The first chapter of Sol's Theatre has closed! Here is the latest update for the winner: Greenlands

What's Up with Greenlands?

Click here to see the latest updates in Greenlands development.

Sol's Theatre Final Four

The results are in -- we present, Theatre's Final Four<

Interview with Kawaiii

Click here to read an interview with the creator of Greenlands.


What's up with Greenlands?


Hey, all!


It's been a while since the HoN Team published an update for Sol's Theatre, but rest easy, our design team has been chugging away with contest winner, HyperXewl, working toward a polished and finalized version of his winning map submission, Greenlands. Before we get into the nitty gritty of what the team has been working on, here's a statement from the man himself,

HyperXewl:
“Heroes of Newerth is my all-time favorite game, not to mention one of the most flexible games I've had the pleasure of creating modifications for. I've spent hundreds of hours creating maps and mods for games that almost no one has played, but The HoN Team has given me the chance to bring life to my creations and share them with the world, something most modders dream of. Not only is this one of the greatest opportunities I've ever had, they have been incredibly kind, patient and fun to work with, and have a great sense of humor!”


A Bit o' History


Before Greenlands made its Sol's Theatre debut, it was known as Greenlands Arena. Originally, the goal of the map was to create a player vs. player experience that 1) removed the sometimes tedious task of farming creeps; and 2) ensured player parity in experience and gold gained.

After numerous testing segments, HyperXewl and crew decided the landscape was not suited for deathmatch-type gameplay, and decided to take the route of an objective based mode instead. Alas, the version of Greenlands the community voted for, was born.

Gameplay Mechanics


As with any map, gameplay mechanics are essential. To reiterate, the goal of Sol's Theatre was more about map conceptualization, than creation. That said, being the gifted and dedicated person he is, HyperXewl was able to provide not only a very detailed concept of his idea, but a fairly polished tangible test model, too.

One of the most noticeable differences in the latest iteration of Greenlands are its visuals. The map is already looking beautiful with a complete graphical overhaul and the teams are just getting' started with polish. Take a look at the differences:

(Click on the image below to see a larger version)

Let's be honest, a real life version of CTF and a rendition played out in Heroes of Newerth are going to be VASTLY different from one another. That is why HyperXewl and HoN's design team have dedicated many hours to tweaking Greenlands' gameplay mechanics to give it a bit of that Heroes of Newerth make up:

Greenlands' Change Log:


-Added courier at spawn
Automatically flying courier
Invisible and invunerable
-Rune added to middle of map
Rune spawns every 1 minute
Haste rune removed from rune spawn rotation
-Additional shop created at spawn point
-Changed spawn point away from base
-Gates removed, replaced with 10 second immobilize for pre-round
-Added banning pick instead of all pick, 1 ban per player
-Gold on kill reduced down to 45g for all levels

Neutrals:

-Neutral gold reduction removed and restored to vanilla
-Chase range/agro ranged altered

Towers

-Goblin mechanic removed entirely
-Replaced with passive damage/health gain as players level up, capping at 100 stacks ( around level 25 )
-Replaced tower model with regular caldavar arrow tower
-Reverted Reveal change, tower now reveals invis However, if tower is disabled, invis detection is gone until tower has auto repaired
-Out of base attack prevention removed, flat 600 range attack range

Flag

-Flag capture amount reduced to 5 points only
-Added feature to drop flag Ability button added to drop flag for flag bearer The player who dropped flag cannot pickup flag for 10 seconds
-If flag is on ground for more then 15 seconds it automatically returns back to base
-Flag bearer damage is increased by 5% per 5 seconds capping at 400%
Damage increase persists if flag is dropped and remains until captured or returned back to base
-Cooldown reduction and slow removed from flag
-Removed ability/item disable on flag such as blink/magmus stun etc
With the exception of portal key disabled
-Flag teleport detection
If the flag bearer travels more then 2000 yards in a frame, the flag is dropped
-350g gain for entire team on flag capture

Theatre's Final Four:


Kawaiii

The Greenlands


Overview

The Greenlands is a 5v5 capture the flag / king of the hill hybrid in which the first team to accumulate 3000 points wins. Points can be accumulated in two ways:

Flag Capture. Capturing the enemy team's flag is worth 1000 points. Map control. Greenlands contains two points on opposite ends of the map that can be captured. Standing within these perimeters rewards players with 60 points per minute as long as there is not an enemy unit within the designated area.

The map control mechanic ensures the game will continue at a reasonable pace.


HyperXewl

Newerth Defense


Overview

In Newerth Defense, each player picks a Summoner that can build six different units. A Summoner cannot defend against waves – his only purpose constructing units. The goal of the game is to defend your team's King from on-coming creeps that spawn. Each player is responsible for defending a creep spawning point.

If a player's units are wiped out by the spawning creeps, the wave will continue their march towards the team's King (units that bypass a player's defense are referred to as “leaks”).

Once a wave is cleared by a player, remaining units will teleport to the front of their King for bolstered defenses.

Summoners automatically generate mana, which can be used to spawn units against the opposing team.

Mana is also used for other things, such as upgrading the King's hit point regeneration, max hit points, attack damage, and upgrading units. Each player also has the opportunity to fully heal their King once throughout the course of a match.


VoodooPants

Dungeon Chasers


Overview

Dungeon Chasers is a 5v1 map that chronicles the journey of five heroes who are trapped in a dungeon controlled by a Dungeon Master (DM). The dungeon has many rooms and corridors, but all doors are sealed at start and can only be bypassed by heroes. Rooms contain chests and/or monsters: chests drop items that heroes can equip; monsters attack heroes granting the DM gold for damage dealt. Heroes only have vision of rooms they've unlocked. The DM can place additional monsters or place invisible booby-traps in unexplored areas.


Ranadil and Sirwayne

CastleFight


Overview

CastleFight is a team-based map where players use gold to construct buildings with one-of-eight different workers/races.

Buildings play key roles: most are autonomous, meaning that once built, players may direct their attention to other game mechanics. In general, autonomous buildings spawn creeps that will then march toward the enemies castle with the intent of destroy in.

Other buildings have abilities that can be manually activated and require more attention. The first player to destroy the enemy castle wins.

AceJR: What is the premise and playstyle of the new Greenlands map?


Kawaiiii:
Greenlands is a highly action packed style of map. We've aimed the game time to be rather short (in comparison to standard 5v5) and we've tried to keep the map very small but still with room for features that force action upon its players. The map is still very much at an evolving state but playing it gives you the feel that capture the flag truly is a game mode we have room for in Heroes of Newerth. The goal is to capture as many flags as you can. That is however, not at the cost of losing your own flag and with more mechanics than that on the map you need to be aware of your current situation all the time. Capturing the flag alone is also very difficult, so it encourages very weird strategies and team play.

AceJR: Why did you choose to go with a CTF map?


Kawaiiii:
Truth be told, we didn't originally. This map has been in development ever since HyperXewl and I talked the first time. We both agreed Heroes of Newerth was missing a highly competitive but 'lways fair' type of game. Dying sucks, we all know that. Our original idea involved a map which punished death not by having to wait a very long time nor losing gold and experience. We felt that this factor, which could be seen as 'Casual mode' doesn't really exist there. If anything, casual mode rewards kills even more but it doesn't make the average resources tend towards the same value. Having created that map we started testing it. Turns out the map needs more than just some heroes, a pool, a round-based system and duels. It was boring. We reworked that map by adding more content to it, one of them was the flag you see on Greenlands today. With that, the rounds system was gone and we eventually saw lots of potential in it. It was all a huge experiment for us, and we applied the well-known 'Trial and error' method to arrive at the current stage of the map.

AceJR: Were there any inspirations for this type of capture the flag?


Kawaiiii:
A few are listed above, huge inspiration was originally taken from 'Warsong Gulch' a Blizzard Entertainment property which we both admire a lot. I can't leave this section without mentioning HyperXewl's old very own map Cursed Quarry' which left us with lots of experience, motivation and lots of motivated testers.

AceJR: Do you have any previous experience in creating custom maps prior to HoN?


Kawaiiii:
I for one have created a few Warcraft III maps. When it comes to map scripting for Heores of Newerth, a lot of it follows just standard programming logic and some of it is purely for visuals. I work as a programmer right now, so getting a hold of the scripting language was very easy. Now for the editor, that's definitely something which takes time to get used to. That's why I have HyperXewl do that, and most of the easier (visual) parts of the scripting.

AceJR: What other maps have you made for the HoN client?


Kawaiiii:
Prophets, NewerthTD, HoN WTF Mode (and OMG Mode, and both combined), (Ice Escape inspired) slide/skating map and a few random things in the editor now and then.

AceJR: What is the level of involvement to create a game type on this scale?


Kawaiiii:
If you plan on doing this as a team, you'd better be prepared for some arguments late nights and lots of different experiences. I'd say it takes a lot of planning to not end up with lots of bugs you can't figure out. If you're able to give it a few hours a week together you can come pretty far.

AceJR: What are you excited to improve with the help of the HoN Team?


Kawaiiii:
Oh see, I don't know. The map doesn't involve a lot of custom textures or anything that. Probably the trees and juke spots.

AceJR: In your opinion, who is the best hero to play as in Greenlands?


Kawaiiii:
Good question! If I have to give two I'd probably go for Blitz or Aluna.

Any special strategies or tips for future players on your map?


Kawaiiii:
Be creative with your strategy, it's probably the only way you're going to win against a well-organized team. I'd rather not give any strategies as you'll have more fun finding out on your own!

Do you have any other maps do you have in development?


Kawaiiii:
For right now. I'm reworking an old version of the (in)famous 'Pudge Wars' map. I've also looked into what can be done with the HoN Arena and Slide-style of maps. NewerthTD is on the shelf for now, we don't know what to do with it. A RPG-Single/Cooperative map will take its place in our hearts for the moment.