By Teotl of BlackForest Studios
This is the story about the World of Magnavis, a world created by Three Phoenixes. This tale talks about the Greed and Arrogance of humans and how a perfect world can be destroyed by the single fact of desiring power.
A story about three warring empires, and the darkness that the bloodshed brought.
But there's always a light in the deepest darkness...
A young soldier named Draos will make the impossible to end the bloodshed and bring the peace to Magnavis...
Please be aware that this is a trailer. I'm working on the full-version of the scenario, but it will take time.
I want to give my thanks to Popeychops(for playtesting), Guthan(for playtesting), Scud (for featuring my project in the Work in Progress Spotlight), and to all Black Forest Studios for helping me.
Enjoy! And don't forget to leave commnets!
Thanks for reading!
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In this teaser to his Phoenix project, Teotl promises fresh, original gameplay and an engaging story filled with drama and revenge of mythic proportions. While his teaser does nothing to contradict that, and in fact leaves the viewer eager for the full campaign, it does have some holes in it. This is not by any means a bad thing, as the designer can learn from his work here before releasing his full-scale project.
In a cutscene, perhaps more than any other types of scenario, the playability score is largely resultant of the other categories. Is the story engaging? Is the map pretty (or ugly, in a visually attractive way)? Did the designer knock our socks off with some great new innovation? And so forth; this is but a partial list. Overall, this teaser was fun to watch and decently constructed, but with enough flaws as not to merit the highest rankings. Also affecting this rating is the fact that the use of 'Display Instructions' is often somewhat sloppy, particularly at the end, when the 'credits' text does not line up perfectly centered. Minor, to be sure, but still a consideration.
Overall, the scenario balanced out a variety of scenes and situations quite well, changing things up frequently as is expected of a teaser-style cinematic. A major flaw, however, was timing. Too often the scene was motionless for a second or two or more, before any action or dialogue occurred. Delays between scenes occurred frequently as well. This disrupts the balance of the cutscene by loading it with too much inaction, causing slight irritaion to the viewer.
There are some flashes of genius here and there in the cutscene: the beginning myth is an original idea, for example. However, much of the plot is highly generic from that point, and the map design is decent but not particularly unique, with the notable exception of the Blue empire's wonder and its surroundings. I suggest to the designer that the Phoenix myth be far more integrated into the plot, giving it a new spin on an old, old archetype.
Map Design: 4
In map design especially, '4' is a pretty wide category, encompassing anything short of perfection but not so mediocre as to deserve a '3.' Some of the design in this teaser is high-quality stuff: terrain mixing is evident and appealing, buildings are used well, and elevations are well-placed. However, too many areas have inconsitent design. The cave scene features great terrain work, but the smattering of resource piles is excessive and defies depth perception, a common mistake when using GAIA objects. The forest floors are alright, but the forest itself is simply a mass of pine trees placed by the terrain tool with no variety whatsoever. Some of the water areas are left unmixed as well. Also, the placements of units gives the impression of haste rather than diligence; the designer might consider reducing or staggering the spacing between units and/or rotating them. despite these numerous minor flaws, the map as a whole is far from mediocre and deserves a solid '4.'
The overall story idea begins with a myth spun by the creater of the cutscene, and a rather original one at that. From there, it becomes a rather generic fantasy story, but with the author's twist(s) on it, the story itself is sufficient to score at least a 4. However, a minor issue is that the instrustions are rather lacking: players are unsure what resolution or speed to use. This does affect the experience of a first-time viewer, and as such should be addressed.
Although the purpose of a teaser is not to score a nickel or two in the Blacksmith, it should still serve a purpose. In addition to drumming up interest in an upcoming release, a teaser or prologue should also serve as a 'practice round' for the designer and the viewer. The designer can learn from his experience and use that knowledge in his main project. The viewer can use a teaser to measure what he can expect, at a minimum, from the designer. If that minimum is satisfactory, the viewer can take interest in the main attractions. This cutscene has largely succeeded on both counts.
The purpose of this review, then, is not to score this teaser on a numerical scale (That just comes with the job), but to help both the designer and the audience realize those purposes. So overall: good job, I'm awaiting the final release with anticipation.
"Phoenix Trailer" is a 14 minute-long cutscene scenario, which serves as a teaser for Teotl's (hopefully) upcoming project. It serves it's purpose rather well and I can honestly say, after watching it, that I welcome the eventuality of this project being finished. Despite its positive points, the cutscene did have some flaws that can be looked into, and which can possibly improve the resulting game.
The cut-scene was generally enjoyable to watch, and it did not get boring at any point. The main point of interest is the story, which starts in the instructions screen and has immediately captured my attention. Afterwards, the cutscene starts, depicting the war between the three opposing nations and introducing the main character and his friends, all of which was very well put into place. The whole cutscene was very similar in structure to a movie trailer, presenting different scenes from the upcoming game. It is an interesting presentation, but maybe it shows too much of the actual story behind the game, making it a little too predictable. Maybe a little more mystery should have been kept as to the contents of the game, not to mention the fact that the author restricts himself in this way. (there is always the possibility that he will want to change something in the narrative at a later date). I think that for a teaser, this particular cutscene does not tease the player enough, it is a little too straightforward.
Though the cutscene itself didn't have any major issues as far as the technical aspect is concerned, there were some things that reduced the overall experience: the lack of resolution/speed instructions in the beginning, the very slow start (almost half a minute passed before there was anything happening on screen), and the dialogues and narrative display instructions which ran very, very slowly for the most part, thus disrupting the pace of the cutscene. The music ended before the action on the screen was through, which was very awkward considering that the final showdown (the climax of the whole thing) was taking place, and the music was already finished.
The story upon which the game is based seemed very interesting and original to me. Of course, there are clichees involved (such as the phoenix bird itself which seems to be one of the main motifs of fantasy-based games), but they are used in creative new ways which can only make one curious as to the game itself. It did seem to me, however, as though the beginning theme, the three phoenixes, got somewhat lost during the cutscene.
Other creative aspects include the very original use of rams to achieve a missile-launcher, very good use of trigger tricks to achieve spectacular explosion effects, creative use of not very commonly seen beta-units and a pretty suitable, if too short, soundtrack for the whole thing.
MAP DESIGN: 5-
I have no major complaints about the map design. Terrain mixing seemed very good to me, so did the use of buildings to describe the differences between the three kingdoms of the game. The whole thing left me with the impression of a solid design, which could nevertheless be improved. The cutscene did not show too much designed area however, so we will have to wait for the full scenario to really get a good idea about the map design skills of the author.
The story that is described to us in the beginning instructions is very original and sets a very good premise for a fantasy rpg-style game. The cutscene also gives a pretty good (maybe too good, as I already pointed out) idea of what to expect from the story of the full game, which is pretty much standard RPG stuff, a protagonist that embarks on a world saving quest. It's fair to say that the backstory should get more points for originality than the story told on-screen. However, there is a chance that the full game will contradict this in the end, which is what I am hoping for.
(a little observation: the instruction screen bitmap's colors were corrupted, probably due to inappropriate colour palette)
All in all, a good trailer/teaser, that has made me curious and hopeful to see this high potential project finished. A recommended download for people who enjoy cutscenes.