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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Medieval 2 Total War Concentrated Vanilla 0.52 - now with more settlements

Close-up portrait of the golden tiger by Tambako the Jaguar from flickr (CC-NC-ND)

In my previous post I mentioned that what bothers me the most in Concentrated Vanilla (and other mods I tired) are hugs gaps in the map which result in no action ever taking place there.

So I thought I'd actually do something about it - I found a tutorial for adding provinces, consulted with Reddit historians on which settlements in relevant regions were actually most important, and after fighting through far too many game crashes I did it - where "it" is adding a bunch of settlements.

The map is not terribly optimized, I just added 7 new regions:
They all start as rebels, but maybe at least Fes should be Moorish, since adding 3 rebel settlement in the middle of Moorish kingdom sort of screws them, especially with Concentrated Vanilla's big rebel garrisons.

I also added roads to Tripoli, Benghazi, and Alexandria, to make Egypt better connected with the rest of Africa. 

These areas should generally be pretty poor, since I didn't add any new resources. Belgrade gets gold and timber from Zagreb, which is only left with double-gold, so that's one exception, but neither of them has ports, so they're only moderately wealthy. I probably should add a few resources there, just without overdoing it.

Old distance-to-nearest-settlement map:

With these new settlements:

This isn't really finished, but it should make at least some areas playable, and I really want to just playtest it now to see if it's getting anywhere at all.

If you could help me with playtesting (and just have fun with the mod), I'd appreciate it very much.

Moors, Egypt, and Byzantium would be the most obvious playtesting campaigns, but I'm always looking for feedback from players. Especially if you try to build the mod from sources.

Source Code

Adding the first region was massive pain but thanks to the mod being based on solid source code and not manual messing with files, it soon got reduced to just two steps:

First, edit map bitmap in data/world/maps/base/map_regions.tga, marking new region with some new unique color.

Then, add another entry like this:
      "Fes" => "North_Africa",
      :name => "Fes",
      :faction => "moors",
      :rebels => "Saharan_Rebels",
      :color => "57 218 57", # <- the color you used in previous step
      :religion => [0, 0, 90, 5, 5],
      :resources => "none",
      :farming => 3,
      :level => "town",
      :population => 1500,
      :buildings => ["core_building wooden_pallisade"],
      :x => 65,
      :y => 62,
      :commander_name => "Yusuf Hissou", # anything from descr_names.txt, doesn't matter
      :units => [
        "Sudanese Tribesmen", "ME Town Militia", "ME Town Militia", "Desert Archers",
which the code converts to edits in 5 different files automatically (and then multiplies garrisons a few times due to some other settings).

Oh, and there's also third step of compiling the mod and moving its files to the right place on the second computer, but that's automatable enough.


Concentrated Vanilla 0.52 uses some files from the following minimods:
  • Sinuhet's Battle Mechanics
  • Lusted's Better BAI/CAI
  • Agart's Cities/Castles Strat


You can download mod here.

You can download sources here.

If you're interested in how this mod evolved, posts about previous versions (with links inside):


Cheimon said...

This is good fun so far. I decided to test it as Scotland: money is quick to be used up and things go well on the African coast. The settlement placement feels natural and makes sense.

I have a couple of queries. First, you have rebels being very powerful. This is fine, but the AI doesn't seem to register: I watched both the moors and the english send armies of 4 or 5 units against rebel settlements even when they had far more men, which was unlike the AI generally.

Secondly, you've removed merchants. Much of the wealth of having a big empire comes from them, and your key concern seems to be that they require too much micro. Why not make them harder to get and more powerful, say only recruitable from a large city (or even huge) but with 3x the money-making ability? I say this because places like Timbuktu and even the Holy Land generally are a fantastic way to make cash with thousands pouring in from a well-done merchant expedition, and the new world should be like that as well. Colonising should bring big trade rewards.

Sieges certainly encourage the production of artillery, and the added accuracy means you don't need more than one unit normally. It can be dreadfully effective if they're sallying out.

Cities look fantastic.

I've yet to play with Pikes.

Any chance of diplomats getting to have more than one action a turn, or being able to minimise the diplomacy screen like in Rome? It's sometimes handy so that you can see your relations with everyone, or geographical locations, etc.

Any chance of choosing the faction heir? One solution I saw was to make an ancillary, and the person that gets that ancillary becomes heir when the heir becomes leader.


Hi there , i ve been having trouble with the game crashing when i try to open a battle, i got around this by launching in administrator mode but the vanilla .exe won t open in administrator mode...any clues?

Kind regards

taw said...

Cheimon: As far as I can tell there's no way to give units multiple actions per turn short of bringing console and using command: character_reset "Diplomat's name". Which I sometimes do.

I don't know if it's possible to mod user interface - so far I've done zero user interface changes.

I feel like I might have overdone rebels a bit since AI has serious problem with them. On the other hand AI will be pretty ridiculous no matter I do what though.

There's only so much I can do with merchants - if I increase resource values it also increases normal settlement trade, and it floods everyone with ridiculous amounts of money immediately. And outside of resource value, or messing with traits system, I think the rest of merchant trade calculations are hardcoded.

I've found that I always have enough money mid game no matter what I do - I just build all economic upgrades like roads, ports, warehouses, mines, low level farms, low level markets etc. and this brings tons of money.

Timbuktu/Arguin are still very valuable since mines bring 2x the profit. You just need to keep someone there to make sure corruption doesn't eat it all. Holy Land is extremely profitable out of regular sea trade.

Thomas Radcliffe: Is this Steam or retail version? How did you install the mod?

Cheimon said...

Thanks for your response. A few more thoughts/testing results:

- It would make sense for the moors to have more of the African provinces. They were quickly wiped out by Scotland/Italy/Trying to attack rebels/Papal States crusade. On the other hand, maybe that was just unlucky for them.

-The World is Round. Could you start with that? It's already too early, but this would let us invade Aztecia before the game finishes.

-Scotland doesn't have gunpowder infantry. I know this might be historically accurate, but would it be hard to mod them in? Even just if you could tell me how to do it myself? With a portugal skin, say?

taw said...

Choimon: Moors are really screwed by all these extra settlements with huge number of rebels in them, so I either need to give Fes to Moors or reduce number of rebels. In my campaign it was Portugal who took Fes first, so it only half worked - there was finally action in North Africa, just not quite what I expected.

It's possible to move events like the world is round, gunpowder, Mongol/Timurid invasions etc. I tend to change these a lot, but I released Concentrated Vanilla as close-to-vanilla-experience so I left them as defaults in the release.

In fact you can do it yourself very easily - edit concentrated_vanilla/data/world/maps/campaign/imperial_campaign/descr_events.txt

Change lines like:

event historic gunpowder_discovered
date 210 220

event historic world_is_round
date 320 328

To any date you wish. 320 328 means 320-328 years (160-164 turns, or year 1400-1408) after start of the game.

You'll probably need to move gunpowder early as well, since level 3 ports require gunpowder_discovered, and level 4 ports require world_is_round - so you won't be able to build ports capable of making caravels etc. without gunpowder anyway.

To give another faction new units you need to give them new textures as well, since Medieval 2 doesn't have any "generic" textures. I've never done this myself, so you'll need to look for tutorials elsewhere. Possibly it's just a matter of copying some files over.

Or you always hire mercenaries - they're much more plentiful in Concentrated Vanilla (probably a little too much), and they fill in gaps in faction's unit rooster very nicely.

Cheimon said...

Thanks for the tutorial! I hadn't realised there were mercenary arquebuses, I'll probably just stick with those then.

I seem to have a lot of questions that are coming up as I play the mod. What gets free upkeep in castles? Anything that's a militia gets free upkeep in a city that can train them, but highland rabble (for example) don't get free castle upkeep, and nor do highlanders...why not?

taw said...

Cheimon: In current release nothing gets free upkeep in castles. It was sort of nice feature, but AI had zero clue how to use it, so I removed it.

Unknown said...

Hi there

Is hit possible to run the mod with the wineskin version of total war on the mac?

taw said...

Thomas Radcliffe: Mod files are independent of operating system, and even mod builder is just jruby so it runs on everything (and I developed it on OSX originally).

No idea how to convince wineskin-based medieval 2 to run mods, but if you have a way, it will work with this one as well.

Unknown said...

Hi again

Wineskin is not allowing me to use the .bat file to launch the mod, any ideas?

Unknown said...

It states there are no executables found.

taw said...

Well, start.bat (mod builder) is just:

jruby --1.8 build_concentrated_vanilla_gui.rb

Which you can run from terminal if you have jruby installed.

And concentrated_vanilla.bat (standalone mod start script) is just:

medieval2.exe @mods/concentrated_vanilla/concentrated_vanilla.cfg

which you could probably adjust to use whatever binary wineskin version is using.

I have a few versions of Medieval 2 (retail and Steam), but I don't have wineskin version, so I can't test it locally.

Unknown said...

Ok thanks, i shall give it a whirl!!