One feature that players haven’t gotten to really see yet because they’re mainly applicable in tactical battles only are special abilities.
Special abilities could be likened (and are actually implemented) much like a spell.
For instance, a spider might have an ability where it can poison a unit. A ghoul might be able to send a unit into panic for a turn.
The way it works is that in tactical battles, you will want to click on the various opponents to see what special abilities they have.
The good news for beginners is that early monsters have none. They just have tooth and fang. But as they get more lethal, they start to have increasingly powerful abilities.
For modders, the above screenshot shows how they work. Most of it is self explanatory but let me explain the others:
- Range determines how far away the target has to be be used on them.
- Spell Level is how advanced the caster’s faction must be in arcane knowledge. For monsters, this works out to the monster spawn level. This way, we can keep bringing in spiders wargs or whatever and allow them to get nastier over time.
- The Spell Class is important. The AI isn’t hard coded on what spells to use. Instead, it will look at whether a spell is offensive or Defensive and whether the target is itself, friends, or EnemyUnits.
- The GameModifier is something modders will become very familiar with because it’s our universal system for changing something in the game.
The whole thing will need to be surrounded by <Spells> </Spells>
So you’d save this in say “MySwellSpell.xml” and put it in my documents\my games\elemental\units
Then you’d make a spell book.
And save this as say MySwellSpellBook.xml. You could also put this all together in one file too but I like to keep them separate. Then put this into your \my documents\my games\elemental\units directory also.
Now, next time you load the game those spells are in there.
If you want to be really tricky, you can even go to your \my documents\my games\elemental\units directory and open up one of your created sovereigns in there and give him the spell book.
Of course, it won’t do much good until tactical battles.
If you want it to be a strategic spell (one you can cast on the main map you’d need to add that tag:
This is the XML for the summon familiar.
You could go and take this spell and make your own spell book put it in your my documents\my games\elemental\units directory, add it to your custom sovereign’s xml and in theory be able to summon some new spells.
Here’s some other units you can try it with for fun:
(replace UnitCall’s entry with one of the below)
Note that I haven’t tried this with the public beta build that streams a lot of its content but it should work. If not, you still have gotten some hands on practice for modding.
So how will you share these?
In the modding betas, you will get access to a beta version of Impulse::Reactor that will let you upload and download mods. At first, these mods will be specific to Elemental (maps, units, spells, items, etc.). But eventually, total conversion mods will be supported too (we just need to come up with a package format for that to give to the Impulse team.
You won’t have to monkey around with anything to get this stuff to work because it just goes into your my documents\my games\elemental directory which is read in. The names of the files are irrelevant. It only cares about the XML tags.
For anyone who’s interested in modding, be sure to show them this. I am hoping users are starting to see just how different an animal Elemental is and why Stardock is able to make so many changes to the same so quickly and easily. 90% of our work was on making this kind of thing possible so easily.