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Shrek - By AOKSC

Author File Description
File Details
Version: The Conquerors
Style: Role Playing Strategy
This is the first scenario by a newly formed group AOKSC (Age of Kings Scenario Chemists).

For the Red Dragon Mod, we tried to contact the creator, Agammemnon, but for some reason, his e-mail bounced.

Check out readme file for more information.
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Official Reviewer
Map Design2.0
Shrek is a short adventure scenario. I believe the characters were based on an animated film, but I am unqualified to make note of it's adaptation.

The scenario cannot be played as expected due to the lack of AI files required in the down-load. Single scenarios or .scx file require that .AI and .bmp are given along with the .scx file. I was able to play from the editor by reading the AI error notes and discovering that all player positions are set to an immobile AI, and setting another in it's place. This alone will bring the poorest of ratings. Nevertheless, I played from the editor so that I could comment and give the designers feedback. The scenario is plagued with poorly executed triggers, making for odd experiences that left me guessing at the intention. Right from the start I select a sign that had no meaning for me, and then I am informed of an attack that never happens. Instead of an attack, some enemy villagers walk past me and stop. If I kill them I get to meet my side kick 'Donkey' portrayed by a Horse. The portrayal being the best of it, and the triggered event that sends Donkey riding right past me to a point on the path where I have been is the worst. The Horse (Donkey) should have been tasked to Shrek (Samurai). Try to make triggers that do not presume where a player will have advanced to. Then perhaps to display the dialogue message of Donkey to Shrek upon the condition of object to object. When playtesting...try to circumvent what you intended because player one will. This way you try to set the triggers and the area of play up for all circumstances that could occur. There was also messages firing over one another at Farquad and the Champion events. There are not many triggers and most are failed, and poorly executed. The choice of Map size also became a playability issue where I was not necessarily looking forward to the long walks in an unimaginative, and bland map to find the next areas of play. This is grueling for a player who is playing with any caution or expectation of game play. I especially didn't enjoy finding a group of stand in units that had no role in the game but the path to them was revealed by Donkey's approach. This made all seem as if I was viewing a map made to test ideas, and the 'test map' ambiance stayed with me from that point on. Stand in units should be out of the areas of play or integrated in them...I mean the town of Dooloc could have used some if not all of them. There are 4 or 5 areas of play depending how you look at it. One is completely failed, another cannot be lost, and another 1 or 2 of the Robin Hood events can be avoided entirely through normal play. That leaves one area where the game play is somewhat interesting, and could be considered enjoyable to some degree. The Volcano has got some interesting game play elements that if players have the AI's or the fortitude to implement them, and they haven't exited the game by then they will discover a bit of required strategy when freeing Fiona. The drawback to this area of play is that when I overcame the challenge there I had little clue to what I did right. For the entrance to the structure where Fiona is kept, the strategy seemed to be to advance Shrek across the bridge by keeping him in the center. Then this is where I became confused as I was killed by Furious of course if I took the wrong path inside the maze like structure. I tried several tactics there...sending Donkey to retrieve Fiona and the like. One time I was able to sneak back and get Fiona and other times I disturbed Furious and was killed. I couldn't figure what I did differently when I was able to get Fiona out. I tried playing on easy, but on easy Furious did not attack at all. Anyway to play-test this area and to set up the play with intention is needed. Find out exactly what allows players to advance there, and it must be something more than luck. Then perhaps hint at what is the winning strategy there, or make it a matter to be deducted by the player. So there is a bit of interesting and challenging play to be enhanced in an update, and with some indications given there that could be made to be excellent. The rest of the play needs complete overhauling to add challenge and enjoyability. The events and the play as they are -- are dull and un-exciting. The short quest spread out on a large map doesn't help this. I suggest to fill in the gaps with balanced game play and challenges. The many mistakes of a new designer that I made myself when I designed my first scenario were made in this scenario. I think these mistakes were multiplied by the number of new designers involved in this project. I'd like to encourage all designers to continue learning, and discovering the elements of design that make for good game playability. I suggest playing the Best Of AoK Scenarios and Campaigns can provide inspiration and instruction. 1

I failed to see much effort placed with the balance of this scenario. The game play was easy or difficult and seemingly without intention. The rescue of Fiona was challenging, and perhaps too difficult without any indication of how or what was needed to meet the objective. The Robin Hood events were balanced out of the box by ES and are OK, but can be missed completely. I suggest more play-testing, and balancing your hero with all the areas of play on the map. Instead of giving Shrek amazing strength to overcome the most difficult aspects of the game and leaving him ridiculously strong for others. Make the other areas as challenging. The challenges can be many separate ones along paths that add up to one difficulty or balance if you will. As is, there is not enough of playable aspects to create this kind of balance, and so to add more would help. 2

This was a good creative effort in spots. The best was the adaptation of the short adventure story and premise through the dialogue. The dialogue -- what little there was, is 'feel good' funny. Adding more humor around more and improved game play would really help this design. I liked the portrayal of Donkey using a Horse unit, and it added to the fun of it. Shrek as a Samurai was also a good unit choice for me. Note: The addition of the .akx Mod 'Dragon' was unnecessary as it added little to the enjoyment of the scenario and was a chore to load in comparison to the impact it had on the design. In considering the design's intention of a single quest I found the creativity to be average. 3

Map Design:
The design is undeveloped and does not equal a random map design. The portrayal of the story through map design is poor, as with the best of the design -- 'The Volcano' is not terrible, but the story has Fiona in a tower. I failed to imagine a tower from the structure made of walls and gates. Even with the Volcano portrayal being on flat terrain left something to be desired. The town or city of Dooloc was boring with castles, road one, and rows of houses. The city also has an inanimate quality with no unit activity. All eye candy seemed to be placed haphazardly and without real intention. It all looks rushed, and as if the eye-candy was placed in about 10 minutes. If indeed the designer was shooting for the abstract or the un-intentional then there needed to be more of it. To place eye-candy without intention to create an abstract design might make an excellent map, but to do a little 'here and there,' just appeared rushed and unfinished. Again I suggest viewing the Best Of AoK scenarios and RMS to get an indication of what makes a good map design. 2

Story and Instructions:
The story is really a short quest or adventure, and has the obvious goal given at the beginning in the Instruction screen. The Objectives, Hints, and Scouts were below average to average. The in-game messages that direct the player, left something to be desired. There seemed to be a lack of effort here, and though all was given in an obvious manner this did not make for a good short story and instructions. I suggest to make hints be more about the game play and give players an indication of how to overcome the circumstances they face through game play. Also to make the Scout report be about the locations, and perhaps to describe them with some details to add to your short story and the world you created for Shrek. Again the best of the intentions for story is in the humor of the dialogue that I enjoyed, and so with some stretching I consider the scenario average for Story and Instructions. 3

I can only recommend this scenario for people who are interested in giving feedback to help the designers. Only please update to include the AI files!

I'd like to offer encouragement to the new Designers of AOKSC, for updating this design, and continuing to design in general. The premise of the design was good, and so with more effort to improve and add to the design should raise it above average easily.
Dr Lorenzo This could have been an interesting, funny and enjoyable scenario. However, many triggers go wrong and the gameplay is moderate at best. However, with much refinement this could become a well made scenario.

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