Posted on 04/05/18 @ 11:37 AM (updated 05/03/18
File updated with a full map printout which you can view without needing to load the scenario.
||Age of Empires II (2013)
|Required Modpack (if not included with the download):
Due to bugs in HD Edition such as my houses and even piles of stone getting rotated sometimes, I lost motivation to finish it as an actual showcase map with dialogue or moving people.
Usage of Warsmithy's Byzantine mod is required, found on the steam workshop. Improved Cliffs mod is also recommended, or just view it as intended in the art thread.
"Should anyone like to borrow any aspect of this file and use it in their own work, they are entirely free to do so. The same goes if anyone would like to use the map as a whole as a template."
Mostly uploaded here for archival reasons. Feel free to make something on it if you feel inspired. Minigame with talking to NPC to uncover a mystery, an assassination game, or even add some more islands and try to make a war out of it lol.
Author, a well know map designer, who created quite some "works of art" gives us another masterpiece!
The map Cata presents us is beautiful in every possible way. To the player is presented what I think is an island designed in such beauty it can compete with any award wining "PTC" style maps and leave most of them lying in dust, defeated by the charms of this tiny "Mediterranean Pearl", a perfect name for the jewel it is.
Given multiple scouting units, player is free to explore the visible and hidden gems of the island, which is crafted together with such attention to details I couldnt find misplaced tree, weird building combo or a bush not fitting the area. Furthermore, author's amazing attention to details is showed in a, though easy, rarely used way. Every single inhabitant of the "Pearl" is named, greek names strenghtening the illusion such beauty could exists somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.
A town, barely larger than a village, is, by the looks of things, a fort, maybe defending an important trade route. Here, probably the only weakness of the map is revealed: It's unfinished, sadly. The author warns us about the incompletness of his work, yet it's far closer to being finished than most works I heard were called "almost done". Most of the storyline or events happening can be guessed from either names and roles of the people you meet, or the tiny events happening around the island.
These very events make the frozen town look more alive than I think any moving villagers could. Player is walking trough the everyday life of the islanders, looking right, seeing a marriage taking place, looking right, merchants selling goods. The everpresent guards, give an uneasy feeling a foe is coming and it felt sad, seeing such beauty facing a possibilty of destruction. With that in mind I'm happy this is showcase scenario, and I hope and pray no one does what author allowed us to do, taking the map and exposing the fragile island to horrors of war. Let them stay and breath the warm Greek air, feel the salt of the sea on their lips, just as your dear reviewer almost did, looking at the "Pearl".
To go into more "technical" describing of author's work, he used a not that wide arange of gaia objects, combined with a amazing work of WarSmithy's Byzantine Architecture mod, to paint for us a masterpiece greek town on what is barely called an island, truly a tiny pearl in the sea. I don't think it's necesary to talk about things such as "terrain mixing" or "elevation usage" seeing the master of map design our author is. The soft lines where more greenish areas blend into the town are especially beautiful, combining the nature and civilisation into one artwork.
Another little detail I loved, and would paint a smile on anyone who played some of the older works Blacksmith has to offer, was a little easter egg. I'm sure Siggy and Charlie are enjoying the island's ale as I would, if I ever had the chance to land on it's sandy/rocky beaches.
Due to the unfinished nature of the map and the "Cherry on top" a few lines of dialogue and story would bring, I cannot rate this 5. However it's not a 4 either, being so close to perfection. That said, I, with heavy heart, rate it 4.5, a rating almost insulting for the beauties I've seen.
[Edited on 05/07/18 @ 10:43 AM]