Elemental Modding: Part 2 – New Factions

By on August 2, 2010 9:18:54 PM from JoeUser Forums JoeUser Forums

Frogboy

Join Date 03/2001
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During the early betas of Elemental, we let users creation their own factions during the game setup. But over time, we kept getting more and more good ideas on how to make this more sophisticated that it became impractical to foist such a complex system onto the player (the UI would just get crazy).

Moreover, having to UI drive faction creation was resulting in factions that were more or less the same. So we moved this into the area of modding.

Let’s create a new faction. I’m going to create a new file called Froglers.xml and put it into my units directory in documents\my games\elemental

Inside I’m putting this file:

<RaceConfigs>

    <RaceConfig InternalName="Froglers">
        <DisplayName>Frog People</DisplayName>
        <Capital>Ribit</Capital>
        <ShortName>Froglers</ShortName>
        <LeaderName>Frogboy</LeaderName>
        <PopulaceName>Human</PopulaceName>
        <Description>This amphibious race hops on all fours.</Description>
        <Alignment>Good</Alignment>
        <FactionAllegiance>Kingdom</FactionAllegiance>
    <DefaultCityWallSet>CityWalls_Fence</DefaultCityWallSet>
    <NewCityHubType>Outpost</NewCityHubType>
    <CapitalHubType>Outpost</CapitalHubType>
    <!-- Race Stuff -->
    <RaceClassification>Frogs</RaceClassification>
    <RaceDisplayName>Frogs</RaceDisplayName>
    <RaceInternalName>Race_Type_Frogs</RaceInternalName>
    <MaleUnitType>Skath</MaleUnitType>
    <FemaleUnitType>Skath</FemaleUnitType>
    <GenericUnitType_Male>Skath</GenericUnitType_Male>
    <GenericUnitType_Female>Skath</GenericUnitType_Female>
    <TraderUnitType>Skath</TraderUnitType>
    <StartingUnitType>Kingdom_Soldier</StartingUnitType>
    <StartingUnitType>Kingdom_Pioneer</StartingUnitType>
    <ChooseFactionBack>Faction_Background_Altar.png</ChooseFactionBack>
    <UnitScale>1.0</UnitScale>
    <UnitSkinColor>32,255,32</UnitSkinColor>
    <UnitHairColor>155,255,75</UnitHairColor>
    <UnitClothing1Color>120,25,20,255</UnitClothing1Color>
    <UnitClothing2Color>78,60,55,255</UnitClothing2Color>
    <UnitMetalColor>145,145,145,255</UnitMetalColor>
    <BuildingPrimaryColor>165,255,130</BuildingPrimaryColor>
    <BuildingSecondaryColor>75,255,50</BuildingSecondaryColor>
    <BuildingRoofColor>90,255,10</BuildingRoofColor>
    <ZoneOfControlColor>165,255,30</ZoneOfControlColor>
    <TechTree>TechTree_Froglers</TechTree>
    <KnownStartingTech>Frogler_Starts</KnownStartingTech>
    <EnvironmentTerrainType>2</EnvironmentTerrainType>
    <PreferredLogoType>KingdomCrest2</PreferredLogoType>
    <SovereignUnitType>Lord_Relias</SovereignUnitType>
    <Spellbook>LifeSpellbook</Spellbook>
    <A_CoreManaRegeneration>50</A_CoreManaRegeneration>
  </RaceConfig>

</RaceConfigs>

 

Now, if you pop this in it’ll crash. That’s because we have to define some things first:

  1. RaceClassification
  2. RaceInternalName
  3. TechTree
  4. KnownStartingTech

Without those 4 things defined, the game won’t know what to do with this faction.  It is in these 4 things that we ultimately make what is special and unique.

I also cheated in terms of the 3D modeling. I used Skaths as my units. Skaths kind of look like frogs in the game so I figured…

We’ll need to define what Frogs are as a race. And we’ll need to come up with a technology tree for them.

Stay tuned.

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August 5, 2010 12:07:19 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums



Eventually we decided to move the faction creator toolset to the mod area. As we made the faction creator richer and richer, we realized this was way too much for the player to deal with at the outset and really slowed down starting the game. The factions have both an allegiance to a kingdom and their specific race, so all of the pre-set factions in the game can be customized and come with their own racial benefits as well. The tool itself, though, was really robust and too much to toss out so we made it fully available for modders. We made each of the campaign’s factions with the creator, so modders have all the tools at their fingertips.



 

Sounds like there will be a faction creation tool as one of the workshop options to me? Maybe it's just not enabled in our version of the beta?

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August 5, 2010 12:29:10 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting VR_IronMana,


Sounds like there will be a faction creation tool as one of the workshop options to me? Maybe it's just not enabled in our version of the beta?

That's what I've been saying since the jump. If you go to the "Workshop" Screen in the current Beta you can see very, Very, faint writing in the boxes we don't have access to at the moment. It looks like they say "Item Editor", "Particle Editor", and "Text Editor", which come after the Tile and Map editors. While there is no button called "Faction Editor' that in no way means there won't be a "Faction Editor" at launch. I really don't see them taking a step backwards and completely getting rid of the old UI, especially having seen Frogboy say "We won't get rid of content we've made" in past posts.

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August 5, 2010 12:30:24 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting _PawelS_,
XML can be considered a programming language, but it's a "different kind" of it, which is used to define a data structure, while languages like C++ or Python are used to define a set of instructions to be executed.

Exactly.

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August 5, 2010 1:03:47 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Raven X,

Quoting VR_IronMana, reply 76

Sounds like there will be a faction creation tool as one of the workshop options to me? Maybe it's just not enabled in our version of the beta?


That's what I've been saying since the jump. If you go to the "Workshop" Screen in the current Beta you can see very, Very, faint writing in the boxes we don't have access to at the moment. It looks like they say "Item Editor", "Particle Editor", and "Text Editor", which come after the Tile and Map editors. While there is no button called "Faction Editor' that in no way means there won't be a "Faction Editor" at launch. I really don't see them taking a step backwards and completely getting rid of the old UI, especially having seen Frogboy say "We won't get rid of content we've made" in past posts.

 

I fully agree with this and this is what I've imagined the entire time. Why throw away something they already had?

 

Frogboy's response to my initial question, though, has filled me with doubt. I just wish he'd give us the straight answer and information we want so people can stop arguing, lol. I didn't want to demand or request or start any XML debates, I was just curious. His response "In an XML editor." (not exact words) made me go "Whoa, wait a second. The faction screen is gone? We have to use Notepad?!"

I just hope a dev can give us what we seek. Will the faction creator, with game oriented limitations and guidelines, still ship with the game, or will we be required to modify XML with no limitations and do whatever we want?

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August 5, 2010 1:12:29 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting MadMagnus,

I fully agree with this and this is what I've imagined the entire time. Why throw away something they already had?

Frogboy's response to my initial question, though, has filled me with doubt. I just wish he'd give us the straight answer and information we want so people can stop arguing, lol. I didn't want to demand or request or start any XML debates, I was just curious. His response "In an XML editor." (not exact words) made me go "Whoa, wait a second. The faction screen is gone? We have to use Notepad?!"

I just hope a dev can give us what we seek. Will the faction creator, with game oriented limitations and guidelines, still ship with the game, or will we be required to modify XML with no limitations and do whatever we want?

Excellent post and question. We have to keep in mind it's highly possible he might not be allowed to mention it or show it because of agreements with preview sites and exclusive agreements (like him not showing the new UI until it hits the preview stage on G4). Also, they might just want to keep some "surprises" in store for us at launch. Not to mention he's been kinda busy flying all over the place lately and hasn't had a lot of chance or time to be posting on the forums.

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August 5, 2010 2:56:57 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Which interview was this?  G4?    I hope we get the tool, despite my efforts in my own faction editor, I would love to have something from the developers, it will be much more usable/interesting.

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August 5, 2010 3:51:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Murteas,
Which interview was this?  G4?    I hope we get the tool, despite my efforts in my own faction editor, I would love to have something from the developers, it will be much more usable/interesting.

The one Frogboy flew out to do this week. I'm not sure if it will air this week or next but it will be on soon I'd imagine.

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August 5, 2010 3:54:49 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

http://g4tv.com/games/pc/63836/elemental-war-of-magic/index/

 

There is a good video here, first time i'v seen it..

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August 5, 2010 7:08:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The two videos I found on there are from June 4th, seem a bit oudated by now - did I miss something?

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August 6, 2010 5:10:18 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Hi all,

Looks straight forward enough to me. Though there is 1 thing that is a little unclear to me. Perhaps the future Parts will explain this anyhow.

 I have never used XML, or been involved in the beta tests, so this question may be a bit ignorant, sorry if it is.

I notice in the file that <ChooseFactionBack>Faction_Background_Altar.png</ChooseFactionBack>

 is referring no doubt to a texture file. Yet the

  <UnitSkinColor>32,255,32</UnitSkinColor>
    <UnitHairColor>155,255,75</UnitHairColor>
    <UnitClothing1Color>120,25,20,255</UnitClothing1Color>
    <UnitClothing2Color>78,60,55,255</UnitClothing2Color>
    <UnitMetalColor>145,145,145,255</UnitMetalColor>
    <BuildingPrimaryColor>165,255,130</BuildingPrimaryColor>
    <BuildingSecondaryColor>75,255,50</BuildingSecondaryColor>
    <BuildingRoofColor>90,255,10</BuildingRoofColor>
    <ZoneOfControlColor>165,255,30</ZoneOfControlColor>

all refer to colors only. Simple enough, but how are these values picked? Do we pick a color we like in a painting program, write down its color number and then write it into the file? Or are they all chosen within a modeling program and then values are transferred in with havoc and the converter?

  Also I'd just like to add that I really like the mod-ability of SoaSE. Truth be told I have spent more time modding it than playing it. I have probably played it as much as any other game I have purchased, but if you add the time spent modding this makes it by far the greatest value for money.

Looks like this game will be even more so. I know Stardock do great work so I will definitely be buying a copy. Looking forward to its release.

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August 6, 2010 5:32:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting SuperZERO0,
Hi all,

Looks straight forward enough to me. Though there is 1 thing that is a little unclear to me. Perhaps the future Parts will explain this anyhow.

 I have never used XML, or been involved in the beta tests, so this question may be a bit ignorant, sorry if it is.

I notice in the file that <ChooseFactionBack>Faction_Background_Altar.png</ChooseFactionBack>

 is referring no doubt to a texture file. Yet the

  <UnitSkinColor>32,255,32</UnitSkinColor>
    <UnitHairColor>155,255,75</UnitHairColor>
    <UnitClothing1Color>120,25,20,255</UnitClothing1Color>
    <UnitClothing2Color>78,60,55,255</UnitClothing2Color>
    <UnitMetalColor>145,145,145,255</UnitMetalColor>
    <BuildingPrimaryColor>165,255,130</BuildingPrimaryColor>
    <BuildingSecondaryColor>75,255,50</BuildingSecondaryColor>
    <BuildingRoofColor>90,255,10</BuildingRoofColor>
    <ZoneOfControlColor>165,255,30</ZoneOfControlColor>

all refer to colors only. Simple enough, but how are these values picked? Do we pick a color we like in a painting program, write down its color number and then write it into the file? Or are they all chosen within a modeling program and then values are transferred in with havoc and the converter?

[...]
R,G,B,Transperancy.

Someone correct me if I'm wrong. It could have been Transperancy,R,G,B.

Anyway, that's the gist of it. You use a painting program and write down the numbers of a colour you like. Out of all the time-sinky-ness of this system, I think this is what will cause me the most annoyance. Having to save the .xml, load up a game, check if the colours are right, go back out, change the numbers, load up a game, check the colours, go back out, etc, etc, etc.

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August 6, 2010 5:36:53 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Hi,

yes, I think you have to use whether a paint program or search for an RBG color picker. Maybe some of the XML editors have optional a color picker included.

 

Br

Wyl

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August 6, 2010 6:18:50 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Actually, the game itself even have blenders. There used to be one for the built-in Faction creator, but there also is one in the Sovereign creator and in the Tile creator.

All you really need are three sliders (Red, Green, Blue) and a colour output.

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August 6, 2010 6:19:32 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Ok ! thanks for the info. So I guess theoretically, your could do this all in a modeling program on your model before you import it, to save the hassle of saving the file, starting the game and checking if its the color you like. etc etc.

So what does the transparency do? Does this let the underlying features of the model come through? Or is this channel assigned to reflectivity or some such?

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August 6, 2010 2:46:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The faction editor I'm working on has the standard Color Picker from windows which lets you choose a pre-defined color or make your own.   Then takes the RGBA from the color picker and puts in the xml.

 

<crawls back to coding...>

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August 7, 2010 9:31:11 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

You know, I just looked at that poll at the top of the journals web page. Over 75% wants to make their own faction.

 

Can a developer answer the question of "Is there a faction creation screen?"

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August 8, 2010 8:51:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I have to ask, what kind of 3D modelers will be compatible for elemental?

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August 9, 2010 8:28:04 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Inteuniso,
I have to ask, what kind of 3D modelers will be compatible for elemental?

3ds Max & Maya for example.

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August 9, 2010 10:06:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums



"Now, if you pop this in it’ll crash. That’s because we have to define some things first:

   1. RaceClassification
   2. RaceInternalName
   3. TechTree
   4. KnownStartingTech

Without those 4 things defined, the game won’t know what to do with this faction.  It is in these 4 things that we ultimately make what is special and unique.

Stay tuned.



Any word on when the "Stay Tuned" bit will continue?

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August 9, 2010 10:49:39 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting John_Hughes,
Any word on when the "Stay Tuned" bit will continue?

Stay Tuned One of the best movies ever. John Ritter ftw!!!

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August 9, 2010 12:37:32 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I've release the intial version of the faction editor.  Maybe it can help  until the official editor is released.   Comment, Download, Criticize here:  http://forums.elementalgame.com/390184

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August 9, 2010 10:26:59 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting John_Hughes,



"Now, if you pop this in it’ll crash. That’s because we have to define some things first:

   1. RaceClassification
   2. RaceInternalName
   3. TechTree
   4. KnownStartingTech

Without those 4 things defined, the game won’t know what to do with this faction.  It is in these 4 things that we ultimately make what is special and unique.

Stay tuned.



Any word on when the "Stay Tuned" bit will continue?

 

I've been wondering this myself.  Where do we define these, how do we define them, what are they, actually (well, the first two--the last two are kind of self-explanatory), and what do they do?  Kind of cruel to leave us hanging on this one

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August 10, 2010 6:25:29 AM from Sins of a Solar Empire Forums Sins of a Solar Empire Forums

Quoting Inteuniso,
reply 92
I have to ask, what kind of 3D modelers will be compatible for elemental?

3ds Max & Maya for example.

Havok is also compatible with Xsi, and I think Mod Tool, though I haven't quite figured out how yet.

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