Sunday, August 9, 2015

AoE3 Old School Mod

Yeah, I know, the name is... I'm still working on that, if you have any good suggestions I'm listening.
I thought either Old School mod or Legacy mod.

Anyway, what is this about? Giving AoE3's graphics a cartoony art style of course!

I'll be honest with you, this idea didn't came out of the blue, I was inspired by the recent Toon Skyrim Mod (Toon AoE3 Mod?) which looks interesting and brought forward a very good point. Realistic graphics tend to get old fast, and in AoE3's case, well it's a game from 2004. A cartoony art style however, is timeless.
Again, not my words but I agree with them. I know how some people reacted to AoE Online's cartoony graphics and it wasn't very nice, so with that in mind I wanted to ask you guys first.




(I know you can see the lines where textures meet a bit, but I found out how to make them less visible after making these screenshots, so just ignore them...)

So what do you think? Do you like it? Does it have potential? Before I converted more textures I wanted to know if all my work is for nothing. I mean, I didn't even get to converting effects such as smoke and explosions, which could prove difficult to make, but I have faith it will work.

Please leave your opinion in the comments and tell me if I'm wasting my time or not. I mean, more than usual...
:)

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

ATTENTION, please!

Why do you guys make me repeat the same things over and over again? If you spend just 2 minutes looking around you can find the answers you're looking for.

But fine, I'll try to explain everything once again. I just hope someone (who needs help) will bother to actually read it.
A TL;DR version will be at the very end.

It is true that how I recommend people to install the mod has changed over time. It started with like almost daily new versions on AoE3 Heaven and now it's mostly the patcher's work.
Here's how it is now...

How do you install the mod?

You have a few options here.
First there's the old, familiar, mainstream installer. When new installers are released I recommend using them, but as time passes by and I use the patcher to release updates installers become obsolete.
Some files might be added, others might be removed, and if you install the mod with the installer and then use the patcher it can get a bit messy.

Second, the almighty patcher. The last installer I released was about 2 years ago, since then I've been using only the patcher to quickly and safely deliver updates. The main problem here is that some people don't understand that the version 5.4 patcher (from the version 5.4 installer) is outdated and doesn't work anymore.
And no matter how many times I repeat to them to get the updated patcher it seems it's never enough...

And finally, manual installation, either by using the manual installation files or by downloading the mod straight from the Github server, where the patcher connect to (the latest version will always be available there). This is the final, ultimate solution for people who can't get the patcher working, because they just have to press download on a link and "copy > paste" the mod into the game.
If they don't know how to do that then it's beyond my help.

How do you uninstall the mod?

Not by having a uninstall option and let me explain why. The same problem as I mentioned before, the differences between the installer and patcher, makes this kinda hard to impossible.
But first of all, having a uninstall option in the installer means the installer needs to be like twice as big, to also contain the original files. I always tried to keep files as small as possible so people can quickly download them, so that's that.

The other big problem is the patcher one, files added by the installer will be removed, but files added by the patcher which you ran after installing the mod (which can be new, different files), how can the uninstall program know how to remove those? Which would make the entire uninstallation process useless.

This is why the most recommended way of getting rid of the mod is to completely delete the game, yes, delete, not just uninstall, there will be remaining mod files from just uninstalling the game.

TL;DR

Install the mod using the patcher and if that doesn't work just download everything from the Github server and copy it inside the game's main directory.
To remove the mod simply delete the entire game.

(PS: remember that I didn't made the patcher so don't ask me how or why it doesn't work)

I guess this is a bad time to mention the installation video tutorial I made a few months ago as it seems it didn't help a lot either...

Ah, and remember... "If you have problems with the UI not displaying resources correctly go to "Options" and press the "Restore Defaults" button!"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

AoE2 HD Giveaway

The giveaway has ended and Steam user "Shin Tha Wan *SVK*" is the winner!
(he was the first to respond, you'd be amazed how hard is to find people online and give them free games...)

In other news, the Improvement Mod now has 18 custom maps, carefully selected from the map making community.
(proper credit has been given for each one of them in-game)
Also, the Italians will soon be added to the game!
(as Consulate allies :)

Thanks for playing my mod! Stay awesome.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

No Limits

As many of you know, AoE3 is not the most loved title of the franchise. Veteran players of AoE2 often say bad things about AoE3 and in a way it's understandable why. AoE3, like any good sequel, brought many new elements and features into play, features which turn away many AoE2 players for different reasons.
Features that make sense for AoE3's gameplay but still leave a bad taste in the mouths of veterans.

One of the most controversial feature is, of course, the Home City but that's just the start. Many also have problems with how limited some things are in the game, train and build limits to be more specific. And in some ways I agree, and since this is a mod where we like to experiment with stuff I thought to make some changes, which hopefully will freshen the gameplay up a bit.

Thus I have released an experimental update which touches upon some of the train and build limits:
- builder limits have been removed from all buildings except wonders and farm like buildings (you can now build a house with 20 villagers if you so desire)
- you get +1 to the Town Center limit every age, ending up with 5 max Town Centers for every civ in the Imperial Age (kinda like what the Portuguese had; they now also get a villager bonus)
- ship build limits have been removed, instead now ships cost population like artillery units (biggest change yet, please comment if you think they should cost more pop, or less)
- the Russian Blockhouse can now also train cavalry in blocks; to counter this, Russian villagers no longer train in blocks and Grenadiers have been added back to the Russian Foundry
- population max limit has been reverted back to 200, but wait...
- all villagers now take up 0 population (Fishing Boats too; Settler Wagon takes 1 pop) (this will allow players to focus all their population on military units, like the new infinite ships that now take up pop)
- the Poleaxeman was made into an Hungarian mercenary (kinda like a weaker and cheaper Ronin; comes with a full voice set, courtesy of AoE2 The Forgotten)
- added 11 new custom maps, select the Custom Maps option to play them (this is a bit older but just let everyone know; the maps were made by RF_Gandalf, Rookman64 and Neuron)
- ships have been revisited, movement speeds and turn rates (for Europeans) have been increased and obstructions (hitboxes) have been improved
- added 2 new Royal Decree techs: Slavery Abolition for Dutch (changes Settler cost to food) and Imperial Armory for Ottomans (artillery units take up less pop)

(I will update this list if I add more changes; if you don't like something please let me know)

Naval combat is not the best in AoE3 (most avoid it completely) and this is not the first time I try to make it more enjoyable. I don't really know what the exact results of this change will be, maybe worse, maybe better, but hopefully it was a good choice.
This is just the start of more changes I plan to make with the goal of, well, giving more power to the players, more choices and more strategies.

I've also made a poll so everyone can let me know if they like the new changes or not. Also, regarding the ship changes especially, please comment and let me know how it goes. I know some water maps are not that big and don't actually have that much water on them and ship models are very big in AoE3 so... yeah. I'm thinking, to make this work even better we need a pop limit lower than 300. More on this later.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Less is more

I have some explaining to do... Recently I made some changes which go against one of the core ideas behind my mod, but before you burn be on a stake and throw the mod into the lions pit, let me explain why.

"This mod started out as a 'Buildings Mod', with the objective to add more nice and useful buildings to the game"
That was the plan, yes, but as I added more and more stuff I started to run thin on things building have and do, their purpose became somewhat blurred. The problem is that with so many buildings, many of them were kinda empty, although they looked nice and all. And so because of this, I have removed some of them even though it kills me since I worked so hard on their textures.

The buildings that got removed are the University/Academy, Capitol, Council's Hut and High Temple (Lookouts and Asian Towers might also go). Their techs were moved to the Town Center, Church and Market, each accordingly to what they do. You might think it was a bad decision but just play and you'll see, everything is more accessible, more streamlined. I believe this decision was for the best and I wanted to do it for a long time.
Everything started back when I combined the House with the Livestock Pen for Europeans, I just want buildings to have multiple purposes if possible. Because in an intense, competitive game you sometimes don't have time to build everything and use everything the game has to offer, but if they are more accessible then things change.

And I am not the only one who believes this, the developers also did. When AoE3 came out it had all kind of buildings, each with a fixed purpose, but then the expansions reduced them. Warchiefs had combined Mills with Livestock Pens, and Barracks with Outposts. Asian Dynasties went even further and combined Artillery Foundries with Outposts, Mills with Plantations, Houses with Livestock Pens, Saloons with Churches, and even Barracks with Stables.
So you see, this is better for everyone and I hope that you agree. If not, please make sure to tell me what you think in the comments.

Now about update 5.5... Yes, it's coming and it will finally bring the new patcher into an installer so people won't have problems updating the mod anymore.
That's all folks, thank you and have fun!