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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Make your own Medieval 2 mod, with blackjack, and random campaigns!

I'm as biased about it as it ever gets, but I'm pretty sure this is one of the most awesome things that happened to Total War modding ever.

Here's what in the release:

  • Concentrated Vanilla minimod - essentially vanilla with a ton of minor fixes and enchantments for more dynamic gameplay.
  • A program you can use to easily make your own minimod, customizing your gaming experience in many ways.
  • Random campaign system, allowing every single campaign you play to be completely different.

Pics or didn't happen

For some nice campaign maps, go here, here, and especially here.

Here are some screenshots of just some of the things you can customize:


This is first public release of the mod builder, so it wasn't extensively tested. You might have problems with any of these steps - in such case just contact me.

  • Install JRuby. Download link.
  • Install 7zip. Download link. (in case you don't have 7zip or another unpacker for .7z archives)
  • Download mod builder and unpack itDownload link.
  • Start mod builder by double-clicking start.bat. You should see GUI like one in screenshots above.
  • Customize in any way you want. If you want random scenarios, be sure to tick "Enable random scenarios" checkbox.
  • There are two presets you can choose with File > Open. "Default" preset is Concentrated Vanilla minimod. "Minimal" preset is almost vanilla Medieval 2 Grand Campaign. You can then customize them any way you want from either of these starting points, including enabling random scenarios for both.
  • Build your mod. It's as simple as using File > Build command. If there are any errors, you'll see them in a separate window. (if so, screenshot and send to me if you need help)
  • Install your mod. If your game installation was detected correctly, File > Install command will install the mod.
  • Run your mod [Retail version]. If you use retail (or cracked) version, use File > Run command, or double click concentrated_vanilla.bat file in your game directory.
  • Run your mod [Steam version]. If you use Steam version with builtin launcher, start Kingdoms (not Medieval 2) from your Steam Library, then select Concentrated Vanilla from launcher's menu. This is least tested way. If in doubt, try to get retail version.


In case of trouble, screenshot whatever errors you see and send it straight to me.

If installer doesn't work, try running it as administrator.

If builder can't find your (retail) game installation, copy and paste all files from output directory to your game directory, then run concentrated_vanilla.bat from your game directory.

Support for Steam launcher is extremely experimental, and I just finished it moments ago, so if it crashes, just provide me the best information you can and I'll try to figure it out. For some reason starting launcher as "Medieval 2" rather than "Kingdoms" invariably results in a crash on my computer. (even though the mod actually uses Medieval 2 not Kingdoms engine).

Saving your work

You can save your settings with "File > Save", but format of that file is not guaranteed to be compatible across upgrades. For now it probably won't be.

Random seeds should result in the same map as long as you use the same version of the mod builder, and identical scenario settings. Different machine, or different settings for anything else are not meant to affect it, but no guarantees. In the future in would be nice to make random seeds shareable like in Minecraft.

Using Install command will overwrite previously installed version of Concentrated Vanilla. It won't touch your saved games.

Using Uninstall command will uninstall Concentrated Vanilla, but will not touch your saved games.


This is early release so it has many limitations. Just some of them:
  • Only Concentrated Vanilla map is supported (which has 7 extra regions over vanilla map). In the future vanilla map, and possibly other maps will also be selectable. Each map requires a bit of support code for random scenario builder. If you have any map you want supported, send me all the files, and I'll try to include it in a future release.
  • Mod builder is somewhat fragile and hasn't been extensively stress tested. Unusual combinations of options might not work. Error reporting is currently minimal. If you find any errors screenshot errors, email me with as much information as you can.
  • Scenario builder doesn't have any interface for ton of features it can do programatically. Features like leaving pope in Rome while shuffling everybody else around, adjusting city sizes randomly, or adjusting regions' religions to match ruling factions - and many others - would be fairly straightforward except for lack of interface. If there's any particular feature you want to see, just contact me.
  • Only features I needed for Concentrated Vanilla are available in the mod builder GUI. I'm sure ton of other automated changes could be added. If you have any needs, contact me and I'll see what I can do.
  • Medieval 2 engine can only run one mod at a time, but mod builder can add minimods to mod you're building. Currently only 3 such minimods are included. If you want your minimod included, contact me right away. (I especially need better CAI mod).
  • Installer, especially for Steam launcher, is only minimally tested (and only on English 64-bit Windows 7).
  • In principle this kind of customization system can work with Rome, or any existing mod. It would require some porting effort, but if there's significant interest, I don't see why not.
  • A lot of people requested hotseat campaign mod. This would require switching the mod from medieval 2 engine to Kingdoms' retrofit mod as a base. It will probably happen someday, since Kingdoms gives us access to a bunch of extra features.
Good modding, and have fun.

Credits and links

Concentrated Vanilla 0.60 includes some files from Medieval 2 Total War game by Creative Assembly, and the following minimods:
  • Sinuhet's Battle Mechanics
  • Lusted's Better BAI/CAI
  • Agart's Cities/Castles Strat
Download link.

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


Anonymous said...

I cannot access the download link, it just opens a page full of random letters and signs... Is it possible to upload the newest version of Concentrated vanilla somewhere (tw-center would be fine, as well)


taw said...

Download link works for me.

It's also available on tw center in this thread.

Cheimon said...

I double click start.bat and the small black box flashes up and then immediately disappears, as though it was never there. As such, I can't use the builder. Any help? I've tried running as admin, but that didn't work either, and I'm sure I've got jruby installed. Did I unpack the files to the wrong place?

taw said...

Cheimon: Edit start.bat and add: a line saying "pause".
This will make the window go "Press any key to continue" rather than close, so you can see the error.

Updated versions (on twcenter) do that already.

Chaosheld said...

Hey, i think i got everything working (it worked on my old pc)
Only thing it's crashing when i start the concentratedvanilla.bat

does this work with the german version of them game? on my old pc i used the english language but now changed to german, does this has something to do with it?

this is from the log:

14:18:52.424 [system.rpt] [always] CPU: SSE2
14:18:52.424 [system.rpt] [always] ==== system log start, build date: Feb 25 2008 version development ===
14:18:52.426 [] [always] mounted pack packs/data_0.pack
14:18:52.426 [] [always] mounted pack packs/data_1.pack
14:18:52.426 [] [always] mounted pack packs/data_2.pack
14:18:52.427 [] [always] mounted pack packs/data_3.pack
14:18:52.427 [] [always] mounted pack packs/data_4.pack
14:18:52.427 [] [always] mounted pack packs/localized.pack
14:18:55.677 [system.rpt] [error] Medieval 2: Total War hat einen unbestimmten Fehler entdeckt und wird jetzt beendet.

taw said...

I don't think selected language should affect anything, but it's very hard to debug anything about this game remotely ­čś×.

Klueril said...

Have there been any updates to the steam version of this? going to try it

taw said...

Klueril: Give it a try, I know a lot of people had trouble running it with new Steam changes unfortunately, but it might work.

Unknown said...

Jruby link please this shows corrupted

taw said...

Yeah, the mod suffers from the usual issues of old software. Medieval 2 changed (it was for retail version, Steam rearranges files), jruby changed, Windows changed (so people have permission issues), it would now take serious effort to get it back to being usable.

Maybe I'll get to it someday, but no promises.

Anonymous said...

This doesn't work at all, and the tutorial is broken lul.