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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/23/2020 in all areas

  1. 1 point
    Pretty much what it says in the title - I am wondering if KoH2 will have Bulgarian language support. I know KoH1 did not and Bulgarian is not language that is often supported in games, but given the fact that it's a Bulgarian dev studio working on the title, I think it would be nice to have it. I see on the Steam page that it is not listed among the supported languages, so I expect the answer to my question is "no" but I figured it's still worth asking. I've always wanted to introduce my father to KoH since he's a big strategy fan - he really enjoyed Tzar (the in-game rendition of "Откога се е, мила моя майно льо" is a favourite of his from the soundtrack 😉), which I know some of the devs working on KoH2 are behind - but you need to be able to understand diplomatic messages etc. and he doesn't speak English well, which essentially makes the game unplayable for him. And I suspect many others would benefit from a Bulgarian translation as well.
  2. 1 point
    Hello friends, and welcome to the sixth entry of the “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiaries! Today’s topic is all about the cultures in KoH2:S and how we weaved their historical representation into the gameplay and visuals of the game. When we talk about cultures, there is one really important thing to keep in mind. Diversity. We live in a world with a rich variety of cultures, every one of which has its own specific histories, songs, food and even mannerisms. All this is valid for the Middle ages as well and thus it became the foundation of how cultures work in KoH2:S. We dived deep into historical sources so that the various regions of our map reflected the cultures that thrived there during the Middle ages. We didn’t just stop with the big cultures like Arabic, or Nordic and the state of “there were Berbers in Northern Africa,” but were aiming to include unique tribes of certain regions too – the Sanhaja, Zenata, Tuareg – the “small” cultures the compose the big, widely known, cultural groups. Same goes for the European cultures – yes, there are the French, but also the Occitans, the Normans, and other cultures that are classified in the Latin group. Mirroring this rich cultural landscape in KoH2:S naturally adds another layer of gameplay depth in the game. Just as in the original, it’s not enough to conquer territories to “paint the map”. Your army might physically occupy a territory, but the people may not be loyal to you yet. They could riot, they could resist. One occupied province might bleed your kingdom dry in the wrong circumstances – from your armies, to your economy. Here our cultural spread system comes into play. It’s based on how civilization’s culture evolves, diversifies and disappears throughout history. This was mostly a slow and continuous process, but sometimes it could’ve been forceful – with one culture assimilating another with stark change in the population’s lifestyle (like religious conversion). In KoH2:S, this process works like this: the culture of one province or kingdom is constantly affecting its neighbouring provinces. More provinces with the same culture all bordering one province with different culture have a greater conversion influence, meaning this province could be ripe for conquering by providing less problems when assimilating it into your kingdom. There are some ground rules to that, of course. Cultures from the same group influence each other easier, while those from different ones have a hard time taking over one another. For example, you can play through the historical cultural tensions on the Iberian Peninsula – both before and after the Reconquista, depending on which period you choose at start. If a Catalan king decides to conquer a Castilian province, the closely related cultures will allow for smoother conquest in that aspect. Matters would be even easier if the player made an effort to expand his kingdom’s influence to those particular neighbors by taking advantage of the other tools we prepared for faster cultural conversion (more on that in a future DevDiary), but the Andalusians will have a hard time spreading their influence over the Catalans, and vice versa, even if the territories held by them are bigger, better, stronger. Cultures play a noticeable role when it comes to visuals as well. Castles, cities, clothes – we’re trying our best to have each rooted in the respective culture of their region. There is a delicate balance when creating these elements though, one between the rich cultural diversity of the Medieval World and the amount of historical visual data available for the different cultures we’re exploring, some of which is quite limited. We often felt pulled between two choices: choice A, to fully capture the visual nuance of all well documented cultures, leaving a number of cultures with less than ideal visualization, bordering on Narnia, and not history, or choice B, to compile known elements from cultures in a major cultural group in order to achieve combined a visual style that would be most appropriate. We choose the latter. In KoH2:S, you can see the iconic castles of Western Europe and also the traditional wooden Stave Churches of the freshly Christianized Nordic lands. The European queens are admiring their tiaras, while the Arabic malikas are putting on their beautiful hijabs. We aimed for equal representation for each culture as much as possible, keeping in mind what the player actually sees most of the time. There is less emphasis on the so called “ambient life” (villagers, region specific animals, flying fish), although there are some unique aspects there as well, and more on what’s really important, like the armies. We wanted each cultural group to field distinctive units when possible – both from a visual and a gameplay standpoint - to ensure the lasting feeling of “Yes, I am a Nordic king and this is my fearsome Nordic army”. The Europeans have their heavier armors, while the Steppe armies are relying on equipment that doesn’t hinder their superior swiftness. The real sight to behold, however, are the special units like the Mongol heavy lancers riding against the Novgorodian Boyars, or Camel riders walking the sands of North Africa, side by side with the Mamluk cavalry. Riding at the front of each army is the Marshal, whose model we’re pushing to be the most iconic of them all. Another crucial piece of visual information we wanted to get just right was accurate names and nobility titles for each cultural group, so the Royal court had a genuine feel to it. For each culture we filled pools with names, sometimes numbering in the thousands, and the majority of which belonged to real medieval people. Naturally, we wanted to emphasize this even further and what better way to do that than to include starting real-life dynasties. We went over mountains of data in order to put the rightful king, queen and their offspring on their respective thrones as best we could for each of the game periods. We even tried to find how Dobrotitsa’s wife was called, and where historical sources failed us (like in the case of Dobrotitsa), we left it to chance and those huge pools of names. We are pretty sure that the Doge of Venice won’t ever be called Tvrtko, as long as the republic keeps its original culture. All this work is really oriented towards one goal - to immerse you in the medieval setting of KoH2 through the unique cultures of that time. We hope you enjoy it, and have a great time playing in this unique era the way you want to, in a backdrop that is immersive and engaging. We will talk more on this topic in our DevStream on Thursday, May 7th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 11:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. We really want to hear your thoughts, as cultures are a defining element of the KoH2:S’s experience and we want to make them the best they can be. Jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts in this thread, or join our Facebook and Discord channels and talk there too. Would you take your time to strategically influence provinces with your kingdom’s culture before conquering them, or would you crush the resistance with brute force? Would you accept a different culture overtaking your own just to get its unique special units? Would you pick a starting kingdom based on its culture because of the special visuals and cultural perks that come with it, or do these aspects not really factor into your decisions? Your feedback is critically important, as you never know what comments may help us build the best KoH2:S Culture feature set we can!
  3. 1 point
    Hello friends, and welcome to our second “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiary! Today we’re going to take a look at the world of KoH2:S. One of the very first steps for us was to choose the time period our game takes place in. Setting the rough boundaries was rather easy, considering this was something we definitely wanted to preserve from the first game. We could hardly pick a more appropriate period than High and Late Middle Ages for a game with that title, right? These were the glorious days of knights, central to the KoH series, and everything that goes with them – epic battles and sieges, crusades, intricate diplomacy, court intrigues, and clashes between kingdoms, cultures and religions all over Europe and the Old World! Within that period, allowing players to choose from several starting points in time seemed like a good feature. After all, we had this 15 years ago and variety in game settings and modes has only become more important for gamers since then. This allows us to add more interesting setups for conflicts and give the players more options to take control of a wider variety of kingdoms. One of many examples is the choice between Byzantium or the Latin empire we would have to make if we had just one starting setup, since the second one emerged from the ashes of the first – and we wouldn’t like to exclude either of them from the game. So, after making a thorough research pass, we chose three starting points in which the historical maps looked most interesting to us – the beginning of the 12th century, the 20s of the 13th century and the middle of the 14th. Only the first of those differs significantly from the starting points in the first game, but it seemed extremely appealing to make the change, what with the tension between Christians and the Baltic and Finnish pagans, the Crusader states in the Holy Lands, the fragile balance of power on the Iberian Peninsula, the massive strength of Byzantium and the Holy Roman Empire, and many others. Since we realized there can never be a definitive answer to the question “which is the most interesting moment in the Middle Ages”, and since there are players who like to get creative and set up their own starting conditions, we are doing our best to provide some options to customize their experience, especially through mods. Modders will be able to change the political scenery and define which kingdoms participate, what provinces they control, what religions they follow, who are their rulers and so on. Whether the players like to recreate a specific historical time period or devise a fantasy Europe with House Lannister or Mordor in it, it will be up to them. Elaborate modding possibilities proved to be quite fun for many in the first game, so we plan to give even more control for your ideas and imagination in KoH2:S. Choosing how big the map will be and what territories to include was an entirely different and more significant challenge, since the map size impacts not only the overall feel of the game, but the gameplay as well. One of the things we felt we might improve from the first game was including Arabia, in order to provide a more complete picture of the Old World and make it fun to play with Islamic kingdoms. Thus, we stretched the map to the east and a bit to the south so that Arabian cities with great significance, like Mecca, Medina and Baghdad, are included in our game world. At some places we “cheated” the geography a bit for the sake of gameplay, which is the number one priority for us. For example, we enlarged Rhodes so we had enough space to place the city and some settlements, since it was a historically important landmark and we wanted it to be part of the game. Another example is the decision to slightly shrink the Arabian Peninsula, so that the map does not stretch too far east or south, opening vast empty spaces. After all, Africa was called the “Dark Continent” at that time because too little was known about the area and it wouldn’t make too much sense to have a lot of playable provinces there, nor would it be fun to conquer the barely inhabited, but immense, Sahara Desert. Almost the same goes for the north-eastern parts of the North European Plains. Since it is hard to estimate which world size and province count would provide the best experience prior to testing the game in its entirety, we initially left the question open. We really wanted to fine tune and iterate on the map several times. We even asked for our community’s opinion on the topic through a somewhat hidden way, by asking a general question in a Facebook post early last year. To remain agile and alter the map throughout development, we invested a lot of time in making a proper map-creation kit. One cool example is an automation tool that generating borders between provinces automatically, based on settlements and terrain features like mountains and rivers. We were very pleased to see how well it worked on most places. Here is one example – Trebizond, entirely auto-generated: The actual territory of the Kingdom: (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org) In our social media channels, many people ask what the size of provinces are. To be honest, there really isn’t an exact answer to this question. In densely populated regions they are smaller, and vice versa – there are some pretty large provinces in Sahara and the lands furthest to the north. Larger territories are harder to conquer, since armies will need more time to reach their targets, but due to the same reason, these territories are harder to defend. It is not only the size of a province that matters, though, but also its settlements and the resources that can be found in it. A smaller province can sometimes be richer in all aspects than a larger one. We wanted to share a few words regarding the historical accuracy, as well. We’ve put quite some effort this time around to improve here, as we know there were some mistakes in the first game. For example, there were some cities in the original KoH which did not exist in the corresponding time period. While our game is more a fun sandbox than a history lesson, we know it can be an immersive experience to rewrite history from a more accurate starting point. This task is quite hard, since some territories were in very complex states of rulership, and little is known for others. Even historians argue over territorial specifics, but we can say we’ve done our best and surely those who care about that side of the game will be able to see the difference. We hope we’ve managed to answer some of your questions about the game world of KoH2:S. If you want to learn more, join our DevStream on this topic on Thursday, January 9th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. So, jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts in this thread, or join our Facebook and Discord channels and talk there too. We’d be glad to hear what is your “perfect” moment in the medieval history of Europe, what Kingdoms you want to lead or oppose, and what are your preferences of the game world size and province count. Next time we will dive deeper into the heart of the game and talk about the Royal Court – the King and his trusted knights. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
  4. 1 point
    Hello friends, and welcome to the third entry of the “Knights of Honor II: Sovereign” DevDiaries! In this one we will take a look at one of the most emblematic features for the KoH series – the royal court. We love both the atmosphere it creates and the “deck-building” element it adds to the gameplay. The royal court plays a fundamental role in our game, thus it’s not much of a coincidence our teaser trailer had the concept front and center! With this feature we are not trying to make a realistic depiction of medieval rulership. Think more of the famed King Arthur’s Round Table – the king is the central, most important figure, and by his side stand the most capable and trustworthy knights. Dynasties and the royal family also play an important role, but we’ll tell you more about the royal family in a future DevDiary. For now, let’s focus on the knights. The royal court consists of the king, who is now always a member of your court (unlike in the previous game), and up to 8 more knights, which you can recruit during the course of the game. Each knight has a class, which defines his strengths and abilities and thus they play a completely different role: Marshals: These are the most efficient army leaders and they are good at solving matters in one way only – by force. Marshals can lead bigger armies compared to other classes and usually focus on skills that improve their troop’s capabilities in battle. Merchants: Building, development, diplomacy, espionage and war – besides other things, they all require a lot of gold. Merchants are the best knights to take care of this need by exploring profitable trade opportunities with other kingdoms. Diplomats: Regardless the strength of a kingdom, it needs allies to ensure its safety and to prevail against strong enemy factions. Diplomats’ function is to make important friends and help bury the hatchet of war with enemies, before all Hell breaks loose. Spies: The usage of cunning spies is more of an offensive function. They can infiltrate enemy kingdoms, corrupt and build networks of puppets in their royal courts, and then create chaos. Kingdoms can shatter from within as a result of their actions. Clerics: A strong clergy improves the stability of the crown and calms the people, halting the spread of heresy and foreign religious influences. Clerics are also the ones to keep and protect the ancestral knowledge and wisdom. In the first game there were also Builders and Farmers, but since these turned out to be underused, we decided to skip them and instead focus on a smaller, but significant, number of classes. For example, a new feature for knights is the ability for each knight to be appointed as governor of a province, making that province become part of the Royal Lands. This increases the benefits your kingdom receives from a province and is another area where a knight’s class can play a role – different knights boost different aspects of a province, e.g. gold income and production, defensive capabilities, etc. We will share more details of the classes in upcoming DevDiaries where we have time to dig deep into their unique features. Of course, all that aid doesn’t come for free – knight wages are certainly not trivial. Players should also be careful with their actions and keep the crown authority high. Who knows what disasters might befall a kingdom whose knights lose trust in the rulership of their king and decide to serve another…? With the choice and usage of knights, players open up different possibilities to craft and shape the strategies of their kingdoms to fit their playstyles. Whether you like to overwhelm your enemies with a dreadful army, destabilize their kingdoms through espionage, influence them culturally and wait for their rulers to beg themselves for your wise rulership, or buy your way to victory with economic dominance over Europe – it is all up to you. We’re trying to make the number of combinations and different ways you can leverage your Royal Court quite expansive, and we’re excited to see how players try different strategies with the tools at their fingertips. We will talk more on this topic in our DevStream on Thursday, February 6th, @ 3:00 PM GMT / 10:00 AM EST. The Twitch stream will be hosted on the THQ Nordic channel: http://twitch.tv/thqnordic and we’ll be grabbing responses from this post as well as answering questions live during the stream. So, jump right into the discussion and share your thoughts in this thread, or join our Facebook and Discord channels and talk there too. Do you find royal court management interesting and challenging? What were your favorite knight strategies and combinations from the first game? Share with us what is your preferred playstyle in grand strategies and what features you find most enjoyable. Next time we will focus more on the art of war – Marshals and armies. Until then, we bid thee farewell. Go forth and conquer!
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