The Most Absolutely Absurd RoN Bug I’ve Ever Found

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.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bfpPArfDTGw

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CBP: What’s Been Left on the Table

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.

Image credit: Elena Mozhvilo via Unsplash.

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CBP Alpha 7 Patch Notes

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.

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Extracting RoN’s Damage Modifiers Matrix/Table

You can tell a hacker is legit when they’re using an RGB mouse. Image credit: Anete Lusina via Pexels

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.

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That Time I Almost Created a New Mod Format for RoN

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.

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Fall of Nations: Dev Blog #00

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.

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My Workaround for the Limitations of the RoN Mod Manager

In the course of my RoN modding adventures, I decided to make a broad-scope “tech demo” style mod, showcasing some of the moddable aspects of RoN that I felt were being underutilisied – and hopefully learning a few things in the process.

After trying to mod a few things that I feel have been vastly undermodded, I ran into.. some problems. After much frustrating troubleshooting and testing, I realised this was due a limitation of RoN’s mod manager.

I then got to work on how to get around it.

The first process I mapped out while exploring how to solve the issue.

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How to Add a Thumbnail to a RoN Mod on the Steam Workshop

If you’ve ever tried to browse the Steam Workshop for Rise of Nations, you may have been frustrated at how none of the entries appear to have thumbnails. I looked into this and it appears that this is because the native mod uploader does not support thumbnails.

Nonetheless, by using a workaround, last night I became probably the first person to ever have a thumbnail for my RoN mod on the Steam Workshop. Here’s how I did it.

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