[TAB]The purpose of this thread is to let the community know about some of the things we have been working on in "Fire". There are still a lot of questions up in the air, and a lot of ideas that we need to get nailed down and included. Because of that we probably won't be answering questions about "Fire". But we will try to provide a weekly focus on some new feature to help give you guys an idea of what to expect and to thank you for your patience. 01/19/2007: New Unit Mechanics Spoiler : [TAB]We have a lot of units in FfH, and we are constantly adding more. That poses a design challenge as there are only so many things we can do to differentiate the units. At some point we get tired of "it's just like the other archers but a little stronger". Civ4 gives a lot of interesting unit mechanics, but we needed more. So we came up with two ideas. 1. Something Old: [TAB]I always missed the differing attack and defense strengths in Civ3. In general I think Firaxis was right to remove them, vanilla Civ4 doesn't need them. But FfH is much more about the individual units, and even though we wouldn't use differing attack and defense strengths often, it is nice to have. [TAB]For example the Giant Tortoise is only strength 3 when attacking but is strength 6 when defending. Conversly, the Dwarven Chariot is 7 strength when attacking but only 4 strength when defending. [TAB]This gives us an additional level of granularity to work with when tweaking, and with promotions that only give bonuses when attacking or defending. Even beyond our work I'm really interested to see what other modmakers do with this functionality and I will post a guide on how to add it to mods if other modmakers are interested. 2. Something New: [TAB]Another way of differentiating the strength of units is to quality what type of strength it is. For that we came up with 7 damage types: Cold- Rarely encountered or defended against Death- Unliving units are immune to death Fire- The most commonly encountered and resisted damage type Holy- Generally lower boosts than other damage types, but many creatures have vulnerabilities to it Lightning- Generally lower damage than fire, but less commonly resisted Poison- Unliving units are immune to poison, living units that suffer poison damage gain the "Poisoned" promotion which reduces their strength and heal rate until they are fully healed, then it wears off Unholy- Generally larger boosts but frequently resisted [TAB]Instead of just having a fixed strength (what we call physical) units can get strength from any of these damage types. A wraith is now 5 strength +5 death strength, a fireball is 0 strength + 3 Fire strength. In most battles the total strength is all that will apply, so effectively a wraith is 10 strength and a fireball is 3 strength. [TAB]The difference is when resists and vulnerabilities are involved. Resists and vulnerabilities are modifiers to the damage types of the unit you are fighting. So a wood golem is 100% resistant (immune) to death. When fighting a wraith that wraith wouldn't get to calculate his death strength to his total strength, he would only be 5 strength against a wood golem. Yet that same wood golem has a -50% resistance (vulnerability) to fire, meaning a fireball is effectively 4.5 strength against him. [TAB]Most big magical creatures have multiple damage types. A fire elemental is 5 strength +5 fire strength, and is immune to fire. You can fireball a fire elemental all day long but it will never hurt it (since a fireball is all fire damage). But two fire elementals can battle each other, since they have some portion of their strength as physical damage. [TAB]This is one of those mechanics that makes everything else easier. At some point you can juggle around these effects in other ways and it becomes to cumbersome. With this new system the Demon promotion makes you immune to Unholy, Poison and Death damage and gives you a -50% vulnerability to holy damage. Paladins are 10 strength +3 holy, giving them an additional bonus vs demons, allowing for a more natural way to make units more or less effective against each other that fits our fantasy theme. [TAB]This is also applied to spells. All spells now do damage according to these types and have the damage modified by the resists. A fire elemental wont be hurt by a ring of flames (without needing any special coding) and a iron golem wouldn’t be hurt by a spell that kicked out death damage. 01/26/2007: Hell and Hyborem Spoiler : [TAB]"Ahh... a new tribe slinking across creation, still in that twilight between birth and the recruitment of hell." – Hyborem [TAB]If you wondered why this phase is called "Fire" you have only to check the screenshot attached below. The tagline for this phase is 'Save, or Destroy, the World' and even though that is reflected in several parts of our design it is the most apparent in our implementation of hell. [TAB]Hell is not another map, we didn't break the map into two pieces, instead we made hell a corrupting force that spreads across creation. Think of the Zerg creep in StarCraft. Grasslands change to Broken Lands, Plains change to Fields of Perdition, Deserts to Burning Sands. And they can switch back. [TAB]The Infernal lands are always Hell terrain. It spreads quickly through Ashen Veil lands, slower into evil lands, and even slower through neutral lands. It will never spread into Good lands (at least as its implemented right now). Since it is dynamic switching your religion or alignment will effect the spread and cause it to slowly back out of your lands. [TAB]The fire you see in the screenshot is the result of playing Hyborem on an Oasis map. Deserts convert to Burning Sands and one of the special abilities of Burning Sands is they can start burning. Those flames spread if they are bordered by forests or jungle tiles. Hyborem makes a very bad neighbor. Those tiles will start smoking, then eventually burst into flames themselves, potentially leading to huge raging forest fires on heavily forested maps. [TAB]Units with less than 40% fire resistance can't pass through burning tiles. They will have to go around, wait for them to burn out, or deal with them in another way (the Spring spell puts out all fires within 1 tile). Of course we are using this mechanic in other places, a unit with over 3 points of fire strength has a chance to start fires if it passes through a forest, fireballs exploding in forests can start fires, etc. (Fellowship players should be rightfully concerned, but Ancient Forests are immune to fire, granting them some protection). [TAB]So where does it begin? No player, AI or human can start as Hyborem. The player that founds the Ashen Veil causes Hyborem to enter the world with a small army of his followers. The player that founded the Veil has the option to abandon his civ and begin playing as Hyborem. Where Hyborem settles will start the spread of Hell terrain. [TAB]Either way Hyborem gets the Ashen Veil in all of his cities automatically and, if he is AI controlled, has good relations with fellow Ashen Veil civs. Demons are more powerful on Hell terrain, and Hyborem is designed to destroy the world under human or AI control. [TAB]One of these new features is the rebirth mechanic. If a living unit dies anywhere in the world and it was "evil" (had either of the evil religions, or studied death or entropy magic) it is reborn as an Infernal Mane demon. The least of demons the Manes can be upgraded to any Demon type, giving the Infernals a fresh supply of units as long as evil creatures are dying in the world. Souls do not easily leave the battlefields of Erebus. [TAB]Particuarly devious Hyborem players may turn on Ashen Veil allies if they decide they can serve the forces of hell better as Mane legions than as living allies. What else would you expect from a demon? 01/28/2007: "Fire" Developer Diary- My Favorite Wonder Spoiler : [TAB]I know we have been talking about the big features. But sometimes its the little details that mean the most, and I dont want anyone to think that we aren't adding lots of cool little things too. Here is one of my favorites, the Shrine of Sirona. It gives every unit you have a spell, Sirona's Touch, that heals them for 15%. But you can only use it once per turn. Use it on your hero that is off attacking in your opponents lands and you can't use it on the archer defending your capital. [TAB]If you attack with a hero and he is almost dead and vulnerable after the battle the Shrine can help you. If you want to help a unit heal faster to get poison to wear off the shrine will help you. 15% doesn't sound like a lot. I playtested at 20% and it was to good, we will see where it ends up. [TAB]The reason we decided to use it on a healing effect is that the AI has an easy time juding which it should use it on (it doesn't have a huge amount of injured units at the same time). But if we were to apply a movement or combat bonus through it, the AI wouldn't be as good at using it (it wouldn't know which battle is the most important to get the boost out of). 02/02/2007: The Armageddon Counter and the WarScript Spoiler : [TAB]Some of the new features in "Fire" may not show up in many games. If every game was a pitched good vs evil battle then that gets boring. In some games that’s what will happen, and in others it will play out much as it does in "Light". I've been playing Ljosalfar games to make sure I can play a game building my lush forested elven kingdom, I don’t want to take away those options. [TAB]The difference between the more typical "Light" style game and a fire and brimstone good vs evil game is largely controlled by the Armageddon counter. As it gets higher bad things start to happen. Some are tied to a specific point. At 40 Blight hits the world, at 60 Stephanos enters the world (barbarian hero who converts units like an inquisitor), at 63 Buboes enters the world (very strong barbarian hero), at 66 Yersinia enters the world (barbarian hero who spreads hell terrain wherever he travels) and at 69 Ars Moriendi enters the world (barbarian hero who raises anyone he kills as wraiths under his control. Hellfire, the Avatar of Wrath, and Apocalypse are all tied to certain Armageddon counts. [TAB]The Armageddon counter goes up when bad things happen (cities are razed, the Ashen Veil is founded, an entropy node is built, etc) and down when good things happen (Mardero dies, The Ashen Veil holy city is razed, etc). There are a lot of events that affect its movement and you guys can probable guess most of them. Depending on the civs in the game the Armageddon Counter either rises slowly over the course of the game, or grows to about 20-40 and then levels off (assuming the player doesn't do anything to influence it). [TAB]It affects other things too. Hell terrain will only spread to Ashen Veil players lands until the counter hits 25, then it will start to spread to unowned tiles. At 50 it will start to spread to other evil players lands and at 75 it will start to spread to neutral lands. [TAB]Philmanny had asked what the Grigori can do when hell terrain begins to spread to them. In some games the Armageddon counter won't get that high. But if it does the Grigori have a few options open to them. Sending out a couple adventurers to sack the Ashen Veil holy city would be an excellent way to get the Armageddon counter under control and to keep hell out of the Grigori lands. We are trying to build systems that players can interact with. [TAB]The Armageddon counter also influences the chance that fire spreads to nearby tiles and the attitude modifier between good and evil civs. There is also a new promotion called Stigmata that gives the unit a percentage bonus equal to half the Armageddon counter as well as other mechanics that reward some players (especially the Sheaim) for having a high Armageddon count. [TAB]And then we have the most important feature it influences, the WarScript. We were unhappy with the method the AI uses to determine when to go to war so we wrote our own. Each turn an AI player considers whats going on and if he should declare war on any of his opponents. That decision is weighted by the Armageddon counter, so the AI becomes more and more aggressive as the counter rises. [TAB]Some examples of conditions defined in the WarScript: 1. If the Svartalfar are more powerful than the Ljosalfar, the Armageddon counter is over 20 and the Svartalfar aren't at war they will declare war on the Ljosalfar. 2. Basium always declares wars on Ashen Veil civs. 3. After the Armageddon Counter hits 40 evil civs who aren't at war will start declaring war on the weakest civ they can find. 4. Civs that don't have a high attitude towards you will attack you if you are building the Tower of Mastery. [TAB]There is also a dogpile function in the WarScript, the chance that a civ will jump in to help another player kill an opponent (if he likes the other player better than the opponent). That chance is also influenced by the Armageddon counter. [TAB]Since dogpiles are based on the players attitude toward each of the two sides, and the alignment attitudes are influenced by the Armageddon count (getting better towards their own alignment and worse towards the opposed alignment) when the Armageddon count gets high these huge good vs evil battles begin to break out. [TAB]They aren't forced. As a player you are free to remain out of it or join either side. Since it’s a dynamic system instead of just code that forces good civs to attack evil civs it occurs organically in the game and it works out differently each time. 02/07/2007: The Sheaim Spoiler : [TAB]The Sheaim don't get any melee units beyond the warrior. Instead they get the Planar Gate building (in the Sheaim screenshot the Planar Gate is the building on the opposite side of the river form the city). [TAB]Planar gates have a chance per turn of attracting creatures from other planes. The type of creatures that come through are dependant on the buildings in that city according to the following: 1. Carnival- attracts Chaos Marauders 2. Gambling House- attracts Revelers 3. Public Baths- attracts Succubus's (Sucubi?) 4. Large Animal Stables- attracts Ahmen Minotaurs (this may be changed to the chimera if we can get good art for it) 5. Mage Guild- attracts Mobius Witches 6. Weaponsmith- attracts Synish Minotaurs 7. Temple of the Veil- attracts Tar Demons [TAB]We may add more, Fire elementals may come through if you have the eternal flame in the city, etc. Players that have played Dungeon Keeper may recognize the mechanic. [TAB]The important part of this is how its controlled by the Armageddon counter. The higher the counter the more likely creatures are to come through the gate. It also influences the upper limit for each creature type. It starts with a maximum of 1 of each creature type per gate you have in your empire. So if you had 3 gates you could have 3 Revelers at once, no more will come through. If the Armageddon counter gets above 50 you are allowed 2 units of each type per gate. At 75 you are allowed 3 per type for each gate and at 100 you can have 4 of each type per gate. [TAB]When the Armageddon counter gets high the Sheaim can field an army of units that they didn't have to produce, leaving them free to spend hammers on the Elegy of the Sheaim ritual which raises the Armageddon count. 02/09/2007: Basium and the Mercurians [TAB]"We come to wage war with the Infernal, your fate is inconsequential." – Basium [TAB]Basium enters the world for one purpose, to kill Hyborem and anyone who worships the Ashen Veil. Any non-Ashen Veil player can summon him by building the Mercurian Gate wonder, which doesn't become available until the Infernals have appeared. The Mercurian Gate can't be built in your capital because the Mercurians take over the city that finishes the wonder and, just as with the Infernals, the player that summons them has the option to take control of them. [TAB]Losing a city to create the Mercurians is quite a price. But the advantage is that Basium is more loyal than Hyborem. They are a separate civilization, but they join the same team as the summoning player. All research is combined, your line of sight is shared, wonders whose effects are applied to a team affect both players, and you will always be at war against the same opponents. [TAB]If you retain control of your original civilization you lose a city but you gain an ally which is better than anything you can have through diplomacy deals. You become two against the world and can even achieve victory conditions together. But, your ally is half mad. Basium will declare war on every Ashen Veil civilization he encounters, and he will drag you into all of those wars. It's like trying to run a country with a pit bull. [TAB]If you decide to switch and control Basium, your original civilization will be your ally and you will have one of your old cities with whatever buildings you built in it. But what would FfH be without odd mechanics for our civilizations? In the case of the Mercurians, its that they can't build any T4 units except Paladins and Druids (sideline: in "Fire" only good players can build paladins and only neutral players can build druids). They can promote units that meet the level requirements to Archmages, Summoners, High Priests and Inquisitors. [TAB]Instead, if you really want to serve Basium, you have to die. With the Infernals when an evil unit dies or an evil city is razed they get lowly Manes, demons weaker than warriors that can be upgraded into about any demonic form or added to cities. But if you are good and you die you join the Mercurians as an Angel. Angels bring their experience points from life with them and start as formidable units. But the biggest advantage of Angels is they can be upgraded special angelic forms of the T4 units: Valkyrie- Holy immortals. Seraphims- Powerful attackers that do collateral damage and get access to fire magic. Heralds- Have a special ability that gives all living units in their stack Loyalty, Courage, Burning Blood and Valor but kills them at the end of the turn (a great way to make a bunch of new angels). The Angel of Death- Invisible to most units with the Marksman ability and they reduce the population of cities they attack by 1. Ophanim- Angelic chariots that can pass over mountains and water. [TAB]More t4 angelic units are planned but those are all that are currently checked in. They all have level requirements, so worthy units in life will be created as angels and may be able to upgrade directly into these forms. But those that died as low level units will need to earn experience points as angels before they can level up. [TAB]Loki talked a bit in this thread about the Mercurians rubber band mechanic (a rubber band mechanic is a mechanic that helps players that are losing, or hurts players that are winning). The Mercurians angel mechanic means that the more you beat them, the stronger they get. Or at least you have to kill all of their units twice, once as a living unit and again as an angel. This mechanic and the fact that Basium always has a teammate makes him a very powerful opponent. [TAB]It is fun to play Hyborem and the Ashen Veil, to expand hell and destroy the world, but Basium will be coming for you.