The Battle for Stormford v1.2 - Contest Winner
Posted on 07/05/03 @ 12:00 AM (updated 07/07/03
Please note that this map is the winner of the :
Stronghold & Crusader Design Contest June 2003 : Best Stronghold Military Map
Map name : "The Battle for Stormford "
Game : Stronghold
Version : 1.2
Type : Siege
Size : 400x400
Recommended Style of Play : Defender Only
Recommended Difficulty : Normal
First of all, I must say that making this map has been a wonderful experience (except for making seven different versions from scratch!). I have learnt a lot of new things about Eyecandy and AI behaviour.
Creating a solid AI Siege has been my goal while making this map. But not only must the AI attack as the attacker, but even the player must be moderately aggressive and must use his/her army well. If you think that you would be better off sitting in the fort and wait for the enemy to come to you, then you are mistaken. This map is geared towards 'aggressive defending' and follows the saying "A good offence is the best defence" to some extent. Don't worry, there is traditional 'Archers on wall vs. stupid melee units on ground' action too and it is just as important. I strongly recommend opening the map in the editor and making yourself familiar with troop placement, patrol routines and choke points, since the action will be taking place in the better half of this 400x400 map.
I must make a confession here. Since I had made 7 builds of the map, worked on the LotR map pack and my exams, I found myself with a blank map and 5 days to go for the deadline. So I had to, reluctantly, dig up and use an old landsacpe base of my SH siege map "Movie LotR2 : Edoras" and use it to build my castle on, since I could never hope to furnish a large map like this fully enough. Although it only features a part of the landscape and shares a similar wooden castle design, It does have its own feel and a different AI attack routine. Rest assured that all the work done in this map is completely different and unique from any of my previous maps.
A new innovation which I believe has not been incorporated in any other map yet except for a map by Jalis, is the addition of scripted invasions within a siege. I have simply switched the map to invasion, scripted an invasion to balance the attacking army, then switched back to siege. This was necessary since swordsmen are too slow to walk across a 400x400 map and horsemen...don't feel right. The invasions, reinforce the army periodically upto a certain point, thus ensuring balance. But a side-effect of this is that when attacking, the invasions will keep running, even though they won't attack (AI searches for shortest possible path to the keep...attackers don't have keeps so they are 'safe' so to speak). if you don't mind a growing lump of black Macemen crowding at a corner of the map, then go ahead and experiment. But this map was designed with the thought that it will be used only for defence and I strongly recommend that you stick to defending as such in this map.
As far as linking the map to the Crusades goes...I have tried to incorporate the theme into the story. But I must admit, the story's link to the Crusades is vague and nothing too deep. But do not dismiss the story as well,the story itself must have undergone as many revisions as the map itself. In the end I settled for a new style of writing . It involves the conversation between the chief military adviser and the lord (the player). Here the lines of the lord are shown as "..." while the military adviser's dialogue is what essentially makes the story...it seems as if he is answering questions to the lord and giving him suggestions, in the process spelling out the objective and giving hints on tactics which maybe used.
Update Changes v1.1 :
-Removed Crossbowmen from attackers.
-50 more archers for attackers.
-25 macemen and 10 Crossbowmen as a small defending army to meet attackers.
-Some scripting changes.
-More macemen to reinforce attackers and for longer time.
-Some more terrain editing.
Update Changes v1.2 :
- Changed attacking force.
- Fixed a no attack bug.
I think I have said enough to give you a general feel for the map, I'll let the map speak for itself now.
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After playing this map for only a few seconds, you realize why this map won the design contest. Its one of the most fast-paced, frenetic, exhilirating and beautiful maps out there.
Playability - 5
The gameplay is what really impressed me. The AI works so well with this map, you'd think it was custom made for it ! Wave after wave crash into your defensive layers in an open (quite different from normal sieges) battle field, allowing you to really try medieval tactics like Flanking, etc. Replayability by the bucketloads :). Moving your forces around is the key to winning here, within and outside the fort.
Balance - 5
The AI army is tough to defeat. They seem to have an unlimited supply of troops (via scripted invasions) and you will wince every time a troop of yours dies and the AI moves closer. But the tide of the battle usually turns just as the AI braks through the last gate and the sometimes your lord joins the battle to put down the last of the Attackers. Gripping till the end. Amazing balance.
Creativity - 5
Firstly, Talos' use of Scripted invasions in a siege raises the creativity score, but even without it he would deserve a 5 here. Superb work on terrain and the very believable little fort is praiseworthy. I epecially loved the little waterfall on the top left corner of the map.
The defenses on the ridge are a novel idea.
Map Design - 5
The Edoras base he used has recieved a high praises, It certainly helps add to the score.
As I said before the map design is top notch. I don't think I can do it justice so I suggest you grab the map and check it out yourself. I really liked the fact that besides looking really good, the map was very functional and allowed the AI to work beautifully. Also the ridge-based defense is good and integrated into the map very well.
Story/Instructions - 5
As Talos said, he has incorporated a new style of writing the story and I liked it. It allowed me to use my imagination to build on it and fill in the gaps. Also, I liked the idea of having the story done in first person...its a refreshing change. As far as the map descriptions go, I think I can safely say Talos's map descriptions are the best.period. It shows that he has not spared the details and worked hard on all aspects of the map...I especailly like the logos ;)
Full marks to Talos for making this a completly new and unique experience. He has surpassed himself and most (if not all) other Stronghold Maps in terms of Gameplay.
Amazing stuff. Keep it coming :D.
This is a must-play experience. Download it now !!
I agree with Ph33r_M3 in his views of the map. The map does immediately give a great atmosphere to a seige and it is obvious this is not an ordinary seige map.Playability -5 The map's AI attack your fort with the utmost efficiency, making the map a great battle. Not only is the map a simple seige, it is also a bloodbath where fire and arrows fill the map. The map runs so smoothly. I played it over again and again.Balance -4 The map is slightly too easy on normal and hard. On normal, I defeated it quite easily, and on hard it was slightly tougher. When it gets to vey hard you have the perfect seige level. I played it over and over on very hard. The map is slightly too easy, but gives a great feel of satisfaction upon beating it.For creativity the map certainly deserves a 5. Like some seiges from Talos, this map is scripted to give a better seige. I guess Talos deserves some of the points here, but even without in the novel use of eyecandy, some rapids which i had never seen used like that before and the marvellous keep, this map is unique.Brilliant! Map Design -5 This map has mindblowing map design and is some of the best on the SH site. This is a lesson for us all. The keep was fantastic, the general palistone castle was amazing and the small enclosed stables were original. It was great seeing the classic talos mountains! Well done here. One tiny flaw that some people may notice is that the bottom bit of the map - around the signpost is exactly the same as Edoras! Just something I noticed. For Story/Instructions a 5 is deserved once more, I am not a great fan of storylines not written in prose, but the information about the map made up for it completely. There is a marvellous source of information about the map, which i sometimes feel is more important than the story itself. Original. All in all this map is a definite download. If this map is not on your computer as you are reading this, make sure it is soon! Well done Talos! ;-)
The Battle for Stormford is phenomenal work. It is easy to see why this map won the design contest for its category. The author has stated that the terrain was designed for a previous map but as it is still HIS design, I do not feel a need to penalize for this.
Playability 5/5 the game play is generally smooth. The attacking AI doesn’t let up assaulting in powerful waves. The final wave is the strongest comprised entirely of pikemen, a fitting finale to the Wolf’s attack. Playing on normal to start, I defeated the Wolf’s forces on my first attempt. Losses were light at 23%. Playing on hard the same tactics again brought success but at a heavy toll. My losses were at 67%, a pricey victory.
Balance 4/5 Balance is essentially good with the defenders being perhaps a bit too powerful. It might have been better to have a few less mace men, as they are heavy hitters offensively. The attacking troops seemed a little sparse on ballistic units as well. I personally favored the strategy of sacrificing the archers at the outer defenses to light the pitch while the rest of my troops fell back to Stormford proper. I found this to be a far more suitable place from which to mount my defense, lose some ground to win the battle. Stormford itself is a vital part of the balance. This is not just another stone monstrosity. The defenses are fitting for an outpost. You will not be able to simply rely on massive stone walls and thousands of ballistic units. To win Stormford you will have to know how to REALLY play Stronghold, this map is a fight!
Creativity 5/5 The Castle is incredibly well designed. The defensive set-up includes wooden, palistone and stone fortifications. The earthworks of Stormford must have taken some considerable effort. The end result is a site that’s natural defensive ability is immediately apparent. The design of the Keep is difficult to produce to say the least. The village also includes a wonderful little fountain.
Map Design 4/5 the surrounding terrain is highly detailed. No part of this map has been overlooked. The mountains and waterfall are expertly done. The map also includes well-rendered paths and winding streams. Some of the hills especially near the outer fortifications are a little rough from certain angles. A complete lack of trees, (I know how difficult they can be), is a little odd. Perhaps this aspect could have been included in the storyline. “In order to bolster the defenses, every tree in the county has been felled sire” or something to this effect. You could even have included masses of stockpile wood to visually affirm this on the map and technically now the trees are still on the map!
Story/Instructions 5/5 Talos’s home is noted as India so I am going to assume that English is not his first language. Taking this into consideration, this is excellent work. The idea of giving the impression that the storyline is being told to you by your scribe as you read it is very engaging. Talos and also Jalis have proven that nothing not even a language barrier can stop those who are determined from writing a great storyline.
In Short- The Battle for Stormford is an essential download. A rousing fight in a fantasy world that only an expert could fashion. This map is a template for all those who wish to design professional work.
Gillb look please i just want to write my review and rate it i said what i thought was bad about the map and i rated it fairly. some of Talos_911's other work is very good i loved edoras although the landscape could be worked on.
4/5 Map design:
sorry talos for slating your map came do my sences very sorry again *slaps himself for being a pathetic looser* played the game lot more and now apriciate how much work must have gone into this. also played it on very hard and thats sorted the easy problem
[Edited on 09/23/05 @ 04:08 PM]