- by Pol
Master of Magic Announced!
MUHA Games announced that they are working on new Master of Magic game! You might remember them already as the makers of Thea:The Awakening, bold propagators of very lovely idea, getting addons only for coffee, beer or even for free. This small indie studio is based in UK/PL and let me say, that Thea was great success. Tweet.
We can finally confirm our latest project: Master of Magic.
Master of Magic is a classical turn-based strategy game from the ’90s and we’re working hard to remake this gem and bring it into the new age.
You may ask, how it's with rights, after all these years? Well Slitherine bought the rights for Master of Magic and judging by the mail they choose MUHA Games to make it happen again!
Previous like MoM attempts
There were a few, first from pretty agile Stardock Company, maker of Galactic Civilization, with their Fallen Enchantress: Legendary Heroes, released at 23th August 2012. This one was rated pretty well, used hexes in combat. And rendered not much astonishing 3D graphic.
The second come from Wasteland Interactive as Worlds of Magic. Having classic squares, strictly keeping to D20 Rule Set. Which was a lesser success (ppl mostly complain about AI) but a great attempt from the devs. This piece was released at 19 March 2015.
Mods and patches for the original MoM
This is probably the most interesting, if you played the original. You remember how you much you tried to avoid Wraiths touching your units?
Yes, it was death touch, unseen in any other games. After they spent all their magic shots and move to touch you, blam, you encountered the bug and whole game crashed.
That was fixed many years later in unoffical patches. None matter, this is a cannon game, shaping the FTS genre, hugely popular and inspiring everyone. Though the popularity started after the patches, which took years..
Master of Magic - IME - not have a final version yet, requires Java 11. Grab from sourceforge.
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- by Staff
A month ago, we submitted a list of questions for the Ubisoft representative responsible for communication on Might & Magic, Irina Kassina. Since then, a few things have happened, but there is still a need to get something cleared up. So, without further ado, here is our Q&A with the M&M production team:
Might & Magic Community Developer Irina Kassina
There has been near-total silence on the game from producers and developers alike for the past five or six months, a mysterious and worrying phenomenon unprecedented of post-launch periods in the Heroes series. This has caused the Community of fans, who consider the game to be a failure, to become absolutely furious and now something even worse has happened: they have given up. Most of the forums are in fact quiet because the fans have abandoned the game. Also, hardly any fan made maps are being produced, unlike the situation after the release of Heroes V.
Taking even a cursory glance at the rage evident at the game's official forums, we observe a considerable disconnect between the game's developers and its customers. Very few posts are made by the producers and/or the Community Developer, nor can we trace any activity worth mentioning on the fan sites. This is very different from the situation of Heroes V, during the production of which the producers frequently volunteered their opinions. We therefore feel that harsh criticism is warranted and well deserved, and that the Community has need for answers to the following questions:
CH: 1. What is your reaction to the knowledge that most of the fans have already abandoned the game and will you do anything to rectify this situation?
Answer: "The opinion of the members of the various communities is very important to us, but they represent only a part of the whole of Heroes players. We gathered a lot of feedback on the game after the release on the forums, websites, the Facebook page and also through the post-launch survey that was answered by more than 20.000 players. One thing that really comes across is the fact that not everyone plays Heroes the same way or for the same reasons. A vast majority of players completed the single player campaign, played some skirmish maps and moved on to other games, just as they did on the previous instalments of the series.
That being said, we agree that the post-launch support for Heroes VI has been disappointing so far. We had to look for a new developer to take over the patching duties, and that made things more complicated (and slower) than expected. But this period of uncertainty is now over and we are back in the saddle, working to improve things.
In any case, we consider Heroes VI to be our baby. Sure, it was born with flaws, but we'll use any opportunity to make sure he eventually turns into a fine, healthy young game."
CH: 2. As the current M&M Community Developer, can you tell us the reason for the lack of Community activity from the producers and yourself? What is the cause of this silence and will it be improved upon?
Answer: "Over the last 6 months Community activity was not as high as we'd like to see it. While we've organized some events after the launch of the game, shared with the Community some interesting news, communicated about patches, our planning, a few Q&As have been made by the team and so on, I would agree with you that Community experience could be still more exciting. For instance we'd like to see more maps created by the Community and it is something we are currently working on (Map Editor will be improved along with the patches' releases). It is only one part of our plans, more will be revealed pretty soon.
It is important to notice as well that communication channels change all the time, but our engagement to take into account fans' feedback remains the same. The forum VIP was created exactly for this purpose and it is of a great value for us as opinions explained there are really representative of what the whole Community would think about different matters.
There is a team dedicated to the Community as well (Community managers, forum managers, moderators, customer support and Community developers) which is striving to create a solid link between players and developers. As I'm working with the production team, it is easy for me to get the information you are looking for (when there is an answer ready to be revealed of course). So, feel free to challenge me about anything related to Might & Magic.
The M&M production team is always eager to know what's your opinion about different stuff and to give you a better insight into what's going on in here, we are working on devs' diaries, Q&As (like this one), gameplay videos. Basically all of this is done in order to keep in touch with you."
CH: 3. You have made several design decisions intended to streamline the game and attract a wider audience, but despite Community managers trying hard to maintain activity, we see no evidence of such an audience. In light of that, can you tell us in general terms how well the game has sold? Has it exceeded your expectations, done "OK" so far or proven a flop?
Answer: "Despite a changing PC market, Heroes VI performed well, and even exceeded our expectations in some areas. Without delving into specific figures, it was the strongest launch of any Heroes or Might & Magic game, but has not yet reached our original expectations."
CH: 4. According to the Amplitude Studios website and apparently-former H5 and H6 writer Jeff Spock's Twitter comments, several fairly notable members of Ubisoft's production team left the company midway through Heroes VI's development to start up their own independent studio. What was the reason for their departure? Do you think it has harmed Heroes VI?
Answer: "Production on Heroes VI spanned 4 years and in such a long period there will always be some turnover and internal changes. That doesn't mean these seats remained empty – Ubisoft being a big company, one person leaving does not have the same impact as it would have in a small development studio. It's always sad to see talented and energetic people leave, but sometimes in life you meet opportunities (in that case, creating your own company) you just have to pursue.
In any case we wish them the best and their project looks very exciting. As for Jeff, he's an independent writer, so while he's indeed not the lead writer on Might & Magic anymore, he's still working with us on some unannounced projects."
CH: 5. Given the previous question, we are wondering what it is like to work with a Might and Magic brand under Ubisoft. What are the guidelines dev teams are instructed to adhere to and how free are they to follow their own ideas and communicate them to the world?
Answer: "As you know, the Might & Magic IP spreads to several games, which can be developed by different companies. That’s Nival on Heroes V, Arkane on Dark Messiah, Capybara on Clash of Heroes, Black Hole and now Limbic on Heroes VI, etc. All these games were developed in close partnership with Ubisoft producers and experts who work within the (appropriately called) Ubisoft Partners studio.
We soon realized we had to really give a "framework" to the studios and precise guidelines about the world of Ashan and its denizens, and validate the designs they create. This approval mainly touches upon art direction, but game design as well. For instance, a Vampire creature shouldn't attack with Fireballs, even if a game designer suddenly feels this would be awesome. That being said, we're always open to new ideas brought by developers as long as they are consistent with the IP. And while we have documents describing what the "high-level" game design of this or that Faction should be, they are just guidelines and we've always welcomed discussion with the developers if they are against a feature or want to bring something new to the table. And they are free to discuss these ideas with the Communities if they wish to do so, as long as it doesn't clash with the established PR plan."
CH: 6. There were a lot of rumours about Black Hole before you announced their substitution with Limbic Entertainment. Now, it seems to spread to other media. We wish to give you a chance to comment, but mostly we want your assurance that you will continue to improve the game: what are the plans for future support for Heroes VI?
Answer: "We cannot make any official comment about Black Hole. What is important is the fact the patching plan is underway with Limbic, and we haven't forgotten the promised towns creens as well, which will of course be released in a free patch. We have plans beyond that but it's too early to give the specifics."
CH: 7. The fan sites have a fairly general consensus as to what can be done to salvage Heroes VI. What do you think are the most important new/changed features needed for the game to evolve and survive?
Answer: "From what we've read, there are actually a lot of different opinions as to what could improve Heroes VI, so it's far from a "general consensus".
On the low-level changes, our plan is firstly to work on balance itself: make the abilities more relevant, reduce the power of Healing/resurrection spells, make the Core units more vulnerable, increase the damage of the spells. This should be seen in the future patches. In the long run, we also want to promote the differences between the Might and the Magic heroes, and between the Factions themselves. We know a revamp of the Skill System, Sim Turns and RMG are important features for the Community, so they are high on our "backlog" of features to add in the future."
CH: 8. The Map Editor is being worked on. That's good. But fans also want a Campaign Editor in order to make bigger and story-based sequence maps with carryover heroes/artifacts. Given that Heroes VI is based heavily on campaigns, is there any chance of ever getting a Campaign Editor released?
Answer: "We cannot promise anything but the Campaign Editor is one of the features we'd like to add to the editor somewhere along the road. You can bet Julien is bringing this subject back to the table at every meeting."
CH: 9. Given the mediocre success of Heroes V and the thoroughly unimpressive release and post-release stages of Heroes VI, the Community strongly questions Ubisoft’s commitment to the Heroes series – it looks like you want to move on to something else already. To what extent are you focused on Heroes VI and shepherding the game to a more satisfactory state?
Answer: "Heroes V has actually been the most successful Heroes game of all times in terms of sales, and proved to be a very popular game. It sold more than Heroes III for instance. Might & Magic is an important brand for Ubisoft, and we have no plan to abandon it. That includes Heroes VI and the Heroes series as a whole. H6 was meant to be the flagship of the Might & Magic brand for 2012 and beyond, and while it was not the game we dreamt it to be (not yet, anyway), it still paved the way for more Might & Magic in the very near future."
CH: 10. Do you have any plans, vague and unofficial or otherwise, for direct sequels to the Heroes series beyond Heroes VI, or other games in the M&M franchise? If so, roughly when do you intend to realize these plans (near future, distant future)?
Answer: "At the time you'll be reading this Q&A, we'll have launched the Beta for Duel of Champions, a card game in the Might & Magic universe developed by the teams at Ubisoft Quebec. While the Beta is for the moment only available in France, the game is already generating a lot of feedback and enthusiasm in many communities worldwide. And it's only one of the many projects we are working on, some big, some small, all bringing something new and exciting to Might & Magic. 2012 and 2013 are going to be busy years for us."
CH: 11. How would you evaluate your current relationship with the VIP fans? What would you say is their opinion of the game and your handling of its development? Do you think there is any point to communicating with the VIP fans or have they failed in their role?
Answer: "You have to remember that making a game is a collaborative effort between us, the development studio and the VIP fans. The VIP fans have been the representatives of the Communities and always acted as the voice of the rest of the fans. Now the constraints of game development meant we could not always implement their numerous feedbacks, much to our regret. In any case, we have no intent to close this forum and we'll continue to work with the VIPs as much as possible on the future projects of the Might & Magic brand."
Celestial Heavens would like to thank Irina and the rest of the team very much for their time.
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- by Pol
Welcome. Hope each of you is doing relatively well.
With this Newsletter... another small adjustment. I’m relocating links to the ‘monthly Troop concept sketch’ into the Questions Section.
Why? As each is revealed, I want to chat a little bit about each one.
In writing these Newsletters, about the development of Fanstratics (FST), I continue to unearth old memories concerning the development of Heroes of Might and Magic 3 (HoMM3). Before all of this began, part of me wanted to author a book about HoMM3’s development, and with the way things are going, these posts are quickly becoming the loose developmental memoir I had in mind. Perhaps, after the ‘interview well’ runs dry, I’ll start posting HoMM3 development anecdotes. We’ll see.
Until next time.
Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
- by Znork & Kalah
Znork was one of the people who recently visited Paris for a fan day with the dev team. With him, he brought 10 questions asked frequently by the fans. Here are the answers - which will also be made into a video soon. I have translated the answers for your convenience - if you wish to read the Q&A in original Znorkish, visit the forum.
A video of the interview is available here.
Question 1: (by znork)
When are you going to understand that the "always online" feature is a sure way to piss off your customers?
We were trying to make more than an offline game - we would have liked the user to be online when they played the game but there were some shortcomings. We were working for the offline game to have classic play like Heroes of Might and Magic V and we wanted the Conflux to be a new Heroes experience online. The incentive would be that the online part would add more fun gameplay like ladder and achievements. The quality of the online server was not up to what we were hoping for, but we are working on making them better. We do want to keep the online part of the game and make it better - and as a part of this we are are fixing the online/offline save games so that the online experience will be better even when the server is down.
Question 2: (by znork)
Do you realize that the game's being poorly balanced and having lots of bugs, and your being slow to patch it after release, have made the fans even more angry?
Yes, we understand! There have been lots of problems with the game and there have been lots of problems with patching due to the transition from Black Hole to Limbic. We really understand that this angered the fans, but we still believe the game has potential. We are now starting to improve what needs to be improved in the game. We had some problems at the end of the production because of the budget, but in the end we released the game as good as we could with the resources we had. It's really good that we can release patch 1.5 with balancing, online-offline save compatibility and much much more.
We understand that fans were angry. We now have one person dedicated to balancing the game, reading the forums and just changing the numbers. He has also been working with the VIPs to improve the balance. There are lots of things we would like to improve; we have over 100 issues we would like address. We are not going to do them all, but we are really now working on doing as many of them as possible. We have improved the patching process and we now feel that this is going a lot smother. We are no longer in crunch mode, but are now looking at what important stuff can we do to improve the game.
Question 3: (by kingimp)
Do you not realize how badly you have turned off the majority of long-time Heroes fans by charging an exorbitant amount for this DLC when you haven't even proved you can properly fix this broken game first?
We really wanted to some support and patching before we released content people would have to pay for. Fixing the game is our number 1 priority. We believe the adventure pack is reasonably priced by how much gameplay the customers are getting and we have kept to the industry standard on the pricing. We believe you really get a lot form the adventure pack. The prices will of course drop as times goes.
Question 4: (by kingimp)
How about giving us this DLC for free as a sign of goodwill for releasing a product that in essence was no better than a Beta?
There are 15 people working on supporting and improving the game, and they need to get paid. But we believe the adventure pack is good and people should give it a chance. We would also add that patch 1.5 adds a multiplayer map from the adventure pack for free.
Question 5: (by kingimp)
Are there any plans of simplifying the map editor at all?
Yes, there are! When we were working on Heroes VI, there were a lot of things we would like to improve; the map editor was one of these, but since the end of development was as it was, we sadly did not have the time. One thing to know about the map editor is that it is a very powerful tool. The main issue is a huge gap between the hardcore map makers and the casual map makers. We are now trying to make the map editor more rewarding and pleasing to use. We are no really working on this, but it will still be a complex tool. This will be on the main topics we will be working on the next 3-4 months.
Question 6: (by Fyrestorme)
What was the primary motivator for making weapon artifacts tied directly into the dynasty system?
There were two obvious reasons for that: we wanted something that was powerful and part of the game. We also wanted something to be highly visual in the 3D models. That was why we also added dynasty pets for Heroes VI.
Question 7: (by Fyrestorme)
If you were to make another Heroes game in the future, what types of things did you learn from H6 that you would apply to it?
Try not to release an unfinished game! We could have long list, but we will try to get a more global answer. Area of control worked very well. The reputation system did not work so well. The skill sytem was not good enough and we would like to improve that. We are very concerned about the quality of the Conflux and want the service to be improved but not removed. The story part the game was not very good, but we believe the adventure pack will show how much we have improved the story telling. We are talking about resources, spell books and things like that and we are listening to what the Community is saying. We believe we lost something making the game too rational. And we would be having town screen right from the start!
Question 8: (by Gabryelxxx)
Are we ever going to get the free DLC with the Academy faction that Black Hole promised back during the beta?
We do remember this, and we know this is based on miscommunication. But there is a lot of things going to happen, and we have plans.
Question 9: (by broui)
Used to be that when we clicked on a destination point for our hero to travel, you'd know how many turns it would take to get there. Got plans to put that back in?
We've actually been asked this question twice. I'll have to take it back to the team, see what's possible and get back to you on this topic.
Question 10: (by broui)
Is Crag hack the only classic hero on tap for a return?
There is a lot of other heroes we would like to return to Ashan. But only time will tell. You'll have to buy the adventure pack.
To read Znork's early H6 preview, posted after the Budapest fan day in January, go here.
For more Q&As, see this page.
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- by MadMax
Hi all of you that are a part of the lovely Celestial Heavens community, where did the time go?!
It's been 2 months, no wait, it has actually been 3 months since I finished the interview with Marcus Pregent for Celestial Heavens. I was finally starting to feel a little bit better after having suffered from covid-19 for a couple of weeks. I was finally on the road to recovery and I decided to carry on and have the interview.
The interview turned in to a 3 hour long one, with lots of fun and juicy information about the Heroes of Might and Magic series, and a lot about Marcus Pregent's carreer and experiences within the gaming industry.
I saved all the videos and then I told myself "I'll try to finish the editing by this weekend."
The weekend passed. Once more I was feeling the aftermaths of the corona virus, and I slept and I slept and I slept.
One week passed. I was still feeling under the weather, unable to get back to exercising and a full 10 kg lighter than before.
The weeks passed and once again I was feeling better, but instead of the pressing tiredness of the virus, there was now college courses who drained my energy (I'll spare you the details but let's just say that I have a lot more knowledge about Satanism, occultism, AI-based intelligence and more now).
Anyways, here we are, it's April 21st and I am finally opening Premiere Pro with the intention of editing the 3 hour long video (don't worry, I am going to try to trim it down as much as possible without losing any of it's juicyness) and I am finally getting to the point of this entire post.
I just want to say that I am sorry. I am sorry for keeping you all, and of course Mr.Pregent as well waiting. But even more so, I am sorry for keeping you in the dark, without taking the time to update you all on the progress, even if there was none.
I do want to point out that I have about 3 weeks until my next exam, the most important one of my life so far. But I am taking all the time I possibly can to get this video out asap!
Now let's edit and get this video out to you all!
(PS. If anyone out there reading is some sort of a video editing guy or girl or anything like that, we'd gladly take your help in future endeavours)
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- by Kalah
Julien "Marzhin" Pirou Q&A
August 27th, 2012.
Might & Magic: Heroes VI Lead Level Designer Julien Pirou
Julien Pirou, lead lever designer on Might and Magic: Heroes VI, known to us fellow fans as "Marzhin", answers questions about how it's been like to work on the game this past year.
CH: 1. Before we start properly, I've been meaning to ask you about your title – "Lead level designer". This isn’t just a fancy name for "map maker", is it ... what is it, exactly, that you do? What’s a normal day like for you?
Marzhin: "My job as Lead Level Designer is a bit similar to what an Art Director is for graphic designers. So I’m supervising a team of designers and working on the “high-level” conception of the maps, but not (much) taking part on the actual map making (except when extra hands are needed to survive crunch time ). I am also a sort of “interface” between the level designers and the writers.
So basically my job begins by meetings with the writing and creative team, discussing the kind of story they want to tell and how it could be translated into gameplay objectives. Once that’s done, I start briefings describing where the map takes place, the kind of geography, terrains, where the towns are, and outlining the main objectives of the map as discussed with the writers.
With this briefing document, the level designers can start working on the map itself. While they do, I’m starting to draft a document called the Sequentials, which is basically a table listing all the narrative events of the map, and where they are triggered. This first draft will then allow the level designers to put “placeholder” events in the map, and the writers to start working on the dialogs. The Sequential also includes a list of all quests.
Obviously there’s also some back-and-forth with the level designers, who will get back to me with suggestions to improve the flow of the map, ideas for secondary quests, etc. So I integrate these changes and additions to the rest of the documents.
When the maps start to be playable, I’ll also play them and give feedback and suggestions to improve them. After that, the map is pretty much in the hands of its level-designer(s), but I continue to play the new versions of the maps as they come out and give feedback if needed.
Aside from that “main job”, I also did some writing for Heroes VI (some artifact bios, a couple of signposts and lore texts), and I’m also involved in the reviewing process for all graphic assets."
CH: 2. It has been some time since we last talked, but since then, a lot has happened. This last year, what has been the high point for you?
Marzhin: "This last year has pretty much been a roller-coaster. I think the high point was being trusted with the writing of the Adventure Packs. Writing is something I enjoy as much as designing a map, so I was immensely happy when Erwan Le Breton offered me to write Crag Hack and Sandro’s return."
CH: 3. What has been the low point?
Marzhin: "No surprise there, I’d say the months that immediately followed the release of Heroes VI. As you probably remember, there were many issues to tackle. So the end of the year was pretty gloomy, and while we were determined to find a way to continue working on H6 no matter what, the future seemed uncertain at best. Fortunately the guys at Limbic rose up to the challenge."
CH: 4. The DLC has been worked on by a lot of people, but you were at the core, pouring your heart and soul into it; would it be fair to say it is your "baby"?
Marzhin: "In a way, the Adventure Pack was the culmination of my own campaign to bring some of the Ancient universe (as I call it) back into Might & Magic. I was already happy to have managed to bring back some familiar faces in H6, like Kilburn, Shiva, Maximus, etc.
So to have the opportunity to make a “legacy character” (as we nicknamed the characters showing up in several Might & Magic worlds/games) the centerpiece of its very own product, that was a blast. And as I said before, it was an honor to be able to actually write their adventures myself.
So yes, you could say it was my baby. However I wasn’t the only parent – the Limbic team gave an equal part of their hearts and souls to make this possible. Special kudos to Anselm, Karsten, Alexander and the rest of the team for their hard work."
CH: 5. So far, Ubi have been adamant in their decision to leave the old worlds behind and set up their own universe of Ashan. What was the motivation for returning to an old world?
Marzhin: "Ubisoft wants to keep Ashan as the main world for their Might & Magic games, but they weren’t automatically opposed to bringing back the Ancient worlds as bonus “legacy” maps. One of the reasons they didn’t do it earlier was that they didn’t want to do it wrong and attract the ire of the fans (which was one of the main reasons for creating Ashan in the first place).
The catalyst for bringing back VARN (and soon XEEN and Enroth) was the 25th Anniversary of Might & Magic. It was giving Ubisoft a good opportunity to pay tribute to the history of the brand."
CH: 6. So, you have taken us away from Ashan to revisit the old world of Varn. What's next?
Marzhin: "The next Adventure Pack, Danse Macabre, will be released in late September, and it includes a Legacy map set on the world of XEEN. World of Xeen is one of my favorite Might & Magic games (along with The Mandate of Heaven).
While the “Princess of VARN” was about imagining a possible future for VARN, the XEEN map (“A Tale of Two Guardians”) is an (almost) straight retelling of World of Xeen.
Basically after doing the VARN map, I wanted to do a map with Corak and Sheltem, who are to me the two most iconic characters of the early Might & Magic games. If you’re going to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the series, you have to include them. Also, XEEN felt like the natural choice for a Heroes map because its epic conflict translates easily into a "capture towns/defeat heroes" game mechanic, and the two-sided nature of the world is pretty cool (although it gave the level designers some headaches )
I preferred to tell the story of Corak and Sheltem rather than going into the future of XEEN since as you might remember after WoX it turns into something very different and I didn’t feel it was right to infringe into that unexplored territory.
There will also be a Gold edition of the game that includes H6 and both Adventure Packs, and a bonus legacy map that is a retelling of the Succession Wars of Enroth, opposing Roland to Archibald."
CH: 7. Fans were quick to spot the connection between the presence of Crag Hack’s helm in the game and his appearance in Pirates… There is a similar presence of an artefact set belonging to a "Great Lich". What can you tell us about this? (editorial note: these questions were submitted the day before the answer was revealed).
Marzhin: "Well now that the Danse Macabre Adventure Pack has been announced, you know the answer. There are several hints about Crag Hack and Sandro in Heroes VI, actually. Crag Hack’s helmet, the Staff of Sandro, and some texts found on signposts foreshadow the Adventure Packs. Although at the time I included those “easter eggs” I didn’t know if Crag Hack and Sandro would officially return! But I wanted to include those hints to show these characters were alive (well for Sandro that’s debatable ) and active in the world of Ashan, hoping that maybe, one day, I would have the opportunity to tell their stories."
CH: 8. Can you tell us what you're doing – are you working on more DLCs?
Marzhin: "If that ever happens, there are many classic characters I would like to bring back under the spotlight... Yog, Ignatius, Sir Christian... But for the moment I can only say that we have some more surprises for you in the future."
CH: 9. More content for the existing game is well and good, but our members seem to have a great desire for an expansion. Can you tell us if there are any plans for an expansion in the future and, if possible, how far along those plans are?
Marzhin: "You know that’s not my place to say anything about that. Let’s just put it this way: Heroes VI does not end with Danse Macabre."
CH: 10. What do you think you will do when the adventure of Heroes VI comes to an end?
Marzhin: "I still have a lot of work on my plate before that day comes, but there’s a pet project of mine I hope will become a reality somewhere in the near future. And that’s all I can say for now."
Big thanks to Marzhin for taking the time to answer some of our questions. Heroes live forever!
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- by Pol
Welcome. Hope each of you is doing relatively well.
With this Newsletter... another change. Previously, whenever anyone signed up for the Newsletter, they received all of the previous Newsletters, one-by-one, week-by-week, until they were caught up. This approach turned out to be pointless, as it isn’t too difficult to hunt down all of the earlier Newsletters. So, with this month, all past and future Newsletters will be available via the Fanstratics website. No more trickle of content.
For those of you seeking past Newsletters, you will find links for each at the end of this and future Newsletters.
Until next time.
Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
- by Pol
I will be pushing this year to finish our database and the merge. For now you will find overview of all maps submitted to CH in this article.
Our old "Map Page" still serves well but you cannot log in and rate, as the old site is permanently disabled. The rest is on this page.
In menu were added direct links to our "Campaigns" and "Other Features", to be more on eyes.
If you are looking for something use "Tags", as our content is tagged, in addition to categories. Check Top or Main menu for them.
As for future MapdDB, let me know, if you have any refined idea for sorting or searching. There will be marked map version, size, author, name, contact (if available), number of players (human/computer), teams (Co-op, AI, No), Language, Win and Lose conditions, description, download, hits and rating. And comments.
Happy gaming! Because even inspite of all these new mobile games, the original H2+ line is still more fun. Especially HotA spurred lots of attention, finally. And HDMod with SP_plugin. Or Verokster Open GL wrappers.
H4 The Unity campaign. Unity project is revolving around original texts from Terry Ray, written for Heroes IV. Which is Unity Team bringing to life. Currently the first map of the campaign, "The Isle of Order" is ready and in need of testing. Next planned maps are Isle of Life, Isle of Nature, Isle of Chaos and Isle of Death. Visit the linked thread to download it. Unity Project is striking for audience!
Legends of the Ancients with Quantomas AI have been updated and are currently available as a part of his H5AI_31n_beta.zip.That include fixes of some game breaking bugs in books 1&2. We therefore, humbly recommend to play them again. Of course, they will be made available as a separated books download from official LotA pages later on, waiting on Quantomas' split.
For newcomers, Legends of the Ancients features good old heroes from Might & Magic universe in the world of Ashan. Of course, expect Sandro and Solmyr and the kind king Archibald, to save the world. (In Book 4, which is not yet written) But the full story to read on is here, available as pdf, with some nice art. Read it, play it and leave us your comment.
New Maps by Yurian Stonebow and MadMax:
H3C: A Quest for no Mortal by MadMax (HoP) | M | 1 Human
H3C: Imperial Days by Yurian Stonebow | XL | 5/3
H3C: Mutare's Apprentice (Allies) by Yurian Stonebow | L | 8 Humans
H3C: Prime Suspect by MadMax (HoP) | L | 4 Humans
H3C: Tolkien's War of the Ring by Yurian Stonebow | XL | 6/2
H3C: Viking Invasion 1.3 (Allies) by Yurian Stonebow | XL | 7/1
Maps Sent For Testing:
H3_HotA: The Hobbit by Bilbo Baggins by PatrickAce | XXL | 1 Human
H4_WoW: Archmages by Kuron | XL | 1-6 Humans, no Allies
H4_WoW: Stone Soup RPG by Aranei | XL | 1 Human
H3C: It's time for rebellion! by Sensai | XL | 1 Human vs 6 AI teamed up
H5_ToTE: Demonic Defense by mctronic | N | 1 Human vs 4 AI
H3_HotA: Surrea: The Shift by Echo | XL | 8 Humans
H5_ToTE: Battle for Crimea by Milos Gajic | N | 3 Humans
H5_ToTE: The Initiation by mctronic | S | 1 Human vs 1 AI
H4_WoW: Maximus by NATSSIRK | XL | 6 Humans
H7TbF: The Hunger Games Map by Antalyan | L | 6 Humans
H5.5: The Keymaster by Silentine | XL | 6 Humans
H3C: Kill 'em All (Allies) by Adam Simms | XL | 3 Humans vs 3 AI
H3C: Hold the Line by Sachertorte | S | 2 Humans
H7TbF: Dragonpass by Sandmean87 | L | 6 Humans
H3_HotA: Blushing Tide by AsJo | XL | 8
H3_HotA: Founderling Ventures by AsJo | XL | 8
H3_HotA: Plight of Conquest by AsJo | XL | 8
- by Pol
We will focus on what happened in this month and what wasn't summoned on our table yet.
First goes fheroes2 project by fheroes2 Resurrection team. Who work with constant passion to get to the 1.0 milestone. This time, release 0.9.1, they added:
- Instant battles
- Upgraded their AI to be more 'craftier and smarter'
- View Word Spell
- Easy units splitting by a few mouse clicks
- Another part of campaing
Heroes Orchestra presents new arrangement, Battle Theme II from Heroes IV
Myself I remember listening to Heroes IV. soundtrack again and again for almost a year. Always enthralling, always yours. Opera music.
This is a small Heroes like game, with it's own engine and simplified graphic. You can take for pay what you want. Take a look here. We have been alerted about the game by Darmani, here, thanks for it!
- Random map generation from 25 map types
- 6 factions, each with 7 different creatures + upgrades
- 43 unique creature abilities
- Additional nonplayable creatures
- Real-time combat
- Give orders and change stances - or just watch!
- Procedural town tech trees
- Unique town perks as your town levels up
- Level up your heroes
- 28 unique skills to level up
- Challenging but fair AI opponents
- 53 spells
- 120 artifacts
- Unique artifact sets
- ~30 adventure objects
- True to the original gameplay
- Tweaks to gameplay, like the infirmary system
What says Darmani about the game:
"When they say "based on", that's an understatement. It has the same 7 resources as HoMM, units spawn in a castle on day 1 of every 7 day week, there are treasure chests that give gold or experience, and many of the adventure map objects are identical to ones from HoMM (Fountain, Rally Flag, Idol of Fortune). The town mechanics are most similar to HoMM VI, with a "town level" that increments when you build enough, unlocking more buildings (hope I'm remembering HoMM VI correctly). Main difference is the real-time combat, of course, though there are also differences in the magic system, and the "hospital mechanic" by which some of your lost creatures will very slowly become available to hire back at the castle.
It doesn't come with instructions, and, on my machine, had a problem that the mouse's hitbox wasn't under the cursor (meaning I thought many buttons were broken and unusable), and that tooltips appeared pretty far from what I was mousing over (meaning I initially had no idea the strength of what I was fighting). Once I got the hang of it though, it was a pretty cool game.
I don't know how much longevity it has (I'm finding the real-time combat rather shallow --- past the early game, I usually just watch my army fight by itself and win with no casualties), but it's an interesting twist on the HoMM series. One thing that impresses me game-design wise is that it manages to make the obelisk/buried treasure mechanic actually fun. No hunting down obelisks all across the map and then spending days doing nothing but digging in some forgotten corner of the map. Instead, each obelisk gives you a flavorful paragraph like "Ki-g Ragna- left his treas-re som-where n-ear the mino-r shrine" you walk over to the nearest minor shrine, and watch as your "Dig for treasure" button turns from gray to black when you get close enough.
It's pay-what-you-want right now. I've played about 5 hours the last 2 days. Still buggy (e.g.: the win-condition doesn't work; it just keeps going), and has a terrible AI (I let it run around an area for weeks....and it still never reclaimed a Sawmill I took). Still, I had fun, and I'll be giving him some of my money."
- by Pol
Welcome. Hope each of you is doing relatively well.
With this Newsletter, I’m making a couple changes. First, this will be last update on subscriber numbers. As to the reason why, see Questions, Answers & Comments.
Last Newsletter: ~2725.
This Newsletter: ~2900.
+ If you would like to support Greg with FANSTRATICS, subscribe here. +
Second, I’m going to begin talking ‘features’.
As for this month's Troop concept sketch, I give you the Medusa Vanguard. For those of you who want to see Justin actually render the drawing, you can watch a VOD of his Twitch stream here...
Also, a quick shoutout to Tim Lang and Aeolwyn’s Legacy. Tim and I both worked at New World Computing (NWC), but our paths rarely crossed. However, I do have one story.
HoMM3 was winding down. HoMM3 Armageddon’s Blade and Might and Magic 7 were both ramping up. Frequently, when a project needed additional staff, the first place we looked was Quality Assurance (QA). Jennifer Bullard and a couple of HoMM3 Map Makers asked me to try and bring Tim onto the team. Subsequently, I went into a meeting with Paul Rattner (MM7 Design Lead) where we talked personnel. At the time, we had already solidified our teams, with a couple exceptions. Tim was one of those exceptions. When I told Paul, I wanted Tim on the HoMM3 team, he flatly said, “I talked to Tim. He doesn’t want to work on Heroes. He wants to work on Might and Magic.” I must admit to feeling oddly rejected. Tim was the first person I’d encountered who didn’t want to work on HoMM3. Regardless, Tim went on to work on MM7, MM9, and more. Ironically, Tim and I have chatted more in the past few months, than the entirety of my time at NWC. ;-)
This month, I have seven initial questions, followed by the final part of my lengthy interview with Tavern of Might and Magic.
Until next time.
Fanstratics Game Director & Designer
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