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Downloads Home » Best Files » PTC17 - Juval Province

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PTC17 - Juval Province

Author File Description
File Details
Version: The Conquerors 1.0c
Required Modpack (if not included with the download): UserPatch 1.4 or 1.5
Juval Province
Entry to the 2017 Pretty Town Contest
Joint winner

Sir Julian Evergreen has conquered no new lands for the Empire. Yet his name commands respect, for his keen instincts have prevented some of the most quarrelsome children of the imperial family from breaking away. Barely has he had time to wash his hands after ending the Kavgrad Crisis, and the senate has sent him out with a fresh task. The inhabitants of far-flung Juval Province do not yet know their good fortune - or for some, their misfortune - but he is headed there now...

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This file was designed in UserPatch 1.5, and is best viewed using that version.

Should anyone like to borrow any aspect of this file and use it in their own work, they are entirely free to do so. The same goes if anyone would like to use the map as a whole as a template.
AuthorReviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Official Reviewer
Rating: 5

Juval Province is Julius999's entry to the 2017 Pretty Town Contest.

Aesthetic: Vibrant map design meets a commensurate atmosphere in this entry. The player sails past an island bastion into the harbor of a town that is as diverse as the numerous civilizations that the game allows you to play with. Travel from the harbor and dockyards of wood and thatch surrounded by gorgeous green marshlands and forests to fearsome citadels, secluded monasteries, tombs, and more. The guided tour only serves to enhance this experience, and is highly recommended.

Creativity: Innovative concepts meet creative map design, a staple that players have come to consistently expect from the author. The map abounds with design tricks and minor details that contribute to the scenery as a whole - they are beautiful and complementary, but do not look out of place. As always, the author supplies viewers with a simple but effective and engaging storyline that makes the playthrough all the more memorable.

Layout: Possibly the strongest suit of this entry, the layout and planning behind Juval Province is superb. What is truly remarkable is the extreme diversity on display and yet how it all seamlessly fits together. Various building sets and objects are blended with ease, and the author succeeds in not just encapsulating a single town, but also all of the vibrant and exotic features of a foreign territory.

Attention to detail: The technical skill involved in the map design of this entry is nothing short of stunning, and there is little more to say than that it is a masterpiece, perhaps even Julius' finest work of map design to date. No detail is overlooked, and the result shows it.

Additional Comments:

The author faced a daunting task in surpassing his previous PTC winner, and quite impressively managed to do so. I thoroughly recommend the download, and I am sure that designers will be visiting it for reference material for years to come.

[Edited on 08/29/17 @ 11:40 AM]

Official Reviewer
Much like its counterpart rival and co-winner of the '17 PTC, Juval Province delivers a transcendent Age of Empires adventure the likes of which I have not experienced in many years. Both maps immersed the reviewer in a childlike sense of wonder and awe, and I could only reach back to my first encounter with user created content in aMa's saxonrevolt for anything quite like it. Admittedly I am rather burnt out on AoE having come to develop some level of disillusionment with the series, so the maps ability to clear this fog was immensely refreshing.

Set in the titular province of Juval, the map depicts an imperial province on the brink of revolt. The player steps into the shoes of Sir Julian, assigned the task of quelling any rebellious activity. This leads to a very well choreographed guided tour, which takes the player throughout the maps key locations with well-written dialogue which increases the immersive factor of the map design beyond what a simple screenshot would provide. This world building effort was well appreciated as it creates a highly memorable experience for the viewer, and my imagination was on fire dreaming of scenarios and campaigns taking place in this fictional world.

The technical aspects of map design could be divided into basic terrain mixing, urban development, and landscape set-pieces. All three are conducted at the highest level, possibly edging out its rival ever so slightly in this category alone. In retrospect this made me question my scoring in the PTC, as the focus was said to be on map design rather than story telling;indeed, I said so myself that the impact of a story should have a limited effect on the scoring. This map along with its rival deliver such a superb story that it is difficult to isolate these elements, although both map design and story could be considered equally vital sub-components in a larger category called World-building. One quick point about the maps layout, and the only real weakness present here can be found in the mountain pass between the palace area and the desert zone. I found this quite an insufficient separation with the mountains here being too thin;my suspension of disbelief was challenged here by this rapid transition.

Terrain mixing was excellent, with a mix of grasses with some dirt3 resulting in open areas holding up very well. The pathing is quite nice in all areas with the familiar dirt1 bordered by some dirt2. The usage of dirt1 in large quantities was quite refreshing, especially around the cliffed cave near the start. Water mixing was simple but effective though with only 2 depth variants being used I wonder if it couldn't be even better with deep water in the mix. The one area I found a bit unconvincing was the field with lancers;this pushed the limit of minimalism to the limit for me, or maybe a bit beyond. The bright grass2 is perhaps a bit much here, though I am now nitpicking too much. The swamp can be lumped into this category, making great usage of the new freeform terrain placement.

Urban development consisting of combined buildings and their placement;highly convincing in all situations here. While perhaps not most peoples first mention, the varied Inns went over very well, as these form a vital part of practical life in the map, for travelers anyhow. Extensive usage of town centers with annex tricks goes over very well, the highlight being a temple constructed from several wings to form a courtyard leading to the stairway of a castle. Only the smallest imperfections in any of these could be detected by closely scrutinizing the printout;hardly something any map(or game) ever built could escape. The authors artistic bravery in putting fourth these structures is to be commended;sometimes one can look too closely at his own work and give up on a promising idea that would work well in practice as long as its not analyzed pixel by pixel. Using a pavilion, longships, and a turtle ship to make a larger boat was superb. The fort at the start was extremely convincing, with its only unavoidable weakness being the oddly smooth openings in the walls for cannons being overpowered by its overall excellence.

Landscaping set-pieces such as the Sky Temple overlooking the ruins in the valley are phenomenal. These go well with the story, building up the impression of a long history having unfolded in the region. The cave using a darkness trick was impeccable. The minaret near the start with a burning torch was quite nice as well. The farming section in the valley was well done, with a variety of crops on display. The viking wonder modified to be part of an estate was inspiring to behold, with its stone foundations being used for decoration in the nearby river;smart double usage of assets. The bandit hideout in the desert intrigued me quite a bit. The castle in the center with a town center bridge leading to a palace was quite effective in the end, though the bridge itself took slightly more self-convincing to buy. Evidence of construction beneath it is quite a nice touch.

The three above sections are nowhere an exhaustive breakdown of all the positive elements in the map design;indeed one could simply describe the map inch by inch. The bottom line is, all three elements briefly touched upon combine with a near perfect layout to form an immersive "Province" which felt truly lifelike. An absolute tour de force from top to bottom.

Conclusion: Simply a must play map. Inspirational and invigorating - my thanks to the author for this great effort. Though the investment of time involved in creating such a map surely is lacking in tangible rewards, the hundreds or nearly thousands it will touch and inspire must represent an invaluable payoff.
Official Reviewer
Juval Province is Julius999’s entry to the 2017 Pretty Town Contest. The map was critically acclaimed by the judges of the contest and scored joint 1st place overall.

Rating: 5
After a five year hiatus from the competition, Juval Province was Julius’ first entry since Azgara, his winning entry to the 2013 contest. In those five years many developments were made to the world of scenario editing, most notably being the release of Userpatch and the off-grid placement tool. Juval Province took the winning ideas and creativity of Azgara and blended together it with the Userpatch ideas Matty introduced in Smile No More, his winning entry to the 2015 contest. Throughout your journey across Juval Province you will see many familiar scenes that you would expect to see in Julius’ scenarios as well as many creative ideas that he has come up with thanks to the Userpatch.

Juval Province is a beautiful location and a crowning achievement of scenario design. There is so much to see around the town which is busting with life. Citizens are going about their daily lives and there is much entertainment around the town to see such as a staged fight between a wolf and a monkey. The use of the off grid placement tool is exceptional and has allowed Julius to create some very creative sights. You see this straight away with the lighthouse created from the top of a Saracen Wonder and mountains. My personal highlights are the mountain staircase using the market staircases hidden behind mountains, and the bridge made out of town centre edges. In addition a to the incredible buildings and eye candy the map is also beautiful due to the awe inspiring terrain mixing that Julius is able to achieve. It’s not an overkill of colours and terrains but also not a bland plain of a single terrain.

Additional Comments:
Overall Juval Province is an exceptional piece of Age of Empires design and one of my personal favourite PTC entries to date.


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