Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

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Horus2
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Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Ruphus Isle
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Geothermal
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History

4p_Geothermal is my first work and my trump-card for Velensk's contest; a 4p map that is unlike any before. Some may question my sanity just by the look of it (copy that, i'm insane, but this time it is not relevant). As a pleasant side effect of the 356 walkable frozen tiles, the map has a very nice alpine theme. Although it feels bad to miss the opportunity of finally using snow-covered villages, the inviting red of the roofs is not only making it easier to read the sight, but adds to the coziness. This map was done in 8 workhours during a 28 hours interval from absolute zero and not even having an idea to finished, playable version. After 8 hours of testgames i adjusted some hexes, but have no changed it in months, so it must be somewhat close to call it final.



What makes this map unique

Snow

Funnily enough, it was Velensk's Crescent Lake that served as a catalisator of thoughts, where alibi snow can be found. Even though there are numerous better examples for the phenomena, like in Sulla's Ruins, Tombs Of Kesorak, Rime Grotto, and lately Walls of Pyrennis and Serpent's Ford, but it was the Crescent Lake that caused it. What these maps have in common? It has a bare minimum of frozen terrain to indicate the season and the chilly weather without affecting the flow of the game. Mine however inverts the logic and wants to feature as many snow as possible and make the flow built around it without hurting factional balance. To make the latter possible, my previous Hornshark Necroing Experiments came in handy. To cut the advantage of factions with flying units, water plays a key role. This has been twisted further with the only possible race-specific compensating terrain, and that is lava (well, it could be sand, but does not fit the theme and soon the Khalifate comes).

Size

Only Ruins of Terra-Dwelve dares to be grandiose enough to be comparable, for a good reason. It amplifies everything that can go wrong when playing with random people: even longer waiting time for a turn, more time thrown away if one player happens to be a weaksauce, and harder to keep the whole band together till the gg (it was a pain to find three qualified testing partners with the necessary amount of free time). From a strictly gameplay perspective however, it is much better; just like we do not play ladder matches on 1v1 maps with 5 villages per sides. Competitive 2v2, like TGT will surely benefit from such new map, but it is not unbearable on public gaming level either, because it is pretty dynamic, which helps to maintain interest.

Common keep

4p_Hamlets already embraced this idea, which resulted in the least favoured map of the TGT Tournament. What was going on there? Due to the nature of Hamlets, the best strategy is to give every village to one side, and the other side laughs at the upkeep and brings a lvl2 warmachine in to break the stalemate (can anyone tell me how did you dubbed this?). While intriguing in concept, the very design rules out one player from a meaningful existence while not even using the material to the maximum potential, namely to plan with your teammate how to share the forward castle tiles. In Geothermal, it is significantly harder to pull out, because the pressure is always intense and focuses on the left and right side, rather than middle.

Being divided

The practice in the design of 4p maps is either to allow the two sides to make a big ball of mixed units and play bowling with it (Xanthe Chaos, Underworld) or they are far from each other (Path of Daggers, Ruins of Terra-Dwelve). The former can be sensitive to matchups, the former provides little chance to immingle with else than fast and hard-hitting or flying units, while 3 out of 6 factions have no such. A scenario where the two frontlines are close, but divided by an obstacle could be the best of the two worlds. It feels like Caves of the Basilisk or a U-shaped tube filled with water: if you press harder on one side, you have to retreat on the other. The goal is to outplay the manometer and find the opportunity when you can press without losing ground on the other half. Some players raised objections that this design will result in two 1v1s played simultaneously, but luckily that is not the case. Teammates tend to lend one or two units to cover each others factional weaknesses. Giving fish to a flying faction, for example, was a common practice during testing.

1-2-1-2 turn order

Seen only on Clash before, this order helps against the pushes of two of the same alignments, and encourages the use of location-dependant units (healers, leaders, backstabbers...). Many claim that it also throws out the baby with the bath water and punishes you for finally breaking the silence and launching an attack. They may be right, but i think it is a necessity on that map, because the front is wide and the distance from the castle is short. In Geothermal, this is merely optional, but feels more natural. Note that the unpleasant side effects occur only when all four players have the bulk of bulky fighters present at once in the same location.

Keep in the pinnacle of the castle

This was made to make leaders a bit less passive, but for a price: for every turn a leader spends there, supervising the events, recruits have to be placed one hex further. Such can has an impact on the left side of south team or the right side of north team, so you cannot abuse it, even though it is technically possible by continuously switching leaders to keep power there.

Uneven number of villages

In 4p, 30 is not an even number; p1 and p2 will likely have an extra village at the start of the game. However, this never made a side an underdog, testgames showed that they were capable of turning the tides from as little as 4 villages left and get the upper hand again with 8. What makes this possible is that frontline villages do not have the players name on them, and it is clouded in mystery which one should belong to who.

Battling in fjords

Terrain density is relatively greater than the usual. To prevent elves hopping from forest to forest and more so dwarves hopping from mountain to mountain, nearly all of them are covered snow, demanding an extra movement point to confer their benefits. Flying units gladly take these attacking surfaces, but they have to deal with the fortified railway artillery: mermen and nagas in the rivulets. Loyalists, the faction infamed for setting the time and place of the battle at their own pleasure to a morning on the vast plains, also have to play differently: they cannot abuse their mobility, but they are quite good at forcing the opponent into snow, if mermen are holding the flanks. Undead have a "who cares" attitude and march straight through snow, but they are negatively affected by the size of the map, and the increased overall number of skeleton-countering units present in the middle. Northeners sit inside the triangle drawn by loyalists, undead and knalga.

Tactically important lava terrain

Drakes gameplay is so different that it deserves an own paragraph. Saurians are the most affected of all the units by the many frozen terrain. The reduced versality is compensated by giving drakes a tactical advantage they never really had previously, especially not in 2v2: using lava tiles to attack villages and defend from with damage bonus. They are maybe the only faction that can pose a meaningful threat against the hard villages in the middle (20,19 and 23,17), thus diverting one or two units from the real hotspot of the map (6,19 and 37,17), where they also excel. If the current amount of lava would not be enough, i will revise and expand it in the future, or maybe even make hiding spots where ground units are unable to venture to (although i don't really believe in those, as UD and Knalga could use them as well).

Preflag

Unlike any other 2v2s, this features preflag villages (37,28 and 6,8) to help second player get to the frontline fjords sooned and compensate them a bit for their initially lower village count.



How can you help the development of 4p_Geothermal

Description

I still need to come up with a good-sounding description for the map in the map menu; suggestions from native speakers or those who can convey the impression that they are natives are welcome.

Rate the map

I came up with a unique rating system that is blatantly subjective and objective at once. Please enlist the following 4p maps in the order of the least liked to the most:

Bluewater Province
Castle Hopping Isle
Clash
Hamlets
Loris River
Path of Daggers
Ruins of Terra-Dwelve
Underworld
Xanthe Chaos

and then put Geothermal somewhere in that list.
Important note: If you have no idea why Isar's Cross is not included in this list, please do not vote.

Be good at the game and volunteer for testgames

It is very hard to arrange a 2v2 with decent players. Later on i will announce dates for testgames.
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Velensk
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Velensk »

I will say that even if this map turns out to not be very fun this is a good demonstration of how much thought can go into a map. Good on you for that.

I don't have the time or energy now to actually try to comment on this map. Maybe after this weekend I'll come back and be able to do so.

I am however definately interested in testing it or at the very least watching the tests.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Velensk wrote:I am however definately interested in testing it or at the very least watching the tests.
I cannot promise any testing sessions for next week, because i will not be in the same country with my computer, but if fates allow and you are not alone with it, organise one on behalf me, and share the outcome.
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Velensk »

I played a game on it. I'm not sure if/how much it'll help you but I'll attach the replay for you.

I suspect that it'll be a rather fun map to play but I'm not sure how balanced it is. Also, it's a little hard on my head, especially the initial village grab, but that may just be because I'm not used to it. The rush distances are tiny and so the fighting is sure to be fast and furious (which I suspect might cause some problems if everyone knows what they're doing). That said, I certainly don't have enough experience to say anything definative about where the problems actually are (if they are there) except that I would not want to play against loyalists on this map as drakes. That looks like a very not fun excursive in having your saurians zoned out of being able to do anything while your drakes can battle it out with mermen in the fords and spearmen in the rough. As for how this might be balanced out: I don't know if you've ever been around geysers but they usually have a kind of very grimy sand about them composed of all the salts and minerals that they belch out. It doesn't look anything like the sparkly wesnoth sand you have to work with but it wouldn't be out of place in the setting.

-I think I'd prefer if the fronts were just a hair wider but I can't say how much this is a personal preference and how much this would help balance.
-I do think that it might be interesting if you made the map a little wider. Obviously you couldn't do this without quite a bit of work (and probably making lateral movement easier [and probably an extra hex at the starting castles while you're at it]) but I think that it could create another primary front focused from the outside keeps rather than the inner keep. To some extent that exists already but you have good access to it from the center.

I rather enjoyed it for a game. I'll see if I can find the time to try it again sometime. It is difficult to test because I essentially have to recruit people on the stable version to come to the dev version.

EDIT: To comply with what you requested: Here is a list of 2vs2 maps. I exclude Blue Water Province because I don't really have a ton of experience on it recently. Top is favorite

-Ruins of Terra-Dwelve (blame it on creator favoratism if you want, I'd say it's more because I make maps to my tastes)
-Xanthe Chaos (I don't know why this one ranks so high but my games on it tend to be enjoyable)
-Clash (If you want the essence ot team tactics brought out for a fast hard hitting game this map's hard to beat. Strategicly a bit limited though).
-Path of Daggers: (I'm fairly certain that this map isn't balanced well for drakes but aside from that one of the funnest and most strategicly interesting maps)
-Geothermal (After 1 game)
-Castle Hopping Isle (Has some substancial balancing issues but still leads to many a fun game).
-Loris River (this is one of my most commonly played 2vs2 not because I like the design so much but because for some reason I have consistantly had better luck getting people to join it than any 2vs2 other than isars).
-Underworld (If I want a match like Isars except better, this is my goto)
-Hamlets (I just find this one kind of bland and cramped. Can stalemate)
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"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Velensk wrote:I played a game on it. I'm not sure if/how much it'll help you but I'll attach the replay for you.

I suspect that it'll be a rather fun map to play but I'm not sure how balanced it is. Also, it's a little hard on my head, especially the initial village grab, but that may just be because I'm not used to it. The rush distances are tiny and so the fighting is sure to be fast and furious (which I suspect might cause some problems if everyone knows what they're doing). That said, I certainly don't have enough experience to say anything definative about where the problems actually are (if they are there) except that I would not want to play against loyalists on this map as drakes. That looks like a very not fun excursive in having your saurians zoned out of being able to do anything while your drakes can battle it out with mermen in the fords and spearmen in the rough. As for how this might be balanced out: I don't know if you've ever been around geysers but they usually have a kind of very grimy sand about them composed of all the salts and minerals that they belch out. It doesn't look anything like the sparkly wesnoth sand you have to work with but it wouldn't be out of place in the setting.

-I think I'd prefer if the fronts were just a hair wider but I can't say how much this is a personal preference and how much this would help balance.
-I do think that it might be interesting if you made the map a little wider. Obviously you couldn't do this without quite a bit of work (and probably making lateral movement easier [and probably an extra hex at the starting castles while you're at it]) but I think that it could create another primary front focused from the outside keeps rather than the inner keep. To some extent that exists already but you have good access to it from the center.
Sorry but i cannot even try to watch the replay without the newest dev version and the hard disk of the wesnothing computer is already crowded. Why insisting on finding opponents on dev branch anyway, to include Khalifate, or maybe just general dev branch testing? Sure the intent is noble, but otherwise i had problems with tracking down players even on the stable. I will try to watch it later, although map already saw many tests, it feels good. What i need is a battle of aces, with noone messing up in the first ten turns.

I think your concerns on a loys vs drakes are valid to a degree that at least it requires my dedicated attention. Furthermore i am interested in loyalists vs rebels, and other drakes matchups.

When do you have the time for a testmatch? Tell and let me settle the first open geothermal day at that time.



Oh, postscript about the sand. Yes, i was aware that blackish sand, but was uncertain about whether its amount could make one hex of terrain in size. Despite that, if there would be black sand desert terrain in the editor, i would use that gladly. If in the long run the lava for drakes proven to be insufficient, i will reconsider using the one we have. We can say this is a latent request forwarded to graphical artists, if they ever read the multiplayer subforum.
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Velensk »

Thursday is probably the next day I know I'll have all the time I need.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Velensk wrote:Thursday is probably the next day I know I'll have all the time I need.
Good. Stable or development server? I'll try to make some space until if you pick the latter.
Is 9:00 GMT good for you?
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Velensk »

9:00 GMT is 4:00 in the morning where I am now. Perhaps you could push it back a few hours to 13:00 GMT?

Either stable or development is fine. Were it not for the difficulty of finding players I'd prefer the development.
"There are two kinds of old men in the world. The kind who didn't go to war and who say that they should have lived fast died young and left a handsome corpse and the old men who did go to war and who say that there is no such thing as a handsome corpse."
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

No problem at all, 13:00 GMT then. Upon agreement we move to the dev, but we meet at the stable.

So, if anyone else is interested, this is the time to try!
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

Post by Horus2 »

Wetworks
Image:


History

4p_Wetworks is my second 2v2 map for the contest. Serene and simple by the looks, but that is just the vast greens and saturated blues fooling the careless observer; it is vicious to the core, forcing players to do vicious circles around the vicious middle lake. To reach this effect, i placed sunken castles on the middle of the north and the south areas. This is a lot like Badlands, where the design often makes side-switching possible, but here is even more emphasis on that rotation. The first playable version was ready in 8 workhours, but it required nearly as many again to make the cfg work. Shoutout here: big thanks for the help, zookeeper!



What makes this map unique

Rotation around center

The main concept behind the map was to make a map with a lot of castle switches going on, which is completely unlikely in any of the current mainline maps. Waltzing around the lake generates enough thrill to supply a small city!

Different roles for the team members

If one player rotates clockwise and the opponent rotates counter-clockwise, that is not a rotation at all. To make the idea work, players of the team have to fulfill different roles, with the starting player attacking and the following player defending against the starting opponent. In all the other 2v2s, the two players are equal and usually their soldiers are usually deployed on the same front, so this is a pretty big deal. Also, starting players tend to accumulate more villages... could it be that players are not even equally important?

Different mission objectives

Well, one testgame was enough for the map to turn out very soon that the most effective strategy is to let the 3rd and 4th player gradually lose all the villages, and command only the leftover units and the leader, aka zero upkeep army. Of course that would be very unfair and unfun. Therefore i had to make a new scenario objective to maintain balance between team members. The new rule says that if at the end of any turn from the 5th, you control 4 or less villages, you lose. This is the meat of the map, and allow me to translate it to how it feels: you basically skip the whole midgame, death is in a moment's notice as you are trying to defuse a ticking bomb you are sitting on, wires are everywhere and none of them are colour-coded for your convenience. You are making attacks not because you have a clear advantage, but if you can steal a village, you can give one of yours in the back country to your ally, who needs it like a piece of bread. Communication has never been so important in Wesnoth, since you can even finish your own ally (and thus yourself as well)! Despite that, i can recommend it for casual games too, because it is fast-paced without being a small map having an uncannily low village count, and at least you won't suffer for too long if your random teammate happens to be a weaksauce. So it has its merits, all is just the matter of perspective and personal preferences.

Flyers vs swimmers balance

Swimmers get a relatively free access to all the area of the map and able to help to form a defense line. Once in, they can easily lock the middle lake, which is the most important crossing point for flyers, who are rather into sneaking into enemy territory and setting multiple threats to the villages.



How can you help the development of 4p_Wetworks

Description

I still need to come up with a good-sounding description for the map in the map-selecting menu.

Rate the map

Similarly as with Geothermal above, you can rate this map by measuring it against mainline 2v2 maps.

Be good at the game and volunteer for testgames

It is very hard to arrange a 2v2 with decent players. Join the maptesting brigade!
The main concerns to look at are the flyers vs swimmers balance, the position of the rivers, the usefulness of bats and falcons, and the difficulty of keeping five villages.
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

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Tomorrow will be an open day to test the 2v2 maps detailed above (and the latest one which hasn't yet) with the author!

You can find me there from 14:00 GMT.

Help filling up the player slots!
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

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Bath of Glory
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

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Heart Mountains' Caves
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History

Just like old Hornshark, it was not my map, i merely gained the rigths from original author Sulik to maintain it. This is the main reason why there are no mind-boggling and earth-shaking weird elements in it. Regardless, it is a nice map, and there is always place for a new nice map in the data/multiplayer/ folder. Thematically, while little spots of brigth green in a completely paved cave interior looks odd, it has a pleasant retro-futuristic vibe - the functional elements standing out serves perspicuity. However, previously it had eight villages per side, and it needed to be cut.



What makes this map unique

This is possibly the most compact map i have seen. The distance of frontline villages is the absolute minimum, thus even 5mp infantry units can quickly start to push and fall back. To withstand the long and hard pressure of these masses, a straigth defense line with two villages and elevated ground spreads the force. At turn 2, every own village can be grabbed, but it is also an advantage for the attacker, because none of the villages are being far off from the main direction of the pushes. Continuing the tradition of Sablestone Delta, p1 starts outside the keep to lessen the first impact of a chaotic rush.
The lack of great uses for flyers of Knalga and Undead is forgivable, because a tiny map favours exactly these two factions. Drakes are, like in the case of Den of Onis, get the lava treatment; seeing if it is actually useful still must be in the focus of research. Regrouping the defenders to the other flank is very easy, but since the divider is rudimental, so is regrouping the attackers. Stealing villages is not impossibly hard, but for that to happen, the main army has to keep the defenders busy at all times. For example, if the defending leader also joins the fight in the beginning of the match, the other side will likely stay occupied.
If you liked Hamlets and Howling Ghost Badlands, you might as well want to play both at the same time.
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Re: Horus2's maps - Wear your hardhat

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Devious Dockyard
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