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.

67 comments:

  1. Hi,
    Its nice to see you are still working on this awesome mod for awesome game.
    I am enjoying the latest version and looking forward to future updates.
    What i would like to see in game:
    - New nations (dont know if it is possible, but Italy and Africa mod did it quite well - apart from tons of ballance issues and bugs)
    - Better ballanced nations (especially iroquois are weak and building strong army cost wood which is limited - even adding some wood farm would be awesome) ... btw. thanks for adding paladins to Portugeese - they were always too difficult to play for me :-)
    - Removing deadly-trade vehicles feature. I understand its more realistic now, but when AI is sending its army under the train, its not funny.
    - fixing bugs (like in US homecity you have export and fame but only fame is among resources you see - the only bug i saw after months of playing - well done)
    - It would be nice to have up to 40 deck card slots unlocked (now you can pick 20 card + 1 each 10 levels up to 25 cards)
    - Fame is awesome feature, it would be great to have more buildings than fort to use it unlimitedly - maybe saloon/command post
    - Pop limit is fine ... i would keep it as it is (especially if you need to upgrade ships - i am not sure if this is a good idea. AI will buy tons of ships, no army and battle is won + not every map has a water surface suitable for naval battles)
    Well, thats all from me. Thanks for doing such a great job :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "I am enjoying the latest version"
      "Removing deadly-trade vehicles feature"
      No, you're not enjoying the latest version because that feature was removed many months ago.
      To play the latest version please use the mod's patcher to update.
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/7360e1kdq6yw3vl/AoE3ImpModPatcher.exe

      I have made fame more useful and moved fame armies to the Command Post, while also adding Generals and other fame related stuff.

      Entirely new civs, not an easy thing to do by yourself. Especially if you want the civ to be unique and look professionally made, without bugs, with a full voice set, unique tech tree, units, cards, home city... The list goes on.
      The US civ from my mod for example, I couldn't make it as perfect as I wanted to so I kinda stopped working on it.

      Anyway, thanks for playing and thanks for your feedback. I hope you'll update soon!

      Delete
    2. Yup, i was playing 5.4. because i havent found new version. Just yesterday i found patcher and i dont fully know actual version.
      From what i have seen so far: Many thanks for 2000 fame age upgrade from homecity :-)
      There are few things in your post i dont fully agree with:
      - US nation is awesome as it is now - unique troops, homecity etc.
      - About new civs - i understand complications you might encounter, but i (and maybe other players) prefer things to be enjoyable, not professionaly made (doesnt mean i like bugs). There could be some nations (like Italians) with troops currently present in game (Elmeti).
      Not every of original nation is unique. For example Britain does have only one unique unit - Rockets.
      But as i see from your mod, you prefer quality which is awesome too :-)

      Speaking about design - where did you get Fencibles,azaps (and other new units) ? I havent seen them in original version of the game. And still, they look so profesional :-)

      Delete
    3. The Azap, Fencible and Cavalaria were taken from other mods early on when my mod started.
      I know it was a mistake and I managed to work it out with the owners from the mods I took them.
      I am bad at photoshoping, units mainly, buildings however as you probably saw in my mod, I did some awesome building skins.

      Delete
  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. LoL, I actually worked on them yesterday and made all of them smaller, still kept the obstruction realistic though.
      The problem is the formation they use, it's a default formation given by the game and I can't change it, it makes them stay too far from each other.

      Delete
  3. The free TC by age up bonus was limited to a single civ for a good reason. If you give this bonus to everyone it will increase the gap and therefore the imbalance between those who already aged up and those did not yet.

    I hate to say, but this game really needs build limits for the sake of balance and performance. Pop for ship opens the door way too far for exploits and performance drops. You could now spend all your 200 pop on ships, but the problem is neither the maps nor the ships themselves were designed for large scale naval combat. It starts with obstruction radius, model size and ends their bad pathfinding.

    As for Russian vills, be sure you removed their train point penalty and food cost reduction in their Age0.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "As for Russian vills, be sure you removed their train point penalty and food cost reduction in their Age0."
      I did, well train time at least. Forgot about cost.

      You have good points and yes, balance and lag are the main reasons for all these limits. Explaining this to every single player that wants them removed, however, now that's another story entirely.
      But at the same time, this is a mod where we try many new things. As stated in the blog post, AoE3 has too many limits compared to AoE2, and yes, many of them well deserved. But to give you an example, do we really need a limit on builders? The original game had a limit of 4 builders on military buildings... I understand how this would limit someone from building a secret forward base somewhere or maybe an outpost near an enemy gold mine, to make it somehow more balanced, but this limits the gameplay so much by not allowing more strategies, don't you think?

      Again as stated in the blog post, AoE3 has less supporters than AoE2, we all know that. Ask any AoE2 veteran what's the thing they dislike the most in AoE3 and they will probably say limits on stuff and the home city feature.
      I'm not gonna remove every single limit in the game or the home city, I'm not that crazy, I just wanna try a different approach, plus I have backups standing by in case of "emergency".

      "If you give this bonus to everyone it will increase the gap and therefore the imbalance between those who already aged up and those did not yet."
      Alright, but here's another point of view. Usually (other games and in AoE2), if you get left behind in upgrades you can at least try to outnumber the enemy. For naval warfare in AoE3 however, that's kinda impossible.

      I know, we don't have many options, this is why we experiment and see what happens. If people hate it so much I'll roll it back. I just hoped to freshen the game up a bit.

      Delete
    2. Because of your comment I went back to see what I can do for ships and man oh man was it worth it! I found a way to fix their obstruction problems and also tweaked their speed and turn rate.
      Basically, I believe naval warfare is now as good as it can possibly be.
      I hope you'll try it and tell me what you think.

      Delete
    3. Oh, I didn't object to the parts I didn't mention. NE has no builder limits either (since NE 2.01 already or earlier even). Builder limits were indeed originally introduced by ES to avoid villager armies errecting fully-fleshed bases out of nothing.

      #Build Limits
      I'd agree on build limits not being 'cool', which is why I said "I hate to say" that they are sadly necessary. Explaining why they are necessary is a bit complicated and complex. AoE3 is a faster game than AoE2, the maps are smaller and bad luck and tough counters hit you harder than before. It's easier to spam units and max out their stats with techs and HC boosters. To that adds a completely different fundament of interplay of unit/building variables (hp, dmg, costs, train points, etc.).

      Cannons are a good example. ES decided to give them high pop due to their power. Pop then again is something that the people didn't like either. Basically you can say that, if a unit has high pop and/or a build limit, that the unit is close to being imbalanced since standard costs like resources and train time were not sufficient enough to balance the unit. You can't make units train too long, cost too much or people won't build them (which is what you want to avoid as a game designer). Therefore higher pop count and build limits were introduced to AoE3, because it had units that totally went beyond the scope of well-balanced standard units.

      #Naval Combat
      Not really. If you ever watched high-level gameplays with AoE2 naval combat, you'll see it's always about getting the higher galley count and microing out the opponent armada, which always ends with a gg. That is, because galleys are the best-to-go warship in AoE2. Multiplayer is all about getting the better stuff quicker and in greater numbers than the other ones (provided you know how to use them ofc). The naval combat in AoE3 is not exciting, but less dominant and plain as in AoE2 multiplayer. The best usage of navies in AoE3 is to have a big armada guarding your monitors which destroy the sensible infrastructure of the enemy base. Talking about monitors being a really useful warship for the game, if you remember the impact of the equally used war galleons in AoE2, you've got another good reason for build limits.
      Land artillery can beat warships easily, AoE3 maps are already small and the water areas are even so much more more, that the map control value of ships tends towards 0. I don't see how pop for ships will result in anything else than a hard lag party.

      #Free TCs
      It always gets more unfair the more you reward the quicker player too much. A second TC - which is also free (!) - doubles the villager production and we all know eco beats everything. It's as unbalanced as giving the better players better, more powerful HC cards and make it even harder for less experienced player to catch up. It's a structural balance fail.

      Delete
    4. *and the water areas are even so much more narrow

      Delete
    5. #Free TCs
      Whoa whoa whoa, who said it's free? Only Portuguese get free covered wagons per age, others only get +1 TC limit per age, no free stuff.
      Unless you meant the limit increase is free...?
      I thought, well here's the thing, I've been watching a lot (A LOT) of pro AoE2 games lately and, that's from where some of these ideas are coming.
      And although there's a very strict meta there which few players rarely stray from, there's much more potential for different strategies, I believe. Well, not only me since AoE3 has the fan base it has.

      I thought, giving everyone more TCs would open up more possibilities, somehow... I dunno man, I just work here. Doing all I can to keep it interesting.

      #Naval Combat
      I see no viable solution here except to maybe roll back and add limits again.
      I could try and make water maps bigger but then again lag and stuff. Making them unlimited but costing pop is not good. I can't make the models smaller, obviously... I made them slower until recently so that... I even forgot why, but that didn't work either...
      Nope, out of ideas. Any suggestion or I just roll back?

      #Build Limits
      I agree. Although, again, somehow limits possibilities, it's required for the "greater good"... Anyhow, except for ship limits I didn't remove any other limit, if anything I could increase them but not remove.

      Now, about villagers costing 0 pop... This is a hard one. Yes, a core idea behind the game, you need pop to support your economy and military. But in AoE3... you have build limits on villagers. The only reason I think they even added this limit in the first place was because of the Dutch, and now we also have the Japanese.
      Now, I could remove the limit and maybe somehow tweak the villager gather rates to find a balance, though I don't think many people will agree with that.
      So I thought, why not make villagers take 0 pop. Since they have a build limit I can make them take 0 pop and revert the max pop limit to 200.
      Which probably ends up being the same but not quite. I've had players telling me that in a treaty match, once the treaty has ended they would delete all their villagers and go full military. Now, I would gladly make a tech or a card that makes villagers take 0 pop, but that's impossible sadly.
      So, only option left, make them take 0 from the start and see what happens...

      Delete
    6. #Free TCs
      Ah sorry! I misread then, didn't see it was just about the limits. Well surely this will result in stronger earlier ecos and demand more multi-tasking skills from every type of player. This ofc is not as imba as a free TC wagon, but you sure will make the game tougher (harder/more complex) with this. Personally I already found it quite annoying to multi-manage all TCs in AoE2 plus military plus exploration.

      #Naval Combat
      I'd say either roll back completely or just increase the Build Limits. Smaller models are possible I think, you gotta ask MisterSCP about bone scaling.

      #Build Limits
      It sure strictly limits the freedom to do anything you want in the game. Then again this is a very ideologic, romantic view of absolute freedom being a positive thing. The negative version of it we call anarchy - and you don't want anarchy in your game, because it's your job to ensure fun and joy.

      0 pop coupled with BL has the effect that every player can field more of these units and at the same time it means 200pop for military only due to a plus of ~100. So you double the army size with this and add 99 pop-free objects on top of that, without counting pop-free units from natives, techs or HC. Even though I personally wouldn't do this myself (due to map sizes and performance), I agree with making Settler Wagons cost 1 pop in this model.

      Build limits were added for villagers to a) force players build military and b) avoid players going eco only in team games.

      Delete
  4. just some humble opinion, how about just eliminate the "housing system" at all, and control the pop using a research, like ottoman's villager limit control, but the research placed in the tc, somehow i remember this was implemented in RON, research the military from the library to limit the pop. if its about the livestock, just let it fattening naturally (or increases its gain speed) train it from mill or plantation, or maybe make the mill and plantation to give an aura boost for livestock gain, just like hospital (on hitpoint) or mughal's karnimata (on gathering speed)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your idea is actually not that abstract though a bit radical. I'll keep it in mind, who knows, maybe we'll get there.

      Delete
    2. or, just merge the pop control trough the age advances.. take it easy, one step at a time, i am really enjoying this mod

      Delete
  5. Few bugs i encountered so far:
    - Portugals cannot train Lancers from their Forts
    - When playing as US, when choosing miners in last age upgrade, US fame units in saloon dissapear (propably they are pushed down in another line which cannot be seen)
    - Cheaper markets upgrade from homecity cause markets cost 0.75 units of wood (hope its not intentional)
    - Russian bulk-cavalry are trained too fast (immidiately when buying train speed upgrage from HC).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Those are some weird bugs, especially since Portuguese don't have Lancers... Did you mean the Spanish Lancers or the Portuguese Cavalaria?

      I'll look into the US bug, probably easy to fix.

      The advanced market card is suppose to make the market cheaper. I don't understand what's the problem so I'll check myself.

      Yes, I know they train kinda fast now, it's... it's a bit more complicated. All Russian units which train in blocks have their stats lowered along with the price and high train speed. When I made cavalry train in blocks, these changes were actually not required since Russian cavalry is already cheaper and weaker.
      But I did make them train slightly faster so yeah. I'll remove the buff.

      Delete
    2. Ok, so you were right.
      The Spanish Lancer didn't appear in the fort for some reason. And the market stuff, that's suppose to be a percentage and it also should be 0.50, which means it will make the market 50% cheaper.

      Delete
  6. map of amazon, civilizations do not carry to the other side, units

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  7. in version 5.4, civilizations built walls, in the current (of today), are no longer building, and saw not talking about this change on somewhere

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, the AI is retarded, nothing new here... It's a game from 2004, it's not gonna have an amazing AI, even after so many modifications.
      I removed the AI's ability to build walls because they didn't build them well and it was just a waste of wood.

      Delete
    2. This is true, the walls are with holes, or on top of other allied ... But "The Improvement Mod" is certainly an excellent addition to the game, would recommend to everyone who has the game to install it.

      Delete
  8. I think it is totally unfair that you can bock shipments from your enemy and spy on them for free.
    The AI also don't build walls, I liked when they did, it was just more fun that way.

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    1. I also noticed on some maps you don't have your explorer. You have to pay to get him from the TC. Is it supposed to do that?

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    2. Yeah, sometimes its free but sometimes its not, at least it does that with me. I don't know if anyone else has this or not.

      Delete
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  10. /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)

    - Where I can see these options? Can not find them. Sorry my english is bad xDU.

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    1. Its in the church (i am not sure wether it needs church improvement from homecity or not)

      Delete
    2. Get the Royal Decree card for the Ottomans and you get the tech in the Church.
      For the Dutch however, I made it into a card now and it will be available next patcher update.

      Delete
    3. Unique techs trough home city sound like a good way how to improve diversity among civs.
      Anyway, i would like to report something i am not sure if it is bug, or mean of ballancing:
      Recently, almost all civs had 100 settler limit (+20 trough imigrants ugrade). Now, i found a huge difference of that limit among civs (75 in Japan and 120 in Portugals) ...I have not tested all civs, but i am not sure about how this could affect game equilibrium.

      Delete
    4. Yes and no. Immigrants used to give more villager limit but then I made villagers take 0 pop so I removed it.
      Portuguese however now have extra villagers as a bonus.

      Delete
  11. There was a tech in the Germans Civilization granting Mercenaries from Home City for free, the tech is now changed to Mercenaries for a lesser price. However even after using the tech the mercenaries from the home city continue to come at the same price.
    However it wld be better if u revert it to the earlier tech.,.,ie mercenaries from Home city for free.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh ok, I was thinking of reverting that tech but wasn't sure. Though it didn't made them free, just very cheap.

      Delete
    2. Oh no you're right it made them free. Hm, now I'm thinking it's a little too op?

      Delete
  12. When playing as Chineese: Buying russian (didnt try others) units from consulate spawns them instantly. No train time for them (i guess its a bug).

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  13. I was playing in Japan and I must say I loved the changes made! But I have only one complaint; and that can defeat it only using heavy guns and infantry. Maybe they could change the Yumi archers to have more resistance and less attack. (x2 against heavy infantry), would not hurt to take a look. Indeed the letter Atonement (train shinobi) not working.

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    Replies
    1. Not working again? I fucking hate shinobies, I tried to make something unique with them but now they are all over the place.
      I'll look into it.

      Delete
  14. I like some of the improvements allowed. My biggest request to be allow one to toggle speed. Things go to fast late game. If that's not possible, could we slow military ROF and movement down? And make villlagers/factories gather slower?

    How do I make villagers count as population again? (I see why you don't like it)

    How do I get the houses to actually improve fattening. I don't see it working in my games.

    Finally, can we get some decent random maps like Green Arabia or Land Nomad for AOE2? The unknown map is very poorly laid out and has few treasures resources etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ok so, first off, when you start a game you can choose the speed of the game from the beginning. You can't change it mid game, that's silly.

      Second, I already made villagers cost population again, please update your mod.

      And third, yes I know, the european house / livestock thing is a problem and it will be fixed, I just needed time to think of a good fix and implement it.

      As for maps, well you can find extra if you check the Custom Maps option when you create a game, maybe they fit what you want.

      Delete
  15. There is no update the wall to fort-wall. Did u remove it or is my installing wrong ? thank you for great this mod :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, it was removed for several reasons like visual placement problems, too much hp, unbalanced for natives.
      I know it was awesome looking but sometimes you must go with what's better for gameplay and recently I focused a lot on that.

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    2. Yeah you are right unbalanced for natives. Well for US, why did u removed consulate? its about something like unbalancing thing or another reason :)

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    3. I removed the Consulate because the American interface can't display the Export resource, because it uses the european interface which has Fame.

      So instead I gave them european armies in the Command Post which can be purchased with Fame.

      Delete
  16. In todays patch it seems you reverted the vilager population back to 1.
    Its fine but you could post here the changes of each patch for us to be prepared :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. If you set the villager population back to 1, why you didn't set the max pop back to 300?

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Population is now 222. Do not ask why. I do not know. I find it awesome.
      300 was too much, too much for lag, too much for houses to handle and so on.

      Delete
    2. Oh si, e placut sa vad romani interesati in modul meu.
      :)

      Delete
  18. wonderful patch, thanks for your efforts. got 2 questions.

    1- why can't ai repair its buildings?
    2- villager pop 0 was a good idea, why did you bring it back to 1 and keep the pop limit at 200?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The AI never could repair it's buildings. And probably never will be able, it's beyond the AI as far as I know.

      The pop limit... it's complicated, but now the limit is 222... Because yes.
      :D

      Delete
  19. Hi Mandos,
    The Italian Allies for the Indian Civilization through the Consulate is one revolutionary update. Looking forward to more such new Allies. It would be highly appreciated if u change the shipments of the other Allies too to make it even more interesting (Like the British ship Highlanders, etc)

    Regards

    Paddy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Indeed, that's what I want to do. I want each Asian civ to have a unique set of Consulate allies (although I keep adding allies no old ally is being removed, because all Asian civs have/had repeating allies), and so for each Asian civ the last Consulate ally will have a unique unit rooster and setup.

      For Japanese it's Americans, for Indians it's Italians and for Chinese it will be Indians.
      Why Indians for Chinese? Simple, I want each of these new allies to have a unique set of units, Italians had mercenaries for example and I want the Indian allies to have elephants. It's the most unique thing I could think of.

      Indian allies for Chinese will be released soon.

      Delete
  20. I' m really not a fan of the unlimited ships thing...
    I kinda liked how ships were in the original game.
    But nevertheless avery other change is more than good :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The unlimited ships thing has been reverted. Please update your mod.

      https://www.dropbox.com/s/7360e1kdq6yw3vl/AoE3ImpModPatcher.exe

      Delete
  21. Hi. I just want to ask you something that if it is possible create new countries like campaign countries like Malta ?

    Thanks for this amazing mod :) :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is, but they cannot be properly integrated into the game without extensive programming on the game's executable, which right now is impossible and illegal to do. Not sure on the illegal part though but still, not an easy task.

      Delete
    2. Ok. That's just an idea. You did US great so I just wonder if you will create another country. Thank you for answer :)

      Delete
  22. I can't seems to update right now... the update fails and the new patcher transforms into exe_bk rendering it unusable even if I rename it...

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    1. It says "Error Grabbing Master Server Data"...

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    2. Patcher doesn't work > manually update:
      https://github.com/mandosrex/AoE3ImpMod_Base

      Delete
  23. could you bring back sowar and remove hussar for the ottomans? :D

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  24. Do I have to get the Improvement Mod to get this one? I would rather just have this as a standalone.

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    Replies
    1. Huh? Get what as a standalone? These changes? They were just an experiment and after it ended, some changes were kept permanently and others were reverted.

      Delete