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New Feature: Era Swapping

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Creation & Customization' started by Oni Ryuu, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Oni Ryuu

    Oni Ryuu King

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    Nathiri and I have worked out a way to have all of the graphics and animations update with a each era. The graphics, Civilopedia, Labels text and more can all be updated by command.
    The patch can also easily be added to any existing mod.

    This download contains a BAT file and a pack of empty folders (arranged to allow the swapping process).
    Download

    Instructions for editors
    1. Place the Eras folder in your mod’s folder
    Conquests>Scenarios>Your Mod
    2. Place your new graphic files in the appropriate folders.
    3. Open your game in the editor and go to Scenario Properties
    4. Change the address to:-
    MOD_FOLDER\Eras\Current_Era;MOD_FOLDER
    5. Save your BIQ
    6. Create a shortcut for the BAT file and place it next to the game start-up button.
    7. Inform players to create the same shortcut.
    8. Inform the player that they must activate the shortcut at the start of each new era.

    Instructions for players (after installation)
    1. Start the game as normal
    2. When you reach a new era, you'll be prompted by the modder (using their preferred method) to activate the BAT icon.
    3. Press the Windows button then locate the BAT icom.
    4. Activate the icom and return to your game.
    5. If the graphics don't update immediately, save then reload your game.
    If you start a new game, you'll need to cycle through the ages to reach Era 1.

    As with making a mod, only add the files that you want to change. (You can delete the unused folders.)
    E.g. I placed an alternative SAM.flc in the Art>Animations>SAM folder. I now have flak anti-air animation in the industrial era and SAM in the modern.

    This is the code in case the link gets lost. Just open a Notepad and save it as Next_Era.bat
    Spoiler :
    @Echo off
    setlocal EnableExtensions
    IF NOT EXIST Era_1\NUL (
    goto 2nd_Era
    ) ELSE (
    goto A
    )
    :A
    IF NOT EXIST Era_2\NUL (
    goto 3rd_Era
    ) ELSE (
    Goto B
    )
    :B
    IF NOT EXIST Era_3\NUL (
    goto 4th_Era
    ) ELSE (
    Goto C
    )
    :C
    IF NOT EXIST Era_4\NUL (
    goto 1st_Era
    ) ELSE (
    pause
    goto end
    )

    :1st_Era
    ren "Current_Era" "Era_4"
    ren "Era_1" "Current_Era"
    ren "Ancient.bat" "Middle_Ages.bat"
    goto Wait
    :2nd_Era
    ren "Current_Era" "Era_1"
    ren "Era_2" "Current_Era"
    ren "Middle_Ages.bat" "Industrial_Age.bat"
    goto Wait
    :3rd_Era
    ren "Current_Era" "Era_2"
    ren "Era_3" "Current_Era"
    ren "Industrial_Age.bat" "Modern_Era.bat"
    goto Wait
    :4th_Era
    ren "Current_Era" "Era_3"
    ren "Era_4" "Current_Era"
    ren "Modern_Era.bat" "Ancient.bat"
    goto Wait
    :Wait
    ren "Next_Era.bat" "Industrial_Age.bat"
    goto end
    :end
    exit
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2018
    chickenx4 and Nathiri like this.
  2. Laurana Kanan

    Laurana Kanan Don’t underestimate who I am.

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    I don't play CivIII anymore, but I saw this thread and wanted to say :goodjob:. Very nice solution for enhancing the game's graphics for a more immersive experience. It's nice to still see these kinds of developments in older Civ games!
     
  3. Civinator

    Civinator Blue Lion Supporter

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    Great! :goodjob:
     
  4. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    What operating systems have you tested it with?
    I'm not understanding this part. Create a shortcut - where? I would expect a shortcut to mean an alias on the desktop. But then the mention of a "game start-up button" obscures that. Are you really starting the game "as normal" or from the bat file? Does being "told to activate the next era link" mean quitting & restarting?
     
  5. Oni Ryuu

    Oni Ryuu King

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    Thanks guys.

    Windows 7
    Some people have their game on their desktop and some keep all of their Civ stuff in a folder.it doesn’t matter where the shortcut goes, just make sure you can find it easily.
    You start the game using the normal Civ button or one of the exe’s available on this site.
    During a game press the windows button to access your desktop. Activate the BAT file and return to your game. If the graphics haven’t changed instantly you’ll need to reload your save.
     
  6. Balthasar

    Balthasar Wise Man

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    Have you tested this with Civ Complete?

    Also: your instructions at (4) are: Change the address to: MOD_NAME\Eras\Current_Era;MOD_NAME

    But since scenario properties points to a folder in the Conquest Scenarios folder, rather than to the biq, shouldn't this be rather: MOD_FOLDER\Eras\Current_Era;MOD_FOLDER
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2017
  7. Oni Ryuu

    Oni Ryuu King

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    I'm using Civ Complete. My security settings won't allow the bat file to permission to rename folders but I can still do it manually.
    Your correct with the address; I didn't realise it was misleading.
     
  8. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    This is a valuable tool you've made - potentially game-changing (pun intended). It's important to make sure people can use it effectively. So please understand that we are not trying to detract from what you've done. The intent is to help you make the instructions as clear as possible so that the widest group of people can put your tool to use.
    When writing instructions it's very easy to forget that the people reading the instructions have never done what we have done repeatedly during testing. The things we do automatically without thinking about it because we've done them over and over again are the very things that will cause frustration and failure for those trying to do it for the first time. Which means it's important to assume nothing. Be very explicit all the way through.

    This is a bit misleading. Saving a game, switching to windowed mode, clicking an icon on the desktop, returning to the game, then checking to see everything worked and potentially needing to reload is a lot more than one click. And none of those steps are in the instructions as written in the OP.

    It seems at first glance that all of this is to be done before starting a game. Except that step 5 says "save your game." Does this mean the instructions are for a .SAV file? Or are we meant to modify a .BIQ ? Those are quite different things.

    This is a tricky part to understand without having done it many times. Based on the instructions as written, up to this point the .BAT has not been executed. So the only sense I can make of this is that being "told to activate the Next Era link" refers to clicking the button on the era splash screen. If so, that would mean that a player has to know to go through the process of saving the game, running the bat & returning to the game every time the era splash comes up. Which means again that the instructions should make very clear what to do, and in what order. Are we supposed to run the bat while the era splash screen is up? I don't remember if it's possible to save the game while the splash screen is active or if you have to clear it and be back in the next turn before you can save. The instructions here need to be a lot more detailed in order to be easy to follow.

    People are running different operating systems and many have the Civ 3 files stored in different paths from the standard installation. You don't necessarily need to test every possible combination yourself. But making the instructions much more detailed will make it possible for more people to understand what to do in those various situations and to try them out for themselves. Which means in turn that there will be more people who have been successful and can help others troubleshoot problems with getting it to work. Less work for you in the long run if you write thorough instructions & don't have to do all the "customer support" by yourself. :)
     
    Wolfshade likes this.
  9. Oni Ryuu

    Oni Ryuu King

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    I've updated the instructions.
    Do you see anything that looks ambiguous or confusing?
     
  10. Blue Monkey

    Blue Monkey Archon Without Portfolio

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    Much better!
    I think in step three you mean to click on the BAT icon? It would probably be clearer if the wording was different from step two. Other than that the instructions are much clearer now. :)
     
  11. Quintillus

    Quintillus Archiving Civ3 Content Supporter

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    I missed this thread earlier, but this is a very clever way to make the graphics and text files upgrade with time! It allows a whole lot more than just the fortress and leaderhead updates that the game supports by default. Well done! :thumbsup:
     
  12. nick0515

    nick0515 Fantasy World Builder

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    Wow this is great! Thanks so much for sharing! I've always found it immensely frustrating that improvement graphics can only be either varied by culture OR change with the era. So stupid!

    Hope to try this out at some point!
     

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