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Heroes Community > Heroes 3.5 - WoG and Beyond > Thread: [Official Thread] HoMM 3: Horn of the Abyss - Announcements, Questions, Features
Thread: [Official Thread] HoMM 3: Horn of the Abyss - Announcements, Questions, Features This Popular Thread is 373 pages long: 1 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 ... 355 356 357 358 359 ... 373 · «PREV / NEXT»
Galaad
Galaad

Hero of Order
Li mort as morz, li vif as vis
posted May 11, 2019 12:57 AM
Edited by Galaad at 01:04, 11 May 2019.

Well, technically we could have a hota mod for wog, where you could enable commanders, or have a steampunk town, if that is what you like. Nobody does it out of respect for hota crew because they voiced themselves against ports -hence why the wog Cove town port was not released public.


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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted May 11, 2019 10:30 AM

Well, one thing is certain: HotA team has a soft spot for guns

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P4R4D0X0N
P4R4D0X0N


Famous Hero
posted May 11, 2019 11:58 AM

Whats the problem with steampunk and the town in general? oO

remember this town in HoMM2 and surrounding wasteland landscape?


Even the Halfling was part of this faction while Titans, Mages and Golems moved to "Tower". Boars are missing, but boar rider are more or less for Stronghold now. Imho the town fits perfectly in with the HoMM2 setting and some changes to the faction if you add the things that was planned for Forge.

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Sygfrost
Sygfrost

Tavern Dweller
posted May 11, 2019 01:18 PM

Is there a campaign editor for HotA?

Hi, may I ask if there is a campaign editor for HotA
I would to translate HotA into my native language and I can´t see any way to edit .h3c filles which are compatible only with HotA version since the original h3ccmped.exe won´t run these files.
I know there is h3hota_maped.exe for .h3m files but do you know some sort of campaign editor for Hota?

Thanks!

I like the mod very much by the way!!!
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phe
phe


Famous Hero
Life and Freedom
posted May 11, 2019 04:29 PM
Edited by phe at 16:32, 11 May 2019.

P4R4D0X0N said:
Whats the problem with steampunk and the town in general?

It's like placing staues of pirates, cowboys, steam machines and zombies with chainsaws to the Pantheon...

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Tevye
Tevye

Tavern Dweller
posted May 11, 2019 06:18 PM bonus applied by Maurice on 14 May 2019.
Edited by Tevye at 21:19, 13 May 2019.

Horn of the Abyss: A Conversation with Docent Picolan about the Factory, the Project and HoMM

Horn of the Abyss is a global unofficial expansion for Heroes of Might & Magic III. HotA is best described as an expansion pack which could have been released by the original developers from New World Computing, should the game’s development not have ended with Shadow of Death. The inception of the HotA project dates back to April 2008. The development of the first beta version took a few years; in 2011, the version 1.0 was presented to the gaming community. It featured Cove, a new town mostly populated by pirates, as well as many bugfixes and balance tweaks.

Over seven years have passed since. Over this time, the developers added a significant number of new objects for water and land, 18 new artifacts, new heroes, complete with the introduction of male and female models for each class, and a new Highlands terrain. The user interface was expanded, the vast majority of bugs and graphics flaws fixed. Online players can now enjoy the lobby server built into HD-Mod+HotA and the random map template editor. Appreciators of single-player games and well-developed stories were treated to three new campaigns, their plot woven into the history of everyone’s favorite imaginary world.

On January 1, 2019, completely out of the blue, a video emerged teasing a new faction for HotA - the Factory. The Tavern decided to take this chance to talk to Docent Picolan, the captain of HotA Crew.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTXUglrxUQc

After so many years, a new town has been announced. How do you personally feel about the stir it caused among the fans?

I feel exactly what I expected to while preparing the announcement. New towns are supposed to cause an outburst in loyal players. In this case, it is also a concept referring to a memorable event in the history of the original Heroes, plus the second new terrain to be introduced in HotA.

Naturally, the positive reaction from the community further motivates us. The town and the terrain are both extensive bodies of work, and it would be very difficult to keep them under the sheets until the very release, both in terms of administration and morale. Now that the plans have become known to many, we expect to see support not only from those inside the project, but also from outsiders.

Why a tech-heavy town? There is a considerable number of players in the community who are ambivalent about such elements. What would you like to say to placate them?

It is not really as ‘techy’ as one might think. Visually, the level of technology in the Factory does not go beyond traditional fantasy. Its style can be explained as based on the aesthetics of the novels by Jules Verne, somewhat closer to the Middle Ages, or one might say, ‘steampunk’ in the original meaning of this term. Not modern steampunk that often causes extremely ambiguous opinions, but the original take on the style as it was envisioned ca. thirty years ago. At DF2, our forum, I further elaborated on this, going a little more in-depth.

In addition, the decision to pick the Factory out of the pool of other potential towns for HotA adds a certain kind of challenge for the team. To make a ‘techy’ faction fit harmoniously into the setting of HoMM III is a nontrivial task, and this is exactly what makes it interesting.

In 2007, a group of fans decided to create the Factory town, a steampunk version of the Forge as conceived by NWC. Later on, the Factory team joined HotA Crew. In time, the concept of the Factory was abandoned in favor of the Forge. Why did you dig up the Factory again, and is it the same Factory from years ago?

No, it is not. The new Factory is neither an heir nor a successor to the old. The only thing that is the same is the name and the fact that both concepts refer in a way to the original Forge, but to different degrees and in different ways. That said, the current town’s concept had remained unnamed for a long time.

The timeline and definitions are not exactly correct either. It would not be fair to see the old Factory as a ‘steampunk’ project; in fact, the aesthetics of World War I had prevailed there. If realized, it would be closer to what is now called ‘dieselpunk’. Also, the team that worked on the old Factory did not join us as a unit. Certain team members changed sides indeed, but not in a strict order and not all at the same time. Moreover, some of them, like the artist Agar, had also been part of the HotA Crew since its inception. I do not think players would be terribly interested to hear such details, though. It just so happens that the DF2 forum is home to the bulk of HoMM III modding activity, and it is also obvious that the community there intermingled a lot at all times.

Now, talking about Forge - it would perhaps be a good time to finally clarify the situation. Contrary to the popular misconception, Forge had never been officially announced as a town in HotA and never planned down to any kind of a roadmap. All Forge-related activity was limited to sporadic individual efforts of some crew members dating back to the period from 2011 to 2013, taken completely at their own behest. Some of those materials were published by their creators, like the town screen by Don_ko, but no further developments have happened on that front since. Thus, speaking about changed plans would be a mistake. Factory is new plans, not a replacement of old ones.

Don’t you think the Factory could be seen as a retread of other towns, seeing as wizards with their golems and gargoyles or warlocks with monster armies exist already?

The niche, in fact, is unoccupied. Sure, certain elements of technology are manifested in the style of the Tower town and some objects on the adventure map (the Golem Factory in the original game; the Cannon Yard and the Experimental Shop in HotA, which could serve as a hint at our developmental vector). However, a significant amount of fairly popular visual references was still missing from the original game. So many concepts have been put forward that they could hardly be crammed into a single game, seeing as restrictions exist both for the number of heroes and the creature lineup. Still, the ‘engineering’ side of the town and the ‘western’ style are a cornucopia of striking images.

In the Tower town, the mechanics are present at a minimum. One can draw a parallel between the Thief unit and the Cove town. The Cove is also a den of outlaws, albeit a maritime-based one, with an emphasis on piracy. In some cases, the Thief could be pegged into a similar game role (some of user-created maps employed them as such), but it is clear that a considerable layer of characters and impressions was left out.

With the Dungeon town, direct parallels in the aesthetics sense are not expected to arise. Warlocks will have a significant role as plot drivers and heroes for the Factory, but their affinity to biotechnology will not be pursued, save for some minor cases. It should be noted that many towns have their own share of chimerae (e.g. Centaurs), but one would be hard-pressed to find an ideological connection between the Rampart and the vivisection-happy Warlocks.

What is the native terrain of the Factory? What did you have in mind when deciding upon it?

The Wasteland is a biome of canyons, not yet represented in Heroes III. Heroes II fans, however, will immediately recognize the terrain and reminisce of the Wizard town, whose townscreen used it. Dry, cracked dirt, giant ravines, oil lakes, weathered rocks and, of course, cacti! It all makes for quite a remarkable landscape, and its absence in HoMM III was definitely notable.
Speaking of the reasons of this choice, they’re quite obvious: the ‘western’ style, hobbits in the lineup, the geographical position of the Factory’s lands, etc. The choice basically made itself, and after the introduction of Highlands, our programmer Sav is now up to the task of adding new terrains at will. It is also easier to create the graphic assets when you are able to roughly approximate the scope of work.



The Wasteland terrain in HoMM II and the tentative look of its HotA counterpart

Obviously, at the moment the development progress is exactly at the level that would be enough to make the announcement. By the time of the final release, there will be a much wider array of adventure map decorations, but even those that were shown are still very raw. The comparison with the terrain from Heroes II does not flatter us yet.

Players call the inhabitants of the Cove ‘pirates’, and those from the Necropolis are called ‘undead’. What would you call the inhabitants of the Factory?

Artificers.



Bertram the Artificer (work in progress). By Docent Picolan and Nosferatu

Speaking of artificers. The video featured heroes of the Artificer class. Tell us more about them: are they heroes of Might or Magic? What is the name of the other hero class for the town?

The Artificer is a Magic hero. The name of the Might hero class is still being decided upon. The final decision will be made in line with the completion of the portrait roster for the heroes.
At the moment we are leaning towards Warlord, despite the fact that the plot first features the new faction as isolationists who aren’t keen on direct military operations. We have also considered Maverick (something closer to the ‘western’ elements of the concept) and Marshal.



Artificer: the hero's combat model development process. By DrSlash

Will there be new races among the heroes? If so, which ones?

No, there will be no new races for the world.

One of the heroes was noticed to carry some serpent-like unit. What is that?

I will only say for now that correct assumptions have been made in the community. At the moment, the full line-up has not been made public, and there is no need to hurriedly elaborate upon specific units.

Then can you tell us something about other creatures of the Factory? It seems that in addition to the serpent, there are riflemen, flamethrower operators and maybe some bomb throwers. Has the lineup already been set in stone?

Yes, the lineup has already been decided upon at the conceptual level. There is still going to be quite a while until it can be made public (a few months at least, I believe), but regarding the units that have been shown: one can be sure that the flamethrower operator is female.



Concept art for the flamethrower operator. By Don_ko

And the bomb thrower with an explosive device in his hand is none other than the Halfling. An upgraded one, to be exact. The hobbit has lost its neutral status and is now a town dweller (akin to the elementals after the release of Conflux), complete with updates to its appearance and an upgrade. Hobbits were long overdue for a visual update anyway, regardless of the plans regarding the Factory.



Rough model of the flamethrower operator. By Quick-Sighted Dog

Ahead of the possible questions, the decision to choose the hobbit had several reasons: the obvious parallels with the Wizard town in HoMM II (on the same Wastelands terrain); the restoration of a unit important for the series (and, in general, for fantasy) in its rights; the use of sling (typical for Western-style weapons); the concept of a shooter being adequate as a level 1 unit for the planned Factory gameplay; the success story of the ‘working class’ in the Factory society, made up of migrants from other locations on the planet Enroth (in the case of hobbits, from Eeofol).



Henrietta the Halfling, a Might hero of the Factory. By Docent Picolan

Other possible options were also considered, of which most have already been covered in the discussions since the announcement: from the Red Dwarves to the so-called Gnomes and even the Kobolds. Each of those, of course, has its own advantages, but it is with the choice of a hobbit that the faction's picture was finally complete.

By ‘riflemen’, I suppose, you mean the unit in a black hat. This is the Bounty Hunter, the upgraded version of the Gunslinger.



Concept art for the Bounty Hunter. By Docent Picolan



Concept art for the Gunslinger. By Docent Picolan

Could you tell us more about the Gunslinger? What is this unit about?

The gunslinger is an archetype of the Wild West. A lone wanderer, a master gunsmith. It is in it that the western elements will be the strongest. It is impossible not to associate it with the image of an ‘Undead Hunter’ (Solomon Caine, Van Hellsing), especially noticeable in the unit’s upgraded version. The parallels are both visual and semantic: the Factory’s gunslingers, in fact, are on a similar quest of fighting ‘outsiders’.

In general, plot-wise, Gunslingers and Bounty Hunters are people with their own idea of what is good and bad, who came to the realm of the Factory pursuing earnings, better weapons and targets worthy of their prowess. It is easy to deduce that many of them have to thank Regna for their ‘dark past’ and shooting skills. The Gunslingers will, to an extent, serve as a link between the Cove and the Factory.

If you say these concepts are tentative, then how much you’d say the Bounty Hunter will change before becoming actual part of the game?

The upgrade will likely stay rather true to the image above. The main difference between the current Hunter and the concept artwork will be updated weapons. In addition to what can be called a ‘revolver’, the unit will wield something akin to a ‘rifle’. I intentionally express myself in vague terms, as the weapon’s specific appearance and its mechanics will be shown later. Different weaponry will also be reflected in the unit's abilities.

The non-upgraded version will change more drastically.

Some impressions of this unit’s possible appearance in the game can be seen in the provided sketch.



Sketches of the Gunslinger and the Bounty Hunter. By Quick-Sighted Dog

The Factory noticeably (though not as much as the Forge) surpasses other factions in technical development. Will it somehow affect the gameplay? Maybe the units will be stronger, but way more expensive?

Such radical differences between traditional towns and the Factory are not in the plans. Still, of course, the technology is going to affect the numbers and reflect on the unit tiers.

Describe the gameplay strategy for the Factory. What are its strengths and weaknesses?

It is too early to analyze the strategy. A rough outline of the gameplay features for the town exists already, but it will still be significantly revised.

The heroes of the Necropolis reanimate slain enemies as skeletons; those at the Inferno transform their dead allies into hordes of demons. Is any similar special ability planned for the Factory?

Yes.

What is the town’s alignment? What did you have on your mind when making this choice?

Neutral. I am partial to the opinion that increasing the number of neutral factions does not disturb the overall balance of conventional good and evil in the game. The Factory cannot be attributed to either without damaging its underlying concept.
According to the tentative plot, the Factory is a socially and politically isolated state. It has the ambition of building its own empire, but has yet to launch an expansion movement. Thus, even plot-wise (the same plot that even has the Castle sometimes playing a temporary ‘evil’ role in campaigns), it is rather difficult to write the Factory in with the villains.

Tell us more about the style of the town. What makes it unique?

I have already provided some explanations as to the elements of steampunk and in what form they can exist. I have also mentioned Jules Verne; and we could also get Herbert Wells and early illustrations of his literary works involved. This is the extent of fantastic.

Now, as for the architecture and the styles existing in the real world: as one could notice in the announcement, art deco is used liberally. Some of its elements could be found in the original Forge concept, but they, of course, existed in a coarser, more modern iteration. Equally influential on the Factory look is Art Nouveau. In both cases, the elements pertinent to the styles have been simplified and adapted so as not to look out of place in a Medieval setting. An example of a successful merger between Art Nouveau and austere medieval shapes would be the bridge across the River Tyne in Newcastle.











19th century buildings and interiors in the Art Nouveau, Art Deco and industrial styles

Also, among the general references to the Victorian era, which is, in a way, dictated by steampunk, is the railway aesthetic, the British Arts & Crafts movement, the early examples of industrial design, and the wider themes of progress and pushing the horizons.



The Serpentarium. By Agar, Don_ko

Obviously, another essential influence is the style of the Wild West, complete with the elements familiar from Western films, sure to also be present in the story, and the frontier era in the United States. Again, these will be carefully adapted to match the traditional HoMM environment, as it was with the piracy theme in the Cove.

Does the town on the adventure map from the announcement video have a Fort built, or is it the ‘village’ variant?

The latter. The appearance of the castle is to be made public soon, likely in one of the next publications in our official media.



Sketches of the Factory Capitol/village. By Don_ko

Are there any special buildings in the town itself or related to it on the adventure map?

On the map, the Wastelands, a new terrain, will offer a number of unique sites to be visited. Some of them are likely to be linked to the Factory as far as stylistics go.

You have mentioned the Wizard town from HoMM II several times. Can we assume that, like the Conflux is in a way a continuation of the Sorceress town, the Factory is the Wizard town reimagined?

It would be too bold an assumption. That said, the Factory certainly fills some of the niches that have been sitting empty in HoMM III, with no direct heir to the Wizard town in sight. In addition to the earlier outlined parallels, golems from HoMM II are technologically close to the Factory style.

The Cove was given a hybrid war machine: a cannon that combines the traits of the ballista and the catapult. Will the Factory have a unique war machine, too?

Some of the features associated with war machines will definitely be present in the Factory. About the same time the lineup is going to be made public, the way the machines will be executed will be outlined, too.

Creating the town of Artificers is no mean feat; many developers have tried their hand at this challenge. Can you tell us something about approaching the task of seamlessly introducing a technological town or even separate elements of it into the game, so that it would look authentic?

In this case, there is no proven recipe, no guarantees; however, the approach is hardly a know-how of ours. First of all, one should not take the technological elements beyond the logical limits of the game environment. If there is an advanced technology in play, there must be clear prerequisites for its emergence. They should not only be explained through the story, as the player might not be interested in familiarizing himself with the plot from the get go, and in some cases, he could even see the campaign as an outright irrelevant affair. Instead, the general guidelines of the town’s style should dictate it. As you know, industrialization is impossible without achieving a certain social and economic level. The appearance and biographies of Factory heroes and the names of buildings and constructs are going to reflect the motif of progress, which will allow certain advanced technologies to exist organically in the given environment.
Also, it is probably necessary to realize that the goals of New World Computing in the creation of Forge were exactly the opposite – breaking the pattern, provocation, deconstructing the world of Heroes so familiar to the players. This intention is bold, and it should be either followed to a tee or not at all. Hardly any compromises are possible here. One to try and ‘refine’ the Forge with the intention to introduce it into the game will always face the fact that every pixel of it is designed to argue with the game, rather than meld with it.

In the case of the Factory, the second option was chosen: building it into the world harmoniously.

What technologies does the town employ? Apparently, these will be partially manifested in steampunk. You have also mentioned flamethrowers, and some fans noticed bombs and guns. If the last observation is true, are these guns powder-operated, or do they employ a different kind of energy?

The gunpowder, steam engines, primitive explosives and some more original technological elements are in wide use there. However, there is no point in having any kind of in-depth discussion on the matter before the complete line-up is made public. Some final decisions on the tech side might even be made right before the release. Obviously, not only the appearance, but also animation and sound are all important in this regard.

So, powder is again in play. Don’t you think it might be seen as a rehash of what the Cove uses? If not, why?

Gunpowder was always present in the game. A ship with cannons can be seen in the videos for at least one original campaign.



Captured from the video for the Foolhardy Waywardness campaign

I also wouldn't say gunpowder is the main or definitive feature of the Cove. Piracy as a whole is the big idea here (however, let’s not forget about sea dwellers and sorceresses). A blunderbuss, in turn, is an integral element of a pirate’s classic visual image.

No less integral is gunpowder for the themes of the Wild West and technological development. Should we ditch powder for the Factory just because it had already been a part of the Cove? That would definitely be unreasonable, especially seeing as chimerae are present in many cities, oriental stylistics of the Conflux were reused from the Tower, Basilisks and Medusas both turn their foes into stone, and so on. Similar concepts, approaches, styles and features are reclaimed across the game wherever appropriate.

The Factory’s firearms will not be similar to what the Cove uses, so even the context of gunpowder will be different.



Cannonballs on the combat screen in HoMM I

Tell us about the Factory campaign. Will it be a rehash of the Forge campaign or something else?

We will offer some detail about the Factory campaign later. At the moment we can only state that some of the characters will be fundamentally new, and some already familiar from HoMM II&III, and M&M. Kastore [Editor's note: Kastore is an Elven sorcerer and one of the founders of the Forge] will definitely make an appearance. Some elements of the supposed plot for the Forge campaign will be reused, but the story can be largely called independent.

What other innovations are planned for delivery along with the town? We have noticed the hero from the teaser video to pick up Eagle Eye and Intelligence skills. Should we expect those to be altered?

Intelligence, no; the changes already introduced in HotA and new specialist heroes both imply the skill has now found its place. As for Eagle Eye and some others, yes. It's probably also worth a mention that the development of the Factory does not affect our other projects. Work on some of the previously announced undertakings, such as rebalancing magic and skills, goes on as we speak.

The Factory town in the announcement video is called New Dolere, and Ajit is heading to it. These details remind us of the screenshots from E3 1999, where the Forge was presented. In those, the same hero was visiting the town of Dolere. Is this intentional?

As with many other references in the video announcement, and older promo material, it was indeed intentional. Hints and homages are everywhere, from citing musical themes of the Cove and the Highlands to the picture that accompanied the HotA 1.5.4 release a few days before the publication of the video. The abundance of references meant for the perceptive observer can be called one of our traditions by now.



The Forge townscreen, as shown at the E3 1999. By New World Computing

Based on your answer about the new town’s alignment, would you like to clarify whether you prefer more neutral cities in the future, rather than ones clearly good or evil?

Even the Factory is a relatively distant prospect at the moment. We are in no hurry to draw up detailed plans for the twelfth town at the moment. But yes, among the potential candidates, another neutral one is of particular interest.

Over the past few years, many concepts for new towns emerged, including some proposed for HotA. Are there any concepts out there that you like and wouldn’t mind to take a closer look at them and maybe develop these ideas? If yes, which ones and why do you find interesting?

Not really – and not because concepts by community members are radically inferior to our own; some may even be more intriguing. It's just that HotA has too many very specific criteria that the concept must meet. All content in the expansion is closely interlinked, and we already have a wealth of well-developed internally-made concepts.

How can one help HotA Crew?

Only by participating in the development. Concerning the Factory, we would welcome accomplished 3D artists capable of creating detailed models of units, buildings and videos for the campaigns. Programmers and reverse engineering gurus are also always in demand.

You can contact us at http://vk.com/h3hota
Or at the DF2 forum - http://forum.df2.ru/index.php?showforum=90

You can also join the project's Discord channel created by the administrators of the online lobby, or send us an e-mail at hotacrew@gmail.com.

As for financial support, the project is known to be strictly non-commercial. This is not to say we are appalled to see other projects (e.g. HD-Mod) receive donations; it's just that in our case, the project is simply ideologically devoid of any commercial element.

When can we expect the Factory to be released?
In the foreseeable future™.

Now, seriously, not before the end of 2019.

Let's talk a little bit about you. When was your first encounter with the Heroes games? Which one was that?

The first one, which I watched my relatives and acquaintances play soon after its release. I started playing myself when the second one went out. For the longest time I thought it was the bee’s knees, and had a different view of the third game.

What was your criticism for it?

Some game designing and conceptual solutions seemed redundant to me, such as the ubiquitous upgrades, the Grail, religious overtones at the Castle, binding the magic to the elements-based skills, and so on. Conversely, some of the well-established and loved elements of its predecessor were missing, such as wastelands, deserts, blossoming herbal terrain, large hero portraits, some artifacts and adventure map objects. Another thing was the graphic style as a whole. In contrast to the II, it first looked too gray and grim to me. The cozy, fairytale atmosphere of the II has certain advantages to it, and the pixel art is on the good side of unique.

Over time, of course, I developed a liking for the III. I grew to appreciate the game qualities (the gameplay diversity and replayability levels are disproportionately higher in the III). I also realized that the visual solutions that had seemed to be its disadvantages were actually the exact opposite. Where the gamma ranges from ‘bright’ to ‘impossibly bright’ in the II, the color palette of the III is in fact unlimited. From unobtrusive muted colors to bright spots, everything can be used and everything looks appropriate when just the right amount of it is applied. As an artist and creator of my own sprites in a certain style, I’m especially perceptive to such detail.

Also, the ‘moderate realism’ approach chosen for the III, has not lost its relevance over the years. When seen on modern displays, it probably lacks detail and smoothness, but from an artistic point of view, the III is unequalled in all of the series (for ardent fans of the II’s pixel art: I am talking about the sheer stylistic freedom here). Some townscreens work as genuine masterpieces in combination with their musical themes.

What is your favorite faction in Heroes III?

No preference. I can tell you, though, which one I like the least: the Stronghold. It is a rather boring town gameplay-wise, with less variability than I like. Some towns play very differently on different templates in current online play, while the Stronghold is almost always the same, and the choice of good starting heroes is scarce. Not to mention the content of its home terrain, where the abundance of carts and skeletons adds a somewhat unhealthy level of randomity.

Artistically, it feels like NWC went lax on it. A very raw townscreen with a disproportion of structures and the background, cloned hero portraits (also seen in the Dungeon and the Fortres), and even the lineup itself. Except for the Behemoths and Ogres, the sprites of the units are bland and forgettable. Putting a goblin on a wolf is a questionable designer decision. And, of course, there is also the model of the Orcs, looking like someone said ‘let's just tweak a goblin a little bit’. It looks so nondescript that we didn't even hesitate to replace it with a new one.



Development process for the new Orc and Orc Chieftain models. By Alex-Ander

How did you come up with the idea of creating Horn of the Abyss?

In 2008, I fell off a horse... Oh, no, that's another story. In 2008, at the DF2 forum, three projects of new towns (Cove, Cathedral, Kronwerk) were in the works, with their development teams overlapping a lot. A logical step to make there was band up.
Of course, this was not the only trigger; long before the launch of the project, I had the idea to develop the ‘third expansion’ in the spirit of the original ones. At that point, there was only one popular project, WoG, which reshaped Heroes in an original way, but took the game very far from the classic. I wanted to see a faithful continuation of the game in the direction once outlined by New World Computing; and I doubt I was the only one with such an idea. But, evidently, in our case, there was enough patience to move forward step by step, to expand the team, to maintain enthusiasm, until the project no more looked like an absurd idea and took a distinct shape.

What, in your opinion, are the reasons for the success and popularity of Heroes III years after its release?

Modding and online community. These two groups of the HoMM community maintained activity even in the most difficult times.
The modding scene on the DF2 forum is what spawned the bulk of the large unofficial projects for Heroes, including both the HD-Mod and HotA. Also worth mentioning are Polish modder gatherings such as Kwasowa Grota.

The online play community that originally grew around several sites is now mainly thriving at HeroesWorld. The contribution to Heroes development by streamers is also noteworthy.

Without modding and regular players, there would be no HD-Mod, no HotA, and even the original SoD could hardly have kept any audience worth mentioning. The game would by now be likely reduced to nostalgic campaign replays once a year, with copious amounts of booze involved. This is how I see it.

To those who want to understand just how far Heroes III have gone since ‘99, I recommend to run the original game every now and then, in all its 800x600 glory, without the improved user interface and hotkeys, new content, online lobby, the modernized map generator, and with bugs galore. And it will not even run on certain Windows versions. It won’t launch on my own machine, mind you.

How do you envision the perfect continuation of the Heroes series? What should be there to make you interested?

I don't see any grounds for the release of a perfect sequel these days. Apparently, the current copyright holder does not see the series as a priority. This is honestly a logical state of affairs, given the wide presence of more popular brands in its portfolio. We shouldn’t expect a Triple-A project with a high budget or a development team that would live and die by the project. This is, of course, my personal opinion. I am just skeptical; however, I might be wrong.

How difficult and captivating is it to be the coordinator of a large-scale project?

It is captivating enough to compensate for the difficult path to the fulfilment of such ambition. Also, I’ve got Sav as the co-coordinator; it helps to be able to delegate some pressing matters when push comes to shove. All that being considered, the bulk of my time is spent on creating graphic assets. First and foremost, I am an artist. Coordination and public relations are a never-ending challenge, but they are also less work than that.

You have composed music for the Highlands terrain and the Cove. Can you tell us more about the process? What inspires you? How much time does it take to create something you like?

The Cove theme took me three days, while the Highlands took two. As a general rule, when I sit down to record, the skeleton points of the composition, basic harmonies and melodic moves are already more or less in place – in my head, that is.

Then comes the selection of instruments. The arrangement acquires its final features during the recording. The mixing and mastering stages are hardly worth describing; anyway, they take relatively little time for orchestral music.

It should be noted, though, that I am not satisfied with the current state of the Cove theme – the instruments, the subpar mixing. At the moment of the release of HotA beta, I had few resources and little experience. I was already a musician by trade, but a beginner at digital recording. There are plans to re-record the Cove theme, with different sound libraries or maybe even a live orchestra.

Regarding the latter – let’s mention the cover of the Cove theme by the Heroes Orchestra.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLEi0IQ_EfI

I don't think I can name any musical inspirations. Paul Romero's original tracks are an obvious reference point sound-wise, but as a composer, he’s got a very different mindset, so it makes no sense to try following in his creative steps.

What do you think about our group’s activities, and what would you like to wish to the wide Heroes community?

As far as I can understand, one of the goals of the Tavern as a platform is to unite M&M RPG and strategy players in order to help them get familiar with the universe in all its manifestations. The cause, of course, is just, and it is hard not to support it. HotA, in a way, follows the same path: Regna, the pirate empire, originally mentioned only in the campaign texts, has now found its place in HotA as a separate faction. Similar steps are now being taken with the Factory.

Now, addressing the specifically ‘Heroes’ part of the community, I’d wish them the obvious: to continue playing and stay creative. The latter includes everything – from user-made maps and templates to fan-art, poetry, music, support for online platforms, organization of tournaments, and so on; even creation of their own new mods. As long as the game evolves and is played, the two basic components of a dedicated, active community will stay alive and well.

Added on January 30, 2019:

I would like to specifically cover a story already known to those who followed the creation of the original Forge town. Some readers are apparently not familiar with it. In their interviews, New World Computing employees often talk about several distinct stylistic approaches in existence diring the creation of the town. The style many know from the scarce surviving images was not set in stone from the beginning. The two main creative directions in the works were 'Jules Verne-styled steampunk' (sounds familiar, huh?) and a grim, heavily militarized concept rooting in post-apocalypse and cyberpunk. Eventually, the Forge took the latter road, while we brought the Factory along the former. Still, some elements of the last surviving Forge concept live on in the Factory, such as the Art Deco-inspired architecture, as described by Phelan Sykes, the then-lead artist at NWC.



Concept art of a Forge Tavern showing Western and Steampunk influences. By George Almond, New World Computing

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted May 11, 2019 07:34 PM
Edited by blob2 at 19:39, 11 May 2019.

So NWC/3DO did think about steampunk Forge! So that's were HotA team picked their inspiration. That and yearning after Heroes II Wasteland terrain

Very interesting read, even though it's a few months old already. Doesn't exactly tell that much more from what we already know/see about Factory, but there are some interesting tidbits still. Docent has calmed me a bit, it seems they really do know what they are doing with the direction of the town (they don't want to go overboard and want to keep it faithfull to the fantasy setting of H3). They are buying me with this concept more and more. Well, if they make a bad-ass Dragon Golem I'm sold anyways

So Factory is a neutral faction, has some ties to Cove (they want to keep a connection between their factions, he mentions that Cove might've had a direct influence on Factory genesis), it has a unique mechanic and the third one will also be neutral and seems to be decided upon already. Also it seem teh campaign will have some tie-in to Heroes III setting, and mentions Kastore will be referenced.

It's worth mentioning they are still working on other enchancements for the game like Magic system or Eagle Eye skill.

Cool!

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Hourglass
Hourglass


Known Hero
posted May 11, 2019 07:59 PM

Tevye said:


The heroes of the Necropolis reanimate slain enemies as skeletons; those at the Inferno transform their dead allies into hordes of demons. Is any similar special ability planned for the Factory?

Yes.




Hmm, interresting. According to this piece it would mean that Factory is capable of turning dead troops into something else. Or does Docent  simply mean that Factory will receive a special ability (secondary skill) dedicated for them only?

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Sir_Juas
Sir_Juas


Adventuring Hero
posted May 11, 2019 09:01 PM
Edited by Sir_Juas at 21:02, 11 May 2019.

Gandalf196 said:

Expanding a bit on this, I've come up with this:

Knights - Retaliation strike (as in Heroes V);
Clerics - Sanctuary - protect a single stack from all forms of harm, as long it does not move or attack and it is not the single stack on your side of the battlefield;

Druids - Entangling roots (like the dendroid one, but dealing damage per turn);
Rangers - Precise shot ( a hero attack that ignores defense and that always kills at least one unit);

Wizards - 2 spells per turn (as long as their combined cost it not greater than x) or spell point regeneration;
Alchemists - convert dead enemies into precious resources;

Heretics - Heresy (mark an enemy to unit to take double damage from fire spells);
Demoniacs - Gating (Heroes V);

Necromancer - Instanteneous conversion (raise skeletons from a dead corpse, but lesse than necromancy and the dead stack won't be available for necromancy);
Death Knight - Chiling blades (a la Heroes V);

Warlocks - Spend twice the mana to cast a damaging spell for twice the damage (2 times per battle);
Overlords - Killing a stack gives the troop another turn;

Barbarians - Humanoid creatures can enter berserk mode, losing defense in order to increase attack and attacking the nearest creature (or enemy);
Battle magi - Killing a stack rewards the hero with some spell points (nice, ain't it? Fits the class very well, imo);

Witches - Indestructible First Aid Tent that can be used to poison, curse or petrify enemies;
Beastmasters - Issuing the defend command causes "beasts" you control to regenerate and gives them 1 more retaliation strike;

Elementalists - casting one spell each turn from a different school, ensues the next is cast with +x spell power (so, if you start with slow, as long the spell you cast next turn is not from the earth school, it will be cast with +x spell power and, in the third turn, in order to get the bonus again, but +2x this time, you must cast a spell from the 2 remaining schools of magic);

Planeswalkers - elementals you control have special abilites (earth can move to any space on the battlefield, fire leaves a burning trail...);

Navigators - Water spells casted on turn x are "echoed" on turn x+2, so, for example, is you cast bless on turn one, it will be automatically casted again on turn 3 (for free);

Captains - Cannons are indestructible and fire twice as long as there are pirates or crew mates nearby;


Man I must say this idea is brilliant. It is everything what hero specialization neeeds. It would make the game so much diverce and fun, i would really want to see it come true

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Oddball13579
Oddball13579


Supreme Hero
Thread Destroyer
posted May 11, 2019 09:15 PM

blob2 said:
So Factory is a neutral faction, has some ties to Cove (they want to keep a connection between their factions, he mentions that Cove might've had a direct influence on Factory genesis)
That's what I have been saying for a while now but no one seems to notice .

Perhaps the founder of Factory is an ex-pirate who defected from Cove/Regna, perfected gunpowder and steam powered machines in his exile, and then delved into the wonders of automatons. Becoming the first Artificer in the process?  
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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted May 11, 2019 10:24 PM
Edited by blob2 at 22:29, 11 May 2019.

Oddball13579 said:
blob2 said:
So Factory is a neutral faction, has some ties to Cove (they want to keep a connection between their factions, he mentions that Cove might've had a direct influence on Factory genesis)
That's what I have been saying for a while now but no one seems to notice .


I didn't notice or don't remember. Discussion tends to go a bit off topic in this thread at times and I don't read everything

Even so, it's official when the devs confirm it.

@Hourglass
I think it's the latter. A unique ability. Maybe it will spawn Golems or will enable tweaking Artifacts?

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Hourglass
Hourglass


Known Hero
posted May 11, 2019 11:34 PM
Edited by Hourglass at 23:45, 11 May 2019.

blob2 said:


@Hourglass
I think it's the latter. A unique ability. Maybe it will spawn Golems or will enable tweaking Artifacts?


I mean it could also be something like Repair - maybe a bit similiar to heroes IV Resurrection. Maybe it would bring back some of the destoryed (yet released) mechanical creatures and possibly war machines after every battle. But that doesn't sound so powerful (as a secondary skill), if only 2(?) of the upcoming creatures end up being mechanical.

Also, one thing to note is that I personally first though this new ability would be hero based, but reading that line again could also mean that the "special power" is tied to a creature instead.

EDIT: This is somewhat a crazy idea, but are you familiar with WOG's ghost creatures? Like the more you kill enemies, the more powerful the stack becomes. Maybe this new "special power" could have some similiar effects to one spesific creature. It's like Cove has pirates as a some sort of special creauture (can be upgraded twice) so IMO it's not impossible to think one creature would be very special in Factory's line up.

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Gandalf196
Gandalf196


Known Hero
posted May 12, 2019 03:54 AM

Sir_Juas said:
Gandalf196 said:

Expanding a bit on this, I've come up with this:

Knights - Retaliation strike (as in Heroes V);
Clerics - Sanctuary - protect a single stack from all forms of harm, as long it does not move or attack and it is not the single stack on your side of the battlefield;

Druids - Entangling roots (like the dendroid one, but dealing damage per turn);
Rangers - Precise shot ( a hero attack that ignores defense and that always kills at least one unit);

Wizards - 2 spells per turn (as long as their combined cost it not greater than x) or spell point regeneration;
Alchemists - convert dead enemies into precious resources;

Heretics - Heresy (mark an enemy to unit to take double damage from fire spells);
Demoniacs - Gating (Heroes V);

Necromancer - Instanteneous conversion (raise skeletons from a dead corpse, but lesse than necromancy and the dead stack won't be available for necromancy);
Death Knight - Chiling blades (a la Heroes V);

Warlocks - Spend twice the mana to cast a damaging spell for twice the damage (2 times per battle);
Overlords - Killing a stack gives the troop another turn;

Barbarians - Humanoid creatures can enter berserk mode, losing defense in order to increase attack and attacking the nearest creature (or enemy);
Battle magi - Killing a stack rewards the hero with some spell points (nice, ain't it? Fits the class very well, imo);

Witches - Indestructible First Aid Tent that can be used to poison, curse or petrify enemies;
Beastmasters - Issuing the defend command causes "beasts" you control to regenerate and gives them 1 more retaliation strike;

Elementalists - casting one spell each turn from a different school, ensues the next is cast with +x spell power (so, if you start with slow, as long the spell you cast next turn is not from the earth school, it will be cast with +x spell power and, in the third turn, in order to get the bonus again, but +2x this time, you must cast a spell from the 2 remaining schools of magic);

Planeswalkers - elementals you control have special abilites (earth can move to any space on the battlefield, fire leaves a burning trail...);

Navigators - Water spells casted on turn x are "echoed" on turn x+2, so, for example, is you cast bless on turn one, it will be automatically casted again on turn 3 (for free);

Captains - Cannons are indestructible and fire twice as long as there are pirates or crew mates nearby;


Man I must say this idea is brilliant. It is everything what hero specialization neeeds. It would make the game so much diverce and fun, i would really want to see it come true


Thank you.
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gatecrasher
gatecrasher


Famous Hero
posted May 12, 2019 12:40 PM

^ This idea sounds really hard to implement and to get balanced reasonably. It's not unlike WoG commanders.

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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted May 12, 2019 02:04 PM

Hourglass said:
blob2 said:


@Hourglass
I think it's the latter. A unique ability. Maybe it will spawn Golems or will enable tweaking Artifacts?


I mean it could also be something like Repair - maybe a bit similiar to heroes IV Resurrection. Maybe it would bring back some of the destoryed (yet released) mechanical creatures and possibly war machines after every battle. But that doesn't sound so powerful (as a secondary skill), if only 2(?) of the upcoming creatures end up being mechanical.


It's actually a pretty neat idea! Necromancy also only Resurrects skeletons (yeah I know higher tier units are also possible, but I'm thinking core Necromancy), yet we know how powerful it is. The problem is that there doesn't seem to be any low tier unit which would fit this role. At this point only tier 5 (if Serpents will turn out to be Tier 4) and 7 are unknown so no idea here...

I doubt they will add an advanced system like Wizards towns "build artifact/trinkets" feature in Heroes V. Or, who knows?

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Opera
Opera


Hired Hero
posted May 12, 2019 03:52 PM

Will be today news about Factory ?

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Doomforge
Doomforge


Admirable
Undefeatable Hero
Retired Hero
posted May 12, 2019 05:28 PM

I'm pretty hyped about Factory hopefully it will be unique. Nice to see HoMM3 having still a lot of life in it after all those years. I liked the Q&A, liked that they actually paid attention to little details such as a cannon in Foolhardy Waywardness campaign.
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CountBezuhoff
CountBezuhoff


Famous Hero
Master of the merchant's guild
posted May 12, 2019 06:44 PM

I'm actually glad that NWC didn't release another expansion. They probably would have thrown in some aliens and sci-fi, like they do in every M&M game. Would have loved some more campaigns and maps, though, but I guess that's what the map editor is for.

The Count
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verriker
verriker


Honorable
Legendary Hero
We don't need another 'eroes
posted May 12, 2019 07:06 PM

CountBezuhoff said:
They probably would have thrown in some aliens and sci-fi, like they do in every M&M game


for sure not Drakon Deus mate due to the criticism and the death threats and all that which caused the plan change the first time cheers lol
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blob2
blob2


Legendary Hero
Blob-Ohmos the Second
posted May 12, 2019 07:25 PM

verriker said:
for sure not Drakon Deus mate due to the criticism and the death threats and all that which caused the plan change the first time cheers lol


Sometimes you need to let go

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