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-   -   Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ? (http://forum.shrapnelgames.com/showthread.php?t=48448)

Campaigner February 25th, 2012 02:37 PM

Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
So this guy Edi (where's the mumintroll smiley when you need it?? :p) was on another forum I frequent and talked about Conquest of Elysium III.
It sounded good so I read a little about it, checked his AAR of Barras the Necromancer but it has the same problems as Illwinters other titles....

  • Outdated graphics & animations
  • No tactical combat (TC)
  • A bit old userinterface
About the graphics, why use ancient squares for units like this:

http://media.desura.com/cache/images.../map_demon.png




....when you can make it like THIS: http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/ap...g?t=1307478453




And the Age of Wonders: Shadow Magic graphics are from 2003 at most! Yet here we have a game where the graphics look even older....:hurt:




To make it even worse (yes, that's possible), even the original Age of Wonders looks better than CoE III....!


http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/ap...g?t=1287193172


So, how do you explain that?
I guess you can't afford a graphicsengine (though the AoW engines should be really cheap now).




The userinterface seems acceptable though. In the first YouTube Paul video, he plays as a Necromancer, and you can't see how many dead there are in a certain square can't be seen unless you click 'special powers' or I'm missing something....




Missing Tactical Combat is another big thing to me. Again, Age of Wonders was good back in 1999(!) and really good in 2003 with AoW: Shadow Magic but still you persist in having some abstract autobattle instead....




Everything else seems good though, including the sound. That seems really good from what I've heard.




I've known for some years now that Illwinter makes deep games with lots of content and it's frustrating to not being able to play them due to bad graphics, outdated UI and no tactical combat.

Annette February 27th, 2012 09:17 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Campaigner,

Your complaints are about a game not published by the company that hosts these forums. I've moved your thread from our general discussion area to the forum where we offer an earlier version of the game free of charge. Rather than troll our forums, you 're more likely to be heard by the game's developers if you were to post your comments on the official CoE3 forum.

Edi February 27th, 2012 09:47 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Questions about Conquest of Elysium 3 don't really belong here, since Shrapnel Games is not the publisher for that title. The official CoE3 forums are the Desura forums for CoE3.

I will try to answer your questions as best I can:

First off, you must understand the differences between Illwinter Game Design and Triumph Studios. Triumph is a full time game development house with hired employees, offices and quite a bit in the way of resources. Illwinter is two guys developing games as a hobby on their free time AFTER their day jobs.

In the same vein, Triumph Studios has a dedicated team doing graphics and animation full time. I know Lennart Sas of old, during the days of AoW1, and in addition to being one of the head honchos and lead programmers at Triumph, he is also a first rate artist, who did a lot of the graphics for AoW1.

Illwinter has Kristoffer to do the graphics, and he is also quite superb as an artist, especially doing 2D sprites. The problem being that he has thousands of them to do all on his own and make everything else fit. Doing animated sequences would require doing a crapload more of them. There is just no way Illwinter has the same kind of resources.

Then there is the stylistic and philosophical differences. Some of the graphics from CoE3, if you cut away the colored squares from army background, are arguably superior to many of the unit graphics from AoW1 (some of the animated units look downright crude, especially if you scale them up).

AoW2 added 3D graphics for quite a few things. Not feasible within the engine limitations of CoE3, not to mention again the amount of work and available resources.

As far as the game interface goes, there are already mods available to prettify the CoE3 interface from the very basic thing that it is by default.

And with regard to "ancient squares", is "ancient hex grid" (which the AoW series uses) somehow inherently superior? It gives you a slightly different look for when you do multiunit graphics, because it's either 1, 2, 3 or 4 hex instead of squares, so the alignment is going to look like the halfling level 2 town in your screencap.

As far as the automatically resolved battle, that is a design decision made by Illwinter and because it fits with the concept of CoE3, which is really an upgrade of CoE2. If you ever used Fast Combat in AoW1, you would note that it is very, very similar to how CoE3 does things. Only the FC mechanics of AoW1 are technically inferior to the combat system of CoE3 in many respects.

If you want a more straight up comparison, look up Warlords 3: Darklords Rising, which is in many respects closer to CoE3 than AoW is. There are similarities and dissimilarities between all of them.


It is easy to produce criticisms based on superficial things unless you take the time to properly take into account all the relevant factors. Doing a nuanced analysis that does so is more time consuming and may yield surprising results.

Soyweiser February 28th, 2012 07:56 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Campaigner, never ever try to look for roguelikes. Or dwarf fortress, or muds, or any other deep game that does not have your precious "modern graphics".

Also, looking at your examples, while they look nice they are actually not that good GUI designs. In the first screenshot CoE3 the fog of war and other units are clearly defined. (red and grey borders for the units). In the age of wonders shadow magic you have to look closely at the screen to find the different units. (Or, have a lot of experience with the game so you tune out all the pretty little useless eye candy. It is very easy for new players to miss the little grey shields next to the combat units in age of wonders shadow magic. (I have had that problem myself. WTF whas that blob not part of the background?).

All that graphical eye candy does one other thing, it needlessly increases specs for users. Not all gamers have high end computers you know. (It also makes it a lot more difficult to port games to mac/linux/unix).

Age of wonders is also a game series that was not that well supported. Bit of a stupid example to put next to a game development company that even in their spare time still releases patches for 5 year old games.

Apart from that, you might want to familiarize yourself with software development before you comment on organizations doing this. (If you are familiar with it, I apologize for the remark. But then you clearly don't understand it and should look for other job opportunities better suited to you).

(And the funniest thing is, you know what would happen if CoE3 had age of wonders like graphics, a guy like the OP would come along and compare it to Heroes of might and magic, and also complain. Small development teams cannot win the graphics rat race).

Edit:
2 more things:
1. good troll dude :D
2. if you want to play age of wonders, go play age of wonders.

John_Madlock March 2nd, 2012 11:01 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Campaigner (Post 796764)

....when you can make it like THIS: http://cdn.steampowered.com/v/gfx/ap...g?t=1307478453

This is awful lack of clarity.

Gandalf Parker March 2nd, 2012 11:38 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
I dont understand the "why cant you make this" when he is showing us "this".
If it already exists, then what is the problem?
Personally I think it would make more sense to ask them why they cant make games like ours. That is what I feel is more generally lacking.

Campaigner March 2nd, 2012 08:26 PM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Annette,

I choosed between this and Shrapnel General. I thought this belonged in Shrapnel General.
I can imagine the response I'd get if I post there. Guess I have to try ^^


Edi,

I remember that Illwinter was two guys but didn't know if they STILL were only two guys.
I thought they could just buy an engine and have much of the work already done. I know there are soundlibraries to use freely, perhaps there are graphicslibraries as well.
Anyway, they should have gotten some help with the graphics.

I'll give you that the units (when not moving) can be considered equal to AoW.
Mods shouldn't be needed to make the graphics better :/

Yes, hexes are superior to squares.
With hexes, the distance to surrounding hexes are constant. With squares, it's not.
And hexes looks better. AoW f.e.

Yeah I figured the combat was a designdecision. I suspect it's due to not needing much animations that way :p
And it better be an upgrade to an 15 year old game!
I've tried the AoW FC but never really analyzed it.


Soyweiser,

Don't worry. I won't. I want to actually USE my GTX 570 :)

Yes, in CoE III it's clearly defined but looks really, friggin bad for a game in 2012(!)
Sometimes in AoW you might not notice a unit if you just glance at the map or if it blends in with the background (free camoflague! :D).
It should have had an option to highlight units in some way, I'll give you that.

Quote:

All that graphical eye candy does one other thing, it needlessly increases specs for users. Not all gamers have high end computers you know. (It also makes it a lot more difficult to port games to mac/linux/unix).
'Needlessly' you say....Ok, if you don't value immersion then so be it.

You serious..? "highend computer" to run AoW:SM..? It was released in 2003 or so and will most likely run perfectly at the mainsteam models of two older generation of graphicscards! (I'm a computerenthusiast)
If that's a 'highend computer' to you then it's seriously time to upgrade!

As for porting, Unix and Linux don't have enough players to make it worthwhile (Stardock says this).
Mac, I don't know. Was gonna say that Blizzard doesn't seem to have problems to port games to it but then again they got some more resources than most companies ;)

I don't wanna play the AoW series any more (in SP atleast). Its combatmechanics are flawed, the AI isn't good enough and you can get to highend units FAR too quickly.


Gandalf,

I want fantasy TBS games with depth but also great graphics and UI.
Compared to CoE III, AoW lacks AI, some depth and you also can train tier 2 & 3 units FAR too quickly. In CoE III you can't get Swordsmen until like 5 turns into the game and Heavy Infantry until 20 turns or so.
Then the big guys (Demon Lords) aren't safe to get until 100 turns.

So basically I want 'my ultimate fantasy TBS game' but every single game so far lacks major things. And with CoE III I got a bit frustrated that Illwinter is STILL doing these types of games I don't enjoy.

Edit: LOL! Was it you Soyweiser that added that tag?? Ah man :D

Edi March 3rd, 2012 10:47 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
So, essentially you're a whiny little brat with an entitlement complex? Because, to put it bluntly, that's exactly the way you sound.

"Waaaaahhh! How dare they not cater to my exact desires, even though I didn't even bother to check into what they were doing or give feedback?! How dare they develop a game without hiring an entire team to do high end graphics at great expense to satisfy my sense of entitlement?"

That's what your argument basically boils down to, now that I've seen the reply. You came in assuming things and demonstrating you know nothing about software development and then went off on a half-cocked tirade on that basis.

You're also complaining how mods should not be needed to make the graphics look better, so what is your take on the likes of Morrowind, Oblivion, Skyrim and a truckload of other games where the stock graphics look like crap and graphics added via mod make everything look much better?

As far as the porting to Linux or Unix goes, with regard to Illwinter, you have that arse-backwards. They develop their games on Unix, then port them to Windows and Mac.

And your admission on just how much you actually seem to know about AoW mechanics and the comparisons you make with CoE3 mechanics, are you kidding me? "I've tried FC, but never bothered to analyze it." ROFLOLOLOL!

Here's a hint: There's a big effing article at AoW Heaven, based on this thread, which goes on at some length and has some serious discussion by people who know what they are talking about.


Seriously, if the high end graphics are that much of a make or break issue, why don't you stop beating this dead horse, sod off and go look into something like Masters of the Broken World or other things. That one even uses a hex grid.

Although if you want to find out current information, have fun learning Russian, since there's almost nothing on the English language internet on that except a previews.

Gandalf Parker March 3rd, 2012 11:56 AM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Campaigner (Post 797462)
I remember that Illwinter was two guys but didn't know if they STILL were only two guys.
I thought they could just buy an engine and have much of the work already done. I know there are soundlibraries to use freely, perhaps there are graphicslibraries as well.
Anyway, they should have gotten some help with the graphics.

That would be a new game. This is not a new game. Its an upgrade of an old game.

And Illwinter did get help with graphics. They had an "intern" for awhile with Dom3. It didnt last long. They do not "hire" people. Its a friend/hobby business. Unless someone in their friends circle who speaks swedish volunteers, its not likely to grow.

Quote:

Yes, in CoE III it's clearly defined but looks really, friggin bad for a game in 2012(!)
Its CoE II upgraded. The CoE2 people and many of the Dom3 people are very happy with it.

Quote:

As for porting, Unix and Linux don't have enough players to make it worthwhile (Stardock says this).
Mac, I don't know. Was gonna say that Blizzard doesn't seem to have problems to port games to it but then again they got some more resources than most companies ;)
You seem to be missing another note. This is a LINUX game. Its ported to Windows and Mac.

Quote:

I want fantasy TBS games with depth but also great graphics and UI.
But what you want, is not Illwinter. An Indie company. Sorry about that. Comparing them to games created by cubicle jockeys and swarms of code-monkeys is complimentary. But I dont think it will sway them. They both have real jobs. They do this as a hobby and then let us in on it.

Dont you have a hobby? Do you do it well enough that people pester you that you should do it as a job? Do they tell you that you should do it different, lower your rates, make a bunch of bucks from it? Ive had that. I can totally feel for Illwinter. I think its great that they are holding out against turning their hobby into work. Im going to enjoy what they throw my direction rather than chance blowing them off the subject entirely by insulting them. Just IMHO of course

samoht March 3rd, 2012 10:28 PM

Re: Why can't you ever make a fantasy TBS with modern graphics and UI ?
 
I'd probably just stop feeding the troll, guys.


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