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Boris the Thief - Part 1
The story is included in the zip folder, it's a bit to long to put it up here.
You are Boris the Thief and you have stolen both the Rats and the Snakes gold from their treasuries. Your escape has brought you to an old abandoned outpost, place your market and get ready to spend your gold, there are a few goals to meet and a timer to push you. Spend your gold wisely making more will be hard, your 2 new friends want it back and will be crashing your party.
I hope you enjoy my creation.
By - Sir_Vet
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wow, gonna download this. looks nice
Welcome, Sir_Vet, as now also a Stronghold 1 mapmaker !
A special and dense map once again. It is entertaining and full of trouble on normal, most exciting for power play on very hard.
At the start you have to decide quickly how to employ or train your peasants. The numerous events feel like a yoke - I had to find out how to move my shoulders to bear it.
Numerous hunters brought in food in pleasing amounts. Without them I would have lost popularity during the plagues. Once I had 47 and needed a bribe. Ran out of gold, also twice of food, but food came back quickly. After every catastrophe I disbanded the water bearers to get workers quickly.
The invasions on very hard seem endless, with some archers staying behind killing peasants. Hunters shot back and blocked the charging melees a while. So, though I lost many peasants their dead was quite helpful ...
In the end, the Snake comes with a bad surprise. Managed to survive with low game speed.
Could win only by buying 5 bars of iron.
Enjoyed the hills that you shaped. Liked the distribution of trees, bushes and rocks. And the numerous fine alterations of the elevations. Searched them with my archers hunting hostile animals. The marshy valley looks really interesting with the feeling of a stream turned into a swamp area clearly provided. Funny the single tile of water within the marsh.
Ironically the thief runs out of gold again. But ... he wins new companions.
Many thanks, my friend.
[Edited on 03/02/09 @ 06:05 PM]
Hmm story looks nice for the bit I've read so far. I'll get around to playing it and have a review up in a week or so.
This map was fun and took a little thinking on what to carefully spend money on, especially since wood had to be bought. However I felt it was slightly simple, the same thing must be done to win, not too many ways to go about it, so it only gets average playability rating.
Balnace was nice, wooden walls were expensive to build so elaborate castle could not be built, and leather armor must be used to make troops to defend against the heavy metal enemies that could not be beat with bows alone, even though leather was needed for victory.
Personally I am not a fan of such an eco based map, so the rating is lower here. They are fine as vic. conditions, but I still prefer a more militarily based one. Scenario does not stand out too much, as far as uniqueness goes. It is very high quality, just not super unique, only stay in a small portion of the map and defend while making weapons...
Map Design: 5
Map design was great. The marshed looked like much time was spent on them and the surrounding terrain was natural as well.
Interesting story about a theif to set up a motive both for the attackers and the reason for the economic requirements. It was entertaining and made the map actually have a solid purpose.
Additional Comments: Great job with the map overall, I was pleased with it, had a fun time playing. I look forward to the next map in the series.
After a truly enthralling and entertaining playthrough of Boris the Thief, I felt obligated to review it; such a fine attempt shouldn't go without feedback or notice. Although the map was very enjoyable and kept me on my toes with a multitude of varying events and three different signposts, there are some noticeable flaws that prevent it from becoming truly good--among these are its lackluster invasions, ecleptic difficulty, hard to read story, and some script issues. However, none of these problems stop Boris the Thief from being a perfectly playable and engaging map, and should be a must download for fans of small scale invasions and economic missions.
Playability - 3.5
From the very outset of the game, I felt like there was too much--for lack of a better term--"freedom" for the player; overall, the map didn't give the player much direction in what kind of route to take in order to complete its two objectives. Should the player slowly amass iron by collecting it from a sort-of-far-away iron deposit, and wait out the invasions? Or should the player blow all of his or her gold early on by buying large quantities of iron, wood, armor, and swords? Should the player build walls around everything? Or should he or she build walls only around the cow fields? This level of choice can be taken as one of the map's greatest strengths and its greatest weakness. While no two playthroughs will be the same, there is no core gameplay device that's shared--no huge battle; no special gimmick; nothing. This makes the map accessable yet unwieldly at the same time.
The two objectives (craft 28 iron maces and 28 leather jerkins on normal) are so varying in difficulty that it strikes me as unfair. I was able to acrue 30 iron maces before even an eigth of the allotted time had passed, but the leather jerkins proved so fatally and infuriatingly slow that my impatience often led to my demise. It didn't help matters that the player couldn't build extra dairy farms, and that the random fire sometimes took the only two that were there. I'm all for the whole "making it worse for the player" thing, but it's a general rule of thumb for me to never include a harmful event that cannot be countered. In Boris the Thief, these types of events (the fires-at least if they take the dairy farms-the plague occuring with no option to build an apothecary, the cow malady) serve no purpose other than to annoy the player.
Oftentimes I wondered why I couldn't build good things or bad things to increase the combat versatility of my troops or the work ethic of my peasants, and I think that being able to build them would enhance the gameplay, but that's just my opinion.
There seemed to be a disconnect between early invasions and later ones--that is to say the change in difficulty between invasions is either miniscule or skyrocketing, and it's never easy to tell which is which and for that matter: why. Why am I fighting spearmen and archers in the first invasion and then moving on to pikemen and crossbowmen only to move back to spearmen and archers? There needs to be a constant and steady increase in difficulty in the invasions as the map progresses, like raising the elevation on a treadmill during a workout. Also, the time until loss condition serves no purpose. I was able to complete both objectives on normal well before the bar hit the 3/5ths mark, but perhaps you tested this on a harder difficulty setting.
Like many scripts, Boris the Thief has a lot of flaws, but overall the map is still playable, and one can tell that the author went to great lengths playtesting. Good job!
Balance - 4.0
The only real qualm I have about the balance in Boris the Thief is the ecleptic and random difficulty of the events you doled out to the player. At one point you could be killing easy-to-mop-up-wolves, and the next be frantically trying to fight a fire that suddenly decided to spring up on your irreplaceable dairy farms. I believe that with a few minor tweaks, such as toning down the fires just a tad and making a few extra buildings like the dairy farm and apothecary available for construction, the map could be near perfect script-wise. Regarding the invasions, I've already mentioned that there is no steady, constant increase in difficulty, and that the invasions are uninspired and sometimes pitiful.
Keep this in mind: give the player all the tools he or she needs to fight off harmful events, and let them do as they will. But not supplying the means to fight these events is--in my mind--potentially gamebreaking. Thankfully, the player didn't have to deal with a lot of these un-counterable events.
Though the amount of gold you made available to the player seemed random at first, it was a good amount, and was adaquate for aquiring both enough iron and wood to build a space station while also funding a small garrison of soldiers. Next time though, make sure the gold, and for that matter any resource, that you dole out an even number instead of just random amounts.
Another one of my pet peeves--potential cheating--has also been avoided, for the most part.
I've mentioned about all there is to mention about balance, you did an excellent job tweaking it, but it still needs some fixin.
Map Design - 4.0
Map design has never been my forte, but I feel that you did a wonderful job sculpting the landscape. My only qualm about it is that I've never seen herds of deer frolick through a murky marsh. So although not entirely realistic, the map is well done and pleasing to the eye, which is what you were probably aiming for.
Another problem I have with it is the limited space, but that's mostly a tactical thing to make the map more difficult, and it works.
Creativity - 3.5
This review gets shorter and shorter which each section, and for that I apologize. It's getting late over here however, and I'm losing my will to go on as sleep threatens to take me. But I promise that I'll finish.
As far as creativity goes, there's not much going on in this map in any respect. I'm giving you a 3.5 simply because there's not many maps about bandits and thieves, but otherwise it's pretty much just a straightforward eco-invasion that's decently executed. Some eyecandy could have spruced it up a little, or a rival lord in the area, or something; anything really.
Story/Instructions – 3.0
A good story can make or break a map, but to have a good story requires more than a basic plot. It varies from one reviewer to the next, but I score a story based on proper spelling/syntax, how much it interests me, and literary techniques like imagery and metaphor, etc, etc.
While I was reading your somewhat lengthy story (which is not a bad thing) I had the distinct urge to take a red pen and mark all over it wherever I found a mistake or where I could see improvement. Your strong suit seems to be mocking the enemy lords' irreverent and silly speech habits, like the Rat's stuttering or the Snake's constant repeating of "hmmmmmmmm," and you had me genuinely chuckling during the conversation bits. Everything in between though was like taking a stroll on Captain Picard's scalp: lifeless and barren. I was able to follow the plot, which is a good thing, but you should really get someone to edit the things you write, just to fix it up a bit; you never want to present a first draft.
I can tell that you put thought into the story, however, and for that I thank you. Too often maps get released without stories or even descriptions. At least you attempted, and that's good enough.
All in all, Boris the Thief is an enjoyable map that's not without it's quirks and flaws--but what map doesn't have at least a few flaws? None of them should stop you from downloading and playing such an engaging invasion; you won't want to skip past it.
I just submitted a review as well. I really enjoyed the map, thanks for putting it out! :)
Hi Guys, Thank You for the comments and ratings!
And Thank You for the nice welcome to SH1.
MasterofPhate, Thank You for the fine rating. I am a little disappointed with the 3, I put a lot of effort into making the playability match with the different difficulty settings. For an average player you should have some difficulty winning the map on the first try, leaving easy as easy and hard and very hard for the better experienced players.
I have posted a lot of maps for Crusader and SH2, but am now finding that my maps are to hard for the average player, now I have been trying to make my maps a little easier. Sorry you found my map to easy.
Boris 2 has you against the Pig, you have 4 items to gather for the win, all 4 items are needed during game play, and like this map your attackers have better troops and weapons than you do to make it a little more interesting.
Overall I'm glad you enjoyed my map, getting a 4.1 on any map to me is a success, especially when it's the first map I've made for SH1.
Captain Diablo, I will eagerly await your rating, and I will come back and make a response.
[Edited on 03/02/09 @ 02:04 PM]
I'm sincerely interested in reading your impressions and opinions about maps on SHH. Also I'd like to recommend you reading the Review Guidelines cause your ratings of the single sections seem rather subjective to me.
Creativity, e.g., is not a matter of the player's likes and dislikes, it's more about wether the concept and details of a given map are original or usually known.
[Edited on 03/02/09 @ 02:40 PM]
I shall clarify my reasoning on playability for ya peter.
this is my creativity rating
"Personally I am not a fan of such an eco based map, so the rating is lower here. They are fine as vic. conditions, but I still prefer a more militarily based one. Scenario does not stand out too much, as far as uniqueness goes. It is very high quality, just not super unique, only stay in a small portion of the map and defend while making weapons..."
The following quote is from the guideline which I have read.
This area is probably second in subjectivity behind playability. Creativity is found in all aspects of a scenario, from map design, to the story, to what units a player is given, to the objectives, to eye-candy used, etc. Every aspect of a scenario factors into creativity. Note that a scenario doesn’t have to be full of the latest tricks or eye-candy to be creative, though these can be considered.
Some things you might like to consider are –
Is there something truly unique about this scenario?
Does the author make good use out of the design tools provided?
Does the scenario stand out in your memory because it features something not found in other scenarios?
How creative is the map design?
How creative are the story/events?
The starting units and positions (the beginning of the scenario
This scenario does not have anything truly unique. It has very normal victory conditions, gather a quantity of goods. The starting position is on an edge, and very little of the map is used, not creative in my opinion. I do not think that I will remember this map in the long run. I have already stated I don't like eco based things. Therefore, I won't like playing it as much, I won't have as much fun and therefore won't remeber it as well. If this map was super creative and stands out, then I would remeber it EVEN though it is not my favorite kind of map. The map did not make me sit amazed at its unigueness, some maps actually have. It feels like it would fit in as one of the invasion maps that are included with the game, which is a great thing, but that means it is very standard, not creative. The map design is flowing and natural. Great for map design, but not creative, several maps are based on marshes, and just as good, again it has nothing to make it stand out.
In the guide, playability and creativity are listed as the top two most subjective of the categories, thus my opinions are going to be implemented in them.
Sorry if this comes across bad, I don't mean it to. I think I have followed the guide to a decent extent. And it is a guide, that means it is not the end all rule doesn't it?
p.s. I am happy to review any maps that you make if you can point me in their direction =)
[Edited on 03/03/09 @ 08:49 AM]
I esteem how much effort you took to answer my submission. Your clarification really helped me to better understand your approach.
Furthermore, I'm impressed of how decisive subjectivity rules. We guys are individual, our different impressions fascinating and – for mapmaking – challenging.
There is something I had kept in my mind and which made me bother about the first sentence of your creativity rating (but I messed up the categories in the Guidelines). Regarding playability it says: "One thing to look out for when reviewing is to only play scenarios that use a style you enjoy. For example, if you hate playing Economic scenarios, don't try to review one since you are bound to not enjoy the scenario. Try to keep within styles that you enjoy."
Fun and feelings are of course the most important reasons to play a mission at all. When I write a review I let some time pass to get a distance from the personal emotions and try to assume a more comparative view.
As for creativity, I find two things special with "Boris" which both come from Sir_Vet alone (I'm not skilled yet to achieve this level). Scripting is very dense, the player is busy all the time. Either you're perparing for bad events and invasions or you're assimilating the consequences. And the basic concept of initial (stolen) gold you have to get along with during the entire mission. This limitation struck me because it forces the player to decide for a certain strategy at the very beginning. I am honestly astonished you – and Captain Diablo – did not experience it as a unique feature. The only map I know using such a concept (for units only) is "The Castle of Dr Moureau" where the reviewer praised this as "Flexibility buying any troops instead of fixed starting troops."
This map I helped play testing. Though I could take up the distance to write more than some comments, my back list of maps I want to review is long (and my style of replaying and writing is soo slow).
If you want to see how I tried mapmaking, you can play "Apple War" for Crusader.
Soon a Stronghold1 map of Fintrollx and me will be finished, "Lauchheim". Though I'm afraid it will turn into just another invasion map, I'd appreciate to hear your impressions then.
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