PTC02 - A Different World
Posted on 07/15/02 @ 12:00 AM (updated 03/05/17
This is my entry to the 2002 pretty town contest. It is not included in the "winners" download, because, well, ...it wasn't a winner.
I do however think that EVERYBODY will benefit from walking around this map. It is my finest, serioulsy, finest work to date, integrating about every "trademark" I use, and I am proud of it's flawless realism. (brave words, eh?) I think that everyone who downloads this will really enjoy it, pros and beginners alike.
I really looked foreward to looking at the winners' maps, but I have to admit, I was almost dissapointed not to see something totally "knock-me-flat" genius. Don't get me wrong, each map is far better than the primitive "5" grade that a review can give. Maybe I'm trying to say that I don't think the winners are perfect. I'll just let you decide...
I really enjoyed making this map, and I think you will enjoy playing it.
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A Different World-Pretty Town Contest Entry
Note: This scenario is a city tour as intended by the author and the contest in which it was in. There is no combat in this scenario so please be aware of that as you comment, play, and review this scenario.
This campaign was an entry in the 2002 Pretty Town Contest. The objective of the contest was to create an outstandingly pretty town, village, or set of buildings using the Aok map editor. There was no set size of the map of or the town/village although there were some guidelines; a scout unit of some sort needs to be provided to explore and view the map, some instruction on where to go should be provided because the map will be judged solely on what could be seen with the scout unit, simple triggers an AI can be included but nothing to advanced, the town does not have to take up the whole map, and you may enter just once either by yourself or with a team. All entries were examined for the basics, instructions, a scout unit, and a town. They were awarded a score out of ten, which included a basic score for beauty and originality. Those nine entries that scored 8 or better were then examined in greater detail by both judges and awarded scores out of ten for their town's buildings and another score out of ten for the terrain, which includes eye candy such as flowers and the like.
Playability: The playability was pretty good but there were a few things to effect it in a negative way. The tour was not guided leaving you with no idea where to go or what sites to see. Also due to the lack of triggers being used there was hardly any action if any at all. Empty streets, farm areas, docks, and shorelines only made this worse. Despite all those things it was still somewhat fun to play, mainly due to the great map design. There was no lag that I experienced and you were given a fast unit so although there were no instructions it was bearable to wander around the island. In the contest the map was rated only on town design and landscape, playability wasn’t included in the judging. For the blacksmith other things must be taken into account and the player shouldn’t be allowed to explore at will, unlike in an rps/rpg. 3
- When submitting this to the blacksmith it is important to remember what it will be reviewed on and how it is more demanding than in the contest itself.
Balance: This category is related to the skill of the player and is somehow subjective, as the reviewer rates, if the scenario was too hard/easy to complete for him or if the scenario was well balanced. You cannot loose a city tour, as you have no enemies, but the review system demands a rating here, even though there is no balance. The category is rated by taking the average of the four other categories. If the numerical value has a fraction, the next higher figure will be the rating for balance. In other words there is no balance in a city tour and there is none intended but there must be a rating for this category. The resolve is to average the other four scores it receives and award that to the balance section. 4
Creativity: This is a very strong point if not the best point of the map. One of the first things I noticed was a shipwreck using a destroyed trebuchet next to the gaia shipwreck, giving the effect that the ship had been split in half. To add to that their were graves using a line of dirt 1 and a gravestone at the end, sea foam/waves, a new type of plant object using the a cactus placed on top of a stump, goat paths on cliffs, and a few new types of farm areas. Although all these things were great, lack of creativity with triggers and with the story prevents this from the next highest score. For the contest triggers were forbidden and I would not rate the amount or the complexity only what they do to the game play, and here they were lacking. 4
Map Design: Another great aspect of the scenario. The map design was excellent, terrain mixing, use of elevations and great eye-candy. From beautiful waterfalls to great building combinations this map has something for everyone. To add to that the creative features mentioned above added even more to the map design. Crasher seems to have his own kind of style, which kept things interesting and non-repetitive. 5
Story/Instructions:There wasn’t much of a story other than a brief description of the manner in which you arrived to the city. No instructions were given leaving you to wonder aimlessly around the island with no idea what to see or where to go. For these two things combined I only deduct two points given the situation. In the contest a story was not forbidden nor was it required, leaving it up to the designer. 3
- Add a story and instructions these were the two main things that effected this review in a negative way.
Overall: A great scenario which in my opinion should have placed better in the competition. If this map is revisited and made to suit the blacksmith the review will greatly improve. Do yourself a favor and get a hold of this greatly designed map. 3.8
Edit:Upon further inspection I believe that I should not have given the leniency in which I have shown and should have rated this based solely on the Age of Kings Heaven reviewing tutorial without discretion to the pretty town contest. Sorry for the confusion.
If you have any problems with this review or any discrepancies please contact me; Dark_Warrior_1_@hotmail.com
This is one of my favorites from the 2002 Pretty Town Contest. A Different World is raw creativity realized in a AoK map design. Crasher cast out all pretense and conventionality in this design, and the result was spectacular. No game play...just map design! Understand?
I understood the minimalist approach to this aspect of the scenario designed to be primarily a visual experience. One only had to explore and view the design, and so all is simple and good. I am a map design enthusiast, so my interest was kept throughout. Still the intended playable aspects are so minimal as to be almost nonexistent. However, some aspects I liked very much were the opening shipwreck, the damaged walls and goat paths were used effortlessly. Interesting equals fun for me and so the rating reflects my experience while viewing the map. I wanted more. 4
Balance: There is no playable aspects to balance, so to arrive at a rating here I have averaged a score from the other four categories that were the only intended aspects of the design. 4
Creativity: The most remarkable aspect of this design was crashers creative approach. The design is intricate and complex on one level, yet he managed to remove all traces of intention on another. A Different World is an amazing visual experience. Here we have the use of many different building sets combined in a new approach, and resulting in a unique and fantastic map design. 5
Map Design: The map design is incredible, and has so many intricate aspects to feast your eyes on. Yet even the most excellent designs can be critiqued. I admired the approach and viewed it as abstract if you will, but the result fell somewhat flat for me, and I think this was due to the fact that the map was not populated. So, I was left with fantastic scenery that seemed lifeless. The damaged stone walls seemed the only aspect where the design seemed to rise above it's state of suspended animation. There the walls appeared as 'living' or existing in time, and were beautiful as buildings aged and aging in time. Towns, cities, worlds and AoK maps alike are remarkable for more than their buildings. London has it's fog and Chicago it's wind...and when I travel to, or research a never visited place, I am always struck by the people and their dress, and also the other life-forms that may be new to me. Moreover there is the sheer movement and activity of the life there. A Different World may have been intended to have a ghost town feel, but unfortunately this aspect failed me in relation to the map design. A fantastic and unique design that was an inspiration for me, however the approach that I admired seemed to effect the map design. Nevertheless the map design was excellent. 5
The intention of the design was primarily visual and in the contest no story was required. I am following in the light of my comrades reviews of other Pretty Town submissions to the Blacksmith as I make my precedent here. I did deduct from the story and instructions because of the lack of creative writing in the description page, the instruction screen messages, and the game. If only some creative foreshadowing of the 'The Different World' the player (me) was about to enter, and I would have enjoyed my visit and exploration more. I did like the shipwreck opening to this strange world, and for me it worked to evoke curiosity, and the need for exploration. 3
'A Different World' by crasher was designed for the 2002 Pretty Town Contest, which is a contest themed around good map design rather than of the complexities of game play and a fully-fledged story. While the entry ultimately did not qualify for the winners list, the author later took the scenario and reworked it to include revamped map design, a new story and stunning soundtrack, in what is now titled 'special edition'. This review reflects those changes.
PLAYABILITY: 'A Different World' is one of my all-time favourite designs, with its complimentary soundtrack, immersive map design and deep story, there are few others that compare to its sense of immersion. From the moment you awaken on the beach, a lone survivor from an unspecified shipwreck, you are greeted by the seemingly lifeless backdrop of a desolate island community. The abandoned buildings of a once thriving town speak of a horrible fate, or perhaps that's just your imagination playing games, and trying to connect the dots? The story leaves you feeling empty as you expected to greet the inhabitants of the town, but instead you are met by your own isolation. It gives this design a haunting yet beautiful immersion and one which should not be passed over. I didn't encounter the same issues as reviewers before me, and in fact the free roam game play, free from the shackles of a lousy "tour guide", was a boon to the experience as it essentially put me into the lost traveller's shoes. You claw forward, desperately almost, seeking answers that you will never find. 5
BALANCE: For scenarios where the challenge to survive was not the author's intention, then there's no reason to deduct points here as per the review guidelines. The only thing that might detract here was if there were issues that downgraded the player's experience or were contrary to the author's intention, which certainly wasn't the case here. 5
CREATIVITY: Being an entry to a contest that favours map design above all else, you wouldn't come here expecting complex trigger mechanics or a story as memorable as 'Ulio'. Rather it is through the map design and its journal-like story about two of the island's inhabitants where this design truly shines. There were many little designer tricks, while being well known, create a seamless and creative design that would more than hold its own today. 4+
MAP DESIGN: There are few designs that capture the imagination, least of all a PTC entry, but 'A Different World' manages this and more. Buildings are placed with great care and a layer of creativity, detail and realism that is eye-opening, even when compared to today's standards. If I were to nitpick anything, it would be the designer's choice to use water shallow for the ocean, rather than mixing it up to give it more depth. However, this is barely seen in-game and the rest of the map design more than makes up for it anyway. 5
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: It is seldom the case that you read a story in an AoK scenario and grow attached to the characters, but the author has managed this skilfully and soulfully. Indeed it leaves you with a sense of emptiness when you explore the island only to find it is abandoned and devoid of all life, save for the hogs still residing within their den. The decision to tell the story through a young boy's journal and his affections towards another was an inspired one, and whilst it does encompass all three of instructions, hints and scouts, it is well worth the time to read through it all as it does add to the design in great length. Questions arise as to what happened to the inhabitants, and it is this sense of wonder and mystery that carries you, the shipwrecked explorer, throughout the island. 5
CONCLUSION: 'A Different World ~ Special Edition' by crasher is in my mind one of the definitive PTC entries of all time. If you appreciate the aesthetic values in designing, then this really should not be passed over.
SUGGESTIONS: I recommend 'Sagropireia' by Lord Basse, another PTC entry from 2011, and wholly inspired by the magic of crasher's 'A Different World'.
In a sentence - A beautifully realised design with an immersive atmosphere.
In closing - A must download!
[Edited on 07/27/17 @ 05:39 AM]