ACSC07 - Eternal Moon - Prologue
Posted on 10/28/07 @ 05:22 AM (updated 10/30/07
- ETERNAL MOON -
Prologue - Forbidden Romance
Alisia and Leonard.
An ordinary human being and a blood-thirsty vampire.
Two lovers accidentally caught in a forbidden romance.
A love that exists between a predator and its prey.
A love that bonds two beings separated by kind.
Separated by a war that fought between the two races.
Obstacles await as their love struggles to exist.
As both involve in a timeless dramatic tales of ironic fate.
Trying to prove that true love is stronger than steel.
No matter how deep the foe thrusts his knife.
No matter how bright the sun shines her light.
This blessed bond shall never break.
This love shall dance beneath eternal moon.
This is a short cut-scene running around 10 to 15 minutes, dedicated to the AOKH Cut-Scene Contest, hosted by Mashek A.K.A Mash Banana. It's just a 3-day work, so don't expect much. View the readme file first before extracting the zipped files.
- Andanu Trisatya
Member of StormWind Studios
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‘Eternal Moon’ was Andanu’s entry to the ACSC07, Age of Kings Heaven Cut-Scene Contest of year 2007. It came in a split third place, alongside Julius999’s ‘Shadows after Sunset - Ominious Silence’, both with 119 points out of 165 possible. The following review is not based on the judging scores.
For starters, the cut-scene had a good beginning where you had plenty of time to get the settings right and then use a cheat to start the actual cut-scene. Moving on, I could see no bugs or apparent misses in the whole cut-scene. It was enjoyable to watch, apart for the music that didnt suit the cut-scene at all. I’ll get more into that later.
The slowpaced storytelling is pleasing to watch and still quite unusual to see in an AoK scenario. The feeling of something fresh and the unusual theme added to the experiense and made it funnier to watch. As a small note I’d say that the text can be running quite slow oftenly. There were many times that I read the whole text then waited irritatingly long to see the next scene or text.
Now for the major downsides of the cut-scene. One, it’s unfinished, and it’s very obvious. Even if the story can be moving to some extent and be enjoyable to watch, for a 20 minute cut-scene I must say it explained the situation very briefly. Sure it showed many aspects of the story but there were very few details about the legendary couple, how they met, what kind of persons they are, where they come from and where things happend.
Two, the music. I’m sad to say it but this is the first time I’ve seriosuly disliked the music in a scenario and had a “What the world was he thinking?”-feeling when I heard it. I’m sorry to say it but I dodnt find the music fitting at all. It’s heavy metal and some other weird style that I dont know the name of. I lowered the volume as much as I could when the music came. This is one of the main reasons I mark down on Playability, since it lowered my enjoyment remarkably much.
‘Eternal Moon’ is a cut-scene with no interactive elements apart for the starting cheat. Normally Balance rates if the scenario was too difficult or too easy to complete. The review guidelines provide an extra paragraph for scenarios where no fighting takes place, such as some RPG, puzzles, cut-scenes etc, this scenario shows some supernatural effects but no fighting and thus there is no reason to deduct.
First off, the storyline in itself is very creative. There aren’t many lovestories out there, and I’ve never seen one of them combined with the vampire vs man style. That second style might not be very new but neither that one used to a great extent in AoK. A few good results can be mentioned but they still dont reach numbers such as classical themes as Defend the Spot, lone hero and his army conquers the world etc.
The soundeffects are good as well, although I think the man’s laugh sounded quite unfitting to the situation.
When it comes to tricks and stuff used in the cut-scene there are a few, spread out on the 20 minute long cut-scene. There’s exploding monkeys representing flying limbs – my favourite trick in the cut-scene – soldiers flying away and characters standing on rooftops. The tricks are though quite scattered and those used have been seen quite a few times here and there, apart for the limbs thing.
So, yes, this cut-scene’s sure very creative, but not creative enough to score a perfect score.
MAP DESIGN: 4+
The map design was close to perfect in most locations. The terrain mixing, use of eye candy and gaia units, elevations etc. had been made in such a way that it seemed very natural. There are only two things I can complain about and those are what bring down the score. First it’s the waterfall in the flying limbs scene. It was made up of only snow and in my eyes it looked a bit awkward. Second is the beginning scene with the new lovecouple. The terrain is mixed but it still looks quite bland and boring, sadly. Some more mixing and maybe some eye candy would’ve made it perfect and still have it remain its dark atmosphere.
So for a summary, a strong four that easily could be turned into a five.
I’ve pretty much said everything I think about the story. It’s creative and intriguing to some extent, but it’s still very brief and there’s loads to get to know about the characters and the situation. The story is far from finished can’t please me to the extent were I see it marvelous as it is, unfinished.
The instructions are few but clear and I doubt the cut-scene needs any more of them. They tell you what to do and how to it and that’s it. Easy and userfriendly. The bitmap adds to the big picture as well.
OVERALL: I brief, intriguing cut-scene
IN CLOSING: Could need some remaking here and there, as well as new music, but is still very good to be a 3-days work. Well done Andan!
[Edited on 12/05/07 @ 08:53 PM]
‘Eternal Moon - Prologue’ is an introductory cut-scene, a prologue to a tale depicting the forbidden love between two unlikely species, a human and a vampire. When a vampire lord falls in love with a common human female, outrage is sparked not only among humans but among vampires as well. When a war rages across the land, a struggle between two vying species, two different beings are forced to look at the love they desire and the lives and trouble it will force them into. Will love be their end, or will steel and the hatred among a species prove stronger and separate them first? The cut-scene has a running time of just over twenty minutes.
I really liked the opening few scenes in this; the paradox of one land, shown in different eras hundreds of years apart, was beautiful and symbolic. The story of a couple venturing out into the woods to relive an old, seemingly folklore tale of a vampire and human’s love for one another was intriguing and certainly worth following. I liked the nature of the cut-scene’s symbols, with moonlight, love and the land around them all seemingly connected as well as the war that rages over it. The work is creative and visually appealing, which is one of the main highlights when watching, but I felt as though the last part of the plot seemed more or less a little unneeded, feeling merely placed to fill in time or to cover some of the music’s length. The music for that matter was a little disconcerting; heavy metal and something else that I’m not quite sure of was not necessarily to my taste. Still, for twenty minutes not all that much actually transpires in the story. Like the author’s other work, the plot is more focused around the lives of individuals in a few captured moments rather than over a whole set of events which can take some getting used to as the feeling we receive from it can be rather too ambiguous.
More or less, this cut-scene about forbidden love between two unlikely components has potential, providing future sequels are done in the right way as just as easily it can become a rather unintended flop due to the nature of the story. Overall this is off to a good start, but I would really like the author to avoid unneeded scenes which can damage the immediate and immersing flow delved into earlier, which hurt my experience, among other things.
When rating balance in a cut-scene, reviewers must take into account the author’s original intention and the goals of the design. The scenario’s goal is to move a story along and to show a cut-scene, whereby the player receives no units to control and that there is no struggle to survive. According to the review guidelines there is no reason to deduct from the overall score if a scenario does not face the player with a struggle to survive. The review guidelines clearly state, quote, “If the author never intended the player to face a struggle to survive, then there's no reason to knock down the balance score if there isn't any fighting.” As such the goals to bring the story forward were perfectly met as the author intended.
CREATIVITY: (4.0) +
Creativity covers all parts of a design, and I can certainly agree with this when it comes to ‘Eternal Moon’. The cut-scene begins with a well-known, but nonetheless crafty trick where the audience is given time to adjust recommended settings before beginning the viewing by hitting enter and typing ‘rock on’. Certain visual aspects are flawlessly creative such as a plateau that overlooks the countryside, paradoxed in two different eras by life and death, and marked at the neck with the chilling sight of two lone graves. Above music, sounds and some renaming, together with a good, creative bitmap, I spotted small novelties with magic, exploding body pieces and vampiric powers defeating a horde of vampire hunters.
MAP DESIGN: (4.0) +
The design was very well carried out, but again the consistency in quality fluctuated in a few areas, causing a deduction in the overall score of this category. Some trees at the beginning could be better spaced out and a river with snow on its western shore better executed. However, beautifully designed sights of forest paths, canyons and a village entrance make for a high rating.
STORY/ INSTRUCTIONS: (4.0)
The story opens up well with a couple, an old tale and a forgotten land long devoured by death and age alike. The dialogue seemed well thought out and in turn helps to develop a sense of rhythm and flow, which altogether conveys the feel of the story and the characters’ love for one another. The story, however unfinished, was again perhaps a little too unmoving for me, in regards that its twenty minutes could have been better expressed and handled. Still there can be found a good bitmap, good instructions and detail to history, which probably suffers, other than from its seemingly irrelevance to the overall story, from a lack of flow and a final polish. However I appreciate the long list of acknowledgments to contributors and inspirations, which go a long way.
Despite its lackings and more or less unevolved plot, ‘Eternal Moon – Prologue’ is a creative cut-scene that ventures into a tale that has many unique and appealing aspects. The story is promising and its use of symbols and creativity to convey love and death in the visuals are guaranteed to open a few eyes. I recommend downloading this cut-scene.
In a word – Creative.
In closing – A recommended download.
[Edited on 12/03/07 @ 04:34 AM]