I hope you like power metal, because this scenario is gonna be heavy with Turisas songs. A lot of their songs (especially on the albums The Varangian Way and Stand Up and Fight) are about the Varangian Guard, an elite unit of the Byzantine Empire which was famed for it's combat capacity and loyalty (the latter being especially hard to come by in Byzantine society). The Varangian Guard recruited itself almost exclusively from foreigners, initially mainly Rus' and Norsemen while Anglo-Saxons were dominant later on. In the 10th and 11th century, many Norsemen - even noblemen - would travel far to Miklagård, as they called Constantinople, in search of fame and riches.
You play as one such expedition. Eager to join the Varangian Guard you find that their commander is out of town at the moment, so you decide to explore the city in the mean time.
Further background information can be found within the scenario.
· There is some dialog in the beginning and at the very end but I wouldn't consider this a cut-scene, it just adds a lot to the atmosphere.
· Some gates may be briefly locked while the music is playing, please don't panic.
· Simply extracting the .zip file into your game folder *should* work.
I gotta be honest, this entry's usage of music is difficult to understand and something I cannot appreciate. I have noticed this trend emerging with some grand strategy or RTS games having heavy metal or whatever in them and I dont think it works;music based on classical concepts is just the way to go when you want to set the mood or just have some forgettable background music playing. Its better to be forgettable than to be obnoxious, usually.
Anyway, this city feels a bit like a blast to the past with a very AoKH entire-map-covering sprawling city. Actually it does a decent job of feeling like a large city, its just that the technical execution is a bit too simple and dated to leave a strong positive impression. Its good that dialogue and character interactions were included as it gives the city just enough life to be somewhat immersive.
The technical mapping is quite simple and basic throughout. The monotone road1 usage is unappealing as its too stark and clean. The vegetation scattered in the city works somewhat if only as a relief from the road1 usage but its a bit chaotic and lacks sufficient care in its placement to be convincing of gardens or the like. The water placement is a bit simple and could be roughened up a bit with more complex swirls of the brush. The tree usage is quite mundane with only the terrain tool being used;and when there are gaia objects used they are a bit too densely packed for my liking.
In summary "Constantinopolis" is a plausible city even if simplistic in nature.
Posted on 12/20/19 @ 04:59 PM
The author has taken on an enormous task in attempting to faithfully depict one of the largest and most vibrant cities of the medieval period. In magnitude and the placement of landmarks it succeeded, but the general aesthetic is rather lacking, as most of the city consists of jumbled groups of houses and plain road terrain. Some individual scenes show considerable promise, but overall the aesthetic leaves much to be desired. Some more diversity in terrain usage and building choice would go a long way here. There is not much to comment on here--the high point in this regard was definitely the use of many different architecture sets to represent the cultural vibrance and diversity of the city and its landmarks, but on the whole it could benefit from a fair bit more creative flair. The most salient positive is the faithfulness with which the author has recreated a medieval city. The city is built around notable landmarks which the player is encouraged to visit, but on the whole it is not particularly straightforward to navigate, nor does it feel cohesive. From the overall organization to the individual scenes, there is much improvement to be made here. While the author has made some admirable attempt at design tricks and recreating landmarks, the execution was lacking in many regards. Waterfalls, for example, are often oddly positioned and the haphazard usage of elevation creates several oddities in the city design.
I would advise the author to look at some of the previous PTC winners and examine how they craft detailed yet varied and coherent designs. There is a lot of promise here, nevertheless!