View Full Version : [II] Feature Preview 4: The Levy Script

06-23-2007, 22:05
Italia Invicta Feature Preview #4: The Levy Script

Welcome to our fourth feature preview. This week, I'll talk about one of our most lovely features, the Levy Script.
I already admitted at the TWC that we are working on a script which allows you to recruit whole armies in a very short time, but I didn't talk about any details. I'm sure you all know that virtually all medieval armies were actually only in the field for fairly short times, in most of Europe, there was nothing like a standing army. Instead, medieval rulers relied either on the idea of granting pieces of land and privileges to vassals, which were then obliged to support their lord with a certain number of soldiers or personal military service, or relied heavily on mercenaries (especially in the later times), who were both more experienced and less likely to run away in battle (after all there'd be loot!)
In line with our goal to attain as much realism as sensibly possible, we are trying to represent these aspects of medieval societies in any way we can. The problem is of course that within the bounds of the game's representation of the world, our ability to do this is fairly limited. One of the creative solutions we contrived is the LS, which will allow the player (and the AI, albeit a bit differently) to recruit whole armies instead of individual units in the majority of cases.

From a gameplay perspective, this script is a great beast indeed, and highly ambivalent. Maintaining an army in II will be very expensive, and the FS will put you in a position where you can recruit a stack of cheap units in the nick of time to either defend your cities or field a campaign against your enemies. Furthermore, as has already been mentioned in the DOI preview (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=86992), your recruitment capabilities in cities you don't control more or less directly will be severely hampered, and even in very obedient settlements your units will regrow very slowly and not be available in huge quantities in the first place.
All of this means that it will be highly desirable to use the script, both for defense and offense, however it also has its disadvantages:
First of all, you won't be able to influence your army composition very much. A medieval ruler could express preferences, but when all is said and done he had to take what his vassal could muster. In II, we will reproduce this with special buildings (we call them decrees internally) which increase the chance of a certain unit type appearing but have some disadvantages. Furthermore, what you build and do will have an influence on the chance of getting certain unit types, if you for example decide to focus on the nobles in this area, you'll be more likely to get knights.
A second downside is that most of the units you get here will either be peasant rabble, usually without any fighting experience or training, and being pressed into service won't make them very inclined to fight for you, or mercenaries who are more experienced and usually better equipped but very expensive.

Another important point to consider is that the AI will have access to a (simplified) version of this script, too. This means that a seemingly undefended settlement can, in the next turn, have a full stack of defenders; even more interestingly, the peoples' readiness to take up arms and defend their homes will be much higher once you enter their home province than it is for your soldiers who you will send far away from their fields and families. If you're not careful, this can lead to disaster because a seemingly well-going campaign can stop dead and suddenly see you on the receiving end.
This effect is further amplified by the decreased public order you will have to face for a few turns after raising an army in a settlement, and your inability to immediately repeat the process (and when you finally can repeat it, you'll get much fewer units).

For those of you who want to know what the interface for this looks like, the way to recruit an army will probably be destroying a special building in the settlement. This makes it easy for us to implement all effects, and we will simply re-create the building by script when the city is ready again to recruit a new army. One of the main distinguishing features here is that you will get a random army composition instead of pre-defined army sets: you'll never know what to expect from your city! We'll achieve this behaviour this with a fairly complicated but quite flexible script that allows us to dynamically factor in the state of your game while at the same time making sure that you have a somewhat well-composed army which can at least theoretically win a fight if it has a good commander. It's also of interest that, because the script is so flexible, we'll also be able to factor in things like your leader's authority and the loyalty of the province's governor.

Now, I'd like to highlight how the Levy Script ties in with the different degrees of independence that we presented you in our second preview. As you know, there are four different DOIs: Nominal Dependence, Indefinite Dependence, Reliance and Royal Demesne. Of these, the first three will enable you to recruit armies via the levy script; however, the number and quality of soldiers you get will be different. In general, the Indefinite Dependence will give you the best armies here; after all, you installed a powerful vassal or officer in this settlement, but still retain a certain influence on him, making it more likely that he'll do as you bid. A reliance will already be heavily under your influence, so normal recruitment will be the main source of armies there, but you won't want to press it out as much as you would if you had installed a vassal there who has to deal with the resulting unrest. Nominal Dependence will also give you quite nice armies, but the local rulers most of the time won't like helping you very much, so they won't necessarily send you a force as fervent as you get with the Indefinite Dependence; furthermore the locals have a (low) chance of refusing your request, which will result in very much decreased public order and possible scripted rebellions which can be very dangerous.

To conclude this preview, I'd like to make another announcement. You may be wondering why we barely posted any screenshots yet (and assume that I'm just talking hot air). The main reason for this is that we neither really have a 3d nor a 2d artist who are working "full time" on II. We seriously need help in that department, so if you're interested, or know anyone who might, please drop me a PM.

I hope you enjoyed this, I definitely enjoyed writing it.

Until next time we meet,


[II] Feature Preview 1: View City (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=85761)
[II] Feature Preview 2: Degrees of Independence (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=86992)
[II/AD] Feature Preview 3: Authority (https://forums.totalwar.org/vb/showthread.php?t=87295)