You know how sometimes it takes a while for the gears in your head to turn before you finally have a big realisation? Yeah well, that happened to me yesterday.
For most of this year, I’ve been working on getting the next version, Alpha 7, of the Community Balance/Bugfix Patch out. One bug in particular relating to Barks and Triremes was especially difficult to pin down, but last night I was finally able to figure out the bug’s trigger and get a 100% reproduction rate.
Rise of Nations is not a perfectly balanced game, and CBP doesn’t make it one either.
RoN is a reasonably balanced game though, and (by most people’s counts) CBP is a net-improvement of that balance.
There are a lot of areas which I’d like to probe further for CBP but am unable to due to lack of playtesting and quality discussion. This isn’t intended to be a comprehensive list of literally every possible change, but it can be used as a somewhat comprehensive starting point. Here’s what’s been left on the table.
To try to better communicate the reason behind changes, I’m trying out a slightly more fleshed-out set of patch notes to accompany the summary published on the mod’s Workshop page.
Each balance change will include a few lines providing context as to why the change was made, something that was often difficult to do within a single cell on a spreadsheet.
All the minor bugfixes etc which don’t affect gameplay are also listed in their entirety.
The damage calculations for RoN are, in short, complicated.
Units have a base attack value, which then goes through potentially up to at least eight unique damage modifiers12 depending on the units (and/or buildings) and circumstances involved. After all the modifiers, the defending unit’s armor is applied as a flat reduction and you end up with the final damage value.3
All of the static modifiers are calculated on game load, allowing for the values that are hardcoded into the game to be modified further by its game files, such as through official patches and user-made mods. The resulting calculation is a 493×493 table made by the game featuring every unit and building in RoN, even some that can never enter combat (Bison, Whales), or that are never used in the game (Siege/Catapult Ships).
This 493² matrix is part of the enormous header located in save game files, meaning we’re able to extract and view it. Here’s how to go about that.
Depending on how you classify things, there are three or four different forms for RoN mods:
- Workshop mods
- Local mods
- Direct mods
- Dropdown mods (which can be Workshop or Local mods, but not Direct mods)
While pursuing improvements for CBP Alpha 7, I’ve explored many ideas to improve the usability of the mod. In doing so, I got this close to creating another mod format that would’ve combined the stability advantages of Direct mods with the file separation that Local mods have, and the distribution and ease-of-use benefits that Workshop mods have.1 Here’s what went wrong.
When playing Co-op in Mechwarrior 5: Mercenaries, if you get a mission that starts from a dropship (rather than just spawning directly onto the map), you sometimes lose mouse control when it’s time to exit the dropship. You can still fire, and the mouse will work on the game menu, but you can no longer aim using the mouse.
What worked for me
As an Nvidia GPU user, pull up the Ansel overlay using ALT+F2, then close it again. Mouse control returns.
Now that nearly 100 people have subscribed to Fall of Nations, it seems like I should go into more detail about what exactly I want to accomplish with it. I’m also starting to run into the character limit of a Workshop mod’s description – and even if I wasn’t it’s still becoming pretty unwieldy.
Let’s start with the broadest strokes and work our way down from there.
At the end of last year, I documented the never-built parts list for my dad’s PC.
Now, nearly 26 months since the original parts list request, that system has finally been purchased and assembled – and at just about the worst possible time.