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Forum » Cossacks I » Modding » Game Project (Developing a Universal Mod)
Game Project
FtoomshDate: Monday, 02/September/2013, 8:05 AM | Message # 1
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I am not sure which forum is the best place to post this so I have posted it in this modding forum to to start with. This suggestion crosses all game modding boundaries. I would like to suggest ideas for a cooperative modding project in 2014. It occurs to me that we all play different games and mod different games; C1, C2, AC, DN and so on. Imagine if all modders who frequented this forum could all work on one project, one project which united all that they wanted to see and united it all into one modded game.

I am a firm believer that a Universal Game Engine for all RTS is possible. However, that project is too big and would not be a modding project but a full development project. Coming down one notch from that concept we get to the concept of a Universal Mod. In our case, a universal mod would tend to cover realistic war from about the Medieval Era to about WW2. However, not all those eras would necessarily be covered in any one actual played game.

Let me explain. Some games and mods cover just 1 era. Vanilla C2 BFE is an example of that. Some mods cover two centuries or eras like BTW and OC Mod. Some cover 3 eras like Imperia and so on. Also some cover medieval (Hardcore) and some could cover WW2. You could mod C1 or C2 or AC/DN to cover WW2 combat. In addition, some mods include the idea of building a village, nation or army (OC Mod, Vanilla C2 BFE) and some implement the idea of set piece battles like the mods that the Hawks of the Fields play.

The idea of a universal mod would be to cover any or all of one era, some eras or all eras (of medieval war to WW2) in a single game and to have the starting era and number of eras set by menu selection. Also, the game could cover RTS style (build a village or nation) or Battlefield style (fight set piece battles) or new style I will get to, all done by by menu selection. Of course, these ideas are not really new but the drawing of all modders into one project might be new and a catalyst for a real leap forward. Each modder could see the development of the game they want to see and play happen within the one project.

Of course, there would be over-arching parameters which all modders would have to agree to. The first would be the notion of scope. How big would we envisage the game being? I would suggest that maps about the size of the 2 times map in Cossacks BTW / OC Mod are the biggest feasible maps. I mean that size in relation to unit sizes and unit speeds.  Nevertheless, the universal mod would offer various map sizes (several sizes hopefully) below this maximum size. I would suggest the mod game should attempt to model unit limits of up to 16,000 per player and up to 4 players for multiplayer. In modern terms 16,000 troops is a large division. In Napoleonic terms it is a small corps. Again the universal mod menu would offer various unit limits so you could play a corps size game down to a squads-size game and each could be RTS or set-piece battlefield or the “New Realism Style” in nature according to menu selections.

The next planning decision would be the choice of engine in which to execute this mod. The engine would have to be capable of;
•    Various map sizes up to large maps equivalent to the 2x map size of C1 BTW.
•    Various unit limits up to 4 players x 16,000 troops per player.
•    Driving the above CPU-wise and graphically without lag, freeze or jerkiness.
•    Online multiplayer play.
•    A good level of realism meaning the following.
•    Good artistic rendition.
•    Morale effects.
•    Fatigue effects.
•    Supply effects (both supply of rations and munitions and supply for the progress of military works).
•    Overall military realism so far as possible.

The RTS style side of the game would implement two versions of RTS. One would be the traditional version of build a village that builds production. The second would be a model of realistic military works and realistic military reinforcements; the so called “New Realism Style”.

Thus in the menu you would choose;
•    Battlefield Game
•    Traditional RTS
•    Realistic RTS

The parameters of Battlefield Game and Traditional RTS are already known to us. Battlefield game would be like a Hawks mod but with more choice of army sizes. Traditional RTS would be like OC Mod or Imperia with morale, fatigue and supply added or like C2 BFE at a much larger scale. Realistic RTS would be something rather new.

The model for Realistic RTS would presume that the map is a forward deployment area where the battle(s) will eventually take place. Each player would start with an army of 16,000 but most of this army would exist off-map at the start and is presumed to be marching towards the deployment and battle area (the actual playing map). Initially light cavalry and light infantry would exist on map, perhaps as few as 1,000 troops per player. The initial task is scouting and reconnaissance and securing of “deployment areas”. These will be existing villages, settlements or forts near the map edges on your side or corner of the map. Securing these positions allows a steady flow of reinforcements to arrive at an engine determined or script determined rate. Failure to secure these deployment areas early on or early loss of them will stop or hamper the arrival of reinforcements.

Villages and roads will exist across the map rather like they appear in C2 BFE. However, the scale will be much bigger. That is to say, there will be more open ground between villages and villages will be more realistically sized and scaled. All buildings, fences, stone fences etc. will be deformable. That is to say all such structures will be damageable and destroyable by fighting actions.

Basic supply will come in from off map with the deploying army and must be logistically supplied to troops. Villages will provide some windfall supplies for foraging units. Villages will not provide continuous supply but rather this one-off windfall or foraging supply. Troops will operate with a munitions supply and ration supply. Some maps might implement neutral forts and armouries in some villages and locations. Here it will be designed that local garrisons (not units of any contending players and thus like the constables in C2 BFE) are weak and usually easily routed. Capturing local munitions and armouries will provide some supplementary munitions and field pieces in tactical quantities not strategic quantities. By this I mean local companies or even a local battalion could be significantly re-supplied by such capture but not the whole Corps.

The above gives some idea of what I think we all would like to see in a Universal Modded Engine. At least, I hope we would all like to see it. I wonder could we develop interest in a project such as this and begin progressing it in 2014? Of course, the initial planning or feasibility study phase would involve seeing what we could realistically do and what engine we could realistically develop it in.

Large-scale RTS design is all but moribund (declining, inactive, dying) at the moment. What is required is for independent modders to show what is possible and break new ground. The large game companies are not going to do it for us. They lack the vision and probably any commercial incentive these days. If the project is successful and demonstrates what RTS and Battlefield design could really become it might be possible to go further and use something like Kickstarter to take it to a whole new level. I believe we have to dream and think big and not just play and mod our own separate little aficionado games that only attract a handful of players.

I want a realistic corps sized game and I believe it is eminently buildable, playable and computable with modern technology. Who’s with me? Who is interested in this kind of project in 2014?

Added (02/September/2013, 8:05 AM)
---------------------------------------------
Here is a copy of my answer to Marshall Andre in the AC thread. His essential question was "What exactly is this mod going to be based on?" My answer is copied here from that thread to keep a record all comments in one thread.

The question of what engine this mod would be based on is left open at this
point. In broad terms, it would be necessary first to outline the scope
and general requirements of the mod project. "Scoping" a project is the
creative and visionary first step. It refers to how big the project
will be and how many features it will have. You can think of it
initially as a wish list. A first wish list can even contain seemingly
impossible or contradictory elements. Later on, it can be pared down to
the possible. You look at the scoping wish list even before paring it
down to the possible and ask a key question:

"Which engine when modified could most likely deliver more of this wish list than any other engine?"

My scoping wish list bears re-stating. It does reflect my bias for big,
strategic but still playable games. Remember, don't at this stage
invoke judgements of "that's impossible". It's totally a wish list
initially and might be far from possible.

1. Large unit limits of 64,000 (army of 4 corps) per player.
2. At least 4 players in online multiplayer games.
3. Realistic sight and action ranges.
4. 100% military realism for all units including morale, fatigue, supply weapons and fighting methods.
5. Large maps equal to an operational area or theatre of 10,000 meters by 10,000 meters.
6. Two speed real-time engine in strategic time and tactical time.
7. Mobilisation, formation movements and military works in strategic
time. 1 minute of player time = 1 hour elapsing in game world.
8. Military engagements occur in real time. 1 minute of player time = 1 minute elapsing in game world.
9. Engine algorithm controls switching between strategic time and tactical time.
10. This switching is based on egagement of significant forces as they
come into "action range" which is maximum (not effective) cannon fire
range.
11. All methods of fighting and military works of the era to be possible (trenching, undermining to blow walls and positions,
gabions, fleches, firing from parapets, escalare ie. ladders to climb
walls, tank traps etc. whatever is appropriate to the era.
12. All eras modded from medieval to WW2.
13. No intention for all games to cover all eras. Best play would probably ensue from games covering one or at most two eras.
14. Support 3 game styles: Battlefield , Mobilisation, and RTS.

Battlefield = Complete armies pre-positioned on a battlefield usually
out of action range and with some pre-engagment manouvres possible.
Mobilisation = Only forward elements on the strategic map. These must
secure deployment points (near map edges) to allow pre-determined number
of reinforcements to arrive from off-map at a scripted rate. Much more
scouting, taking of stratgic points and forward positioning must occur
probably even before major battlefield engagements.
RTS = Well, C1 or C2 type games. We know what RTS is.

Okay, now all of this is clearly not possible. Unless anyone has built a
two-speed time engine or thinks they can mod an existing engine to two
speeds (highly improbable) we are stuck with a one speed time engine.

Given what I am scoping, then we are looking for the engine which gives;

(A) The highest unit count possible. And a menu system to allow games with lower unit caps than the maximum.
(B) Highest realism factor possible. Realistic action, morale, fatigue,
supply, weapons and fighting methods. And menus for choices.
© Landsacape deformable by works if possible. (Trenching, tunnelling,
fencing, walling, clearing trees for clear fire and so on).
(D) Largest maps possible.
(E) Most flexibility for incorporating pre-existing quality modding
work; designs, units, buildings for all eras medieval to WW2.

What I am envisaging is one universal mod which covers all eras,
medieval to WW2, and 3 game style by menu selection namely Battlefield,
Mobilisation and RTS. To reiterate it is not suggested that all games
proceed through all eras. That would be far from most people's tastes.

This project though perhaps ambitious coild  draw all modders and all
gamers back to one mod project which caters to all tastes via extensive
menu selections. It could re-unite the modding and playing community in a
sense. Currently, we tend to be dispersed through different game
models.

Message edited by Ftoomsh - Friday, 30/August/2013, 2:15 AM
 
NowyDate: Tuesday, 03/September/2013, 9:38 AM | Message # 2
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If you wish work under such big project you should move this thread to General Chat section.
There were few discusion under game engines and RTS game comparisions too.

Your wish list is interesting, however in few cases it looks quite unrealistic.
Sorry, I do not discriminate your theoretical wishes. I also had many questions, sugestions, wishes, ideas and remarks to C2 BFE game.
Then I appreciate your wishes, but it could include more realistic features.

C1 game engine is little bit outdated while C2 and AC games in many cases are differently organized.  Then you should look for better solution.

Let's try discuss these subject in General Chat.

Added (03/September/2013, 9:38 AM)
---------------------------------------------
I've read Marshal Andree answer to your wish list in that AC thread. In many cases he has rights, however in few cases it could be disputable.

He is right when he suggest that you try take into account so big timeline which cover too many historical eras.
Medieval sword and arrow, then gun powder and aviation from WW2 in one game? These eras had quite different unis, buildings, warfare etc.
Too many things to do in one game.

He also has right when he find that two times engine is impossible. I could add that it is even useless in RTS game. Can players fought real time battles which in reality were fought two, four or even more days? I don't think that they would like such long gameplays. Long real time battles are unhandy, incorrect and even innutritious feature in historically based games.

He suggest Austrian Succession War as good period for your mod, but there was not many belligerents and that was too short period.
I think that Napoleonic Wars or French Revolutionary Wars offer better timeline. There were few games and mods wich covered that era, but any one was made under such big features which you want to take into account in your project.

Looking for your wish list and scoping engine, there are many hard things. It looks that C2 engine better correspond with your wishes.

However this needs many improvements and these matters we could discuss in General Chat section I suppose.


Message edited by Nowy - Tuesday, 03/September/2013, 9:43 AM
 
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