Saturday, June 4, 2016

Game Balance

The thing is, there's never been a proper discussion about balance in the mod. Sure, some people left balance related messages here and there, I also went and took balance ideas from other mods, the Fan Patch, the ESOC patch, that huge balancing thread on the Heaven forum, because let's be honest, you would be mad to ignore them. But some of those ideas didn't fit with my mod, for example I still ended up balancing the Dutch how I thought fit for the mod.

But is my way really better? This is what we need to discuss. I have a friend who helps me out with balancing but he has many ideas and, the truth is that an entire game cannot be balanced by just one man, as different people have different opinions about what is fair and balanced and what is not.

So, in the hope that people will be interested in helping out, I made a special thread on the mod's forum. Please go there and leave your opinion if you want the mod to be as balanced as possible.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Italian names and Patcher state

Ok, let's get one thing out of the way, I am not here to give you people viruses or any other kind of malware, the mod has been released in 2009 and the patcher in 2013, and since then no one has reported any kind of information theft or god knows what...

What I'm trying to say is that, although most antiviruses now find the old patcher as malware, it's nothing more than a false positive and you have nothing to worry about. I think it happens because of the way the patcher works, a casual downloader that can download anything in your PC and has access to your windows registry, I can understand why it looks scary for antiviruses, especially if someone made a virus that actually works like that.

But this has nothing to do with the patcher. And I said "the old patcher" because Shyke has now remade the patcher and it doesn't show up as malware anymore (I don't know how long this will last though).
It now also automatically sets the mod's exe to run in Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode (if you still have problems with settings not saving make sure this is actually the case).


Now let's get down to the real business then. Italians, I just added their voices and finished their tech tree, which means that only their homecity is left. 

But there's something else left as well, names. The Improvement Mod adds random, most of the time historically accurate, names for Town Centers, Churches and Generals (and don't forget Explorers) (and Fort names) (oh, and ships... damn). 
Italians needs such names as well. And although I could find them by myself, I thought I could involve you guys. 

So, are you Italian? Do you want your name, or maybe your town's name in the mod? 
Then look no further than the comments section of this post! 
Please try to keep the names as historically friendly as possible, especially for generals (I'd like names of real, Italian generals from the colonial and Napoleonic eras please). 

I could always do it by myself if no one is interested... Just saying.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Improvement Mod 6 is out for the Patcher

This is still NOT the full, official version 6 release, this is another PROTOTYPE!

The mod's patcher has now been updated to support the new installation system of version 6 and because of that, for easier testing of the prototype, I will release Imp Mod 6 through the patcher as well. For further testing. TESTING!

Because yes, we have a lot more to test now. As you might know, there's been a huge breakthrough in the AoE3 modding community in the past week, a breakthrough which allows modders to finally and completely add new civilizations into the game!
Yup, we can now add an infinite(ish) number of new civs completed with AIs and ESO support.

And because of this, I went back and revived my American civ from the dead. Went through it, updated everything, fixed most bugs and I am now releasing it in the prototype as well.
You can now create a new American homecity just like you create for all other civs, same for ESO.

So do a clean reinstall of the game, get the patcher, download everything and start playing! I mean testing. Please report all the bugs that you find.

Also, I need to stress this again, people who have the old version of the mod, if you plan to run the patcher again from this point onward, please reinstall your games first or else it will break everything.

When you reinstall the game and install the mod, make sure you run the original game (Asian Dynasties) at least once so you enter your cd key and all that. Only AFTER that you can run the mod.

That's all. Have fun.

Installation (on a fresh game)
- copy the 'AoE3ImpModPatcher' to your AoE3 directory, by default:
/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age Of Empires III/
- for the Steam version, use this path (always inside the bin folder!):
/Steam/steamapps/common/Age of Empires 3/bin/
- run the patcher as administrator and make sure it's not blocked by firewalls

Also make sure you run the original game first (to enter the cdkey and all that) and THEN run the mod's exe (this applies for both Steam and non Steam versions)!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Improvement Mod 6 Prototype

This is NOT the full, official version 6 release, this is a PROTOTYPE!

Alright, so, you're probably asking yourself "WTF IS THIS?". Well let me explain, this is the next logical step in the mod's development, and is what other big AoE3 mods have already done.

I'm talking about making the mod not affect the original games by having a different executable and different file paths. What this will end up doing is allowing you to play the modded game while also being able to go back and play the unmodded game at the same time, from the same installation.

It will also render the past three blog posts useless... Because it fixes all of those problems.

With Improvement Mod 6 you will be able to play AoE3, TWC and TAD without problems and without errors on ESO with people who don't have mods, while also being able to play the mod separately and it will still work on ESO as well, and you will have a uninstall option (FINALLY).

As you can tell by the title, this is a prototype, but it's not the first one. I already had people testing it and so far everything works perfectly.
All of this is more like a warning, because as soon as this will hit the patcher's server, it will break the game for everyone who had the old version.

To install Improvement Mod 6 and beyond you will need a clean reinstall of your game!
And after you install everything, including the mod, you will need to run the new exe, "age3m", in order to play the mod. To play the original games just start their own exes.

And that's all! I will give some time for this news to sink in for as many people as possible, because as soon as the new system hits the patcher, there's bound to be people who will have broken games without knowing why and blame me...

If you find any problems in the prototype be sure to let me know.
Thanks for playing!


Installation (on a fresh game)
- copy everything from inside the 'imp_mod_6_prototype' folder to your AoE3 directory, by default:
/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age Of Empires III/
- if you plan on installing the mod over the Steam version, use this path (always inside the bin folder!):
/Steam/steamapps/common/Age of Empires 3/bin/

Make sure you run the original game first (to enter the cdkey and all that) and THEN run the mod's exe (this applies for both Steam and non Steam versions)!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

AoE3 and TWC are fixed!

After 6 years, Age of Empires 3 vanilla and The WarChiefs expansion finally work once again with the Improvement Mod.

BUT, they do have problems. As I mentioned in the post bellow, the mod modifies files used by all three games and as such, it will force these files upon the older games as well.
This was the reason it broke the older games in the first place, but I didn't knew which files specifically did it.

Attention has been brought to me on this issue again recently and so I finally managed to fix it.
The bugs you will encounter will most likely be sound and UI bugs (do not use the minimized UI in AoE3 and TWC, you have been warned) and yes, I know it's bad that they are bugged but at least they work now.

Which I'm not sure if it's such a good thing either, at least previously it forced players to play Asian Dynasties, which is the proper way to play and the game for which this mod was designed.
Now I fear I'll get people telling me they've installed the mod and it bugged their game, because they will not be playing Asian Dynasties...

Oh gods, I can even see it... If this will happen a lot I swear I will break it again.

By running the patcher you will get all of them working, if it doesn't happen then do a clean reinstall of everything.

Outdated, check THIS!