Posted on 11/01/09 @ 05:19 PM (updated 11/09/09
Greetings, SD community,
We are ASDF Inc, and this afternoon, we would like to introduce to you a product we have had in production for the past few months we title The Latean Project. You are probably asking, “What is this project?” After many months of sociological testing, we have been successful in powering our own unique environment, substantial for human living, though being rooted at the very basics of survival.
Within this pseudo-environment, we have enclosed several trials to push one's train of thought, ranging from the very instinctual, to common sense, to some abstract thinking. We believe these puzzles will test one’s skill in adapting to a new place. If one can adapt quickly, one will be very successful in escaping and possibly receiving a prize (that prize we cannot tell you at this moment, you will have to learn yourself).
After many months, we are pleased to announce that this project has been finished and ready for public viewing. Installation instructions have been included in thelateanproject.txt within the .zip file as well as the credits and the such.
Please take the time to download and play this game.
CEO of ASDF Inc.
Many thanks to:
PaulC2001: Inspiration and support
Julius999: Much support
Stormwind Studios Forum
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To start off, if you're looking for a huge battle scenario, you are on the wrong location. This is a rather 'peacefull' scenario in which you have to solve some puzzles and, of course, a battle in the end. It's a very small map and I was surprised to see what Turty managed to place all in it, with great detail!
How fast you solve this map depends on how smart you are, how fast you see through the clues, or how fast you start cheating.
A 4? This one kept me thinking for a few minutes, but I decided to give a four instead of a five for these reasons:
- The text disappears to fast. Annoying to interrupt your game to watch what's been said.
- You didn't make anti-cheat triggers. That disappointed me. I didn't cheat though. I tried it at the food part cause I wasn't sure what to do. I had the idea in my mind with the hunter, but I saved first, and then tried the cheat for food. I could just proceed. At the stone field, same thing. You could just use rock on. But I didn't use it since I kinda knew what to do. But again, anti-cheat triggers would've been nice.
The battle in the end was rather simple, but I've enjoyed almost everything in this scenario. The trebuchet-boat part was kinda funny. But I knew some tactics wouldn't work and which ones would work, so I didn't need any reload here.
Another thingy. At the part where you have to cross the bridge, you are supposed to be trapped by the rocks behind you, but there was still a small passage in the south where you probably forgot to create some rocks. It's not relevant to the scenario, but you might want to fix this?
Another thing you should fix. In the last town, there is a Knight with his Horse. I somehow managed to get both my units pas the Knight so I could walk around on the shallows. The problem is, I couldn't go out anymore. Only my champion could walk out again, but Lucy was stuck so I had to reload my game.
Still, this was a very enjoyable scenario, with a lot of thought in it :)
I'll rate the final battle later, I'll do the puzzles first.
I'd rate the puzzles 4. Some of them were easy and more for fun, others were harder and force you to think. Hopefully not to cheat like the goldmine on the bridge. I liked most of the puzzles and some of them were neat and cool, like the one in the last city :) Good job on the balance, but it could've been made a little harder since I had no real trouble with any of them :)
Now that final battle...
The final battle was supposed to be rather hard, but I managed to complete it without any reload. After the cutscene you block off the way to the north with rocks, the flames start going west and the south and east entrances are free to go. Since the flames go west, I went east, ran towards my opponent and killed him. His summoned units couldn't do a thing cause I was there before they were.
Then I looked at their health and attack, and I thought, hmmm, that would've been a nice battle. Low health, high attack, manageable to kill you after a few waves... But that didn't happen to me :)
I know it's hard to make a final battle, but I just think this could've been made a little harder.
This project is, no doubt, one of the most creative things I've played this year. Not only some parts of the map design, but some of the puzzles or objectives in game as well! While Turty uses every unit we can use (some slightly edited) he managed to create things like 'Dragon Gate' or a pretty abandonded Brigde and some other forest parts which I thought 'Nice... Well done!'
And for this, he gets a 5 :)
Map Design: 5
You would be crazy if you didn't rate this 5 :)
You used Trigger Studio very well, Turty! Thumbs up for that. Very beautiful forest and town parts. I liked the Blacksmith in that last town (forgot the name of it :s) with the siege workshop underneath it. The shallows in the forests without the ugly beaches around it and even elevated thanks to TS were very nice as well. 5+
Good story, inventive and well worked out. But I'd like to know more about the people who got stuck there and that Teutonic Knight (forgot it's name :s Dolovan?) that suddenly disappeared. Or the statue, or that lettre? Instructions were good enough to make you solve the puzzles, but vage enough to make you think. A well done job!
High recommend download :)
[Edited on 11/18/09 @ 12:51 PM]
'The Latean Project' is a puzzle style scenario minigame in which you have to get through a series of trials. Some of them are simply about micromanagement while others require you to apply your mind a bit.
The scenario is very interesting and fun to play, the puzzles are challenging yet not impossible, and all the trials are creative. The story is well done ( and the cutscenes which further the story ), and most of the units talk, so even when you're stuck at a puzzle, it's not boring at any point. Also I didn't notice any bugs in the scenario and it wasn't possible to win by cheating either.
The scenario is well balanced, but I felt that certain parts were won more by luck than by intention. Especially the gate puzzle ( which I won purely by accident ) and the dodging the trebuchets which I felt was rather luck dependant. Still overall it was well balanced, hard without being frustrating. I don't know if there was any difficulty level dynamics, I played on hard. Also some puzzles were really easy ( like the Robin hood one ).
I felt that all the trials were very creative, and many used a lot of tricks never done before. Without giving away any spoilers I think that the gate puzzle particularly is a work of genius. Like all puzzles it seems very difficult but once you solve it it seems rather obvious and easy.
Map Design: 5
The map used for this scenario is a very small map ( minimap ), but every inch of it is well designed and functional. It had the right amount of terrain blending and eye candy while not interfering with the gameplay. Definitely a 5 here. However it would have been better with a good soundtrack ( there is some music, but only in certain places, no 'background theme music' ).
The instructions were straightforward, but there were no real hints.. well I would really have preferred that some kind of hints/walkthrough would be provided, if not in the scenario then in a different file. Some people might get frustrated if they are stuck.
There is a story, which sort of fits the scenario, but it is not exceptional, or well explained. For eg. who is the statue and what are it's motives? What about Roman Dolotov? Would be better if the story was not so vague.
The scenario is a .GAX file, ie a saved game, so you will have to load it as such, I have no idea why the author made it in such a way because not only do you miss out on the introduction screen, but there weren't any noticeable data editing at all.
Recommended for downloading.
The Latean Project was great fun to play. The diverse and creative puzzles took some good thinking to get past, and while the entire game took me less than an hour in game time, it was a splendid piece of entertainment. The story wasn't overly developed or deep but fitted the scenario well and tied together the various puzzles. The humour was great and the map lovely, and overall the scenario was a blast. There are some tiny bugs I can report, i.e. that the Town Motto in the first town loops every second when you click it, and that you can walk right past the rocks and boulders that "block" your way at the bridge puzzle. But other than those trifles, the game was as far as I could see bugless.
The game was challenging and in most places it was well-balanced; the puzzles were hard to solve and took time to figure out but weren't impossible. However, some puzzles could be very hard to solve (for me anyway) such as the bridge and the gate puzzle, while the EPIC GRANDE FINALE SUPER MEGA ULTRA CHICKEN BOSS FIGHT was really really easy. I mean, Lucy could defeat the evil maniac by herself, and she's a WOMAN! Well you get my point. The more balanced parts were the first three puzzles, which took time to figure out but didn't require you to go nuts on the game because you couldn't solve them. The Robin Hood puzzle was easy too, but that one I don't count in here because of its goal of hilarity rathert han challenge.
This scenario was very creative, in every aspect. The setting and style of the scenario, an all-out puzzle scenario, is quite rare as far as I know, and the way the puzzles were conducted was creative too. Ruins disappearing when you garrison buildings, more good-looking explosions than just a macaw dying, the dragon gate; there are lots of examples to pick, but since that would spoil a lot for those who haven't played this yet, I'll keep it to that. Other creative parts are the sort of 'Matrix meets AoK'-story and the ending, the fact that there is no final fight at the castle (which I definately was expecting, but by ruining that expectation you also broke off from the cliché), and much more, all taking this up to a full score here.
MAP DESIGN: 5
Like I mentioned before, the map was a splendid piece of work. On a very small map Turty has managed to stuff in a quite good indoors scene, a beatiful tranquil village and its surroundings, a more lively town, and the mysterious castle poppng out in the middle of the world. The elevation is good, the terrain mixing is good, and there is no eye clutter to be found. The design tricks such as filling old bridges up with weeds and rocks, and making swampy depressions here and there in the forest, all play part in making this map a gem to look at.
STORY & INSTRUCTIONS: 3+
I really liked the story, which as I've said was kind of a the Matrix meets AoK story. It's not very deep or complicated and it doesn't need to be to fit the scenario and tie the puzzles together. The humour is a great addition and the game wouldn't have been the same without it. There are some loose threads, like what the world happened to Ramon, but as a whole it's great. The instructions were mostly sufficient but at the times they weren't, it would've been nice to have the last resort hints in the game itself, not at the lost game instructions screen. I imagine you put them there to make sure people played the game the proper way, but I still believe it would've been better to have them at the bottom of the hints screen or somewhere around there. If people then want to ruin their experiense, fine, let them! But even so, some of these last resort hints weren't sufficient either. Not to me at least. But then I suck at actually playing scenarios. "You're supposed to cross the bridge,. not gather gold". Oh really? Something a bit more specific would've been better, especially seeing as these are the last resort hints and something people don't view unless they're already stuck completely.
TO IMPROVE: Mainly the instructions; the last resort hints should be more specific since you wouldn't be viewing them unless you're already dompletely stuck. Having these hints inside the game itself, as opposed to in the aftermath text, would also be an improvement.
FINAL COMMENT: A lovely scenario and an hour's worth of great entertainment, if you like puzzles that is!
[Edited on 11/28/09 @ 10:43 AM]
For the first time since I played Brelda the Hun by S_M_T, I've given a 5.0.
For a long time, I thought it would never happen again, after reviewing such brilliant campaigns as Courtjester1's "The Fury of Räsulf". I'm glad to say that I was wrong.
Wow. Of all the styles of gameplay possible on Age of Empires, I have to say that puzzle-based games are the hardest to get right. There's no formula for doing them, the opportunity for over-complicating or simplifying is a common problem. Turtov has avoided both pitfalls and made a supremely varied map, while being short, which held my attention throughout. In places I was stumped, only hitting the page up key revealed the way. At first I was intrigued by the game's format: being a savegame and all.
It obviously is worth it, and not having to faff around with data means there's no downside to it. This scenario is enjoyable, and free from any defects.
The balancing was superb. I can only speculate as to how much testing this map took. All of the trials involve the player thinking outside the box, combined with a little observation, in order to complete them. There are no obvious solutions, and some require a little experimentation (namely the ones in the east and west corners). Others need a little dab of micromanagement. The game is challenging, but never frustrating.
This is another great game of our time that screams creativity. Ideas are present that I have never seen before, nor would have though of in a hundred years. Admittedly, one bares a striking resemblance to a square in Piece by Piece, the Third, by the SD community, but it was done in such a way that it seems a tribute to it rather than an imitation. Variety is the spice of life, and Turtov's got it.
Map Design: 5
Astonishing. The map is full of rotated trees to form bushes, layered items overlapping each other to the creator's desire, and lush terrain and elevation that simply flows out of your monitor. It is as believable a map as I've ever seen, being similar overall while having subtle variations as the map progresses. This last feature, the subtlety, entangles the entire scenario, being not loud and flashy, but quiet and blended.
The instructions, when given, are excellent, the one task which the player really will never figure out is hinted to, if you look hard enough. The game forces you to read between the lines a lot, often the story IS the instructions. The former isn't bad either, initially serious and compelling, while finally anticlimactic and hilarious. The music is worth noting, and was fitting and well presented.
This was a pleasure to behold. I think we have an absolute gem on our hands here, and I strongly recommend you play it.
Its scenarios like these that make me want to write reviews.
'The Latean Project' is a single scenario design, featuring puzzle-based game play, and containing a few inspired elements from the community project of Piece-by-Piece. The scenario requires the player to pass a series of trials in an alternate world to progress the story, in order to free a statue possessed by a mysterious character. The puzzle-based game play constrains the player to use his intellect above all else when playing the file, as opposed to solving affairs through armed conflict, and much of what follows will require the player to apply commonsense in some areas, while also having the ability to look outside the normal routine of playing an Age of Kings game.
PLAYABILITY: Undoubtedly, 'the Latean Project' will receive mixed opinion; this is not for everyone. The style of game play, mix of puzzles, and a cynical statue bent on ensnaring humans in an alternate reality will approach most users with welcome, but frustrate or bore others who are open only to the traditional form of scenarios. This design plays much like a Piece-by-Piece project, which as in this case is certainly not a bad thing. The layout is fresh and interesting, and much of the game play, being intricately tied to the solution of puzzles, is very, very enjoyable. In saying all that, I don't believe there was ever a dull moment, and as the puzzles were solved and I drew further on down the map, I was always eager to see what happened next. While the story wasn't anything particularly exceptional, the strong points of this design was featuring elements that have rarely been seen or used before, at least to this degree. Perhaps one of the best aspects of this design is that even though the map scale is rather quite small, players can expect anywhere up to forty minutes game play on average before they manage to complete the scenario. I encountered no bugs, with exceptions to a slight inconsistency when I selected the lumber camp toward the end of the scenario, and nearby trebuchets took it down on me. Not a fatal error, because the lumber camp proved its worth as I passed the existing puzzle without it. However, this file is really a first impression experience, with very little replayability involved. 5.0
BALANCE: The project depends on the player using his mind to succeed in the puzzles throughout the scenario, and for me at least the file is well-balanced and quite challenging in this respect. Many of the puzzles require the player to explore the surrounds first before finding a solid answer, and from then everything seems to tie in with itself. There were a few puzzles here and there that were really well done and well-rounded overall, namely the first few, but there were others that simply did not fit the part. The bridge puzzle was very difficult to solve, and even then I am not sure whether I passed it in a way the author intended. The walk-through in the aftermath screen did nothing to guide me here. Secondly, the last battle versus the monk was too easy, not living up to many of the challenges encountered earlier, and seemed more of walk-over if anything. Still, there were many puzzles that lifted the imagination and that added to the overall enjoyment of the scenario. 5.0-
CREATIVITY: Creativity in this file is nothing short of wonderful. There is much here that I have not seen before, and still other tricks that really set a new standard for what can be achieved when it comes to new ideas and techniques in a puzzle scenario. The gate puzzle for example was nicely original, and seemed to slip into it all quite smoothly, while the robin hood puzzle was just good humour. Aside from the more obvious game play aspects, the map design was really something as well, with many items and locations that melded nicely into the background and gave the small map a complimentary variety of realism and life. 5.0
MAP DESIGN: Although the scale of the design is relatively small, the map design is exemplary. The design lacks in no small part; the countryside is tranquil and melds beautifully with the rest of the game, while terrain blending and individually placed trees compliment another. The design sometimes felt mysterious as the game progressed, with the player confined to a small section of the map at any given time with each puzzle, and the small villages were placed with care and thought - every building had a place and every wandering inhabitant a defined purpose. Sometimes the terrain was as much the story as was the story itself. 5.0+
STORY/INSTRUCTIONS: The story and dialogue are fun and suspenseful, but in all lacking what would have made this part of the design stand out more. The instructions were adequate, however I suppose like other reviewers before me I also felt that the hints were a little too vague in that when I was stuck there was never anything particular to help me along, for example at the bridge puzzle. In saying that, I also would have enjoyed a little more additional depth to the story. There were a few questions brought up along the way, and room for a few more twists (especially regarding Roman Dolatov), which unfortunately never occurred later in game. 3.0
CONCLUDING: 'The Latean Project' is in all a fantastic design, which has something for most people, I believe. The story is fun and compliments a sometimes mysterious landscape, never knowing what lay ahead on the other side of every puzzle, and I was always eager for more. Coupled with a few great techniques and some unseen ideas in an Age of Kings scenario, if you feel this tickles your interest, 'the Latean Project' is a must download.
In a sentence - In all a fun, exceptional design, with many challenging puzzles to test yourself with.
In closing - A highly-recommended download.
[Edited on 09/29/16 @ 04:45 AM]
This mini 25x25 scenario is very interesting and fun to play, the puzzles are challenging yet not impossible, and all the trials are creative. The story is interesting and entertaining. Most of the people talk to you.
Perfect Balance; I found this scenario very fun. Some of the challenges were quite hard, some of the Challenges were easy. The Gold on the bridge took me some time and the final battle took a while too. The waves of enemy Eagle Warriors and berserks were coming too fast. I finally managed to do it. The other challenges were fine.
This is a very creative scenario. It is a mini map and is full of interesting puzzles. The Dragon Gate was really cool. The story was interesting. Turty has also used some data editing, like lowering the Trebuchets minimum Range and lowering amount of Gold in the goldmines.
Map Design: 5
This is a very beautiful 25x25 Mini Map. There is good use of cliff and elevation, the Terrain Mixing is brilliant and there is a great use of GAIA Objects. There is a nice pretty village along with an even prettier town. There is a nice abandoned bridge, Castle and tower. The courtyard at the beginning is awesome.
There is a brilliant, mysterious story which is accompanied by wonderful instructions. The story was fun, entertaining and interesting. The instructions were clear and precise. There were Hints everywhere. I would however like to know a bit more, like what happened to Roman and why the Statue trapping people.