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Orda: Severnyi Veter / Horde: The Northern Wind
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exoscoriae
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:45 pm     Post subject: Orda: Severnyi Veter / Horde: The Northern Wind Reply with quote

Mr. Flibble posted this game on mobygames and has the platform listed as DOS. However after searching high and low I finally came across a copy online and it is distinctly windows based (direct X, indeo redist., etc).

So I figured I'd post here to try and find some extra info about this game and confirm whether or not it is a true DOS game. Thanks,

[Edit ~dosraider]
Adding this to first post:
chanfort wrote:

I created a playlist for these videos that it would be not needed always to post individual video URL:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tFcA-r_r2RQ&list=PLOBSjXd5DmZNbQsJHPSKTQKPWuP3byZaR
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:42 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless this is the sequel that you're talking about, the developers mentioned somewhere in an interview that when they were going to market the game in Europe it turned out that no publisher would agree to take a DOS game (this was early 2000s already), so they started writing a Windows port. This is probably what became the basis for Horde II. However, I have never encountered any Windows version of the first game, or screenshots of it anywhere, so I can't give you further details. IIRC in that interview they mentioned publishing the Windows version in Poland, but again I'm not sure about that.
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exoscoriae
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:07 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Upon running the installer ina sandbox environment, it appears the game may be the sequel. The art on the installer window matches that of the box of the sequel, even though the game files and listing were all named as if it was the first game.

Are you aware of whether or not the original game is still for sale anywhere? It is likely the language barrier, but I am having a lot of trouble finding any sources on this game. There seems to be several suggestions that an English version does exist, but I can't find anything that doesn't lead back to this sequel.
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 8:41 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

exoscoriae wrote:
Are you aware of whether or not the original game is still for sale anywhere? It is likely the language barrier, but I am having a lot of trouble finding any sources on this game. There seems to be several suggestions that an English version does exist, but I can't find anything that doesn't lead back to this sequel.

Unfortunately, I have no informaiton on this. I think I've seen screenshots of the original game (Northern Wind) with English text (and also in the original resolution, not 800x600), albeit in bad quality, on some European (French?) game site some time ago. Not sure if I'll be able to find that now. (Stupidly enough I was able to find the site immediately, it's here Shit-Eating Grin).

What's more is that IIRC if you play the Russian version and capture a lumber mill built by the nomads (they build their stuff later in the game, and there's a map with a pre-set nomad fortress too), I think that either the demolish or the repair button will have the tooltip in English. I'm not sure about that though, I only observed it once, and that was a long time ago. However, this might be indicative of plans for an international version during development.

YouTube has an Italian version of Horde II:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=649HJj8Cglk
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exoscoriae
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:04 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

I have located a copy of the original game, and I have located a disc that claims to be an english copy of the original game. Both had windows installers.

Installing the russian copy within virtualpc allowed me to extract the files from the disc. I was then able to copy the files back to my computer and run the game in dosbox.

Th copy that is labeled as english however requires direct X to run after it is installed. So not only can I not run it in dosbox obviously, but I can't even test it in virtualpc (due to it not allowing directX installs).

Interestingly enough, the files have almost identical naming conventions between the two games. At first I assumed the English labeled copy was the sequel.... however after seeing the file names and the overall installed folder size, it does appear to actually be an english copy of the first game. Short of setting up a WinXP or Win98 machine to test this however, I have no way to verify.

I did try, just for the hell of it, to drop the installed english files over the installed russian files, but it basically told me where to shove it real fast when I tried to fire that up..lol. Oh well, was worth a shot.

Thanks for the help =)
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:53 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

exoscoriae wrote:
I have located a copy of the original game, and I have located a disc that claims to be an english copy of the original game. Both had windows installers.

Yes, the Russian DOS version (both the retail CD one and the downloadable demo) come with a Windows installer.

exoscoriae wrote:
Interestingly enough, the files have almost identical naming conventions between the two games. At first I assumed the English labeled copy was the sequel.... however after seeing the file names and the overall installed folder size, it does appear to actually be an english copy of the first game.

I'll tell you more, Horde II actually reproduces a few map-specific bugs from Northern Wind. For example, one map (IIRC the one in the bottom-right corner of the 9x9 pattern) has a glitch that inverts the minimap colours for areas where trees were chopped down and areas where the trees burned out. Normally, dark green patches are chopped down trees, and black are burned trees, however on this particular map it's vice versa. In Horde II, the very same glitch occurs on a map that has a similar location in the 9x9 pattern.

By which I mean to say that Horde II is more of an updated modification or add-on rather than a "true" sequel. Hence most data files are practically the same.

exoscoriae wrote:
I did try, just for the hell of it, to drop the installed english files over the installed russian files, but it basically told me where to shove it real fast when I tried to fire that up..lol. Oh well, was worth a shot.

That was actually a good idea on the whole, but I guess they changed something in the game data anyway so it became incompatible with the DOS executable.

One may hope that you find an accessible Win9x/WinXP machine and try the English version there.
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Rwolf
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:59 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

There is an English demo here:
http://www.sciagnij.pl/programy/p/Gry-Gry-Strategiczne-Horde_The_Northern_Wind/318497

Polish version I assume here:
http://gry.polygamia.pl/graj/gatunek-Strategiczne/157492095/Horde:+The+Northern+Wind/p/

Russian Buka, original publishers page:
http://www.buka.ru/cgi-bin/show.pl?id=94&type=passage

Italian version is mentioned here; with publisher Microforum Italia S.p.A.
http://www.games.it/pc-games/comunicati/intesa-buka-microforum.html

...and some obvious non-legal torrents for the English version can also be found, so there is probably some official version too. Maybe ask Buka by mail?

edit: ah, I see you found the English release by Oxygen Interactive, unfortunately now defunct.
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:17 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Rwolf wrote:
so there is probably some official version too. Maybe ask Buka by mail?

Some time ago I posted in Buka's official forums, and somehow I don't think they even keep contact with the original developers from 7th BitLabs. I don't think Buka had anything to do with the foreign releases of the game at all.

Rwolf wrote:
There is an English demo here:
http://www.sciagnij.pl/programy/p/Gry-Gry-Strategiczne-Horde_The_Northern_Wind/318497

It's just a link to FilePlanet, and the demo there is in Russian. I don't think there has ever been an English demo, although maybe some magazines published something.
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Rwolf
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:23 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I trusted the text on the polish description of the language...wrongly, sorry.
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exoscoriae
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:28 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

the non-legal torrents marked as english are presumably the sequel or mislabeled.

*some one I know* tried one and it was in russian, despite being labeled as english Wink

Basically though, the idea is to find it for the dos preservation project I am working on. So if the english version is not dos compatible, then it falls outside the scope. While I am involved with a separate Win 3.x project, the files I have come across suggest that they are not win 3.x compatible either. Even the installer for the russian version would not run in 3.x, and instead required my virtualpc XP install.

Quote:
That was actually a good idea on the whole, but I guess they changed something in the game data anyway so it became incompatible with the DOS executable.


Tactics like that have worked for me a few times in the past. It is always a long shot, but ya never know until you try Wink
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MrFlibble
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:52 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

exoscoriae wrote:
Basically though, the idea is to find it for the dos preservation project I am working on.

Well then I guess you can grab the Russian demo from FilePlanet since it's the only legal thing outside buying the game.

BTW, I found that "the making of" article I referred to earlier (dtf.ru/articles/read.php?id=45), and it mentions some potentially interesting information:

o Horde was written in the Assembler language, with the aim of creating a very low resource demanding game.

o Most of the code was written on a 80386 PC that didn't even have an SVGA video card, and the developmental builds had to be copied to another computer for testing purposes.

o The game was ported to Windows after the DOS version was completed, using Microsoft Visual Studio 6.0. The port was completed in a month, with two more months spent on debugging and polishing the result. The Windows version also ran in higher resolution than the DOS one.

o The first foreign release (Buka seems to have been involved in that after all) was into the Czech language, started about six months after the game was released in Russia (in 1999).
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exoscoriae
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 11:28 am     Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you for the information.
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 27, 2014 5:23 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

hey guys, it's so nice to find out this fresh topic about Horde series. I was playing it for years and now looking forward to get as much info about this game as possible. It is told in game that the game is based on one Russian folk story about Seven Rivers. Does anyone know anything about this story?
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:12 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

chanfort wrote:
It is told in game that the game is based on one Russian folk story about Seven Rivers. Does anyone know anything about this story?

The background lore of the game is entirely fictional, although its elements are indeed inspired by Slavic/Russian folk tales and bylinas. Unless the developers made use of some specific local folklore of Nizhniy Tagil that is not known elsewhere, however I kinda doubt that.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 29, 2014 2:36 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

well, in abandonia it was mentioned that the game is set in the world of Semirech'ye (Russian for "Land of the Seven Rivers"):
http://www.abandonia.com/vbullet/showthread.php?t=25109

So I was interested if there are any manuscripts about this story remaining?

Another question, which I got very curious is where the map of Horde has been taken from? There are surprisingly a lot of river names, names of places, etc. Were these details created together with the game by 7th bit Labs or they were taken from some folk stories? Anyone know?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 3:25 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

chanfort wrote:
So I was interested if there are any manuscripts about this story remaining?

Most of the background story is related in the form of scrolling text at the beginning of the game. The rest you figure out while playing. I think it was intentionally done by the developers to not railroad the player into the plot, but encourage free exploration instead.

chanfort wrote:

Another question, which I got very curious is where the map of Horde has been taken from? There are surprisingly a lot of river names, names of places, etc. Were these details created together with the game by 7th bit Labs or they were taken from some folk stories?

The map is certainly entirely fictional, and if you play the full game you can see how the global map's features correlate with the terrain of the actual game maps (levels).

Some of the names on the map apparently have real-life correlates (e.g. the river Irga or Kamennaya Pad'). Others are entirely fictional I guess.
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 4:12 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for answering. If it is really made that player would explore the story, then it looks really very great. I played horde series like 5 times from start to finish and each time I am playing, I finding some new elements in the storyline. This think is very inspiring and I am quite often comparing Horde storyline with Tolkien Middle Earth storyline. The way, Horde was created inspired me to start creating similar strategy game in Unity.

But there are things which I still don't fully understand. In global map are shown 7 rivers. If the map was modelled in development process, there could be used tools like world generator (for example WorldMachine) or it can be painted by hand. However, I can't get similar results to this - if I am using world generator, I can't get that on my map would flow exactly 7 rivers and that they would not be partially out of map borders. If I paint the map by hand, I can't obtain naturally looking shapes of these rivers. So this is why I was wondering if the map was not taken from somewhere or if it was generated, how it was done?

By the way, how many fans of this game are here still visiting, how long are you playing and does anyone know if it is still possible to contact with at least one of Horde game creators?
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:15 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

There are lots of different world generation tools and methods, and many were internal to game companies. It could also be a cropped version of a larger map, and the rivers used to all be inside?

Pure speculation on my part, and maybe not helpful, but world building for a real game is a huge task with many options!
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:29 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

chanfort wrote:
But there are things which I still don't fully understand. In global map are shown 7 rivers. If the map was modelled in development process, there could be used tools like world generator (for example WorldMachine) or it can be painted by hand. However, I can't get similar results to this - if I am using world generator, I can't get that on my map would flow exactly 7 rivers and that they would not be partially out of map borders. If I paint the map by hand, I can't obtain naturally looking shapes of these rivers. So this is why I was wondering if the map was not taken from somewhere or if it was generated, how it was done?

Ahh, I'm sorry I misunderstood your question a bit. I can't guarantee that the global map's topography was not taken from some real world map. There's no way to know for sure really other than contacting someone from the dev team.

chanfort wrote:
By the way, how many fans of this game are here still visiting, how long are you playing and does anyone know if it is still possible to contact with at least one of Horde game creators?

Sometime in mid-2000s I signed up in Buka's forums and there were some people who had posted about the game, and were expecting Horde III, but 7th BitLabs dissolved shortly after Horde II was released. IIRC, some of the developers went on to create another team, called Antitank (there's a Wayback Machine copy of their website) which also developed a few games, some with a Russian folklore setting.

Anyway, it was not possible to contact Horde developers via Buka's forums, however there was a guy who claimed he did some reverse engineering of one of the games and was willing to create a custom patch or something. Or maybe I'm mixing this up with a later post in a Russian retro gaming forum. Nothing came of either project, unfortunately.

I have, however, just found the posts of the guy who managed to find some interesting hacks for Horde II, like having the ability to give the player all artifacts and special units, and also control the nomads' tent building (and produce units from it).

It is theoretically possible to track down individual developers, but I'm not sure if they remember enough or would even be willing to provide information.
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 31, 2014 5:32 pm     Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for so informative answer MrFlibble. Well, talking about Horde maps, there are 3 levels of maps:
level 1: the most global map, which is shown at the very beginning of both games. Horde:Northern Wind is set into left-bottom corner of the map and taking about 1/9 fraction of this map. Citadel is taking place just right from Northern Wind and also covers just 1/9 part of this map. Other 7/9 of the map are not covered in any game and remains as a mystery.
level 2: global maps of Northern wind and Citadel
level 3: gameplay map, which covers 1/9 of level 2 map or 1/81 of this level 1 map.

So the most interesting level 1 map, which I am curious if topology was not taken from some real region in the world.
By the way, what would be your guess - how big level 1 map could be in kilometers?

I was interested about contacting some developers to find out a bit more about copyrights. I was interested to start playing the game again and record full walkthrough from beginning to end for both parts of Horde, which I would upload to YouTube or similar website. I was interested if such thing would be legal to do? This could lead to refreshing discussions about the game, so another question could be to create somewhere a forum, where people could talk about that in much more detail. Do anyone know about such copyright things?
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