Myth (series)

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Myth
Myth typeface.jpg
Myth series logo
Genres Real-time tactics
Developers Bungie (Myth: The Fallen Lords; Myth II: Soulblighter)
MumboJumbo (Myth III: The Wolf Age)
Publishers
  • NA Bungie (Myth: The Fallen Lords; Myth II: Soulblighter)
Platforms Microsoft Windows
Mac OS Linux
First release Myth: The Fallen Lords
1997
Latest release Myth III: The Wolf Age
2001

Myth is a series of real-time tactics video games for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. The games are:

Myth was developed by Bungie and published in 1997 by Eidos in Europe and Bungie in North America. Myth II was also developed by Bungie and self-published in North America in 1998. It was published by GT Interactive Software in Europe. As a result of Bungie's sale to Microsoft in 2000, the company lost the franchise rights to Take-Two Interactive.[1] Myth III: The Wolf Age was developed by MumboJumbo and published by Take-Two in 2001.

All three games have received good reviews, especially the first and second game. Although the third game also received a generally positive reception, many reviewers cited a number of bugs in the initial release, and there was a general feeling that Take-Two had not given MumboJumbo enough time to complete the game.[2][3][4]

The Myth games are categorized as real-time tactics, representing a departure from established real-time strategy titles such as Warcraft and Command & Conquer; resource micromanagement and the gradual building up of armies are not part of the gameplay, which instead focuses entirely on squad and soldier-level tactics. Some critics have argued that this style of gameplay allows the games a far greater sense of realism than their real-time strategy contemporaries.[5]

Release dates[edit]

  • Myth: The Fallen Lords - November 25, 1997[6]
  • Myth II: Soulblighter - December 20, 1998[7]
  • Myth II: Chimera (expansion pack) - released as part of Myth II: The Total Codex bundle
  • Myth: The Total Codex - November 1, 1999[8]
  • Myth II: Green Berets - July 31, 2001[9]
  • Myth II: Worlds - October 2, 2001[10]
  • Myth III: The Wolf Age - November 2, 2001[11]

indicates user created content bundled with re-releases of the games.

Gameplay[edit]

General[edit]

Players control small forces made up of a number of different units, each possessing their own strengths and weaknesses. In single-player mode, only units representing "The Light" are playable, but in multiplayer mode, the player can control both light and dark units.

A promotional screen from Myth II: Soulblighter. Units shown: Berserks, Dwarves, Warlocks, Brigands, Bowmen (off-screen) and Mauls.

The Myth games are real-time tactics games, meaning that unlike the gameplay of real-time strategy games, the player does not have to worry about resource micromanagement and the gradual building up of their army; each level begins with the player's army already assembled and ready to go into combat straight away. Also unlike real-time strategy games, where the emphasis tends to be on producing as many soldiers as possible, in the Myth games, it is possible for a skilled player to defeat a much larger force with few or no casualties through strategic play. This is largely due to the advanced physics engine the games employ, as physically modelled environments, unit interactions, and diverse unit behaviours combine to create a gameplay experience in which realistic battlefield interactions can and do occur.

Nearly all objects on the maps, even the remains of dead units, are potential projectiles. These objects react with one another, units on the map, and terrain, with the expected physical behaviour, including rolling, bouncing, and crashing. Projectiles, including those fired by ranged units, have no guarantee of hitting any target; they are merely propelled in the directions instructed by the physics engine, based on the actions of the players. Arrows may miss their targets due to a small degree of simulated aiming error that becomes significant at long range, or the target may simply move out of the way before the arrow reaches them. This aiming error may cause the arrow to hit the attacker's own melee unit instead, causing the same amount of damage. As such, friendly fire is a prominent aspect of the game and can be used to the player's advantage when facing certain enemies.

Unit formations are important in all of the games, where a real battlefield is simulated accurately enough for maneuvers such as flanking and encirclement to be effective. When placed together in formation, units can provide an effective defensive front, block an enemy force's escape route, or exploit bad positioning of an enemy force by surrounding it. As healing is a very rare and extremely limited ability, units do not regenerate health, and there is no way to construct new units (although in some single-player missions, reinforcements are automatically received at a predetermined point), hit-and-run skirmishes are very effective, and unit conservation is essential.

Terrain and environmental factors are also important. Rain or standing water will put out some fire and explosive-based attacks. Archers on high ground are able to shoot farther than those on level ground. Most units will flinch when damaged, interrupting actions such as movement and attacks. This has many strategic implications; for example, if two or three melee units gang up to attack one enemy melee unit, it may flinch too frequently to have a chance to attack or escape.

Single-player[edit]

In the single-player campaigns, the player starts each mission with an army which must be used to accomplish specific goals. These goals range from defending a location, reaching a certain point on the map, escorting a unit safely, or destroying an object of strategic significance.

The focus of the single-player campaigns is on a smaller force outmaneuvering and outthinking a much larger enemy force. For this reason, the importance of terrain and unit formation is particularly important. Using high ground to further the range of archers, creating bottle necks, and whittling down an enemy with hit-and-run tactics all become crucial strategies in the single-player game, especially on higher difficulty levels.

Units in the single-player campaign acquire experience with each kill. As they acquire experience, they become more resilient, attack faster, and deal more damage. Units retain this experience until killed or until a unit of their type does not appear in a given scenario.

Multiplayer[edit]

In multiplayer, the player starts with an army and can usually customize it by trading units, using point values that approximate the value of the units. Proper selection of units is an important strategy given the goal of each multiplayer game. For example, if the goal of the game is to guard a flag as long as possible (such as "King of the Hill"), customizing the army with only ranged units would not be wise as there would be no melee units to guard the flag in close combat.

Multiplayer games generally are either "Free-For-All" (FFA), where each player has their own army and competes with everyone else, or "Team," where each army is controlled by a group of players with a captain who disperses units for his teammates to control. There are many different types of multiplayer games within this, ranging from simple "Body Count" to more complicated games involving flags, balls, or animals.

Myth development history[edit]

Bungie[edit]

A battle scene from Myth II: Soulblighter, taken from the "Blue and Grey" mod.

Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter were developed by Bungie in 1997 and 1998. Some reviewers felt that the games were influenced by Glen Cook's book series The Black Company.[12] Due to mapmaking tools released to the public by Bungie, and additional tools created by fans, new maps, units, 3D objects, and other plug-ins were created for Myth II. Some of the better known mods were released in official bundles of the game. The expansion pack Myth II: Chimera was jointly developed by Bungie and Badlands Games, and was released in the bundle Myth: The Total Codex, along with Myth, and Myth II itself. Myth: The Total Codex was the last official release by Bungie for the Myth franchise.

Take-Two acquires Myth franchise[edit]

In 2000, Microsoft purchased Bungie Studios, which had previously developed games for Microsoft's main competitor's platform, Apple's Macintosh,[13] in order to have the studio develop Halo exclusively for Microsoft's new Xbox game console.[14] Early development versions of Halo resembled a sci-fi clone of Myth.[15] As part of the sale of Bungie, the rights to the Oni and the Myth series went to the video game publisher Take-Two Interactive who held a large share of the studio's stocks at the time of the sale.[16] Take-Two initially released two Myth related titles; Myth II: Worlds (which included two disks of fan-created add-ons) and Myth II: Green Berets (a conversion from the medieval setting to a Vietnam war era setting).

Tournaments and online servers[edit]

Bungie.net was the original Myth series server. The Myth: The Fallen Lords server closed in November 2001, and the Myth II: Soulblighter server closed in March, 2002. After Bungie.net closed, Bungie open sourced the online server code,[17] and multiple other online servers appeared, the most famous being PlayMyth.net. PlayMyth.net was taken offline in 2007.

MumboJumbo develops Myth III[edit]

Take-Two hired the startup company MumboJumbo to develop Myth III based on Myth II '​s source code. MumboJumbo had been founded by employees that left Ritual Entertainment, and Myth III would be their first game. Take-Two also hired many members of Myth II '​s modding community to work on both expansions for Myth II[18] and the new Myth III.[19]

The developers made significant changes to the existing code to improve the game's visual aesthetics, such as increasing the game's texture quality. The new engine also sported full 3D characters, each with 300 to 800 polygons and at least 13 different animations, unlike its predecessor which relied on sprites for characters and animations. Soon before the game's release, PC Gamer '​s staff writer Jim Preston wrote that he was skeptical as to whether the developer had been given enough time to satisfactorily complete the game.[2]

The developers worked to support the modding community by taking Fear & Loathing, the application used to create mods for the previous games, and creating a new, easier to use application known as Vengeance.[2]

Shortly after the release of Myth III, Take-Two cancelled all development and technical support for all three Myth games, and the complete MumboJumbo Myth III team was laid off.[20]

Game-community support[edit]

Lead developer Andrew Meggs joined with a group of fans who called themselves "MythDevelopers" with the aim of continuing to support the games.[21] Given access to the source code for all three games by Take-Two, they have continued to work to update the series.[22][23] This group, and successor groups, have continued to support and improve all three games, with software updates for the latest operating systems, bug fixes, and the addition of enhancements and features to both the games and modding tools.

In December 2003, MythDevelopers had internal struggles and disbanded,[24] forming two smaller groups: Project Magma, and FlyingFlip. FlyingFlip went offline in 2007,[25] leaving the currently active (as of October 2013) Myth development group as Project Magma.[26]

Reception[edit]

Aggregate review scores
As of August 10, 2013.
Game GameRankings Metacritic
Myth: The Fallen Lords 80.80%[27] 91/100[28]
Myth II: Soulblighter 86.39%[29] 88/100[30]
Myth III: The Wolf Age 76.92%[31] 76/100[32]

All three main games in the Myth franchise have been critically acclaimed, especially the first two.

Game Revolution's Calvin Hubble called The Fallen Lords "one of the most impressive looking strategy games to hit the market,"[5] whilst GameSpot's Michael E. Ryan argued that it "can rightfully claim its place among the best strategy games on the market."[33] Hubble called Myth II "both one of the best sequels to hit the scene and one of the finest titles on the RTS market."[34] Ryan wrote that "Myth II is about as good as a computer game can possibly be."[35] IGN's Tal Blevins said "Myth II lives up to (and surpasses) all of the hype surrounding this long-awaited title."[36]

Myth III did not get quite as good reviews, but it was still well received. GameSpot's Sam Parker wrote that "Myth III '​s single-player game represents the best the Myth series has to offer. Featuring great graphics, a memorable story, and plenty of diverse missions, Myth III '​s campaign will present a welcome challenge for veterans and newcomers alike." He also expressed some concern as to how long Take-Two would provide technical support for the game.[3] IGN's Dan Adams found several faults, but still enjoyed the game, writing "some unfortunate set backs, whether they were by design or bug dulled the experience a little bit, but not enough to hamper my enjoyment. Fans of the series shouldn't be disappointed by MumboJumbo's effort to follow in the mighty footsteps that Bungie left behind."[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Microsoft Buys Bungie, Take Two Buys Oni, PS2 Situation Unchanged". IGN. June 19, 2000. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c Preston, Jim (December 2001). "Myth III: The Wolf Age". PC Gamer (91): 24. ISSN 1080-4471. 
  3. ^ a b Parker, Sam (November 9, 2001). "Myth III: The Wolf Age Review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Adams, Dan (November 8, 2001). "Myth III: The Wolf Age Review". IGN. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  5. ^ a b Hubble, Calvin (May 6, 1998). "Myth: The Fallen Lords Review". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Myth: The Fallen Lords (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Myth II: Soulblighter (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Myth II: The Total Codex". Answers.com. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Myth II: Green Berets". GameSpy. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  10. ^ "Myth II: Worlds". GameSpy. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Myth III: The Wolf Age (PC)". GameSpy. Retrieved October 19, 2013. 
  12. ^ Poling, Reuben (December 24, 2012). "Review: The Black Company (Books of the North)". Dorkia.com. Retrieved April 8, 2013. It is worth noting that Myth: the Fallen Lords (probably my favorite PC game of all time, and the subject of an upcoming review) drew a great deal of influence from these books 
  13. ^ Crossley, Rob (October 26, 2010). "Steve Jobs 'raged at Microsoft' over game studio sale". Develop. Retrieved December 8, 2011. 
  14. ^ Costello, Sam (June 22, 2000). "Microsoft buys Bungie in home gaming bid". CNN. Retrieved December 5, 2011. 
  15. ^ "Inside Bungie: History: Part 6 (Halo)". Bungie. Archived from the original on December 2, 2006. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  16. ^ Svitkine, Alexei (August 23, 2005). "Postmortem: Project Magma's Myth II 1.5 and 1.5.1". Gamasutra. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ "Myth Game Server Open Source". Bungie. February 7, 2002. Archived from the original on August 4, 2002. Retrieved May 24, 2012. 
  18. ^ Liberatore, Raphael (November 2001). "The A Team - Despite Bungie's MIA status, the MYTH II legacy continues". Computer Gaming World. Retrieved August 29, 2011.  – via Access my Library (subscription required)
  19. ^ "Interview with "Mumbo Jumbo's Craig Goodman (Santa's Head), Paul Callender (fisj), and Richard Cowgill (iggy popped) on Myth III: "The Wolf Age"". Mythwolfage.com. Archived from the original on February 23, 2001. Retrieved August 29, 2011. 
  20. ^ Smith, Sean (November 19, 2001). "Myth III Team Axed; Mac Version Spared". Insidemacgames.com. Retrieved December 22, 2012. Andrew Meggs, formerly of Myth III developer MumboJumbo, wrote that the Myth III development team had been laid off two weeks earlier: "The entire Myth III team was terminated on November 2, 2001." 
  21. ^ "MythDev.com". Archived from the original on December 2, 2003. Retrieved October 21, 2013. 
  22. ^ Parker, Sam (April 11, 2003). "Myth III unofficial patch". Gamespot. Retrieved January 19, 2014. MythDevelopers, a volunteer group of programmers and artists, has released a version 1.1 update for Myth III [...] The patch is said to fix more than 40 gameplay and stability issues, and it includes two bonus maps to make them more generally available. 
  23. ^ Wen, Howard (June 10, 2004). "Keeping the Myths Alive". Linuxdevcenter.com. Retrieved December 22, 2012. Fans of the Myth trilogy have taken this idea a step further: they have official access to the source code for the Myth games. Organized under the name MythDevelopers, this all-volunteer group of programmers, artists, and other talented people devote their time to improving and supporting further development of the Myth game series. 
  24. ^ Svitkine, Alexei (August 23, 2005). "Postmortem: Project Magma's Myth II 1.5 and 1.5.1". Gamasutra. Retrieved October 19, 2013. While many good things came out of MythDevelopers, it decided to disband in December of 2003, leaving Project Magma to handle updates to Myth II and the other games in the Myth series. 
  25. ^ "Flying Flip most recent news". FlyingFlip. July 29, 2007. Archived from the original on October 1, 2007. Retrieved October 20, 2013. 
  26. ^ "Project Magma Official Site". Project Magma. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  27. ^ "Myth: The Fallen Lords for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  28. ^ "Myth: The Fallen Lords (PC)". Metacritic. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  29. ^ "Myth II: Soulblighter (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  30. ^ "Myth II: Soulblighter for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  31. ^ "Myth III: The Wolf Age (PC)". GameRankings. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  32. ^ "Myth III: The Wolf Age for PC". Metacritic. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  33. ^ Ryan, Michael E. (December 11, 1997). "Myth: The Fallen Lords Review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  34. ^ Hubble, Calvin (January 1, 1999). "Myth II: SoulblighterReview". Game Revolution. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  35. ^ Ryan, Michael E. (December 30, 1998). "Myth II: Soulblighter Review". GameSpot. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 
  36. ^ Blevins, Tal (February 24, 1999). "Myth II: Soulblighter Review". IGN. Retrieved August 10, 2013. 

External links[edit]