Monday, October 10, 2016

I need help

Update: With help from Marco from the comments of this post, I have managed to make some changes to the exe and now it should not appear as a threat for antiviruses anymore. But I need people who had this problem to confirm if the fix worked, so please, if you had security problems with the mod's exe, update, check again and report here.

For the past month I have been working on one, if not THE biggest update the mod ever had.
I have a total of 18 new maps, focused around Africa and Oceania, some incredibly awesome stuff and I am really excited to finish everything and release it.

But for all the excitement and pride that I have working on this project, there is also a lot of sadness and helplessness.

As some of you might know, for years AoE3 modding has been very restrictive and many times when someone suggested something radical or even somewhat simple looking, many times the answer was the same: "AoE3 modding is very limited and we can only do so much with what we have".

But a while ago this changed. Two very awesome guys joined forces and released the Unhardcoded Patch, a tool which allows us to do things which were impossible before, like adding completely new civs without replacing any existing civs, including population increase and so much more.

But this awesome patch has a nasty side effect, being applied on the game's exe, it makes the exe lose its official digital signature from Microsoft and this makes it show up as a threat for antiviruses.

I don't know how to fix this, and what I found on the internet, it all costs money, money I cannot pay and even if I did buy a new digital signature I have no idea how to implement it.

I don't want to deal with all this mess, I just want to mod and make awesome content.
I need help, or else the mod will suffer for absolutely no reason.
If anyone has any idea how to work around this or any other info, I'm all ears.

You can check the mod's exe HERE, and if you click on File Detail you can clearly see the problem, which is:

Signature verification  The digital signature of the object did not verify.

There's more to this though, the mod's Patcher also used to show up as a threat, and still does for some, for the same reason.
Shyke, the Patcher's creator did all he could to improve the Patcher so that wouldn't happen anymore, but...

We need help.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Population and ships

There are two very important things we need to focus on, population and naval warfare. Taking any decision on these two things is hard and so I have to ask what my players think.

Let's talk about population first.
I have an interesting plan for how to handle population which will please those who want more pop while still keeping population to manageable numbers.

Here's my idea: flexible population. What this means is that there is not set pop limit, and instead pop depends on how players play. I already made Docks support 5 pop a while ago, and I thought I should also make Trading Posts support 5 population and have no set limit to pop.
What this means is that, depending on how players play, building Docks and taking over Trading Posts, their population will also increase.

For example: The normal max pop an European civ can reach would be 240, with all 20 Houses and 4 Town Centers. If the player builds 2 Docks, pop will be increased to 250. If he builds 2 Trading Posts, pop would be increased to 260 pop.

And so on. I will of course have a high max pop limit of maybe 300, to make sure scenarios don't make pop too crazy. And some players have also noticed that civs like the Spanish and Germans can get to ridiculous pop limits of 600 or 700 because of some cards. Those would have to be remade as well.

This whole system is similar to how Age of Mythology handles population with Settlements.
So, what do you guys think?

Now moving on to naval warfare.
I tried tackling his before and it didn't turn out too good, but I want to try again. Naval warfare should be a big part of AoE3, just like it is a big part of AoE2, but naval warfare has too many problems in AoE3.

The main problem is the lack of choice. Each ship has a small build limit and that's it. It can be increased via cards but it still limits the player and makes counter play almost impossible.

The best thing to do here would be to have a naval only population system, to have something like 20 naval pop and then be able to spend it like you want, 20 Caravels or 10 Frigates, for example.
But sadly that is not possible so we need to find something else.

There's another big problem with naval warfare in AoE3 which I tried to fix now. There is no counter system between ships, like in AoE2. So I simply made one, as best as I knew.

Here's what I did: we now have 3 ship classes: Light Warships, Heavy Warships and Siege Warships.
Light counters Heavy and Heavy counters Siege.

The ships that are part of this system are:
All Caravel like units - Light Warships
All Galleon and Frigate like units - Heavy Warships
Monitors - Siege Warships

I know this might be a bad set up but as I said, I did it like I thought fit and I need help to make it better.

What I also did to ships is make them cheaper. All ships are now cheaper to make them more appealing to build.

I also thought we could maybe try and remove limits from ships again and instead make them take pop... again. Something like: Fishing Boat 1 pop, Caravel 2 pop, Galleon 3 pop, Frigate 4 pop and Monitor 5 pop. I know it might sound too little but remember we must make ships viable.

I need all the help in the world with this problem, we need to find a way to actually make naval combat fun and worthwhile.

If you actually read all of this, you are awesome.
Thank you.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Game Balance

The thing is, there's never been a proper discussion about balance in the mod. Sure, some people left balance related messages here and there, I also went and took balance ideas from other mods, the Fan Patch, the ESOC patch, that huge balancing thread on the Heaven forum, because let's be honest, you would be mad to ignore them. But some of those ideas didn't fit with my mod, for example I still ended up balancing the Dutch how I thought fit for the mod.

But is my way really better? This is what we need to discuss. I have a friend who helps me out with balancing but he has many ideas and, the truth is that an entire game cannot be balanced by just one man, as different people have different opinions about what is fair and balanced and what is not.

So, in the hope that people will be interested in helping out, I made a special thread on the mod's forum. Please go there and leave your opinion if you want the mod to be as balanced as possible.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Italian names and Patcher state

Ok, let's get one thing out of the way, I am not here to give you people viruses or any other kind of malware, the mod has been released in 2009 and the patcher in 2013, and since then no one has reported any kind of information theft or god knows what...

What I'm trying to say is that, although most antiviruses now find the old patcher as malware, it's nothing more than a false positive and you have nothing to worry about. I think it happens because of the way the patcher works, a casual downloader that can download anything in your PC and has access to your windows registry, I can understand why it looks scary for antiviruses, especially if someone made a virus that actually works like that.

But this has nothing to do with the patcher. And I said "the old patcher" because Shyke has now remade the patcher and it doesn't show up as malware anymore (I don't know how long this will last though).
It now also automatically sets the mod's exe to run in Windows XP SP3 compatibility mode (if you still have problems with settings not saving make sure this is actually the case).


Now let's get down to the real business then. Italians, I just added their voices and finished their tech tree, which means that only their homecity is left. 

But there's something else left as well, names. The Improvement Mod adds random, most of the time historically accurate, names for Town Centers, Churches and Generals (and don't forget Explorers) (and Fort names) (oh, and ships... damn). 
Italians needs such names as well. And although I could find them by myself, I thought I could involve you guys. 

So, are you Italian? Do you want your name, or maybe your town's name in the mod? 
Then look no further than the comments section of this post! 
Please try to keep the names as historically friendly as possible, especially for generals (I'd like names of real, Italian generals from the colonial and Napoleonic eras please). 

I could always do it by myself if no one is interested... Just saying.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Improvement Mod 6 is out for the Patcher

This is still NOT the full, official version 6 release, this is another PROTOTYPE!

The mod's patcher has now been updated to support the new installation system of version 6 and because of that, for easier testing of the prototype, I will release Imp Mod 6 through the patcher as well. For further testing. TESTING!

Because yes, we have a lot more to test now. As you might know, there's been a huge breakthrough in the AoE3 modding community in the past week, a breakthrough which allows modders to finally and completely add new civilizations into the game!
Yup, we can now add an infinite(ish) number of new civs completed with AIs and ESO support.

And because of this, I went back and revived my American civ from the dead. Went through it, updated everything, fixed most bugs and I am now releasing it in the prototype as well.
You can now create a new American homecity just like you create for all other civs, same for ESO.

So do a clean reinstall of the game, get the patcher, download everything and start playing! I mean testing. Please report all the bugs that you find.

Also, I need to stress this again, people who have the old version of the mod, if you plan to run the patcher again from this point onward, please reinstall your games first or else it will break everything.

When you reinstall the game and install the mod, make sure you run the original game (Asian Dynasties) at least once so you enter your cd key and all that. Only AFTER that you can run the mod.

That's all. Have fun.

Installation (on a fresh game)
- copy the 'AoE3ImpModPatcher' to your AoE3 directory, by default:
/Program Files/Microsoft Games/Age Of Empires III/
- for the Steam version, use this path (always inside the bin folder!):
/Steam/steamapps/common/Age of Empires 3/bin/
- run the patcher as administrator and make sure it's not blocked by firewalls

Also make sure you run the original game first (to enter the cdkey and all that) and THEN run the mod's exe (this applies for both Steam and non Steam versions)!