[C3C] WAC Mod Beta Test Discussion

Discussion in 'Civ3 - Creation & Customization' started by Nathiri, Jul 31, 2020.

  1. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    'When Aahnacet Calls' (WAC) is a new wave-based defense mod that has been in the works since 2 years ago but I took a long break after it was 90% complete. Recently, I've patched the remaining parts and have now given it out to testers, as I need as much feedback as possible to make it the most challenging and fun wave-based mod it can be. Discussion for it will be here. I will also provide the download link here for any others who wish to help test.

    Story:
    The empire of Raonas (from my mod, Thelen Epres Mrel) has grown too large and different ideologies have created factions. Two rebellions have since occurred in the empire and the two new kingdoms are on the brink of being quelled. The player(s) will take control of these two new civs and maintain independence from the empire.

    The Basics:
    Cities are pre-placed with no opportunity to build more, but there is plenty of work to be done. As they are designed to cooperate, it was originally intended to be primarily played as a 2 player multiplayer, but it is playable singleplayer just you have a less cooperative AI teammate. This doesn't mean the AI teammate isn't a necessity to have however. The AI is of course very single-minded, so you have a large part to play in how your AI teammate lives and how much pressure is put on him. It would be in your interest to keep your trade route active in order to trade resources (and also perhaps some AI manipulation :)), which is needed for a variety of reasons.

    Similar concepts are carried over from Nelthelrinae mod like economy, but reinvented. Warfare is also different. There are a variety of siege units and different movement rates for units. Wall units also exist for every city.

    Despite there being no expansion phase, there are plenty of tough choices to make over a series of a small amount of turns. The mod's duration is only 100 turns, but even I have not made it that far quite yet.

    There are a few methods victory:
    Prestigious Affinity Victory - basically a 1 wonder space race, but it requires resources from your "friend" located at the end of the tech tree.
    Provincial Unity Victory - requires you to retake just 1 city from the empire. This option is here, but I would not recommend you push for this on your first playthrough.
    Iron Defense Victory - requires you to just last 100 turns, which also achieves "Unity".
    Attrition Victory - requires you to obtain trophies from battle and take them back to your cities.

    ^^{EVENT CALENDAR}
    ^{Preparation} = [Turns 0-10]
    ^{Rebellion} = [Turns 10-20]
    ^{Claps of War} = [Turn 20-30]
    ^{Clash at Bloody Rock} = [Turns 30-40]
    ^{Tyreneh's Campaign} = [Turns 40-50]
    ^{The Mountain Campaign} = [Turns 50-60]
    ^{Triplestream} = [Turns 60-70]
    ^{Iron Against Terek} = [Turns 70-80]
    ^{Battle of the Kings} = [Turns 80-90]
    ^{The Final Push} = [Turns 90-100]

    In this scenario, there are 9 main events and two side ones. The two side events appear after [Clash at Bloody Rock]. One event is called Norin's Landings and this refers to prevalent coastal invasions by the Imperials. The second is called Mercenaries! and refers to foreign, payed, troops launching skirmishes on your borders.

    The timing of the events are varied, but should happen within this time frame. However, you will continue to receive enemy troops at any point in the game that are not associated with an event.
    ------------------
    Download Link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WzoinJM3x1b-_5JZB433RDOapFmgsFX9/view?usp=sharing (Updated with 1.1 files Oct 29, 2020)
    ------------------
    Remember to check the labels.txt. The Steam version is active by default, but there is a Disc one in the Text folder.
    -
    I find it difficult to decide which to activate. I primarily use my steam copy and the steam version is very popular among newer players. It might be true that many modders and older players have stuck with the disc copy or GOG, but I don't think it particularly matters which one is activated, as it could be a problem for any user at any time, since many players have both copies and might use both. It probably is something that is now one of the first things checked for any downloaded mod.

    tech tree 1.png
    map 1.png
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020
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  2. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    Phirst!

    (also subscription post)
     
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  3. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    Should I add an additional science building? Not sure if teching fast solo is viable enough.

    Damn I hate it when I play this and everything feels "secure" and I got plenty of troops, then those blasted stacks strike out of nowhere and I'm left scrambling to try and fend them off (which I love at the same time...). After just a couple turns I realize that all my troops that I thought were so numerous are now dead.
     
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2020
  4. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    At what point in the game?
     
  5. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    Well, I have most buildings available from the start. I don't see a reason to put it in the tech tree. Due to the nature of the mod, its not like it is a high priority building, so I would either just make it available from the start, or make it require another building in order to have some barrier.
     
  6. tjs282

    tjs282 Stone \ Cold / Fish

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    OK, as promised, during my vacation I had a go at this (see below). But first...
    I think it might be a good idea to give many of the (lower priority) buildings such prereq-building barriers, at least for billy-no-mates players like me.

    Because although I know you intend this scenario to be played as 2P vs. the Imperial-AI, for a turn-limited solo-game with essentially scripted events (min. and max. research times set to be the same, I presume?), it's not helpful if your AI-controlled partner is wasting shields on (expensive) buildings, when they really need to to be building units, units, and more units.

    My game:

    I played on the medium difficulty, and random-rolled the Lux-rich, Resource-poor Astracetians.

    IIRC, my Lux-poor, Resource-rich AI-"partner" started collapsing (lost their first town) about 30 turns in. I also stopped playing at that point, because I felt that I had found a totally unbalanced unit-setting (bolded in the Spoiler, below), and I wanted to check with you whether it was intentional before I continued.

    I noted down thoughts as they occurred while playing, and then sorted them afterwards by "seriousness". As always, feel free to refute or ignore, as appropriate ;)
    Spoiler C&P'd-dump from textfile :
    ACTUAL BUGS

    -- Crash occurs when right-clicking on both "Palace" icons in Alemeth's building-list, even though entries are correct in WACapedia (also not clear why 2 "Palaces" are needed?)
    -- Strat-res list in 'Pedia has blank/wrong entries ('Coast' = Deer?!?)
    -- (Astracetian) City view: I have 2x one type of unnamed Strat Res, with no graphic???

    GAMEPLAY IRRITANTS

    -- City-graphic (covering 4 tiles) is off-center, hence BFC-boundaries are more difficult to see (looks offset by 1 tile NE): would look better if the central fortress were centred on city-tile -- or at least on grid-junction...
    -- ...And if the "City-walls" unit-graphic were circular (and large enough to encircle the city-graphic?) rather than cruciform
    -- Roads are nearly invisible against some terrain- /farmland-gfx = can't always see which tiles allow 'fast' movement
    -- Same terrain-graphic used for Grass and BGrass(?): can't tell the difference without R-clicking and choosing "Terrain"
    -- "Onager"-graphic is 2x too big
    -- Dating system (month) should avoid using periods (.) if possible, because Windows interprets the first '.' as the end of the filename when loading a save (same problem as in Firaxis Sengoku and Napoleonic Conquests)

    UNIT-BALANCE ISSUES?

    -- According to 'Pedia-entries, most (all?) human-controlled units (incl. bombardment) don't upgrade -- even though an 'important' SWonder (allegedly) makes upgrades cheaper!
    -- Imperial Infantry should only be able to Stealth-Attack foot-units? (Is this already the case?)
    -- (Raonassian) Royal Guard (A.D.M = 3(2).5.4) cost 240 shields, and Imperial Infantry (6.3.4) cost 220 shields, but Raonassian Infantry (7.4.4) cost only 50 shields!?! Shurely shome mishtake?
    -- (Still) Don't see the utility of giving units high MP, but then crippling their movement with similarly high terrain move-costs. Why not just use similar MP/MC-values as in epic game?
    -- Since all units are 'fast', no units can retreat if losing!
    -- "Surge manoeuver" = ATAR, or "Ignores movement cost of [Terrain]"? Because (Astracetian) Cavalry don't seem to do either of these things!

    OTHER QUESTIONS

    -- "Highways" only available to Empire, and/or need special resource?
    -- Per Pedia-entries, many buildings appear to have 'identical' functions (e.g. 'Gives TAX%-boost'), but vary only by shield-cost: does the AI 'know' what it should be building (and when)...?
    -- No building has the "Granary" (food-store) function?
    -- Workers can't climb Mountains = no access to Gems-on-Mountains. So why include Gems at all?
    -- Shields are hard to come by? Hills can be irrigated but not mined?
    I've also attached the last save I made, for you to look at if you're interested. I do have 3 earlier saves-of-convenience, if you want more information of how the game got to this point.

    I almost certainly made quite a few mistakes in my play so far (read: "Did not play the way Nathiri intended/ expected!"), so am happy to answer any questions you might have -- or receive any feedback you might like to offer!
     

    Attached Files:

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  7. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    Thanks tjs! And good job lasting 30 turns.

    So, to respond to the high shield units you found. This is not a mistake. The rao infantry unit is not buildable by the empire, only auto-produced. But the reasoning behind the others is, when creating a powerful civ against an underdog civ that are both controlled by an AI, it is difficult to reduce or increase difficulty without messing with the strength of a teammate. Difficulty lvls reduce costs for both the teammate civ, and the empire civ. In order to make a better teammate, I made a high discount cost on a lower difficulty lvl, so that they might build more units. Essentially flipping the difficulty lvls and making basically Deity AI on a lower difficulty. To compensate, I increased the costs of the empire civ's units. Since many of their event units are auto-produced and they also have general auto-production buildings, this doesn't affect them too much. However, the empire AI is so strong that they do eventually overrun the AI teammate. Metelim is the punching bag when you are Astracet. If you play Astracet, expect Metelim to be hit hard. I did my best to stall their downfall (and I did! previously they would die at turn 10-15!), but also wanted to provide some urgency for the human player to do something...anything... to make it not happen, as Metelim is more valuable alive than dead. If the human plays Metelim, they do get hit hard, but I also think it is the easier civ with high production and smaller land area to defend and move units around. Astracet is the rich in land and gold civ. Metelim is rich in shields. The player is meant to utilize these strengths.

    For wall units...I wish they were around the city, but I dont have the ability to make the unit do this :(. The units I found that fit the look didnt have that option.

    Terrain...it is Ares's v2 beta terrain. I hadnt had an issue seeing bg tiles. It isn't super visible, but I could see it.

    Rao's infantry can stealth attack cavalry and foot units.

    So, IIRC and from what I can see from the BIQ, Surge Maneuver just describes the ability to cover 3 land tiles unroaded. This is accomplished just by terrain costs.

    Highways are just to get the event units to the frontlines and not meant to be used by players.

    Gems are on mountains mainly just to remove monotony from the mountain terrain.

    From my experience and looking at debug mode, the AI dont really build many buildings to begin with. If they did, they would be super cheap with the discounts.

    +50% tax output stacks. This is one of the key strategies in the scenario. Gold is an important resource for survival.

    To acquire shields, you have to be creative with your land. Many of my testers from the civplayers discord already figured out ways to exploit the changes in my tile yield system.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2020
  8. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    So the movement system is a result of wanting to make siege units slower. Artillery tends to be overpowered in default civ3 and there's little room for variety. I think I managed to create some variety and also made it necessary to think a little more about where they are positioned. The mod tries to make warfare more tactical and thoughtful rather than just stacks vs stacks of the same units. I've found while artillery is very helpful, they are difficult to use on the borders because you have to protect them well otherwise the superior empire units can easily take them. Since, shields for units are trickier to prioritize (royal guard or footman, which is needed most right now? I often need both at the same time, but which first?), they also arnt easily replaced in a short period of time. A movement of 2 makes it so if you want to utilize the benefits of the artillery, then you must be prepared to divert resources to protect them in the spots they are needed most.

    I've mentioned in other places on this forum how I played a variant of 5 max military units, but unlimited artillery. It is entirely doable and big stacks of artillery are a must on higher difficulty lvls in the default game. I figured I would try something different here and add an interesting twist.
     
  9. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    As is traditional, the first post in a report must contain a bug. Something in one of the .txt files is out of whack.

    • The main screen gets everything shifted by one: Build barricade - Play Last World - New Game - Quick Start, etc. on as normal.
    • Also the game setup is similarly out of whack.
    • Also the main in-game screen (world screen) and diplo screen
    • The city screen appears to be alright, assuming culture has been renamed as attrition.
    • Civilopedia's entry titles are out of whack as well.

    I am playing with both this scenario and Thelen Epres Mrel Nelthelrinae and their file folders in the Conquests/Scenarios folder. Should I move them to Conquests/Conquests?
    (for more information, I'm playing this on Windows, directly from CD :cool:)

    Points in favour:
    • Good graphics
    • Immersive gameplay
    • The music! XD

    I have the feeling that my ~17-year-old addiction to DotA and tower defence games will come in handy…
     
  10. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    Is not this a labels.txt issue? The steam version is active by default, which adds a label in the middle of the file different from the default disc exe. There should be a disc file for an easy swap in the Text folder, or just remove Unknown.
     
  11. tjs282

    tjs282 Stone \ Cold / Fish

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    Yes, it is.

    Although my installation of C3C is a DL-version rather than CD, it came from GamersGate (and was installed before the GG version was altered to require Steam). Nevertheless, I had the same issue as Takh when I first ran the mod, but renaming the non-Steam version of the labels.txt fixed that problem, so I didn't report it.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2020
  12. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    I'll try it tomorrow after work. What exactly do I need to rename to what?
     
  13. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    current labels.txt to labelsSTEAM (or delete whatever), and rename labelsDISC to labels.txt.
     
  14. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    All right, it's an ungodly hour here so I want to get it right and do it properly tomorrow.
     
  15. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    Excellent! Now it works properly.
     
  16. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    Today was one of those days when I teach English, so I'm consciously trying to avoid a carryover and simply going into typo hunt.

    The following is a running commentary of a little over an hour's worth of gameplay, stream-of-consciousness style, in the same order as it happened.

    At the start of the game (Astracet) I get a resource whose main icon won't show.
    The Onager unit is oversized. I know, the relative sizes and scales of units and terrain are always a problem in civ, but the ballista is smaller. And uncrewed, too. :think:

    I've made the strategic decision to start building unit-producing buildings everywhere I can at first, because in the past year I've learned that the AI doesn't know how to cope with massed artillery in the epic game. Perhaps that might help here.
    (also in DotA and similar games systematised AoE attacks to clear creep waves, like Wind Ranger's Powershot or Drow Ranger's Multishot, can have a slow but steady influence in the game. A one-sided lane can unbalance the entire game.)

    Some buildings, e.g. the City Defense Plan, lack a description, so I don't know why I should build them.
    Some of the pre-placed units (Whirlpool, Shipwreck, Lookout Tower) also lack descriptions, but they just appear to be there. So I assume them to be decorative.
    Imperial Guard Ship and Coast Guard share a civilopedia entry.
    The Blizzard unit's civilopedia icons have a magenta background which they shouldn't have. I haven't seen the unit in-game so cannot check whether this also applies to the .flc files.

    Mountains are impassable! Nasty.

    Also, what's the city which I'm morally tasked to reconquer?

    The 'pedia entries do not specify which units have lethal bombardment and which do not.

    Broken link in city screen: I right-click on Ballista Workshop and get a menu:
    Sell | Civilopedia: Ballista Workshop | Civilopedia: Maintenance | Civilopedia: Mojibake/link to invalid entry

    The city gfx are not centred on the actualy city tile, so I keep misclicking.

    The tech tree is confusing. It is hard to see which techs I've attained and which I haven't, and it is also hard to see the correct order in which techs are (to be) researched.

    I've survived the first ten turns! I'm trading my excess Wines for Liiaton. Just beginning to have to see off the Imperial infantry, which, one must be thankful, is highly vulnerable to massed artillery and attacks by infantry.
     
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  17. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    So this mod was not necessarily supposed to be completely "perfect" in the sense of every entry being its own thing. I reused alot of stuff to save time and some stuff was meant to be hidden like the resource as I didnt really design a story or some piece of info to make it fit for immersion.

    -Onager unit was downloaded from the database here. Yes it is a little big.

    -Lookout Towers are for vision sake only. In MP, it is nice to be able to see your teammate's situation and not need him to communicate everything. I guess I could make a little text piece about it, but I didnt consider it necessary when I was throwing the scenario together to play with a friend a couple years ago as I considered it self-explanatory. Others are yes, decorative. I was experimenting with animated stuff on the map so just threw them in to break up monotony.

    -You are correct about City Defense Plan. A pedia was written for it, but a # was not put in front of the script line. I fixed this already when I noticed it in my playthrough from a couple of weeks ago. It basically was put there for the teammate AI and auto-produces an immobile royal guard for your capital. Up to you to see whether it is worth it. But it costs unit maintenance. For the player, I dont see a reason you'd want the AI to creep up to your capital, so I personally wouldnt build it. This was one of the measures I put to help the teammate AI last a little longer.

    -Some units, like Coast Guard, are simply clones of each other, but have a separate entry for specific scenario purposes. I didnt see a need to show the player everything that went on under the hood so just cloned entries to save time.

    -Mountains are impassable for the player, however, in two of the events, the empire AI might attempt a crossing to create a new front. Only one type of unit can cross the mountain however and it is only auto-produced from those event buildings.

    -I havent come across this menu error. The link should work fine, I double-checked just now. I have however, occasionally come across a crash when a I right click a building in the city improvements list on the left side of city screen. I do not know the cause of this crash. Maybe related.

    -The exact city is better explained in victory conditions but was left a little vague. It's basically the only city you have easy access to and still within your little enclave. You only need that one city. Technically you could grab any of the 2 cities for either provincial civ in mechanic terms though. The same means for victory are used for both.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2020
  18. Takhisis

    Takhisis Rum and coke.

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    OK, I'll postpone the City Defense.

    Actually many of those I can check by going to the editor and the .txt files, but the point of doing such a playtest is giving you the end-user experience rather than a longtime modder's.

    I'll do more binge, I mean testing tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
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  19. tjs282

    tjs282 Stone \ Cold / Fish

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    Finally got back around to playing another couple of turns last night, from the save I posted above, and it struck me that the (Imperial) units are really OP, and so might need to be better balanced.

    Even if I manage to bombard and then kill some of their troops on my turn, the Imps then inevitably Stealth-kill all my (injured) attackers out from under my defenders, then kill the defenders (and steal my Ballistae!) through sheer numbers. Because of the above problem, the Hill-roads north of Pisidia can't really be defended — especially once Metelim starts collapsing (allowing the Imps to attack the Fortress directly from their side of the border, and from multiple directions) — which means that even if the Astracetians can get the tech, they almost certainly won't have access to the resources needed to build their better units.

    Would it maybe make more sense to force the Imps to kill defenders first (either through normal Civ3-mechanics, or by making the defenders the only available Stealth-attack targets), before they can hit the attackers? Alternatively, give the rebels' attackers the Stealth-ability — and/or Blitz — and remove it from the Imps?

    Or simply faster-moving units for the rebels might be another possibility (skirmisher-type militia/archer units should move faster than formation-troops, no?).
    If you have set the minimum and maximum turns to research to be the same value(?), there is no advantage in teching faster than SCI%=10%, and hence not much point boosting that.

    Plus, with only 100 turns and the onslaught of faster, stronger, higher-HP, Stealth-attacking Imperial troops, us poor rebels haven't got time/shields to pour into science buildings: we've barely got enough to spare for the military and TAX%-buildings as it is!
     
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  20. Nathiri

    Nathiri Commander

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    So, I am concerned about possibly reducing the threat level of the Imp units. They are meant to be a huge hurdle for you to get over as the scenario is more about survival, because of being the "rebel". Naturally, less equipped, and less resources. Now in default civ3, I find it is pretty easy to overcome most AI stacks if you got the time and production, I'm worried any reduction in power might tip it fairly quickly back into the player's favor. Stealth attack is meant to counter the OPness of a stack of doom by giving the AI a decent chance. I might consider a defender's only target, however, most human stacks consist of offensive units. Maybe the other way around?

    Pisidia is meant to be a key place of target for the AI, as a strategic resource is placed under that spot to provide a reason for the AI to take control of it. Since the scenario is about survival, various tactics need to be employed in your troop's positioning to win. To know more about your situation to consider changes, what was your turn number that you experienced this? and when did Metelim collapse? I often use suicide units, pillaging, and also manipulate the AI to attack a certain tile in order to win.

    The Min research is 5, and the max is 10. So there is some difference here. But since gold is such a valuable resource, I'm concerned teching fast is not as viable. It definitely isnt in multiplayer, but in singleplayer, you dont have as willing of a partner, so I was wondering if an additional science building is worth it. In MP, I dont think it would affect balance, as I'd see it as more advantageous to build more units to combine with your partner, rather than focusing solely on teching. But perhaps a method of play would require fast teching, so I was wondering if I could also include it as an additional option available. I think it is good to try and accommodate different ways of playing. Players can try different ones to see what might work better.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2020

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