~ Forums of Enroth ~

An Enroth diehard fan community
 
HomeHome  ChatChat  FAQFAQ  SearchSearch  RegisterRegister  Log inLog in  

Share | 
 

 Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?

View previous topic View next topic Go down 
AuthorMessage
Orzie
Master Modder
Master Modder
avatar

Messages : 1505
Quality Points : 641
Registration Date : 2014-12-12
Age : 25
Location : Tomsk, Russia

PostSubject: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-07-25, 21:02

Let's discuss which maps you enjoyed the most. Personally, I am a fan of maps with pre-defined gameplay rather than classic "1 castle, 1 hero, default gameplay". Pre-defined challenges and highly developed plot were the things I loved the most in Heroes 2 maps, so that most of my favorite maps come from GOLD edition.

Most fav. maps for me were made by Charles Watkins. I thought I re-played his Ghost Planrt for 30 times, and I even made modifications for it, and tried to make a sequel. His Colossal Cavern was also a brilliant map with lots of things to do. And finally, I absolutely loved THUNK map by Timothy Duncan. There were also a some other cool maps like Betrayal or Rock Round the Clock which made Heroes 2 shine for me.

What are your favorite maps?

________________________
In case someone cares for my music:
Mylinks_profile_page
Back to top Go down
Sir Albe
Vampire
Vampire
avatar

Messages : 513
Quality Points : 314
Registration Date : 2015-07-16
Age : 22
Location : Aalborg, Denmark

PostSubject: Re: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-07-25, 22:34

I also like these special maps where the game play is different from the usual 1 town and hero start. If further more a good story is present then I am instantly hooked. Because of that some of my favorite maps are Alteris 1 and 2, Dragon Rider, Enroth, Slugfest, The Back Door, The Clearing, The Other Side and Who am I?
Back to top Go down
Guest
Guest
avatar


PostSubject: Re: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-07-28, 06:34

I've always enjoyed 'Broken Alliance', 'Seven Lakes', 'Winterlands', and 'Lost Continent'.

I've always preferred boards that gave the player some breathing room. I know 'Broken Alliance' isn't really like that, but it's an interestingly hard board to play, even on the normal difficulty levels. I also prefer my boards to have the 'kill, or be killed' win and loss(respectively) settings.

Nothing is more annoying than building that supreme army and coming to crush your opponent, only to find out that they've located the secret artifact or captured the special town.
Back to top Go down
86Rn
Peasant
Peasant
avatar

Messages : 2
Quality Points : 4
Registration Date : 2015-12-03

PostSubject: Re: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-12-03, 04:20

I've given a lot of thought to what constitutes a good Homm2 map, what distinguishes the good from the epic, and what exactly it is that we love about the maps we love.

I believe the standard is set by the Beltway map. It is a map of romantics, adventure, fantasy and quest. Now in order to quite understand what is so great about Beltway, lets mention some other well-known and respected maps that feature the same trait: absolutely captivating, mesmerising surroundings.

Now my train of thought is that a great mapmaker is also a great designer. If you offer me a map with whatever possible gameplay pearls, be it killing 38000 peasants in one blow or facing 6000 hydras, well I must state that whatever is in it, I'll skip it if it has fug design flaws like huge poorly decorated empty spaces or things like 5 mercenary camps on the same screen. Now' I'm a veteran of HoMM2 and also Homm3/4, I even played some MMHO even, and while it's interesting to face 600 Vampire Lords in the end levels of the PoL campaign, I only play HoMM2 for the aesthetic kicks and not for the challenge. Even poor map with grate locations is always a hypnotizing trip to wonderland, while a locations-poor map with some abstract challenging encounters, uhh, I'm just too old and too experienced for that.
I spend a lot of time uhh doing nothing, so I managed to formulate some design concepts that even apply to other games, like Doom2/Zdaemon. I've been thinking on my own spare time about what makes Homm2 so great, and I think I've excelled.

But back to the beginning of this discussion.
The other classic Homm2 maps that Are considered the epitome of aesthetic achievement are, besides Beltway, the following: Broken Alliance, Enroth, and Seven Lakes. One might say that there are other worthy and memorable maps out there in the Gold edition, like Lost Relic, or New Enemies, and that they can be considered classic as well, I still think that they are a tier below the pinnacle Beltway/Broken Alliance/Enroth etc maps.

Why is that so? If we understand precisely the reasons of our aesthetic appraisal, we will come one step closer to be able to replicate the magic, at will.
Lets look at a few examples.

This is Lost Relic and New Enemies.

Now for a long time I've thought that making a good Homm2 map will get me nowhere, as nobody is interested in homm2 any more, preferring instead homm3, which indeed does have a huge following. Now I have a chance to make a thing really appreciated by some decent folks at Enroth, thus my interest is up +200% and let's continue analyzing the landmark concepts of Homm2 Aesthetics. Proper Homm2 Aesthetics go way beyond a simple video game. This stuff is cult, it's not just entertainment, it's legendary. If I were to liken it to something, I would name the UT99 Soundtrack, like Foregone Destruction and Skyward Fire. I am sure you all know what I am talking about.

Now we look at New Enemies and Lost Relic and we see a common trait that is present in both. Both maps are made of parts that belong to one and only one game landscape. We have a Swamp full of Swamp things. We have an Autumn full of Autumn things. No matter how well the map is made, it's aesthetic value is diminished and limited. That might be the Best Swamp/Autumn map fragment there is, but it's way below the Epic Tier HOMM2 Classic map locations.

I will continue in a second.
Back to top Go down
86Rn
Peasant
Peasant
avatar

Messages : 2
Quality Points : 4
Registration Date : 2015-12-03

PostSubject: Re: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-12-03, 05:44

Now it's the time to display the most top-notch places from the Epic tier maps, places that will stay with you and becon you on and on and visiting which is always a profound, nostalgic, even holistic experience.

Beltway:


Broken Alliance:


Enroth:


Seven Lakes:


But before we address the specific characteristics and and the common structure to those locations shown above, we have to make some preliminary notes.

Homm2 maps are Abstract in nature. Just like Doom2's maps. What we see on the screen is a not the underlying M&M reality, but only a model, a map of it. I will not go into details on how modern gaming with it's trillions of triangles is trying and failing to render a gameplay world on a screen. Note that in Homm7 they have added bunches of miniature houses to the map to try to restore this feeling of abstractness.

Here are some of the other aspects of Homm2 that are to be considered when appraising a map:
- The combat must be well orchestrated and interesting, but not frustrating. A good battle is where you manage, using every trick in the book, to barely beat the monsters while suffering only planned casualties. A good map ought to have it's monsters pre-determined and not 100% random. Battles with heavy expected casulaties (like no flyers vs greater druids, etc) fatigue the player and must be accounted for in the process of formulating the gameplay process.
- The town development and building, the acquisition of resources and the recruitment of army ought to also be pre-determined to be considered a state-of-the-art map. It is a sign of professionalism to refrain from placing random castles, and stick to placing determined factions' castles for the players.
- A map ought to culminate in difficulty. This cannot be achieved when every starting color is available to the player by default. If that is the case, the fate of the map is more or less decided once the player gets a killer army and from there it's only a matter of mopping up the smaller enemies and establishing full control. The latter part of the game can be very annoying, as aggressive enemy AI will spawn lots of individual armies that will harass your newly occupied castles from every direction. Hence the great importance given to the advanced Town Portal spell in Homm3. If that is how the map ends, with a simple straightforward victory, then it's in the end a disappointing conclusion and often there's incentive to just quit a decided map. This is why the Lost Continent XL map is utterly unplayable.
The opposite is a map where in the ending end you must go take that castle with 20 Titans. That is basically the only available alternative.

Of course, the bestest number one Homm2 Map is in fact THUNK. It's a game-changing experience and it's a design marvel. I guess everyone is very well familiar with Tim Duncan's maps, and I suggest that if not then seek them out and finish all of them, every one of them. Cavel's Game is the end point pinnacle of any multiplayer, and the rest, every one of them, are pure awesomeness. I will not produce illustrations, but THUNK is hands-down the most impressive HOMM2 experience there can be. The amazing estuary of a great river, the glorious teleporter system, a deep sense of integrity, and challenging battles: If one can but come close to making something of that calibre, it's a success.

Now as we approach the final question, the issue of visual beauty in Heroes, I'd like to produce a marvellous map I've come around after downloading an archive of some 300+ HomM2 maps and giving it a brief look. It's called "Adamah", and is a large board fit for 5 equal-starting-conditions preset-faction spawns. I uploaded it here. This is a typical representative screenshot of the map:
Why is the map as a whole, while extremely intricated and showing a great taste for design, why is it short of the Epic-tier locations in Enroth, Broken Alliance and Beltway? It's too true to life. This is a realistic rendition of a very realistic underlying game world. The objects are placed in a consistent way and have a distinct property of emulating a very real map of a real ingame world.
So now we must conclude that it's not enough to merely be realistic to create a masterpiece. While I admonish you strongly to play Adamah and enjoy it's diverse design solutions and ideas, I must add that to make it to the ultimate top1, a map must hypnotize and mesmerise the user. Make the player breathe and feel the mystery and the fantasy. Have an esoteric charm.

I often play Beltway just for a quick glance of the thing that has once captivated my adolescence and left a profound impact on my life. I don't care that the map is easy to beat. I come there for the mesmerism and nostalgia.
Back to top Go down
Orzie
Master Modder
Master Modder
avatar

Messages : 1505
Quality Points : 641
Registration Date : 2014-12-12
Age : 25
Location : Tomsk, Russia

PostSubject: Re: Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?   2015-12-03, 06:25

Very interesting insights. Yes, I agree completely on the point of aesthetic evaluation of the mentioned masterpieces. Beltway is an example of a very well designed map, with lots of things to do and - which matters even more for me personally - to observe. Yes, the graphical beauty of HoMM2 multiplied on fantastic maps of incredible aesthetics took my heart forever. Atmosphere is generally the thing which is very crucial for HoMM2, and those official maps made the cut just right. I think the HoMM2 atmosphere even depends on such maps (I mean, it's pre-defined by such maps).

I see that you are more fascinated with some kind of simplistic form, where the nature is the most responsible for the specific map atmosphere. This is very interesting to see as well, because my preferences include the maximum variety of objects, featuring more "urbanized" map sections where I can imagine this whole world is alive and breathing by thousands of lives which may not even meet each other in such vast territory of opportunities.

Still, I admit that the classic SW maps are made top notch, and surely have their own unique feeling.

________________________
In case someone cares for my music:
Mylinks_profile_page
Back to top Go down
 
Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?
View previous topic View next topic Back to top 
Page 1 of 1
 Similar topics
-
» Your favourite classic Heroes 2 maps?
» Heroes of Might and Magic 2: Desecrated Lands
» Classic R&B
» Heroes Force
» Roberto Martinez early favourite to manage Liverpool

Permissions in this forum:You cannot reply to topics in this forum
~ Forums of Enroth ~ :: Mapmaking Guild :: Classic maps: SW & PoL-
Jump to: