View Full Version : Mods

11-25-2000, 16:37
There has been a lot of discussion in the General Discussion forum about the future of Shogun : Total War and what needs to be done to make this game and its sequels more successful. The Shogun (Richie, Dreamtime representative) has requested that we get some threads started to generate some ideas for inclusion in the game.

This thread is for people to post their ideas and suggestions (but no flames please) on how mods could be better supported.

Yamaga Shimazu
11-25-2000, 20:54
Richie had best check his e-mail more often http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif

Well...the room for improvement is quite wide, but his personal partecipation in this forum would be appreciated as a mark of interest, of good will and...to encourage us a bit more http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/smile.gif

I have started a HUGE list of bugs, infos, tips and ideas which are quite CONCRETE a few days ago on the whole system, starting from the economy, christianity, building of an army (not just the units)and tech tree to the core of the game, the battlefield simulation with statistical datas all tested and directed to the understanding of HOW the program simulates.
(i have been playing online just for the sake of testing, getting weaker units, doing prepared tactics and noting the results on paper).

I would have posted this list in here as soon as it was finished anyway.

The file is HUGE i repeat. It not only contains the list of bugs i noticed but also their realistic, logic and hoped solution with historical datas and 20 yrs of my personal gaming experience based on simulations.

I would like Richie to show up in here before i publicly posted it (u know...i wouldn't want it to be useless and i would rather in this case give it to someone who is really willing to start a concrete project).

I have the feeling this game was released with little testing and in haste due to contract links therefore i believe, quite frankly, that the guys have already moved on from THIS project. (and this would really be sad!)

Rob, don't take this message as a flame, there were a few things that i really had to say and of course, i am among the firsts who would love to see development.

Conclusion: ehm...i cannot post it in here. Surely not before the 1.13 is released.

11-26-2000, 00:52
You make a lot of valid points about gameplay fixes which you would like to see in future patches (official or otherwise).

What I was hoping for was a debate or what features specifically relating to mods that we would like in a patch/sequel. There have been plenty of suggestions about the online campaign and now this is being done. I was hoping that if we can present the developers with some good ideas they may choose to implement some of them.

I guess I ought to start the ball rolling:

I would really like a system similar to Civilization II (also used in many FPS games), whereby there is a folder which contains game mods. This folder would contain sub-folders, each being the name of a mod.

would be a mod called 'Napoleon'.
In this folder would be contained textures, unit graphics, unit attributes (in some kind of text file probably) and other files which would be loaded in place of the normal game files.

These mods would primarily be used in online battles since I anticipate that implementing a campaign mod would be very difficult. When a player hosts a game the name of the mod would be shown next to their game.

The important thing about this is that, from the developers perspective, implementing it would be incredibly simple indeed. (I know, I am a programmer http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/smile.gif ).

11-26-2000, 13:41

neeed i say more... check/uncheck


http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif jd

the great lord http://www.geocities.com/vinyljock/monn_t.gif jd

Yamaga Shimazu
11-26-2000, 15:37
Don't tempt me, don't tempt me !

The Daimyo
11-26-2000, 19:10
Well, I just spent 40 minutes typing out a great list of ideas and stuff only to have it not get submitted and then to return to a blank screen here for a reply. Bloody UBB BOARD!!!
I'll post up my ideas for this another time, I'm just a little too pissed at this board software for the moment...GERRR!!!!

Good Work Rob!

The Daimyo
Miaowara "Kakizaki" Tomokato

11-27-2000, 02:43

good topic. perhaps first off you shld define what a mod is so that everyone knows what you're talking about.

second, you have a line in with richie? the totalwar web page guy? richie skinner of dreamtime interactive? is he in contact with creative assembly and the programmers and project director there? and if so, could he get them to post the docs on the current editor somewhere? or post it himself somewhere? we're having a very tough time with getting some things to work and would appreciate some help here.

third, for the future, a stand-alone editor is much more preferred than one built into the game or demo. downloading 97 megs of demo game just to get the editor when i already had the full game was a bit annoying.

the editor shld not be an afterthought that barely works or is poorly supported. it shld be a fully functioning, professionally done tool that can also be patched to keep up with full game patches when needed. one of the 'secrets' to a great game is user contribution and third party support. the computer industry has proven this time and again.

one nice feature that poptop software did when it made railroad tycoon II was that if you started a game with someone who didnt have the same map as yourself, the host could start the game anyway and the map would automatically be packed and sent and unpacked to all those that didnt currently have it. the game would then start as normal when all who didnt have it had received it.

cut and paste would be nice for the editor. more 'smoothing' tools would be nice.

one thing total annihilation did was allow for different size maps. the current tactical arena is barely big enough for a 3 vs 3, let alone a 4 vs 4. simply add more tiles or the capability for it so that those with more powerful machines could thus play on a grander scale.

in the campaign mode allow for user made maps. let's put feudal japan history on a different geography and see what happens.

allow for koku differences in multi in battle mode like the single player mode allows for. if a player wants to take on 2 against 1 and allow them fewer or greater koku then so be it. the host would set this ONLY. players would then accept this or simply bow out before starting.

make the multi page larger with more info displayed on games. there is no reason to have such a small page and all that background. when i see a game up i'd like to know what settings the host is providing without having to ask. what season are you playing? are you attacking or defending? who's playing on your side? who would my allies be? a lot of unnecessary chatter is generated by not showing these things.

troops run away too fast still. perhaps an adjustable modifier could be set by the host that would allow higher global honor in a multi game. you could still set your own troop's honor and have it affect running away as it currently is, but if the host could add an additional global modifier that raised or lowered the overall morale and honor of troops, i think this would be good.

options are always key to any game. allow folks to customize more. we started a whole thread here about customizing units, how it could be done and why it shld or shldnt be done. i have no problem with this providing it can be done in a way that prevents cheating. you mentioned civ II, rob. they allowed for unit editing quite nicely. each player simply had to have the same text file with those mods. thus, if one person's idea of how strong or fast cav shld be against another unit differed from someone else's then so be it. the obvious drawback to all this is that it opens the door to more cheating and makes it harder to match up opponents since one guy wants cav or bows stronger or weaker than another person. the host sets it, others agree to play or not. i think that would work.

the game would, as outlined above, almost become a feudal japan construction set. we all remember those from the old 8-bit machine days http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif

the editor needs to be more wysiwyg. when you change a texture number only that texture appearance shld change.

allow textures to be set by entering the number of the desired texture as well as simply incrementing up and down.

add a texture icon line at the bottom of the screen. you could scroll this horizontally to see the textures available. click on that texture and it's now the one you would set by clicking on the map. do the same thing with models.

where the heck is the crossroads texture? i see a Y road intersection but no + . add more variety of textures. add more variety in models.

in battle mode the hardest thing to do is to get a whole army to turn the way i want them to. we need a 'column left/right' move feature. one is also somewhat needed for those 45 degree turns.

quit moving my men around after i set them in battle mode! if i want my yari samurai spaced within my bowmen, quit moving them out. even if i set 'hold formation' and 'hold position' they will still move around and often in very annoying ways. leave my formations alone! or at least allow an additonal button that allows for this.

this is a very good game. good job and my compliments! now, let's finsh the project http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif

one last note: i NEVER write to developers of games i dont like. or never write about them. i ONLY write about or to the developers of games i DO like. just remember that when you see flames on the boards or in your emails or on your web sites. those folks LIKE the game, even if they are rude or obnoxious. this doesnt excuse them from being so, but you can at least take solace in the FACT that they like the game enough to write you http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif


11-27-2000, 17:09
Just to clear this up:
I don't have any direct contact with Richie (The Shogun) or anyone else at CA/DT/EA. I was not asked personally to begin this thread. Richie said in a post in the General Discussion forum that if we wanted new features then we should start some threads to discuss them, get some ideas together, and he would read them.

I agree that the editor needs a big overhaul. Most games these days provide specifically for third-party map editing, including good map editing software out of the box. The impression that I get is that STW was never designed to work with third-party maps. For example the game does not automatically download maps you don't have. It doesn't even check to see if you have the same version of a map as the other players.

One thing to bear in mind is this: if the sequel has backward compatability with STW maps, by the time the sequel comes out we can have a large library of 3rd party maps ready. This can only help sales of the sequel, surely? Before I buy a game I often check to see what the online community is like; whether there are new maps and mods etc. I think that a strong online community is an almost essential part of selling a game these days and STW II could benefit from our maps and mods.

11-27-2000, 17:16
The Daimyo;

Sorry about that, we were having some far-removed problems with our server. I hope you repost your suggestions when you have time. -sorry.

11-28-2000, 01:11
FOR MODS (Trying to keep this to Rob's topic) a useful thing would be a way to set up a coherent campaign of several battles. If someone makes a Mongol Mod (for example) they should be able to script a campaign over several battles to create a storyline. Command a general in an invasion of X province, starting with a sweep down out of the hills, battling across a river, wipe out villages and farmlands, climaxing in a castle fight, all the while keeping track of your army, their honor, etc. Most of it can be done with the text files/log files. We can already set up individual battles, but longer story driven campaigns could open up a whole new vista, especially if they work both SP and MP.

-- B)

11-28-2000, 01:21
Yes now that would be a very good idea.

I personally would like to see much more scripting in battles. For example, an enemy ally arriving in the middle of a battle, or even scripted weather changes.

Scripting an entire campaign would be even better. I really like the idea of more mission-oriented battles. I know the Age of Empires series has something similar to this and I think it would add much more variety and replay value to the game, alongside the existing campaign game.

11-28-2000, 05:05
scripting campaign battles is a great idea. total annihilation did this with a very large 3rd party participation. the idea of TA was that 2 AI robotics factions were fighting for the universe and each mission in the campaign would be on a new world in contention. they made quite a deal out of this on the TA site. i made one 10 mission campaign for that game myself. each new world would have different features and terrain and added a lot of variety to an already interesting game.

railroad tycoon II had a LARGE scenario script set for making and setting parameters to any given game. it worked for single and multiplayer and was a ton of fun to set up a variety of scenarios.

along with my other wish list items i'd like some better ways to move my troops. i mentioned in an earlier post about column left and right, but i'd also like a rotate formation feature where if my opponent suddenly veers off to my right or left flank, i, as the defender, can simply rotate my troops to face him while keeping the current formation intact.

i ran into another thing today while editing a new map. the texture list is far from complete. with having several 'base' or background colors available it becomes increasingly impossible to provide for all the combinations of blending one tile to the next with the spline lines showing due to mismatched textures. i wont even go into the for instance here as it gets quite complicated trying to match up a tile that falls inbetween a tree line, a hut tile, a road tile and so on. there are currently at least 3 diff green base textures, light, medium and dark and that's only the base color of green. with each new shade you have to then make liteally hundreds of new tiles to be able to blend this new shade into all the existing textures and features and colors. and this becomes next to impossible in the current format. either change the format for tiles/textures/models or reduce the number of base colors that have to be mixed and matched.


11-28-2000, 05:41
Yes, much better documentation is needed. Many games companies (I am thinking in particular of Valve, makers of Half-Life) treat the map-makers and mod-makers as being essential to the success of their games, and provide them with proper map editing software (with documentation!) and SDKs (Software Development Kits) for mod development. These are the kind of tools we need for Shogun (and/or the sequel) Total War.

As far as texture blending is concerned, if I knew all of the textures, I may be able to write a program which can, to a certain extent, automatically blend textures. This would work a little bit like the map converter; put a map file in, get a new one out. I had kinda been planning to include such a feature in my map editor. I am thinking now that perhaps the map editor will have a phased release... that components will be released individually as they are ready (e.g. a texture blender component).

Ah if only I knew how to do 3D graphics programming http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/smile.gif

12-06-2000, 21:27
I say make the map editor visual. That way we dont have to decipher what a texture 72 is. We just drag it from a tool bar onto a contour grid, and voila! that square has its texture. You can then drag castels, trees, huts, etc in the same fashion. And for the contours, I say start with a flat grid and use the mouse somehow to pull and push the contour into the desired shape to make hills, ridges, etc. If its 100% visual, then map-making will be easy. And that is what we all want, right?

12-07-2000, 05:51
The only drawback to that is that programming a graphic interface can be a massive headache. Most programmers like to deal with simple things like numbers, rather than creating icons, buttons, and visual interpretations of those simple numbers. You'd lose half your testing time to just testing to see if the buttons do what they're supposed to. Unfortunately, not all of us can think like programmers. Especially us artist types! ;>

So yeah, we'd LOVE a visual interface, but I ain't holding my breath!

-- B)

[This message has been edited by BanzaiZAP (edited 12-06-2000).]

The Black Ship
12-07-2000, 06:12
Gee... you're not implying that Shogun's programming team can't live up to Ensembles are you http://www.totalwar.org/ubb/wink.gif After all AOK has a pretty good map editor...in fact that was the only reason I played that game for so long (I can hear you gasp in dismay...LOL), I liked making custom maps and triggers.