PREFACE: I'm not yet ready to gather all the files and share them, since I'm expecting there's going to be a few big overhauls in the next week or two that will pretty much render my mods obsolete, but I wanted to describe them briefly, since I'm hoping some of those overhauls may incorporate the changes I made. I'd like to note that, much like the "Breath of Fire" spell I wrote a tutorial on HERE, there are no new models, graphics, etc. I'm just reusing existing resources.
UPDATE: I decided to go ahead and release a subset of these mods. The download link and description for what's inside is included HERE.
What: I created a set of magical staves that give the equipped unit (the Sovereign or designed units) a ranged magical attack that's not as powerful as a spell, but doesn't cost any mana and is based on Intelligence. This does away with the whole "I'll just give my Sov a bow" thing, making him more effective (and just cool!) in combat right from the start. When you get right down to it, it really is a bow with a spell animation instead of an arrow.
How: Basically, I created new GameItemTypes copied from the "Staff" item in CoreWeapons.xml. I made four versions: Fire, Lightning, Ice, and Stone. Each one provides +1 Attack (you need Attack>0 to initiate combat!), another stat bonus based on the element, and uses "UnlockCombatAbility" and "UnlockRangedAction" for a custom "spell" that I created for each staff. I changed the particle effect and sound effect for a weapon hit to match existing effects/sounds from appropriate elemental spells/attacks.
I created the attack abilities by duplicating Flame Dart, Ice Strike, etc, and then setting the to cost 0 mana and marking them as special abilities. (I was suprised to find out that Auto-Resolve does use the granted abilities). Finally, I updated the city hubs to add these items to the shop window. This took about an hour, all told.
Next: I'm going to create a wider variety of more powerful staves, and tie them into the research tree. The more powerful versions will likely require a certain number of shards, like the Elemental Disciple items (below).
What: I added equipment that I've called "Special Training" that can be used during unit design. Examples include:
- Assassin Training: Gives the unit a 10% chance for double damage (+10 Assassination). Unit can use the Poisoned Attack ability.
- Precise Striking: Gives the unit +2 Attack and a 10% chance to ignore armor when attacking (+10 Daring)
How: Essentially, these are all items based on the Pioneer's Kit. I made them expensive in gildar/extra turns to recruit, and not buyable in the shop. This took a little less than an hour, since only one of them granted a special ability.
Next: I'm going to add more advanced versions of each, and tie the whole thing into the tech tree. Right now, they're all available from the start in the unit designer.
What: This is the best one! I created new armor items (copied from the base items) that I call "(Novice, Journeyman, Master) vestment of (Fire, Life, etc)." The idea is that as you build shrines to the elements, those tiny tenders in the tile are priests/mages of that element, and wearing this armor represents their faith/training/occupation (you pick).
The armor grants minor defense (think cleric/mage), an element-related stat bonus, a non-damaging (custom) special combat ability, and 3 essence so they can use it (each use costs 1 mana). The advanced versions give better/additional abilities and essence (depending on the element). The life ability heals, fire increases friendly attack, death decreases enemy stats, etc. The good news is that, since they're chest armor pieces, you are limited to one per unit. The best part is that I made them "cost" 1/2/3 (Novice/Journeyman/Master) of the elements shrines (making shards useful, except the Life/Death which don't have shards).
How: Same as above, really. Cloned the original, created a few new special abilities and tied them to the armor. Honestly, the most time consuming part is adding the items to the shops when they're done. Oh - and testing to make sure that making an item "cost" shards wasn't going to permanently remove the shard's mana resource from me when I created the unit! This took about 2 hours.
Next: I'm going to make the ability strength increase with the number of shards controlled, and I'm considering adding some new, more "paladin of element" type armor or weapons that are more offensive in nature.
That's all I've done so far. Any comments, feedback or additional ideas are welcome! When the dust settles from the initial round of SD-driven updates, I'm going to publish whatever features of mine that aren't redundant.