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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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    UPDATE:

    After a particularly hectic week (the yearly proposal deadline for the Hubble Space Telescope was this last Friday, and I got roped into a lot of side projects), I'm back to modding again in my spare time. From the looks of things I won't have a burst of work-related time commitments until at least April, so I should be able to put the finishing touches on this mod before the expansion comes out.

    Most of what I've been working on involves the Heroes; I've made a few fundamental changes to these:

    > The Sumerian Major Heroes, as intended, now have drawbacks to make up for the fact that they're stronger than everything other than an Avatar. Gilgamesh gives you -1 Happiness until the Enlightenment, Enkidu is permanently diseased, Utnapishtim is weaker than before (10 vs 14) but now has the Phoenix's rebirth ability, and Dumuzid takes extra damage from any non-Myth units. All four regenerate, though, so they're still pretty awesome.
    To compensate for this decrease, all Sumerian Minor Heroes now start off with a couple extra promotions (Loner and Elite, at present).

    > The Norse now get 4 Major Heroes (Sigmund, Gunnar, Brynhild, and Sigurd), although I've structured it to where they'll be less likely to get these than a Greek player would; effectively, the events that award heroes only give heroes on 2 of the 4 options, with the other choices being some pretty powerful stuff. To make up for this gain, their old ability (+1 damage to Myth units) now only applies in melee combat.
    These Norse heroes, unlike their Greek counterparts, are semi-mystical, with a few abilities normally reserved for Myth units, so they're still pretty nice.

    > The Egyptians no longer get any Major Heroes at all. Instead, they get the removed part of the old Norse ability, dealing +1 damage to enemy Myth units in ranged combat (meaning either when dealing ranged damage OR when attacked by a ranged Myth unit), AND their Minor Heroes start with extra promotions (Teamwork and Elite).

    > The Hindu now get a free Avatar unit when entering the Medieval Era, if they didn't get one previously from a High Event during the Classical. I'm still trying to implement it where your Avatar starts with a certain promotion based on which Hindu god you follow, but that has a couple technical issues.

    > As I start entering actual text for events, I'll be shuffling a lot of things around, especially shifting most heroes to be awarded from multiple events. Take the Greeks, for instance; they have 8 Major Heroes, and the placeholders each just had four identical options. What it'll be instead is something like a Trojan War event where one choice gives you Achilles, one Odysseus, and so on, and then you might get a different Wandering Hero event that gives Odysseus, Jason, and so on. It's actually fairly likely that in this new system you'll have an event offer you a hero you already have from a previous event, in which case that particular option will be locked out. If this causes people too many alignment issues I can rethink it, but High Events were never really about alignment changes.
    Only the Sumerian, Greek, and Norse have multiple Major Heroes, so this won't be an issue for the other four.

    Chances are I won't get all of the new High Events in right away, since I'm trying to double-check each option's effect before releasing the mod. My goal, now that I know my schedule better, is to get the Sumerian, Norse, and Greek events completed tonight or tomorrow, and release a new version tomorrow night. That way people can give feedback on whether the new events work correctly before I finish writing all of the others.

    Beyond that, the next step is to come up with lots of unit icons (pictures and unit flags) for all my Myth units. I doubt I'll be attempting any custom 3D unit models any time soon, at least in this mod; I really want to get the Ascension mod's units finished first.
     
  2. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Another update:

    No, no version tonight. I'd found a situation where it wasn't correctly re-initializing the mandala after loading a savegame, and I tried to fix that; it's a lot more important to get the base mechanics working correctly than it is to pass along some improved Event content. Unfortunately, the fix isn't trivial; it's requiring me to restructure quite a bit of the Mandala logic. On the bright side, this'll hopefully allow me to fix a few other things I'd wanted to improve, but I just won't be able to get it all done AND tested tonight. So expect it tomorrow.

    In the meantime, I'll ask a few questions for those few of you who still read these threads:
    1> In the Ascension mod, besides adding the 10 new policies, I also rearranged quite a few of the existing policies. The EFFECTS of many existing policies were altered in the Base or Empires mods, but the rearrangement (with far fewer standalone policies in a branch, i.e. policies that don't require or are required for any others) is only being done in the Ascension mod.
    Should these changes be done in the Base/Empires mods, to apply to Mythology content as well? Or are people happy with the Mythology mod's policies being quite a bit closer to vanilla?

    2> Right now the Event triggers are purely random. You might get one on turn 5, or you might not get any until turn 50 (although that'd be horribly unlikely). Given that I've already altered the User Events mod logic for this mod, it wouldn't be hard to add a sort of diminishing returns in the logic, to where it artificially inflates the odds of getting an event if it's been more than N turns since your last one, to reduce the chance that one player gets lots of good events and others don't.
    Would people prefer this sort of system?

    3> I'm trying to get the AI to use Priests correctly. Currently, the AI just doesn't seem to think they're valuable enough to slot; it seemed to have no problem seeing the Empath (+2 food, +5 Great Empath points) units as valuable, but it just doesn't like the current Priest (+1 food, +1 culture), and it doesn't know about the Favor or Happiness boosts. Unfortunately, there are no current Lua overrides to force someone to use a certain specialist (which is also making it a pain to REMOVE a slotted priest before I upgrade a building).
    So the problem: to make Priests more valuable to the AI, I might have to do one or more of the following:
    A> Allow them to generate Great Person points towards a new GP type, the Great Prophet, which'd be unusual in that it'd have no Improvement but would basically just be for starting Golden Ages.
    B> Increase their food to +2 and drop the culture.
    C> Make their yields better and then add a penalty through Lua (which'd bypass the AI's logic. For instance, if I put them as +2 Food and then subtract 1 food per Priest from each city, it'd be effectively +1 but the AI would value them more. I'm concerned, obviously, that the AI might get stuck where it THINKS it has enough food when it really doesn't.

    Thoughts?

    -----------------
    And on an unrelated note, in the next few versions I'll be updating a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff to run more smoothly. But you, the players, won't see any differences. A big example of this is in the Ascension mod; every custom Wonder effect in that mod uses the Serial Event that triggers at the start of the active player's (that's you) turn. I'm migrating as much logic as possible to the start-of-turn GameEvent that instead triggers at the start of each player's turn, because it's a lot more stable and in general solves a lot of the "tie" issues (like how if two civs launch ships on the same turn, it treats them both as winners). The Mythology mod also has quite a few of these.

    So don't be surprised if the next few versions make changes that aren't mentioned in any sort of patch notes. I'll be doing work, but it just won't be as flashy as a new unit model or something.
     
  3. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    If you mean replacing one building with another, how are you doing it currently? In Age of Evolution I'm using Lua to sell a building when it becomes obsolete:

    Code:
    function AlchemistsShopObsolescence( iPlayer )
    	local player = Players[iPlayer]
    	local team = Teams[player:GetTeam()]
    
    	for city in player:Cities() do
    		if (city:IsHasBuilding(GameInfo.Buildings["BUILDING_ALCHEMISTS_SHOP"].ID) and team:IsHasTech(GameInfo.Technologies["TECH_CHEMISTRY"].ID)) then
    [COLOR="Red"]			Network.SendSellBuilding(city:GetID(), GameInfo.Buildings["BUILDING_ALCHEMISTS_SHOP"].ID);[/COLOR]
    		end
    	end
    end
    
    GameEvents.PlayerDoTurn.Add( AlchemistsShopObsolescence )
    
    ...and that takes care of all specialists within it as well. Note though that in order for this to work, the building must be "sellable", which means it must have a maintenance of 1 or above.
     
  4. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Like so:
    Code:
    pCity:SetNumRealBuilding(Building2,0);
    pCity:SetNumRealBuilding(Building1,1);
    I use the SetNumRealBuilding function for a LOT of things, because it's pretty much the only command in the City structure that deals with that. I've been toying with a few related ones, like DoReallocateCitizens() or DoVerifyWorkingPlots() to see if I can deal with this effect in other ways.

    Unfortunately that Sell function doesn't really work too well, here. I don't want my religious buildings to cost maintenance, because I don't want an AI in a gold crunch to decide to sell these buildings. Or a player, really, because the script would just restore the missing building on the following turn. Since I have their cost set to -1, I'm not sure if you'd even get anything for doing that.
    I might have to do this anyway, and then figure out how to award the player some extra gold each turn to offset it, because the bug in question is really causing headaches, but only if I can find some way to ensure the AI never tries selling the building by choice.

    One other thing: you can replace
    GameInfo.Buildings["BUILDING_ALCHEMISTS_SHOP"].ID
    with
    GameInfoTypes.BUILDING_ALCHEMISTS_SHOP
    as it means the same thing. Just a little bit easier to type.
     
  5. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    Hmm yes, given the situation in which you are removing the buildings, it would create some problems. I originally had tried to do the obsolescence code with SetNumRealBuilding as well, but it made the specialists be "locked" into the removed building.

    But, I imagine there is some way to change specialist allocation through lua. After all, they can be changed through the interface, and the interface is lua-scripted... so there must be some command that is used in CityView.lua that changes the specialist allocation in the city.
     
  6. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Found it.

    Code:
    Game.SelectedCitiesGameNetMessage(GameMessageTypes.GAMEMESSAGE_DO_TASK, TaskTypes.TASK_REMOVE_SPECIALIST, iSpecialist, iBuilding);
    for removal, and
    Code:
    Game.SelectedCitiesGameNetMessage(GameMessageTypes.GAMEMESSAGE_DO_TASK, TaskTypes.TASK_ADD_SPECIALIST, iSpecialist, iBuilding);
    for adding one.

    The problem is, look at that code. Do you see any indication of which city is affected? No, because that particular task seems to be hard-coded in the engine to only work when City View is active, and it'll only operate on whichever one you have open in the UI at that moment. It does this command:
    Code:
    local pCity = UI.GetHeadSelectedCity();
    before each instance of that adjustment.

    Now, I'm going to try to override that using the UI.ClearSelectedCities(); and UI.AddSelectedCity(); commands, to activate each city, make the change, and close it in the case of an upgrade/downgrade; the only problem is, AddSelectedCity must require at least one argument, but I can't find anywhere in the existing code that it's used, and the wiki's no help. Even InGame.lua, which calls CityView, assumes the value's already been set. Based on similar functions it probably wants just the city ID, but it might be expecting the structure instead, and probably also needs the player's ID.

    So I'm going to have to experiment. I'll leave this disabled in the next version, and play with it next weekend to see if I can use this system to fix the slotting issues. Speaking of the next version, I still haven't quite fixed the save/load issues I had over the weekend, so the next version will be delayed until I get that working again. I'm not going to bother giving an ETA, because until it's done, I won't post it. Besides, there aren't very many people using the mod, and no one's giving feedback on the balance, new bonuses, etc. so there's not much point in rushing new versions out.
     
  7. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Status time.

    Here's the deal; the save/load was still acting really flaky. It'd work fine for normal saves made at certain times, but it'd fail badly when you tried to load a game in a handful of situations (especially quicksaves); it looked like the data was being saved correctly, but the arrays weren't reinitializing correctly on the load action. Additionally, the Mandala UI itself wasn't always reloading correctly when you loaded an existing game; the logic it uses is based on the InfoAddict mod component, which didn't need up-to-date info at all times. If IA took a turn to get back to normal (or even lost its data altogether), it wasn't the end of the world; I can't afford the same sort of delay. So, I've had to go off-model a bit, and it's created certain circumstances where it'd fail badly.

    While the mod was definitely playable, I wasn't happy with the workarounds that would be necessary to get it to a fully working state. So I scrapped a few of the internal mechanisms and rewrote them to be a bit more robust. This has taken some time, and it's almost working; I figure to have the kinks worked out in the next couple days. To the user, the only noticeable differences (besides fixing the remaining save/load issues, I mean) will be in minor things like how you now pick your pantheon and god AFTER closing the DoM box. This means no more having to listen to that stupid voice-over while picking a god. I also think I've got the Priest bug fixed to where it'll unslot them before upgrading/downgrading a religious building, and I'm hoping to also use this mechanism to force the AI to use Priests when it needs them, but I can't test these changes until I get the UI bits fixed. (Right now, it's doing everything but removing the pantheon selection screen when it's supposed to. Shouldn't be hard to fix, you'd think, but it's resisting all of the normal commands to dequeue the popup.)

    Now why haven't I posted anything recently? Because, frankly, there's not much point in doing so. The reason for this forum was for me to get feedback that I can't get from just playing my mods for myself. The Ascension mod's been effectively done for a while, barring minor graphical improvements, so I'm not too worried about a lack of feedback there, but the Mythology mod desperately needs balance work. Only 47 people downloaded the most recent version of that mod, and no one's given me any feedback on the balance of the last few versions; bug reports, help with icons, things like that have been given, and I'm grateful for the help, but I need feedback on a different level.

    So what I need are answers to questions like these:
    1> Do you find any Foci to be must-haves, or any that are too weak to be worth taking? The goal is that no single Focus should be an absolute necessity, but you should be running into situations where you're really short on, say, Gold, and need to pick one of the gold-boosting Foci to deal with it. That's why there are so many "mixed" Foci, like Plants, that add a little of everything. On a related note, are there any Foci whose levels are too disparate, to where its level 1 effect might be seen as huge but its level 3 and 4 effects just aren't worth taking? Or vice versa, obviously.
    2> Are all seven Pantheons worth using? This one will depend heavily on the High Events I end up with, some of which you haven't seen, but I don't want there to be a few Pantheons that are just never picked. This one also is effectively asking whether the various Favor-generation methods are balanced; does a Battle-heavy pantheon like the Norse or Aztecs get too much of a gain from early Barbarian fights, for instance? When I post the next version, I should have the Norse, Sumerian, and probably Greek being completely done (the three Hero-heavy pantheons), so they'll be the baseline for my balance.
    3> Do you get stuck at any point where you have plenty of Favor but can't select any gods at your current alignment? Obviously this'll depend on your choice of primary god, and I'm working on ways to fix that, but it might require altering the regions linked to each Focus to create a bit more overlap. My goal is that you should average 2-3 choices at every opportunity after the first (which should be more like 3-4).
    4> Are Myth units too powerful, to where they're so dominant that you never build mundane units, or are they too weak? This answer will depend on era; the early Myth units aren't much stronger than mundane units, but the disparity gets bigger as you progress to make up for the fact that your mundane units start with XP from Barracks and such, and can upgrade to higher units. On a related note, I'm trying to evaluate the balance between the Pantheon-linked units and the normal Myth units as well.
    5> Do you find yourself picking religious techs ahead of the mundane techs at the same levels, or do you pick them after you've grabbed the essential techs that unlock new units or buildings? Obviously this one will depend on era as well. The techs in the latest release are probably the final arrangement, it's now just a question of adjusting costs.
    6> Are Heroes worth using? That is, do you go out of your way to send your Heroes to warzones to counter enemy Myth units, or do you just mop the Myth forces with larger numbers of mundane units (or your own Myth forces)? And on a related note, is getting a Major Hero from an earlier-than-expected High Event too much of a power boost to a lucky player?

    Beyond this, I can also use feedback on things like how many turns it took to reach each Era, how many gods you had in a typical game, how many Heroes you had in a typical game, and whether there were too few or too many early wars with the changes I've made.

    I'm probably going to get the next version out this weekend, but I really hope someone will try answering some of these before then.
     
  8. Lplate

    Lplate Esus (Allegedly)

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    I thought that the zombie spawning was a bit excessive. Zombies steamrolling through a few barbarians made conquering a couple of civilizations very easy in the early game.

    I didn't get to the late game. My favor stagnated for ages as I hadn't realised that getting the next city out was vital to keep it climbing.
     
  9. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    That's easy enough to adjust. Three possible ways come to mind:
    1> Right now the percentage is linearly based on the ratio of strengths; it's easy enough to make it non-linear. I could have the chance depend on the number of zombies you already have in play, for instance, or on the number of nearby zombies.
    2> I can make the "spawned" zombies be a different unit type (same unit class) with lower strength and/or other drawbacks. The original player-built Zombie might be a 6, but its offspring might only be a 4 or 5 and have an XP penalty or something to make them far less effective, even though they'd still be pretty useful for the Teamwork ability. I'd actually wanted to do something like this for the Vampire already, with vampire spawn being incapable of generating new vampires and only the original "master" having the ability to generate new ones.
    3> Related to a different thread, one thought was to replace the current rigid "X per empire" limits on each type of Myth unit (which the current spawn mechanism bypasses) with a new strategic resource that would only be generated by religious buildings and priests (sort of like how the myth units in the original AoM consumed Favor to build). So tier 1 myth units might consume 1 unit of this resource, 1.5s (the first tier of Pantheon unit) consume 2, 2s consume 3, and so on up to the level 4s using 7 or more. This'd obviously penalize folks who abused the Zombie spawning method as they'd quickly hit a maximum AND lock themselves out of using the better Myth units, and it'd allow the effective caps to scale with map size (which the current limits don't). It'd also let me fine-tune the balance a bit better; maybe Myth-heavy Foci like Animals or Darkness provide more of this resource than normal, maybe the Shinto pantheon myth units cost 1 less than their counterparts but cost a bit more gold, and so on.

    But this is the kind of feedback I really need right now; there's just no way for one person to playtest every focus, given how many of them I have. So keep it coming.

    Getting a new city is big for this since you'll have more buildings and priests generating Favor. But you'll get even more by starting a war, and you can also adjust just how many Priest slots you're filling in your cities. It'll depend heavily on which pantheon you selected, which is part of why I was asking about whether all seven choices felt viable; a battle-heavy choice like the Norse or Aztecs can run into real problems if they have no one nearby to declare war on (or finish off any nearby enemies early on).

    There's also the question of Favor requirement progression. You get your first minor god at 100, your second doesn't come until 1200, your third at 3300, and your fourth at 6400. (Cumulative totals. That is, it's 1100 from your first to second, 2100 from your second to third, and so on.) I'm currently aiming for these totals to be hit on turns 25, 100, 200, and 325ish, more or less; the idea would be that between your fourth and fifth Minor god, you'll hit the Enlightenment. This is one reason I really need player feedback; if you're having too hard a time generating this much Favor by those turn numbers, I can adjust the amounts needed.

    I also really should have put this on the list of topics to address:
    7> How many Priests do you use in a typical turn, as a fraction of your total number of Priest slots?

    The benchmark I'm aiming for (and which I'll use for the AI, assuming the forced slotting works) is fairly involved. Warning, it's long; the abbreviated version is in bold down below, so skip to that if you don't care about specifics.

    > Count up the number of Priest slots in each city. For each city, cap this total based on the city's population; 1-2 means no Priests can be placed in that city, 3-4 means a max of 1, 5-6 means a max of 2, and so on. (I don't want AI cities starving because they didn't have the population to support the Priests.) Note that this is only a limit I'll apply to the AI; you can feel free to slot them right away if you want, but you KNOW it probably won't be the greatest idea. I might also vary the cap with the Priest Favor multiplier, to where a x3 caps one pop lower (pop 2-3 giving a max of 1, 4-5 giving a 2, etc.) and a x1 caps one higher. After all, you'll be more willing to divert that worker to the priest slot if you know you're getting 9 favor per turn from it.
    > Get the total of the above, to see how many eligible slots are available in your empire. Let's call this total value "X".
    > If your empire has negative Happiness, use enough Priests to bring you up to zero even if it cripples you in other areas. Let's call the number needed to reach 0 Happiness "Y". If you're already above zero happiness, Y=0.
    > Of the remaining (X-Y) slots, assuming X > Y, we'll allocate a fraction based on the Priest Favor rating for your pantheon. x1 Pantheons (Egyptian and Aztec) will use 0-50% of them, averaging 25%; x2 Pantheons (Greek, Norse, and Shinto) will use 25-75%, averaging 50%, and the x3 Pantheons (Sumerian and Hindu) will use 50-100%, averaging 75%. The AI will just pick a number randomly within this range. I might adjust these a bit further, but this is the general guideline I'm aiming for.
    > Once you know how many slots should get priests, allocate them. When deciding which slot to use in each city, pick a shrine/church/cathedral that's close to upgrading (assuming you have the tech for that) over one that isn't, but otherwise just assign them randomly. And again, each city has a maximum number of Priests based on its population.

    Now, all of the above is what I'm aiming for, which'll generally mean using about half of your Priest slots once you're past the Ancient Era, with a bit more for Priest-heavy pantheons and less for the ones with low Priest Favor. What I'm trying to do now is adjust the benefits for Priests to make you WANT to use that many of them; right now they're 1 Happiness, 1 Food, 1 Culture, and 3/6/9 Favor (plus 1 Gold once you have the right national wonder). So they SHOULD be a good all-around choice when you can afford the loss in productivity, but to know this I need to see how many priests are being used by the average player in a typical game turn. I might have to shift their yields a bit to make them more desirable if it turns out that players aren't using them that often.

    Of course, with the Priest slot bug I'm sure people are avoiding using these slots, so hopefully once I fix that, it'll be possible to do this sort of analysis. And a lot will depend on the High Events I add to each pantheon; one reason I need feedback is that I can give certain pantheons an extra event or two that add some bonuses or extra Favor or something if it turns out to be too hard to play one Pantheon.
     
  10. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Since the expansion is going to make you have to rework this mod anyway, have you considered adding lua event god powers? For example you could spend favor/faith on things other than gods and "upgrade" a god by buying specific god powers under them, god powers could be a recharging event that you can activate at will. Beneficial ones such as a food or combat boost for a turn, or ones to smite your enemies like earthquakes that distroy a cities buildings (id make it only possible for AIs to use this against someone they are hostile or at war to since im sure it would attack its friends otherwise) or even unit spawning powers (remember Ragnarok from AoM? It could turn your workers into minor heroes)
     
  11. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Many, many times. The basic problem with doing so is how the AI reacts to them; that's why I structured the Events the way I did, because it results in a similar sort of play variation without needing nearly as much AI logic. That's why the few "god powers" that I've translated over were changed into other forms, like the Lightning Bolt being made a bomber-style unit. But yes, in the original design I'd had the idea that the player could spend Favor on those other things. Originally Favor was also going to be used as a way of directly buying Heroes or Myth units, instead of waiting for Focus buildings or Events to unlock them. This was dropped in the end because of all the AI and balance issues involved, which is why the current Favor system only involves an ever-increasing counter. Of course, if we get the DLL at the time of the expansion...

    Also, I wouldn't say I'm going to HAVE to rework all of this. From what I've seen so far, I'm likely actually going to have to change very little; the Religion system in the expansion seems to be completely focused on global bonuses, whereas nearly all of my content is unlocked locally. I might rework the addition of new gods to key off Faith instead of Favor (shifting Favor into a strategic resource used for Myth units, maybe), and reduce some of the bonuses, but remember that my Focus effects are designed to be more or less power-neutral, where they basically offset the progressive Mythology penalties I've added through policies.

    So having both my system and the expansion's religions in at the same time shouldn't break anything, although it'd be cumbersome to manage both. Of course, there'd also be the obvious conflict of picking, say, Hindu as your pantheon in my content while picking Christianity in the expansion's system. I really wish they hadn't been so specific in their system, and I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. But that's only an immersion issue, not a gameplay issue, so if push comes to shove I'll just change their system when used with my mod.

    And on the bright side, having Faith and a new UI window should allow me to remove a metric buttload of the kludges I've had to put in place to track the Favor "yield", update the Mandala window, and so on. I'd just roll the systems together and have the Mandala be displayed in the religion UI, possibly using a few buttons to switch back and forth.

    I also liked Fimbulwinter, which froze the world and made wild wolves attack your enemies' towns. The biggest problem with translating these sorts of things into Civ is that those sorts of "game over" events work fine for an RTS but not so well for an empire-building game.

    But I've toyed with various things along these lines. For instance, a Ragnarok-style High Event I wrote for the Norse was going to replace every worker you had with a swordsman-type combat unit with access to all of the same worker actions, albeit at a slower rate. I still might go with that, but the AI issues were just huge.
     
  12. Lplate

    Lplate Esus (Allegedly)

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    Hi,

    Just tried another game.
    I played on Duel with 4 civilizations (cause there was just too much empty space the last time I played) at Quick speed (cause even at Quick, it takes me too long to play a game of Civ).
    Gods: Thor, Tyr (turn 35), Skadi (turn 50), Njord (turn 74), Heimdall (turn 104)
    I only remembered to start using priests in turn 35 when the first minor God turned up.
    Russia declared war on turn 46 and I kept the war going for as long as I could to soak up battle favor. One temporary cessation when they offered me a load of iron and horses. I killed them off in turn 122.

    Stopped playing in turn 125. My favor was 5691. The next best was England on 1858 and then Egypt on 1655.
     
  13. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Okay, that's WAY too fast, even on Quick. One thing I'm implementing in the next version is that battles versus Barbarians only give half as much Battle Favor, to represent the fact that they're not nearly as much of a challenge. So how much of the Battle Favor came from random barbarians, and how much came from other players?

    This should be fixed in the next version; if all of my fixes work, the AI will value Priests more than it does now and so a city left on automatic specialist slotting should use them occasionally. If the city manager is not recommending you use Priests now (which it isn't), then it means that none of your AI opponents are using their own Priests either, which obviously hurts them in both Happiness and Favor.

    Yeah, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about that. As you've noticed, it's a really easy way to build up huge amounts of Favor, especially if you picked a Norse or Aztec god. Ideally there'd be some sort of "war weariness" factor where a protracted war stops generating much Battle Favor at the full rate, but I don't think I have easy access to the variables for that. The funny part is, in the original AoM game, the Norse could do exactly this for Favor, just having a constant string of skirmishes, and the game would naturally limit them since all Favor was capped at 100. Since the Norse could generate Favor faster than they could spend it, and god upgrades depended on food and gold instead of Favor, it was fairly self-limiting.

    It'd be possible to put something similar here, where your maximum Favor was equal to, say, 200 times your empire's total population. You'd still get your first god quickly at 100 Favor (although with the Barbarian change, not as fast as before), but your second (at 1200) couldn't unlock until you had 6 total population in your empire. Six population isn't exactly a huge hurdle to overcome, but it means you won't get the second god only a few turns after your first no matter how many battles you have.
    Similarly, your third (at 3300) would require 17 population, your fourth would require 32, and so on. I can change the Favor thresholds if these seem impractical, and I can curve it by game speed and maybe map size if need be (easy enough since each map size has a variable for the optimum number of cities per player), so it's very adjustable. The best part is that I can just cap the "global" effect (unlocking new gods) while keeping the "local" effect (upgrading religious buildings) uncapped, since those are already inherently capped by your tech level, which already scales with all those other factors. So gaining more Favor would never be totally useless unless you were so far beyond the norm that every religious building was hitting its own cap.

    Hopefully that discrepancy will be fixed once I get the Priest slotting correct. On turn 125 on Quick (which corresponds to turn 180 on Standard) I'd wanted each player to have around 3000 Favor, just shy of unlocking your third god. Obviously you picked a battle-oriented pantheon and kept a constant war going to end up well above that line (and your minor god choices were very war-oriented), but the AIs should all have been around 3k by that point as well.

    So now that you've played a bit, do you have any opinions on the relative strengths of the various Foci? Did you feel too limited by the Mandala when it came time to pick each new god, or did you always have 2-3 options at each selection? Were the Myth units worth using in battle, or did you just stick with mundane units? Did the Events mesh well, or were you getting powerful ones too soon?

    ---------------

    I'm continuing to code stuff up on my own machine, and I'll spend most of this weekend cleaning up what I have to try to release to all of you. If all goes well it'll be a lot more stable and polished than what's posted now. I'd really like to incorporate some more balance changes, though, so if you have any feedback about the balance between gods, foci, events, etc. then now's the time to say so.
     
  14. Lplate

    Lplate Esus (Allegedly)

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    I haven't any strong opinions on the relative strengths of the foci yet.
    I thought that there were plenty of events, so a player should be able to navigate to any focus for their second minor God.
    Someone could find that their hoped for focus is not available due to not fully understanding the mandala. I ran into that problem in the first game. It shouldn't be an issue for someone if they play a few games. I did go further into the chaotic, material quadrant than I should have in my last game. This is down to me not checking my position on the mandala after events. It would be useful to be able to consult the mandala when those events pop up. Even with charging across the mandala, there were always options open to me when selecting a minor God.
    I did build Herslir and Scarabs. The Scarabs were particularly useful as the Russians had the local monopoly of iron on the continent. I didn't build any of the weaker units. I could see myself using the Ravens to scout out the land in a different set up. As it was, the war started just after I'd established I was on a small continent with only the Russians so I didn't invest further in scouting units.
    Provided all civilisations get the same events at the same time, they are self balancing.
    I did get the event for three free units just as I researched archery. It seemed generous at that stage but provided all Civs get the same options, it's still fair.
     
  15. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    The goal is that a "deep" strategy (heading far into a single quadrant) should unlock a few of the more powerful foci (the four elemental ones and the four yield-based ones, all very straightforward choices), while staying near the center will unlock the more "unusual" ones like Balance or Justice. Both are supposed to be viable strategies, although obviously it'll depend on which pantheon you have and which god you started with. Picking a god like Poseidon (Water/Earth) can be problematic because your starting position is in an area where you've already taken the best Foci, and going outward is a bad idea. Conversely, the Sumerian and Hindu major gods have already taken most of the good choices in the inner regions, so you WANT to move outwards a bit more.
    I've tried to arrange the gods so that they aren't too crippled by this effect, but a few still have problems. Isis (Egyptian) is the worst offender here, with two pure-Material foci starting her followers in a region with almost no options for minor gods, especially since so many of the other Material-aligned Foci are either banned from the Egyptian pantheon (like Seasons) or locked up by the other major gods' secondaries (Ra's Plants and Osiris' Water are both diagonals involving the Material axis). One of the things I've considered is altering the shape of the Mandala slightly to make the regions where the Foci overlap larger, effectively giving the player more options; another option was to make High Events shift you by 2 points or more, which'd greatly help the AI make large shifts if it gets stuck.

    I'm not sure how easy it'd be to allow you to consult the Mandala, without disrupting anything else. What I'd intended was to have several AI "recommendations", similar to how three different advisors give suggestions about which tech to pick next. One icon would show which choice takes you towards the highest long-term concentration of available Foci, one would show which choice takes you towards the highest IMMEDIATE concentration, one would show which choice matches your leader's personality best, and so on. This wouldn't be quite as good as a full Mandala interface, but it'd at least prevent you from accidentally moving into a "null zone" where there are no options. The AI already weights its choices by these factors, so the logic's already in place to determine these, I just need to add the interface.

    One of the things I'm trying to code this weekend is an "intelligent" grid. That is, the Mandala will have a grey grid behind its foci, but that grid will actually be a series of "+" icons placed at each grid intersection to resemble an actual grid. The beauty of this is that mousing over a part of the grid (in effect mousing over that + icon) will bring up a tooltip that lists which Foci are at that location and color-code them based on your availability, so that you can quickly see which nearby areas offer the most choices. The goal is also that clicking on a Focus will immediately change the color of the grid points in the corresponding area (replacing many of the grey + signs with, say, red ones) wherever that Focus is available; this'd be trivial if Civ5's Lua allowed a polygon drawing tool, but so far I haven't seen one and so have to do this the brute-force way. The "+" method, unfortunately, means that it'll overlap the lines a bit, but it'll still be an easy way to see the patterns for folks who aren't familiar with the Mandala system.

    Every civilization gets exactly the same Low and Medium Events, although they don't get them at exactly the same time and might not have the exact same chance for each. That is, if an event has an average of a 2% chance of occurring, the actual chance might vary between 1 and 3% depending on your alignment (with Lawful-oriented events happening more often for Lawful-aligned players), but the opposite-aligned event will mirror this in the other direction, and every Event has a mirror Event with the opposing alignment. Given that it's all probability-based, it's theoretically possible for one player to get a new event every 5 turns while his opponents never see a single event, but realistically everyone will have about the same number over the course of a game. One of the things I was looking into was using the Save/Load logic, which is already used by the Event code, to weight the probabilities based on how long it's been since your last event (and possibly weight it again based on how powerful that last event was).

    The High Events (which you don't get until the Classical and which can't be repeated) are mostly unique to each Pantheon; everyone shares two generic High events, but then adds 4-8 ones specific to the Pantheon. The Greek Pantheon, for instance, gets more High Events than anyone else (awarding their much larger number of Major Heroes), to compensate for their lack of any other anti-Myth bonus. While these events share the same 5-turn global lockout as the others, they're erratic enough that things can become unbalanced. You might receive four or five High events during the Classical Era, while someone else might not see one until the Medieval or later, but again it'll tend to average out over time.
    At the moment, the version you're playing uses placeholders for all High Events. In my internal version the Norse set of events is completely done, the Greek and Sumerian sets are still being fine-tuned, and the others still use placeholders for everything. It's a slow process, especially if I want to keep the sets balanced correctly, and I've been trying to verify each choice works correctly before posting anything. I'm hoping to get the Hindu set in place for the next version, but the Aztec, Shinto, and Egyptian sets will take more time to get right as I'm less familiar with their key myths.

    ETA for the next update is still Monday or Tuesday. It'll depend on what I get done this weekend, and I have a presentation to give on Monday so I'll be spending part of the weekend at work. I'm also trying to get unique icons for each Myth unit into the next version, but that's a LOT of image searches to find something usable for some of the more exotic units.
     
  16. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    You shouldn't be shocked by this by now. I'm having to delay the next version a few days.

    Why? Because I have a somewhat unexpected and suddenly very important presentation to give tomorrow, which means this weekend's been almost entirely work-related for me. I've got a few very unstable bits of code in my mod at the moment that really need a bit of tweaking before it'd be ready for use, and I just haven't had time to play anything. Most likely, then, the next version will be stable by Thursday, but depending on the outcome of that presentation I might not even have much free time during this upcoming week, so it's possible it'll be the weekend before it's uploaded.

    On the bright side, this'll give me a little more time to flesh out a few other bits as well.
     
  17. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Update: IT'S ALIVE!!!!

    That is, as of 9:41 this morning (Pacific time), I've FINALLY got the mod to where, as far as I can tell, the save/load functions work perfectly, without any issues at all. I'd been trying to track down a few really messy issues, like where it wouldn't always be able to pop up the Mandala when loading an old savegame, or where it'd occasionally wipe out the data structures, that were making it really hard to playtest. Fixing that required a disturbing amount of restructuring, but I've got it fixed now, and in the process of doing that I also fixed a few other minor things (like the Pantheon selection coming AFTER you close the popup at the start of the game).

    Because I wasn't sure if this was going to work, I had spliced a bunch of my new content into an old version, and now I'm going to have to backtrack a bit. Because of this, I won't be including in the next version the Mandala grid function (where mousing over an area of the Mandala shows you what Foci are available at that spot, and clicking a Focus shows graphically where it's available); it's just a little too much to splice back in, and it's not fully debugged yet. But there'll be a new version out either tonight or tomorrow night; I've got a big milestone at work tomorrow afternoon, so I might not have any time tonight to fix this mod, but a new version will be posted tomorrow at the absolute latest.

    And for the rest of the week, while people are playtesting my mod, to see if the new Events work and such, I'll be working on adding custom icon atlases and flag atlases for all of the Myth units, Heroes, etc. There won't be custom 3D models any time soon, but it shouldn't be hard to figure out which is which once I get this fixed. My goal is to move the Mythology mod to v.2.00 (beta instead of alpha) within this next week, something fully playable and mostly balanced; all that's really left are adding the High Events for the remaining four Pantheons (I've got Norse, Greek, and Sumerian done, and Hindu's halfway there), those icons, and the Mandala grid.
     
  18. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I said I'd post a new version tonight at the absolute latest, and I meant it. I'm posting a new version to the Files thread as we speak. There are just a few things to note:

    > Since I haven't tested them nearly enough to be confident in their stability, the Greek and Sumerian high events in the downloaded version are still the placeholders. Only the Norse events are finalized; they were the easy ones to test, as nearly all involve giving you military units (especially heroes).
    > The save/load is fixed, as far as I can tell. That means I'd like people to try to break it.
    > Very little in this change involved balance adjustments; I could really, really, really use feedback on whether Myth units are too strong or too weak, whether heroes are too hard to acquire, and so on.
    > The AI still doesn't value Priests correctly, but I'm working on that.

    During the rest of this week and this upcoming weekend, I'll be putting all of the remaining High Events into the game, adding unit icons, filling all of the Civilopedia entries, and so on. As a result, the next version will be posted within a week, most likely Sunday night (and no, that's not an April Fools joke); while that version will be more complete, the current version seems to be stable and so I didn't want to hold off uploading it any longer.
     
  19. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    And to be clear, there were a few other changes that are going to be in the next version that I didn't fit into this one, like how Zombies and Vampires will create a "Vampire Spawn" or "Zombie Horde" unit that's weaker than the original and doesn't have the Spawn ability. A lot of stuff is sitting in a mothballed interim version that I abandoned while trying to get the save functionality to work, and I'm transferring content over as fast as possible, so the next version should have a lot of things that have been in my internal versions for a while now.

    The most important bit is the Events. Most placeholder high Events were set at a 1% chance per, with all four options giving Major Heroes. What I'm aiming towards is more like 0.5% chance per, but with twice as many events, each only having two options (at most) that give Major Heroes, and never the same hero on two options of the same event. The idea being that you should see only a fraction of them in a single game, and that if you pick a non-Hero event on one then it won't keep you from ever getting that hero in another.
    The Norse are a good example of this, although I haven't dropped their percentages yet because I really want people to see them in practice. Four events that give two options for heroes (in an A+B, B+C, C+D, D+A rotation), and the twice-as-likely Ragnarok event that has one option giving a random Major Hero. Add to the two generic High Events, and you'll experience ~4 of them in a typical game, averaging 2 Major Heroes. The Sumerians will have similar math, although they're skewed to give Gilgamesh more often than the other heroes.

    I'm doing this sort of thing for all seven Pantheons. So the Greeks, instead of having 8 custom events, will more likely have 12 or so, but with each only having ~2 options for gaining Major Heroes. (Hence why I didn't include them in this version.) With each event having that 0.5% chance, and the usual lockouts, you'll see maybe half of them in a typical game, resulting in an average of 3 Major Heroes. I'm looking at giving them a Trojan War event similar to Ragnarok, with a higher chance of occurring and that awards more heroes than normal, to balance this out.

    The question for anyone still reading these threads to ponder is, should I also try adding a few repeatable pantheon-related events at the Low/Medium level? I'm leaning towards doing that, but it's quite a bit of work so if people are happy with the existing Events then I'll hold off for now.
    Also, note that one major change to Events will be implemented soon: the lockout timers and probabilities will scale with Game Speed. Right now you can play on Epic or Marathon to see more events, and that causes all sorts of balance issues; I do all of my testing on Standard speed.
     
  20. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    And now, a word from our sponsor. By which I mean me.

    I've uploaded v.0.12 to the FILES thread. It's stable, its content is mostly complete, and I've actually played it for a bit. The AI now uses Priest specialists, and so you can finally play a game without having a huge advantage over the AI players. Now, v0.11 had a bug in it that prevented it from working correctly, and the fact that no one reported that (and only ~30 people downloaded it) is more than a little disheartening. So I have no idea how many people are still reading this.

    If anyone still feels like giving feedback, the things I need most:

    > The automatic Priest slot allocation is very tentative. I need to know whether it gives too many or too few Priests, depending on your choice of Pantheon. The AI uses this logic, and it also applies to the player in any cities left on automatic specialist control, so please leave it on auto and tell me what you think of the numbers. And again, if you post any feedback on this, specify which Pantheon you follow, because the fractions involved vary with your Priest Favor multiplier (i.e., Sumerians want to use more Priests than, say, the Aztec, because the Sumerians get 9 Favor per while the Aztecs only get 3.)

    > Battle Favor, Priest Favor, and Building Favor. I need to know if these are relatively balanced. In the next version I'm going to put a logging value in for this, so that you can get actual numbers for how much Favor you gained from each of these over the course of a game, but I could still use "subjective" feedback, i.e. "it felt too hard to get a new city's shrines built if I didn't rely heavily on Battle Favor" or "Priest Favor is great and all, but in the Ancient Era I just can't afford to divert any workers to nonessential things like that until after I get all my Mines, Farms, Camps, etc. set up" or "Building Favor has a big problem in that there's only one Ancient Era non-wonder building that generates it (the Monument), besides the Palace of course, so it's way too slow to start".

    > Are the new Mandala design, new Civilopedia pages, etc. clear enough that someone who hasn't spent weeks reading through this thread could still get the hang of it? I'm trying to make this more user-friendly because it's far more intricate a design than anything I did in the Ascension mod.

    -------------------------------------------------

    So here's what happens next.

    On Friday the 13th, v.0.13 will be released. (Convenient timing, huh?) That version will remove the last event placeholders and replace them with actual events, as well as fleshing out a lot of the missing Civilopedia and icon sets. At that point, the mod will be "conceptually complete", i.e. all of the elements will be in place and it'll only be a matter of balance tweaks. Assuming no major bugs are found, I'll release the official v.1.00 Mythology mod by the end of April, complete with submission for front-page announcements and possibly uploading to the in-game Mod Browser. Then I'll go barbecue a steak to celebrate.

    At that point, unless people are still giving useful feedback or I find major bugs, I'm going to stop updating this mod until after Gods & Kings comes out (mid-June). There's no point in continuing to tweak the finer points of the mod when I'm going to have to restructure it once that expansion is released, and with so little activity on ANY of these boards there's just not much point in a fast release schedule. I might post a 1.01 or 1.02 in May with balance tweaks after I've played a few more complete games, but if it runs smoothly enough I might not even need to do that.

    In the meantime, I'll go back to trying to finish the Ascension mod's unit models, add persistent events to the Empires mod, and play some other games in between. So if you've got something you want to see significantly changed in the Mythology mod, now's the time, because once I hit 1.00 I'm not going to do any major changes again until the expansion.
     

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