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Stronghold Warlords Competition- Results!

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Well, after an intense competition which spanned over many months, we can now FINALLY reveal who has won our contest to win Stronghold Warlords for FREE!

Thanks goes to everyone who participated in our contest this year. I have to say that when checking the entries, @EaglePrince and I were completely blown away by the quality of the submissions. It's clear that substantial effort has been put into every single one of the entries, and we're really grateful for the submissions members have made. It's made judging the entries incredibly difficult because they were all so good. I feel very privileged to have been able to judge these entries, and I know @EaglePrince feels the same way as well.

The Prizes to be awarded are as follows:

  • 1st place: Free copy of Stronghold Warlords upon release and the Stronghold Kingdoms Starter Pack
  • 2nd place: Free copy of Stronghold Crusader 2 Ultimate Edition and the Stronghold kingdoms Starter Pack
  • 3rd place: Free copy of Space Colony

The categories for the competition were as follows;

  • Category A (Easy): A Custom scenario using any Stronghold game;
  • Category B (Medium): A historical structure from the far-east;
  • Category C (Hard): A game modification in some way;

The Judges for this contest were:

For entry to each category, entrants receive 1 bonus point for their submission, on top of the grading of the actual submission. Each Judge grades the submission independently between 1-5 points, then these scores are averaged out and the bonus points added on: (My score + Eagle's score) / Number of Judges + Bonus points.

We received a total of 4 entries before the deadline, all of which were valid. In accordance with the Competition Guidelines, we have awarded the results as follows:

  • 1st place: @Krarilotus for the submission Mongol Invasion 1258: 8 points;
    • (5 by me+5 by Eagle) / 2 = 5 + 3 bonus points for valid entry to Categories A, B & C = 8;
  • 2nd place: @artofmath for the submission The Mamluk Siege of Acre, 1291: 7 points;
    • (5 by me+5 by Eagle) / 2 = 5 + 2 bonus points for valid entry to Categories A & C = 7;
  • 3rd place: @Andreas9541 for the submission Blue Star5 points;
    • (4 by me+4 by Eagle) / 2 = 4 + 1 bonus point for valid entry to Category A = 5;
  • 4th place: @Lord Mordred for the submission A Three Way Skirmish: 4 points;
    • (2 by me+3 by Eagle) / 2 = 2.5 (rounded = 3) + 1 bonus point for valid entry to Category A = 4;

Congratulations to all winners! Your submissions are absolutely superb and we're so pleased and excited to be able to award you the prizes you deserve. Feel free to message me at any point to claim your prizes. Commiserations to @Lord Mordred who missed out on 3rd place by 1 point.

It's worth noting that in the case of @artofmath's submission, we were at first unsure which categories to award bonus points for, given that the map is for the middle-east, and not far-east. However after a conversation with our history expert @Crusader1307, and @EaglePrince, we have both decided to award a bonus point for Category C, which is for a game modification, purely on the basis that the Castle was very difficult to construct and required a lot of effort. We unfortunately couldn't award any more points, because the map wasn't really for the right geographic region.

The official feedback for entries, taken into account for grading, is as follows:

  • Mongol Invasion 1258:
    • My feedback: Excellent landscape. Very finely tuned with incredible attention to detail. The sheer level of depth and complexity is stunning. Great use of troops, with very well constructed natural defences and obstacles. Cleverly placed Oasis and an exceptional background history.
    • Eagle's feedback: Here I like everything! The landscape, the castle, the scenario itself… Everything looks great, and it is fun to play. The story is great too. I like how the author of the map chose Vietnam’s history, which is what Stronghold Warlords is going to be about. At first it seems strange since we don’t have Far Eastern troops, but the scenario is so fun that very soon you forget about those “missing details” (about which nobody could do anything at all, actually). I have to mention that, once the scenario has been started, the player is looking around, to see what’s going on, and the idea about destroying barracks as soon as possible didn’t cross my mind. Simply because pretty fast those lords have plenty of troops in their castles. Maybe something about this could be mentioned in the story. Something like “those lords had lived relaxed lives, and once upon hearing the news that you’re coming, they have started to gather more and fresh troops.” Although something like this has already been told in the story. Maybe it’s just me. :)
  • The Mamluk Siege of Acre, 1291:
    • My feedback: Exceptional landscape. Perfect for the scenario, and very well planned out. Incredible build design and very well replicated in the game. Every detail of the map is perfectly placed and coordinated. Great use of troops, and an overall fantastic scenario.
    • Eagle's feedback: I like how the scenario was made harder for the player (no inns, no churches), but with everything being justified in the story. And the backstory itself is very interesting. Those two Wolves in one custom shared castle work together really great. It’s needless to say that a lot of effort had to be put into making this scenario with this epic castle, but it was totally worth it! Missions like this are pretty great because here a player can build his usual castle, and test it, both its economy and defences, against an extraordinary opponent such as two wolves in a joined castle with plenty of resources on their hands.
  • Blue Star:
    • My feedback: Very photogenic landscape with excellent placement of ambient buildings. Great use of ruins, trees and shrubbery. Nice natural terrain. Sadly as this doesn't work in game it can't be awarded full marks, but nonetheless very well constructed and designed.
    • Eagle's feedback: This game did work for me, I didn’t notice anything strange. Maybe I missed something, or maybe some lag would appear later in the game.
  • A Three Way Skirmish:
    • My feedback: A nice well constructed map. Very compact which makes it difficult to build everything. Nicely detailed without going overboard. Disappointing that it's based off an existing idea in Stronghold Legends, but nevertheless very well replicated in Stronghold 2.
    • Eagle's feedback: I like that it’s about a map from Stronghold Legends. The landscape is really nice, and the only thing which I don’t prefer is stone keeps being too close to the edge of the map. But that’s just my taste. :)

I've tailored my official feedback purely to the criteria and needs of the contest, so you can be sure that my personal preferences didn't play any role in my grading. However, as promised I would like to give each of you my personal opinion as well. So I've written a small piece below for each of you with personalised feedback from me. I will also be posting these comments on the official files a bit later on today, as well. I know @EaglePrince is excited to share his own personal experiences with you guys as well.

I'd like to thank everyone again for their entries, and congratulate all the winners on their well-deserved prizes! @Krarilotus I will be in touch nearer the release of Warlords with a Steam code for you once I receive it off Firefly. You can however message me now if you would like your copy of the Stronghold Kingdoms Starter Pack already. Everyone else, please feel free to message me at any convenient time to claim your prizes.

Thank you to all our wonderful community members and staff who showed their interest in this competition, dedicated their own time to it, and submitted content to our community.

Finally, I'd like to thank Firefly for allowing this competition to be possible. Their generosity has allowed us to hold yet another historic contest and moment in the Stronghold community.

Spoiler

Personalised Feedback

  • Mongol Invasion 1258:
    • This is a great map. Honestly I was in complete awe when I first opened this map as to how detailed the submission was and the amount of effort that had been put into it. I loved the whole theme of the scenario, the difficulty levels were amazing and I thought a really neat addition to the map. The whole idea of having to invade the map with your army and take the castles was incredible and really well thought out. Similarly talking about the build designs, I particularly loved the first Wolf castle the player comes across and the fact you have to rush it right at the start before the troops arrive. It took me so many attempts before I managed to get anywhere with it. Partly, this is because of some weird glitch where I couldn't drag and select my troops at the start because some of them were off-screen. So eventually I had to double click to select all the units and that selected them all. It was only then, once I had a full army, did I manage to get further in the scenario. I loved the way that each castle was unique and had a different challenge you had to overcome before you could defeat it. The gold you got for destroying them, etc was brilliant too. And in terms of the backstory, that too was phenomenal, because it was so detailed and very well written. I really enjoyed this map.
  • The Mamluk Siege of Acre, 1291:
    • This map has to be my personal favourite of all submissions. I don't know why, but I felt very connected to this map while I was playing it. The whole idea behind the scenario was incredible. The detail you spent on creating the castle was just beyond words. And the idea of having two Wolf Castles worked ingeniously, because they fit so well together. It meant you couldn't just rush with Horse Archers at the start and try to take out the Wolf (as I tried at first :classic_biggrin:) because there were additional reinforcements on the other Keep. I have to say that the landscaping on this one was pretty incredible too. It was really nice and open and allowed large space for building. It was a very free playing scenario, and there was no right or wrong way to do it. The choice it gave you was really nice. I also liked the limited oasis, and the fact the stone/iron was so far away from the player which meant you had to work for it in order to get it. Moving onto the actual castle, the defences were well placed as well. The Fire Ballistae worked very well in repelling attacks and did just enough damage so you couldn't run right up to the wall straight away. Honestly the building placement is just superb, and if there was one map I'd describe as perfectly laid out, it's this one without a doubt.
  • Blue Star:
    • Sadly I didn't get to see too much of this map, because I could only view it from the editor, and there was a lot of lag in the editor. But what I saw of it, it was really nice. The only thing is I would say it probably would have been nicer for it to have been a bit smaller, because I think this may have caused a bit of the lag problem with it being so big. But it's a nice unpredictable map, which has a lot of space, and I get that's nice. I really liked the natural building placements on this map and the way the terrain was laid out, particularly some of the hills. It all worked together really nice and just... worked. I am pleased that Eagle managed to load it in the game though, as maybe it was just my machine. Crusader 2 doesn't run that well on my machine for some reason, and is often slow. So maybe this is partly why.
  • A Three Way Skirmish:
    • It's a really nice map that is great for quick and fast-moving skirmishes. The limited space meant you were constantly in attack from other players and it was a struggle to place some buildings, particularly on Stone and Iron, because of this close proximity. However this also works in your favour when you place ranged units on your own hill, because you can target other players as well. The use of bridges was nice, but it makes it a bit easy to defend. I get that you're trying to make narrow passes, but I think it made it a bit too easy because it meant that you could just block them off with gatehouses etc, and prevent enemy troops from entering your estate. It's a really nice map in its own feat, and I think it's a great replication of an existing map in Legends. Given the map size, I think the terrain detailing was just about right, but more work could possibly have been spent on the textures.

 


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⁠— Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales: The Knight's Tale

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Thank you very much for hosting the contest.
I am glad you enjoyed the sieges. I ahve to admit, i'ts not easy to do these kind of scenarios with just the vanilla base-game, as the balance was one of the harder things to do. I also tried to recolour the AI's but i must have missed something when placing the playerkeeps in the original map, and i couldn't really wrap my head around, it. The tutorial for it did only work for Crusader v1.1 it seemed but the colour kept changing for v1.41. Maybe if i figure it out, i could create a new tutorial about changing player colours with the hex editor in the future with the newer Stronghold Crusader versions.

Anyways, i am greatfull for winning the contest, and i hope to submit more of my content to the site in the future 🙂
It could be though, that it would have to do more with modifications based on the Unofficial Crusader Patch 😄


Also congratulations to @artofmath and @Andreas9541 for winning 2nd and 3rd prize. I also enjoyed artofmaths map and i found the creation to be really well thought out.

I hope you guys had not too much trouble in beating my map on normal difficulty. If you enjoyed it however, i can recommend trying hard and expert out anyways, as they are not only more difficult via a rebalance in troops, but also come with a few more limitations. For example you will not be able to buy or recruit archers anymore, and you would micro manage your horse archers even more, and use your mongolian horse armies to their fullest potential!

@Lord_Chris thank you also for your additional feedback. I was considering turning the view of the map around, so you would be able to drag over your full army right from the start, but i have decided against it, simply so that the directions north, east, south and west stay true to their original, to be top, right, bottom and left. Unfortuantely it wasn't possible to get the initial camera position to your army, but i figuered, that you would also not worry too much, as this also gives you the advantage of seing that you have a keep on the map yourself, where the view always starts. You can then turn the map around yourself to select the whole army by simply pressing ctrl + <- or ctrl + ->.
Hope that helps for future map playthroughs 😄

@EaglePrince as for the vietnamese troops, yeah i didn't really have a choice. This scenario however is based on a far later period of what will be eventually in the final Stronghold Warlords product. I chose it that way, because i didn't want to create a scenario, that eventually would be done better with what comes out. This way i can ensure that the content will still be fresh and enjoyable. This also means, that the vietnamese soldiers, which were also known for their well trained armoured rangers, would be well represented with those crossbowmen. They also had still a lot of light weight troops, as every person would be mobilized in a case of war to fight for their country, as represented by the snake and rat castles.

The King, here represented by the Wolf, actually fled. He got beaten mostly due to his war elephants getting used agaisnt him with fire ammunition in the fight that took place right before this scenario comes into play. I first considered to do that fith too, but i just wasn't able to pull it off, as there is not really anything that can emulate war elephants in the way they should have played a role there. The king tho retreated to the Wolfs position here then retreated further. Unfortunately you can't really make the lord retreat and still win a scenario game, so i had to make him stay and die 😕
Unfortuantely i didn't really have the option to make a sneaky assault on the players forces, when it would be time to leave the capital. It would be great, if skirmish games would be combineable with other map triggers, but i didn't have the solo powers to mod those triggers into the map, as there is currently only a single switch that decides between a map having those properties or not, which is the switch that decides if it is a skirmish map or a scenario map. Otherwise i would have added something like: "collect this many resyources, then leave to this location" to be more historically accurate. but i did what i could and i am thankfull for it paying off.

I hope you also did notice, that the Pig's lord was invisible, next to the tower on the river. He was the one, that ended the Scenario. In case your were wondering, i used a gatehouse and walked him through then stopped him on the tile right in front of the gate to make him invisible.

My Vietnames girlfriend didn't really approve of how i butchered the story due to game limitations, but at least i got her satified with taking part with a vietnamese historical Scenario ^^
Let's hope she will play Stronghold Warlords through with me when the game releases 😄

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Let me congratulate our winners! All these are great maps, and it was a great pleasure to play them and test them!

First of all, Blue Star map. It has plenty of stuff, such as those epic mountain villages connected with bridges, the march in the north-east, etc. But, because of the map being large (which is great for gameplay), some areas in the map look empty. Because this was a map for a competition, I just feel that it would indeed have been much better if the map was smaller - and with all the same details. Then it would seem much richer. However, from the aspect of gameplay, it is better that the map is large like this. 🙂

@Krarilotus, I intend to comment the map in detail some time later when I get more free time, but I have to say the following. When I mentioned Vientnamese (and Mongol) troops missing, I wanted to say that I was sceptical that having Crusader and Arabian troops will bother me. But it was not the case, both because of the great story, and because of the great scenario and great map itself. 🙂 And you really put a lot of great stuff into your scenario. You employed a lot of good tricks to get this done, and all of that combined requires a lot of patience. 🙂

@artofmath's scenario is similar in that matter - when we look at the combine castle of the two Wolves. Yes, there's a "trick" how to make a castle like that, but it's not a trick you can do in split of second. 🙂

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I agree with the map size. I think the file would have been smaller and the overall gameplay experience would be much smoother for everyone, especially when you consider that SHC2 is still a laggy mess, unless you have a super computer. My gaming laptop is seriously struggling when I load the Blue Start map.

For anyone, wanting to get the most enjoyment out of it, just park your soldiers on the cliff side that was split with a meteor and just watch everyone else as they fight for the villages or going through the traps to get the goodies.

I hope that all the rest of the users had a much better experience playing the map though, and I appreciate anyone who loved the aesthetics as well.

Edited by Andreas9541

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20 hours ago, Krarilotus said:

I ahve to admit, i'ts not easy to do these kind of scenarios with just the vanilla base-game, as the balance was one of the harder things to do. I also tried to recolour the AI's but i must have missed something when placing the playerkeeps in the original map, and i couldn't really wrap my head around, it. The tutorial for it did only work for Crusader v1.1 it seemed but the colour kept changing for v1.41. Maybe if i figure it out, i could create a new tutorial about changing player colours with the hex editor in the future with the newer Stronghold Crusader versions.

Yeah you could tell that a lot of effort had been put into your submission. A really well deserved win. I think with using just the game itself, you've done a pretty incredible job really in what you've managed to come up with. It's taken a lot of imagination and work, and of course the testing must have been a lot of well. :classic_smile: A new tutorial would be fantastic- I'm sure it would be very popular :classic_smile:

20 hours ago, Krarilotus said:

If you enjoyed it however, i can recommend trying hard and expert out anyways, as they are not only more difficult via a rebalance in troops, but also come with a few more limitations. For example you will not be able to buy or recruit archers anymore, and you would micro manage your horse archers even more, and use your mongolian horse armies to their fullest potential!

I have to say I was very impressed with the difficulty levels. Not only did you spend a lot of time on the map itself, but also creating the different difficulty levels and re-balancing the troops etc must've taken ages. Really impressive.

20 hours ago, Krarilotus said:

thank you also for your additional feedback. I was considering turning the view of the map around, so you would be able to drag over your full army right from the start, but i have decided against it, simply so that the directions north, east, south and west stay true to their original, to be top, right, bottom and left. Unfortuantely it wasn't possible to get the initial camera position to your army, but i figuered, that you would also not worry too much, as this also gives you the advantage of seing that you have a keep on the map yourself, where the view always starts. You can then turn the map around yourself to select the whole army by simply pressing ctrl + <- or ctrl + ->.
Hope that helps for future map playthroughs

I liked the fact it didn't start on your army actually and started on the capital instead. It made you look around a bit to find out what was what. It's kind of like those really old "adventure maps" where you have to head over to a certain place, and you never know where to go. This game started showing you where it was, and you had to work out how to get there. It's nice!

20 hours ago, Krarilotus said:

The King, here represented by the Wolf, actually fled. He got beaten mostly due to his war elephants getting used agaisnt him with fire ammunition in the fight that took place right before this scenario comes into play. I first considered to do that fith too, but i just wasn't able to pull it off, as there is not really anything that can emulate war elephants in the way they should have played a role there. The king tho retreated to the Wolfs position here then retreated further. Unfortunately you can't really make the lord retreat and still win a scenario game, so i had to make him stay and die 😕

I'm sure we can forgive this little historical inaccuracy :classic_wink: Although it would be nice if it were somehow possible to modify the game and add in some kind of behaviour similar to this. I've wanted this behaviour in Stronghold 2 myself before, and to a degree I technically managed to do it with the "move lord" event, but it was never really 100% accurate because it depended on things like markers or the lord being damaged a certain percent. In which case the event never really triggered because the lord was killed before he managed to flee.

20 hours ago, Krarilotus said:

I hope you also did notice, that the Pig's lord was invisible, next to the tower on the river. He was the one, that ended the Scenario. In case your were wondering, i used a gatehouse and walked him through then stopped him on the tile right in front of the gate to make him invisible.

I had noticed that and wondered what was going on there. Very clever. I think people might like to learn some of this stuff actually, if you ever felt like doing any articles on tips or tricks that you know of.

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I agree with the map size. I think the file would have been smaller and the overall gameplay experience would be much smoother for everyone, especially when you consider that SHC2 is still a laggy mess, unless you have a super computer. My gaming laptop is seriously struggling when I load the Blue Start map.

It is disappointing that the game is in this state still. It doesn't really run well on even my new machine. Though, we can't really fault Firefly's drive and attempts at making things better, as not many companies would keep going doing what they have done for so long. Hopefully Warlords will be in a better state when it's released.


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Just a quick reminder that for anyone who hasn't claimed their prize yet, you have until 30 January 2021 to message me in order to claim it.


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