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Taurus 1.00


May 22, 2014
(The download button should be on the upper right.)

I've named the mod "Taurus", a synonym of "bull," because it's essentially an update of the BULL mod – but one that the original BUG-BULL team has no responsibility for and that isn't bound to follow all the same conventions.

Taurus includes the BUG 4.5 and BULL 1.3 additions already familiar to BAT players – mainly stack promotions and city plot status coloring, i.e. the colored circles around a selected city. Smaller resource bubbles are the novel killer feature (well, perhaps to some). Figuring out how to do that has been my tipping point for starting this little project. No other changes really stand out, but I'll list a few anyway:
• Highlight full city radius around selected settler
• Disable "Autosaving..." message and flashing "ENTER to end turn", "ESC to exit city screen"
• Right-click the city center to exit the city screen without moving the camera
• Message upon meeting a civ – which can replace the "peace in our time" diplo popup
• Fix loud promotion, war sounds
• DLL compiled with whole-program optimization, which should speed up AI turns by some 10 to 30%. (But I haven't measured the effect.)
The updated BUG help file lists some 20 items under "Taurus additions", screenshots on the "Overview" tab show the new options, the full change history is on GitHub.

All optional (well, almost all) and no gameplay changes – essentially: BULL 1.3 updates the Unofficial Patch, which includes some bugfixes that will affect AI behavior, but the impact should be tiny (same as in BAT).

So, yet another BUG mod that players may have to install to be able to load each other's savegames? Not an issue, hopefully, as Taurus can load and write BtS, BUG, BULL and BAT savegames (not BUFFY - those are encrypted). So there is also no need to install Taurus in CustomAssets (nor has this been tested). Having another mod in CustomAssets should not be a problem either – Taurus will load only artwork (e.g. Blue Marble) from there. Note that INI files with settings are portable between BUG-based mods, so you could copy them from an existing installation into Taurus\UserSettings to avoid having to reconfigure everything. The options introduced by Taurus should not be affected by this, i.e. should retain their default values. Full installation instructions are on the "Overview" tab (and in the help file).

The catch
With new features can come new (major) bugs. Most of the additions have been in use in other mods for years, but I may well have broken something when integrating them with BULL, and testing has been very limited. Moreover, the resource bubble and save-compatibility changes are still experimental – they modify the EXE at runtime, which might not work on every OS and with every edition of BtS, though feedback thus far has been encouraging. Moreover, compared with BAT, Taurus lacks diversified graphics and diplo texts, extra movies and illustrations, HUD civics and wonder capture messages. And, unlike BUG, Taurus has no native support for MacOS.

Future plans
A lot more could be adopted from AdvCiv/ K-Mod, though returns will be diminishing. I hope that Taurus also lowers the barrier for other modders to make their UI tweaks available to players who don't play gameplay-altering mods. I can grant access to the Git repository or merge pull requests.

Please report any bugs in Taurus additions. While I certainly don't mind reading requests for new features, I feel that, so long as I'm the only contributor, I should discourage that a bit because, unless it's something that'll require minimal effort, I'm unlikely to act upon it. I realize that there's a lot that could still be improved.

Spreading the word to the Strategy & Tips subforum – maybe best for me to wait a little while with that until major bugs have had a chance to be reported by players more accustomed to mods that are in development.
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