In this first dev diary we look at changing Civ2's terrain and cities to look like HoMM2 for the Civilization 2 - Heroes of Might and Magic 2 Mod!
As a kid growing up in the 90s playing endless hours of Civ and HoMM Blake always wanted some sort of hybrid game that gave him the HoMM experience but in the Civ sandbox world. Games like Master of Magic and Age of Wonders 2 sort of granted that wish however Tom2050's amazing HoMM3 mod for Civ3 mod has REALLY fulfilled that dream of a sandbox HoMM game. Blake was so inspired by the awesomeness of it that he wanted to try and make a Heroes of Might & Magic 2 Civilization 2 Mod to compliment it, as while he was useless at Civ3 modding he's pretty good with Civ2 modding. Blake was still hesitant to try though as he knew it would be a big job, however then he hit the jackpot!
Blake came across a super talented Civ 2 modder by the name of Metropolis who had already started Blakes exact HoMM2 for Civ2 idea years ago but had abandoned the idea due to lack of interest. We tracked each other down and we're now working together on finishing Metro's original vision with a bit of Blake's vision mixed in with it. It's not going to be as amazing as that HoMM3 for Civ3 mod as it's creator (Tom2050) is a friggin genius lol and we're using an older game but we'll do the best we can haha. We know that it's 20 years too late, no one will probably play it and people will wonder why we're wasting our time but we're having a ton of fun making it so meh, we're doing it anyway haha.
So to get things started we thought we'd show off some early test screenshots...
This is one of our first terrain test shots, Civ2's GUI is VERY limited but I've made it look a bit more like HoMM2s. NO units or castles had been added at that point.
While Metropolis worked on terrains and units Blake started working on cities..
As we all know HoMM games only have 1 town and castle image to dictate city size/development while Civ2 has 4 unwalled and 4 walled sizes. So we decided to use the town for the un-walled cities and the castle for the walled cities in the scenario. The other BIG problem is that the original images are much higher resolution and are very vertically tall in HoMM2 which means to fit them into a short and wide isometric city cell in Civ2 they have to be shrunk so much that they look way too small (eg see Metropolis's old 2014 shots) so we're trying using a combination of stretching and pixel editing (mostly to shrink the big towers and tall walls) to fully utilize every pixel of width and height that a small Civ2 city cell can give!
Eg Blake had to somehow squeeze this (actual 1 to 1 size)
into the pink area in this little thing (actual 1 to 1 size)
You can go over the grey areas above but NOT below the diamond isometric cell.
My first attempt. There were many revisions to get to this stage lol.
This castle was a NIGHTMARE as Blake had to change the shape of the walls to fit in the isometric cell.. still not thrilled about the skull and other stuff so will probably get revisions.
This one ended up being rather easy compared to the last 2. Guess Blake had started learning from dealing with the past problems haha. Like with the previous 2 the windows and city buildings were horribly distorted by the downsize requiring Blake to repaint them in. And also much like with the others the castle wall and village fence is completely repainted and reshaped to fit the Civ2 cell limits and remove downsize distortions.
This was one tougher than Blake thought as he quickly realised that the brick pattern on the walls (which was destroyed in the shrinking/downsizing) was also all over the castle so he had repaint the bricks all over the whole bloody thing lol.
Those with a keen eye will see Blake's played around with the forts a bit more too. Metropolis had also smoothed out the beach shore lines a bit by this stage too.
This one took longer than Blake wanted as well, as the village had an annoying crisscross fence that trying to do a miniature version of on an angle was hell haha.
Wizard wasn't easy but using tricks learned from past bricked castles shrinking it wasn't too hard.
FINISHED! All 6 faction castles & villages done!
Here's a new test shot where you can see Metropolis has added HoMM2 units and Heroes to the game and Blake has snuck some extra decoration into the river tiles. Due to Civ2 not being an strategy RPG with lots of map locations to visit we're very limited in what objects we can place on the map so we've had to pull a lot of tricks like these to get interesting stuff into the maps. You may also notice Metropolis has put some ocean decoration at the river mouths too. Take note that the big Xanadu building is more than just decoration, like several other cool interactive buildings we're planning there is much danger there but also treasure too. ;)