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Downloads Home » Stronghold: Freebuilds and Landscapes » The Ourea - By WarLord_Designs

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The Ourea - By WarLord_Designs

Author File Description
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
I remember when I first made my way between the vast and conquering peaks of ice-cruel, unyielding. I was young then, innocent. But innocence never lasts, not in this cruel world. I knew not of sorrow, nor pain but that of grazed knees or scraped elbows. Nestled amongst the hay bundles and pelts that crowded my fathers old cart-rickety, aged. Too young was I to remember as the life slipped away from my mother’s warm face, like the sun melting behind the hills into shadows-unheard, unseen.

War’s bitter tears of hardy salt had not parched my mouth. I knew not of it but that it had driven us from our home, like starved wolves stalking a flock-relentless in its resolve…

It was on a bitter winter’s morn that we left behind our thatched roofed home in which we had sheltered, the sun still cowering in the shadows. The frost clung to the ground like a newborn to its mother’s breast, and the air struck at you like a cold dagger in ones soul. Not a whisper was heard as we made our way down through a craggy ravine, earth spilling under the weight of the loathsome cart-aged stones echoing down into the abyss. Nestled amongst the pelts and straw I felt myself drift away…

I awoke to the sound of ravenous birds overhead. Others perched themselves amongst bent tree limbs-their eyes a piercing green. But soon their deathly calls became less common until only the occasional cry could be heard. As we made our way down a slight gully, we turned to follow a stream-frozen underfoot. Descending like water over cliff, we made our way down though a narrow in the mount-it was then for the first time that the great valley was upon me…

See Zipfile for the rest of the story.

Map Features.

- 3 invisible sign posts.
- Snow terrain.
- Invisible mountain paths.

Resource availability:-

- Stone mines: 3
- Iron mines: 4
- Abundant trees.

We hope you enjoy the map.

Best Wishes,

Pages: « First « 1 [2] 3 » Last »
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Dougleass Hey don't say that! I've felt like that too, and then found myself bored like hell and after a while made some maps anyways. I hope the same will happen to you too, heh.
artofmath I get exactly how you made the snow terrain.

You used the 2,000 stones printing press, and used that to freeze the foam. Simple. :D
File Author
Yep, no one is claiming the trick is hard ;)

Very time consuming however...
Map Design5.0
Playability: 5
The perfect freebuild? Quite possibly.

The Ourea is, quite simply, an epic freebuild map. With three secret signposts to allow you to use the F1 button for those with the latest patch (probably most of us) and launch either sporadic raiding parties or huge armies hell-bent on razing your newly-built fortification, this map has it all. This is made even more interesting as you don't know where the signposts are until you face the invasions! Want to create a smaller settlement and use your troops to defend your hard work? No problem. Want to make full use of the landscape and create a structure of beauty, then pitch your defences against repeated attacks? Yep. Want to build in peace, but create a strong economy and shuffle around the landscape? Freebuilds are vastly underrated scenarios and the perfect way to relax and spend a few hours going back to the very basics of the game. This map is all about fun... once you overcome the chilling landscape before you! The map lends itself to all building styles and all interests.

Balance: 5
Sometimes one is asked how can you rate balance in a freebuild. There are no events, no win criteria, no way to establish how difficult, or easy, a map is. What to do? Balance can be achieved by providing a landscape that is abundant, but not overridden with resources. How easy is it to achieve a steady economy? How do you fare at the start with the initial goods provided? See this map to understand exactly how it's done! The Ourea is a big landscape, not all of it free to build on, and there is more than enough space to create a thriving settlement. The resources aren't on your doorstep, you have to factor in the time spent for iron workers to return resources to the stockpile. Similarly, stone is more than abundantly present but laid down in such a way that it gives the impression of a limited resource. The map is about as perfect as you could possibly wish for in terms of balance: not too tricky to establish a strong settlement but there are a few factors to bear in mind, such as the wildlife and a small group of soldiers who will happily pick off your workers if you don't do something about it pretty quickly! Neglect the food chain too much and you will suffer. Watch out for those pitch ditches too, they can cause real problems if discovered by enemy invaders!

Creativity: 5
This covers both the map design (predominantly the landscape) and the accompanying story/instructions. Verdict? Another faultless display. The landscape is... well, see below for specific comments, but it is simply out of this world and so well designed that it appears as if Arthus has rediscovered an editor unbeknown to the rest of us. Alexus proves once again that a well written story can grab you and immerse yourself in the very map you are about to play. Both compliment each other so well. But, let's not forget the hidden signposts (a first in freebuilds?) and the small but expertly done campfire for those of you who play the unpatched version (read the accompanying notes, it explains all). To design a landscape for frebuilds is, in principle, easy. To write a story is equally so. To do both properly, and to sit harmoniously together, side by side, complimenting each other requires real talent and skill, and years of experience. The Ourea provides just that.

Map Design: 5
Probably the most difficult part of this review is writing for both the landscape and the story. Where to start? Well, when I read the accompanying article and opened the map, I was taken aback in a way that I haven't for a very long time. Arthus has created a truly haunting landscape, bleak and raw in parts, more welcoming but cautiously so in others. I really did feel uneasy at first, like I was treading on someone's toes, or building something I shouldn't. Arthus has created atmosphere. Eerie, beautiful, maybe even foreboding, but it's there and it leaps from the screen at you. I could really imagine myself standing on the edge of a precipice staring at the valley below. The ice and snow effects are remarkable, not just randomly placed on high ground, but there for a specific reason. Tree placment is natural and authentic, boulder and rocks take on the appearance of weathered rocks that have lain there for a millenia, shrubs cling to the icy ground trying to extract as many nutrients from the soil as possible and the higher ground, inaccessible but brutally stark overlooks all that you do in the valley below. The use of the terrain tools and the skill of Arthus has produced a stunning landscape that is quite clearly one of the finest works available at Stronghold Heaven. Majestic, Arthus, truly majestic.

Story/Instructions: 5
Following closely on from above, Alexus has a skill that few can match when it comes to writing both an engrossing and flowing story and providing the player with sufficient relevant information via the instructions that accompany this map. The story sets the scene; it is laced with sadness and lament, yet offers some lighter moments before leaving you with a chilling image as you imagine father and son walking on towards the valley floor with a remnant from a massacre protruding from the path they walk on. The instructions provide more than enough information to fill in any gaps, plus a few comments to direct you to parts of the landscape as you build. More than enough content, quite brilliantly written for such a relatively short story and really makes the scenario complete for me. I really appreciate the small minimap and screen image inserted into the accompanying article in the zip file, it's a lovely way to present something (an idea i've already borrowed I might add!) and laid out carefully and presented extremely well.

Additional Comments:
I like this map. You may have gathered this already. It's the finest freebuild ever made, carefully and diligently designed (and written) by two guys who really know how to give us something special. Highly recommended, without a shadow of a doubt. Please, do yourself a favour and download this beautiful yet haunting freebuild.
Lord Skillsaw What is the 2000 stone printing press, and how can i use it to freeze the foam? please help a friend in need, warlord designs.

[Edited on 08/10/08 @ 10:33 PM]

MasterofPhate This map is very beautiful you guys have done a great job.
WL_D Arthus really appreciate the kind words, it's so nice to know people are still enjoying our work :)
iwanttowin I'm just curious. I'm a sincere newbie, does this map work on SH2 or just 1? I guess it would have to be 1 since it is not 3d... I just purchased the SH Collection (which includes all the games) and have just finished the POP campaign of SH2, it was a lot of fun.. I am now working through the POW campaign... this is my first experience with SH and I really like it!!

Question: should I install SH1 is it worth it? Stupid question? Is it more like Age of Empires II? So far with SH2 I am supper impressed. Also how do these maps work? are they a game as well with challenges, script/story?

Thanks so much!
Hi iwanttowin, you should try asking your question in the forums where there are more folks around to give you their opinion. e.g. you could start a thread with your question in the Inn
File Author
indeed please visit our forums, we don't bite :p
Well not hard anyway...

Having said that seeing as you're a 'sincere newbie' i'll be happy to answer your questions.
This map only works for SH1 which is widely accepted as the best in the series to those who have played them all, especially if you like freebuilds (my forte).

Each map submitted here is put into a category, each having their own story, objectives and script. My map however is a freebuild which means you just build a castle and when you're ready you can set an invasion to attack at any time, a fun way to pass a few hours.

If that has not cleared up all your questions please post something in the forums like ericgolf already said, i'll find it and go more in-depth if needed.
till then, happy gaming!
WL_D Arthus

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