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The Ancient Knight

Author File Description
File Details
Map Size: 400x400 (Large)
Number of Players: 2
Balance: Unbalanced
Difficulty: Normal
Made with version: 1.1

Greetings to you all!

I am able to present a special skirmish-eyecandy map to you: The Ancient Knight

The ancient tale

“It is told that a giant ancient knight guards over these lands. We have to make sure we arrange ourselves with
him, or he might be our death. By the way, it is said that he signed a contract with Grim Reaper himself
recently... and... Is that a ship in the distance? Um, no, probably just a mirage..."

(The beginning of the story. For the full story, open the "Story and Author's Notes_5" file.)

The ancient ruler of the valley

The map is dominated by a huge knight, covering most of the minimap, resembling a "normal", flag-holding SHC knight while riding - I used one certain step of movement, to be exact.
Apart from that minimap-art, I have tried to achieve an as natural as possible ingame look, but of course some areas that appear straight white on the minimap will look not too beautifully ingame, as I was really limited to stone terrain here.
Thought, many parts of the map still look good (at least in my opinion) ingame, so it's not only the minimap that is worth watching.
However, the knight needs a lot of space, so finally I only placed 2 keeps here.
Placing a 3rd keep instead of the water, which shall resemble sky, would have been possible, so if there is a wish for a 3-player-version, I might decide to make one.

The not-so-ancient balance of powers

As there is quite much stone (and iron) on the map, I have prohibited quarry, ox tether and iron mine for human players to keep a certain balance - otherwise a human player could easily place 20 quarries/iron mines, leaving any ai opponent behind.
In exchange, you get 520 gp more starting gold as usual - maybe you can hire some mercenary troops for killing the neutral Lord with that extra money.
Moreover, although it is an unbalanced map, there is actually some kind of balance:

The right-bottom player has a bit less space but therefore a lot of fertile land close to the keep, the left-top player has more space but less and further away oasis.
Furthermore, there are more lions and less deer near the right-bottom keep but the access to stone and iron (for computer players) is also easier from the right-bottom keep.
As the map has been designed with the purpose of creating a minimap artwork, the map offers only limited space for castle building.
Notice that still many of the standard aiv castles, as well as my "United aiv" series (available in downloads at StrongholdHeaven here), are suitable for this map.

What else?

o Starting options

As starting options i recommend 40k to 3k or at least 20k to 7k or 8k to 2k advantage for your opponent, if you play against a computer player. Otherwise it would be quite a simple game with only 1 opponent.

o Credits

A big thanks to Lord_of_Hell, for some really helpful discussions and the time he took to have a look at the map several times.

o Have fun !!!

Special features

"The Ancient Knight" features a neutral Lord that makes some ai opponents NOT attack you until that neutral Lord is dead. But some other ai opponents seem to ignore him and attack you just the normal way.
Moreover, this map contains some invisible oasis, several kinds of animals (bears, dogs, rabbits, deer, lions, camels), a nice palm beach, a small holidays island, a "living flag" and may make for an interesting battle, offering several possible "battlegrounds", e.g. the water, the rocks and hills, or the oasis with a lot of shrubbery.

The panoramic view

(Panoramic view of the map)

Please also take a look at my Forum Topic for this map, for additional pictures of the map and its creation.



AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
xXTheTivXx looks awesome but my SHC doesnt work :,(
Lord_of_Hell Hey, the great minimap art is out.

It's noticeable the effort you took for the map to have a good playability, taking the fact that most of the minimap-art maps have little gameplay features.
reno_keizer great job.....I always want to make a map like this, but I always fail. it's great minimap art.
File Author
Thank you guys!

Btw... the flag can also change its color! If you place the 2 players (you and your opponent) the other way round, the knights will have a different color - usually orange (standard player-2-color), but also e.g. yellow, blue, ... - if you add several players and remove all but the desired one... though, I only tested it with orange, so no guarantee how some of the other colors will look (as there is iron terrain below there that can afflict the "overall color" if the difference between the iron (~maroon) and the soldier-color is quite big).

@reno_keizer: Just keep trying! When I started this map I never thought I would really end up with a good-looking map. In the beginning it was rather a rough something than a real "picture"...
When you want to make minimap art, there are principally 2 kinds of such:
Either a "normal" map that just looks really good on the minimap, so that you can speak of an "artwork" (and there are such maps, no question!), or choosing a certain motive you want to reproduce on your minimap.
For the second, I suggest dividing your map in sectors (in the forum topic for "The Ancient Knight" you can see this on some early pictures!) to make it easier.
There are some template square pattern maps somewhere on Stronghold Heaven, or you can just make one by yourself - in this case I have been rather lazy and have only "drawn" some of the lines, there they were most necessary. Then, make an image of your motive and also divide it into sectors. It is recommened to print it to have it always ready when you work on your map. Here, I also was "lazy" and just paused the editor with Alt+H while making the map, and always looked at a single ingame knight without sectors... :)
However, some kind of grid is really helpful to get the contures where they shall be. When you think this or that spot looks ugly, just change it a bit and look at it again, until you are satisfied. Then, go more into details, fill it with colors - in this case mostly rocks, stone, iron. And here, "everything" possible is allowed - no matter if a lot of bushes, trees, the normal terrains, or even buildings/ruins/walls/...
Then, you can add nuances (darker green with bushes/trees); different shades of blue with ford, river, sea, maybe also swamp or moat. Shadows usually with rocks, some half-shadow or mixtures between two colors by using a mixture of the necessary terrains (e.g. some tiles of rocks between stone). The next step is using more subtle shadows (and some slightly brighter spots) by "creating" them ingame - use elevations, they add some light and shadow! Though, when turning the map around, these will also change, so either focus on one "main" map orientation (e.g. the knight's head is on the top, the feet on the bottom side) or work very careful with this.
The elevations, even if used very thrifty, can make the whole thing look more plastic, vivid, three-dimensional, no matter if it is a sand dune or the knight on his horse. The right sand dune on my map, e.g., and also some parts of my knight look different and - in direct comparison - really better and more realistic with elevations, even if the general basic color is the same. Elevations also improve the ingame look, make it less boring etc.
Then, if the minimap is "complete", try changing the map without changing the minimap - look at the forum topic for more information about that - to make the map look interesting ingame. Small objects are one key, the "invisible mode" is another key here.

Never underestimate the power of shrubs, elevations and small details - they can change the total appearence by that certain something! And of course, like every good map, minimap artwork needs quite some time - don't rush it!

fayez2010 You know minimap art but I even do not know (historical) castles designing art! I tried much times but failed!


But coud you add a list wich has the AI's that work best with this map?

I woud realy appriciate it...

[Edited on 08/12/11 @ 12:10 PM]

Lord_of_Hell All the AIs work good with this map as long as they're not using the massive castles (like wolf has)
File Author
As Lord of Hell already said, almost every ai has some castles that are small enough to fit here.

And if there should really be an ai that doesn't fit there at all, try out (sorry if it sounds like and advertisement :D) my "united aiv", it contains 1 castle for each of the 16 ais, and fits into the map, I've tested that.

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