Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Large Maps

What can I say, the poll's results surprised me a bit, basically no one was against it. Well, there were 4 "No", but I'm sure they all come from fellow modders who just wanted to be assholes and ruin perfection. No biggie, we'll just say everyone that matters (the actual players) voted "Yes". :)

Now, I would gladly increase the size of all maps, normal and "Large" maps as well, just as the poll said, but its not that easy and there are some problems. Changing the map size itself is easy, just a few codes, but then you also have to convert the entire map, resources and everything, to the new much bigger size and here is what I can't really do, at least not for every single map. Map scripting along with AI scripting are my 2 weaknesses, I only know the basic stuff in these 2 categories and its obviously not enough. Also, please remember that I work alone, other mods have teams with members each specializing in one or more types of scripting and coding.

So basically it comes down to this, I can't increase the size of every single map, but I will try to make more large versions of standard maps. What maps you ask? This is where YOU come in, I don't really know which maps are popular between players so you will just have to vote for a few maps which will receive "Large" versions from a list of standard/normal maps.

Note that some standard maps actually have large sizes, Caribbean and Honshu for example are normal maps with large sizes, and if you vote a map which is like this it will not get the upgrade to "Large". I will still leave them in the list though because except for these 2 I don't exactly know which other ones are hidden "Large" maps, I'll have to check them once the voting is done.

Again, I will post a list with all maps which DON'T have "Large" versions and you will be able to tell me and vote which ones get a "Large" upgrade. Yes, you need to leave a comment to vote, there are 20+ maps, I can't make a poll that big.

Amazon, Andes, Araucania, Bayou, Borneo, California, Caribbean, Ceylon, Great Lakes, Himalayas, Hispaniola, Honshu, Indochina, Mongolia, New England, Northwest Territory, Orinoco, Ozarks, Painted Desert, Pampas, Patagonia, Rockies, Yucatan, Yukon.

Start naming your favorite map for which you want a large version and if enough people agree it will (probably) happen!
Thanks for your help!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Patcher Update

As many of you have noticed in the past few weeks, the patcher got broken... This was actually pretty normal to happen at one point, the same happened with the version 5.2 patcher and the same would have happened in the future.

Now, I'm not good with this stuff so I can't explain it perfectly but basically the web host on which the mod was hosted for updates has an IP change from time to time and so it brakes the patcher.
We looked for alternative hosts but couldn't find anything good for free, because, well, a paid host was not a very appealing option for me for several reasons.

Anyhow, after a lot of searching, testing and work on the patcher itself, Shyke, the programmer which made the patcher and to which I am owe a lot for his help, said we should use GitHub and so we did.

The result? A new patcher which downloads and updates the mod faster but takes a bit longer to set up the first time you run it. After that first time everything should be fast and clean. Well, maybe not that clean, the patcher will make some additional folders and files inside AoE3 in order to function as it is, but it's nothing to worry about.

So, download the newest patcher version, put it where you have the game installed, run it (as administrator) and update!
How can you know if it worked? Simple, I've added some new gameplay soundtracks, so go start a skirmish match and listen if the first song you hear is new! Also tell me if you like it, I found it on YouTube and maybe you think it doesn't fit the game very well.

Thank you everyone for playing and many thanks to Shyke for his amazing work!

Because of obvious reasons I now have to put the UI warning/fix in every new post that I make so I'll have less people asking me all the time how to fix the resource icons being messed up...

If you have problems with the UI not displaying resources correctly go to "Options" and press the "Restore Defaults" button!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Improvement Mod version 5.4

After almost an year later the newest installer powered release has arrived! Its the biggest update ever and it couldn't have been possible without the mod's patcher. The patcher is also one of the main reason's for why I need to release this as fast as possible, because the 5.2 patcher cannot connect to the content server anymore creating problems for a lot of new players.

Is it the last big update? Probably not but I can't promise anything right now, lots of things going on and, well I just realised how damn fast time passes and I don't know how much I'll work on the mod in the future.

Remember that if you've used the patcher before then this update is nothing new to you, still for those interested here's what the update changes:

- tweaked the AI military
- added a new USA HomeCity
- added moving wakes for all naval units
- fixed ships space blocks, which results in better formations, better maneuvering for canoes and overall more realistic naval battles
- Aging Up changes
-- starting with Age3, Minutemen, Warriors, Irregulars and Peasants get damage and HP bonuses with every age
-- the Colonial Age (Age2) now costs 800 Food and 200 Wood; more changes are planed for Age1 and Age2
-- each Age increases villager limit by 10, made possible by the increased max pop (see below)
- fixed ranged cavalry melee attacks; enemy units must be very close for the ranged cavalry to switch to melee
- improved mercenaries distribution on Asian maps
- the Winked Knight can now only be obtained through the German Command Centers card
- improved/tweaked/updated the "Blood, Ice and Steel" campaign, scenarios and cutscenes
- added butterflies to berries and cherry orchards...
- melee cavalry now fight more dynamic and realistic
- European Houses can now train and manage livestock like Livestock Pens
- the Livestock Pen is now the East European food producing building, replacing the Bakery
- all newly created European Home Cities now get the Royal Decree card for free
- added the Miner as Mercenary on American and Asian maps
- fixed some units with area attack damaging buildings (if you happen to notice melee units damaging buildings with their melee attack, let me know...)
- added a new resource for all Europeans, Fame, which has the following characteristics...
-- there is a small continous trickle of Fame for all Europeans
-- it can be gathered from Town Centers by Envoys; Aging Up rewards Fame
-- it can be used on Church and Royal Decree techs
-- it can be used on special cards, and can be exchanged for Shipments at the Capitol
- fixed AI building more than one set of walls
- units are (a little) less likely to get run over by trade units
- Natives can now train Scouts from the Town Center from the beginning of the game
- the Fort can now train armies similar to the Consulate ones; the cost of the army will be cheaper than the overall cost of all units from the army
- changed livestock units for some European and Native civs
- Natives now have WarChief pets enabled form the beginning of the game
- important changes made to Revolution!; after revolting...
-- you can still train 10 Settlers
-- military units can be trained in blocks of 10, instead of 5 (also added this to the Native Confederacy Support tech)
-- you get a new infinite Factory card, although Factory build limit is 3
-- Outpost build limit is increased by 4
- added European Brigades to the Native Embassy for all Native civs
- artillery can't fire from point blank anymore, which makes them incredibly vulnerable to melee attacks, so protect your artillery!
- all European politicians are unlocked from level 10 (wasn't fair before)
- added the Lancer to the Dutch (the Spanish Lancer is still better)
- changed how European Minutemen and Asian Irregulars work, now they are infinite but you can call out a new group only after the previous group got to 1 HP
- added the Black Powder Boat to all Native civs
- added historical names to Town Centers for all civs
- further improved all Revolution civs; Revolution is now a very viable option
- added the Sowar to the Ottomans (the Indian Sowar is cheaper to upgrade)
- enabled another AoE2 lost feature, height bonus attack damage, which means that units which are on higher ground, like hills, do slightly more damage to units that are on lower ground
-- the bonus is very small but its there
-- the higher the ground the bigger the bonus
-- if you thought this was already enabled you are mistaken
- improved and tweaked all vanilla and TWC campaign scenarios and most cutscenes
- added Hotkeys for all  the new units and buildings added by the mod
- further improved civ bonuses, each European civ is now more unique (read each civ's description for more info)
- fixed the Japanese Monks' healing animation
- increased maximum population capacity to 300
-- House, Village, Longhouse, etc. build limit increased to sustain the increased population; Teepee's now sustain 5 pop
-- you start with 200 max pop and each Age adds another 20 pop to the limit; the Chinese and British get 40 free pop in the Imperial Age
-- you can achieve 300 pop only by researching the Reformed Government tech and by building all available Town Centers
-- the Reformed Government tech now also makes villagers to use no population space
- when advancing to the Imperial Age, Europeans can chose a main political party, each party researches for free a powerful Imperial Age upgrade
-- The Liberal Party researches for free Immigrants
-- The Conservative Party researches for free Aristocracy (Peerage and Spyglass)
- all map native units upgrades are now researched for free once you reach the required Age
- added map territorial Control Flags, capture them to generate more experience points
- Longbowman upgrades and all Mortar, Hand Mortar and Morutaru upgrades now increase maximum attack range (balanced the Mortar a bit more by decreasing its max range and having it re-increased with upgrades)
- added water treasures on American maps (similar to the ones on Asian maps)
- Asian War Tents can now heal nearby units (mini Field Hospitals)
- when destroyed, defensive buildings (Outposts, Castles, Warhuts, etc.) spawn a few Levy units (Minutemen, Warriors, Irregulars)

If you have problems with the UI not displaying resources correctly go to "Options" and press the "Restore Defaults" button!

I thank everybody who played and helped me improve the mod, you are all great and remember, if you find bugs, report them! :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


The next installer powered update is close and this time I mean really close, a week away at most, I know I said this before in the last months but this time I really mean it.

So, this is your chance to get involved into the mod's last minute development and add an awesome, revolutionary idea!
And by revolutionary ideas I don't necessarily mean things no one has done before in any other mod, I mean radical, game changing ideas, like the increased population, the control flags, water treasures on all maps, the new euro resource and so on.

Note that the game has many restrictions modding wise, not everything can be made, but if you have an awesome, radical idea don't hold back and share it, it might just be possible and cool enough to become real!

I'll delay the installer release a bit if necessary but if I see no activity in this topic then I'll go ahead and release it earlier.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Water Treasures

Alright, scrap that, I added water treasures on American maps! They are mostly the same as the Asian ones of course, but I'll try to add new ones over time.

This is of course still in development and there will be bugs and some inconsistencies. If you have problems with maps failing to load please report the name of the map, as well as other problems you might find.

This is also a big feature the mod adds and a step closer to version 5.5... I mean 5.4! Why did I change it? Well, I kinda wanted version 5.5 to be the final one, but since the game still has and will have bugs, modded and un-modded alike, the next version will clearly not be the last.
When will it come? Who knows. The more problems you guys report the faster I will wrap everything together and do it. And yes, I need bug reports, not suggestions for new stuff.

Thank you and please help me to make the mod better!


I have added a new graphical enhancer to the mod called SweetFX. It makes AoE3 look a bit more colorful, smoother and clearer.

To enable it you must have all visual settings maxed out, especially "Shader Quality" which needs to be put on "Very High". To disable it put "Shader Quality" on "High" or lower.
You can also enable and disable the graphical enhancer in-game by pressing the "Scroll Lock" key.

Please leave your opinion about this visual enhancement in the comments!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Conquest Age

A huge update just rolled out, not necessarily huge in size, but more like in importance. What does it contain? Well, lets just say now you really feel like conquering the New World!

The update adds control flags for all maps. What are control flags? They are points on the map, randomly generated, which if captured give line of sight and a small XP trickle over time. You start with one flag near your Town Center and as you explore the map more and more flags pop up.

And that's not all! You know how Asian maps have water treasure which are completely awesome? Sadly I cannot add them for American maps too (not without starting a project which would take weeks, even months, which will probably prove useless since they might be "hardcoded"), so I decided to do something different for them. I took the Fishery, a water building I made a while ago, and transformed it into a capturable water trading post. So now those annoying pirate ships I added on American maps have a purpose, to protect their fisheries. Kill them and take the fisheries for your own.

I hope you enjoy these completely new features and if you find any problems, and you'll most certainly do, please report them!
Thanks for playing!


I'm looking through the mod and I'm starting to question decisions I made a long time ago. For example, do Europeans really need all of those buildings? When I started this mod one of my main objectives was to add as many buildings as possible, but now I look back and it simply doesn't look as good as it once did.

So, I decided to make some changes. Now my main objective is to make every European building as useful as possible, because we had many useless buildings or many buildings that did too little.

First of all, I will make European Settlers able to build Town Centers and Trading Posts just like Native and Asian villagers.

Second, Banks will disappear from the French and Barons will disappear from the British, the Dutch will keep their Banks though. Furthermore, Lumber Camps and Livestock Pens (the new Bakeries) will also disappear from all the civs that had them. I do have a plan for Livestock Pens but I need more time to figure it out.

Third, the Capitol will receive a utility makeover, the old Forts will make a comeback and I will probably combine the Command Post (Saloon) with the University.

Now, instead of the Lumber Camps, Banks, Barons and Livestock Pens, which were resources production buildings, the Church will take their place. You will be able to research a tech at the Church which enables it to generate coin. This will be present for all European civs, they will now have only one coin production building and that is it.
Why do I do this? Well, mainly because the old setup was too "over powered" for Europeans. And because this is how other, non-euro civs also have it.

This is all for now. I know some of you might dislike the new changes but I think it will turn out good.
Don't fight the system, embrace it. XD
Nah, I'm just kidding, death to all politicians!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Age of Empires 2 "Reborn Edition"

Ok so, we were all disappointed that AoE2 HD brought nothing new to the table, and because it is laggy as hell, and some animations are even broken, but the game still is somehow popular so since Hidden Path were clearly not the guys to go ahead and properly change the game they gave it to someone who can, a team that worked on RTS games before, SkyBox Labs.

Check this out for more info!

Let me highlight some important stuff from that post...
"I’m proud today to announce that we’ve been working with SkyBox Labs to ensure that AOE II HD’s future is brighter than ever."
"we are thrilled to announce a new partnership with the team behind the community driven Forgotten Empires project." 
"Working with the FE team will allow us to focus on improving what the community has been deemed most important over the years!"
"Throughout the summer we’ll be providing a series of patches to the core title to continue improving the game, fix bugs, improve performance, and more."
 And some nice recent changes...
"Maximum unit selection increased from 40 to 200.
Internal game’s frame rate is no longer forced at 20 frames per second."
So yes, things look extremely well for the Age of Empires franchise once again. I hope we will get the AoE2 game we all dream of!
Who knows, maybe they'll even bring LAN back...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Patcher Update

So the patcher's server was changed recently and the current patcher can't connect to it to update itself with the new address which means that everyone will have to download the new patcher manually and then put it in your AoE3 directory.

If you run the current patcher you will probably get this: Error grabbing master server list.
The error might not show up for everyone as I have been told but in case it does here's the fix...


The deal is the same, run it as administrator!
It will be included in the version 5.5 installer so after that everything will be automated.

We will probably do more changes to the patcher and its server so I'll update this post with news as they happen.

Thanks for playing!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Update on Updates

This is just a heads up on the things I'll be adding soon, I thought you should know before I'll release it and get people complaining because units are more expensive now for no reason.

So, I want to make Imperial upgrades to increase the unit's cost with about 20%. Why? Well because units get really, really powerful with their Imperial upgrades and it kinda makes sense to also make them a bit more expensive, and this is how AoE2 also worked.
Not only that, but by doing this I give players an important choice to make, upgrade their units to imperial and have really powerful stats but more expensive units, or don't upgrade them to Imperial, be weaker but also cheaper. Each player's economy will determinate with which strategy they go.

You might think "But now players with the best economy will win easier!". Well, not exactly, because they will use all that economy on more expensive units and dry it out faster, while players with weaker economy can still train more units for the same, cheaper price.
Plus, I did not increase the stats Imperial upgrades give, I only made them increase the unit's cost.

Another thing that I will add soon, Revolution civs are now getting villagers! But only 10 of them...
The idea of Revolution is still the same, you have a shitload of resources, you want to go kamikaze and train units stupid fast (+ infinite Forts and almost infinite Factories), you go for Revolution. But now, after all your Settlers transform into Militia you will still be able to train 10 more Settlers. How you use those Settlers is up to you.
Revolutions are times in which every villager takes up arms against their oppressors, not many still have time to work.

And another thing related to the "Out of sync" error in multiplayer, I have a file that might fix it for some but not for others, so I'll decide if I release it or not according to the survey.
So please vote! Thank you.

PS: And for God's name people, run the patcher as administrator!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Chat and Play

That's right, the Improvement Mod's Lobby program has been released to all using the patcher! It is still in beta of course, which means its a bit buggy and has some missing features, but be sure to try it out with your friends and leave your opinion. Note that you need Java installed for it to work.

What is the Lobby? What it suggests, you can enter the chat room, find player to play with and set up games. Remember the the Lobby by it self will not make a playable connection between players, you will still need to use a program specifically designed for that like Hamachi or Tunngle.

The Lobby's main function is to find other players playing the Improvement Mod.
Look for "launcher.exe" in your main AoE3 folder.

You can read all about the Lobby right HERE!
I have added some new information in the "Help and Tools" tab here on the blog as well, check it out!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Realism Reloaded

The "accuracy update" has been released for everyone to test out. Please report any problems you might find. Remember that the chance to miss is very low but it does happen. This new feature affects all ground ranged units but it does not affect buildings and ships.

It's still a work in progress until I can add it to every single unit that needs it.


There is something I wanted to do for a while, and I thought I did it for cannons but it proves I was a bit wrong, something that will add lots of realism into the game but might piss off some players.

I can make ranged units meaning cannons, archers, spearmen, riflemen and so forth, to have a small chance to miss their shots, to fire but not hit their target every time. This new feature would balance out with the other lost feature I added a while ago, height damage bonus which gives a very small attack bonus to units which fire from higher ground than their targets. The chance will be very small, as is the height bonus, but they can both decide the outcome of a battle, even in the favor of the weaker army.

Now, this also means a new luck factor is introduced, something that might piss off hardcore fans, but since most people seem to want more realism, I thought this would be an awesome thing to add. This new feature can be added to any unit, even melee, but it makes more sense to add it to ranged units since those are the most used ones and it would make melee units more viable and important. Plus, muskets were really inaccurate...

I will make a survey as always, but it seems the survey/poll feature offered by Blogger is bugged, and it does not properly record votes. So, I beg you to leave your opinion in the comments section of this post.

Thank you, and please help me take a decision!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

AI problems

I know the AI can be shit at times... My AI is based on the Draugur AI, which people said it was good, so that's why I used it. I then tweak it to train my units and build my buildings, as well as using the extra population I added. I also tried to tweak how it played, since people complained it was too slow and none aggressive.

I tried over and over again, and while a friend of mine seems to have nailed it I want to achieve that by my own terms. So, I left this message to someone here on the blog:

"Well, let me explain then.
What people don't seem to understand is that the AI has different personalities and strategies. Napoleon for example, favors cavalry and native units and has a balanced attack strategy, which means he attacks but he also builds protection for his base.

Elizabeth, British, she is a boomer, which means she first builds a powerful economy and then attacks.
Isabella, Spanish, she is a rusher. She doesn't care about base protection and spends all her resources on units with which she attacks you as often as she can.

But even with these built in strategies they do change the way they play sometimes. In one game for example, Isabella could chose a turtling strategy, which means she will build base defenses and attack less.

People just want the AI to attack continuously at all times, and while I am not completely against it, its simply very hard to tweak the AoE3 AI since it works in a weird, "lazy" way and requires a lot of codding to make it do even simple, basic things.

I did however, released a prototype AI. What is different in it? Simple, I removed all strategies and made everyone a rusher, even if some of them need an economy to evolve, like the Dutch because their Settlers cost coin, even so I removed every bit of personality and strategy from the AI and made what everyone seems to want.

And if this still doesn't satisfy my warmongering fans, then I will increase their rushing status even more and see what happens.

Thank you and please vote in the survey."

These are the personality descriptions from the AI file:

Elizabeth: Infantry oriented boomer, favors natives
Napoleon: Cav oriented, balanced, favors natives
Isabella:  Rusher, disdains trading posts
Ivan: Infantry oriented turtler
Frederick: Cavalry oriented rusher
Maurice: Turtler, boomish, huge emphasis on trade
Henry: Artillery oriented boomer, favors trade
Suleiman: Artillery oriented, balanced
Gall: Extreme rush, ignores trade routes
Hiawatha: Balanced, trade and native bias.
Cuauhtemoc: Randomized, but usually light boom, defensive.
Kangxi: Infantry oriented turtler
Tokugawa: Extreme rush, ignores trade routes
Akbar: Cavalry oriented, balanced

Remember that they might change these strategies from time to time.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Campaigns Update v2

Update has been released! It contains fixes and improvements all over the place. Especially the campaigns, be sure to check them out. Actually, check everything out and report all problems you find!

Go to the features tab and read all the update notes from version x.x. Those are changes made through the patcher.

Everything is ready for version 5.5 but I will postpone until I'm sure there are no major bugs. So please, report all problems and help me out a bit (more)!

I've noticed a little bug recently, regarding the UI and gathered resources not being displayed correctly.
The way to fix this is to go to "Options" and press the "Restore Defaults" button. This will fix the UI and afterwards you can change any setting any way you want, make them like they were before loading the default settings, but you need to press the "Restore Defaults" button at least once.


Alright, so, as some of you know, some time ago I began to work on the game's campaigns, improving scenarios and cutscenes, fixing bugs my mod created and making them more enjoyable. I focused mainly on the vanilla campaign "Blood, Ice and Steel"(1) and TWC campaign "Fire and Shadow"(2).

The vanilla campaign went smoothly, no major problems, a real joy to work on. But then I got to TWC campaign... It is a real damn mess. Just play it and you'll see, one minute you're Iroquois, the other you're a cheap, poorly made American nation, the other you're Sioux, and at all times you're a combination of all 3...
This had to be fixed to make a proper campaign which offers what it promises, the American Revolution and the American-Indian war.

Both acts from the "Fire and Shadow" campaign have about 3 scenarios in which the player controls a Native civ, and in the rest of the scenarios the player controls an American civ. I basically used the American civ I already made for my mod and gave it to Act3 (Steel) from vanilla and to the "Fire and Shadow" campaign. The "Fire" act version of the civ is made to feel a bit older, a bit more British, to fit the timeline.

The real problem here were the Home Cities. Like the civs, the "Fire and Shadow" HC is a mess, so I transformed it into an early American HC with some British flavor in it. It has less Native cards but I think its better this way.
Another problem here is a feature which TWC added for campaigns, a Home City button present in the campaign menu which allows you to visit the scenarios HC at any time. This button is present in TWC and TAD campaigns but not in the vanilla campaign. I tried everything I could to make it appear in the vanilla campaign, no luck, it seems to be "hardcoded"(3). I can however transfer the button from one campaign to another, but it can't be used by both.

So, I did the following thing: Both vanilla Act2 and TWC Act1 use the same HC, Philadelphia. Meaning that, when you edit the cards in one campaign, it transfers to the other one as well. Which means that I can transfer the HC button from TWC campaign to vanilla. Why? Because vanilla is the first and a player is suppose to play it before TWC campaign to understand everything well, plus the vanilla campaign is bigger so it makes sense.

Actually, I know most of this doesn't really make sense and please hold your suggestions/criticism until you see it.(4)
When do I release this update? Well, I promised it will be soon, but it looks like it will take longer. I also plan to release updated hotkeys for all the new buildings and units I added so stay tuned, I will announce the release in this post.
Thank you.

1 - "Blood, Ice and Steel" means: Blood - Act1 - Morgan Black; Ice - Act2 - John Black; Steel - Act3 - Amelia Black
2 - "Fire and Shadow" means: Fire - Act1 - Nathaniel Black; Shadow - Act2 - Chayton Black
3 - "hardcoded" means something beyond current modding capabilities and/or beyond my capabilities
4 - Yes, I used the word "campaign" a lot in this post. Please excuse my poor English and also please excuse my exaggerated use of commas and dots...

Monday, April 1, 2013


Someone requested something on the forum and my response, well, I want everyone to see it since it basically describes how things are going for the mod and how they will go in the future.


"These are not "basic things"...
To be honest, its a bit late to request these. The only work I'm planing to do in the following weeks is add hotkeys to the new buildings and units I added, revisit TWC campaign and find a use for a beta tower I got my hands on.
And that's pretty much it. The mod will probably take a very, very, VERY long break and I'll probably just work on bug fixes, if any appear.(1)

I had enough modding for a good while, kept doing it almost continuously for many years now. Plus, my PC is dying, my social life is crap and did I mention my PC is dying...?(2)

Please don't take me wrong, you're ideas are not bad. Especially the Spanish one, I also thought about it and I totally agree about the Cranequier. But you are missing an important point relating the game. The Cranequier and Longbowman, they are not in the game for historical accuracy and they might not have super stats either, but they do one thing extremely well, add some well deserved variety and eye candy. I know everyone wants muskets and rifles everywhere, but it won't happen while I'm in charge. If I can make something even slightly accurate and good looking at the same time, then fuck logic, I'll add it. And it also needs to require a small amount of work.

Thank you for playing.(3)"

1 - No, the mod is not dying, but I do have less motivation to work on it than I had before.
2 - It is indeed true. Everyday when I start my PC I fear it will be the last time or it won't start at all. And yes, I am too poor to buy a new one.
3 - Thank you to everyone that has ever laid an eye on my mod and considered its not total crap.

As always, we will have to see what the future brings. I will probably still do big things to the mod even if I said I won't, but nothing is guaranteed.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Age of Empires 2 HD

"In Age of Empires II: HD Edition, fans of the original game and new players alike will fall in love with the classic Age of Empires II experience. Explore all the original single player campaigns from both Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, choose from 18 civilizations spanning over a thousand years of history, and head online to challenge other Steam players in your quest for world domination throughout the ages. Originally developed by Ensemble Studios and reimagined in high definition by Hidden Path Entertainment, Microsoft Studios is proud to bring Age of Empires II: HD Edition to Steam!"

"So what will this include? The original AOE II: The Age of Kings and The Conquerors expansion, all remastered in HD by Hidden Path. This will enable 1080p+ resolutions, and also include enhanced textures, lighting, and water and fire effects. As a Steam exclusive release, it will incorporate Steamworks, and have achievements, leaderboards, matchmaking, and the ability to save to the cloud. Steam Workshop support will also be included, enabling sharing of mods and user-created content for the game."

First AoE3 goes on Steam and now this...!?
I think we all feel the same way, amazed and very happy. Most of us here played the classic and beautiful AoE2 and know it has unmatched gameplay.
Maybe a completely new AoE game would have been better, but since the AoE franchise seemed dead once again with development on AoE Online being stopped, this is better than nothing. This re-release of AoE2 will surely be successful and will show Microsoft how loved this franchise still is if they get it right.

I still have a few problems with AoE2 though, such as civilizations uniqueness. For example, Aztecs and Japanese have an European techtree with just 1 or 2 unique, specific units... This is silly and disrespectful compared to something like AoE3 but what can you do.

Even so, it is a great game and the competitive player base might grow into something huge.
Who knows.

It comes out on April 7 so don't miss it!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

"Improvement Mod"

Many of you might not be aware of the upcoming "Improvement Mod" for AoE3 vanilla, but in case you ever see it I wanted to let everyone know that I have nothing to do with it.
It is a simple, small mod focused on making everything free and unlimited, like unlimited pop, units and other stuff like that.

I tried to speak with the developer to make him maybe change it's name to avoid confusion but he doesn't seem too wiling to do it. I just hope he won't use this name to advertise his mod to people who know my mod.

Anyway, I really need some help from the community with something new and awesome!
I want to give names to Town Centers like Forts have. Names of historical colonial cities and/or towns as well as made up names as long as they fit.
Remember that I need names for Euro Town Centers, as well as Native and Asian ones. I need around/at least 5 names per civ.

I will post here the names I like and what might make it into the mod.
So, lets get started, I'll go first:

- British

- Dutch

- French
Saint Laurent
Saint Colette

- Iroquois

- Sioux

- Aztecs

- Spanish
San Miguel
San Andreas

- Chinese

- Japanese

- Indians

- Portuguese
Sao Paulo
Sao Vincente
Rio Grande
Sao Luis
Porto Seguro

- Russians

- Germans

- Ottomans

The list is pretty much done. Thank you to everyone that contributed and I hope you will like them in-game!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Fame-ous Update

And it's out! Please note that there still is an annoying bug that I couldn't fix yet, related to European houses, settlers and the AI... I will fix it, but it was taking too long so I released the update with it.

At this point I kinda recommend a re-installation of the game and mod, simply because some stuff has been removed from the mod and might still be present in your game and, well do it only if you think it's necessary, if you experience problems or things don't behave as I describe them.

So what does the update contain? Well, new stuff for everyone, Europeans, Natives, Asians, and Revolution civs.

Europeans got the new expected resource, Fame, which can be used on all kind of stuff, from Home City cards to techs and armies. The second thing Europeans got are Fort banner armies, which are basically the Consulate armies Asians get.
I don't think it was fair how Asians got so many units at once for basically free, since Export doesn't really cost anything. So, I added the Consulate armies to each corresponding civ, trainable at the Fort, changed their cost to gold and Fame, and voila!

Revolution civs and Natives got bigger training blocks. What does it mean? It means that I doubled the number of units they can train at once, from 5 to 10. Revolution civs get it for free and Natives get it from the new Confederacy Support tech. Natives can also call an Euro Expeditionary Brigade, similar to the Consulate ones, from the Native Embassy.
I really think that with these additions, Rev civs and Natives got a lot more stronger. Also, to help Natives, I made all cannon artillery unable to fire from point blank range, which means there needs to be a little distance between them and their target to be able to fire. This makes them very vulnerable to melee attacks.

Asians got some changes in Consulate armies. Just a bit. Not much to do here. They are too perfect...

I plan to take a new approach with Revolution civs, and make them what everybody wants them to be, full featured civs. I'm thinking to give them villagers, Imperial Age upgrades and all the stuff normal civs have. The purpose of Revolution will only be to play as a new American civ, like Mexico, Colombia or USA.
Still thinking on this one.

Other stuff the update brings can be found here...
- added the Miner as Mercenary on American and Asian maps
- changed how Fisheries and Town Centers are placed
- fixed some units with area attack damaging buildings (if you happen to notice melee units damaging buildings with their melee attack, let me know...)
- added a new resource for all Europeans, Fame, which has the following characteristics...
-- it can be gathered from Town Centers by Envoys (improves gather speed in Age4)
-- it can be used on Church and Royal Decree techs
-- it can be used on Royal Armies and Treasury Support cards, and can be exchanged for Shipments at the Capitol
- fixed AI building more than one set of walls
- units are (a little) less likely to get run over by trade units
- Natives can now train Scouts from the Town Center from the beginning of the game
- the Fort can now train armies similar to the Consulate ones; the cost of the army will be cheaper than the overall cost of all units from the army
- changed livestock units for some European and Native civs
- Natives now have WarChief pets enabled form the beginning of the game
- after Revolting, military units can be trained in blocks of 10, instead of 5 (also added to the Native Confederacy Support tech)
- added European Brigades to the Native Embassy for all Native civs
- artillery can't fire from point blank anymore, which makes them incredibly vulnerable to melee attacks, so protect your artillery!


The big Fame update is coming really soon, I just have one annoying bug to fix, but before that I have another question for you all.

I was suggested to change how military units look, once again.
Instead of having them change their skins and/or models, basically their entire look, when upgraded (Veteran, Guard, Imperial and Native and Asian counterparts), now they will have all skins/models available from the beginning and have them randomized for the most variety possible.

This has both upsides and downsides...
The upsides are of course the nice visual refreshment and realism resulted from such a variety.
The downsides are that map natives (like Huron or Apache) and mercenaries have only one skin/model, which means no variety for them...
Also, players might get a bit confused and forget what upgrade they researched for their units.

And I plan to change this a bit, and have all units back to using the same skins/models once upgraded to Imperial, again trying to make it more realistic. It's normal to have rugged and uneven units in the Discovery and Expansion ages, but as you progress in time and become more advanced and civilized, you need to have clean and organized units, all using the same uniform. Sounds logical to me.

So, what do you think? Please vote in the poll.
Thank you.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Master Plan

Alright, so, here is my big master plan for the next updates:

1. Native Americans will (not probably) receive Export and Consulates. There is a very big small problem here, the buff which increases damage against buildings from the Fire Pit, applied on a European Heavy Cannon could result in something extremely OP... So I must find a way to maybe make Fire Pit bonuses not affect Consulate units. Not sure I can...
So, Natives will have only 2 allies in the Consulate, not 4 like Asians, and will probably gather Export slower.

2. I will be replacing the Dutch with the USA... AoE3 revolves around the colonization of America, and the main civ that came out of this business was the USA, as seen in 3 acts of 2 campaigns.
So basically, the USA is more important than the Dutch, which means I must do it... Sorry for all those who are against, but there is another good reason for why the Dutch are going out. The AI. Maurice of Nassau is the best candidate to be transformed into George Washington. His voice lines and attitude resemble Washington's the best from any AI. And no, I can't simply put lines from Washington from the campaigns. I mean I could, but there are too many things an AI would say and I don't have replacements for all of them, not even for a quarter of them...

3. Europeans will get a new 4th resource, Fame. What we see with Europeans after the 2 expansions, is that they simply got old... Old and boring. While they are probably the strongest, they don't benefit from bonuses and effects from buildings like the Fire Pit or Wonders or Consulates. The only real bonuses Europeans get are from the Royal Decree cards, which I also made a bit easier to obtain.
So the new resource will try to address that problem. It will be used on the current Decree techs (for example, if a tech costs 1000 Coin I will split that in half, meaning 500 Coin and 500 Favor) and for some new, very powerful Home City cards. Because let's face it, the most important thing for Europeans is their beloved Home City and King and such. Meaning that I might also address the Blockade tech.
These new special cards will consist of armies with the civ's unique units, and will be named Royal Armies, and of some new techs.

That is all for now. And it's quite a lot... I hope it will be worth the trouble.
What do you people think? Please give some constructive feedback, don't cry, or rage, or ask for impossible things...

1.5. Sadly, Native Americans won't receive Consulates... I know they are still a problem when it comes to number of unique units and firepower but... I really don't know what to do with them... And giving them Consulates won't necessarily make it better. I need another idea, and if you have a good one please share it.

2.5. The Dutch and USA deal, is not happening yet. I was given a little hope that there is another way, so I will wait and see what happens.
Also, I think the USA, or rather the Americans, will receive a remake because as most of you can tell, they are kinda messy... Their units, even their name, is not right for the time frame. I wanted an early American civ, but instead created a weird hybrid even named wrong for the time period.
I'm starting to see this is overall a bad idea, adding the Americans. But I'm not giving up yet.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Back to work

So, we are all "still alive" in this promising new year. Well then we'd better get back to work!
As I told some of you, I took a small vacation, for the holidays and stuff, but now since they've passed, I'm gonna resume work on the mod.

Thank you to everyone that reported problems and made suggestions for the past few weeks. One of my mottos is "bugs will only get fixed if they are reported... or if I find them", but since I don't play the game that much, you'd better report those bastards...

For now my "to do" list is composed of this:
1. try to implement a new "Export" like resource for the Europeans, for which I still don't have a proper use...
2. fix as many of the reported bugs as possible and try to implement some suggestions
3. finish TWC campaign remake

Then we'll see where the road leads us next.
That would be all for now, thank you for playing my mod and remember, REPORT THE BUGS!