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Age of Ascension

Discussion in 'Crazy Spatz's Alpha Centauri Mod' started by Spatzimaus, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    The idea, at least for the initial version, was just a standard Earth map (probably based on YNAEMP) of whatever size is convenient. The difference would only come down to resource placement; besides adding a number of deposits of Omnicytes, Dilithium, and Neutronium, I'd also tweak the deposit sizes and numbers a bit for the other resources (especially Oil, Aluminum and Uranium) to better match my revised spawn tables.

    It's just that a lot of people like using Earth maps, and the ones with pre-set resource distributions don't work with this mod thanks to the resources I've added and changed. I've got lore-specific justifications for where these new deposits would be placed (I posted a list somewhere in the old thread, but I'd have to search for it, keyword "Antarctica"), but it's pretty flexible.

    I'm sure it's not too difficult to learn, but my plate has just been really, really full with the Mythology rollout/debugging and integration of Ascension into the 4-mod design. So I keep putting it off.

    Now, there was also talk of a scenario map for games starting in the Digital, for a SMAC-like experience, and THAT one could have plenty of fallout, spore towers, etc. pre-placed. But who knows when I'd get to that one.
     
  2. Scrambles

    Scrambles Chieftain

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    The only problem I ran into using the map editor with the Ascension mod was that the 'scatter resources' (or whatever it's called) function doesn't work properly. It just drops tons of Dilithium everywhere. It's pretty easy to edit one of the Earth maps that's out there and add the new resources to it manually, it makes for a playable map but feels a little like cheating (I know where I'll be starting and where I put the resources...). Random would be better, random within certain bounds (Neutronium in Arctic regions only and so on) would be cool, not sure how to make that happen :/

    And it might be something for way down the line but I'd *love* some pre-made scenarios to go with the mod :D
     
  3. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    OK, I must be doing something wrong. I've installed your "Age of Empires", "Ages of Man -Base", and "Spatz's mod of AC" mods (and thats it - no other mods installed), and am seeing the following on an Industrial era start:

    1. The GDR is immediately in my first city's Build queue. Only reason I can't build it is because I don't have uranium. There is also a spaceship part (forget which one) immediately available as well.
    2. In the start-up screen and the Civilopedia the last three future eras have text issues (FUTURE_ERA_TEXT_7 etc). Civilopedia also can't open the Future eras in the Units submenu.
    3. Even after building the National College (second item in my build queue) research times are immensely slow.

    I'm assuming I'm just doing something wrong here and just can't figure it out - if not I can provide screen pics.

    D
     
  4. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    The Ascension mod (the version that'll be compatible with the Base/Empires/Myth setup) hasn't been released yet. I'm still working on it, converting the old AC mod (the one still linked in the Files post) into what'll be listed as "Ages of Man - Age of Ascension" in your mod browser. That's why the files are split the way they are in the Files thread; the two files in the first post, v.1.09, are a month old (pre-split) but we KNOW they work, while the Base, Empires, and Mythology mod in the lower posts represent an entirely separate set, of which Ascension will be a part once I fix it. You can't mix the two.

    I THINK I've almost got it fixed, so I'll release Ascension v.2.00 within the next day or so. I've just got some icon atlases to fix, and a quick test game to run to make sure it all still works. But for now, they just won't work together the way you've described. For instance, the Magna Carta, KGB, etc. will appear in both Empires and AC and so conflict, and the same would go for the Combat Engineer on the unit side, along with all the text keys related to those.
     
  5. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Something to think about while I work on getting my home machine back to functionality again (which is the only thing holding up the official release of the Ascension mod):

    The Alpha Centauri mod (v.1.09) was functionally complete before I began the transition to the new mod structure. A little unfinished artwork here, a minor balance tweak there, but nothing really critical needed changing to make it playable, as evidenced by the hundreds who'd downloaded and played it.

    At some point in the far future, post-DLL, I intend to modify quite a few aspects of this mod's content to mesh with the new diplomacy and espionage mechanisms I'll be adding to the Empires mod. The Empath Guild will become more of a true diplomacy thing, the Planetary Datalinks, Nethack Terminus, and Hunter-Seeker Algorithm will shift to the new espionage system, and the Doppelganger will become a hybrid combat-spy unit. That sort of thing. This WILL happen, but as this requires both the DLL and a good understanding of what it contains, it won't happen any time soon.

    The issue, really, is about what happens before then. As you may have noticed, this particular mod was the springboard from which the Mythology mod was launched; the creation of the AC mod was a major learning experience, and I've been putting what I learned into the early eras with systems designed from the start to take advantage of things I now know are possible. More Lua-reliant combat abilities, a tunable Event system, even the terraforming and psionic combat systems have been appropriated for mythological content, and much of the mechanics were scavenged from my previous work.

    The question, then, is this: Should I migrate some of the things I've learned to do in the Mythology mod back to the Ascension content?
    There are definitely pros and cons involved; if I make the two eras too similar, then it defeats part of the purpose in using both of them, so in one sense it'd be good NOT to add any of the more distinctive parts of the Mythology mod to this one. But many aspects of the future eras were compromises necessitated by my inability to create the effects that I REALLY wanted to make, and in some cases I've since learned better ways to do things.
    Now, I don't need answers immediately. Once the Mythology mod is stable (which it would have been last week if not for my crash), play that and see if the extra abilities give that mod a much deeper feel, and whether any of them seem appropriate here as well. It's just something I'd like people to keep in mind as they play this mod; while I don't feel that this mod absolutely needs major changes, I'd prefer not to see it become the least popular of my three content mods just due to age.
     
  6. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Personally speaking, I am sci-fi exclusive, so would never play the Mythological mod. Therefore my vote would be to reverse-engineer back in anything which would make the Age of Ascension mod better.

    D
     
  7. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    I'd love to see an event system in the Ascension mod like in AoM
     
  8. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I guess the question is the definition of "better". Take the Event system discussed below; it'd make the Ascension game experience more complex, more unpredictable, but that's not necessarily what the players who use this mod would want. One of the things I was deliberately trying to accomplish in the future eras was a gradual simplification, where the many types of units and buildings narrowed down to a smaller set, while the Mythology mod was intended to go the other direction (adding tons of content that the player would never use even half of). So I'd be wary of translating stuff over just because I can, as I want the two mods to FEEL different.

    Or let's use a different example: Social Engineering. The SE abilities are treated as policies, bought as super-Finishers, but handled through the usual culture mechanisms. Very easy for a player to understand, and fairly easy to implement in an almost purely XML manner. With what I've learned since starting the Mythology mod, and its Mandala system, I could fairly easily reconstruct the ACTUAL SE interface from SMAC, where you had four rows of four elements and selected one element in each row (sort of like Civ4's Civics), with no "interesting" effects but lots of small yield pluses and minuses. But would that be a better game experience than what you have now?

    To be clear, the "non-interactive" Event system of the Empires mod WILL extend into both the mythological eras and the future ones, assuming you use the Empires mod with this one. And really, why wouldn't you? But those'll only come up rarely (say one per 50 turns), apply to all players, and have no choices to be made. There's not much choice involved in "city gets hit by an earthquake" or "you enter the Dark Ages" or "Piracy is on the rise", after all.

    Now, as for the multiple-choice events of the mythology mod (one per ~10 turns, four choices per event, applied only to you, and the AI might get completely different events), I'd be open to adding something like these to the Ascension mod, although I'm not going to implement the sort of two-axis Alignment system I had in the myth mod; it'd probably be more like the three-choice events from the Galactic Civilizations games, where there was a clearly defined good choice, a neutral choice, and an evil choice. Or if you prefer, the "nice" choice, the "practical/ruthless" choice, and a compromise choice that falls halfway between the two. (Or, using Mass Effect terms, the Paragon and Renegade choices, plus a neutral one.)

    The question, then, would be whether there should be any kind of underlying Good/Evil alignment to go along with these, or whether each event's effects should include any drawbacks within the effect itself. For instance, if your choices were "a city gains +100 Food", "a city gains +200 Food but you lose 200 Gold" and "a city gains +400 Food but you lose 800 Gold", then the good/evil part would basically be window dressing, with no lasting effect.
     
  9. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    So what sorts of events do you have planned? I've heard a little about them here and there, also would some events be linked to random cities or are they world wide? Also, about what time would you say the Ascension mod will be compatable with the Mythology mod?

    My dream is to play a 1000+ turn game from ancient era to ascension on the YNAEMP Giant map
     
  10. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    We're still talking about the Empires mod's events, I assume, but to answer your question: most likely, a little of both. The original idea was to create pseudo-eras, where for a 10- or 20-turn period everyone would have extra food but less research, or something like that, sort of like a more balanced version of the current Golden Age mechanism. These'd be worldwide effects, benefit-neutral (more or less), applying to every player and every city in the same way. As these sorts of events would only come up every 40-50 turns, you'd still spend most of your time under the normal rules, but it'd add a little bit of unpredictability to the game.

    I didn't originally want it to include the sort of targeted disasters you'd normally associate with a random event system, where one player gets crushed while everyone else is fine, but upon reflection I thought that it could be good to have something "local" if it was handled fairly. So if I do add a "Natural Disaster" event, it'd be one where every major player (i.e., not city-states) has its largest non-capital city hit by some kind of negative event at the same time. Is it unrealistic that all of these would happen on a single turn? Sure, but it'd be necessary for balance.

    Generally speaking, though, the majority would be global things that are less "events" than "eras", and most would involve modifying yields (an age of enlightenment, when research and culture are boosted but production suffers), but not all. You might have an age of piracy, when Barbarian ships spawn all over the world (kinda like a certain event in this mod...), an age of warfare when diplomatic relations between all major empires get worse (or when your empire is just outright forced into a war, whether or not you wanted one), and so on. A few of the events might be "instantaneous" (Everyone gains one tech! Every city's production progress resets to zero!), but most would be persistent.

    Like I said, I'm trying to design these parts of the Empire mod such that they'd be usable with either Mythology or Ascension content without causing problems. So if you're doing Empire+Ascension, you'll have these long-term events as you play through the future content; that's why my last post tried to draw a distinction between the two event styles, because if you're using both mods then you might not feel like the Ascension mod needs its own dedicated event setup as well.

    It WOULD have been mostly compatible* this last weekend, if my machine hadn't fried itself. Pretty sure it's the motherboard that's gone kaput, but replacing that will involve replacing the CPU and RAM as well, which means a week or two from now until I have my machine back up.

    The "mostly" in the first sentence is almost solely in regards to the number of promotions. The Mythology and Ascension mods just have too many promotions once they're combined, and there are only a couple obvious places to trim. My best hope for making up the difference is my previously stated plan to remove the Accuracy and Barrage promotion lines (the vs-Open and vs-Rough ranged attack promos the archers and such get) and roll those effects into the Shock/Drill lines. That, right there, frees up 6 slots, and I THINK the database is dynamic enough that this'd count against the hard limit; there are a couple others that might get merged (Blitz vs Logistics). If I can get the total number low enough, then Mythology and Ascension will work together, but if I can't then it just won't work.

    Beyond that, the only remaining conflict involves turn numbers/game speeds. What I really want to do is have the Base mod set up a 700-turn baseline, with the Ascension mod adding 200 turns to the high end of the list and the Mythology mod adding 100 turns on the low end. That's going to require some strange SQL modification to adjust the percentages, and I'm honestly not sure how well it'll work, but I THINK I've worked it out.
    Other than that, everything should be perfectly compatible*. I've tried to be very careful with my UI modifications to ensure that it all still works together, even if that made certain bits (especially TopPanel) way more complicated than they needed to be.

    *- There's one remaining issue I haven't mentioned: cross-tables. The original idea was that the Base mod would include things like the "Building Resources" mod and the <Building_Bonuses> table to handle all of the Wonder effects, with each content mod simply adding the necessary elements to that table to give the effects to its own Wonders. Unfortunately, it just doesn't seem to work; if I define the table schema in the Base mod, and try to fill the table in the other mods, it fails the Database initialization, saying that Building_Bonuses is undefined when it tries to add the content mods.
    So right now, each of the three content mods has a duplicate version of everything like these. There's a Building_EmpiresBonuses table that has the exact same layout as the Building_MythologyBonuses table, and the Empires mod contains a "Empires_Buildings.lua" file parsing the former while the Myth mod contains a "Mythology_Buildings.lua" file parsing the latter. It's VERY ugly, but it works without the cross-compatibility issues. It's playable. (Note: this is one of the reasons why the Mythology mod has no buildings that generate resources, even though I was originally going to do that.)
    My hope is that the devs will add the mod dependency logic in the near future, and this layout will work the way I'd intended.

    We've discussed your masochistic streak before. Again, in theory it'll work; in practice, you might hit a point in the Industrial-ish where you know you've won and it's all mopping up. Also, I'm not sure if YNAEMP has any sort of conflict in terms of resource allocation. I wanted to check that one this last weekend, but my computer fried.
     
  11. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Ran my first serious game against your latest build. As usual I'm playing German/ Emporer/ Continents/ Standard, with the Greeks as they are a good litmus of how the C-S are swaying.

    1. The Greeks didn't go for the UN right away as they usually do. They did eventually corner all the C-S, but by that time there weren't enough to gain a UN victory.

    2. I think I had mentioned this before, but when I finally take control of a puppeted city I am finding that the city hasn't built a Courthouse yet. I would think this would be the A#1 priority for the puppeted city? Or is it because I've selected the "Humanism" Social Policy, as I do see the puppeted cities building Univerisities?

    3. Concerning "Couldnt bomb" versus "Could Bomb": the only difference between the two pics is that I moved a Destroyer up to the target city so that it was visible. I thought that bombers should be able to bomb anything within their range?

    4. Concerning "New graphic": where did you get this from?

    5. Concerning "Plasma Artillery Gift": that is a REALLY good gift from the C-S!

    6. Concerning "Stacked Barbarians": I think you'd mentioned something to this effect before, but just thought I'd confirm this was intended behaviour.

    7. Concerning "No CS Gold": this occured after I'd discovered Satelites. Is there some sort of cut-off as to when C-S stop giving gold?

    8. Concerning "Really stealthy ship": my first thought when I encountered this was "that ship is so stealthy even the iceburg can't see it!" :lol: I looked it up in the Civilopedia and saw that this was indeed intended behaviour.

    D
     

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  12. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Just to be clear, version 1.09 (the latest version of the future content) is more than a month old. I'm VERY close to the integrated Ascension mod being ready for release, now that my machine is back up and running; it won't be included in the version I plan to release today (since that's just going to be a bug fix version for the Mythology content), but the next one WILL have it.

    The Grand Strategies really dominate which victory an AI will try for; while the Greeks usually pick the diplomatic one, they don't always. And if they pick something else, it'll reduce the diplomacy Flavors enough to do what you saw.

    It's something I really dislike; a Human is able to go for multiple victories at once, but an AI over-specializes. I've been trying to fix that; the next version of the Empires mod will improve the AI's desire to get city-states, even if it's not going for a diplo win.

    A puppeted city can't build a Courthouse; you only do that once the city gets annexed. And the Courthouse in general isn't being given a high priority, although I just tweaked the Flavor values in the Empires mod to make it a bit better.

    What I'm still trying to figure out is why the AI never seems to annex its cities. Puppets just aren't as good.

    Bombardment units ALWAYS need visibility on their targets; the only things air units and the more advanced artillery units get is the "Indirect Fire" ability to hit targets that they themselves can't see. But you, as the player, still need to see the hex.

    This is why I add things like the Scout Powersuit and Geosynchronous Survey Pod; these have increased visibility so that they can give you that visibility without parking your units within counterattack range.

    It's just the Scout graphic scaled up. Placeholder.

    Very, although the biggest problem is getting it back to your territory when the CS in question's out on an island. I often just leave them there, to help my allies deal with mindworms or other AIs.

    Not intended, but known. All-terrain units (the Nessus Worm, Vertol, Former, and Gravship) are technically Sea units. This allows them to stack with one land unit, with the stronger unit taking any damage. So yes, the Nessus Worm can screen weaker barbarian units; while I hadn't intended that when I created the units, I like the idea. This makes the Nessus a bit more desirable for the human, relative to the other Titans, to compensate for its lack of a ranged attack.

    I have never seen that before. What might have happened was that particular City-State declared "permanent war" on you; they do that, and obviously you wouldn't be able to continue to bribe them if it'd have no effect. But if that AI wasn't at war with you at the time, I'm not sure why that'd happen.

    It IS a submarine, and all subs do that, but yes, it's kind of silly.
     
  13. MindXX

    MindXX Chieftain

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    Love your new quote:
    "Soon to be released as a major motion picture."

    MXX
     
  14. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Ascension is finally posted, over in the Files thread. However, I've already found one minor bug: the Head Start buildings aren't being placed in your cities when you do a late-era start. It's not broken, I just forgot to include that logic in the new version of the file.
    These buildings add food, production, and gold so that your newly-founded cities don't starve before you improve the area around them, and without them it's easily possible that your size 4 new cities will drop to 3 or even 2, depending on terrain.

    I've fixed it already in my own version, and I'll post it when the next iteration of the Mythology mod is ready to go. If you don't want to wait and want to edit the Base mod yourself, here's what you do:

    In the Base mod, open Lua/AoM_EndTurn.lua. Find line #61:
    Code:
    					CapHappyCount = math.floor((delTech+1)/2);
    and replace it with
    Code:
    					local numBonus = math.floor((delTech+1)/2);
    					CapHappyCount = numBonus;
    
    					for pCity in pPlayer:Cities() do
    						pCity:SetNumRealBuilding(GameInfoTypes.BUILDING_HEAD_START,numBonus);
    					end -- loop over cities
    This fixes it. Now I don't THINK it'd violate any checksums if you added this in your own post-build versions...
     
  15. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I played through a complete Base+Empires+Ascension game last night. "Complete" in this case means a diplo win in the late Digital, despite starting in the Industrial on King, and the AIs never even built any spaceship parts.

    Now, in the process of playing this test game, I fixed a couple minor bugs, but I also found three repeated Runtime errors that I have yet to track down. One is definitely in the Base mod's unit Lua, specifically line 25 in the OnUnitCreated function. Somehow, it's possible to enter this function without a valid unit number, and I'm not sure why.

    But there were also two other errors that I have yet to track down, because FireTuner goes to the ellipsis long before you get to the part of the filename that actually matters. All I know is that one of them is a pairs declaration on line 112, and the other is a number being compared to nil on line 75. Neither of these seemed to cause any major problems, and they all happened during the interturn so they could be caused by a lot of things.
    I'm pretty sure these errors did NOT happen during my last mythology game, which means they're probably in the Ascension mod's lua, although they could relate to things like the Work Boat AI override (which is in the Base mod). The problem is that in any file that includes utility functions (which are most of them) the line numbers won't match correctly. So I've got to go back to a lot of print-statement debugging, which is not fast.

    I also hadn't tested the Transcendence victory, which people have reported problems with. I'll try that tonight. The plan is to release an updated version this week, alongside new versions of the other mods. So if you find any more bugs, say so; after tonight, most of my testing time will be back on the Mythology mod while I try to resolve some major issues there.
     
  16. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Confirmed the bug with the Transcendence victory. It seems to be tied to the PreGame.SetVictory() function, which is SUPPOSED to set whether a victory condition is valid, but it doesn't seem to work for any victories beyond the ones in the core game. So you can turn OFF existing ones, but new ones won't do anything. It's a lot like the yield type issue I ran into with Favor over in the Mythology mod; the game creates a few reference arrays BEFORE mods are loaded, and then never updates them even when it should.

    So what I've done is decoupled the Transcendence Victory from the project. That way, the Project will always be buildable, and I'll handle the Lua directly, like I used to. It won't look QUITE as nice in the Civilopedia, since it won't list that project as a prerequisite for the win, but that's easy enough to spell out in text. And I've confirmed that it works in an actual game, so there's that.
     
  17. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    Just some minor feedback. Still playing the game at Standard/Emporer/Continents/ Industrial start/ Germany.

    Observations:

    1. Concerning "Geosynchronous selection screen": I'm assuming your aware of this resizing issue?

    2. Concerning "Combat Engineer movement": at this point in the game I had selected the "Power" SE, which gives all combat units +1 movement. However that doesn't seem to apply to the Combat Engineers. Is this intentional?

    D
     

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  18. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Yes. I haven't decided whether I should shorten the name or widen the box.

    Not so much "intentional" as "unavoidable". The only way to have it apply to CEs would be to declare them military units, which'd prevent them from stacking with other units. Too many of the Policy effects are hard-coded that way.

    ----------

    I WILL get the new version out tonight; the problem is that Ascension games are still giving two runtime errors that I can't track down. They don't seem to be actually breaking anything in practice, so it might be okay to leave them in, but I want to make one more attempt to find them before posting the new version.
     
  19. Amadee

    Amadee Chieftain

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    i got a really annoying problem.
    When i earn a policy and i click the symbol, nothing happens. Even when i click the one on top.
    can someone tell me whats wrong here?

    And can someone tell me how to put my save file in here? I uploaded it but somehow its not in this post.
     
  20. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Are you refering to when it lags after you choose a policy? That happens to me too, but it should be fine, just takes a few seconds for the game to process that you chose a policy.
     

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