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Thread: Stele #4

  1. #1
    EBII PM Member JMRC's Avatar
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    Default Stele #4

    Developing Units for Europa Barbarorum 2

    It's been a few months since we made our last Stele, and it's about time we give some feedback to EB fans about how the development is going. So, in this 4th Stele, I will divide it in 2 parts: current development situation, where you get to know how things are progressing and a second part where I give you an idea of how we are developing units for the mod.

    I hope you like this Stele format and keep visiting our forum, asking questions, placing suggestions and giving your feedback. Very soon we will compile them into a development FAQ, where we will answer your questions, in the best way possible.

    Current Development Situation:

    This is always a tough part to write, since so many things happen at the same time, with different degrees of completeness. So, I will split this part into sections, so this will be more understandable.

    Team:
    I think this is a good place to start from. The team is comprised of about 60 people, not all of them active, but enough to provide all the info we need to work: historians, programmers, modelers, skinners, illustrators, multimedia specialists and support people (website, control version software and programming tools). We are always looking for talented people, from every one of those areas, to join us, since the huge scope of this project requires a large team of devoted members. Also, a large number of the current members are still involved in the final stages of development for the EB1.1 release.

    Social Structure:
    Basically, this was where we started. The EB1 system is being revamped to seize many new possibilities offered by the M2TW:K engine. We are mixing concepts like culture and religion to provide a somewhat complex system where the player will have a tough time trying to balance all the variables in each conquered region, so that it can go from a rebelious to a fully integrated provice of your growing empire.
    We are still discussing this, but there's already some coding done, to provide an experimental base for adjustments.

    Traits and Ancillaries:
    We are importing traits and ancillaries from EB1, before we begin coding them using the much-improved code instructions that M2TW:K provides. There's still a lot of work to do here, but things are progressing.

    Recruitment:
    We are finishing the process of identifying the units which will be part of EB2. We know this is something that will suffer changes well into the first release, but this is an important part of the unit development process, and it's good that we're about to finish the list.
    We will be using the Eras funcionality of M2TW:K to reflect the factional recruitment, since each faction will be able to recruit more than 100 units. So, no more need to replace the EDU file to be able to find a factional unit in the full roster, before a MP or custom battle. One of the Eras will already show all you need.
    No coding for now; just listing the units and their factions.

    Unit Development:
    I will be putting more detail into this section later, but the situation is that we are still in the beginning. As you know, M2TW:K offers better graphics and the ability to have several skins in the same texture file, which allows for a lot of diversity within the same unit. However, this also means much more work to be done, from concepting, to modeling and skinning. So, we made a great recruitment effort among modelers and skinners from several games (RTW, M2TW, M&B and even Crysis), which brought a new batch of talented people into the team. With them, and some others that we are still searching for, we expect to surpass the number of models made for EB1, with much more skins.

    Animations:
    This is another area which is still in the beginning. We are currently producing the overhand spear animations for greek phalanx, before we move on to the macedonian phalanx and the slingers. A lot of work still to be done here.

    Unit Stats:
    Nothing done in this field yet, as was expected.

    Loading Screens and UI:
    This is a part which is progressing very well. The loading screens are almost finished and we are also changing the UI for each culture.

    Illustrations:
    For now, we are concentrating our illustration efforts in the concept art for new units. Though we have started recently, I think this is going to have a good impact into the unit development process.

    Stratmap Buildings:
    Not much done in this field yet, but we have recently recruited an artist that will specifically work in this area, so I expect to have some progress in the next Stele.

    Battlemap Buildings:
    This one is a tough part. There isn't yet any breakthrough into the World files, so we can't change the buildings in the battlemap for now. This is a major problem in any game that strives to build a non-medieval setting using M2TW, but we're convinced that sooner or later this breakthrough will happen.

    Voicemods:
    This is another area which is having a good progress, mainly due to the fact that new voicemods are being made for EB1.1 and they will be used in EB2 as well. Q-Celtic is completed; Pahlavan and Proto-Germanic are nearly finished.


    Developing Units:

    Following in Foot's footsteps, who gave a detailed account on how we started the EB2 development (read Stele #3), I'm going to tell you how we are conducting the unit development process and what's involved in it.

    Developing units for EB2 is a fun thing for historians and artists, since the former have to search their sources and come out with pieces of evidence that support their concepts, while the later have to produce a model or skin based on that concept and bring to life a unit which walked in the "real life" fields of battle more than 2000 years ago.

    Procedures for Unit Development:
    1. Concept threads: the historians from each faction pick up a unit from the list already compiled of the units that will make it into EB2 and start a concept thread where they post pictures of murals, paintings, pieces of equipment, etc, which will serve as basis for the artists' work on models and skins. In these concept threads, there's also a lot of debate about the unit's characteristics and representation. In the end, the historian responsible for the thread gives the GO for the unit's creation.
    2. Modeling Work Assignment: when the concept is nearing its conclusion, a modeler is assigned to the initial stage of the unit development. This is done mainly taking into account availability and the will of the artist.
    3. Modeling: the modeler picks one of the basic models, which was done sometime ago and does all the modeling process, posting questions on the concept thread as needed. In the end, the historian approves the model and it's ready for the skinning work.
    4. Skinning Work Assignment: the historians define how many skins are needed for that unit, and which attachments (shields, weapons and helmets) are to be used for each faction or group of factions. Once again, the skinners are assigned to make a certain skin based in the same conditions as for the modelers. The same skinner can do all the skins for a certain unit, or several skinners divide the work among themselves.
    5. Skinning: the skinners get the uvmaps produced for that unit and start the texturing process. They also post on the concept thread to get info from the historians. When each skinner finishes his work, he posts some pictures in the concept thread, which are evaluated by all team members, but specially from the respective Faction Coordinator, to be approved.
    6. Integrating the unit into the build: After approval, the artists upload their .mesh and .texture files into the build (we use SVN for version control) and inform the Project Manager or the Unit Integrator. These members use an internal tool that gathers individual unit XML files (with the required model and skin info for that unit) and assembles the battle_models.modeldb file. This great tool provides a safe way to "edit" that file without introducing errors, since makes several validations when reading the individual unit XML file, and showing in the screen any errors to be corrected.
    7. Ingame validation: in this step we validate how the unit looks ingame, and we take screenshots for all factional/cultural skins, so the historians can ask for any final adjustments.


    Unit Development Coordination:
    This is a series of tables with data for the assignment of historians and artists. We only show current assignments, which means that the name disappears from the list when the work is done. This way we can control who's working on what and how's the status.

    Unit Historians Modelers Skinners
    Unit Name (link for concept thread) historian(s) name(s) modeler name (to be defined)
    Unit Name (link for concept thread) historian(s) name(s) model done skinner(s) name(s)

    In here we have a small gift for you: the concept model for a new hellenic unit (which doesn't exist in EB1), called Euzonoi. Enjoy!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 








    And in here we offer you the vision of one of our ported (from EB1) loading screens. This one represents Makedonia. Enjoy!
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    That's all for now, folks. I shall return with further news soon.

    JMRC



    "Death Smiles at Us All,all a Man Can Do Is Smile Back."
    Maximvs Decimvs Meridivs, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, Iberian Gladiator.

  2. #2
    Member Member Khazar_Dahvos's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Great news on the development.

  3. #3
    Member Member anubis88's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    woot woot! I've been waiting so looooong for a new stele
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  4. #4
    Combustion Member beatoangelico's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    great as usual

  5. #5
    Member Member Bactron's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Wow! I am pretty impressed those euzonoi's look great.

  6. #6
    Jesus Member lobf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Awesome. Looks great, except that loading screen seems a bit 1995 to me...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Stele #4

    Yay! Excitement! Looking awesome and I can't wait for more






  8. #8

    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by lobf
    Awesome. Looks great, except that loading screen seems a bit 1995 to me...
    Your opinion is of course your own, but in my eyes at least, it sceams 272 BCE!
    Last edited by keravnos; 03-16-2008 at 18:55.


    You like EB? Buy CA games.

  9. #9
    Barely a levy Member overweightninja's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Super cool, its nice to have a preview which outlines the work being done as well as simply showing off
    Cheers

  10. #10

    Default Re: Stele #4

    Nice! Good to hear so much progress is being made.

  11. #11
    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    YEEEEEEESSSSS!!!!!! At last!!! Hooray!!! Finally!!!
    Great work.
    The Appomination

    I don't come here a lot any more. You know why? Because you suck. That's right, I'm talking to you. Your annoying attitude, bad grammar, illogical arguments, false beliefs and pathetic attempts at humour have driven me and many other nice people from this forum. You should feel ashamed. Report here at once to recieve your punishment. Scumbag.

  12. #12
    WotD 2D graphic Dude Member Gebeleisis's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    *cums*

  13. #13

    Default Re: Stele #4

    gebeleisis, you raunchy slag!
    but seriously, great to see EB II coming along so awesomely, keep the stele's coming!
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  14. #14
    Jesus Member lobf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by keravnos
    Your opinion is of course your own, but in my eyes at least, it sceams 272 BCE!
    Heh. Good one.

    It just reminds me of some kind of old windows template.

  15. #15
    Member Member sgsandor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Awesome update thank you very much!

  16. #16
    Urwendur Ūrībźl Senior Member Mouzafphaerre's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    .
    Thanks Dom JMRC. About time for a stele.
    .
    Ja mata Tosa Inu-sama, Hore Tore, Adrian II, Sigurd, Fragony

    Mouzafphaerre is known elsewhere as Urwendil/Urwendur/Kibilturg...
    .

  17. #17
    The Rabbit Nibbler Member Korlon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Very nice progress, but it doesn't look like EBII will be coming out anytime soon. :(
    Ongoing EB Campaigns:
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    Remanent or Supremacy - An EB Pontos AAR - Unfortunately postponed indefinitely.
    1.1 Saka Rauka Gameplay Guide
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  18. #18

    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by lobf
    Awesome. Looks great, except that loading screen seems a bit 1995 to me...
    I and the team are happy with them so if aesthetically you don't like them then here is a balloon for you to carry around instead: .

  19. #19
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    I can't wait! can't wait (am about to explode)..I love it already...
    a few questions though:

    1-what are Euzonoi? are they in any sources in particular? or are they like the Pheraspides (an aspect of the hypaspists)?do tell everything..

    2-where helmets really painted in hellenistic times? if so, will that feature be available? and what colors were used?

    3-is there a way to make more realistic battles casualty wise (15-50% for winner is kinda too high); will you affect lethality, attack, morale, or a combo? so that casualties would be closer to reality.

    looking forward to the mods release.

    *Ibrahim explodes in excitment and joy*
    I was once alive, but then a girl came and took out my ticker.

    my 4 year old modding project--nearing completion: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=219506 (if you wanna help, join me).

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  20. #20
    AtB n00b Member chairman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Ibrahim, euzonoi are mentioned in Polybius. They are to thureophoroi what thorakitai are to thureophoroi; that is, a lighter, less armored form of skirmisher/line -of-battle infantry. The relationship is similar to that of akontistai and peltastai. So theoretically, the skirmisher line of hellenic troops would something like this (least to most armored):

    Akontistai
    Euzonoi
    Peltastai
    Thureophoroi
    Thorakitai
    Pheraspides
    Thorakitai Agematos Basilikou


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  21. #21
    Member Member Ashtart's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Great advances
    CREDO QUIA ABSURDUM

  22. #22
    Stranger in a strange land Moderator Hooahguy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    cant wait!
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  23. #23
    EBII PM Member JMRC's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Ibrahim
    I can't wait! can't wait (am about to explode)..I love it already...
    a few questions though:

    1-what are Euzonoi? are they in any sources in particular? or are they like the Pheraspides (an aspect of the hypaspists)?do tell everything..

    2-where helmets really painted in hellenistic times? if so, will that feature be available? and what colors were used?

    3-is there a way to make more realistic battles casualty wise (15-50% for winner is kinda too high); will you affect lethality, attack, morale, or a combo? so that casualties would be closer to reality.

    looking forward to the mods release.

    *Ibrahim explodes in excitment and joy*

    Thank you for your enthusiasm. We are currenty working on a development FAQ, where we are going to put all the relevant questions and (the possible) answers to them. This way we can have a single frontend for fans requests and questions, instead of a chance-basis. So, stay tuned!
    Last edited by JMRC; 03-17-2008 at 12:37.



    "Death Smiles at Us All,all a Man Can Do Is Smile Back."
    Maximvs Decimvs Meridivs, Commander of the Armies of the North, General of the Felix Legions, Iberian Gladiator.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Stele #4

    Excellent news:) I really believe that this conversation will be the great one.
    But what is wrong with buildings in battle map? Now there are numerous mods about classic era in development. How are they going to cope with this problem?
    As far as I know developers of Basileia - TW modmanaged to change battle map buildings. How did they do it? Or it's a secret?

  25. #25
    Witchety Grub Member KhaziOfKalabara's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    The Euzonoi look fantastic - it'll be painful to wait to use them...

    Just a thought: for M2TW, obviously each unit can have multiple body skins in it. But what are the different components that make up a full skin? Clearly the heads are separate, but are the arms, legs and torsos all one section or are they multiple sections?

    The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. H. L. Mencken

  26. #26
    Amanuensis Member pezhetairoi's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    The Euzonoi look nice, yeah.

    I'm more concerned about the battle map buildings though.

    Great to have a new stele around! It's really cool to read more impressive advances in the EB team's portfolio...


    EB DEVOTEE SINCE 2004

  27. #27
    Jesus Member lobf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by Teleklos Archelaou
    I and the team are happy with them so if aesthetically you don't like them then here is a balloon for you to carry around instead: .
    Well thank you.


    *distracted by balloon*

  28. #28

    Default Re: Stele #4

    "We will be using the Eras funcionality of M2TW:K to reflect the factional recruitment, since each faction will be able to recruit more than 100 units. So, no more need to replace the EDU file to be able to find a factional unit in the full roster, before a MP or custom battle. One of the Eras will already show all you need.
    No coding for now; just listing the units and their factions."

    100? 100? wu....... are u serious, that amount of units per faction? And those Euzonoi are b.e.a-utiful. Good job guys, keep it up. I really wish i could get into the hidden forums now
    Ultimate Excellence Lies

    Not In Winning

    Every Battle

    But In Defeating the Enemy

    Without Ever Fighting

  29. #29
    Jesus Member lobf's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    Quote Originally Posted by KhaziOfKalabara
    The Euzonoi look fantastic - it'll be painful to wait to use them...

    Just a thought: for M2TW, obviously each unit can have multiple body skins in it. But what are the different components that make up a full skin? Clearly the heads are separate, but are the arms, legs and torsos all one section or are they multiple sections?
    I believe there's seperate torsos, arms, legs, and heads.

  30. #30
    master of the wierd people Member Ibrahim's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stele #4

    thanks! I'll be looking orward to the FAQ.

    so Euzonoi are medium skirmishers essentially? I see-nice!

    *Ibrahim is picking up his own pieces*
    I was once alive, but then a girl came and took out my ticker.

    my 4 year old modding project--nearing completion: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showthread.php?t=219506 (if you wanna help, join me).

    tired of ridiculous trouble with walking animations? then you need my brand newmotion capture for the common man!

    "We have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that if we put the belonging to, in the I don't know what, all gas lines will explode " -alBernameg

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