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Coke vs. Pepsi !

Author File Description
zapdotep Before playing against real people I recommend to at least take a look at the scenario in single player mode first. Study the Hints well so you don't get pwned too easily.

The custom AI and Per files included do not need to be installed; they are there only for the convenience of the contest judges and other interested people.

This entry got fifth place the Microscopic Map Contest. Only contest reviews will be allowed and any other reviews made will be changed to comments by the Granary moderators. This will be moved to a permanent section when it is created.
AuthorComments   ( All | Comments Only | Reviews Only )
zapdotep
File Author
Ok I guess it's safe to discuss the reviews now so...
You can assume I agree with the stuff in the original reviews omitted from the quotes here. They are all very good reviews and I'm not challenging any of them, just responding.

RCM7525's review:
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“Your allies will defend you for the most part,”
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They won't help much against a human opponent. In a real multiplayer match, you'll probably end up having to defend them.

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“However, the map is a bit crowded and difficult to work with.”
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Yeah, it was really annoying to design on a microscopic size map...
Wait, you meant playing it. Well, I guess you have to think more strategically. But there are several clear 3x3 squares to build stuff on. I made sure of that.

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“The scenario is well balanced, both players have essentially identical starting positions”
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A major goal in developing this scenario was to make a perfectly symmetrical map. The only exceptions were eye-candy objects that don't affect gameplay and the trees used, which still had identical hit points and wood content.
Nearly all design was conducted using a 17-inch CRT at 640x480 resolution to ensure accuracy down to the pixel.

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“there are several ways the match can play out.

...giving you several ways to win.”
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Another major goal was to have multiple pathways to victory, for a fun and challenging multiplayer experience. But I made it somewhat easier to win by conversions, because you make more money by acquiring more customers, not just destroying the competition.

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“The grass could have used more clumps and desert patches, and the thick trees often limited building sites. The forests were a bit bland too, but all in all, pretty good.”
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Map design is one of my weak points here. I tried to avoid 'terrain rendering,' without leaving it too plain. To me excessive eye-candy is almost like bloatware. Especially in a multiplayer, when lag is a big issue. In multiplayer you don't really have much time to be looking at eye candy anyway.

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“The story was creative, but pretty brief.”
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I was extremely pressed for time when writing, so I concentrated on getting the instructions right, so that it functions as intended in multiplayer. It was midnight, and I started school in the morning. My mom was not happy. So it's no surprise I'm not allowed to play AoE now.

####################################################

BBalazs's review:
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“...and the multiplayer instructions were well laid out - which is, incredibly important.”
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I was limited in having nobody to playtest it with, so I had to make very clear instructions. I made sure that it worked, to the best of my ability. I was actually a bit worried it would have bugs, but, after reading the reviews, I was relieved to see it didn't.

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“You have everything you could have ever asked for: Your men, your opponent, your fans, and even some neutrals, who will just try and keep out of the way - that is, if you leave them alone.”
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How can you leave them alone?! You're supposed to convert them!


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“The barbed wire fence is a wonderful idea, but too bad a skilled player will just place foundations over it, remove them, and gain vast advantage.”
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I did make sure to state that clearly in the hints, you can check the contest version yourself. I avoided saying something vague like 'only builders have the skills to defeat this barbed wire.'

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“Another mistake is the placement of trees and elevation. The pathfinding errors are not a fault of the author, but the game itself - yet still, trees placed all over the place in the beginning will restrict troop movements.”
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Well, I didn't want you to run out of wood, and if movements aren't restricted on such a microscopic map, the game would not last very long.

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“Still, I would say the scenario is a tad bit too easy - well, only as concerning the neutrals. They could have stood to be a bit stronger - after all, villagers fall amazingly fast at the feet of your marketing specialists (not to mention the bowmen and axemen of the opposing fan club). A stronger neutral player could have forced me and my opponent to go for more varied tactics.”
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The villagers are actually very strategically important. They represent the common people, who are the beverage manufacturers' largest group of consumers. You can get a large chunk of conversions out of them in the beginning. They are easy to sway with advertising but you have to avoid making them mad at you and running over to the other side, and try to 'protect' them from the rioting hooligans.

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“Balance is of utmost importance when it comes to multiplayer, and this scenario fits the job almost perfectly - except for some stronger residents who would be a greater challenge to "persuade".”
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See, there are a variety of peoples represented by the computer players, not just a bunch of weak villagers.

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“I particularly liked the new "Twin Machine Gun" layout of the defensive Town Center, which was a clever trick forcing me to rethink troop movements - twice at least. This is the kind of trick the scenario needs more of. A barbed wire fence, well-executed, but still having a simple bug, as mentioned before - surely there must have been a workaround!”
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The barbed wire fence is supposed to only slow down the computer players. You (and you opponent!) can choose when and where to open it up, leaving alternate routes of attack, instead of only through the Teut TC, because then whoever attacks it first would likely lose. There is a workaround of using invisible cliffs instead of invisible trees, but that would make it completely impassable.

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“Whilst trying to convert my opponent's BLM, and finally succeeding, a huge flash of light hit poor bloke from the skies reducing him to some carbon fiber chunk in a matter of seconds. What's Francis got to do there? Yes, we all know he is the mascot of the company. But what's the point of his presence? It's so nice to have him there, we need to know more about him!”
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Well the real reason he's there is only to prevent you from losing to an early attack. It's no fun to be pwned by the computer before you even see your real opponent.

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“By making the PDZ a broad 20 tiles in width, the defending computer players kept on building towers both on the frontline, and home defense as well (though, they particularly like offensive towering, which is well-executed in the scenario).”
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Thanks for noticing that, I spent the most time (probably around 90% of it) testing and tweaking the AI. A lively computer player presence, which is often lacking in multiplayer games, was another major goal of this scenario.

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“Creativity earns a minor bonus for the scenario instruction bitmap, as it uses a trick I have never seen before. Overriding the original content is amazingly clever. I had to add the bitmap to the scenario manually - please watch out for that when submitting your entry to the granary!”
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This has, of course, been fixed in the current version. The version judged was 099. The version currently available for download is 100. Fixes include bitmap and minor spelling corrections. No other changes have been made.

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“The author focused a lot on micro, and forgot about the macro. The individual parts of the map are okay, or even nice, but altogether the map is, well, go and see for yourself. The twin shores of the settlement are completely straight, with straight, edgy blocks of elevation, cliffs and vegetation. The fact the map is mirrored is not a bad thing - multiplayer maps need that - but it still could have lived to be a bit more curvy, and interesting.”
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The water is there for you to trade with. Making curves in the shore (which I did consider) would have either made the passage too narrow, or taken away too much land, when there is already too little land to begin with.

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“Judging by the story, I would have expected to see a close-quarters city combat where you have to fight your way from one building to another - but the map was unfortunately a bit different. In fact - where is the city? Where is the urban damage? Map design just did not line up in sync with the story.”
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The brown and green players' stuff in the middle is supposed to be the city. I just couldn't fit any more buildings on the map. The urban damage is generated in-game, not pre-made in the editor.

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“The micro part, however, was well-executed. You can see nice arrays of trees, hills, and an amazingly convincing barbed wire fence. The fortified Teuton TC was a great hit, I just loved that rapid fire trick. It would have been nice to see some Teuts, though.”
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You mean like a mod? I did not use any mods because, unlike AoK, it's more of a hassle to install and uninstall mods in AoE. Anyway the Riot Police hired them to fortify their town center, not supplement their manpower. Just imagine those hoplites are the riot police, with their shields and big sticks, and those priests are the Negotiators who try to convince your people that your cola sucks and isn't worth fighting for.

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“The story, on the other hand, is a bit lacking. Sure, it did give you a view on the present situation, and it did make your job clear enough - but what has happened in the background? Why is this town or city so important? Maybe the citizens have been recorded as the most fanatic soft drink consumers in the country. Or maybe not? Lots of questions from the player, few answers from the story.”
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It's probably the same reason that Ninjas and Pirates are rivals and fight each other.

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“Clear instructions, lacking story, but a very nice scenario instruction bitmap. Not one of those with superior quality, but still better than most, and what is even more important, it is descriptive, and highly decorative. I recommend the author to take a look at instruction bitmaps from days gone by, to perfect his bitmap-making skills. Not if they were bad anyways. Hmm. Nice, actually.”
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Some of the past bitmaps are very well-drawn, but with the new image technologies now available I intend to revolutionize bitmap-making, once I'm allowed to play AoE again...

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“A multiplayer map full of fun, and a welcome break from the everyday Build and Destroy. Combining elements of Fixed Force, Puzzle, and B&D gameplay, this scenario should provide hours of fun, for a very number of people.”
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Thanks. But I wonder how it can have fixed-force when you can convert lots of villagers and build stuff?

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“...especially be on lookout for multiplayer maps, as this scenario should only be the beginning of an array of amazingly creative maps. Well done.”
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Thanks, but sorry I can't play Aoe.

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Fruktfisk's review:
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“One of our newest members, Zapdotep has created this funny and enjoyable Scenario.”
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The whole reason I entered this contest was to get taken seriously, and not just as some random newb.

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“The city is a little crowded with lots of stuff, wich makes you unable to build all the buildings you want.”
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You must choose what path you will take.
*tries to sound wise*
*sounds clichéd instead*

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“also, in an MP battle it is a shame that I must Check the Achievements screen to see my progress, after all my opponent could attack any minute...”
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Try to check it quickly and not too often. I'm not sure but I think there are hotkeys for it(?)

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“...when the Choson priests attack they have monotheism, while I’m very unlikely to have that...”
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That's because they're the professional police negotiators! Few are hardened enough to resist them.

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“Saint Francis and the BLP in the corner are rather wasted, as the enemy never is stupid enough to come that close, and my priests already can heal each other...”
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Well you can't expect everyone on a marketing team to be perfect. Different people have different talents. If they were perfect you would just have a bunch of the strongest hero priests, and if Francis could move he would be too powerful.

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“Otherwise unbalance could be caused by the Choice of Civs, wich makes the map a guaranteed loss on the first try if you’re not informed before. As the players totally lack gold at start I would reccomend Egypt for rushing, or Babylonia for defending.”
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Yeah you really gotta choose your civ well, like one with good priests.

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“...finally found a good way of using the Convertions VC, although the way this is explained is a litttle lame it is better than no explanation at all!”
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How is it lame? I thought it was the central element, convincing people to drink your soda.

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“The way Zappy has compressed a full map in microscopic format gives both good and bad effects, Some buildings are “all in one buildings” wich gives them a rather messed up look,...”
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Aw, ya caught me! I based many elements on a Tiny size map, which is 2.25 times larger in area.

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“...so do the Gold and stone mines, my opponent said that the stone mines looked really ugly and artificial.”
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Really? I guess I could've fixed that.

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“Threre’s little Eyecandy apart from the genial barbed wire, although there’s little room for any either...”
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The entire map was built around the barbed wire 'no man's land', which was originally intended to be a large area where you are protected from arrows by elevations but if you tried to cross over the elevation you would be slaughtered, like with trenches and machine guns. If you look early enough, you can see pairs of stationary composite bowmen constantly shooting at each other, but unable to hit because of the elevation.

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“The story is really funny, the City of (Insert name here) would normally be treated as uncreative, but here it only adds another laugh!”
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I was in a hurry when writing it and needed to be more time-efficient. My AoE time was about to end. But now the name has stuck and shouldn't be changed.

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“There are still some things wich are confusing, wich age is this? There are archers, but Coca cola exists…”
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The Age of Empires, of course.

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“The story is in fact a pile of garbage, but for some reason it is still really good...? (I don’t really understand myself)”
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No, it's not a pile of garbage. It's actually a pile of

Nah really. The reason it's good is that it is a different style from what AoEH reviewers are used to (the legend, novel, documentary, folk tale or epic style), where a brief story would be considered fail. Instead, short stories rule. But I don't know what it's called.

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“As the bitmap was turned in it became even more fun to look at it! Unfortunately the axemen look unrealistic as they have been coloured with colours not used in the real game.”
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Since I wasn't allowed to play AoE, I had to make do with whatever screen shots were already available. The instruction screen uses a different palette from the rest of the game, so it is not always possible to match colors.

####################################################

Thanks to Nacht Jager (RCM7525), BBalazs, and Fruktfisk for playing, judging and reviewing. You guys did a very excellent job!

[Edited on 10/30/08 @ 10:15 PM]


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Rating
4.2
Statistics
Downloads:645
Favorites: [Who?]1
Size:115.49 KB
Added:10/24/08