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Ages of Man: the GENERAL DISCUSSION thread

Discussion in 'Crazy Spatz's Alpha Centauri Mod' started by Spatzimaus, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    I know this isn't (and shouldent be) on the top of your to do list, but have you figured out yet why some of the models wont show up in DX10/11?

    Think it might have something to do with GraphicsSettingsDX11.ini?
     
  2. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Is there any way I can give you the files for the DLC promotions so that you can use them in your mod? Where would I find the files, etc.?
     
  3. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Don't. I'm cutting it awfully close to a copyright violation as it is, and that'd just be way over the top; there'd be no way I could ever post this on the Mod Browser if I did something like that.

    Besides, there's really not much point; even if the promotions themselves are in the DLC, the stubs they use are in the core game. So in terms of the promotion cap there'd be no difference between me using those same stubs for a new promotion or copying the DLC ones outright. And I can't exactly make the mod use the DLC's original promotions, since it then wouldn't work for folks who didn't have that DLC (like, say, me.)
     
  4. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Status update.

    Given the recent inactivity, I'm sure some of you are thinking that this mod is dead. It's not. Between Christmas, a big academic conference I had to attend, some medical issues, and some work-related issues, I've had almost no time to mod for the past month and a half, but thankfully that's coming to an end. So, I've been working on the mods, and made some significant changes that require a bit more tweaking before I'm ready to upload the new versions.

    Here's the short version of what's going on internally:
    Mythology: Quite a few techs were rearranged; the idea is that Deism, the final religious tech, is now at the END of the Renaissance Era instead of the start; the Enlightenment now becomes available at Reformation, a new mid-Renaissance tech. This has significantly altered the balance of the mod; also, in the course of fitting these in, I ended up rearranging quite a few of the vanilla game's techs, especially in the Medieval and Renaissance. The upshot is that the Mythological period now extends quite a bit further than before, and won't feel quite so "cramped" in the late Classical/early Medieval.

    I've removed a few Myth units, so that now not every Focus ends with a level 4 unit; since you have Pantheon-specific Myth units and Heroes, it's no longer necessary to have so many of these. Each Pantheon now has some sort of anti-Myth bonus; all non-Myth Norse units deal +1 damage to Myth units, all Shinto units take 1 less damage from Myth units, the Sumerians have extra events that give minor heroes, that sort of thing. This required some significant rebalancing to all Myth units.

    Also, the next version I post will have at least a partial fix to the save/load issue; you WILL be able to play the game in multiple sessions. And I'm almost to the point where the AI will attempt to use Priest specialists without being prodded.

    Ascension: I've been trying to slowly shift some of the things I've learned while making the Mythology mod over here. For instance, the final Ascent to Transcendence project now uses an internal counter instead of anarchy, so you can at least DO something during the 20 turns that everyone's at war with you. (Your cities will still shrink, though.) I've also added a few balance tweaks here and there; I'm trying to make it a bit harder to just sweep through your opponents in the Digital Era. Part of this is an improvement in anti-air capability, part is shifting more defensive abilities (like the Damage Reduction effect that was previously limited to Titans) over to combat units in lieu of higher combat ratings. It should still feel about the same, but it won't be quite so easy to win militarily or diplomatically until you reach the mid-Fusion.

    Other: Quite a few little changes. For instance, you no longer get the popup telling you that another player has completed a project if the project in question is a Pantheon (first turn of a Mythology game) or an Orbital Defense Pod (Ascension). You still get the quick text blurb at the top of the screen, and I'm looking into turning that off as well, but you at least won't have as many things to click through on the right side of the screen.
    I've also been putting in some stubs that I intend to use in the following versions, but that won't have an immediate effect on the mods. There's a continual process where I shift new features from the content mods down into the Base and Empires mod, so even if you see no practical effects, the mod IS improving.

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

    Now, you wonder, when will this marvel of modern engineering be available to you, the adoring public? I'm aiming for the start of next week. I'll be spending most of the weekend cleaning the mod up, including Super Bowl Sunday, and I hope to have something stable by Monday or Tuesday.
     
  5. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Today I was thinking of an interesting idea to solve the promotion cap problem. What if you had a promotion do 2 different things depending on what policy you have active? (It works like an AoM promotion with the AoM policy, and like an Asension promotion once the SMAC policy becomes active)
     
  6. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    If a promotion was solely used to activate a Lua ability, then yes, that'd work pretty well. Unfortunately, there are very, very few that do this; most have at least something in XML, and nearly all of the Lua-only promotions were in the Mythology mod and so have no Ascension counterpart to be merged with. The few Lua-only Ascension promotions had already been moved down to the Base mod, so this method just won't gain me much.

    On a similar note, I'd been looking at merging a few existing Lua-based promotions from the Mythology mod, to where the exact effect would depend on other factors. There are a few that overlap quite a bit (like, for instance, Balance I, Balance II, and Balance III), so I might be able to pick up a few here and there this way. But really, I think my best option right now is to merge the vanilla promotions that have identical effects into a smaller number of abilities, to save a few slots that way. I just don't see how I can free up ~20 slots with any of these methods, though.

    Honestly, it's just aggravating, because if they just raised the cap I'd have no problems at all.
     
  7. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Update:

    It's all working, more or less. That "more or less" is going to take about a day to work out, so the next version will be posted tomorrow night (Thursday). I'd wanted to post it tonight, but there are just a few too many loose ends.

    It's definitely now preserving myth information in the savegames, and I've been adding a whole lot of pantheon-specific logic. The problem right now isn't the logic I've added, it's the logic I HAVEN'T added that's the problem. Specifically, the three pantheons that have no Major Heroes (that's Norse, Aztec, and Shinto) are using placeholder events that do nothing. I'm not going to be able to put in the actual events by tomorrow, but I can at least whip up a reasonable placeholder in the interim.

    So here's what's going to happen.

    Tomorrow I'll upload the next version; I know, it's been almost two months since the last one, but you can wait one more day. At that point, it'll need a LOT of testing. I'm trying to make the seven Pantheons' special abilities well-balanced, but that's going to take some time to work out, and I've changed enough other things along the way that it's likely something else will go wrong. So, don't be surprised if I have a new version with bug fixes after the weekend.
     
  8. debufferman

    debufferman Chieftain

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    For starters, I would like to say "great work" so far. I'm playing Age of Man and enjoying the heck out of it. I can see many more hours ahead of me, with this mod.

    Now, on to the minor complaints. Once I have a major god and four minor gods, I still have a focus goal, and when reached, it tells me to choose a minor god. Which can't be done as no choices are available. Is this intentional and I'm missing something?

    Secondly, I have no problem playing vanilla or even a few of the other mods I have tried, but with Age of Mythology/Man, the game locks up about ten seconds at combat initiation, and runs extremely sluggish on "next turn" phase.

    Other than that, I can't say anything else negative about the mod. Love it.

    Thanks for the work/effort you have put into the game.
     
  9. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Each Focus has an area of the Mandala for which it's selectable; clicking on a Focus will highlight the appropriate area so that you can see which ones are near your current position. It's theoretically possible to get as many as 12 minor gods, if you used the Events to continually move to new areas of the grid, but if you generally stick to one area of the grid, then yes, you'll run out of choices after ~3-4 minor gods. Even if there are no available options at your current alignment, if/when you move to a new area, new choices will unlock. It's one of the things I've been trying to evaluate; I want a typical game to involve ~4 minor god additions, so if you're consistantly running out after 3 then there'll be issues, but if that was a fluke then I'm okay with the occasional problem.

    It'll heavily depend on your choice of major god; Isis, for instance, has the absolute worst start location, with only ONE available minor god at that initial position. I've been looking at shuffling Foci around a bit, or changing the equations for their regions, to fix this, but for now it's a problem. The question is how MUCH of a problem; I don't want the foci to overlap too much, which'd potentially give you too many options at any one time, but I also don't want people getting stuck like this too often. One of the things I'm working on adding is a "recommended" option when picking new gods and/or choosing Event outcomes, where the game will tell you which choice is best for moving towards areas where more minor gods are available, but that's on hold for now while I fix other things.

    The real question was, how long did it take you to get to 4 minor gods? Were you nearing the end of the mythological age at that point, or was there still quite a while to go? I've added more Favor generation recently, and I might need to increase the amounts needed for each new god as a result. I don't WANT people picking six or seven minor gods in each game; the ideal I'm shooting for is 4-5 by the time you reach the Enlightenment.

    You mean it's locking up when using my mod in every combat? That's very strange, and isn't something I've seen happen in my own games; let's run through the basics.
    1> Are you remembering to use my Base mod whenever you use any of the others?
    2> Are you using the DX9 executable, or the DX10/11 one?
    3> Are you using the Mythology and Ascension mods at the same time? (At the moment, they're incompatible because of the promotion cap. I'm working on it.)
    4> Are you using any mods other than mine at the same time, like any UI mods? I've been trying to fix as many of these as I can, but there are a lot of potential incompatibilities that won't be immediately apparent.
     
  10. debufferman

    debufferman Chieftain

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    After my post, I figured out how to work my position around the mandala. I should have read more in the information thread. D'oh on me.

    For the lockups, I'm just running mythology/man. No other mods, and running dx 10/11. I started a new game, to experiment with some other god combinations. As I get nearer 200 turns, it often locks up for as long as 20 seconds for a combat.

    Love the mod. Can't wait to play it as a "finished" product. I have to admit, I haven't made it to enlightenment yet, because I'm having too much fun experimenting with the various gods and myth creatures.
     
  11. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    No, D'oh on me. I've been trying to add more in-game help text; you shouldn't NEED to come to this forum just to understand the basics of what's going on. I've put quite a bit of help text in the game in the last couple versions, but the Civilopedia is supposed to include pretty much everything found on the first page of each content thread. I'm only about halfway there right now.

    You see, my basic design principle is that the internal mechanisms can (and should) be very complex (translating to a deep strategic game), but the user's front end should be simple and flow naturally from the choices they make. In the case of the alignment system, the idea is that you'll always have a pool of several minor gods to choose from, but exactly WHICH minor gods are available at any one time will change over the course of a game as your choices on Events shift you around. You shouldn't absolutely need to go out of your way to pick Event choices you wouldn't normally take; simple statistics should keep you from staying in one area of the grid (unless you do so on purpose).

    In the original Age of Mythology, each pantheon had nine minor gods, split into three tiers. At each tier you'd be offered the choice of A or B, but C would be locked out by your choice in major god. Then, at the next tier you'd be offered D or E but not F; you couldn't go back and pick B if you'd chosen A the first time. I wanted something that would offer a similar variety of choices, but that wasn't so absolute and that wouldn't require some Foci to be clearly stronger than others.
    Like I said, one of the things I really need feedback on is this sort of situation; I need to know whether the current alignment regions are just too limiting at different points in the game.

    Hmm. Is this happening on EVERY combat at that stage, or on just a few? If it's only a few then it might be a mistake in the coding for one of the special abilities, but if it's happening on every combat then it's probably in the Battle Favor allocation routine. The way to check this would be to complete the Enlightenment and see if the problem goes away; if it does, then it's definitely something in my Favor logic. If it doesn't, then there's likely some sort of conflict with the core game's logic for animations or something.

    What's probably happening is an overhead issue; every time you gain battle favor it's spread across all Foci in all cities. As time goes on, there'll be more Foci and more cities to modify. Anything that then causes the game to save itself would require more time to complete, since more values would have changed. I'll look into this, but it might be unavoidable without changing the base design.

    I'm in the same boat, but replace "experimenting" with "fixing". As I play I keep a list of things to tweak/fix, and by the time I get to turn ~100 the list is long enough that it's time to quit, make the changes, and start a new game again. So I've yet to have a game where I reach the Enlightenment (except through specific artificial test scenarios where I start off at the right tech and with big cities).
     
  12. debufferman

    debufferman Chieftain

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    I'll keep playing this one until I can get the enlightenment and see what happens and let you know. I was starting to think it was an issue with the animations but after your post, I think it may be the favor allocation. I have 7 cities and Six gods (counting the starting one), so that is a lot of holy buildings. I'll let you know if any change after enlightenment. Thanks for the responses.
     
  13. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It could easily still be both. The problem with animations is that I haven't added any custom unit models yet. Every unit model is just a copy of an existing one, and nearly all Myth units just use the Swordsman model as a placeholder. So in theory, every animation should already be used by the core game.

    But, that might be part of the problem. Back when assembling the Ascension mod, one problem I ran into was that the game would crash when a unit with a given model was told to do something that that model didn't have an animation for. This was common when dealing with ranged units whose graphical placeholder lacked a ranged attack, and was especially prevalent with air units that were using non-air units for models. When assembling the Mythology mod, though, I used Swordsman models for pretty much everything, and obviously those have no ranged attacks or rebase commands. So what I'm going to try, in the next version, is changing the placeholders on all Myth units to more appropriate things, like ranged models for ranged units, air models for air units, and so on. That MIGHT make this problem go away on its own. It would also explain the timing; low-level Myth units don't have a lot of ranged attacks or anything, but the higher Myth units have a lot more of those sorts of abilities. That's why I was asking if it happened in every fight, and whether it went away at the Enlightenment. If it was only happening in combats involving a Myth unit, then it could easily be that animation issue. But if it happens in a normal fight between two mundane units (like a simple Sword-on-Sword fight), then it's most likely in something like the Favor logic, which stops at the Enlightenment.

    It's also just possible that I made a mistake in some other bit of code, and it's getting stuck in a near-infinite loop somewhere that it shouldn't be. I'll look into that.
     
  14. debufferman

    debufferman Chieftain

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    It isn't just with the new units. It even happens if I'm just bombarding a vanilla barbarian from my city. At turn 300+ it is now taking 80-100 seconds to reconcile a battle and 5+ minutes to do "next turn" phase. I only just now finished the enlightenment, though. My g/f is coming for the weekend, so I might not be gaming much, but I'll update you when I get to play again.

    I did start up a fresh vanilla game, and played 200 turns. No problems at all. Zipped through 200 turns in no time.

    I really love what you are doing here. It gives the early stages of the game a bit more zest, and kind of a mid-game "end-game" so to speak. I love playing long, marathon games on huge maps, so this fits in well for me.
     
  15. chris24

    chris24 Chieftain

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    Hi, could you make your mod compatible with the Civ V Unofficial Patch and Vanilla Enhanced mod or integrate all/some of it features to your mod.
    Cause it is a great mod and it improves the ai and the hud/ui in usefull ways.
    But for me playing this mod your awesome future content is missing.
     
  16. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Depending on exactly what combinations you want, the answer is probably No on the compatibility part. I really wish my mod set could be fully compatible with UP/VEM, but too many things that I can't copy:

    > Those mods change nearly all of the major UI elements. My mods adjust quite a few of them as well. I'd like to make some of mine be compatible with their mod, but the same isn't true in the other direction; no one other than me has made any modifications to their mods to make them compatible with mine. I NEED my mod's version of TopPanel, CityView, etc. to be used if you're using my Mythology mod, for instance, but if you're using UP/VEM then you can't easily control whether my version of it's being used or theirs is. In most cases you could, in theory, hack together a merged version since my changes are fairly self-contained and are all bound inside conditional checks that would cause no problems if other people's mods used my versions of the UIs. But the as-is UP/VEM and my mod will never be compatible because of this.

    > Some of my mods use versions of many common mod components, like DiploCorner or Building Resources. Some of these would be incompatible with other people's mods, if they're also using those same components but use different versions.

    > Thalassicus' methods of balancing things like Research Agreements, unhappiness, etc. are very different than my own. He and I have discussed this a bit before, but the bottom line is that our mods are built around very different philosophies of game balance, and so can't be easily combined.

    However...

    I've tried to put all of those balance changes in my Empires mod, and most of the UI modifications are in the Base mod. If you paired my Ascension with someone else's balance mod, then you'd need to add a bit of extra XML to account for the promotions and such that I moved into the Base mod. If you paired my Base+Ascension with someone else's balance mod, then the XML issues go away but you now would have a number of UI conflicts.

    It was originally intended that people could pair my Alpha Centauri content mod with other folks' balance mods, and at one time it WAS compatible with most of the other major balance/UI mods. However, I didn't put a lot of effort into ensuring it stayed compatible, and as everyone's mods have grown the number of incompatibilities quickly grew out of control. So it's very unlikely that our mods will ever be directly compatible, although an experienced modder could probably resolve the conflicts pretty quickly.

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

    Now, if all you want is certain UI improvements of Thal's mods, then the easier path is to tell me which of his UI additions you like, and I can look into splicing them into my Base mod. As long as they're fairly self-contained and don't alter game balance, I'd have no problem with doing this, and it wouldn't take long to do. But I've been too busy to keep track of what all is in his mods, and I'm not going to just add everything, so I need to know which bits people really want.
     
  17. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It's been very quiet here. I know it's been two months, but I've been working on new versions of the mods internally and I was about ready to release a new version. But, we're so close to the release of the expansion that it didn't seem worthwhile to post a version that'll most likely break the moment the new content comes out, especially given how few people would give feedback before the expansion.

    So, I'm not releasing a new version until AFTER the expansion comes out and I've had a chance to fix the crude incompatibilities. That means probably a week from now. That next version will ONLY fix errors, it won't try and merge the game systems together. (That means the Mythology mod and the expansion's religion system will not be integrated in any way.) Once I'm sure the bugs are completely out of that, then I'll try to integrate the functionalities, but a lot of that will depend on exactly what the expansion adds. It's going to take a heavy redesign to make the Mythology mod work well with the expansion's religions, for instance.
     
  18. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Don't worry, im still here, been checking in every day or so but there hasn't really been anything to comment on, just kind of waiting for the expansion.

    Will you give this discussion a link in the main mod chat? Ever since you moved the thread here ive noticed its slowly died down, my guess is thats because you have to specifically be looking for the mod, so fewer people stumble across it.
     
  19. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It wasn't slow. The moment I moved into this forum, the rate at which people downloaded the mod dropped to less than a third of its previous value. The recent slowness comes from two sources, from what I can tell:
    1> The CivFanatics boards in general are REALLY quiet. The main C&C forum gets maybe four or five new threads a day, and the number of people visiting each subforum is tiny. It's been like this for several months now; the fact that the game's been out for almost two years and we STILL haven't received the DLL, and the first expansion is just about to come out, means that I'm sure a lot of people shelved Civ5 in favor of other games a while ago.
    2> The Ascension mod has been in a mostly completed state for a good six months now, even though I've still got a few bugs to work out and the artwork's not done. So the people who wanted to play that content have little reason to keep coming back here to download a new version.

    I'm hoping that traffic picks back up once the expansion and DLL are out, and I do intend to advertise a bit more in the regular forums, but yes, moving to this side forum has really crippled the traffic from random passersby. A while back I suggested to the board moderators to move the Project subforums into the Modpacks area, but they obviously never did it.
     
  20. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Okay, here goes.

    Firaxis broke my mods.

    You see, I heavily depended on the two combat-related serial events, RunCombatSim and EndCombatSim, to manage a LOT of stuff in my mods. Things like:

    > Battle Favor generation
    > Units that adjust their strength (Psi units, the Balance focus)
    > Nuke interception
    > Orbital Defense Pods' anti-orbital weapon boost
    > Respawning units (Phoenix, Avatar, Utnapishtim)
    > The Damage Reduction promotion
    > The Rookie promotion (its removal, specifically)
    > The Critical Strike promotion of the Ranger, and the similar effect tied to the Fire promotions and some Myth units
    > The Spontaneous Healing promotion of the Troll and some Myth units (and occasionally a Psi unit)
    > The various Pantheon bonuses involving extra damage to or less damage from Myth units, for the Egyptian, Norse, and Shinto pantheons
    > The Aztec anti-Myth promotion increases
    > The promotion-stealing Synthesis ability
    > The gold you get for killing a Spore Tower
    > The Quantum Missile's area effect and Fallout generation
    > Dumuzid's weakness to Myth units
    > The Basilica of Fire's damage bonus
    > The Drain, Trample, Spawn, Poison, Disease, Grow Heads, and Healing Aura abilities of Myth units. (Yep, that's pretty much every new ability in the Mythology mod.)
    > The undead generation of the Death focus (its entire point for existing)
    > The gold reparations of the Justice focus
    > The Kitsune's gold bonus

    Pretty much anything in my mods associated with combat was linked to one of those two Lua events, and I had a LOT of stuff relating to combat.

    These are all now broken.

    So far, I've identified three things they've done to these two events that have screwed up my mod in the last patch:
    1> If one of the two units involved in the combat dies, the corresponding Unit structure is cleared out BEFORE I have a chance to use it for anything. This is the big one; if only EndCombatSim was broken, I could have transferred most of the functions up to RunCombatSim, but with this, I can't.
    Given how many of the above mechanisms involve one of the units dying, you can see the problem there.
    2> If the unit involved is one that doesn't have an attack animation (meaning, pretty much every single unit I've added since the game can't handle any animations for units in new combat classes, like Myth or Titan), then EndCombatSim never triggers at all. That breaks about half of the list.
    3> When an AI player takes his turn, the RunCombatSim events for all of his combats are now executed before ANY of the corresponding EndCombatSim events occur. This really screws up things like Psi units, where their strength is set in the RunCombatSim and then returned to normal in the EndCombatSim.

    To say nothing, of course, of their decision to make Quick Combat a temporary option instead of something you choose at the setup screen (and which, therefore, I could disable.) There may be more, but those are the three I've spotted so far, and they're more than enough. Now note, they broke these in the 674 patch, NOT the expansion. Those of you who haven't bought G&K yet can't avoid these either by playing an old version of my mod or anything.

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

    So here's the bottom line. Until:
    A> They return those functions to the way they used to work (not likely)
    B> They give us real GameEvents hooks into the combats
    C> They give us the DLL so that I can do their work for them
    or
    D> Someone finds a way around this that isn't extremely convoluted
    I'm not posting any more mods, and my existing mods are basically unplayable. Until they fix these I'm not playing any more Civ, actually, because the core game just bores me, and I'm also not buying the expansion.

    As a result, I've removed the files for my mod from the FILES thread until further notice. If we still haven't found a way to make this work in the next few weeks, then I'll ask the moderators to lock this forum.
     

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