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Thread: Crusader Kings II - Dev Diary 5 - The map

  1. #161
    Modding Paladin RedRooster81's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telesien View Post
    I think we will both agree that battles are out of question right now and it would also be bad decision to implement them. Every review would only focus on this comparison with TW series.

    Seriously though, I can't imagine playing campaign and still using manually controlled battles. Whenever you've got more than 10 units, you are no longer able to make some plans. At least I'm not. So I assume that if the battles are really that important, they serve only on three levels:

    A/ Attracting that small minority of people that has enough brain capacity to manage even bigger armies
    B/ Hook to get people interested
    C/ A second game that adds historical and custom battles to campaign.

    But maybe I am just bad example since I wasn't able to enjoy any TW game since they switched to map without provinces.
    I was not advocating the kind of TW-style battles. It would be wise to leave that to those guys. The issue is what gamers want and how to build on Paradox's strengths, so I agree with what you have said entirely. The focus has to be on bringing these characters to life, i.e., good roleplaying. What was it like to be the Count of Armagnac in 1066? What did you do, who did you interact with... that sort of thing. For me, that was part of the attraction of EU: Rome-VV. Although not on the level that I was quite satisfied with, characters interacted. They advanced their family interests, plotted each others' downfall, and a lot of other things.

    I also agree that not having provinces is an awful thing, if nothing else than because of the awkward way that armies and "agents" move around the Medieval 2 map (I haven't played the more recent titles, so maybe I am not a good example either). If the most boring part of Paradox games is waiting for events to fire, the worst part of playing TW is getting your army from your castle to your enemy's castle across ugly, misshapen terrain.

  2. #162
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    You have not read to the bottom of my post. I am going to ignore your post for your own good.
    Although your message wasn't directed towards me, I do understand your perspective. I know there is a reason why some games out there have the graphical styles that they do, and why some game developers make similar or straight-out clone other popular games (ie, King's Bounty looks a LOT like WoW - even their website looks like WoW's site). Now, I'm not saying Paradox is doing that, but the concept of making a "visually pleasing and stylish game" does make sense, since it can potentially make the sales increase, and I can see why you guys are going the direction that you are (aka, vibrant, visually appealing, etc). Although, I do think the soldier models should match the environment, if the environment is vibrant, the models should be vibrant, for example.


  3. #163
    Fangathering Mainstay Demi Moderator RedRalphWiggum's Avatar

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    I think there are some quasi-elitist fans who think that you are more of a purist if you like more bland graphics in a strategy game. I really don't see it that way at all.

    the water looks great by the way.

  4. #164
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRooster81 View Post
    I was not advocating the kind of TW-style battles. It would be wise to leave that to those guys. The issue is what gamers want and how to build on Paradox's strengths, so I agree with what you have said entirely. The focus has to be on bringing these characters to life, i.e., good roleplaying. What was it like to be the Count of Armagnac in 1066? What did you do, who did you interact with... that sort of thing. For me, that was part of the attraction of EU: Rome-VV. Although not on the level that I was quite satisfied with, characters interacted. They advanced their family interests, plotted each others' downfall, and a lot of other things.

    I also agree that not having provinces is an awful thing, if nothing else than because of the awkward way that armies and "agents" move around the Medieval 2 map (I haven't played the more recent titles, so maybe I am not a good example either). If the most boring part of Paradox games is waiting for events to fire, the worst part of playing TW is getting your army from your castle to your enemy's castle across ugly, misshapen terrain.
    I too love roleplaying and consider it important, but that is only when you make people try your game and really think there is more than enough to get people hooked when they give PI games a try. So the problems is probably that they don't even try. And that's when you need an eye candy. It still doesn't make a good reason for rotating world map, but who knows. Maybe it will work
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


    - Primary Iterator Kyril Sindermann

  5. #165
    Modding Paladin RedRooster81's Avatar
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    I've liked what I've seen so far. I think that the early screenshots may have needed a bit of a gamma boost; they do look rather dark IMO. The soldier models are nice, but they were more impressive when they are moving on the videos that have been released (which I think is what Darkrenown was getting at).

  6. #166
    Major Tjuk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tegus View Post
    Aerie has taken
    the time to find real-world topology data(although we've exaggerated it
    somewhat), it definitely gives a cool feel to the terrain.
    Great job. Now you only need to cross the snake pit of drawing province borders that will remain historically accurate for the entire game period, while pleasing every nationalist on this forum. Speaking of which:

    \begin{preemptive nationalistic whining}
    Don't forget that some of the real-world topology has changed over the past 500 years. I guess that if any developer will take something like that into account it will be Paradox, but still I have seen to many "historical" maps include the afsluitdijk and the larger Dutch polders.
    \end{preemptive nationalistic whining}

  7. #167
    Part Time Game Designer King's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telesien View Post
    That is because I rather follow the spirit of his message and not the exact words

    There are several known facts:
    A/ People are interested in history
    B/ People are interested in games
    C/ Oddly enough, people are not interested in historical games

    So that is the problem. Games must do something wrong, when they aren't able to attract that many people. The one exception with massive popularity (despite being quite bad!!) is the TW series. So logically by using what makes these games so popular, should make your games more popular too. And it seems like King is convinced, that the answer is in the graphics and UI. I am not that sure, but on the other hand I can't see any better answer, so I would most likely do the same.
    It's not just Total War games. Let's think about another genre the RPG. When you look at the RPG and the strategy game they both made the jump to computing and both offered the existing players something better. Like the ability to save and load, no need to gather lots of players or take over a room in the house etc. etc.. Both were very popular genres, who here does not love Eye of the Beholder? If we look now the Strategy game is pretty much condemend to some wierd niche while the RPG genre is huge. Not just MMOs, look at the success of a game like Dragon Age for example. The thing is the RPG genre has embraced the graphic technologies and tried to keep its look current, while the strategy genre (if forums are to beleived) is still not sure if 3D is really the answer. Why should I ignore the lessons of a successful genre like RPGs?
    Nostalgia is not as good as it used to be

  8. #168
    Sergeant Markus_cz's Avatar
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    Speaking about Total War, let's try a simple comparison:

    Crusader Kings 2 map
    Empire Map

    I do like the Total War map much better? I'm not sure why but let's try some speculation:

    The Total War map has detail, the CK one doesn't. The CK map is just a texture dragged over a height map, and it doesn't even look good at places (see moutains/plains borders in the Alps, the textures are stretched and somewhere even off). The texture itself is more pleasing in Total War - it's again more detailed, looks like grass, has a mossy feeling. Compare the colours - Total War has a comforting, earthy palette and also more local variation in colours. Then notice Total War's coasts. Overall, the Total War's map doesn't strive for photorealism, it's iconic more than real, stylised, even perhaps hand-drawn. The Crusader Kings map, on the other hand, seems to be modelled as photorealistic as possible which might feel oddly out-of-place in a medieval game.

    Clashing with the map are the huge floating, 3D with lightning and shadows and reflections, coats-of-arms. Compare with Total War's modest 2D labels.

    And foremost, the Crusader Kings map is simply too plain. There's nothing in there, just huge stretches of monocoloured space. Compare to Empire's rivers, forests, single trees, towns, farms etc. littered around to fill the space with detail. It's even more impressive when it's all animated and moving. There is smoke rising from the cities, ships floating on the see, caravans moving on the roads, etc. CK has none of it and even all the city icons don't really help. Worse - there's too many of them and they're all the same, so they might actually detract from the visuals - when you see hundreds of copypasted models on the same screen, it looks weird.

    Now I know this comparison isn't fair, seeing as CK still hasn't implemented rivers, trees, and even the cities are just placeholders, but I can understand the sentiments of some here that the current CK map really doesn't look that convincing. It'll be very interesting to watch the future developments. The details you'll manage to put in the game before it goes gold will make all the difference. I know rivers will be in, here's hoping that trees won't be the monotonous blobs from EU3 but more like the scattered and varied trees in Total War. Cities will move from the middle of the province and will get more detail, of course, but they could also use variety, seeing as how many of them there is. And consider adding roads, please. Roads make all the difference Look at this boardgame picture someone posted before - it's primitive, but the varied and interestingly shaped forests and the roads make it work.

  9. #169
    Crusader Kaleidoscope's Avatar
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    3d map is good

    I like

    What will the next diary be about?
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  10. #170
    Bavarian Emperor X_MasterDave_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    It's not just Total War games. Let's think about another genre the RPG. When you look at the RPG and the strategy game they both made the jump to computing and both offered the existing players something better. Like the ability to save and load, no need to gather lots of players or take over a room in the house etc. etc.. Both were very popular genres, who here does not love Eye of the Beholder? If we look now the Strategy game is pretty much condemend to some wierd niche while the RPG genre is huge. Not just MMOs, look at the success of a game like Dragon Age for example. The thing is the RPG genre has embraced the graphic technologies and tried to keep its look current, while the strategy genre (if forums are to beleived) is still not sure if 3D is really the answer. Why should I ignore the lessons of a successful genre like RPGs?
    Well there are many reasons why RPG“s or Action-oriented games today sell much better then Strategy Games does. Graphics is just 1 reason. If we compare the Computer Player today with the same group before 10 or 20 years, we see that this group growed sharply. Its because nearly anybody has a PC at home today. Bevor 10-20 years the "Geeks" played Computergames. Today even nearly every second father, grandfather or Grandma plays games on computers. So they all can now invest money into the business. But most of them (the non-geeks) will just play things that are easy to access or play. And as many dont have much time...they prefer games that can be stopped after half an hour, and played tomorrow again. Most of this new "Players" wont play Strategy Games". They are to complex for them. Way to hard to get into them. Paradox Games is a good example. You need to be a geek to love them. For HoI you need to be a history fan or better a WW2 Fan, and same time crazy enough to learn yourself into this high learning curve.

    Paradox will never compete on even with Games like WoW, Sims or a 3d-Shooter. Never.

    So the only way to stay alive in this niche is to give the geeks what they want. Oh...most geeks wont cry if they get better graphics. But who decides whats better? The creator or the customer?
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  11. #171
    Modding Paladin RedRooster81's Avatar
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    I do pity our poor developers sometimes. They all do seem like nice people doing their best to create a fine product for us to buy and enjoy for years to come. And they put on their flame-proof suits and spray on their troll repellent before logging on to answer our questions. After my experiences with other development companies, I was shocked the first time Doomdark answered one of my questions. In some cases, they are throwing out preliminary work, clearly the result of months of hard work, so I try to be constructive and supportive. This is their project ultimately, and we are fortunate that they allow us to see it come together.

    On this and other internet venues, you have to try to understand where people are coming from. King makes a good case for using 3D maps, and if rotating the map is one of the devs' favorite features, I won't begrudge them for it, just because I like looking straight down on my realm from a spot several kilometers directly above my king's throne. (Another cool feature would be if you could track behind a chosen army, and the map would rotate with you. Just an idea, guys. I know this contradicts what I just said, but I'm being Paradoxical.)

  12. #172
    Citius, altius, fortius Golwar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    You have not read to the bottom of my post. I am going to ignore your post for your own good.
    I did and I welcome that you want to reach out for new players. Better by a greater looking game, than by casualising its game mechanics. There is just one point where I disagree with you, but this one is major.

    We need to embrace new technologies and concepts in order to keep our games looking current
    THIS. It does NOT look current. The basic technology might be current, the result doesn't seem so - its even achieves the opposite, not in technical regard but in appeal.

    And frankly, what kind of communication is "I am going to ignore your post for your own good."? There is nothing terrible in what I said, I just claim that I understand and agree in your intentions but that I disagree that you'll achieve them as far as I can evaluate it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkrenown View Post
    If you think the CK2 map looks ugly I don't know what to say. Maybe it's because I've seen it in motion rather than just a screenshot, but the map is gorgeous and I have no idea how you can say it looks like EUIII.
    Believe me, I don't say that to troll around or with any other negative intention. It simply is my true impression and my real concern about this game so far. And I'm not really alone either.
    In said thread you'll also find a very fitting comparison by Montesquieu.

    http://www.hammerundneuderth.de/asse...elefon_alt.JPG
    http://www.chip.de/ii/37429129_0518b543c8.jpg

    If the first pic stands for the old but charming 2,5D and the second for the more modern but ... less charming 3D, that we see currently in CK2, which one would you rather use in 2011?

    Edit: And of course CK2 doesn't look like EU3 1.0 - I mentioned it as a kind of comparison how EU3 seemed a step back with its flair and appeal, compared to the old engine. Step by step it improved till DW and I wouldn't want to miss it now. But as much seems CK2 now a step down compared to DW and Vicky2 and imho rotation isn't something of such a great value that it is worth the price.
    Last edited by Golwar; 04-02-2011 at 17:20.
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  13. #173
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by King View Post
    It's not just Total War games. Let's think about another genre the RPG. When you look at the RPG and the strategy game they both made the jump to computing and both offered the existing players something better. Like the ability to save and load, no need to gather lots of players or take over a room in the house etc. etc.. Both were very popular genres, who here does not love Eye of the Beholder? If we look now the Strategy game is pretty much condemend to some wierd niche while the RPG genre is huge. Not just MMOs, look at the success of a game like Dragon Age for example. The thing is the RPG genre has embraced the graphic technologies and tried to keep its look current, while the strategy genre (if forums are to beleived) is still not sure if 3D is really the answer. Why should I ignore the lessons of a successful genre like RPGs?
    I more agree with X_MasterDave_X here.

    What do successful RPGs have in common? There are a lot about combat and that combat is action oriented (instead of the old strategy orientation of games like Baldur's Gate or Fallout that ressurected the RPG genre) and quite simple. What does Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Warhammer Online or World of Warcraft have in common? They are driven by combat and every combat is just about activating weird power-ups and waiting until the cooldown period expires and repeat and repeat until you win. No deep understanding, no planning and even death of single character stopped being an issue. You can even see this in 4ed D&D!

    Graphics surely played its role, but I am affraid that trying to revive the strategy genre without getting rid of what makes strategies great is like saving sinking ship with band-aid. But God bless you for trying, because I don't know what I'd do if strategies would end up like RPGs...
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


    - Primary Iterator Kyril Sindermann

  14. #174
    Sergeant Markus_cz's Avatar
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    Personally, I'm convinced that when people say they don't like 3D or map tilting or whatever, it actually means "this particular implementation hasn't convinced me to change preferences." If you dwell on their insistence that 2D is better (it's not), you will fail to see the underlying issue, which is that it is perfectly possible to make a 3D map with tilting or whatever that will look so amazingly good it will convince the naysayers.

  15. #175
    Over 9000! ssj18vegeta's Avatar
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    Who cares about the N64 graphics guys, it's the gameplay that matters ;-)

    Besides, it's just alpha. Things can only get better from here.

  16. #176
    Fangathering Mainstay Demi Moderator RedRalphWiggum's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by telesien View Post
    I more agree with X_MasterDave_X here.

    What do successful RPGs have in common? There are a lot about combat and that combat is action oriented (instead of the old strategy orientation of games like Baldur's Gate or Fallout that ressurected the RPG genre) and quite simple. What does Dragon Age, Mass Effect, Warhammer Online or World of Warcraft have in common? They are driven by combat and every combat is just about activating weird power-ups and waiting until the cooldown period expires and repeat and repeat until you win. No deep understanding, no planning and even death of single character stopped being an issue. You can even see this in 4ed D&D!

    Graphics surely played its role, but I am affraid that trying to revive the strategy genre without getting rid of what makes strategies great is like saving sinking ship with band-aid. But God bless you for trying, because I don't know what I'd do if strategies would end up like RPGs...
    The genre itself isn't doing too badly though, is it? No, it might not sell like woW or CoD, but it's still a viable genre.

    Of course graphics, gameplay, advertising and so on play a big role and Paradox should do whatever they can to broaden appeal without losing content. There there are other factors at play as to why fantasy games are so huge. Movies.

    Think, most of the people playing them, now were kids when the LoTR movies came out. Its no conincidence so many fantasy games revolve around similar storylines to those movies. I can guarantee you that if a movie like Saving Private Ryan came out this year and did incredibly well, HoI3 sales would increase, and if a Braveheart-type movie came out the same day as CK2, it would help there too. Great graphics are not essential for success (Minecraft), but they do help. Let's be honest, if you had never played any strategy game before and saw a screenshot comparison between Civ4 and Hoi2, Civ4 immediately jumps out at you.
    Last edited by RedRalphWiggum; 04-02-2011 at 17:09.

  17. #177
    OT's own Sgt. Schultz telesien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRalphWiggum View Post
    The genre itself isn't doing too badly though, is it? No, it might not sell like woW or CoD, but it's still a viable genre.

    Of course graphics, gameplay, advertising and so on play a big role and Paradox should do whatever they can to broaden appeal without losing content. There there are other factors at play as to why fantasy games are so huge. Movies.

    Think, most of the people playing them, now were kids when the LoTR movies came out. Its no conincidence so many fantasy games revolve around similar storylines to those movies. I can guarantee you that if a movie like Saving Private Ryan came out this year and did incredibly well, HoI3 sales would increase, and if a Braveheart-type movie came out the same day as CK2, it would help there too. Great graphics are not essential for success (Minecraft), but they do help. Let's be honest, if you had never played any strategy game before and saw a screenshot comparison between Civ4 and Hoi2, Civ4 immediately jumps out at you.
    Movies really help. I always have a craving to play a game that somehow resembles great movie I've seen. And similarly when I used to be in high school, I always played EU as the country that we were currently dealing with in history lessons.
    But I wouldn't use Minecraft as example. That game is so unique, that people don't mind bad graphics, but it wouldn't stand a chance against very similar, but better looking one. Even when that other one would play somewhat worse.

    EDIT: Doing badly... It depends. Strategies like TW series are AFAIK doing quite bad (except this one). Dune-like RTS are perhaps doing well, but I quite refuse to call them strategies, since they are limited to produce -> send routine. But how many really well selling strategies we had in recent years?
    "'Religious faith. Belief in daemons, belief in spirits, belief in an afterlife and all the other trappings of a preternatural existence, simply existed to make us all more comfortable and content in the face of a measureless cosmos. They were sops, bolsters for the soul, crutches for the intellect, prayers and lucky charms to help us through the darkness. But we have witnessed the cosmos now, my friends. We have passed amongst it. We have learned and understood the fabric of reality. We have seen the stars from behind, and found they have no clockwork mechanisms, no golden chariots carrying them abroad. We have realized there is no need for god, or any gods, and by extension no use any longer for daemons or devils or spirits."


    - Primary Iterator Kyril Sindermann

  18. #178
    General Camara's Avatar
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    Of course this is alpha and things will change.

    My opinion is that the map looks too much like Victoria II, is too empty and too light (vs dark). For Victoria that's perfect because it represents the enlightned age, where people know things in grand scale, and an open, light-coloured world shows this openiness, the progress. Also the empty map in Victoria is made for huge centralised empires, the point was being the biggest extension in a world scale.

    I feel that CK should have a much darker, narrowminded map. We should feel like some monk, messing with scrolls and hand-draw maps, and the dark feel should represent the "here be dragons", the cartographic doubts, the dark mood of an intolerant era. I also feel this for the interface. Everything is modern and clean, like V2. I don't like that, I prefer much more wooden, rocky, metalic interfaces, representing the un-modernity. Although CK1 interface was a mess, it captured this dark mood. I should also feel that the map doesn't represent emptiness but dozens and hundreds of small counties, all clustered together, fighting each other, a claustrophobic place (unlike some regions like Arabia, Nubia, etc).

    I'm also one of those that don't use the terrain map, political all the way, but I understand the use of terrain one.

    This is hard to describe, I hope I made myself clear on what I would like to see.

    EDIT: I also don't care for map rotating, in Rome I only use it to printscreen show off of units marching.
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  19. #179
    Bavarian Emperor X_MasterDave_X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RedRalphWiggum View Post
    .....if you had never played any strategy game before and saw a screenshot comparison between Civ4 and Hoi2, Civ4 immediately jumps out at you.
    Wel, maybe i am a bit differnt then. I never liked Civ4 Graphics. But HoI2 was ok.

    To explain myself. I dont have a problem with a 3d-Gameengine, as long as the result is at least same sweet as the last 2d-Engine. EU3 failed to look better then EU2. Vicky2 looks clearly better then EU2. I (and most others) would never rant when the 3d Look is better then the last 2d Look. But its hard to be silent, when it doesnt.

    To be honest...i hated the Civ4 Look. But Civ5 looks awesome.

    But again...you cant get it right for anyone. I heared many rants about the Civ5 graphics. Many old fans wanted even the old Civ4 grapics back.


    What can a designer learn from such discussions? You can never make it right for everyone. So focuse on one line...and try to make it constantly better over time. Until Vicky2 i clearly saw this evolution. Now CK2 is still young..and in Alpha. I belive its doable to make this look as good (or even better) as the Vicky2 Look.
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  20. #180
    On Probation thrashing mad's Avatar

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    Map looks great. I would prefer something less realistic and more stylised/archaic, but i`m sure that it could be achieved via modding of texture files.

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