Saturday, August 27, 2016

Population and ships

There are two very important things we need to focus on, population and naval warfare. Taking any decision on these two things is hard and so I have to ask what my players think.

Let's talk about population first.
I have an interesting plan for how to handle population which will please those who want more pop while still keeping population to manageable numbers.

Here's my idea: flexible population. What this means is that there is not set pop limit, and instead pop depends on how players play. I already made Docks support 5 pop a while ago, and I thought I should also make Trading Posts support 5 population and have no set limit to pop.
What this means is that, depending on how players play, building Docks and taking over Trading Posts, their population will also increase.

For example: The normal max pop an European civ can reach would be 240, with all 20 Houses and 4 Town Centers. If the player builds 2 Docks, pop will be increased to 250. If he builds 2 Trading Posts, pop would be increased to 260 pop.

And so on. I will of course have a high max pop limit of maybe 300, to make sure scenarios don't make pop too crazy. And some players have also noticed that civs like the Spanish and Germans can get to ridiculous pop limits of 600 or 700 because of some cards. Those would have to be remade as well.

This whole system is similar to how Age of Mythology handles population with Settlements.
So, what do you guys think?

Now moving on to naval warfare.
I tried tackling his before and it didn't turn out too good, but I want to try again. Naval warfare should be a big part of AoE3, just like it is a big part of AoE2, but naval warfare has too many problems in AoE3.

The main problem is the lack of choice. Each ship has a small build limit and that's it. It can be increased via cards but it still limits the player and makes counter play almost impossible.

The best thing to do here would be to have a naval only population system, to have something like 20 naval pop and then be able to spend it like you want, 20 Caravels or 10 Frigates, for example.
But sadly that is not possible so we need to find something else.

There's another big problem with naval warfare in AoE3 which I tried to fix now. There is no counter system between ships, like in AoE2. So I simply made one, as best as I knew.

Here's what I did: we now have 3 ship classes: Light Warships, Heavy Warships and Siege Warships.
Light counters Heavy and Heavy counters Siege.

The ships that are part of this system are:
All Caravel like units - Light Warships
All Galleon and Frigate like units - Heavy Warships
Monitors - Siege Warships

I know this might be a bad set up but as I said, I did it like I thought fit and I need help to make it better.

What I also did to ships is make them cheaper. All ships are now cheaper to make them more appealing to build.

I also thought we could maybe try and remove limits from ships again and instead make them take pop... again. Something like: Fishing Boat 1 pop, Caravel 2 pop, Galleon 3 pop, Frigate 4 pop and Monitor 5 pop. I know it might sound too little but remember we must make ships viable.

I need all the help in the world with this problem, we need to find a way to actually make naval combat fun and worthwhile.

If you actually read all of this, you are awesome.
Thank you.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That was a great post, I enjoy long, explicit, reads like this one.

    I think your idea of having "flexible population" is cool and I get what you're saying. I'm not totally sure having the dock and trading posts increase population by 5, though, because then I feel that the barracks, for example, should also do that. There's another thing I'd like to add. I think the Native Civs should have slightly less base pop limit than the others, and civs like China and maybe India should have slightly more. As an example: Native Civs - Base Pop Lim 240, Most Civs - Base Pop Lim 250, China - Base Pop Lim 260. This, of course, is a topic that may need to be quickly studied (maybe China isn't the only one that deserves the base Pop Lim bonus, and/or perhaps there should be 240, 245, 250, 255, 260 Base Pop Limits; who knows). Having 600 or 700 Pop Lim isn't the way to go, that's too high. I think 300 is the best Population Limit, max.

    In regards to the Naval Warfare, I like what you did. AoE2 did lots of things right, and the Naval Warfare was one of them, especially with the small changes and corrections in the expansions. It would be a wise choice to take this approach, test, wait for comments, and then make the neccessary corrections. Fishing Boats should definitely take only 1 pop, and the others more, but I'm not sure about the right numbers. The bonuses, as I've said, are cool. Who knows, maybe the Native Civs, European Civs, and the Asian Civs could have different bonuses or something like that. The price reduction may be a good choice, too; haven't tested it yet. The main problem here, and this is something that has been commonly adressed before, is the AI and its naval warfare capabilities.

    One last thought: as you know, the best strategy is always to only advance and implement newer ideas when there are no corrections left to make in the older ones.

    1. So, the whole thing with 600 pop was a bug, in case it wasn't clear.
      Last night's update, which added the ship changes, also maxed the pop at 300. And I will lower this even more after I change the Spanish and German cards.

      Now about pop limits per civs, yes, the Chinese for example would be able to reach the most pop out of all civs with their houses (villages), BUT, let's say the Chinese player builds all his houses and Town Centers but ignores trading posts and water. If the enemy player, who is NOT Chinese, takes all trading posts and docks, then he would actually be able to match, maybe even surpass the Chinese player's pop.

      I think this is an interesting dynamic. With all the changes I make, I just want to keep the game fresh.

      As for ships, I need ideas, suggestions, opinions, anything! I feel like going crazy thinking about it.
      So making ships take pop is a good idea? What if a player makes like 10 Frigates? How is the enemy suppose to fight that?
      Should ships be nerfed altogether if they take pop?

  3. I like the flexible pop too - Barracks, Trading Posts are OK. I think we should have some limit to the pop. The Germans and Spanish are just too extreme. The game cannot handle so much pop, it's laggy even dough I have R9 280X, some orders do not happen, also settlers stop working on the mill/plantation. The limit should be IMO 250 with some variations (as mentioned above).

    I like the idea of removing the limits to build ships. I agree completly with your idea.

    1. I thought about making the barracks support 5 pop long ago but thought it was a bad idea.

      The thing is, both the Native Warhut and Asian Castle have build limits because they also have an attack.
      Europeans have no military training building with limits so I thought that if I make the Barracks support 5 pop then I can also put a limit on it (something like 10).

      Is it a bad idea?

  4. Good ideas in general, nothing to say about them, untill I see it in action.

  5. I like the population ideas.
    As for the naval side, I find the naval side of aoe3 not well planned.

    1. Then help me plan it better.

    2. Though I know this is a nitpick - but IMO making boat a little bit smaller would make it better...

  6. I like the idea of flexible population , personally I would like the ceiling on the last was 400 , so the population of villagers not affect the military, it's just an idea.
    the population by building : house 10 population , and other buildings of 5 , 3 and 2 ; so priority to housing construction would .
    I was watching the cards of all civilizations and those with larger populations are Spain, Germany and China, the Iroquois have dance that increased the population gives 25 seems underpowered , my idea would be to change the type dance to help financially with wood
    in terms of naval warfare , I like the idea that each boat has its ppoblacion , 4 for the larger , 3 and 2 for medium and 1 for fishing and small war Canos .
    that's my idea

    1. So, flexible population is a very interesting idea but it still needs to be limited somehow, maybe around 300. The game just simply can't take more population, it becomes too laggy.

      But I like the fact that people are interested in the idea so maybe I'll make more progress towards a prototype.

  7. About population, I like the idea.
    I propose some kind of upgrade for every single house.
    I mean: every house can be individually upgraded (not sure if possible...) with a tech which makes them support 1 more pop. Upgrading all 20 houses would grant a +20 population.

    About ships, I would really like a rock-paper-scissors system, but I would also like a deeper specialization for ships.
    I propose 4 categories:
    - Monitors (siege ship) are perfect to destroy buildings and the demolition ships (those Caravels on fire I can't remember the name...), but they are also weak against any attack.
    - Frigates (and other heavy ships) move slowly but are devastating against Galleons and land units but weak against Caravels and buildings.
    If they collide with another ship they cause collision damage (and take a little damage too)
    - Galleons (and other medium ships) have an average speed, can train units, have the highest transport capacity, resist building damage and are strong against Caravels.
    - Caravels (and other light ships) have a great LOS and speed, can gather treasures and train settlers, are weak against Galleons but are strong and resistant against Frigates and resist the land units attacks.

    Final idea: if you're going to improve the naval battle, I guess we may need more maps with bigger rivers, lakes and sea. Can you do something?

    1. Houses cannot be upgraded individually, sorry.

      So, having each ship be it's own unit type is not a viable solution for AoE3, even if it was for AoE2. Because in AoE3 you have the Chinese Fuchuan, for example, which is a combination of Galleon and Frigate, and the War Canoes as well, so that's why I put both the Galleon and Frigate in the same unit type, because it would be much more complicated to balance them otherwise.

      And also, since Frigates already have better base stats than the Galleon, I don't know if it's a good idea to give the Frigate a bonus against the Galleon.

      Galleons being able to carry more units, I agree and I might implement it. I already made Monitors able to carry less units so making Galleons able to carry more balances it out.

      What we could experiment with is maybe make some ships better versus buildings or something. Not sure what direction to take.

      As for maps, I might just go through all maps and simply make them bigger. And I mean all, land and water maps.
      What do you guys think about this?

    2. Also, what about removing ship limits and making them take pop? What do you think about that?

    3. "As for maps, I might just go through all maps and simply make them bigger. And I mean all, land and water maps."

      Thats a great plan!

      The ships taking pop seems feasible, methinks. Got my vote for both ideas.

    4. More ideas:
      - a single tech which increases all houses pop by 1
      - a card which can be sent 4 times, and each time it increases the pop cap by 5 but bring some negative effects (more population has a cost)
      - each flag you conquest adds +1

      So we're forced to just three types (where one is not really good at fighting)
      - Light: caravels, galleys, canoe, war canoe, Tlaloc canoe, war junk, fune, privateer
      - Heavy: galleons, fluyt, fuchuan, frigates, atakabune, tekkousen
      - Siege: monitors, ironclad
      Light counter heavy, heavy counter siege...

      First doubt is: how to counter light? The "siege" category is only really effective against land units/building, but not so effective against other ships (apart ironclad, but it's not a common ship). Heavy ships are strong against siege but weak against light... this means there's no counter for light ships, apart buildings.
      An idea would be adding another "siege" ship, a ship which is specifically strong against light ships.

      Also, among heavy, we could make 2 sub-caterories: frigates, ironclad, etc, with better firepower and health, while galleons, fluyt, atakabune, etc could have better rate of fire and building/siege resistances.

      Also, I would like if ships SLOOOOOWLY recorer HP (you know, when the battle is over the crew may close some holes in the hull...).

      Okay, about the other questions:
      - Bonus frigate -> galleons: not necessary IMHO. Frigates are already strong enough. Instead I propose to make them slower, in order to give an advantage to galleons and other weaker heavy ships.
      - Bonus ships -> building: I thinkg monitors attack bonus and galleons resistance against building are fine, and ships are already strong against land units, so I disagree with bosting "ship vs land bonus" further.
      - Bigger maps: agree if it could balance the land/water battles. Currently there are not many places for a serious naval battle, and most of the time we use land units.

      Ship limits:
      more ships require more docks, so what about calculating the ship limits for every dock you own (up to an absolute max)?
      1 dock allow you to build 5 fishing ships, 2.5 caravels, 1.5 galleons, 1 frigate, 0.5 monitors (round down, so you need two docks in order to build a monitor).
      If it's not possible, then... I don't have another idea right now, so I could vote for "fixed but higher limits".

    5. As stated by another user, removing ship limits means you could create tons of monitors and pulverize the enemies towns.

    6. There reason for why light ships have no counter is because I followed the ground counter system, where skirmishers have no counter. They used to have in the original AoE3 without expansions but expansions changed it.

      The reason skirmishers don't have counters anymore is because they already have low hp and are easy to take out by anything else than heavy infantry.

      That's what I thought for light ships, which are caravels. The caravel is already the weakest ship, so does it really need a counter?

      And also, the bonuses I added right now are pretty small for all ships, only 25% more damage for each unit they counter. This too can be tweaked if necessary.

      War canoes, I made them heavy warships so they can take out monitors easier.
      The Ironclad, well I actually think I didn't touch it yet.
      Should it be heavy or siege?

      As for recovering hp, docks actually do heal nearby damaged ships, though your idea is not bad. But it wouldn't work having unlimited ship limits, but rather would fit with the current system where they have limits.

      As for docks and limits, yes, I thought about having a system where the dock itself would increase the ship limits, having more docks would mean more ships. But it's actually impossible to make sadly.
      Dock limit and population can be tweaked though.

    7. As for the monitors problem, read the comment bellow.

  8. What happens if I make 48 monitor and shell my opponent with the 100 range attack(if there is 240 pop available, that is)

    1. Well, what is stopping you now from making 45 mortars and doing a similar thing right now?
      You can, but it wouldn't be viable. Or maybe it would, and that would be your enemy's mistake for allowing it.

      Yes, with mortars it's a different story because there's easier access to cavalry to counter them than there is for counters for monitors.

      It's all about choice, which is missing from naval warfare.
      But you are right, it would suck either way. That's what I want, opinions.

      And ideas. If we can't make it work then we don't do it.

  9. Hi Mandos, your work is awesome!
    I know this isn't the focus of this topic, but I would like you think about this:
    1) Include the "Extreme Fortifications MOD" on your work. The walls are great and different for each nation.
    2) Include new designs for enhanced forts, as happens for the towers (only about visual, there isn't motive to change the numbers/balance).
    3) Finally about the topic, keep on your idea about population with Trading Posts and 300 on max for the population, it's really a good idea.
    I don't like so much of navy warfare, so I won't opinate about this.
    Thanks for what you do for us!


  10. Mandos, sorry to be off topic, but the swedes still have the russian cards for me, despite the AI being able to access the new units. Is this a bug, a problem with my patcher or has it simply not been implemented yet?

    And, as an aside.. I know this sounds a little bit demanding but a page with detailed patch notes would rule and get rid of annoying questions like this ;)

    1. I second this. I have the problem refered in the 1st paragraph and agree with the second.

    2. The Swedish are not finished, and I postponed work on them until I finish Africa.

      Yes, keeping everything nice, tidy and update to date would be good, but keeping track of every little thing, managing the forum, ModDB page, Steam group, forum, and besides all of this the actual MODDING itself, I am sorry, but I am just one man doing all of this for free in a limited time.

      Do you know how much free time I have during the week? 3 hours every day. And in these 3 hours (besides, you know, eating, washing and all that normal stuff) I would have to do all of this plus playing some god damn actual games cuz I like playing games (socker, I know).

      So apologies if everything is not perfect.


    3. We understand :) We can't have it all, and that's okay, because the work you already do is great as it is, so keep doing your best man!

  11. Well, thats fine! Hmm.. And you cannot delegate because only you will know the changes xD Oh well..

    AFRICA??!?!? WOW looking forward..

    1. Yes! 6 new base maps + 2 large versions + 1 regicide map + 2 new African Unknown maps (land only and water only).

      Also, 1 new American map + tweaked Plymouth and Ozarks.

      And did I mention the new African animals and natives?

      Oh, and remade control flags system. And tweaked population limits.

      I've been working on this update for the past 2 weeks continuously and a little bit of appreciation is all I ask.

    2. Absolute dedication. Seeing guys like you work so passionately motivates us back. Keep it up man, good work.

  12. No no, of course! No, I wasn't being like that. Of course, I love your mod man, it's always fascinating to see what comes out of it, and to be honest it's something I look forward to.

    You certainly earned my appreciation in the first place haha!

  13. In the new update you said the deck limit was increased to 30 cards. I recall the expansions sets the absolute upper limit to 25 (even if you try to set the limit higher, it will still use 25), how did you break this limit?

    1. With this:

  14. I know I am too late to see this post, but I'm gonna comment anyway. How about making villager not using pop, instead they need only pop limit like thos native warrior.

    For example in discovery age, pop limit of settler is 20, and extra house add 4 more limit, so when reach imperial ge and 20 houses you can create a max of 100 villager.

    So with that applied, the max of 250 pop is only for army and ship, with that many room in pop, making ship using pop is not a problem i guess.

    For dutch and ottoman, they behave the same as you like it.

    1. With that, we also can have a bigger battle on land map, and big battle in land and sea in water map

    2. I thought about this but the people I proposed it to said it's too radical and as such a bad idea.

      I would have liked to make a Age5 tech which made villagers take no pop anymore but apparently, from a codding point of view, it's impossible.

      And no, it's never too late for my mod. Thanks for your help.

  15. Historically, warships were divided in 'Lines', regarding their battleworthiness.

    I suggest examining the hierarchies used in Sid Meier's Pirates! (the early 2000's one), which also aren't that accurate either, but better show the divisions.

    1. Ships-of-the-Line are the top vessel, with as many as 140 guns by 1800. They are of no relation to frigates and rarely feature in colonial affairs. If they do, then virtually anyone and anything other than another SotL (or an ironclad, perhaps) is going to be utterly destroyed. E.G. HMS Victory.

    2. Frigates are lighter, slimmer, and faster and were not really intended for major battles vs. Europeans (where the SotL would be used), but instead for escorting and patrolling. The early U.S. created a brand new class of frigate that was devastatingly powerful against other frigates of equal class. E.G. USS Constitution.

    3. Galleons are almost exclusively economic ship, but could be used for transport, or in many cases, outfit with guns for temporary military duty. They are slow and unweildy, the opposite of frigates or brigs.

    Ideally, this is what I see would be a solution. Unfortunately it would involve an unreasonable amount of work on your part, so it is just food for thought and not an actual request-

    1. Caravels should be very low firepower and should upgrade to Carrack/Nau (in the Colonial Age too), with improved HP, and slightly better firepower. The same model could be used.

    2. Carracks should then upgrade to Galleons with slower speed than present and higher HP with existing firepower. The Fluyt almost looks closer to an actual Galleon than the Galleon model does.

    3. The Galleon would be the highest ship in the 'Light Ship' tree, upgradeable in the Fortress Age. I wonder if the Tresure Galleon model from the scenarios could at all be salvaged into creating a 'Heavy Galleon' for the Industrial Age.

    The Galleon model looks not too far from an early Frigate-

    4. The frigate would be quite fast, and hard-hitting, unlike the current galleon or frigate. It's like a skirmisher, excellent vs lighter ships and quick enough to escape situations. It would be the first unit in the second family, which would evolve into a "Heavy Frigate" in Industrial, and finally, possibly, an Ironclad in the Imperial Age, as the Frigate, not the SotL, was the predecessor to modern warships. Unfortunately no model looks anything like a "Heavy" Frigate (e.g. USS Constitution).

    5. This could mean a swap of models- Fluyt -> Galleon, Galleon -> (early) Frigate.

    6. The Man-of-War (SotL) would thus be better off as an Industrial Age unit on a separate tree, with SotL, then Imperial SotL (or MoW). This ship would be slower than it is, with considerably greater HP and considerably greater firepower. It SHOULD necessitate a 2 or 3-to-1 ratio with standard Frigates to beat. Unfortunately neither model is close to the actual ships (e.g. Nelson's HMS Victory).

    7. Ironclads should have extremely high HP or armor/resistance, but damage equal to Frigates. It should be able to take on an Imperial SotL to about a draw, if not win. Historically, Ironclads whipped Frigates to a pulp without much more than a few dents.

    8. Monitors- Instead smaller vessels called Bomb Ketches were commonly used at first (e.g. like the galleon model w/ mortar). Bigger ships were used later. The Monitor could use extended range and some extra anti-ship damage. An "Imperial Monitor", might have two mortars on the front deck. The British even had Congreve rocket-equipped ships as early as 1806.