[eINFO] Some thoughts on what's new and possible with mods (in early beta 0.75)

By on January 23, 2012 6:30:30 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Heavenfall

Join Date 07/2008
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I've been looking into the xml a lot, and I've noted some key areas that I believe are possible to mod for a positive or expanded view of the game. Note, these are the things that are new to FE. There are many things that were possible in E:wom that still are in FE, but I won't mention them.

- The champion upgrade system is extremely sound, and practically limitless as long as we can keep things unique and interesting. The good thing about traits is that they can have prerequisites of any combination of unitstats, techs, and unitlevel. Of course, once you unleash the unitstats, you can practically do anything you want. For example, a magic sword can give you a hidden unitstat that allows you to later gain the trait bladesinger. A faction tech can allow you to gain new traits as well, or character backgrounds, or quests, or some debuff you happened to get in a fight, or injuries. Also, it's a little work but it's possible, each trait has a likelihood tag which is static, but because traits can be mutually exclusive we can dynamically increase the odds of a certain trait appearing by adding it twice or more (only risk is it appearing more than once).

- Speaking of injuries, unfortunately, they appear to be not at all so well implemented as traits (in terms of modding). They simply do not recognize either the prerequisite tag, or the likelihood tag. So, all we can really do to the injury system is add new ones and tweak their power.There is a potion that removes all injuries from a champion, so I guess it is only a matter of time before someone moves that function over to a spell.

- There is a fundamental game system open to modding when it comes to melee attacks. But we do not have access to the actual formula of attack vs defense. It's a lot to go into, but we can add new damagetypes such as blunt damage and so on and assign them to a certain defense, and create a %-resistance-unitstat as well. In addition, through hidden unitstats, we can create groups of units not directly obvious to the game - such as "Mounted - This unit counts as Mounted". We can then refer to this unitstat in bonuses. For example, it is a very small thing to make a special spear that deals 20% more damage against mounted units. Conversely, we can give mounted units a trait that allows them to deal special damage or defend themselves better against unmounted units. Mounted units is just an example, of course. We can also create other such groups, for example a set of weaponry that ignore shields on enemies, or specifically causes damage to magic armor but is weak against non-magical armor. Such things would take modding the items and/or units currently in-game. Really, anything that activates a unitstat can be used here - for example a trait that gives you +3 attack vs any enemy occupying a desert tile in strategic mode, or +3 if you are occupying a mountain tile. Also, the huge caveat here is the AI not knowing exactly how to use such mechanics.

- Speaking of the AI, it seems very keen on using custom unitdesigns and monsters and such. This is a vast improvement from E:wom. For unit designs, the AI seems capable of using the auto-upgrade system. Also, there are priority tags for magic items so the AI doesn't have to try to think how powerful a magic item is, we can just tell it.

- The spell system has many new neat features that are logical but were missing in E:wom. Most importantly, you may specify what casting the spell does to the caster, and the target, separately. In addition, we can specify what happens when a spell gets resisted. There's a lot of other neat possibilities as well, such as a "comet" spell that deals massive damage to one tile, and a lot less damage to those around. Also, we can specify if a spell stacks or not with itself.

- Speaking of spells, there's also a random spell in the game called Chaos, with a very interesting xml tag. I've only looked at it briefly, but it appears that we should be able to get item/unit procs working. Ie, when wearing this shield, anyone who attacks the wearer has a 20% of losing 5 dodge from a chill. There is a meleeappliesspell trigger, and a meleedefenseappliesspell trigger (which can also be used for non-procs obviously). There are some big limitations - you can only do one gamemodifier for the proc, it doesn't respect cooldown, it can't cost mana, and so on. Either way, in terms of increasing the variety of items this is great news. Also, I noticed there was a modifier for BattleAutoCastSpell, but I haven't tried it out. By the way, the random spell xml tag doesn't work in strategic mode currently, only in tactical mode.

- Wildlands seem possible to add. Also new sorts of terrains but only in coremods = bad idea in beta. Specifically, I'll be working on adding magma rivers, rivers of blood, poisoned river. I hate that every river is blue and cuddly.

- Cities also have a few new features in FE. Factions gain militia (which can be customized for factions btw), and buildings that summon defenders. Cities can also cast a defensive spell at the start of a tactical battle. Of course, there's the city level-up system for unique buildings (I haven't tested those out for prerequisites, but they are abilities like traits technically). Also, buildings that unlock local items. We should be able to add whole new types of functions like materials and grain, but I haven't tested that at all. Also, buildings can relate to their materials and grain in various ways. And then there's the obvious additions of buildings being able to add traits to trained units, or stats to defending units.

- One huge change from E:wom is the background handling of tile graphics and item art, but I haven't really been able to test those out yet since the workshop is locked. It looks like it will be very useful for adding new complete "factions" like another type of Kingdom. Also, I may be wrong, but it appears a specific tile can have different looks depending on the underlying terrain. Of course, cities are always cities but for world resources or even goodiehuts it may be interesting.

 


One thing I've noticed in regards to the spells is that every spell does something different. That's really impressive, in my opinion. There are not two spells in the game that deal damage in the same way, or give buffs/debuffs that are the same.

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January 23, 2012 10:22:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Excellent work brother. I haven't even cracked open the XML yet so it's good to know what's going to be possible. I'm getting excited .

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January 23, 2012 11:12:44 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Most of this sounds good, but not being able to add wildlands is a big bummer. Like quests, this is one area where modders could really make this game shine, even without any other rule changes.

Do you know if it's possible to change the behaviour of monster lairs? So they could grow over time for instance, or send out raiding parties?

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January 23, 2012 11:22:40 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Satrhan,
Do you know if it's possible to change the behaviour of monster lairs? So they could grow over time for instance, or send out raiding parties?

I believe they already do send out raiding parties. I've seen a Troll Lair spit out 3 seperate Troll Armies from the same lair over the coarse of a game.

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January 23, 2012 11:25:57 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Satrhan,
Most of this sounds good, but not being able to add wildlands is a big bummer.

I said I think we can, you must have misread.

Quoting Satrhan,
Do you know if it's possible to change the behaviour of monster lairs? So they could grow over time for instance, or send out raiding parties?

Yes, I believe this is possible. I had a thought where a bandit camp would start out small, send out a bandit and a dog. Then it would be 4 bandits. Then 12 bandits and a bear. And so on. I believe this is possible, BUT they would be compound - I can't stop something from spawning once it starts.

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January 23, 2012 11:44:15 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting RavenX,

Quoting Satrhan, reply 2 Do you know if it's possible to change the behaviour of monster lairs? So they could grow over time for instance, or send out raiding parties?

I believe they already do send out raiding parties. I've seen a Troll Lair spit out 3 seperate Troll Armies from the same lair over the coarse of a game.

 

They definitely can send out raiding parties. I have a few trashed improvements and a stack of troll skeletons to prove it.

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January 23, 2012 11:45:14 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Yes, but the way I understood it is that it can only be done through a core mod, which would severely reduce their utility and compatibility with other mods. Or were you only talking about terrain types?

About the raiding parties, I haven't seen it yet but maybe I should play the game more (and not clear every lair asap)

 

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January 23, 2012 11:51:35 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Oh no, sorry, bad language no my part in OP. Wildlands should be possible, from what I can tell which is very limited, without coremods. Edited OP.

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January 23, 2012 5:58:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Nice writeup. I've been reading through a number of the xmls as well and I like that better organization of the files this go around. There are a few things I hope they fix before release.

1. Having integrated piercing damage the goes up by level on creatures. If this was their only attack like claws or teeth awesome. Problem is it is stacking with the weapon (and weapon effects) to lead to massive overkill attack values. The Bone Ogre is one. The Maul + strength bonus (strength is going up with level too) would be in the 30s. With the piercing effect layering in the attack is up to 71. That one shots everything I've placed on the map.

2. Casting time works in one direction taking extra turns to cast, but I don't know if I can get multiple castings in one turn. I would loev to be able to have a series of missile spells of various damage types where the caster can pop off more than one at a group of targets.

3. I hope they add in the tags and mechanics to allow the summoning of items via spells. Again casting to summon a stead, sword, armour, etc would be awesome.

Thing I like:

1. No spell books. Spells become available once you get the correct trait and level. As Heavenfall stated we can add new traits and hence new spell schools and levels.

2. Expanded tags as stated above with added functionality. Should allow for some very cool mods.

I'd like to be able to work up a massive magic overhaul down the road and it is getting close to being worth it. More so if casting time, target selection, and item summoning get tweaked up.

 

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January 23, 2012 6:15:33 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Very encouraging to hear about the modding capabilities of E:FE.

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January 23, 2012 6:24:40 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

2. Casting time works in one direction taking extra turns to cast, but I don't know if I can get multiple castings in one turn. I would loev to be able to have a series of missile spells of various damage types where the caster can pop off more than one at a group of targets.

I believe you can get at least two castings off on one move, if your spell also boosts initiative on caster by 1. This seems to move the caster first in the action queue. See spell haste and how it works in-game.

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January 23, 2012 6:34:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

As far as spells, I want to get summoning amped up in the vanilla game. I know you can recruit Drakes and Trolls, but summoning a Fire Dragon would be something awesome to see the AI do when losing a tactical battle. Elementals are great, but level V needs some conjuring love. 

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January 23, 2012 6:40:52 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

seanw3, do you want to develop that mod together? It is something I feel is sorely missing from the game, to empower magicians. Obviously it is way too early to start something now, but it'd be good if we weren't doing the same thing.

 

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January 23, 2012 6:46:43 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Great work HF.  +1.

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January 23, 2012 7:03:35 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Of course I need to see how much conjuring is eventually added to the spellbook. But if it doesn't make it into vanilla, I am game for some community modding contribution. I have quite a few conjuring animations from the old particle forge that are ready to be used. Come to think of it I have alot of content I never used: it was more fun to build in WoM than it was to play. Hopefully we get new textures and options from the new game's release too. 

 I am especially happy to be able to determine the power of a conjured creature based on attributes. I think there is some clear room for a few traits to make conjuring more powerful. I would also like the ability to have summons cost less so it becomes viable to summon an army of magical beings to fight for you. It will be an interesting choice to try to tame creatures from this realm or summon magical ones from the planes. Are you thinking Conjuring should be tied to the current spell levels or its own Path in the trait system?

 

P.S. I would also like your help probably on my Ivory Tower Mod. I want it to be held in as much esteem as the After the War Mod. If you read my notes, conjuring will be one of many areas you can specialize in. If the conjuration mod happens, I can integrate it into this mod. *Rubs hands together maniacally*

 

As far as time goes, I will be in the NAVY's basic training in a few months and then just waiting around for orders for a few after that. I should have a significant amount of time to mod and communicate while on my tour of duty, but not much to actually play. So I plan to be modding alot. 

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January 23, 2012 7:14:34 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I'd like to integrate the summons into the existing spellbooks. I think beyond that, each spell will need to be considered on its own, I mean how to gain access to it. Some might require shards to cast. Some might require special world wonders (ivory towers or world resources). Some might require additional traits. Techs. Some might have crazy casting penalties, or very long cooldown. It is, imho, as important to make the spell interesting as the actual summon.

For example, summon fire dragon. Instantly summons a fire dragon, but the caster loses next 3 turns in tactical combat.

Or summon Lower Demonprince - Caster loses 40% of hitpoints

Summon treant - only castable outside of cities

 

Something else I was thinking about was to use a sort of meta-stat to limit how many units can be summoned. We can require stats in spells. For example, a basic champion is limited to 1 summon in a fight. Path of the mage? 1 more. Special trait? 1 more. Ivory tower? 1 more. Special staff? 1 more. This is to ensure that summoners truly ARE SUMMONERS, not paladin-assassin-berzerkers dualwielding elementium nightmares.

Dom3 had some amazing ideas for random summons. Well, we can random things up as well, at least for tactical summons. How about 10% chance to summon a named fire elemental instead of the normal one?

Oh yeah, another idea for a special trait. Summoner's Circle. Champion starts any fight inside a summoner's circle. As long as the champion is within this circle, all negative effects of summoning are halved.

 Or plain and simple familiars. Champion starts the fight with a pre-summoned unit.

 

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January 23, 2012 7:28:39 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

The hard part for summoning is getting new creature models. Perhaps the devs want us to make a post about which ones to add? I would like some werewolves, wurms, wyverns, lizards, snakes, giants, and skeletons for example. I know that the vanilla is shying away from the classics, but it is hurting variety not to at least add some classic creatures. 

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January 23, 2012 7:36:42 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I doubt we can just ask for that, those are immense requests that probably take around a hundred manhours to make - to model, bind, skin, animate and texture. We will have to use what is in-game already, and try to come up with interesting ways to show them. I also have some 3d knowledge for simple editing, which I used to create the unique units for expandedfactions in E:wom.

Actually, we should probably start in that end. See what we can actually display in terms of 3d. Then try to come up with ways to improve or expand on that.

There's also the option of adding creatures that other people modelled for other games' mods. But we need to be careful to get permission. But, if we can get the models and textures and skins, it is likely I can rig it up to something that exists in FE for animations.

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January 23, 2012 7:52:14 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

One thing we could do is make a sort of spirit summoner. Since I figured out how to turn 3d objects in E:wom transparent. So we could more or less use all the current models, just transparent, and call them spirit of *. Maybe add a new skin with some ritualistic bindings or stuff like that.

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January 23, 2012 8:07:25 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting Heavenfall,
One thing we could do is make a sort of spirit summoner. Since I figured out how to turn 3d objects in E:wom transparent. So we could more or less use all the current models, just transparent, and call them spirit of *. Maybe add a new skin with some ritualistic bindings or stuff like that.

That sounds excellent. If you can show me how to mask out a model like that only show the parts of a skin I want I should be able to do us a proper Skeleton skin that looks like a skeleton from the front and the back. We'll definitely have to give that a try. Also if you're needing new skins just describe to me what you want and what base skin file I should start with and I'll go from there like we did with the Elf skins.

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January 23, 2012 8:36:16 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

@RavenX,

Can you make hairy skins like a wolf? I would really like to be able to turn my Sov or his minions into a werewolf looking creature. 

 

 

It would be acceptable to me to start with changing the colors and size of current models. That opens up quite a few creatures for every model. New textures would be double great. I seem to think that we can use particle animations on the models to make them appear to be on fire or shrouded in shadow. I would like to play around with that if I can learn how to do it. Shadowkind are a necessity like water or bread IMO. 

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January 23, 2012 8:58:41 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
@RavenX,

Can you make hairy skins like a wolf? I would really like to be able to turn my Sov or his minions into a werewolf looking creature. 

It would be acceptable to me to start with changing the colors and size of current models. That opens up quite a few creatures for every model. New textures would be double great. I seem to think that we can use particle animations on the models to make them appear to be on fire or shrouded in shadow. I would like to play around with that if I can learn how to do it. Shadowkind are a necessity like water or bread IMO. 

I can do hair tectures, yes. Look at the blonde hair on the Elf skins to see what I can do with hair. I can't do individual hairs in their own models but I can texture the solid models for the hair to look somewhat realistic/better at the least.

Also comepletely agree about Shadows. It's a unit type I was thinking of adding to the Undead anyway so it was on the list of things to ask Heavenfall about.

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January 23, 2012 9:43:02 PM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I was pleased at the variety I saw when looking through the core spells .xml file too.

 

Don't forget the ApplyIfSpellTargetKilled tag.

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January 24, 2012 12:04:02 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Such things would take modding the items and/or units currently in-game. Really, anything that activates a unitstat can be used here - for example a trait that gives you +3 attack vs any enemy occupying a desert tile in strategic mode, or +3 if you are occupying a mountain tile. Also, the huge caveat here is the AI not knowing exactly how to use such mechanics.

Nice! I was wondering if it would be possible to mod in some strategic terrain bonuses.

Can't wait to get into the beta, and for the workshop to be unlocked. I have a lot of  ideas floating around in my head.

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January 24, 2012 12:19:16 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

I would love to see a Wildland race that gets awesome bonuses to a specific tile type. So many options to flavor up tactical battles. 

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January 24, 2012 1:00:33 AM from Elemental Forums Elemental Forums

Quoting seanw3,
I seem to think that we can use particle animations on the models to make them appear to be on fire or shrouded in shadow.

I don't think we can, unfortunately. As far as I can tell, there are three types of new effects used in FE. The first is in spells, which is just generic stuff that looks the same to everyone - curse. The second is attached to unit lcf, like weapons are - ex the Pyre of Man. The third is what we see on weapons - burning axe.

The first one doesn't attach the effect to the skin, it just floats in the vicinity so to speak. The second one that goes to the lcf demands that there is an lcf present - don't take that for granted, most haven't, it's possible to add but I require the original model skeleton which I don't often have. The third kind is using a new set of havok tags that I don't recognize and thus can't add to any old 3d file. I can't actually tell if it is even dynamically attached to a piece of skin, or if they've just really busted their asses creating effects that look like the weapons.

Edit: RavenX, be sure to tell me in PM when you want the guide to making a 3d model transparent. It's a bit of work and I'd rather delay until you actually plan to use it.

Edit2: This is the banshee from the removed unique units mod. http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/7269/elemental1295390410.jpg It was made using several transparent models, with applied white skins with modified opacity.

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