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Age of Mythology

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

  1. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    The good news is that I've found the problem with the save/load functionality. For some unknown reason, it's stepping on itself, deleting the saved values for all players when it tries to overwrite any one player's Favor total. It shouldn't be doing this, but it is.

    The bad news is that I just don't have time to fix it; I've got to leave for the airport in twenty minutes, and I don't get back until the 31st. So I'm just going to have to leave the "official" version in its current state for now.

    Now, I've also made a bunch of other changes to the balance. Because of that, I'm attaching the latest version of the mod HERE, instead of in the Files thread, because this is really an unofficial update of sorts. The patch notes are short:

    * Added a bunch of text keys, replacing a lot of the placeholders
    * Rearranged a lot of techs and their effects. The list is too long to include here, just accept that it's pretty much rebuilt from scratch. The upshot is that you'll reach the higher levels a bit earlier than before, and the Classical Era won't feel quite so cramped. I haven't updated the tech tree screenshots at the start of this thread yet, although the tech descriptions in those posts ARE updated.
    * Reduced the gold penalty for the mythological era to -5/10/15/20/25, and the capital now adds 1/2/3/4/5 Gold per turn. This might end up being too generous, but too many people were having money issues.
    * Priests now generate +1 Food and +1 Culture per turn, in addition to the Happiness. I'm trying to get the AI to use them automatically, like it does Empaths. The strange part is that the only way I can get the AI to do so with the current yields is to set it to "Great Person Focus", which is stupid since Priests don't even GENERATE Great Person points. So it looks like the game's hard-coding things internally. In the end, I might just have to add a new Great Person type, the Great Prophet, and have priests build towards that (but slowly, maybe 1 GPP per priest).
    * The French civilization only gets +1 culture per turn per city, instead of 2. The pre-Steam Power phase now lasts twice as long as before, so it's only fair.
    * The Aztec civilization only gets half the unit's cost in Culture, instead of the full amount. (See previous comment.)

    This version, as you can expect from the brief time since the last one, has not been well-tested yet. Normally I wouldn't consider giving out a version in this state, but I wanted to make sure people could see the new tech layout if they wanted to.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    During a long plane flight, I spent some time tweaking the design. I came to a few conclusions I'd like to share (just so I don't forget them later):

    1> With the abundance of Pantheon myth units and Heroes, there's not nearly as much need to have every single Focus (other than War) have a level 4 Myth unit. In my original design only six or seven foci had any Myth units; part of the reason I changed that was that it gave too much of an advantage to the folks who DID get level 4s. But with all of the changes I've made since then, I don't think it's as essential as before. So:
    - Art, Seasons, and Balance will just not have level 4 Myth units; I'd had a hard time finding anything suitable for them. These Foci will be given something else at level 4 instead. I'd had Healing on this list as well, but I just really want a unit with a healing aura.

    - The Avatar, the previous Balance 4 unit, is shifting to being the Hindu pantheon's sole Major Hero. The way it'll work is that the eight Hindu High events will each have one option that gives you an Avatar (if you don't have one already) or adds some new ability to your Avatar if you do have one. So while the Greeks have 8 barely-above-mortal named heroes, and the Sumerians have 4 significantly stronger ones (each of which has a major drawback), the Hindu will have a single really, really strong one.

    2> A while back I'd asked how I should expand the Pantheon units to be more god-specific. I kept running into the same issue; a design that worked well for the Norse would be ridiculous for the Greeks, and vice versa. Today I realized, there's really no reason not to just vary these by Pantheon. Basically, this broke the pantheons down into three groups:
    A> The "UU" group. So if the default is Centaur/Minotaur/Cyclops, then Poseidon replaces the Centaur with a Hippocampos, Hades replaces the Minotaur with a stronger Shade unit, Zeus replaces the Cyclops with a powerful Lightning Bolt attack, and Hephaestus uses the default three. I was looking at having the Hindu work similarly, since a lot of the pantheon units I'd seen for them were very specific to a single god.
    B> The "2x2" group. So the Norse have two level 1.5s, two level 2.5s, and a single 3.5. That gives four combinations. Three pantheons would work this way (at the moment, Norse, Egyptian, and Aztec), just with a different arrangement. That is, if Norse are 2/2/1, then Egyptian are 2/1/2 (with all four gods getting the same level 2.5, but now at 3.5 you have two gods getting Ammit and two getting a Pharaoh for the 3.5) and Aztec are 1/2/2.
    C> The "+1" group. These would give the same three units to all four gods in your pantheon, but each would get something extra at creation based on which major god you picked. So the Sumerians would all use Utukku, Mushussu, and Pazuzu. But followers of Inanna would add the Teamwork promotion to their versions of all three, followers of Anu would add the Death promotion to all three, and so on. The Shinto would be similar, although they'll depend more on the pantheon units since they're the main anti-Myth forces for Shinto, who get no major heroes. So for them, the promotions will be heavily Myth-based.

    My hope is that by tying this to the different anti-Myth methods we'd talked about before, I can get a good variation between Pantheons without adding a ton of extra content. To fill some of these additional slots, I might pull some units away from the existing Foci, but the balance on that will be tricky.

    3> I rearranged the tech tree a bit more, and I realized a few things in the process:
    - The Crusades wonder had quietly crept up each time I redesigned the tech tree, to where it's now MUCH earlier than it shoud be, historically. So I moved it well back, to Chivalry.
    - I'm adding three more new National Wonders/Projects for the techs that were a bit light on content. These'll change the balance quite a bit, but they fill in a few necessary niches I'd neglected. (More details in a later post.)
    - Right now there's very little difference between your Primary Focus and your Secondary; they both scale up at almost exactly the same rate. I'm going to try moving things around a bit to help with this.

    Anyway, I'm on vacation; I'll be on these boards occasionally, but I'm not going to be playing or modding until January.
     
  3. Sneaks

    Sneaks Brooklyn Bum

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    I just had my first playthrough with AoM. Heres a few points:

    1. Building upgrades for temples were a real problem. Since they simply relpace the old building visually, the citizen that was working that slot permanently goes missing. I would suggest dumping out all specialists before removing the buildings and adding extra slots to the newer versions.

    2. The mandala did not feel particularly intuitive, and the current pacing of random events is too low to feel like I am making substantive work towards a particular foci.

    3. The period of religion felt it ended too quickly to warrant the amount of investment one puts into it. I would prefer if they turned into cultural sites or the ilk rather than poof.
     
  4. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It's not just replacing visually, it's destroying the old building and adding the new one. I wasn't aware that this caused a slotting issue (except maybe in the Cathedral -> Basilica transition), but it's easy enough to fix that in the next version by manually unslotting during any upgrade/downgrade.

    Now, I can't test this myself, so a few questions: one, is it permanently losing a specialist, or is it just until the next turn? If you click Reset Tiles in a city, does it come back? Did you slot the specialists manually before the building change, or did the AI put them there? Why do people park on a driveway and drive on a parkway?

    The events are supposed to be happening every 10-12 turns with the current values. If you feel that this is too slow, then the question is how often you think they should happen. If 10-12 is fine and you just had an unusually long gap in your game, it's possible that I can add some sort of override (where if it's been 20 turns since the last event, then it WILL trigger one event on the next turn). The problem with making events more common is that they're the main source of alignment shifts, and if I make events too common then it becomes trivial to move to the region for whichever minor god you want to add next, which is a huge advantage to the human player. You're not supposed to feel like events are ways to "work towards" a Focus; the primary limiter on minor gods should be the acquisition of Favor, not your alignment. Events are really just supposed to be a way to get a few small bonuses to offset the massive inherent penalties of the mythological age.

    As for the intuitiveness of the Mandala, I'm hoping that as I clean it up a bit I'll be able to make it more readable. One possibility is a simple "Help" button that you can click to get a longer explanation of what it does. Either that, or I just make a mouseover tooltip in the window with all of the necessary text. The real question here is whether it's even possible to explain this system in a quick help blurb, given the complexity. I'm not saying that players should have to read a novel to understand what they'll be doing, but if I provided a one-page summary in the Civilopedia under the Concepts section, would it be enough to fix the issue? (I was in the middle of doing exactly this, along with adding individual entries for Deities, Pantheons, and Foci under one of the other Civilopedia tabs.) I can easily add a few more Concepts entries to explain the whole setup.

    While the buildings do go away at the end, you DO get an infusion of culture and golden age progress when they do. Similarly, when a myth or hero unit disbands itself, you get gold and research. So it's not just all for nothing; between these boosts, the restoration of the +culture buildings, and the increased number of turns in the early eras, you might actually come out ahead culturally, especially if you picked Art. The aim is just to have each player be in roughly the same situation in the early Renaissance as if they'd played without the mythology mod in the first place.

    The fear about leaving some sort of cultural relic behind for every single removed temple is that it'd make a cultural victory too easy, but I could leave some single god-specific thing behind in your capital. That'd be 28 different buildings, so you might see a "Statue to Zeus" that adds some small bonuses, and which'd be destroyed if your capital was ever conquered. (Or maybe have one per Focus, with you having two left behind depending on your major god.) They could have some small effect; maybe if you'd followed a Wealth god your capital would be left with a building that added a small amount to all trade route income from then on, while a War god would be left with a shrine that added +5 XP to every new unit. Nothing game-breaking, maybe something like the Shrine bonuses, just a small reminder of your time in the mythological age.

    As for ending too quickly, the only thing I can really do about that is tweak the growth rates, tech costs, et cetera to make it take longer to reach the end of the line. Right now, I've tried to balance it such that it takes 350ish turns to go from the start to the end of the Enlightenment, instead of the ~200 you have in the vanilla game. Those numbers are easily tweakable (and will also depend on whether you're using the Empires mod, which itself is designed to slow things down a bit). But I can't really make the age end later in terms of which era it's in; the content is pretty much designed to stall out in the early Renaissance, and there's just not a whole lot I can do to change that without breaking a whole bunch of other bits.
     
  5. Sengir

    Sengir Deity

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    Played the game a bit more (version 0.0.8), some observations:
    - Civ: Rome
    - Mayor god: Brahme (Balance/Crafts), Saraswati (Knowledge), Ganesha (Art)
    - Settings: Small, Prince, Random (Archipelago)

    - If you add a priest specialist, the Happiness-count in the top panel doesn't change until you hit 'Next turn', same is true for unassigning a priest for that matter. The happiness total is correctly adjusted however. Not sure if this is a known issue or not, but I'd rather spent my time playing then typing ;)

    - Event turns 22, 27, 37, 52, 64, 70, 80. All minor

    - Transitioning from Shrine to Church made my Priest specialist disappear. I had set it manually, clicking on the city tile had no effect, waiting until next turn didn't either. Growing the city didn't help, neither did starving.

    - The calculations for growing to the next city size are off. Even with negative food, it says it will grow (though it'll take 4,359 turns to do so). It happened in cities with a shrines/priests and in cities without. Only when starving though.

    - I had no money problems (but I was playing on prince, and far from optimal as I was trying some things out, and I had a couple of missing citizens, due to building upgrades, so don't take this as representative).

    - At turn 75 I have way more Favor generated then the AI (but again, I'm playing on prince, and focusing pretty heavy on the mythology stuff)


    Added a couple of screenshots for clarification. I'll leave the game running tonight, if it doesn't crash, I might continue this game tomorrow.
     

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  6. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Known issue, and an unfortunate side-effect of the method used. I can, in theory, override the CityView logic to add or subtract the happiness building immediately upon changing the slotting, but it's not a big deal. The bigger issue is trying to get the AI to use the slots correctly, and I'm still working on that.

    Not surprising that they'd all be minor events, given that High events can't happen until the Classical and the Moderates have a longer lockout. The frequency's about right, although I think I might want to manually trigger an event on turn 10ish just to get people started, and to make at least one alignment shift before you add your first minor god.

    Reported a couple days ago. In the next version, I'll manually unslot every building that upgrades before doing so.

    That's in the core game, unfortunately, although I can fix that since I'm already modifying CityView. The fact is, a LOT of the UI elements were never written to allow for a negative value, and I've repeatedly run into those sorts of issues in other areas.

    I'd guess that you were probably gaining quite a bit from your Balance focus, at least once it upgraded to a Church. But you're also seeing the multiple changes I made to gold balance. I might have to undo one of the changes to make it a bit tougher again; if you don't have any gold-producing Foci then it should be hard to stay above zero.

    If you, at any point, saved the game and then reloaded it, then the AIs were probably being reset back to zero Favor. It's part of the memory bug I mentioned before; when I get home from vacation I'm going to rewrite that part of the logic, so that the next version WILL have full save/load functionality.

    More likely, though, the discrepancy is because you're using Priest specialists and the AIs aren't. It looks like a LOT of the specialist slotting logic is hard-coded inside the engine, so until I figure out how to make the AI think it wants to slot Priests, you'll see huge balance issues like that. My eventual goal is to have player and AI want to fill about half of their Priest slots, and it's just not there yet.
     
  7. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    In preparation for tonight's release of the newest version, I want to start a discussion with however few people are still reading these threads. The topic is Pantheon bonuses.

    Each of the seven Pantheons is now going to have something unique. Up to this point, they all provided the same basic things (Favor multipliers, three Pantheon units, 4 major and 9 minor gods), but they're now going to differ a little bit more. Each is going to get something "extra", generally designed around adding more anti-Myth abilities to each player. The current plan:

    Greek: Eight Major Heroes, awarded through a larger number of High Events than other players get.
    That is, everyone has two High Events that are universal. Greeks add another 8 Pantheon-specific High Events revolving around their Heroes, while everyone else only gets another 4.
    Note that I'm going to be increasing the chance of getting High Events, compared to what's in there now.


    Egyptian: Four Major Heroes (names TBD), plus they unlock an additional level 2.5 Pantheon unit, the Pharaoh (an anti-Myth defensive unit in the late Classical).
    As a 2.5, you can train up to 3 Pharaohs. I might change that down to 1 but give the unit a Great General aura as well; either way, you'd be able to build a new one if someone killed your old one. Remember, this is in ADDITION to the level 2.5 unit Egyptians already get, the Sphinx. One other quirk is that unlike the other Pantheon units, Pharaohs do NOT count as a Myth unit, so they'll get all the benefits of your other non-Myth boosting buildings.

    Norse: Your non-Myth units deal +1 damage to Myth units (both attacking and defending) and they unlock an additional level 1.5 Pantheon unit, the Hersir (a cheap anti-Myth unit in the late ancient era)
    As a 1.5, you can train up to 5 Hersirs. They're currently an 8-strength unit with Teamwork (+20% when friends are adjacent) and +20% vs. Myth units, placed at Mythology (end of Ancient). Again, this is in addition to the 1.5 unit the Norse already get, the Ravens. Like the Pharaoh, Hersirs are not Myth units and so benefit from all the other bonuses given to non-Myth units, including the +1 damage ability above.

    Hindu: The Hindu get a respawning Major Hero, the Avatar, once they are in the Classical Era. If you kill it during a combat, they get a new one for free in their capital (just like the Phoenix myth unit). Besides being a powerful unit from the moment you get it, all Hindu High Events also add a new promotion to your existing Avatar in addition to their other effects.
    This one's going to be a pain to balance. Note that this is nearly the same Avatar unit that used to be at Balance 4; as of tonight, Balance, Art, Healing, and Seasons will no longer have any Myth units in them.

    Aztec: Whenever a non-Myth Aztec unit kills a Myth unit, it gains a permanent promotion that gives +10% vs Myth units in all future battles. Kill another one, and there's a 50% chance this upgrades to +20%. Then each combat gives a 33% of upgrading to +30%. And at that point, each combat gives a 20% chance of upgrading to full Hero status (+50%).
    Note: if the unit in question already had one of these promotions from another source, it simply continues from the appropriate point in the progression. So get to the later eras and build the Inquisition, where all mundane units gain the +20% anti-Myth penalty, and they'll have a 33% chance of upgrading to +30% in their first fight.

    Sumerian: Four Major Heroes, each of which is stronger than the Greek/Egyptian ones and has some mystical abilities (i.e., promotions currently limited to Myth units) but comes with an inherent drawback (like Gilgamesh costing you 1 Happiness, or Enkidu suffering a permanent Diseased state).

    Shinto: Your non-Myth units take 1 less damage from Myth units, and the three Shinto Pantheon units all have the promotion that gives +20% vs. Myth units.

    So there you have it; it's going to take a bit of time to adjust each of these to be balanced. The plan is to add a few Events awarding minor heroes to the pantheons that seem to come up short in the above design. Nearly all of the above is implemented right now, though.

    I'd be interested in people's opinions of the above. I don't want these bonuses to be so dominant that it'd cause someone to decide not to use certain pantheons at all, but significant enough that it might alter your playstyle once you DO start the game. Obviously you won't be able to really see what they do until I upload the mod tonight. But the flavor of them should be easy to see.
     
  8. CivOasis

    CivOasis Ahuizotl

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    I need to play a game of this again..
     
  9. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Fast response. Glad to know I'm not the only one still reading here.

    I know it's been a while, about a month and a half since the last version was posted. I've been busy with work (mostly out-of-town meetings), and the tweaks I've made in the free time I've had needed to be tested more before I felt comfortable posting anything. It wasn't until this last weekend that I really had time to sit down and do some serious debugging, and I think I've got the major kinks worked out.

    What this means is that now that I'm back in town, the mod's going to change pretty significantly during the upcoming week, as all of the accumulated small changes I've made since December get put in at once. If you liked the old versions then you should store them someplace safe, but what gets uploaded tonight will be significantly different (hopefully improved) in terms of pacing, balance, and replayability. Also, the load/save functionality should now work more-or-less correctly.
    Unfortunately, it probably won't be the most bug-free thing you've ever used, so don't be surprised if I post v0.10 by Monday and v0.11 by the end of next week to fix the various bugs people will find in v0.09. Hopefully it'll all calm down fairly quickly.
     
  10. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Looking forward to the new version
     
  11. Sengir

    Sengir Deity

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    From what I can tell from the list, I'd say it's enough for flavour, but not really game-changing. The difference is mostly in when the extra anti-myth-units/bonus will be available/flourish.

    Another difference that I can see is that some favor tall, and others wide (Hindu tall, with only one strong anti-myth, Aztecs+Shinto wide with their anti-myth-ability spread over all units; the others fall somewhere in between, it's a bit of a gliding scale). I'm not sure if that's going to influence decisions on game-start; a lot will depend on the enemies you're facing, so from reading only, I think it's pretty much what you aimed for.
     
  12. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    If you noticed, the Pantheons already had these sorts of biases based solely on which Foci they had; Hindu's particular combinations already favored small-but-tall empires, which obviously favors India as a civ as well. Same for most of the others. So yes, I was deliberately trying to make these effects favor certain strategies a bit, because what I'd found in practice was that while the Pantheon sets as a whole might have certain biases, when it came to an actual game, there was just too little difference between a Greek follower that had foci X, Y, and Z, versus an Aztec follower who picked Z, Y, and X. The Favor multipliers helped, but it just felt like there needed to be a little more to make the options distinct.

    There's still a lot of room to work with. For instance, take the Aztec bonus; the thing that I'd originally wanted to differentiate Norse vs. Aztec (as the two battle-heavy pantheons) was that Norse would use mostly mundane units to kill the enemy, while Aztecs would use a mix of Myth and mundane units. The current Aztec bonus, though, only boosts their mundane units, so one possibility (if it ends up feeling too weak relative to the Norse) is to make it so that their Myth units can ALSO get the boost. This'd obviously have a big impact on balance.

    Anyway, the new version's been posted, so you can try out some of these effects for yourself. I'm going to spend most of the weekend playtesting and adding all of the High Events I've planned out, so by Monday there should be a considerably improved version to download.
     
  13. Kemystul

    Kemystul Chieftain

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    Just started a new game with the newest version. Ran into a bug quite quickly with an event.

    I'm using the Norse Parthenon, and the first event I got was "Placeholder Hindu High Event", it happened on my 1st turn, now I have an avatar...
     
  14. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Just got an avatar with the Egyptian pantheon
     
  15. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Sigh. Okay, I'll double-check the logic on those Events tonight; it's really disturbing that I didn't see any of that in my own test games. And it shouldn't be possible to get ANY events until the sixth turn, so something strange must be going on internally.

    Chances are I'll release a 0.09a tonight or tomorrow morning with some bug fixes.
     
  16. Pazyryk

    Pazyryk Deity

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    Spatz,

    You need to figure out how to advertise this mod in some way. I'm lurking around here occasionally. I don't play much as you can probably understand (with another 100 hrs to put on my mod before alpha). But it's clearly quite an accomplishment. Fantasy/Mythology lovers are not finding it because it's buried in a sub-sub-forum entitled " ...Alpha Centauri Mod". Why not post the major updates on the main C&C forum? It's certainly more valuable than yet another I-have-a-great-idea-will-someone-make-this-for-me thread.
     
  17. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I'm planning on doing that, eventually. The main reason I haven't advertised the Mythology mod yet is that it's in an alpha (not quite playable, features still being added) state, hence the v0.X number. The balance is way off, I still haven't got it saving/loading the way I wanted yet (I'm using your loader as a stopgap, but I've mentioned how I need to be able to preserve mid-turn modifications to things like Favor), the AI isn't handling any of the new features well yet, and I have a huge number of placeholders in there. Not just graphical placeholders, like the units in the Alpha Centauri mod, but event placeholders as well. When I get to something stable that I can call v.1.00, I'll post something over in the main C&C telling everyone, and I'll have to remember to put the modpack in the monthly file announcements.

    My goal is to reach that point by the end of February; I'll be spending most of my free time this month getting the kinks worked out of the Mythology code. The version I uploaded last night, for instance, has already been found to have some pretty major bugs in the Event code. That's not really ideal for bringing new people into the mod.

    At some point, I might upload it to the in-game mod browser as well, but given the multiple mods involved, I really doubt that'd work well. To say nothing, of course, of copyright issues.
     
  18. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Found the bug with the Hindu event: in MythEvents.lua, I misspelled its condition as "Hindo_Cond" near the top of the file. So effectively, there were no constraints being placed on that particular event. If you fix that one letter, it should solve the problem; obviously I'll include this fix in the next version.
     
  19. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    I got the hindu placeholder event twice in one game, the second time it happened I got stuck because none of the buttons would work (my guess is because I already had an Avatar)

    So I guess make sure that the avatar event is not repeatable for next version
     
  20. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Actually, it's supposed to be repeatable. The way it's supposed to work is that the first time you take the event, you get an Avatar. The second time, it should give your existing Avatar a randomly chosen promotion. In the long term I'll probably just set it to four non-repeating events, but for now it'll stay repeatable.

    What's probably going to happen in the final version is that you'll automatically get a free Avatar once you enter the Medieval if you didn't have one already; since the High Events can happen in the Classical, you have the potential to get a strength-16 unit with tons of abilities when everyone else is screwing around with swordsmen, but at the very least you'll have one a bit before you get to longswords.

    Anyway, if it's freezing up like that then it's probably giving a Lua error; that sort of nonresponsive UI really only happens when there's a runtime error. I'll look into that; the strange part, though, is the logic it uses to assign a random promotion is identical to what I'm already using to give random promotions to Psi units and Major Heroes when they spawn...

    EDIT: Found it. In each Hindu high event option, there are three places where it uses mUnit, that should be changed to pUnit. Just a cut-and-paste mistake on my part.
     

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