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Thread: Some suggestions

  1. #1

    Default Some suggestions

    As the EB team has now started work on EBII in earnest, but is still in the early stages of development (from what I've gathered), now seems a good time to suggest various EBII features.

    Thus, I think it would be good if the following issues were addressed in EBII:

    Dawn of Time syndrome


    I feel that one of the problems both with EB and with the Total War series in general (and quite possibly with the entire RTS genre - it's of particular relevance to Total War games, though, I think, as they try to be historically accurace - unlike, say, Rise of Nations) is that when you start a new campaign, you feel like you are at the dawn of time. Logically, however, you should feel like you have just been flung headlong into a world which has been evolving quite happily without you for thousands of years and which is already full of intrigue, war, colourful characters and whatnot.

    Thus, how can EBII create a greater sense of a "rolling start"? I propose the following:

    Campaign briefings


    When you start a new campaign in MII, you should notice that you are not allowed to play right away, but instead are quickly guided around the map by the Campaign Advisor, who briefly explains what your faction is about, what regions you own and where you should begin your campaign. The advice is all well and good, but does little to create a sense of a "rolling start" as I have mentioned, and simply helps to ease you into your campaign. However, if the idea were taken further, I believe it could achieve just that effect.

    When you start a new campaign in EBI, you may notice that not everything is neat and ordered, unlike in Vanilla RTW and MII (more or less). For instance, if playing as the Romani, you'll notice that you own one province in which a Provisional Military Government is yet to be built. You also have a Family Member standing just outside a town. As the Casse, you are not at war with the Eleutheroi, unlike every other faction (correct me if I'm wrong). The list goes on.

    With a standing start, these sorts of features may seem like mistakes or odd quirks, especially to a new player. With a rolling start, however, they will all add to and enhance one's experience and thus will serve the purpose that they are meant to serve.

    So what I propose, then, is that the Campaign Advisor guide the player around the map at the start of each new campaign, giving them a summary of what their faction has been up to before they joined. For instance, with the Romani, the advisor would tell you that: "Your troops have recently captured Ariminum [IIRC] but we have yet to consolidate power in the area", the camera simultaneously panning to the city in question. He/she would go on to tell you about things like who you are at war with and why; who you are allied to and whether you can really trust them; where different elements within your faction think you should attack / expand into, and so on.

    Where this advice would overlap with the current faction descriptions, I suggest that the descriptions be edited so as to only include general information and the older bits of history of a faction, e.g.:

    "We are the proud sons of (Whoever) [...] sixty years ago, we proudly marched into (Wherever) [...] Good luck." [OWTTE]

    ...and then include all information about current threats and recent developments in the guided tour, e.g.:

    "Greetings, commander [adapt greeting and title as necessary]. It is spring [IIRC] 272 BC and you are now in charge of the (greatest power in the world) / (sons of Someone) / (oldest nation on earth), the (Whoever). Our forces have recently captured (Settlement X) [...] Good luck." [OWTTE]

    That way, even those naughty players who do not read their faction introductions will understand what is going on when they start a campaign.

    Also, having characters or armies move around during the guided tour at appropriate moments (ala TIC) will help increase that 'rolling start' feeling.

    As well as this, I feel that another way to create a sense of a 'rolling start' would be to have every faction video ending with a shot of the camera zooming in on a mock-up of the EB campaign map - and, more to the point, zooming in on the exact view that the player will start with (see c. 0:45-0:50 of this to see the sort of thing that I mean). Note that the loading screen blends into the game itself quite smoothly; it is even more seamless in the actual demo: YouTube is fairly low-quality, after all.



    Anti-Blitzkrieg tactics


    Another thing which, in my opinion, makes you think that you're playing a game is the fact that, as soon as you get going with your campaign and play at a reasonable speed (i.e. without slowing yourself down intentionally), the pace of your faction's, and other factions', development seems to be ten times as fast as it was for the hundreds of years before you came along. Why, after all, can you discover the whereabouts of at least 80% of the cities on the map after 10 years (with a reasonable number of Map Information swaps and Diplomats wandering around) when your faction's accumulated geographical knowledge after centuries seems only to be its surrounding area as well as some disparate points on the map? Why is it that you are always going to be several centuries ahead of your faction historically in terms of territorial expansion? Well, I propose that something be done!

    Firstly, you need to cover unknown areas of the map in total blackness (like the Native American factions' maps in the Americas campaign in Kingdoms, or the New World at the end of MII). This should stop people from planning their routes in advance, as it will force them to creep forward with their Diplomats, actually 'discovering' new areas. Next, reduce Diplomats' movement distances (unless increasing the size of the map will already have that effect) so that you, as the Lusotannan, cannot find out about what the Saka are doing until quite some time into the campaign.

    Also, Map Information should become more expensive, both in terms of the AI being less willing to sell it, and in terms of the player being able to receive more money for it.

    Thirdly, although EBII will undoubtedly have the option for factions to recruit more than one unit per turn per settlement, let's not go nuts. Limiting troops availability and increasing the amount of time before a particular unit becomes available after being recruited in a particular settlement seems like a sure-fire way to stop players from "Blitzing" and make them wait before launching all-out assaults, which should also make their victories all the more crucial and their defeats all the more devastating. Moreover, a pace of expansion that is more in line with what would be expected of a faction historically should make the game feel like less of a sandbox and more like a real world.





    Game features

    Here are the ideas that I have for the EBII game:

    Your friendly neighbourhood despot

    In my Romani campaign, I recently noticed a "Foreign Ventures" building which represents Roman traders going out and 'Romanising', as it were, foreign powers, in order to make conquest easier in future.

    In EBII, could buildings such as this be extended, so that they did make conquering provinces easier (e.g. through giving Family Members appropriate Traits or Ancillaries, such as a kind, retired trader whom the Aedui remember and love, and who would make the process of 'Romanising' / 'Hellenising' / etc. an ex-Aedui province much smoother for any Family Member he was with).

    Also, could these buildings be where Merchants are recruited, except EBII Merchants are Vanilla Priests who convert foreigners to whatever culture / way of thinking your faction happens to represent?

    Alternatively, there could be two types of Merchant in EBII that you could recruit from these buildings: Vanilla-style Merchants who cost no upkeep and make you money, and Priest-style Merchants who cost you x upkeep per season because they keep giving presents and freebies away, but who win hearts and minds for you.

    Also, perhaps the construction of these sorts of buildings could increase your standing / reputation / trustworthiness, making other factions like you more?



    Rabblerousers

    Could Heretics be turned into Spartacus-like figures who call for good, law-abiding citizens to revolt against their factions?

    In other words, could the chance of 'normal' Eleutheroi armies popping up be decreased and instead could it be scripted so that Eleutheroi gradually rally around Heretics, to use their Vanilla MII names, thereby letting the player know in advance where rebellions might take place? The proposed system would also, in my opinion, make more sense than random armies popping up out of the ground for no apparent reason.





    Spit and polish


    I feel that EBII would benefit from some additional features that would give it an even more 'polished' feel.

    More customisation

    With EB 1.1, we saw the arrival of the EB Configuration, a tool which lets players quickly and easily customise EB to their preferred settings. It would be nice if it were expanded for EBII in several ways.

    Firstly, I think that the EB Preferences should be merged into the EB Configuration. It would mean one less desktop shortcut and one less button to click. I know that the Preferences are, at present, accessible from the Configuration, but just placing all the options in one window without any additional clicking would streamline the whole process of tuning your EB installation, I feel.

    Next, if EBII includes a blood mod of some kind, this should also be adjustable in the Configuration. For instance, if EBII includes a blood mod which is bloodier than MII Vanilla because that is more realistic (I have no idea whether it is, incidentally), then players should be able to change between no blood, MII Vanilla levels of blood and EBII levels of blood in the Configuration, depending on what they are comfortable with. There would, of course, be advice telling the player which is the most historically accurate version, as with the nudity patch.

    It would be good if EBII came with customizable spelling. In other words, there would be "Level 1 spelling" where the names of all buildings, units etc. would be their English names (i.e. what we get in brackets in EBI after their native names). "Level 2 spelling" would be the spelling that we have in EBI now. "Level 3 spelling" would use foreign characters in the native names of buildings, units etc. (e.g. "Αγορά (Market)") wherever possible.

    I would also like the Configuration to have an option to turn Year in History messages off, for when you've read them all already and don't want to waste time just closing them every four turns. Every new version of EBII would come with them turned on, of course, so that people could read any new ones.

    If it was possible to change the MII settings from the Configuration (e.g. Unit Size and default camera) that would be nice, too, as it would save some time, but I do not think that it is especially important.



    Getting patched up

    The patches section of the website is always empty, it seems - it would be nice if EBII fixes were uploaded there, for players who do not visit the forums much.



    Routing unit grammar

    This is just a small thing, but it would be nice if the message you get during a battle when one of your units routs could be changed from "Unit Routs" to "A unit routs", as it has always annoyed me that the original message can also mean "The routs of units".



    Cloaks and daggers

    EBI's campaign map models and unit cards are all very nice, but it still uses the Vanilla unit cards and campaign map models for Spies and Assassins. Please rectify the situation for EBII!



    Rebel stronghold

    Could the script ensure that the Eleutheroi Capital (assuming it still exists in MII - there is definitely a Rebel Capital in RTW, and consequently an Eleutheroi Capital in EBI) is set to Terhazza at the end of each season, so that the player never sees an 'Eleutheroi Capital', which wouldn't make sense for a faction that is essentially made up of a series of disparate political entities.



    Enable the command console

    It would be useful if EBII automatically enabled the MII command console (MedievalShell) when it was installed, for any new installations where it wasn't enabled. Because when I installed EB 1.1 over a clean 1.5 install, the CC didn't work.



    Localised desertification

    In EBI, every city or other structure (e.g. watchtowers) on the campaign map seems to sit on top of an area of sand confined to being just larger than the area of the city / tower / etc. Removing these sand patches and making the ground under a city / tower / etc. blend in with the surrounding landscape would help improve the campaign map's look, I feel.





    Any comments or feedback are appreciated. Thanks for reading!

    I Am Herenow
    Last edited by I Am Herenow; 05-10-2008 at 11:47. Reason: Rabblerousers, deserts and a few other changes

  2. #2
    Member Member Cartaphilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    Very good post!

    I agree with your suggestions about the dawn of time syndrome, and with the anti-blitzkrieg tactics too - but remind that it is still a game. We can't wait hundreds of turns to conquer a town, because the game would become unplayable.

    And I agree with all the rest.
    "Iustitia procurat pacem et iniuria bellum, humilia verba sunt nuntii pacis et superba, belli." (Ramon Llull)

  3. #3
    The Rabbit Nibbler Member Korlon's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    Very nice suggestions indeed! I would certainly like to be able to slow recruitment down a bit as well as most of the rest of the things you have said.
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  4. #4

    Default Re: Some suggestions

    Fantastic suggestions, I particularly agree with the naming scheme. It could be theoretically done with a batch script that would simply copy names from one folder to another in /data/text;

    Code:
    example:
    /data/level1
    /data/level2
    /data/level3
    /data/text
    
    copy ./data/level1 ./data/text \y
    As for the blitzkrieg, I somewhat disagree, because I end up spending several turns preparing an army for combat before attacking anyway, even with M2's speedy training system. I actually ensure that they are all properly equipped, the proper amount of units to ensure maximum flexibility, etc.

    Anyway, overall great suggestions and I agree

  5. #5

    Default Re: Some suggestions

    With regards to anti-Blitzkrieg tactics, I am certainly not proposing that we slow the game down ad absurdum, but simply that we limit the acceleration of the growth of empires that occurs in the game.

    For instance, if the player plays as the Romani, they could feasibly conquer every conquerable region on the map before the birth of Christ - outstripping the real Romans by centuries. However, if the real Romans could have conquered so much land so easily, do you not think that they would have done it? It just seems unrealistic.

  6. #6
    Not your friend Member General Appo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    I like most of your ideas, especially about the opening tour of ones lands.
    I hope at least some of your ideas can be implemented. Oh, and please lets not make this just an discussion about blitzkrieg, to many threads with many great ends up just discussing one and forgetting about the others.
    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.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Some suggestions

    I doubt it will be possible to realise such levels of spelling. For starters it would require us to maintain 3 different text files; something which is troublesome enough with only 1 for each 'topic' already. Another issue would be the limitted range of the various fonts the game uses; fonts typically limited to Western languages -- i.e. not even their Greek charset would be sufficient for covering the Greek names; let alone the Sanskrit/Celtic/Punic symbols.

    Still if we can manage to replace one of those fonts with some other, then yes perhaps it could be done for the quotes.
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  8. #8
    Member Member Cartaphilus's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    I like the idea about the "heretics".
    It would be cool that they increase the unrest and the rebel armies.
    "Iustitia procurat pacem et iniuria bellum, humilia verba sunt nuntii pacis et superba, belli." (Ramon Llull)

  9. #9
    Member Member Irishmafia2020's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    I must admit, making Terhazza the rebel capital seems like a no-brainer!

  10. #10
    Bibliophilic Member Atilius's Avatar
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    Default Re: Some suggestions

    After the first turn, we have NO control over where the eleutheroi faction places its capitol.
    The truth is the most valuable thing we have. Let us economize it. - Mark Twain



  11. #11

    Default Re: Some suggestions

    Alas! Ah well.

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