Payday (The Circe Saga IV)
The Circe Saga Part IV: Payday (July 2005)
||AoM: The Titans
'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 email@example.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.
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|Author||Comments & Reviews ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )|
Looks great; ill play and maybe give you a review and some feedback :)
[Edited on 07/03/05 @ 04:15 PM]
He Great its up !
As one of the playtesters of this scenario I would like to recommend this to download.
If you like a challenging , no walkover game which contains nice mindbreaking puzzles ,driven by ingenious triggerwork, and a hardcore B&D battle driven by a very flexible and challenging ai file, custom written for this scenario, then this scenario is something for you. The gameplay is very smooth (although there is a lot of complex trigger work you won't feel that while you play the game it all flows very natural)
The story of the 4 parts in this saga tells about what happend to Circe while the heroes ( Arkantos and his posse) from the original AoM campaign made by Ensemble Studios had their adventures....The map design fits perfectly into the original map designs by Es and this scenario gives you the feel that you really get a peak about what happend "behind the scenes" of the original campaign.
Well obviously I wont review/rate this game. Not only because I never review games but also because I was a playtester and am a fellow Tsunami team member.
But in all honesty I can say that one of the first games I ever downloaded from AomH was the first part of the Circe saga and all including this last part where very enjoyable to play....good , rocksolid scenario design work which shows the hard work and the effort put into it.
To be short: Download and enjoy !
personal message to Felix:
Great job man ! I am glad that you could finish and release this game although you are very busy in your real life !
[Edited on 07/05/05 @ 03:06 AM]
How do you use the spoilers it is really really hard otherwise it is pretty good
ok I figured stuff out. but I'm stuck on the second relic!! How do I teleport where the relic went?
The spoiler document answers this and other questions. If you cannot read it, you need to install Acrobat Reader first on your machine. You can download this program free from countless sources on the net.
Well, I nearly pulled off a point because of the sometimes too hard riddles (see the first two relics), although the enclosed walkthrough is a big plus. Moreover it took me literally hours to complete this, which was, well... fun and frustrating at the same time. Maybe I should have played only half of it today and the other half tomorrow or so. (It was the B&D part which took me so long.) The length isn't necessarily a bad thing though...
I also had to watch the intro a few times because it wasn't skippable and the ending was rather unsatisfying: I played hours just for a small message telling me I won. A nice ending cinematic would have been better.
Well, all in all it was a nice scenario though: The various riddles, the very good AI (I don't understand anything about AI, but I think the way the computer played was much fun to play against), the hidden easter eggs (like the wood piles and shipwrecks etc.), the walkthrough, the mix of game types etc. Very nice.
Best of all is the voice acting :-). Did you buy the sounds or record them on your own?
VERY good. Very challenging but still beatable, even for a bad player like me. The AI was a challenge all the way through the scn, which is a big advantage to trigger-controlled enemies.
Although some riddles were too hard IMO, like the teleporter, this brainwork contributes to the scn.
Well, of course the game was very creative with those riddles, the recurring curse GP, the various characters, the storyline etc. I also think the use of AI is a plus here.
Still I can't give the full score here because Circe already occurred in the AoM main campaign, just like General Melagius. You even used the same map. This is actually very nice because it looks great and it reminds the AoM campaign, but it is certainly a minus in creativity...
All in all still very good.
Map Design: 4
Not much to say here: The nature looked great, the visual effects (like the desert dwellers' camp) were beautiful and I think the original map had been embellished a lot.
Still the whole eyecandy stuff was not that impressive like the work of the masters in this area, like Vandhaal, Oscar and Guardian.
Very appealing story. Great objectives, hints and spotlight, as well as good-looking cinematics.
Nothing to add here.
To conclude, I think this is the work of a perfectionist. Everything seems to had been planned into detail. Also the AI and voice acting enforce this impression.
The only real flaw, if I may call it like this, is the play time... I don't really know how to express this, but afterwards I somehow felt like I wasted one hour or so because the scenario could have been shorter. This was due to the challenging AI though, which kept me busy for the whole time.
Keep up the great work :-)!
[Edited on 07/08/05 @ 02:19 PM]
Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad you liked it!
About the "unsatisfying ending": You're right about that, but since the campaign version of the Circe Saga will feature a cinematic sceanario at the end I never even thought about including one here.
The spoken dialog was taken from the original sound files installed with AoM, AoM:TT and 'The Golden Gift'. I had to edit a few of them, but you will find most of them in Ensemble's campaigns. That was an interesting boarder condition to work with!
Oh, I forgot something important:
Although it might sounds stupid, the day/night circle is neat, but it terribly strains the eyes when you have to play for several hours :-D... Maybe that's the reason why ES didn't include it per default in random maps.
And yes, my room is lit well enough ;-).
Maybe you should choose some less extreme lightings.
[Edited on 07/09/05 @ 02:51 PM]
Very good scenario, Felix! A fitting conclusion(?) to the Circe Saga, of which I have enjoyed every scenario.
Playability was very fun. I enjoyed it immensly. I wanted to use the walkthrough as little as possible when playing, and so I found a few parts particularly hard (i'll get to that in balance). There was a nice variance in gameplay - the beginning RPG-esque area, where you have to collect four relics was expertly pulled off, each one using a unique and creative puzzle which the player had to solve. There were no bugs that I came across, thank god, and all in all, you pulled the scenario off very professionally. Small things like the gold chat appearing when you regain the Curse power are perfect! The B+D part, however, was not the greatest of scenario feats. I guess the AI was very well done, the attacks came at good point in the scenario, with a lot of soldiers at once which posed serious threats. However, when I attack, I found a complete and utter mass of soldiers who had been created near the uppermost fortress area. Small things like this detract from it, especially as such a force (which wasn't moving) took me completely by surprise and my army posed no threat to it. I also felt that all the work on getting the relics didn't amount to much. I spent a long time finding those relics, and god powers gained didn't particularly help me fight Melagius. Overrall, the playability was very good, fun and unique.
Balance was very good. Some parts I found too hard. For example, getting the second relic took a very long time to get. This I consider a problem with the scenario, there was no hint whatsoever (I believe) that I should do certain things and as such, it took a while for me to work it out. Furthermore, I, for some reason, had to do something particularly.. strange (just before you meet Chiron). I love the idea, very creative, but hard for one to work out. I actually had to check the walkthrough here, it simply didn't guess that the solution was such. It could have (literally) been anything random, because there was no hint or reasoning for the puzzle. I may have had to make a roc spawn somehow to transport my heroes, for all I knew. Mostly, the balance was good. All the other relic-grabs were at a nice difficulty. I particularly liked the desert relic, the tricks there were very cool, and the surprises at each one were nicely difficult and surprising.
Very creative! The bonuses spread throughout the entire map when B+D'ing were very nice to find, certainly a fun addition to the game. I don't really want to go into detail about how the relics were creative - they simply were. I've never come across such puzzles and ideas in a scenario before, and thus it deserves mazimum points on creativity.
Map Design: 4
Map Design was good. Nothing special, though. Some parts of the island looked no better than a randomly generated map (which, according to the review guideines, is a 3), however, some parts were very well done, and realistically suited the setting. I took the points off not simply for the design I mentioned, but for the design of Melagius' fortress-city. This was boring and uninspiring to look at, with buildings dotted throughout the grass. To be frank, this is something I would expect to find in a normal game, where the player does not have the artistic abilities on the editor in order to design his city.
However, I do like the general realistic approach, and the rocks/rock sprites, along with grass and bushes were effectively used. If Melagius had a well design fortress-city, this would undoubtedly gain a 5.
The story was good, the instructions were effectively displayed, particularly in the objectives menu. You used the sounds from ES well, as well as told people what to do succinctly and... well.
However, this loses a point because sometimes, the instructions were not good enough. Because (I believe) you used pre-ready sounds to mould your dialogue around, I felt at times that not enough information was given to me. Somethings things didn't seem to fit, and I wasn't given enough information at other times. Particularly at the beginning. The story also seemed a little lacklustre. I liked the general idea, of regaining the island from melagius (which again, I felt wasn't explained well enough with the sounds you sought to use.) As mentioned, I also thought the instructions for the second relic were lacking. It's one thing have a good and hard puzzle, but it's another when you don't even know how to approach the said puzzle.
Very good and fun scenario!
I don't think I will replay it, as is the way with difficult and time consuming things, but I very much like what you have accomplished here.
A better ending would be lovely, but I understand the campaign will produce this for me.
I think I have mainly concentrated on the negative things in the scenario, but obvious, the negatives do not overshadow all the brilliant parts to it (otherwise the rating would perhaps be lower.) Well done!
[Edited on 07/10/05 @ 03:56 PM]
Thanks for the feedback! But PLEASE, take the hints about how to solve the puzzles out of your review!
A few comments from my side:
About the "mass of soldiers": The AI creates troops just as you do, so they need to be assembled somewhere. They did not move because they were awaiting orders - if you got closer, they would have attacked your units, otherwise they would simply wait until the AI decided it was time to attack your base again.
The map design: Is it a 3 or a 4? Can you update the text to match the rating or vice versa?
I don't quite understand your comment about "boring and uninspiring". You refer to the part which contains the market and the smitty, right? What would you have expected there? (I'm not questioning your rating, I'm trying to understand it.)
Instructions: It is stated at the very beginning that the relics have to be captured because they grant blessings to the opponent. What's not to understand about that? (Again, just trying to understand your problem.)
Hints for the puzzles: I guess this is just a personal thing. I like them hard, and I think I gave the player enough to work with (one of the statues being a valkyrie, two paths for two people etc.). Silently spawning a roc somewhere would have been absurd, I don't think my solutions fall into this category. I'm an engineer - in my job you get used to solving problems without "divine" help.
Again, thanks for the feedback!
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