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Payday (The Circe Saga IV)

Author File Description
Felix Hermansson
File Details
Version: AoM: The Titans
The Circe Saga Part IV: Payday (July 2005)

'Payday' is the fourth and final part of my Circe Saga. After her journeys to Erebus and the Norselands Circe returns to her home island of Aeaea to claim the price Hades has promised her for her help during the War of the Trident. But not everyone will approve of that – certainly not the young Greek General Melagius of Sikyos who has assumed power there. Circe will have to take back what is hers by force.

To play this scenario, first copy the file 'Payday.scx' into your 'scenarios' folder. Next the file 'circe04p3.xs' goes into the game folder '..Microsoft GamesAge of Mythologyai2' (and NOT into the folder named '..My GamesAge of MythologyAI2'!!). Finally the folder 'cdialog' goes into the game folder '..Microsoft GamesAge of Mythologysound'. (You have to copy the whole folder, not just the single files!)

Since the scenario makes heavy use of existing sound files, you need the English versions of AoM, the 'AoM: The Titans' expansion plus the free 'The Golden Gift' campaign for it to work properly. If you have other languages installed, or if you don't have 'The Golden Gift', you'll experience some problems with the spoken dialog. The scenario is still playable that way, though.

I would appreciate any honest feedback, good or bad. Please tell me what you liked, what you disliked, and especially, tell me why. If you have any ideas on how to improve it, all the better.
Please leave your comments here or send them via e-mail to hoodncloak@hotmail.com. Oh, and add 'AoM' to the subject and use proper language, otherwise your message will probably be deleted by the spam filter.

Some more comments from my side:

The scenario is optimized for a screen resolution of 1240x1028, but it should work with lower resolutions as well (it does with 1024x768 anyway.) It features more than 500 triggers, so slower machines may get some problems. There shouldn't be too much lag though, the map is not that big.

There are no difficulty levels in this scenario. Play it on easy, I have used the hints section of the objectives page for additional information. But don't let yourself be fooled: As in the other scenarios of the Circe Saga, you'd better not expect a pushover here! The difficulty level has been described by one of my playtesters as "not impossible, but damn close", which is exactly what I have been aiming at. You don't need to be some kind of ueber-gamer to beat it, but still - you have been warned...

In case you get stuck anywhere I have included the file 'Payday - Spoilers.pdf'. If you absolutely cannot figure out one of the puzzles or always get crushed by the AI in battle you can find some helpful hints there. Don't use it too early though, try to solve the puzzles yourself!

And a final note:

Thanks to fellow Tsunami Studios members King Jared and The Vandhaal for playtesting support.

Have fun!
Pages: « First « 1 [2] 3 » Last »
AuthorComments & Reviews   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
Shrink Ah, I thought the 4.0 looked a little low!
Rating updated to match the text. Apologies for that.

I've attempted to remove all explanations on how to solve your puzzles from my review. Sorry for including them, I wasn't thinking. If there are still some there, just specify and I'll remove them.

About the beginning instructions: Apologies again! I evidently missed the explanation of the relics or soon forgot about it. My mistake.

Indeed, spawning a roc would have been absurd. I used that as a example to demonstrate how random I felt the two path puzzle was - though I admit two heroes and two paths makes some sense.

Mass of soldiers: I understand that they need to come together somewhere, but I believe this could be pulled off in a better way. By 'mass of soldiers', I meant that there were at least seventy people there. That's more than two armies (or two selection limits) worth, and when I came across them, they appeared idle.

Thanks for addressing my points.

Just a couple of other note: How exactly does one pronouse Aeaea? I was taught that in such ancient words, one makes the sound of the second vowel. However, it doesn't seem to work here.

Also, at one point during the attack and defend area of the scenario, a very large fleet of ships, along with many transport ships full of soldiers surprise attacked my city from the sea. Within minutes, they had completely wiped out my city as my armies couldn't make it back in time. Things like this were brilliant! After this, I had to load my save game, because I had no chance against Melagius. I just think it was a nice and unexpected touch.

[Edited on 07/10/05 @ 04:03 PM]

Felix Hermansson
File Author
For all I know, "Aeaea" is pronounced "Ae-Ae-AH" (three distinct syllables), where "Ae" is pronounced something like the "a" in "way" and "AH" like the "a" in "father".

Mass of soldiers: If anybody knows a feasible alternative - I'm always willing to learn something new.
The way I implemented it the troops are massing at this point (and at a second one in the village) before they are assigned to an attack army. From a tactical point of view, they are very well placed to defend the fortress as well, as you found out.
I could have set different gathering points for different units, but then the mixture of units used in the attacks would have been much less random. (The AI always gathers the closest units for an attack army.)

As for the surprise attack: Gotcha! ;-)
AoMPlayer000 Indeed, the surprise attacks are great :).
Wizard 9000 Playability: 3
Although the scenario was seductive, it seemed almost impossible to beat by the average player (without the walkthrough). The B&D part was easy enough though.

Balance: 4
Up until the B&D part, there really wasn't anything TOO difficult to beat, although defending the village from the pirates was a little off-kilter.

Creativity: 5
Very creative. One of the few RPGs that are as difficult as REAL RPGs! The secret tasks were the most creative part of this, for sure.

Map Design: 5
The map was well-planned. It was so easy to just re-use the Aeaea from the original campaign, so it's great that you didn't!

Story/Instructions: 5
Not much of a storyline, although the objectives were easy enough to follow, so nothing bad here.

Additional Comments:
This wraps the saga up nicely. The relic capture stage was very difficult without the walkthrough, but otherwise a great piece of work. Hope to see this in campaign form!

[Edited on 03/10/06 @ 05:18 PM]

Felix Hermansson
File Author
Thanks for the feedback, glad you liked it. Though I must say I'm a little surprised that you think the B&D part is easy. That's definitely a first!
I Love Bananas
Map Design5.0
Playability: 4
Although the map was fun most of the time, but there were some very hard parts. The riddles and quests were hard to solve, except for the desert one. I'm not at the high level required for this map, so I had to look at the spoilers several times. I also used cheats sometimes, because I couldn't get through. In the start, I encountered many problems because I always got into LOS of the Colossus, but I managed it at least. But looking at the spoilers was worth it - I got to experience more of your triggerwork. It seems like you've put a lot of work into this map - and all those quests you placed out, it saves this category from a 3.

Balance: 4
The balance was fine, mostly, because the hard parts was solving the riddles - not the fighting. Still, the build-and-destroy part was a little at the hard side. It is not something the average player can manage, especially since the enemy armies kept getting stronger and stronger as I was weakened. It could have been better if heroes was enabled, cause there was a lot of myth units. I never got the time to build up a strong enough army before it got destroyed - kinda frustrating, eh? So this was the part where I used cheats.

Creativity: 4
You did one thing wrong with this map that I don't like at all - you used the ES map as a base for further work, including many of the base objects, elevations and such. You changed the map design many places, and you also edited all of the quests, but I still dislike it. You had added more islands, much more units and more interesting gameplay, which was pretty neat. The quests and riddles was very creative, if you ask me, and the bonuses at the build-and-destroy part was also nice.

I'll have to salute you for being the first person I've ever seen successfully using the game chats. In other scenarios and campaigns, people have once in a while added a sound from the campaign, but you used many of them - and they fit in perfectly. No need for recording own sounds when you can use the original ones just as well. ;)

Map Design: 5
This was another great part - you had changed the design from the original, and added some new islands (as I already have pointed out). You also used varied terrains. The map looked very good in my opinion, and you had marked paths clearly so that it was easy to find the way once the riddles were solved. You had no exceptional eyecandy anywhere, but it was good, and perfect for the map. And that's what counts. ;)

Story/Instructions: 5
An interesting storyline, that General Melagius takes control over the island, and that Circe has to take it back. Nice subquests, keeping gameplay interesting as well. The cinematics presented what was happening well, and the chats also gave smart 'hints'. I never got lost in the objectives anywhere, except the obvious places - where there were riddles. Smart thing to include the spoilers, or else it would be impossible to get anywhere for the most of us! Also, the hints were helpful. They supported the general objectives well.

[Edited on 12/04/06 @ 01:32 PM]

Map Design3.0
Playability: 5.0
The playability was great, smooth and polished. Although the instructions were lacking at some points (only affects the story/instructions rating), once you knew what to do it was a pleasure to actually do so. No lag, nearly no bugs whatsoever (I'll list the bugs in the additional comments, and even though it's quite a list I'm really being a nitpicker and they're all just really minor bugs), and triggers were high priority when they needed to be. Besides this polished-ness, the scenario was just very fun and that's what weighs equally heavy!

Balance: 3.0
Capturing the different relics I found generally easy, except for the portal one but I'll get back to that in the creativity part. Even on the heavily guarded desert-ish island, which - I think - was supposed to be hard, I was able just to go ashore quickly, then grab the relic and get back into the boat without losing a single hit point. The build and destroy part, however, was extremely hard to beat. I am pretty sure that people who don't play supremacy often will have some big trouble with this. I was beaten once by the invasion from the sea, and the second time I massed an soldiers and started to trade early but still barely breached through his defences. Even though I have no trouble with some more challenging scenarios, the first part was so much easier than the build and destroy part that I have to call this scenario not-so-very balanced - thus a 3.0!

Creativity: 4.0
Over all I think this scenario is quite creative. Even though you've used existing characters and built your scenario on an existing setting, you added some features that brought this mark up to a 4.0. The puzzles are naturally very creative and your use of the existing dialogue sounds really added to the atmosphere. Some things (the colussus puzzle, some dialogue sounds) were even a little bit far-fetched, as if you didn't know what to use all the weird features of existing AoM units for and thought "heck, let's just make a puzzle out of it", but even those far-fetched things I enjoyed! On the other hand, the objective to gather relics is decent but a bit dull and not very creative.

Map design: 3.0
The map design is boring but functional - conform the original campaigns. The map wasn't entirely made by you - you have recycled and embellished an existing map - but the embellishments you added are surely nice in some places. However, you really should've added more elevation here and there - although I understand you probably didn't want the map to differ too much from the original, no one would notice it if you had embellished it further. Next to that, I have to say that the city was very, very disappointing: here I really wished you would have taken more freedom to change the city to something better looking. There are certainly some ways around the problems the AI might have with a more eyecandied city. A 3.0 would normally be the mark for maps with map design like a random map. But I think that (unofficial?) rule is a bit old, and when I see all the great map design available in the downloads section I hesitate between giving a 2 and a 3. However, because the map design is so functional and because of the embellishments, I think a 3.0 is suited.

Story/Instructions: 4.0
Inventing a story that sort of continues the original ES campaign is very hard and even risky, but you've managed to invent one that fits to the original campaign very smoothely. However, because of the limitations of the original campaign - the characters are very shallow and apparently only think about fighting, revenge, and pleasing the gods - you sticked to this. I would have loved to see a campaign or scenario about "the people behind the soldiers", and it would've been only a small step from your current position. Your story, even though, as mentioned, brilliantly glued to the existing story and quite creative, lacked depth and I would give it a 3.5. The instructions, luckily, pull the mark up a bit to the 4.0 given. Your instructions were, although lacking here and there, clearly written with (just as the dialogues by the way) proper spelling and grammar. In addition, you provided such a great walkthrough that I have to give you a 4.0 here.

Additional Comments
That averages to a 3.8 for this scenario! But the playability is probably what counts the heaviest if you recommend a map to your friends, and you scored high in that so I recommend everyone to download and play this map! Now I will conclude with an uncut list of things I wrote down while playing. Some negative and positive points and some bugs. I haven't double-checked anything in this list and therefore you should take it lightly.

- Map very boring and flat.
- Town very standard, conform the original campaigns.
- Amazing intro. High paced.
- Amazing use of sounds throughout the entire scenario.
- Dialogues overwrote eachother. Use a "busy" quest var for that.
- Stuck in an ugly camera angle after the speech-of-melagius cinematic.
- The fact that, when detected, you suddenly get the speech-of-melagius cinematic, can be confusing. It had been better if you had sent a message "You've been detected!" and made the cinematic start 5 seconds later.
- The dog is cool, but it sort of spoils the ability to walk in a formation properly. But this is unavoidable so it doesn't affect the rating one bit :).
- Odd, the hoplites didn't notice me even while I was standing on their toes - in daylight.
- I felt a bit lost after capturing the first relic, didn't know where to go, having forgotten I still had the longboat to use.
- The northern island puzzle isn't very logical. You could've picked a sentinel statue instead of the manticore. But I wouldn't know an equivalent for the cyclops.
- The tree-eating colossus (although the carnivoras take quite long to do some damage) and the two pathways are cool though.
- Chiron's questions are nice, but it doesn't matter what I answer :P
- When all the statues came to life after the two pathways, I had a melagius guard tower on my side. It's too nearby!
- The fourth relic wasn't revealed. Inconsequent.
- Nice pirate attack :) and surprise attacks. Damn.

And here I stopped alt-tabbing to notepad because the battle was so intense. Over all a good scenario!
Khan And Steak Nice map, I will review

[Edited on 01/30/07 @ 03:27 AM]

Map Design5.0
Playability: 4
so my tale goes like this... spending 1st dusk to explore the island, colossus walks around temple just fine. on 2nd dusk, colossus stands shaking in front of the temple, damn bug?! since day and night cycle with longer daytime. i didn't wait another day to make the move. the rest is hard combat with pursuing enemy from both land and sea. all sequencial event notifications (ie relics' whereabout) are gone forever. on desert island, those nomad greet me "noble traveller". how can i rob them of their relic? seemingly hopeless, i take a peek at the walkthrough...

Balance: 5
only if you play by book :) but judging the record, i think the author will improve it over time.

Creativity: 5
no sign of infringement of other's copyright, so far. :)

Map Design: 5
not bad

Story/Instructions: 5
either instruction or playability is to blame. no wish to lower my rating any further.

Additional Comments:
this is actually part 4 of a series. below is a text file with filename "Circe.cpx", which should be put in AoM\data folder. search and download the rest scenarios by author and rename those files as hinted by the following text, then you can enjoy a fully fledged campaign.

Circe.cpx (use text editor to replace all "{" with "less than sign" and "}" with "greater than sign"
{?xml version = "1.0" encoding = "UTF-8"?}
{campaign name = "Circe's Venture" version = "1.1"}
{BackgroundSet name = "Greece"}
{Image pos = "1"}ui\campmap_greece1{/Image}
{Image pos = "2"}ui\campmap_greece2{/Image}
{Image pos = "3"}ui\campmap_greece3{/Image}
{Image pos = "4"}ui\campmap_greece4{/Image}
{Image pos = "5"}ui\campmap_greece5{/Image}
{Image pos = "6"}ui\campmap_greece6{/Image}
{Image pos = "7" textureReplace=""}ui\campmap_greece7{/Image}
{Image pos = "8" textureReplace=""}ui\campmap_greece8{/Image}
{Image pos = "9"}ui\campmap_greece9{/Image}
{Image pos = "10"}ui\campmap_greece10{/Image}
{Image pos = "11"}ui\campmap_greece11{/Image}
{Image pos = "12"}ui\campmap_greece12{/Image}
{Scenario dispName = "The Reluctant Heroine" filename = "Circe\1c The Reluctant Heroine - AI version.scx" BackgroundSet = "Greece"}
{Scenario dispName = "Behind the Scenes" filename = "Circe\2 Behind the Scenes.scx" BackgroundSet = "Greece"}
{Scenario dispName = "Wrong Place Wrong Time" filename = "Circe\3 Wrong Place Wrong Time.scx" BackgroundSet = "Greece"}
{Scenario dispName = "Payday" filename = "Circe\4 Payday.scx" BackgroundSet = "Greece"}

this board has gone too far to ban all html markup. sorry for the wordy inconvenience.

[Edited on 04/19/07 @ 10:58 AM]

Map Design4.0
Playability: 5
Most people would be stunned if i were to say 5 but from my point of view, this scenario had all the potential gameplay ever. I must admit that the map was a bit hard, maybe a bit confusing but mostly too hard to figure out even with the hints in the objectives. I liked the fact that you would use your units in a smart and sneaky way to run through the game. Noting that I like to play a more supremacy sort of map, I still certify my owe towards this map.

Balance: 5
All seems quite balanced unless you count the advantages of the difficulty to figure out both, how to continue your missions and other related hints. Although I would seem to be critisizing your map but, from my point of view these two elements made the map better and more settled. I would surely not take a single point for such things as difficulty. :)

Creativity: 5
I thought that the map was ingenious. Not only did you use perfect ancient historical/mythological assets on your side but you also showed great trigger works that wouldn't come up to many minds nowadays. The ideas you had of your map showed depth of thinking and a clear vision of what kind of map you were making.

Map Design: 4
This seems the only element which failed a little bit compared to the rest. I would say the map has good Greek eye-candy but yet, I figured out I saw the map used when Arkantos landed on Aeaea in the AoM campaign. That wasn't a wrong thing to do since you edited it more but it isn't made of scratch so it gets one less point from me.

Story/Instructions: 4
The usage of some SFX to feature changes in your diplomacy was a good thing. I thought the objectives were clear enough but the tasks being capable of being figured out. Though, the story is clear throughout the campaign as in what you are doing and what is your status in the game. I think you should have put a little clearer hints. It still goes back to you.

Additional Comments:
As succulent as honey was the map in my opinion. Even after taking 2 points from the rating, I still would real rate this as a totally professional map. First of all, it shows your greatness at using triggers depending on your own vision of the gameplay. Seconded by the fact that you came up with a great historical/mythological event which you transformed into a saga from your own imagination. Some people may say that you used the same names of units but I would have to disagree since when making such kinds of more historically based campaigns or scenarios, it is better to keep the borders of the map into a more certified area of knowledge.

I loved the map, My honest regards, DBGT44

[Edited on 06/08/07 @ 04:10 PM]

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