2 Questions (ToT vs MGE + Resources)

ThichN

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Hi all,

New to the forums, first post! I have two questions. I'll try to parse them out as best as possible. Thank you in advance for any insight!

1. I'm working on a scenario concept at the moment (at the drawing board), and at a pivotal point where I am trying to decide between Civ 2 MGE and ToT. I was wondering if anyone had direct insight on the advantages of making a scenario in ToT. More than that, though, I am curious if ToT scenario crafting is as "easy" as MGE. I know the general characteristics of MGE scenario creation, while I have never touched it in ToT. In fact, I have barely even played ToT. Curious about the ease of creating events, graphics (I do NOT want to create animated graphics), and what ToT might bring to the table -- other than multiple maps -- that MGE does not.

2. This one is about resources. I am thinking about clever ways resources could work in the Civ2 engine. I remember a long, long time ago a scenario had a fuel resource that needed to be supplied to tanks, or something like that. It may have been Nemo's Red Front. My memory is quite fuzzy (I may have been 12 years old), though, so forgive me if this is totally off-base. I am looking for fun ways to do resources that could be akin to Civ3 (i.e., resources being necessary for a unit). The running thought I have now is to have a "nature" civ, wherein resources are units that can be destroyed, thereby causing an event to spawn a special unit for the player. The issue I see with that is that the unit would have to appear in the same city (right?), as opposed to the closest city. Please, please feel free to tell me I'm totally off base here.

Finally, I'd like to explain why I am looking at Civ2 at all, as opposed to later versions of the game. I am looking for something relatively simple and streamlined - isometric, retro, and capable of being text-heavy. I want to be able to draw all of the art, and I appreciate the simplified graphics. The excessive dithering is a partial turn-off for ToT even, but I have seen a lot of scenarios by folks here where the art of ToT has been improved. I think it might just be my lack of familiarity with ToT, which gives "normal" Civ2 a sort of romantic nostalgia. But I'd be happy to hear about ToT's modding/scenario advantages, if they serve exceptional utility.

Thanks again all!
 

Dadais

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I was like you a year ago, not knowing much about ToT and with thousands hours on original and mge versions of this game since its launch when a kid.

Tempted into tot (and totpp) by @JPetroski , I guess the difficulty to mod didn't rise that much.

ToT Graphics alteration grants us shining art from godly fairline and tanelorn (with others), yet untalented designers like myself have an easier job too there.
That's easy to turn off animations, and ...
Tons more unit types ! More terrain types ! ToTpp is a must have !
Lua ! One can avoid it or learn its use and open itself with nearly endless possibilities !
 

JPetroski

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1. I'm working on a scenario concept at the moment (at the drawing board), and at a pivotal point where I am trying to decide between Civ 2 MGE and ToT. I was wondering if anyone had direct insight on the advantages of making a scenario in ToT. More than that, though, I am curious if ToT scenario crafting is as "easy" as MGE. I know the general characteristics of MGE scenario creation, while I have never touched it in ToT. In fact, I have barely even played ToT. Curious about the ease of creating events, graphics (I do NOT want to create animated graphics), and what ToT might bring to the table -- other than multiple maps -- that MGE does not.

Honestly MGE has absolutely no advantages over ToT whatsoever any more with the sole exception being that it has an in-game scenario builder, but that is basically training wheels that severely restricts what you can do and takes much longer than modifying the text files themselves.

Every single issue that people used to have with ToT over MGE (mostly graphical and "feel" issues) have been corrected by ToTPP or other modders over the years.

Want a familiar city screen? You can have it.
Want attack animations and blinking units to work? They do in ToTPP.

Test of Time (and more specifically the Test of Time Patch Project) allows you to have 189 unit types, 253 technologies, 16 terrain types (including more "large" terrain types like mountains, forests, and hills). Even if you were going to completely ignore ToTPP's biggest advantage (which I'll get to next), this is a HUGE advantage to the scenario designer.

Finally, ToTPP allows for the use of lua events. Hop into the scenario league and look at the threads for Napoleon, Over the Reich, Hinge of Fate, and many more to see their power. Note, you don't have to go crazy with them if you prefer to keep things as close to civ as possible, BUT they do allow you considerable leeway and ability to "fix" problems with the base game or make little tweaks to your scenario as you see fit.

Frankly, go download any WW2 European Theatre scenario made in MGE and then compare it to Hinge of Fate (which I just updated today). Likewise, go grab John Ellis' Napoleon (which used to be a gold standard in its day) and compare it to Tootall and Knighttime's more recent Napoleon scenario in ToTPP.

Play those 4 scenarios for 5 turns each and you'll see why ToT has every advantage save nostalgia.
 

ThichN

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Wow, thank you @Dadais and @JPetroski for these replies! This is all very helpful. I've started today by just playing through a vanilla ToT campaign on my ancient Windows 2k. When I did try to run the ToTPP.exe file to install, I ran into some issues (the file would not execute; "not a valid win application"). It looks like I might need to try it on XP or a more recent OS.

Temporary technical issues aside, this all sounds fantastic. I really like that you gave specific scenarios to reference. I will absolutely check these out and analyze the mentioned mechanics. I also appreciate that you did not dismiss the nostalgia outright; I was afraid I may have sounded a bit sentimental. The utility of ToTPP seems vast, and, most importantly, able to perform functions that would assist the concept I have in mind.

I do have one other question. You mention these scenarios based on large wars. No stranger to those. But are they are any notable ToT scenarios that are quest-like (I vaguely remember the Spartacus scenario, but no idea how that holds up; I also remember a creative Odyssey one?), about peaceful development or expansion (i.e. economic or otherwise), or otherwise not war-focused, but still using the engine to the effect of the two Ss ("spread" and "story")? Not to say that these are all I would play, but I envision my scenario having that kind of track and scenarios with those precepts would make for further useful reference. (In the same way when one writes in a genre, they ought to read outside of that genre, I will still very much enjoy taking a look at Hinge of Fate and the recent Napoleon scenario).
 

JPetroski

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At present I believe most of the ToTPP (or at least lua) scenarios out there are more of the war type, though Prof. Garfield did modify McMonkeys "A Soaring Spirit" for ToTPP (though he didn't change too much).

I was on a bit of a sabbatical when ToTPP itself first came out so I'm not sure if there have been true quest type scenarios built just for it - I'm mostly thinking of the Lua ones.

Dadais has been working on a Skyrim Scenario which certainly has quest elements in it, however, and Grishnach and I built Caesars Gallic Wars which is a much more localized Scenario than the giants out there...

Anyway, I'd be thrilled to see you build a quest Scenario of your own one day :) let me know if you need any help.
 
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Hi ThichN,

If you would like to review all the amazing features that you can implement with the Test of Time Patch Project (ToTPP), I strongly recommend you download the 'TOTPP v0.18.pdf' reference guide found in the Scenario Creation Excel Sheet thread here.

It contains a full list and description of each feature.
 

ThichN

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At present I believe most of the ToTPP (or at least lua) scenarios out there are more of the war type, though Prof. Garfield did modify McMonkeys "A Soaring Spirit" for ToTPP (though he didn't change too much).

I was on a bit of a sabbatical when ToTPP itself first came out so I'm not sure if there have been true quest type scenarios built just for it - I'm mostly thinking of the Lua ones.

Dadais has been working on a Skyrim Scenario which certainly has quest elements in it, however, and Grishnach and I built Caesars Gallic Wars which is a much more localized Scenario than the giants out there...

Anyway, I'd be thrilled to see you build a quest Scenario of your own one day :) let me know if you need any help.
Many thanks, @JPetroski , I appreciate that and will very likely take you up on that help. :) Lots to check out and look forward to around here! It's great that there is still a community of folks making scenarios for Civ2/ToT. When I came here seeking guidance, I really had no idea.

@tootall_2012 Excellent resource -- this is incredible. Thank you for sharing this!
 

Pablostuka

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Welcome! I'm exactly like you, still discovering the wonders of ToT. I too come from an original and MGE background, I published 2 scenarios 19 years ago and after a very long break, only recently got bit by the Civ2 bug again and I'm currently working on a ToT revamp of one of my MGE works. Definitely ToT allows you to achieve so much more...extra maps, unlimited events (with Lua), better graphics, and with TOTPP, many more units, terrains and so much more!

The original ToT interface is so dark, so dull, even the original game seems odd compared to MGE, but as soon as you try any modern scenario, like the ones @JPetroski mentioned, you discover a totally new world, so yeah, give it a try!!

Pablo
 
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ThichN

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Many thanks for sharing your experience, @Pablostuka ! It seems we have a lot in common, although I never published a scenario. However, I played almost all of the greats, and found myself sometimes drawing units and dreaming up ideas. It is only later in life now that I approach the creation aspect seriously, and only because I have something so specific in mind that I want to create. What a surprise, then, to find the community here active. No, not only active, but actively improving upon every aspect of the game!

Your note about the aesthetics are so on point. Even as a kid, I remember ToT coming out and those muted, dull colors totally turning me off from it. Then I load up the work by JPetroski, Knighttime, or Toottall, and am taken back to what I loved about Civ2 -- but dramatically improved and with more features.

I see you are currently updating a Spanish Civil War scenario. I know shockingly little about that conflict! It will be interesting to try it out when you are finished.
 

ThichN

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I have a question on maps, but didn't want to post an entirely new thread. Let me know if it merits one.

The maps downloads section here is a bit limited, and I was wondering if folks here had recommendations on other places to find maps. Or is it the case that scenario creators draw their own maps? I am looking for the following, specifically, and find that the ones that come close in the downloads section either contain inaccuracies / are missing things, or are simply too small:

- A map of East / Northeast Asia, focused on China, but still including Korea and Japan (or at least Korea, and then I can have another map that is of Japan), similar to this: https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1803869779
- A map of the Islamic world stretching from northwest India to the Mediterranean
- A map of Europe (there are tons of these, so I am more wondering if there is one in particular that is recommended for its accuracy)

I'm looking for large-ish maps that can get a lot of detail.

I can draw maps, as well, but did not want to reinvent the wheel if there were pre-existing ones that people here really love or recommend. Thought I'd check in! Thanks all.
 

JPetroski

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Sorry for seeing this so late but your best bet may be to go grab scenarios that encompass the general region and then saving the map from there (from within the game, along the top, "Map...Export Map".

-I believe Harlan's Mongols or something like it "may" have a map for Asia you're seeking.
-Perhaps a scenario dealing with Alexander the Great would have the Islamic World.
-I personally think @McMonkey's map from Fortress Europe (which I've used) is a great European Map, though @Dadais made it even better, IMO, for his WW2 scenario.
 

ThichN

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Hey, thank you @JPetroski . No worries, and I appreciate that. I actually did exactly that, and checked dozens of maps. None are exactly what I want, so, I took the plunge and started making my own. I have nearly finished one, and halfway through the other. It definitely requires patience! But this is best, as it allows me to really customize to fit my needs. This is most of how I have spent my time, as the land is extremely important for my project. Of course, the map editor does not allow for placement of the added terrain types, so I am thinking of several of these tiles as placeholders until I get into ToTPP. The ancient Civ2 map editor was just easier for me in drawing outlines of landmasses.
 

Dadais

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I personally think @McMonkey's map from Fortress Europe (which I've used) is a great European Map, though @Dadais made it even better, IMO, for his WW2 scenario.
That's nice from you John.

On one side, I'd mention my map needs its rule.txt and .bmp to work well (and may see little corrections, in romania for instance).

On the other side, McMonkey's one is an easier yet stronger base towork with, imho.
 

ThichN

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With Cheat mode on, and using the TOTPP key shortcuts you should be able to progress quickly enough working with your map and the extra custom terrain slots (the original map editor doesn't support them!)
For me, drawing outlines of landmasses and features in the map editor is easiest. I aim to then go into cheat mode / ToTPP and add the extra terrain tiles. This is also nice because I don't know, exactly, what I want my extra terrain tiles to be quite yet. :)
 

Blake00

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Yes even me, the guy about to release a bunch of MGE scenarios has seen the light on ToT and will very likely do enhanced ToT versions of them later on once they're all released. As JP pointed out MGE can still be a good training ground for new modders thanks to it's in-game editors however once you're used to editing the text files instead of using the editor then it's not much trouble making the switch to ToT really.

You guys just touched on something I'd been wondering about with ToT. With MGE you gotta place your rivers down in the map editor before building up the scenario on top it as you can't place rivers in the cheat mode editor. In ToT when you're tying to build an advanced scenarios with extra ToTPP terrain slots, multiple worlds, & other fancy stuff do you still have to make sure rivers are done right at the beginning at the basic map building step or does ToTPP had a way to place them in cheat mode?

EDIT: Never mind I just found the Prof's answer to my question in your other thread. Sweet, you can indeed place rivers in-game later on.
Ctrl+9 toggles rivers
 

JPetroski

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EDIT: Never mind I just found the Prof's answer to my question in your other thread. Sweet, you can indeed place rivers in-game later on.

You "can" do this in MGE but you need to hex edit I believe. Just like you "can" change the native transport ability of units in base-ToT with hex editing. ToTPP and lua allow you to just press a button or put one line of code in without having to mess around with hex editing files.

Having been designing scenarios from around 1999 or so, I really appreciate how in ToTPP is how it eliminates so many steps of what you used to have to do before you "broke ground" in a scenario. This is not necessarily something a new designer is going to notice until they run into the same mistakes I did though. Even if one had no desire to use lua for most events, it would be relatively simple to make a small file that adds little fixes without having to start over or resort to learning how to hex edit.
 

Blake00

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You "can" do this in MGE but you need to hex edit I believe. Just like you "can" change the native transport ability of units in base-ToT with hex editing. ToTPP and lua allow you to just press a button or put one line of code in without having to mess around with hex editing files.

Having been designing scenarios from around 1999 or so, I really appreciate how in ToTPP is how it eliminates so many steps of what you used to have to do before you "broke ground" in a scenario. This is not necessarily something a new designer is going to notice until they run into the same mistakes I did though. Even if one had no desire to use lua for most events, it would be relatively simple to make a small file that adds little fixes without having to start over or resort to learning how to hex edit.

Oh yes I should have said that it's probably possible in a hex editor but I just suck at that stuff and avoid it lol! Although I'm going to have to use a hex editor soon to fix an issue in the HoMM2 mod so no doubt when that time comes I'll be asking you guys to rescue me and help me do it right lol!
 

JPetroski

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Oh yes I should have said that it's probably possible in a hex editor but I just suck at that stuff and avoid it lol! Although I'm going to have to use a hex editor soon to fix an issue in the HoMM2 mod so no doubt when that time comes I'll be asking you guys to rescue me and help me do it right lol!

Catfish was always the man for that! I'm sure you're aware of that but in case others in the thread aren't, here's his site and a link to the save file format. It's a great resource!
 
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