'Welcome to Ardyrie' is the author's second submission to the Showcase Scenarios category, and features great improvement in design skill and creativity since his first release 'Pretty Town'.
The following design showcases great potential with a bustling seaside town and its surrounding countryside, as well as the fortified manor of Count Fuhor across the other side of the ocean. On the whole, the map design is quite pleasing to the eye and the overall layout and structure of the towns is very good. Terrain mixing and object placement mostly complement one another, however if I was offer one suggestion it would be to avoid where possible those ugly outlines left over by lumber camps and the use of stone mine throughout the map. You can substitute stone mine for pile of stone, which is a useful no resource object that can be found in a number of utilities here at the Blacksmith. The author has also utilised free placement/map copying to give the towns variety, however perhaps it is a matter of taste using Asian, Middle Eastern and European influenced buildings all in the same town setting, which I found to be more of a distraction than anything. If you want to use buildings from distinctly different civilisations, sometimes it's best to look at how towns historically came to be. For example, you might like to have the main part of the town comprised of European buildings, with a small offshoot of Middle Eastern buildings which might represent a time when the land was ruled by a different people or even a suburb created by roaming merchants from a distant land. Some building variations could also do with more work. Lastly, I felt the game play could be made smoother. In my mind it would be better to give the player control of the light cavalry early to allow him the chance to explore the first town before heading to the transport ship on his own accord, rather than as a triggered event as it currently stands.
For this file I have awarded a 3.5, but very nearly a 4.0, which denotes an above average design with good quality in many areas, while still in need of general improvement.
OVERALL RATING: 3.5+
SUGGESTIONS: The author is clearly on the improve here with many basics in designing down pat, and then some. I recommend the author to use this scenario as a benchmark from which to continue improving. From here, you can work on making the towns more complex and alive, with roaming villagers, merchants selling exotic wares, patrolling guardsmen, beggars, thieves, mercenaries, even a backstory or history for your world - the degree for creativity is limited only by your imagination! Continue playing top rated works from the single player categories, as well as those from the showcase scenarios category to garner inspiration as well as to continue developing your style and skill in designing. Another recommendation is to use Microsoft Word to help check for spelling errors before posting the text in the instructions and hints screens.
CONCLUSION: This is off to a very good start, with great improvement in every compartment since the author's first submission, which covered a 30x30 map-size template. This is well worth downloading, even if it is just a showcase scenario after all, and is designed to be looked at rather than played.
In closing - I recommend this download.
[Edited on 02/13/17 @ 10:47 PM]