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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » News Discussion » Blacksmith Feature: A Crash Back Into The Past (06.26.2018)
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Topic Subject:Blacksmith Feature: A Crash Back Into The Past (06.26.2018)
Mash
Huskarl
(id: Mashek)
posted 06-26-18 08:12 AM CT (US)         
I wanted to do something different for the Blacksmith Feature and discuss not one particular scenario, but the works of one of my favourite designers, Crasher. Crasher was a past member of the now inactive Dragon Gaming Design Network (or DGDN for short) and was active from around the early to mid-2000s. Few designers during this time had the mind to combine atmosphere, map design and storytelling all into one complimentary blend, but Crasher was not only able to achieve this skilfully but in a way that was meditative and soulful too. His story writing drew upon a layer of depth I had not seen in many other scenarios before, while his fantasy-based designs were inspired and highly-entertaining. If there is any mark to put to his designing, it was that it often lacked the extra ingredient or layer of polish that would have seen it achieve higher acclaim. Perhaps it was more to do with his style of alternative over grand epics, or that he never truly built into a major scenario, seemingly preferring side projects such as contest entries and cut-scenes instead. Nevertheless, his best work presented well-crafted maps enriched with atmosphere and designed to a level of detail that generally brought out the best of what the editor had to offer at the time.

Crasher's Pretty Town Contest entries, A Lost World and my personal favourite A Different World, were seemingly years ahead of their time both in aesthetic appeal and craft. They each conveyed the mood and atmosphere of desolate island communities in a way that left a lasting impression with the haunting soundtracks and well-written prose to match. These are a must view for any map design enthusiast.



Then there's the fan favourite Attack at Dawn, which is a relatively modest yet immensely enjoyable classic B&D scenario with an RPG twist. Slangam, a powerful warlord from the north, is invading the valley and the small village of Akuror stands in its way. Led by three able warriors, you must prepare to make your stand. Being one of the first scenarios I ever downloaded, Attack at Dawn gripped me from the very start with its fantasy-inspired world and intriguing map design that invites you to go exploring.



Perhaps you have a taste for the theatrical? Then Immortal Prey will not only intrigue you but whet your appetite with its multi-layered story of mystery and betrayal. This cinematic scenario was in fact a prelude to a larger campaign that was never released, although having talked to crasher over the last year he still swears he'll finish it one day! It does however provide a worthwhile 15 minutes of entertainment in what is undoubtedly one of the best cinematic scenarios at the Blacksmith.



Enter the fantastical world of crasher's designs here:

A Different World ~ Rated 4.2 | A Lost World ~ Rated 4.0 | Attack at Dawn ~ Rated 4.8 | Immortal Prey ~ Eye of the Beholder ~ Rated 4.7

[This message has been edited by Mash (edited 06-27-2018 @ 04:22 PM).]

AuthorReplies:
Cataphract887
Squire
posted 06-26-18 08:51 AM CT (US)     1 / 9       
Good work mash, quite a nice read Would have loved to see what crasher would do with off grid placement!

"Excellent could be any map that has the quality of a ES random map or ES scenario. AoK is an excellent, award winning game. That's where I'd start." -AnastasiaKafka

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HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 06-26-18 02:44 PM CT (US)     2 / 9       
Great write-up, and loving the new approach that you took. It's a nice way to do a tribute to the larger corpus of work and to the designer himself rather than to any individual creation

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Lord Basse
MI6 Scenario-Making Machine
posted 06-26-18 05:27 PM CT (US)     3 / 9       
Great write-up, Mash! "A Different World" is one of my all time favourites.

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Bassi
Squire
posted 06-27-18 03:17 AM CT (US)     4 / 9       
Thanks, Mash! Very interesting read!

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Mash
Huskarl
(id: Mashek)
posted 06-27-18 04:30 PM CT (US)     5 / 9       
Thanks a lot guys.
Good work mash, quite a nice read Would have loved to see what crasher would do with off grid placement!
Yes, agreed to that! I always felt he was someone hugely-talented but never quite pushed to get the most out of himself.
Great write-up, and loving the new approach that you took. It's a nice way to do a tribute to the larger corpus of work and to the designer himself rather than to any individual creation.
I think particularly with Crasher, having designed just the five scenarios, it makes sense to showcase all his work as they each fit neatly into what is a very telling visual and atmospheric style. They've probably had the most influence on my designing!
Great write-up, Mash! "A Different World" is one of my all time favourites.
Indeed, if your two PTC entries are anything to go by, although you've taken that idea to an entirely new level!
Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 06-28-18 04:52 AM CT (US)     6 / 9       
Nice article, thanks for the memories. It's a shame he never completed his campaign, but I think it may have been part of that time in scenario design where creators became increasingly ambitious and set higher standards, but were perhaps too ambitious to realise their largest projects. Luke is another clear example of that.

Also nicely illustrated btw. Only that last screenshot slightly irks me because in a pre-industrial time no one would have said it was 6:50. (This is hard to grasp for modern people, but every time someone talks about how many minutes or seconds something will take in a film set in the middle ages, it's an anachronism.)
Julius999
Imposter
posted 06-29-18 05:26 PM CT (US)     7 / 9       
every time someone talks about how many minutes or seconds something will take in a film set in the middle ages, it's an anachronism.
Intriguing. I can easily see how that would have been the case for times of day. But what did people say instead when they wanted to say that something would take a particular short amount of time? Surely people would have wanted to differentiate between approximately 2 minutes and approximately 45 minutes.

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Kor
Busschof Happertesch
(id: Derfel Cadarn)
posted 06-30-18 07:51 AM CT (US)     8 / 9       
It's not something I had really thought about myself until reading Robert Bartlett's The Hanged Man, a study of contemporary witness accounts of a 13th century 'miracle' in south Wales that were originally compiled to see if it was a miracle or not (a hanged man who had supposedly died later came back to life). In the book, these witness accounts are used to see how people in this particular society thought about or used to describe various things (a bit like Le Roy Ladurie's famous study Montaillou).

There's one chapter about how people described time and space, and it's really insightful. The people who were originally interviewed described how long various things had taken - how long the man had been hanging on the gallows for instance, or even very general things, like how old they were, or how long ago the miracle had occurred and on which day. It turns out that people back then were simply far less concerned with time than today - they often didn't know their own age (including the nobility) and because they didn't keep calendars, years and days could be in dispute, too (although days less so - they could be more easily remembered if they were the day of a particular saint, for instance). Accurate time keeping was more an academic undertaking.

When people said when something had happened within a day, it was often related to the canonical hours (ie 'shortly after vespers'). Weirdly enough, when it came to describing how long something had taken, people used measures of space rather than time to describe them: something took 'for such space as he estimates a man could have gone a quarter mile' or 'the length of time it takes to go one German mile'. Even though the concepts of hours and minutes were already in existence at the time, academically speaking, they were apparently not invoked by any of the witnesses in this particular case. Which is not that surprising, since pretty much no one would have had a clock to teach them how long that measure of time takes. This presumably only changed in the course of the 14th century and onwards, when mechanical town clocks became increasingly common and started to regulate working hours.

(Funnily enough, apart from measuring time in units of space, space could also be measured in units of time - a town could be described as being 'three days' away, because once a journey took more than a day it made sense to describe it by the length of travel time rather than the distance in miles, which would have seemed an abstract concept.)
Mash
Huskarl
(id: Mashek)
posted 06-30-18 07:07 PM CT (US)     9 / 9       
Very interesting read. I always felt crasher's use of "six fifty in the morning" was odd and should have simply been "dawn", although I never thought about it further than that.
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