatively long interview, comprised of 33 questions in 18 parts. I’ll be posting around 5 questions per Newsletter, until we reach the end, after which we will roll into another interview. Below are questions 7 to 8c, of 18.

7. While developing the game, did you anticipate that Heroes III will be a competitive title with many tournaments such as overwhelmingly popular Polish Championships which have gathered a four-digit number of contestants?
Not in the slightest.  Network play in HoMM3 was an afterthought.  In 1999, the idea anyone would be playing the game, competitively, twenty years later... was unimaginable.  I still have a difficult time wrapping my head around it.

8a. A breath of new life - the modding of games. What is your opinion on modding?
I think most game developers consider modding to be a good thing.  It extends the life of the game, and provides an avenue for potential game developers to learn the nuts-and-bolts of game development.  Quake mods probably exhibited the best of this.  More recently, are the jaw dropping mods for Fallout and Skyrim.

8b. Is modding a chance for a game to have a second life, or is it rather an unnecessary interference in the designers’ original product?
In my opinion, mods tend to give a game a second life.  If a mod goes ‘too far’, this is more a reflection on the modder, not the original game developer, and I’m confident fans know and understand the difference.

8c. Have you played any Heroes III mods?
When I was doing my research for Fanstratics, I went out of my way to try every mod I could find: WoG, VCMI, HD, HotA, and the numerous smaller mods changing specific game aspects.  Like some fans, I have a unique install for each ‘version’ of HoMM3.

8d. Do you follow the progress of Horn of the Abyss? The dev team behind it came up with the idea of a brand new faction - Regnan pirates (Cove). Also there is a new faction just around the corner which blends in steampunk and the Wild West - the Factory, which might be recognized as the spiritual successor to the technological Forge with original additions.
Yes, I do follow HotA.  Many of the technical and gameplay changes were very logical, and overall, the art is equal, or better, than many of the original HoMM3 assets.

The Factory was something of a surprise.  Is it a ‘spiritual successor’ to the Forge?  To a degree.  There were two potential approaches to the Forge.  My conception was a more horrifying World War 2 approach, where David Mullich wanted a more Jules Verne ‘glass and brass’ approach.  The Factory has a ‘glass and brass’ theme, with an American Western twist.  It’s very unique.


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Bryan Farina
January 2017



1. A quick bio: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

NWClogo"I started gaming in the late ‘70s when my tech-loving father got a PONG system for our TV.  Then  he bought a computer in 1982, a used Atari 800.  I was connecting to BBS systems and downloading and uploading games (at 300Bd!) when I was 10 years old.  We upgraded to an IBM clone in ’86 or ’87, and I’ve been upgrading every few years ever since.

My career started at New World Computing in 1995 as a QA tester. In very short order I became a Technical Writer, then a Designer, and then a Producer.  For Heroes I and II, I was the QA Lead, contributed heavily to both strategy guides, wrote the Heroes II manual, and did map building and other design work.  I became more full-time design for Might and Magic VI and VII, and then shifted into more of a Producer role for the later Heroes and Might and Magic games.

After New World, things have been a blur. I worked at NCSoft for a bit on an MMO game that never released. Then I was part of the team that founded Trion Worlds and worked on (what became) Rift. After that I went to Electronic Arts to bring Command and Conquer to the online world. When that was cancelled, I pushed JVC to start VCME."


2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

"I’m the Executive Producer for Creature Quest.  As exotic as that title sounds, in reality I coordinate all the aspects of the game to try and keep things flowing as smoothly as possible.  Beyond just art, design, and programming you have to factor in external groups (localization, first parties), create release schedules and the processes for hitting them, while also trying to develop the people working for you."


3. What's your favourite part of the job?

"Nothing beats creating something original and having it come to life—moving from paper design to implementation, going through numerous tweaks and revisions, and finally getting a full version finished that you can hand to a stranger.

And when that stranger gets their hands on it and become enthralled—that moment you realize what you dreamed up actually connects with people - that’s my favorite part."


4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

"That’s impossible to answer!  I wouldn’t see myself where I am today five years ago.  Ideally, I’ll still be here working on who-knows-what awesome, new thing.  If there’s one lesson I’ve learned, though, it’s that this industry is quite unpredictable."


5. What do you like to do in your free time?

"Primarily, I play games in my free time.  I love RPG and Strategy games the most, though I dabble a bit in other categories (FPS and action).  I prefer the PC to consoles, and I’ve been spending more and more time on mobile titles.

Outside of games I haven’t had that many other hobbies.  I’ve started to learn how to golf so that I can enjoy an ‘outdoor’ activity without requiring an organized team.  Recently, I’ve picked up reading books, primarily non-fiction, to gather up ideas and further develop my skills."

6. About Creature Quest: What devices does it play on?

"Creature Quest will be available on both iOS and Android devices through the App Store, Google Play, and Amazon.

7. How large is this world?

"We have over 20 different quests, each taking place in different regions of the world.  It’s hard to compare world sizes, and we’re not close to done building out all the different areas yet."

CreatureQuest 1

8. How do you keep the balance, is there a (battle) formula?

"Fortunately for us, JVC’s pet passion is balance.  He’s been very involved in making sure we have proper boundaries for the Creatures’ stats and abilities. Our ‘battle formula’ is actually derived from the original Heroes combat system."

9. What can you tell us about custom quest creation?

"At release, we aren’t supporting user-generated quests, though we have a lot of ideas for how to expand the guild/community features of the game."

10. Are there also Dungeons and Utopias?

"Not in the specific sense of the Heroes games. The quest maps have specific objectives, but they also have locations gating treasure and quest completion bonuses. The spirit is similar, but the specifics are different."

11. What's your target audience?

"Our primary audience are mobile gamers, and people moving into mobile games, that want games with depth and strategy. Obviously, we want to appeal to fans of JVC’s work (Heroes and Might and Magic), and in a broader sense not restrict our audience. One of the tentpoles that New World Computing had was to create games that could appeal to wide audiences - ages 8 to 80 and both genders - and we’ve tried to accomplish the same with Creature Quest.

12. How is money generated - in-app purchases?

"How to monetize a game is a question based entirely on the distribution platform for that game. Console games and traditional PC games were/are box purchase, primarily because there was no other way to easily distribute them. Modern console games have leveraged DLC more aggressively because they are now connected devices. Modern PC games (built solely for PC) are moving more and more towards free to play. Mobile games have tried both methods, and free to play has won handily. Having the widest possible audience is the smartest approach, and giving that audience the ability to enjoy the game before asking them to spend makes their purchase more considered and valuable.

Given that, our goal in crafting the game was to make sure we were consistent with certain principles: 1) that monetization does not gate progress, and 2) that the game is not filled with annoying ads. We play plenty of mobile games and know how irritating ‘pushy’ monetization can be. Our goal is that players choose to spend because they want more right now, as opposed to feeling like they have to spend to simply progress.

It is possible to play, and progress, without spending any money at all. Spending is like adding nitrous oxide to your car - it doesn’t make the car move, it makes the car go faster once it’s moving."

13. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

"Creature Quest isn’t really a port of a Might and Magic game - it’s inspired by Might and Magic. There’s a map to explore with random encounters, humor, and combats like in Heroes. Those combats are presented and fought in manner similar to Might and Magic and there’s a wide range of Creatures to encounter and collect similar to both Heroes and Might and Magic. Creature Quest is an RPG game with some strategic elements, as opposed to a strategy game with RPG elements (like Heroes)."

14. How is working on a mobile game different from the PC games?

"For us, it’s been like turning the clock back. Our team is fewer than 20 people, which doesn’t happen much anymore in AAA console/PC development. Outside of that, it’s the interactions that are the most different - the display is much smaller than a monitor and the input mechanisms are significantly more limited - so creating UI and control schemes are pretty different than a PC game.

In addition, the monetization of modern mobile games (F2P), and the design around that, is very different from stand-alone PC development. Our goal here is to make spending in the game something you do to enhance or speed up your playing, without gating enjoyment of the game based on spending."

 

That's it - big thanks to Bryan for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

 

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I guess that you can all spots discounts and sales rushing to you from all corners, so I would just like to pinpoint a few. If you like King's Bounty, 1CEnteraitment is having huge action:
https://store.steampowered.com/franchise/1CEntertainment

And because there are vacations, coming soon and not (tm) for many of us, let me just to outline a few more interesting games:

Arcante - An Old-School, First Person, Party-Based RPG
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1443360/Arcante/

MoM: Caster of Magic
https://store.steampowered.com/app/1557960/Master_of_Magic_Caster_of_Magic_for_Windows/

Etherlors II or MM: Heroes7

 And if you liked DOOM, let me to end with Ion Fury :D

Obviously, there comes also Summer Sales Labyrinth, which starts here

Do you have any tips, for spectacular games? Post them here!


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Rob King
January 2017

 

Rob King is a name that will be familiar to fans of the Might & Magic franchise. Responsible for much of the music of previous games, his work serves to add that certain level of class needed to lift the gaming experience. It's been a while since we had our own talk with him - you can read that interview here. For now, though, let's catch up with this guy and see what he's doing:

1. First a quick bio for those who may be unfamiliar with the name Rob King: what's your story? How did you get into gaming and what's been your career so far?

"I got into gaming in the late 70’s with Pong! Then was addicted to my Atari 2600 all through the early 80’s. I had every console made through the 2000’s! Even the Magnavox Odyssey, Colecovision, Vectrex, Atari 5200 in the 80’s. My career has been working on Games, Music and Film projects since the early 90’s."

 

2. What's your current job? Please outline what your work entails.

CreatureQuest"My current job is working on different projects as I have done for years. I usually bounce between music, dialoue and sound design. Just finished a lot of VO production on Ghost Recon: Wildlands coming out March 1st. Just did a score for a really cool Augmented reality project coming out this year some time and of course we are wrapping up this cool mobile game that we have all worked really hard on this year – Creature Quest! The soundtrack will be available when the game drops."

 

3. How is making music for mobile devices different from your previous work? How is it different from the PC games?

"Absolutely no difference except for a little more memory limitations; the technical challenges. Although I think you need to make something fun that you can get in an out of quickly or be able to play at great lengths. I think people like to play between life’s tasks quite a bit. I know I do. You can be at a car wash waiting for your car and just wanna play a quick 10 min of something. You can do that with Creature Quest if you want to or you could be pretending to watch TV and be engrossed in the game for hours."

 

4. Do you personally play such games?

"Oh yeah, I play mobile games all the time. I am actually addicted to Hearthstone in a bad way.. I have been playing our Creature Quest build for over 2 years and I still enjoy it! Kinda crazy really as I rarely even play games I work on."

 

5. What's your favourite part of the job?

"Working on a team with other humans…  I spend way too much time by myself in the recording studio so whenever I can work with others it’s a pleasure."

 

6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

"I have no idea. Five years ago I wouldn’t have known where I’d be today. Hopefully I will be able to continue to do creative work in some capacity."

 

7. What do you like to do in your free time?

"I love art, I go to a lot of gallery shows. I like writing pop songs and consuming good wine. Spending time with my daughter is also very important to me."

 

8. How did you enjoy your collaboration with Ubisoft?

"It was great. They always gave us creative freedom. The producer on the last HOMM games Julien was also a super nice guy."

 

9. How many tracks have you composed for HoMM in total?

"Oh god…I have no idea. I’d have to say somewhere between 200-300 over 21 years."

 

10. Can all the tracks from the H7 Tbf expansion be heard somewhere on the web?

"I have no idea, but they are sitting on my hard drive.

 

11. What does Creature Quest have in common with the games in the Might & Magic franchise?

"Obviously the sound.  Personally the score to this game is one of our best. I love exploring unique instruments and blending them with the orchestra. We did a lot of this back on the Heroes III soundtrack and this score feels similar. It is a pretty mellow score over all but has our signature sound. Paul Romero and I worked on and off for over 2 ½ years on the music score. We didn’t really have any set schedule so we got to take our time working on it which is always the best way to work.  I think the character and creature design has an M&M feel and our art director Heather Poon is an absolute talent. Another thing in this game is the adventure maps. They have mini story lines and the way you explore has a familiar feel to HOMM even though it is completely different. When you start to play this game for a good 30 min and understand your way around the game play, it starts to give you that “Just one more turn” feeling.

 

That's it - big thanks to Rob for taking the time and we hope to hear more from him in the future.

CHcrescentlogo

 


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Apart from Dev blog info, which is now confirming, that original Wizards are returning and Heroes not (in video there are different ones). Same will come for spells and units but not all has been yet introduced. So for example, I haven't a chance to spot "Stage Beetle" or "Dragon Turtle". So, it will be indeed classic MoM in new coat (Just a note that you can play already MoM: Caster of Magic in "old" coat).

Game si currently dwelling in Early Access and you can freely wishlist it at Steam or just follow, to keep in touch.

Master of Magic was however pretty complicated game. Not only terrain, units, AI also diplomacy and exploring the dungeons. In some approaches was similar to WoG, which came about decades later. You can check and compare it with the info from here.



MoM Intro video

 Mila Undro (Writer & Lead Quest Designer) speaks about the game:

 Slitherine presentation - revealing the game:



Remake FAQ from the MuHa Discord, taken from reddit

Q: Is this a remake of the original Master of Magic?
A: Mostly, yes. Our goal is to have the same amount of content that Master of Magic had, although there will be a few changes. The biggest so far is of course the switch from squares to hexes, which we think allows for more dynamic and interesting gameplay.

Q: Is Seravy involved in the project?
A: Not officially, although we have played Caster of Magic extensively and we talked with Seravy, exchanging views on what made Master of Magic great.

Q: Did you include any of the changes of Caster of Magic?
A: Some of the design choices are inspired by Caster of Magic.

Q: Will this be faithful to the original MoM and be a proper Master of Magic game?
A: We spent a lot of time on the original MoM. It is a great game, and we know it has many fans who grew up with the game and have waited so long for a modern version of it. We’ll do our best not to disappoint any of the fans of MoM.

Q: I would like to interview the team / I would like to write a review / preview?
A: Please send an e-mail to Slitherine’s PR manager This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Q: When it will enter beta?
A: Sometimes in the second half of 2021

Q: When will it release?
A: Sometimes in 2022

Q: Will it have multiplayer?
A: It is not planned for the moment

Q: Can I sign up for beta?
A: Not yet, we will keep you informed if such an option becomes available.


We will see, the game set up pretty high standard, MuHa games won't have it easy!


What do you think about it? Do you like it or now? Did you play MoM?

Links: MoM - Fans (discord) | MuHa Games (discord) | reddit | Slitherine (discord)


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Molding Heroes

April Lee is a Graphic Artist at New World Computing. She worked on Heroes II, Heroes III and Armageddon's Blade, creating well-known graphics such as the H2 Mummy, the Manticore and the Gnoll. She tells us about the world of graphics and her work on Heroes IV.

Note: All pictures in this article are property of April Lee or 3DO. Reprinted with permission.

To learn more about April Lee and her work, please visit her Web site at www.aprillee.com

Angelspit: You have worked with various media before, such as CD-ROM games, Collectible Card Games, RPG Books, Magazines, and so on. What is your favorite one? Which one do you think is the most rewarding?

April Lee: Most of my work has been either in computer games or card games. I've got to say that my favorite is the card games. I like working in traditional mediums, and sometimes we are given a lot of artistic license to create people, creatures, places and objects that can really affect the look of the game.

In computer games, I tend to be assigned all kinds of different things and since it IS so collaborative, I try to match my style to the game, rather than try to affect the look of the game. This isn't quite as satisfying as the card games, especially since the artists aren't really credited that well. With the card games, my name is usually on every piece of work I do. With computer game art, the art may have been begun by another artist and finished or touched up by yet another, so it's hard to point to anything that's really mine.

That said, I do enjoy modeling and animating on the computer. It's very different than painting, and it's fun to contribute to a team effort.

Angelspit: What is a typical day of work for you? Since you are a freelancer, I guess you must work from home? Do you have a particular schedule?

April: Actually, I work full-time at New World Computing/3DO. And if you know anything about computer game companies, this means that 50 or 60 hour work weeks are not uncommon. Almost every single other hour, and most of my sleeping time, is consumed by my free-lance illustration work. Actually, I'm getting a bit tired of doing both--it does wear a normal person out. I've been doing it for 7 years straight, which is pretty hard-core.

Schedule is usually: into the office by 10am, out by 9 or 10, then eat and work until 2 or 3 am, weekdays. Weekends--catch up on sleep, work in afternoon and nights until 3 or 4 am.

I also go to conventions and sell artwork and prints--which can also be incredibly time-consuming.

Angelspit: How did you come to work with New World Computing? You said you knew someone there? Is it easy to get in touch with gaming companies?

April: I was hired at New World 5 years ago, for character animation on Heroes 2. Before that I was working for a small game developer called The Dreamers Guild (not to be confused with the big-time DreamWorks!). Several co-workers had left there to work for New World, who offered better pay, and they passed my name on to the art director. I had the exact skills they were looking for, so it was a natural transition.

The first game I ever worked on (at the Dreamers Guild) was "Inherit the Earth", which was published by New World. And I had also done free-lance, black and white illustrations (non-digital) for New World's manuals from 1989-95. So I actually had a rather long association with the company. It was also local to me, which didn't hurt.

Now, breaking into computer games with no experience is a bit harder. It wasn't too hard when I started in the early '90s, since the technology was still evolving and there were very few--almost NO-- places that actually taught the computer graphic skills. I was trained as an Illustrator in traditional media (at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena), and that alone helped get me in. But I also had been a fantasy artist, showing my art at Science Fiction conventions for years, so people at the Dreamers Guild knew me and I originally started doing concept sketches for them.

Since all companies at that time were critically short of computer artists, and the artwork in games was becoming increasingly involved and increasingly a large part of the game, they were practically begging me to work on the computer -- willing to train me and give me a computer at home to learn on, etc. Now that there are more schools that teach the programs, and the programs are more difficult to learn, it's probably harder to break in. Although an illustrator can almost still do it the way I did (starting with concept sketches)--as long as they know at least a bit of PhotoShop. I learned everything on the job, though, which isn't how it's being done these days.

Angelspit: You said working on the art for a computer game is a collaborative effort. It must be difficult to work with people with different background and styles, to know where your work starts and where it ends. Please describe how this process works. Also, which tools do you use?

April: I'm not very up on all the Game Design aspects--but it begins with the Designers and the Leads--in art and programming. The designers need to start a Design Document that covers the game play and all the elements. As soon as they have some idea of what assets and programming they will need, those leads will come in and figure out the time and resources (in artists and programmers), and the producer/lead designer will organize the writers and other departments, and interface with, perhaps, level or map design teams, testers, marketing, etc. Then things start going into production. In art, often there will be a concept sketch artist who will be communicating the look of the game, determined by the art director. Modelers and texture artists and 2d/interface artists will hopefully get their direction from the art director and the concept sketches. With Heroes 4, the art director was doing some concept sketches, as well as various artists. If I was assigned to do a building for the Adventure Map, say, a Library, I would get a sketch and I would model and texture the item based on that, and perhaps animate it, and submit it to the art director for approval, then it would get plugged into to the game by the asset-coordinator. The maps would be assembled by the map designers on Map Editors created by the programmers, etc.

Most game companies, New World included, use 3D Studio-Max and PhotoShop, primarily, along with other programs to do specialty things.

Angelspit: How do you manage to "enter" the Might and Magic universe, in other words, where do you get the information you need to create such a good-looking creature? Did Classic authors, mythology or the other Heroes games inspire you?

April: This is mostly left up to those doing the sketches. I've done some now and then. MM tends to be very "classic" fantasy/rpg--which means the images most people are familiar with--vaguely Northern European medieval-like society, with generic dwarves, halflings, elves, etc. We just use whatever visual inspiration we like to try not to make things mind-numbingly boring and repetitive. Hopefully, we are creative and interested enough to do this, at the same time, making sure we're not doing something TOO out there so that it doesn't fit into the general look of the game.

Angelspit: Are you a gamer yourself? If so, what are your favorite games, of any kind?

April: I started role-playing (AD&D, Runequest, C&S, Traveler) decades ago, but haven't had much time to do that lately. I can still think of playing paper rpg's since it's up to the GM to do all the work and planning and I can just join in a session for an afternoon or evening. I haven't had time to put into a computer rpg (I have NOT gotten through ANY MM game--or anything similar). And I can't keep up with the card games, either. I can do some lunchtime multi-player Unreal Tournament, now and then!

Angelspit: I just cannot resist: can you say a little something about Heroes 4? I know you must be under a NDA, but something like "there's a new creature, and it's brown and ugly!" would be fun!

April: Hmmm... I'm not up on the creatures. There are plenty of the Usual Suspects, however... I have friends who are Heroes fanatics and I am VERY frustrating for them, since I really don't read the design doc and can't tell them what's new, even if I wasn't under a non-disclosure act...

Angelspit: Thank you very much for your time April! We can't wait to see the results of your good work on Heroes IV. Best of luck in the future!


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On a plus side:

 * Game survived and it's playable without bonus content and DLC because of these two simple tricks

in \Might and Magic X Legacy\Might and Magic X\Legacy_Data\StreamingAssets\Dialog\LevDialog.xml

Delete all four instances of:
<condition xsi:type="PrivilegeUnlockedCondition" privilegeID="1001" failState="DISABLED" />

In addition to the above, to make the bridge passable from the start of a new game, go into
StreamingAssets/Maps/theworld.xml and look for:

<Slot Height="6.13505" Terrain="BLOCKED" TerrainSound="NONE" MapArea="ASHEN_HILLS">
<Position>
<X>106</X>
<Y>67</Y>
</Position>

Change "BLOCKED" to "PASSABLE" and you'll be able to walk through the wagon, with the added advantage of being able to get Expert in skills like Shield or Spear without having to go through all of Act One.

Thanks to Bandobras Took for pointing that out here.

On a minus side:

 * Ubisoft decided to shut down their online servers 1.6.2021 for legacy games. As well as that's understendable, because of the game age. Game's DRM relies on them and without online servers reachable you can't use your bonus content or play the DLC. Which still can be bought. This is quite ironic.

With new Ubisoft titles appearing every year, we are faced with the decision to retire the services of our legacy titles."

The relevant paragraph concerns ULC.
"ULC (unlockable content) such as maps and skins will also be disabled, meaning that you will no longer be able to unlock them."

I assume that since entry to Act 2 and Fort Laegeaire require a change to the standard function of the game (removing the guard on the bridge to Seahaven and getting arrested when entering Karthal) that these changes were implemented as ULC.

The workaround detailed earlier on this thread then is the only way we can get past Act 1, and we can't get arrested and sent to Fort Laegeaire, unless we can convince Ubisoft to change these events to in game flags rather than ULC.

https://steamcommunity.com/app/238750/discussions/0/3115908865100513179/#c3078754982927613659

One can only hope, that they will rectify that error by removing this DRM protection, otherwise they may start to return money to all who bough DLC or any Deluxe Edition.

The remaining ULC is probably lost forever.


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