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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Highlights from CA modding summit

Miyako wearing chanchanko by Takashi(aes256) from flickr (CC-SA)

This is a very late post since the summit was three weeks ago, but better late than never.

I did some liveblogging during and immediately after the summit, if you want every detail, go to these three places:
Here I'll summarize the most important things. If you have any questions, ask away.

Modding Kit on Steam

There's now a bunch of modding tools released for Shogun 2 only, and available on Steam. Included is some way to build campaign maps, most of models, and some of minor formats etc.

There will also be Steam Workshop integration for easier distribution of mods.

It won't work on Empire or Napoleon, but it might be useful in reverse engineering them.

There now also official wiki. Only time will tell if it attracts much information about modding. The problem was too many wikis and fora, not too few of them. (relevant xkcd)

Still missing

There was nothing about any game before Empire, and very little about Empire/Napoleon.

Even for Shogun 2, a lot of formats are still missing.

There's no information about UI layout files (which we partially decoded), sources for .luac files (which we can partially decode), sound bank (again, partially decodable) etc.

One minor thing I asked for was .sav file format used by Rome and Medieval 2, but they don't have any documentation. I made some effort to decode it recently, but to be honest my hopes are not terribly high.

Another interesting thing CA guys said was that all damage calculations figures for all games community reverse engineered are wrong, and real calculations are far too complicated to release.

Rome 2

There was a short video of Rome 2 battle, short fragment of which later released to the public.

Judging from the video Rome 2 will have:
  • ridiculously huge battle maps
  • much more people per unit
  • surprisingly good unit pathfinding in complex streets, serious weakness of previous games
  • naval invasion as part of land battles, including sieges
  • much more interesting siege equipment on both sides, there's even some partial defensive palisade attackers can hide behind
  • full screen tactical map (bird eyes's view) - I'm surprised it took them so long, it was badly needed, especially in naval battles
Rome 2 will still be a 32-bit only game. They have 64-bit build, but don't plan releasing it. Feel free to spam them with requests of course. :-p

An interesting technical hint was that they're no longer using .lua for Rome 2, but who knows really.

There was also a mention of builtin console feature for debug build, I really wish they shipped with it enabled by some config flags, but my hopes aren't high.

Planned release date is a bit before Christmas 2013.

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