Fanstratics
国王的恩赐2
Songs of Conquest
15329911

Fanstratics月报#7#2021-03

EvilP 更新于 2021-03-01 17:14

来源:https://www.fanstratics.com/fstnewsletter07,以下由Heavenk翻译。

  • Fanstratics Faction #4: Necrotics.
  • Fanstratics派系4:Necrotics
  • Lifeforce drained from the living, is most sweet when consumed at the moment of their inevitable death. To this end, tyrannical Necromancers create and control vast hordes of undead, directing them to consume all... to feed their immortality addiction. Decayed on the outside, dead on the inside, the diseased Necrotic exist on the vacillating Dead Lands. Forever they creep forward... unrelenting... unforgiving... unbowed. Playing the undead can be a lot of fun, so... did anyone really think there wouldn’t be a faction in the spirit of HoMM3’s ‘Necropolis’? Representing the Necrotic is the Feral Vampire, which can be viewed in the Fanstratics Gallery.
  • 从生者处汲取的生命之力尤为甜美,特别是当这些力量被用来延缓不可逃避的死亡之时。为了这一目标,残暴的亡灵巫师们创造并操控着大批不死军团,指挥它们吞噬一切,只为满足其对不朽的痴迷。腐朽的外表,死寂的内心,这些病态的Necrotic行走在衰败的死亡之地。它们永远在向前蹒跚,无情无义,也永不屈服。扮演不死生物总是充满乐趣,所以有没有人联想到英雄无敌3代的墓园?Necrotic派系的代表就是Feral Vampire
  • The HOMM series has a storied history but doesn’t really have consistency since it has been remade and its previous canon thrown away every time. Are you planning for the longevity of what you’re attempting to make? Are you planning to keep the great writing that made HoMM3 so great going in your successor?
  • FST打算成为一个长寿作品么?
  • My goal for Fanstratics (FST) is ‘longevity’. There may be other stories, involving different characters from different continents, but I would prefer to stick with one world and one line of characters. Truthfully, I didn’t have a lot of time to work on HoMM3s’s story elements, and map makers were given relative freedom to work within established guidelines. With FST, I want to lay a strong foundation and put a considerable amount of effort into the story. We’ll see what happens. There are many hurdles to overcome.
  • 目标是这样,不过目前还是着眼于单一世界和单一故事线。
  • For its time, the graphics for HoMM3 were insanely good, and the method of producing sprites from 3d models made it age like fine wine - it still looks good to this very day (if somewhat small/low res). Something very typical and important in H3 spirit, imo, is the photo-realistic environment. And overall, I think the "realistic" side is an important point, ’cause it makes me feel like going for a true adventure back in old times, not playing a random video game inspired by Japanese anime. For example, for me the undead has to be kind of "sober", not as colorful and distorted as in H5 or Warcraft3, where it feels like Halloween in Disneyland.
  • 英雄无敌3的美术偏向写实,而非5代或者魔兽3那种卡通风格。FST会怎样?
  • Your point regarding sprites from 3D models is well taken, but keep in mind, HoMM4 also produced sprites from 3D models. In my opinion, it really comes down to the people involved: Phelan Sykes, Scott White, Adam McCarthy, George Almond, and David Mullich. Phelan and Scott were not involved in HoMM4... and it showed. Fanstratics’ art will be 3D, but with a forced perspective mimicking an old school 2D presentation (sometimes called 2.5D). This type of interaction is habitual for every HoMM3 player, and I believe it is important to stick with what is familiar. As for the art style, we are attempting to fashion a ‘realistic fairy tale’ or ‘creative caricature’, which I believe Justin Gerard is accomplishing. Just as the game play will be a spiritual successor to HoMM3, I want to art style to also be a spiritual successor.
  • FST会继承英雄无敌3的美术风格。(另注:以下非原文内容,有人以讹传讹说这个原班人马包括美术其实是错了,H3的美术主要是Phelan Sykes, Scott White, Adam McCarthy, George Almond这些人,而FST的主美术是Justin Gerard,一个夫妻档,按年龄算这两人不可能参与了当年H3的开发,不过这对夫妻的画风相当的不错,有兴趣的人可以看他们的个人网站或者instagram,色彩应用相当符合我个人的口味)
  • How soon can we get some map pictures, town screens, or some tiny video?
  • 多久能看到一些地图、城镇界面的截图,或是短视频?
  • Unfortunately, images or video are a long way off. For a couple of reasons, my approach to development has been ‘design and programming first’. This means art and audio will be fashioned only after most of the design and programming are in place. While this method is more efficient and cost effective, the approach is uncommon as it requires ‘vision’. Most people have a difficult time ‘seeing’ anything unless it is shown to them. One of the reasons developers produce ‘fake demos’ for publishers, management, media, and gamers, is to ‘show’ them the ‘vision’ for the game they are attempting to make. In 1998, at E3 in Atlanta, I sat on a chair for eight hours a day, showcasing HoMM3 to numerous industry people. Our HoMM3 E3 demo was effectively fake, but it got HoMM3 the mainstream press coverage it needed. It also helped the team ‘see’ what we were building. Remember the ‘No Man’s Sky’ demos from 2013 and 2014? Heavily scripted. If Sean Murray didn’t have a scripted demo, how many people could have ‘seen’ what he was talking about? Remember Cyberpunk 2077’s demo from 2018? Heavily scripted. I’m not excusing what Hello Games and CDPR did, but I understand how and why it happened. Overall, fake demos are a deceptive practice, but without it, most developers cannot get the external or internal support they need. As for myself, I know asking people to wait is asking a lot, but I want to avoid producing a ‘scripted demo’. So... as I mentioned... images or video are a long way off. Which leads me into the next question...
  • 还要一段时间。毕竟有无人星空和赛博朋克2077这种画饼在前。
  • To successfully crowd fund the game, you say you need 50,000 subscribers, yet you have less than 3,000. Are you concerned? When do you see a possible release happening?
  • 你说希望有5万订阅,但现在只有不到3千。
  • Truthfully, I’m satisfied to see we’re closing in on 3,000. I do sincerely wish I was emailing 50,000 people each month, but I don’t expect to see subscriber numbers accelerate until I reach out to the mainstream media. I can only reach out to the mainstream media when I have a collection of screenshots, clips, and a video. Anything short of this will simply be ignored (as for the reasons detailed above). Until I have more to show, I’m content to fly under the radar, communicating specifically with the hardcore fans. So, to avoid any concerns, miscommunication, or misunderstanding, I’m removing the ongoing subscriber count. As for the game’s release, I have a very, very loose timeline for Fanstratics. This year’s goal is to program, program, and program, while finalizing the game’s design. If things go reasonably well, I want to crowd fund sometime in 2022, with an Early Access release sometime in 2023. I know it’s a long time to wait, but it’s the eternal dilemma of ‘good-fast-cheap (pick two)’. At this stage, I can only afford good and cheap, so development will be slow. For some perspective, consider Valheim, which sold over 3,000,000 copies in February, and is still in Early Access. Most people don’t know the game’s Steam page has been live since October of 2018. In January of 2020, they had ~5,100 Steam followers, with ~50,000 wish lists. Prior to February of 2021, they had ~1,700 Twitter followers, but now have over ~58,000. What changed? A couple mid-tier Twitch streamers played the game. Soon thereafter, larger Twitch streamers liked what they saw and joined in. Add in some Youtubers and the game took off like a rocket. I’d surprised if there weren’t some complimentary Steam keys handed out, but the point is this... at this stage, ~3,000 non-Steam newsletter subscribers isn’t bad.
  • 毕竟没有更进一步的信息,就没法登上主流媒体,所以现阶段我觉得3千这个数字已经很不错了。
  • Fanstratics Feature List.
  • FST基本特点
  • Why am I now revealing a list of features? Since June of 2020, I have sent a Fanstratics Game Proposal to different publishers, venture capitalists, game investments firms, and government grant programs. At this point, what I am attempting to do is not really a secret, so I thought... why not publish the features list and expand upon each one every month? Keep in mind, these are ‘new’ features, in addition to those commonly expected from a HoMM inspired game. Also, this list avoids detailing the real core of the game: heroes, troops, spells, skills, destinations, structures, etc. Some items have been purposely omitted as they have been mentioned before (fully 3D game, 6 resources not 7, etc.), and others have been purposely omitted (i.e. spells, skills, etc.) as they are currently unresolved. In the end, I suspect most fans will find the proposed items to be relatively logical and evolutionary. Please remember, if a feature does not work as envisioned... it will be cut. Nothing is set in stone.
    • 9 Playable Factions
    • Base and Alternate Troop Types
    • Troop Rally Ability (this month’s feature)
    • Ether Gate Structure
    • Player Determined Weekly Events
    • Battlefield Artifacts
    • Artifact Upgrade System
    • Legendary ‘Boss’ Battles
    • Experience Potions
    • Quality of Life & HotA Efficiencies
    • 2 or 3 Campaigns and ~45 Solo Maps
    • Hardcore Mode
    • Community Map Editor & Random Map Generator
    As for this month’s feature, I’m going to start with... Troop Rally Ability.
  • 9个可玩种族、多兵种线、兵种大招、以太门/灵界门建筑、受玩家影响的每周事件、战场宝物、宝物升级系统、传奇boss战、经验药水、QoL(某MOD的功能性修正)HotA(深渊号角)要素、2到3个战役与45个单人地图、硬核模式、地图编辑器与随机地图。
  • Feature: Troop Rally Ability.
  • 兵种大招
  • For those of you who haven’t already figured it out, this feature is clearly inspired by Street Fighter, and was actually an old idea I had back in 1997, when I was working on HoMM3. I didn’t push for it in HoMM3 for a couple of reasons. First, I was already asking for a lot of new features, and the programmers had their hands full. Second, I thought it was foisting upon the fanbase, too much complication too quickly. Now, as to the feature... on the Battlefield, in the course of basic attack and defense, a Troop Division will accumulate ‘Energy’. When a Troop Division acquires 100% Energy, it earns the option to activate a Rally Ability (aka. a Super or an Ultimate). Each Rally Ability is relatively unique to each Troop Type, and largely amplifies a Troop’s unique attributes for one action. Conceptually, the purpose of the Rally Ability is to add an extra layer of strategy to Battlefield Combat. Specifically, ‘focusing down’ a Troop Division may not be the best or most obvious tactic.
  • 灵感来自于街霸。战场上,部队在进攻和防御的时候会积攒“能量”,积攒满了就可以使用大招(Rally Ability aka. a Super or an Ultimate)。不同的部队类型有不同的大招,同时会在一个回合内大幅提升部队的某个独特属性。

以下是之前说的访谈的余下问答(共58个)。

  • How did you join NWC?
  • 你怎么进的NWC
  • I submitted a resume via the internet. Keep in mind, it was 1997, so submitting a resume via email was a new thing. I lived within driving distance, interviewed first with JVC, then a second time with JVC and Mark Caldwell. Later, Mark called me, told me the salary, and I accepted. 7 days later I started my first day, and met David Mullich for the first time.
  • 97年在网上申请,然后面试进来的。
  • What did you like (or dislike) about working there?
  • 你在这里工作有什么喜欢或不喜欢的地方么?
  • Working at NWC was an odd experience. Don’t misunderstand me, it had periodic moments of drama, but in general, it was ‘quiet and repressed’. In personnel terms, the company was filled to the brim with shy, dorky, socially inept introverts. Some might think, “It’s a video game company. Isn’t that normal?” Well, yes, it would be normal, except shy, dorky, socially inept introverts, would point at NWC and say, “Wow. Look at those shy, dorky, socially inept introverts.” Compared to NWC, everyplace else I’ve worked, felt like a Friday night party. With all this in mind, I must admit, I was the most productive when I worked at NWC. Perhaps there’s something to be said for working at the library.
  • 客套话,省略
  • Your impressions in general?
  • 你的整体印象
  • Of all the game companies I’ve worked with, tech and art were rarely an issue. Typically, a company’s weakness was average design and idiotic management. With NWC, the formula was inverted: average art, average management, below average tech, but great design. This led to NWC being the least talented, but the most successful developer with whom I ever worked. It was ironic.
  • 省略
  • Could you tell us about your impressions of HoMM III at its development stage, after the release and now, 20 years later. How did your opinions change?
  • 你在开发阶段对英雄无敌3的印象是什么,20年来有没有变化?
  • While we were working on HoMM3, I felt we would do well, but had to continually remind myself, we aren’t a hot 3D game. It won’t light the world on fire. As was typical, at the time, game magazines and game websites focused more on features, and less on pure gameplay. Specifically, I remember when Starcraft hit the shelves and received a cool reception. Sure, it was a good game, but it was a 2D game in an emerging 3D market. Only later, months after release, did fans and critics discover the excellence in Starcraft. HoMM3 traveled a similar road. It did well when it released, and received excellent reviews, but it took months and years before fans and critics understood the game’s depth and breath. It may be just me, but it feels like HoMM3 gets infinitely more attention and respect today, compared to its initial release.
  • 我一直感觉我们做的很棒,但也告诉自己,这不是那种大热的3D游戏,不可能一下子点燃世界。英雄无敌3这种游戏比较慢热,但有着似乎无限的吸引力,一直持续到现在。
  • What are your favorite features in the game?
  • 你最喜欢的游戏特性是什么?
  • Honestly, I do not have a favorite feature. When I look at the game, I see everything working in concert: design, art, programming, audio, and music.
  • 全部
  • Was it possible to save NWC?
  • 当时有拯救NWC的可能性么?
  • Highly unlikely. Most game companies, who don’t turn into corporate entities, undergo a typical Birth-Life-Death cycle. Where a developer sits in this sequence, almost always correlates to the passion and involvement of the person who founded the company. If you look at organizations like Origin, Bullfrog, and NWC, each company began to falter when its founder simply grew weary from the grind. If I remember correctly, JVC told me it took him 5 years to bring the original MM to market in 1986. This means, by the time I joined the company in 1997, JVC had been making video games for 10-15 years. Putting aside any issues regarding development ‘crunch’, JVC had also seen NWC through some rocky times, leading to it being bought by NTN Communications, and later to being bought again by 3DO. In my observation, JVC had completed his ‘opus’ with World of Xeen, and simply wanted to slow down and take a back seat. He was coming into work 2 or 3 days a week, and everyone at the company was perfectly okay with it. He had earned it. However, the game industry had no interest in giving JVC, or anyone else, a moment’s rest. 3DO wanted yearly franchise releases; the Madden model, not today’s ‘games as a service’. I could go into depth about how bad an idea this was at the time, but I think most people understand how such an approach is incredibly shortsighted. It almost always dilutes product quality, and grinds a developer into dust. Don’t get me wrong, it can be done successfully, but it requires strong personalities, an unflinching commitment to quality, efficient organization, and multiple teams working in tandem. 3DO had none of this. Additionally, in 1999, the video game industry was also undergoing technological revolution. Sega’s Dreamcast on was on the shelves, with the Playstation 2 and the original Xbox on the horizon. Nvidia’s GeForce 256 was laying the foundation for the PC Master Race. Ultima Online and EverQuest were changing the concepts of what makes an RPG. In this respect, NWC was well behind the technological curve on all fronts. As good as MM6 and MM7 played, they simply looked primitive when put up against games like Team Fortress, Half-life, and Quake 3 Arena. Bottom line, NWC as a company, was exhausted on multiple levels, and struggling to remain relevant in a changing market.
  • 基本不可能。许多游戏公司,都走上了标准的诞生-成长-死亡的循环。包括起源、牛蛙和NWC,这个生命周期很正常。JVC曾说过,他花了五年才将魔法门初代于86年推向市场,而到97年的时候,他都已经在游戏界10-15年了。加之在魔法门6-7的时代,玩家的重心早已经变化,网络创世纪和无尽的任务已经重塑RPG游戏的模式,而NWC完全落在后面。
  • Broad question, but do you think that maybe 3DO selling NWC and MM to another company around 2003 would have helped? Or something else?
  • 如果3DO在2003年出售NWC和魔法门系列,会有帮助么?
  • When MM was sold in the 3DO bankruptcy, Ubisoft was the only bidder. No one else, other than Ubisoft, wanted what was essentially a dead franchise. Had MM been sold to another company, say EA or Activision, I doubt the results would have been different. I strongly suspect they would have been worse. What made MM and HoMM special, were the people and company culture (which as I mentioned, typically has a finite lifespan). It’s rare to take a creative property, put it in the hands of someone else, and see an exceptional result. ‘Franchise neglect’ is common. You see it frequently with movie sequels and reboots.
  • 结果也没什么变化。当初只有育碧一个买家。就算假设EA或Activision买了,结果也不会有什么不同。
  • Do you have any funny stories related to HOMM3: the development, lore/story writing, PR field, etc. I still fondly remember your witty FAQ about the whole anti-Forge backlash fiasco :)
  • 有什么关于英雄无敌3的趣闻么?
  • I’ve told this tale numerous times as an industry ‘war story’. I don’t know if I would consider it ‘funny’. At the very least, most might consider it ‘amusing’. We were crunching on HoMM3. I was already putting in 9 and 10 hour days before crunch began. At some point, I began to wonder exactly how many hours I was working, and with my salary, what I was making per hour. So, I began tracking when I arrived and departed from work. After I had accumulated over 300 hours of overtime... I did the math. In the year 1998, I was making about $5 an hour. With this number in my head, I needed a break, so I left my desk, and drove to McDonalds for a quick dinner. I was waiting in line, looking at the young lady who was about to take my order, when it dawned on me. On a per hour basis, she was probably making more money than I was. Something to think about for anyone wanting to get into video game development.
  • 就是工作累啥的...
  • Why did you quit NWC? What were the key reasons? How did you feel about the company and other related stuff at the time?
  • 为什么退出NWC?
  • After we finished Armageddon’s Blade, I was angry for a number of well documented reasons. I remember thinking things over, and asking myself, “Should I stay, or should I go?” It didn’t take long to draft a mental list of positives and negatives. To the positive...
    • Working with JVC, David Mullich, and the HoMM3 team.
    To the negative...
    • Didn’t feel my efforts were appreciated.
    • Wanted a better salary.
    • Long work hours; poor work/life balance.
    • Wanted to work on something other than TBS games.
    • Wanted to work with newer technologies.
    • Felt NWC had fallen behind the industry ‘evolutionary’ curve.
    • 3DO was slowly zombifying NWC.
    I felt the writing was on the wall. NWC’s days of producing quality product were quickly coming to an end. I had the freedom to make a change, and wanted to see if the grass was greener on the other side of the fence. I sent out my resume, took some days off, did a handful of jobs interviews, and got a handful of exceptional offers. In the end, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
  • 省略...
  • Even after 20 years, fans continue to support and improve Heroes III. Almost 10 years ago, a team of fans created a non-commercial project named Horn of the Abyss. Its main idea was to create new expansion as it could be made by NWC. It contains bugfixes, new heroes, objects and new town of pirates named Cove. Now the team plans to create a new Factory town. It is a rethinking of the ideas about the Forge town and inspired by classic steampunk of brass and glass. If you know about it, what are your thoughts?
  • 20年来,粉丝们不断改进着英雄无敌3,新mod新种族,对此你有何感想?
  • I’m looking forward to it. Modding and fan patches have kept HoMM3 alive for the last 20 years. Now more than ever, HoMM3 belongs to the fans. Keep going. Have fun.
  • 英雄无敌3是属于粉丝的。
  • What is your vision of the perfect MM game and the perfect HoMM game? We realize that this is a very broad subject, but it’s be nice if you list your key thoughts on both.
  • 你心中最完美的魔法门和英雄无敌游戏是什么样的?
  • Yes, this is a very broad subject and well beyond the scope of this interview. It is also an extremely tough question to answer because there is no objectively right answer. Video game design is one big ‘judgement call’. You create what you find exciting and appealing. In the end, when the final product reaches the retail market, you hope there will be plenty of people who agree with your vision. Nevertheless… As to my idea of a perfect HoMM game… I would respectfully decline to answer. I am currently working on two personal indie projects, both in early pre-production. One of them is a HoMM style game. In any conversation pertaining to an ‘ideal HoMM’ game, I would be effectively talking about what I am currently attempting, and at this time, I would prefer to keep all details private. Within the next 3-5 years, I hope both games will be published, but as with any entrepreneurial effort, the likelihood for failure is far greater than the chance for success. As to my idea of a perfect MM game… this one gives me pause. With a finite scope and limited ambition, one part of me desires a high quality, traditional, single player, turn based, tile based, RPG, with a party of six adventurers. With a larger scope and unlimited ambition, another part of me wants a real time, first person, 1 to 4 player, co-operative, action-adventure game with a moderate story, heavy RPG elements, and a reactive world. With these basic concepts as a starting point, the next step would be 6 to 12 months of franchise research and current market examinations. Along the way, I would expect there to be mild, major, or wholesale alterations. In the end, I would hope for something unique, honoring the franchise’s traditional foundations, with one foot in the past and another in the future.
  • 没看到什么重点,省略之
  • What can you say to Might and Magic fans? Any wishes, advices, etc.
  • 你对魔法门粉丝有什么要说的么?
  • When you think of the ‘old school’ RPG’s from the 1980’s (Ultima, Bard’s Tale, Dungeon Master, and Wizardry), all of them are essentially gone. Surprisingly, M&M is still here in one form or another. When I watch Twitch.tv, it still amazes me to see a moderately active HoMM3 community. On behalf of JVC and everyone who worked at NWC, thank you for continuing to play Might & Magic.
  • 水,省略之
  • Please write a few words of congratulations to the fans from the ru segment and our communities (RPG Geeks, GoodGame, Tavern of Might and Magic, HotA Community)?
  • 对俄语社区的庆祝
  • Just last week, I saw over 12.5k people, largely Russian, watching HoMM3 multiplayer games on Twitch. It absolutely blows me away, when a 20-year-old game I designed, creeps into the modern Twitch top 20. I knew HoMM had Russian fans, but I had no idea the base was so large, so dedicated, and so passionate. To everyone who has played HoMM3, and continues to play it today, know this... there is at least one developer who appreciates your passion. Happy 20th.
  • 水,省略之
塞勒斯 回复于 2021-03-05 10:46:
水,省略之……
wudevils 回复于 2021-03-02 13:53:
嗯,更喜欢英3的画风


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