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Forum » Cossacks I » Modding » This Week's Silly Questions (Some odd modding questions)
This Week's Silly Questions
FtoomshDate: Tuesday, 02/July/2013, 3:49 AM | Message # 1
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In this post I ask some odd questions. Someone might just know an answer to help me. None of these are too critical but I like to neaten little things up if I can.

1. The sown area of wheat fields around the mill.

Every regular player will be aware that the sown area around a mill varies from nation to nation. Some nations have more patches north of the mill and some nations have more patches south of the mill. Since peasants only return wheat bags to the north side of the mill it is more advantageous to have more sown area north of the mill (shorter dropoff path). Does anyone know the parameters which control the sown squares that appear around the mill either automatically sown (for the first mill) or upon manual sowing of subsequent mill fields?

2. The resources dropoff zone.

The north side of mills, Sheds and Town Centres is the only zone where resources are dropped off. Does anyone know the paramaters which could be changed or added to allow all sides of a resource collection structure to be dropoff zones?

I suspect that the designers made it the north side so that the dropoff was obscured. This then means there is less need for dropoff graphic animations. I think the speed and multiple scurrying going on is sufficient such that lack of dropoff animations (if that is the issue) doesn't matter anyway. Indeed, the mill does not obscure much, nor the shed.
 
EbelAngelDate: Thursday, 11/July/2013, 2:39 AM | Message # 2
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Quote (Ftoomsh)
1. The sown area of wheat fields around the mill.Every regular player will be aware that the sown area around a mill varies from nation to nation. Some nations have more patches north of the mill and some nations have more patches south of the mill. Since peasants only return wheat bags to the north side of the mill it is more advantageous to have more sown area north of the mill (shorter dropoff path). Does anyone know the parameters which control the sown squares that appear around the mill either automatically sown (for the first mill) or upon manual sowing of subsequent mill fields?


I tried messing around a bit with it in the md files couldnt really change anything about the fields itself. They are a separate md file with very little parameters in it (FIELD1.MD)
What i did noticed  is that if you place 2 or 3 or 10 mills they can be very different even within one nation. Try placing 10 turkish mills in the editor and see for yourself. Some will have more field patches to the north some to the south some to the east, west. It seems very random to me, which probably means its not coming from the parameter files at all but rather the engine which tells to try building fields around the mill if there is space ( terrain dependent ( blocked or not).

Quote (Ftoomsh)
2. The resources dropoff zone.


Pretty certain thats CONCENTRATOR. I changed the values of sklad1 to some really silly values like 1 300 300 and they went to drop of their resources far far away from the storehouse itself.
So if you could set it so that its the very centre of the building then theoretically they would drop off at all sides depending which direction they came from with their resources.
This may work with buildings like storehouses, mills, but with towncenters this may give unexpected results depending on what shape the building is ( square , rectangular).
Either there is already a string present which sets the centre of the building, or it can be derived from other parameters and if no such numbers exist they would have to be read of the actual graphic file ( gp ) in gp viewer ( it shows x , y ).
It probably would be a bit of work this one.
Or perhaps its really simple like CONCENTRATOR 1 0 0 (?) care to try out a bit? Let me know how it goes.

EDIT:

Ok , so i was curious and tried it out myself.  CONCENTRATOR 1 0 0 is no good, its the upper left corner of the sprite.

So, open sklad1 and set to CONCENTRATOR 1 18 42. Save and go to the editor. Put the european storehouse ( bavaria or whichever uses sklad 1) , peasants in all 4 directions , resources in all 4 directions of the storehouse put them to work and you will see they will all go to that point which is roughly the middle of the storehouse. Roughly.

Next step is obviously to set up more drop off points. The 3 numbers with concentrator mean 1 pair of block points being 18 and 42. So lets set 4 pairs of block points.
so,
CONCENTRATOR 4 13 45 20 45 22 38 16 32. Try it, you will see them drop resources north east, south and west, Again, roughly (norths a bit off).

So the easiest way to figure out these points yourself for all the different  buildings goes as following.
Get GP arch on the site here ( mod tools in download section). Drop it in your C: folder directly (so C:\GPArch ).Find and rename skl1.GP to skl1.gp (lowercaps). Run GpView, Open skl1.gp, hit extract.
Then go to GParch\Extract folder  you will see a folder skl1.gp, open it and find a suitable frame (i used 00007.bmp).

Next get pix.exe tool on the site here ( http://cossacksworld.ucoz.co.uk/load/md_editing_tool/1-1-0-149 )

Start it up and press 'load bitmap). Then look at the block points in the statistics , move your mouse over the blocks you will see it change. You can click on the blocks it will light up that block, you can select multiple blocks this way on the image.(see picture below) Now you could manually write down all these block points or you could click on 'export string' then go to notepad and press ctrl + v to paste the points directly in the MD file.



You could make as many drop points as you like this way all around the building(s) or just one in the middle. Try it out , see what you like best.




Message edited by EbelAngel - Thursday, 11/July/2013, 3:28 AM
 
FtoomshDate: Friday, 12/July/2013, 0:01 AM | Message # 3
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That is interesting. If I can set CONCENTRATOR points all round the base of the mill, then how the field sows does not really matter.

With mills, sheds and town centers, I think I would want to set the CONCENTRATOR block values to points that are around the edge of the base of the structure. By the "base" I mean the impassable area that shows up when you use the 'Q' command in-game. It would be reasonable for the base edge points to be the drop-off points. Is there any way to see this impassable base area in the editor?

Of course, one always has to question oneself why one is making a change in a mod. To my way of thinking, any change that reduces economic micro tasks will free up the player to make more actions which manage the military side of the game. It gives the game more military emphasis. It also means economic management is more more simple and intuitive and less based on knowing little tricks. Placing the shed S, SE or SW is a trick that increases income.

I get annoyed with military RTS games where it is clear that economic tricks have such a big role that knowing the tricks is sometimes more important than managing the army properly. The old stone trading trick from standard Cossacks 1 was and is a clear example of this style of RTS "concept fault". I call it a "concept fault" as I see the economic aspect as a facilitator of the game not a dominator. Yet, there are still reasons why I prefer RTS to Battlefield style games lacking an economy... but that is another long concept design post in itself and I won't go into that.

As a final aside, isn't it annoying that most RTS games feature barracks, factories etc, where the doors/ exits face just one way (usually South, SE or SW). Depending on where you start as a player on the map you might prefer to be able to rotate the standard building and build it with the exit where you want it for that starting position on that map. Similarly, it might logical that an enclosed shed must have a door and thus a single drop-off point but in that case it would be good if you could rotate the shed before you built it and thus place it suited to the site.

UPDATE

I just had an idea. I can just copy the BUILDPOINTS and make them CONCENTRATOR points. That should work. However, I don't want to test it before Saturday. I am playing Daddio on my Saturday (his Friday night) hopefully and I have already undertaken not to release another version of the mods01 and mods02 files before then. And the way I do my changes and test them is to put them straight into my playing version. Not proper practice perhaps but it actually makes version control easier.


Message edited by Ftoomsh - Friday, 12/July/2013, 0:14 AM
 
EbelAngelDate: Friday, 12/July/2013, 9:38 AM | Message # 4
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The Q button shows LOCKPOINTS, in the editor you can also press CONTROL+ U. Buildpoints might work, assuming that all blocks are covered around the building that is. I think they are. Good thinking there, that will go fast.

On a side note i'v seen the CONCENTRATOR2 string somewhere aswell, I wonder what that is for or what GSC was thinking when they made this second string.

Quote (Ftoomsh)
to put them straight into my playing version. Not proper practice perhaps but it actually makes version control easier.


Take my advice here, in the years i'v been modding i'v lost every single mod i'v made plenty of times. Your hard drive will break one day. At the very least have copies as backup on a cd-rom/dvd, cloudspace, dropbox, memory stick, doesnt matter, whichever is the easiest for you.
And make your mod on a copy. Keep your playing versions clean. One day you will run into an error and you wont know where it comes from but it might come from much earlier than your last version. Just saying.


 
FtoomshDate: Friday, 12/July/2013, 12:56 PM | Message # 5
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I think build points will work. Sheds and mills get enough builders right around them so that will give enough CONCENTRATOR points right around too. Town Centres will come close too. I can always guesstimate a few more points (if I need them) and see if they work.

This whole idea might be pointless. I will have to test it and see if I think it improves gameplay by reducing building placement as an "economic trick" issue. At the same time. I dont want resource drop-offs to look too silly or unrealistic.

I have my files backed up on a memory stick and on another PC (so the 2nd PC is like a backup drive). I might go a bit further. Both of my teenagers (university students living here at home) have their own backup drives for uni work. I will backup my games and files on their backup drives as well. I might explore cloud or skydrive backup too as that will give me off-site back-up as well. In a way, Phil (OC_Clausewitz) is a back up man for me too on his PC, since he has the files, in a city 700 miles or so from me.
 
EbelAngelDate: Saturday, 13/July/2013, 6:31 AM | Message # 6
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Quote (Ftoomsh)
I will have to test it and see if I think it improves gameplay


Let me know how it works out in game, i only did one building in the editor, so dont really know how that plays out with all economic buildings in game.

I think its a really good idea, one that should have been there right of the start of the game in 2001. It took me 2 years to figure out that placing the storehouses south of a stone mine improved the collection rate.
That been said , what i remember from playing your mod last time, stone is of less importance, due the the market not beeing so profitable anymore for stone.

One of these days i gotta give you my mod reference file. Its some 8000 lines of code and text with all the game strings and usefull information, hardcoded limits , etc... that i never managed to get on the site. Its just its a bit a mess and with C2 stuff mixed into it.
I should clean it up a bit but i never seem to get around to do that.


 
FtoomshDate: Saturday, 13/July/2013, 11:38 PM | Message # 7
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Ok, I have done some quick and dirty changes and tests and incorporated them into my Balancing Mod of Dav's OC Mod.

For the European and Russian mills and all sheds, I simply copied the LOCKPOINTS (impassable area of the base) and used them in the CONCENTRATOR command with correct reference number for the number of points.

For the Turkish/Algerian mill I didn't want to use all its many LOCKPOINTS so I roughly figured out which were the four points that would describe the N,S,E and W extremities of their mill.

The results appear good all mills and sheds except for some graphic depictions of offsets of the drop-offs. Peasants now drop resources off on all sides of mills and sheds. On the N,W and S sides of mills, the drop-offs are reasonable but on the E side of mill the drop-off is a little too far from the mill and it looks a touch silly.

The shed results are pretty good but again some drop-offs of stone (stone barrows) look a bit silly as they happen just out in the open rather than under the shed roof.

When I get keen I will experiment with these drop-off points more to see if I can shift drop-offs closer so they look graphically better but still allow drop-offs from all sides.

I have experimented with one Town Centre (Bavaria) and used the "Compass Concentrator" method. That is four drop-off points N,S,E,W like I did for the Turkish mill. You will recall the long-ish rectangle shape, diagonally placed, of the Bavarian Town Centre. This means my four drop-off points are OK except the one to the south. It looks like the peasant is taking the resources to a window! That looks a bit silly. Eventually, I could experiment so the peasant drops off all around behind the building and at or near the front door.

Another possibility occurs to me. There is no reason that a Town Centre should be a drop off point at all. I have already changed build dependencies so you can get a shed after the mill and before the Town Centre if you want. I could make further changes that enforce all drop-offs must occur at mills and sheds only. Thus one would then build Town Centres away from wood and stone points and add sheds as necessary. Shed inflation costs might be brought down a little bit to allow enough sheds.

EFFECTS ON PLAY

My main intention was to stop crowding, clumping and queuing of peasants at mills and sheds when they drop off resources. This should reduce the micro-ing needed to manage these problems when they arise. This frees the player up to be a bit more of a military player rather than an economic micro-ing player. This change is consistent with my philosophy of the game and RTS in general. The economy should take knowledge to set up properly but should then run very automatically leaving the player to concentrate on military operations. Also, the economy should be logical and intutive and not incorporate "tricks". Having to site collection points south is an arbitrary and unrealistic "trick" in essence.

It will also make peasants more efficient. Resources will be gathered somewhat faster, especially food. I might yet change 17th infantry from 66 food cost to 100 food cost each as the new efficiency might carry this. I have all other infantry at 100 food cost and pesants in this mod already cost 120 or 110 food depending on nation.

Later in the game, the extra food efficiency will allow more trading of food or less peasants in the field leaving more of the population cap to be used for army units.

I have made the "burn" of coal and iron higher for 18th C shooter units and 18th cannon . In essence, I have made better range and better hitting power cost significantly more in coal and iron. This higher "burn" rate is quite challenging to meet and more late game trading for coal and iron can be necessary at times. The extra late game food will help this. Even allowing for this, it becomes more necessary now to get at least one iron mine to 95 workers and one coal to 95 workers to meet the costs of heavy 18th C engagements. This means of course, that losing such a iron or coal mine in a raid or partial incursion or to mortar bombardment is more critical. This potentially gives the beseiging attacker another piece of leverage to crack and break down a stubborn base defender over time.
 
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