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ACSC06 - The Little Things - Prologue
Posted on 07/04/06 @ 09:32 PM (updated 07/15/06
This cut-scene, submitted for the AoKH Cut-Scene Competition, pushes aside the normal combat of Age of Empires, and looks at the deeper realm of human relationships. It delves into the importance of "little things" in everyone's life.
I hope you all enjoy the prologue of "The Little Things." While I have a lot on the table at the moment, the story itself has intrigued me to the point that I've mapped out most of it. If anyone would like, after viewing the cut-scene, to hear the rest of the story detailing the characters, please, don't hesitate to contact me. For now, enjoy the beginning of a story about what happens when an aged man and a bridegroom meet up on the way to Kiev.
Played best on Normal speed, 1024 by 768.
UPDATED: I forgot to cite the history section and Scouts section (which are the same) Before the history, it now reads "Information from Wikipedia."
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‘The Little Things’ by the author Boosh is an outstanding cut-scene focusing on the moral development of one character, a royal man set to get married to a childhood friend, a man whose father is a complete drunk, and by the sounds of things, a complete idiot. The main character is a good man, with a good heart and soul, and I believe, providing the cut-scene goes for longer than what it did (around 16 minutes 40), the story would really bring out who he is and teach us all a little something more about ethics.
The story begins here. On a particularly hot summer’s day, in the heavy-forested lands near Kiev, an old man walks alone, rasping from under the sweltering heat, dehydrated and with aged bones aching. The main character, Nikolai Goštautas in his carriage clattering along the cobbled grounding toward the same city, decides to stop for the old man, and lets him into his carriage, offering him a pouch of water. It is here that sparks a new ‘journey’ for Nikolai, a journey of moral guidance, a better picture of things, and a reason for why the old man is walking many miles to Kiev, even under such harsh conditions. But as the old man says, “One does what he must to get where he has to be”.
Nikolai is the one telling us the story, his story, one of revelation, awakening and better insight. The story is not some cliché, but something very, very different, and I must say, very intriguing –a story that embraces you like one does an old friend and keeps you hooked and at the same time, always thinking. The story seems so real, something we can all connect to, because it seems from the heart, something we can relate to. Not only is this cut-scene great because of the beautiful map design, the intriguing quality of view time and the striking originality, but because within this cut-scene lies a philosophical message very, very powerful, one that can even go as far to teach one a thing or two about living a balanced life, a good life, and I think this is what the cut-scene is cemented around.
I really enjoyed this cut-scene, a pure quality watch, and very original at the same time! ‘The Little Things’ is a cut-scene that all like-minded people should watch, because they can learn a thing or two from it. The cut-scene begins off with a well thought out introduction detailing the time when we are all naive, selfish and unwilling to see the world as it really is, to when we have encountered years of personal experience and emotional confrontation so that we begin to awaken from our sleep, climb from the dark cave and see the world as it really is and begin to really define our morals. Unfortunately, some people do not climb out of this state of selfishness and blindness. This cut-scene, in its relatively short time, helps to define what helping someone can really do –making one feel good and cared for. It is the greatest gift you can give anyone. The old man shows something Nikolai had not seen in a very long time as he offered him a seat in his carriage –Gratitude. The expression of one looking you in the eyes, smiling because you have offered them something so great is perhaps the greatest experience that man can ever possess. The music was another thing. It was well structured and chosen, and the piano music really helped to grasp the feelings and morality of the story and carriage driver, Nikolai, the character the story fuses itself around. The cut-scene was also very good because of other aspects like its map design, which was, to say the least, brilliant! Folks, download this cut-scene now, or else you will be missing out on something not so often seen in the Blacksmith. However, this cut-scene will prove a matter of taste. It will test your patience with its slow moving pace, but is necessary to develop the intended feel of the story. It will also test your personal choice in themes, and willingness to observe one man’s life slowly being unveiled before us. A little something to note, this game is not about action or war, but people’s lives. My only complaint is that the cut-scene was by far too short, though masterly orchestrated, and really needed to go longer to help explain the story further. But maybe the author, being the master designer he is will do just this and update the cut-scene sometime in the not so distant future.
When rating this category, reviewers must take into account the author’s intentions and goals of the design. It is in the intention of the author that this scenario evolves plot and story, and to show a cut-scene whereby the player receives no units to control and no struggle to survive. As such there is no deduction from the overall score because there is no fighting for the player.
Starting off with a striking bitmap detailing the cold landscape of Lithuania, creativity is exceptionally excellent. The story was very original, with the author going as far as to have a very underlying philosophical message. The characters were named well, as was the title of the cut-scene, and were very interesting, which I felt had heart and background placed on them giving them life and quality, imagination and depth. One felt while watching this cut-scene that he wanted to know more about the old man’s reason for going to Kiev, which seemed so urgent, or Nikolai’s marriage and even the drunken father who rules his people with an iron fist. The fact is Boosh has done such a splendid job with his characters, and in such a short cut-scene, that they seem to be almost real –alive with human qualities. The cut-scene contains a few music files to say the least, and they are great. The cut-scene opens up under emotional music, which plays perfectly with the text and really helps to ‘connect’ the viewer. A little later on in the cut-scene a very embracing piano melody kicks in, really emphasizing a ‘rebirth’ for our main character, Nikolai and a story all to well placed on morality. Boosh has done a spectacular job considering the atmosphere created here. The map design is also very creative; muddy roads swallowing the thick, undergrowth of the Lithuanian countryside, under wilting sprouts of grass breaking through the cobbled grounding and by the many brown trunks of trees. Flowers speckle the earth in beauty and a true sense of nature and style is developed with ease and individualism. Boosh has also used the display-instructions effect to good use, dialogue that is written beautifully and without mistake and although tricks are not that diverse, the philosophical story, the originality and all that I have mentioned is enough to gain a perfect rating. Boosh has done such a fantastic job here that he has possibly created a new genre for cut-scenes and or scenarios altogether!
Map Design: (5.0)
Map design was exemplary. Boosh has a developed a true sense of individualism with his map designing. The use of mud paths to create his nature is astounding and perfectly crafted. His use of Gaia objects such as flowers, plants and piles of stone and gold are once again perfectly used to really develop a picturesque forest. Map designing seems to me as what Boosh is best at doing, next to creating stories that actually interest and keep one hooked. Terrain mixing is well done, with pines and oaks mixed to create a true sense of life to his countryside. The featured village or outskirt of Kiev is beautifully structured and develops that real sense of feudalism as present in such a time of our history. The mud paths used over the cobbled roads and farms are just precisely placed and beautiful to look at, at the same time. Also, the use of flowers so well used creates a really thick undergrowth offering the impression of an overgrown, rich and fertile countryside that is both picturesque and magnificent to look at.
Story/ Instructions: (4.0)
The story was outstandingly magnificent, as mentioned in exact detail above. An embracing story, both complex, well thought of and philosophical in nature that attracts its audience and leaves them wanting more, desiring more. I must say I really, really, really enjoyed it and it has really kept the brain thinking. This cut-scene opens the doorway to a whole new genre in cut-scenes and scenarios for that matter because I don’t think I have ever crossed a story so original in nature, so different from the typical style of scenarios of bloodshed and combat, that stoutly focuses on Human Nature more than anything else. The dialogue is just so beautifully written, with many interesting sentences offering very good quotes. It really keeps the story mature, poetic and so interestingly conveyed. It is all so professional. The History section is also good, detailing the life of feudal times and a bit of history on Lithuania and her surrounds. The Instructions text is also interestingly conveyed, with a short introduction telling us to look hard into the seams of history, and offering a bit of a head-start of what maybe to expect, and how to expect it. My reasons for not awarding this category a perfect rating is because since this is a cut-scene, and the story unfinished, under cut-scene guidelines I cannot award a 5.0. If the author somewhere along the track decides an update in which he extends the time of this cut-scene greatly, and perhaps even concludes this story, I would be more than grateful.
I encountered a possible grammatical error, but I am still unsure about it. Here is what you said in 'Instructions'. "Do not become confused by the truth. Do not rest your conscience upon what you know now..." I was thinking that maybe "know now" should be "now know". But your guess is as good as mine is. Another suggestion is that when the carriage driver tells Nikolai that the carriage is too wide for the road, perhaps there should be a revealer showing the carriage, just to add more depth into this scene? Also, the ‘player defeated’ messages at the end of the cut-scene can be taken away by declaring victory to all players. I would suggest doing this, because for any cut-scene, to have the player defeated messages come up, unless intentionally, is a bit odd and it need not happen.
In short - An intriguing story about Good and one man's life, something that can teach anyone a thing or two.
In closing - A must download.
[Edited on 07/02/08 @ 10:34 PM]
The whole intent of this cut scene was to tell the story, however, I believe you could have easily made it more interactive with more 'action' scenes (where something happens.. sorry I couldn't really think of an appropriate word.) Rather than the whole thing being basically ALL CHAT. The idea of using the AoK editor is to tell your story with actual scenes. This would have been better as a story in notepad with 5 drawings because that's basically what you created.
It's a cutscene...
Your use of the editor was not very creative at all, however the creativity involved in making it similar to the land of Lithuania and parts of the story itself helped you gain an above than average rating.
Map Design: (4.0)
There was very little map design to review upon, however the parts that were shown were very well designed. However, there was nothing extraordinary to grant you a 5.0
The entire thing was based around the story, so obviously you get a fair mark in this regard. However, the story was told in a very slow manner, with nothing interesting. Nothing at the beginning wanted me to wonder what was going to happen to these characters, and I got extremely bored.
You will probably think this is an extremely critical review compared to the 5 above me, but it's not. Ulio is a 5. This is not a 5. So many scenarios have been given 5's lately when they clearly would never stand up to the reviewers back in the day. We seriously need the official reviewers back, because it's becoming ridiculous. Try to be more creative and present your story with a little more entertainment value. Your aim to give it a slow-paced, touching feel didn't work. It's extremely hard to do this in the AoK editor.
[Edited on 07/24/06 @ 08:46 AM]
The Little Things is a not so ordinary cut-scene, lasting for 17 minutes. Its highly enjoyable, and one of the best around here
I really loved this cut-scene. It was slowpaced, and not very actionpacked, but it really captures your heart, and your eyes. It plays perfectly, but sometimes I think the text appears a little too slow. But thats also part of the idea, I think, to make it more slowpaced, and unordinary. Not saying its bad to be unordinary, its quite the opposite.
The things that really catches your heart is the warmth and beauty of the cut-scene. It is beautifully detailed, both storywise and designwise. The story is unique in several ways. I've rarely seen a story thats MEANT to be slowpaced, and succeeds with it brilliantly. Neither have I seen a campaign or cut-scene set in Lithuania, or the Baltics at all.
For these reasons, I feel this part really deserves a 5
As this is a cut-scene, I cannot give anythinh else but a 5. And thats good, this cut-scene really deserves it!
The cut-scene had lots of creativity, as the story itself, the idea, almost everything.
To set it in Lithuania is very rare, if ever used before at all. Thats a thing I really like. Other things is the whole concept, a slowpaced story
Its so well written that I give it a 5 in instructions, but that comes later
Other creative aspects is the really deatiled and realistic city, Kiev.
But (there is always a But...) unfortunately, I cant say this cut-scene is so perfect that it deserves a 5.0. But all other cathegories where so close to perfect, that I had to take down this to 4. Creativity is a great and extraudinary part of the campaign, but as balance gets auto-5's, the story and design where just so GREAT, and how much I did enjoy this cut-scene (at Playability) I couldn't short down any of them.
Therefor, creativity gets a Big, Fat, Positive 4+
Map Design: 5
As I've sais several times before, the map was almost totally perfect. It was beautifully detailed at the four places that where used: the forest, the path, the end of the road (or where they stopped) and Kiev.
The path was filled with Path4, used as mud and dirt, but also with bushed and well placed trees and plants, mixed with flowers, making it really look like the work of a passionated designer.
The path to Kiev was very realistic. Not as packed with flowers and paths as the forest, and nicely eroded in the middle, where the path actually goes. It has been edged with flowers and paths, to make it really look like medieval Lithuania
The drop off place is more like a small part of a field, more flat but still really detailed, also very well made
The city is really my favourite part of the cut-scene. Its the place thats used least, but according to me, the best and most realistic, with its sparse trees, very tall pine trees, wich was a favourite of mine, and few houses, as Kiev was by far not as populated as it is today, almost thousand years ago.
Also as I said before, the story is very well written, almost perfect. The story is gripping and very unusuall and it really catches your heart and eyes. There is no actuall action in it, but does not make is bad. Its really the opposite. That makes the story even more unique, and much better. It really doesn't look or feel like anything else I've seen in AoKH, nor in other places. That would be a love story movie, but this is just so good and well made!
There is not much to say about the story. Download and watch it if you haven't already, its one of the best one the site! I dont want to tell the readers (that hasn't yet watched it) too much of the story and destroy the feeling of it. I can only say that its a masterpiece, and close to alone in its style
I dont understand how this only got 4.2. I think it deserves a lot more. Therefor, and how much I loved to watch it, I made this review.
I hope it has helped, and yhat you like it Boosh
I'm happy to help!
For everyone that hasn't downloaded and seen this, Then DO SO!
First of all I'd like to thank the author, Boosh. This cut-scene brakes tradition, that's why.
The cut-scene had vast wisdom to it. It seemed greatly philosophical, and it denied the usual ways of AOK cut-scene making, and told a nice and a greatly detailed story. The slowness and the talking fit where they belong, for in other cut-scenes, excessive talking is just boring.
This, though, was also a small minus, and I just can't put a 5 to this category. I don't care about the lack of combat, but the introduction seemed still too long. The person watching the cut-scene has to endure that time. I personally was captured (word lent from Basse in his review, because that's exactly how I feel) by the story and would really like to learn more about it. I decided to review this because of that.
Anyway, this deserves a 4+ at least. Yes, I know that this will lower the total score, but I can't have this stay on my consience, and it still raises the total of all reviews.
Cut-scece, so it has an automatic 5. Lucky devil!!!
It's not a everyday sight, a cut-scene made to tell some simple and unmeaningful things. Especially in the Blacksmith. The location and the terrain. The dialogue and the story itself. Everything was creative.
Map Design: 5
Almost perfect. The location of paths and trees were well-placed and logical. The city is realistic, showing that actually the life of a peasant isn't that nice. It's really living on dirt and under trees, having your own patch of field right outside your house. I like it.
The forest and the roads were looking good too. The flowers and other details on the road made it look more ruined, more realistic, just as the roads of that age rally were.
The story is definately the strongest part of the cut-scene. I would rate it a 6, if I could. It viewed a persons life in a dramatic way, but it wasn't a soap-opera. The bonus info from wiki didn't hurt too. As mentioned here before, it would be a great love-movie, or something similar.
It also makes you want to learn more. As a prologue, it's absolutely perfect, sparking your interest and making you want to play the next episode. But as I can understand, there will not be anything following. A shame.
A must download for all who like cut-scenes, and to those who don't, too.
[Edited on 02/24/07 @ 09:03 PM]