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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
After publishing my article on War Elephants, TripleAAA commented asking about Militia and Minuteman (Minutemen?) against War Elephants. I hadn’t tested that but it seemed like useful information to have, so I put it on the to-do list.
While running these new tests I also ended up with some questions of my own regarding the ranged attack of Mahouts. Was the damage of the melee and ranged attacks identical? Was the damage modifier different for the ranged and melee attacks (i.e. would one attack deal different damage to the other depending on what unit was being hit)?
I set out to answer both sets of questions, and ended up stumbling into a few surprising answers in the course of doing so.
Regular members of the Rise of Nations Discord server will likely be at least vaguely aware of how much I dislike fighting against War Elephants, and much of this came from my experience while playing the Alexander campaign on Toughest1 (which also provided some useful insights).
However it wasn’t until recently that I actually crunched the numbers on exactly how effective these behemoths really are. It turns out they are somehow even better than I thought they were.