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.
Back in April of this year, Nick — who I helped with a gaming PC back in 2014 — was looking for a new system to get him a step up in performance. His old system was going to be given away / sold, so simply upgrading that was not in the cards.
The new system was to have essentially the same purpose and priorities as his existing system. The budget wasn’t particularly strict as long as it was under 2K and performance needs were met, but I obviously also didn’t want to just burn his money. Some people like to spend right up to the allocated machine’s budget, whereas others just set an amount as the maximum and leave the specifics up to me. Nick is the latter.
For me, a history of building systems began before I’d ever technically “built a system”.
Note: despite being published in 2019, this was actually written primarily in 2017. I had wanted to release it alongside part 1, which unfortunately got caught in “people not responding to questions” limbo.
In June of 2018, my dad expressed interest in a parts list for a new computer, and I obliged. For the next 12 months 17 months1 he continued to express that interest on and off, and so multiple times during that time period I diligently updated the parts list based on the current market.
With Black Friday / Cyber Monday deals wrapping up, it’s now plausible that the year will end and the system will still not be assembled, so I’m locking the current parts list in place as a demonstration of a build at this price point with roughly these priorities.
This build was for a friend who’s requested to remain nameless. They provided a bit of a challenge: provide optimum performance for the demanding 3D work an architecture student does, but do so within the budget of a full-time student paying rent.
Given the extra budget, I looked around on the list at where I could make part substitutions that increased performance roughly proportionately to the increased price. This was a nearly-strictly gaming-focused build, and the performance of parts were considered within that context.
Uploading good quality unedited game recordings to YouTube is, all things considered, not too complicated of a process. It’s mostly just optimising based on what kind of resources you have available to you, such as how powerful your CPU is, how fast your internet connection is, and how much storage space you’re willing to use up.
Streaming is much the same, although your expected quality bar will of course be lower because your viewers have to keep up with the incoming video in real-time, and you yourself have to encode that video in real-time as well.
The process is a little different if you’re making clips for Gfycat – at least if you want them to still look great once they’re there.
When a Siege-playing friend or acquaintance of mine finds out that I also play Siege and have a slightly-above-average rank of Gold 1(ish) when playing regularly, half of the time I get asked for tips to improve. Advice about angles is one of the recurring tips I give, and I believe that it’s something that’s fairly intuitive to apply in-game once you understand the concept.