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AoW1 Mod Packs
Moderated by Enginerd, Ziggurat Mason

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Topic Subject: New Ruleset (WIP)
posted 07-05-15 11:05 PM EDT (US)   

Hi anyone who is still playing this game,

I'm working on a campaign for which I'm making extensive changes to the ruleset. I've figured out how to disassemble many segments of the engine code and I want to use this to recreate that feeling you had when you played AoW for the very first time, when everything was new and you had to learn how the game works. So you could consider this a total conversion since there will be way more changes compared to any of the existing rulesets.

Stuff I've figured out how to modify:
  • Race relations & colours
  • Unit upkeep, cost for city upgrades & walls, etc.
  • Experience (gained and required XP for both units and heroes/leaders)
  • Vision ranges (units, structures, true vision, everything)
  • ATK/DAM/RNG/REP/TYP of many abilities and spells (including breath attacks)
  • Leader/hero mana generation and spell casting points
  • other stuff

    Here's an incomplete list of specific changes I made to the ruleset that are most likely final:
  • Decreased the XP a killed unit gives by 1, i.e. a level 4 unit will give 3 XP and a level 1 unit will give 0. Required XP for silver medal is the same as the unit's level, and for gold it's five times as much.
  • Changed the stats for medals: silver gives +1 ATK/RES, gold gives an additional +1 ATK/RES and +1 DEF. No HP increase.
  • Split Archery into two abilities; one for single shot (high ATK) and one for multi shot (low ATK). Changed Marksmanship to give +1 ATK with each level, no DAM bonus. Some units can get Marksmanship IV through medals. Not all units have both Archery abilities.
  • Changed unit upkeep to 1/2/5/10 (from 4/6/8/10). I'll most likely also lower city/structure income.
  • Changed default vision range to 2, mounted units 3, cities 4, towers 5, flying units 6 (max). Underground vision is still halved, but rounded down. (Map distances will be smaller to accommodate the reduced vision.)

    Lots of stuff still only exists in my mind; I have a pretty clear idea which races exist and how the campaign progresses but so far what I've actually done is limited to changes to the ruleset, a couple of sprite recolours, and setting up most of the units (this is done completely from scratch). I thought it best to create this thread early since it doesn't seem that many people are still active around here.

    Most of the campaign maps will actually be rather small, but there will also be one of two large maps and the whole campaign will be quite long. Many maps will have tactical objectives (e.g. holding a bridge-head for a certain number of turns against increasingly overwhelming odds) rather than simply killing all other leaders. Instead of choosing from 5 leader races, the campaign hero will be one of five classes, not all of which can cast magic. Uber heroes are made somewhat more difficult by higher cost for raising DEF and fewer overpowered abilities/spells. I'm also seriously considering removing hero items completely, but I'm not yet sure how to make dungeons attractive since just gold seems boring.

    The entire alignment system and the magic spheres will be quite different from vanilla AoW. Also, many spells that can easily be exploited by a human player (like Wind Walking) will be removed entirely. For story reasons, summoning spells will only be available to the AI. Races will get three units for the first three city levels and one level 4 unit, for a total of 10 (from 12).

    The races will be based on some of the default AoW races, but only in terms of graphics. The gameplay will be quite different, both in terms of individual unit stats/abilities but also in terms of how the race works overall. Most races will be neutral to hostile at the beginning and the story will partly revolve around bringing some of them together against a common enemy. The campaign starts with the player taking control of an army of Elves and Halflings (both culturally closer to AoW Humans) against an invasion by the Dwarves (which are kind of like Vikings). Names will likely be changed.

  • Lizards
  • Goblins
  • Elves
  • Halflings
  • Dwarves
  • Azrac
  • Misc creatures race

    I plan to do most of the work myself, but I would also appreciate help in certain areas. Particularly, I'm always looking for high-quality unit sprites. I've downloaded all the sprite packs but only used a couple of sprites of those since most were of poor quality or otherwise inappropriate.

    Stuff I could need help with, from most to least important:
  • Graphics for units (sprites)
  • Graphics for spells, shields, campaign etc.
  • Texts and city names
  • Setting up the campaign
  • Possibly some map design

    If anyone knows ASM I'd also appreciate help with disassembling the engine code. I still haven't found where to change movement cost for terrains, for example.

    Anyone interesting in helping, please post in this thread and let me know in which area you can produce quality work. Please be advised that I will keep full creative control over this mod, however.

    I'd also like to hear constructive feedback about the campaign and the ruleset from anyone who still loves this game. This project is fueled by motivation, and feedback gives me motivation.

    [This message has been edited by And G (edited 07-06-2015 @ 06:50 AM).]

  • Replies:
    posted 07-06-15 08:56 PM EDT (US)     1 / 7  
    cool! i will be waiting to test and try it!!
    posted 07-09-15 00:16 AM EDT (US)     2 / 7  
    Small update...

    I still haven't found where terrain movement cost is defined. Both AoWEPack.dpl and HSEPack.dpl have functions that look like they might have something to do with it, but don't actually seem to set any such values. Possibly the values are somewhere in Release.hss but so far I have found nothing.


    I'm not sure what to do with the cost/time for installing units. In vanilla AoW both are the same as if producing the unit. Especially for expensive units this leads to a sunk cost effect, i.e. a player will try to get by with as few unit types as possible, leading to less diverse armies. For example, the Avenger isn't being used a lot since in most situations the Valkyrie is a better option, and to "waste" money and turns on installing a unit that would only be built once or twice is not economical.

    I have currently set the cost and time for installing units to 50 gold and 1 turn flat, for all units. This preserves the installation mechanic while not being too much of an obstacle.

    Another option would be to have a very low price (like 10 gold) but a rather long time, maybe 5 turns. This way, whenever you know a city won't be doing anything for a while you can simply install a unit without having to worry much about overhead costs.

    In either case, the biggest problem is that players will not be able to see the cost of building a unit before it is installed.

    Also, going by the code it seems possible to replace the installation cost with mana, and the same is true for production cost and upkeep. I don't think this would make much sense, but it made me think about possible rulesets for largely non-magic settings (Game of Thrones for example) where mana would be replaced by a food resource. Just brainstorming here.


    I'm also considering changing the time it takes to produce units. Vanilla AoW uses this table (rows are city size, columns are unit level):


    I was thinking about having something like this instead:


    Combined with the new upkeep progression (1/2/5/10) this would make a playstyle that focuses on cheap low-level units with hero support more viable against high-level unit compositions.


    I'd like Stone Walls to be more than just slightly sturdier Wooden Walls. One problem is that I can't find the hit points for either, but more importantly the Wooden Walls can't actually be damaged by most fire-based abilities. Fire Strike can't target walls, Fire Breath and Flame Throwing don't actually damage walls, and while Call Flames does a pretty good job at burning down Wooden Walls in TC it won't allow units to attack a walled city in the first place.

    At this point I'm even considering removing Wooden Walls altogether; after all you rarely see palisades in a fantasy setting.

    Edit: Never mind, I figured out where the wall hit points are stored. There are two classes in AoWEPACK.dpl, one for FC walls and one for TC walls, but the code for TC walls isn't used and instead exists as a duplicate in AoWTCPCK.dpl which also has the hit points hardcoded in a separate database section. So I'll just ignore the whole fire thing and set the wooden wall hit points from 7 to 4 or so and increase the stone wall hit points from 13 to at least 20, and then modify the damage of Wall Breaching and Hurl Boulders to go along with it. And of course the stone walls will be much more expensive and take longer to build.

    [This message has been edited by And G (edited 07-10-2015 @ 07:57 PM).]

    posted 07-16-15 01:46 PM EDT (US)     3 / 7  
    Awesome ideas and work! Some suggestions:

    Look around in this forum, as there have been similar threads where people posted all kinds of ideas for changes. One example: mana stealing. Instead of getting HP from Life Stealing, Mana Stealing gives you mana points back. This encourages more spell-casting in combat, which I think is way under-utilized.

    Ignition and Fire Halo also damage wooden walls.

    I think units with medals should get the HP increase. Not sure why you're taking that away.

    I don't really have time to help with coding, but I'd be interested to see the code if you post in somewhere, like GitHub. Was this written in C? I can probably help with some testing, however.

    Keep us updated! It may look like there's not much activity, but the people who are around are pretty devoted. :-)
    posted 07-16-15 01:48 PM EDT (US)     4 / 7  
    Oh, and you're wrong about the install vs. build times. All lvl4 units take 4 turns to install, but only 3 to build.

    Also, the Shipyard - 2 turns to install dragon ship, vs 4 turns to build. Builders Guild, too, I believe.
    posted 07-17-15 05:46 AM EDT (US)     5 / 7  
    Yes, install time for units is actually the same as their level.

    I have my own vision for an overhauled magic system which will place more emphasis on combat magic for spellcasting heroes. Mana stealing isn't part of that.

    Age of Wonders was written in Borland Delphi. I don't have the source code; I'm just working with the disassembled binaries. Luckily the labels have been left in cleartext so it's not all guesswork:

    You can just take a look at the full code yourself. I use PE Explorer for disassembling.


    On a different note, I have changed the XP system (for units, not heroes) again since it took too long for units to get promoted to gold:

  • Every unit needs 10 XP for the silver medal and another 10 XP for gold.
  • Every unit of the same level gives 5 XP, for each additional level it's +5.
  • One level lower gives 2 XP, two levels lower 1 XP, three levels lower 0 XP.
  • A silver medals counts as an additional level (for the unit that gets the XP).
  • A level 3 unit always gives at least 1 XP, a level 4 unit at least 2 XP, and a level 5 unit at least 5 XP.

    So, if a swordsman (level 1) kills a cavalry unit (level 2) he immediately gets promoted to silver. To get promoted to gold he then needs to kill another 2 cavalry units or 5 swordsmen. A dragon (level 4) needs to kill 10 cavalry units to get a silver medal, and then won't get any more XP from them.

    [This message has been edited by And G (edited 07-17-2015 @ 05:49 AM).]

  • posted 07-17-15 02:55 PM EDT (US)     6 / 7  
    I like the XP system, I think. I also like anything that promotes and makes it easier to have diverse armies, and not just a stack of titans.
    posted 09-26-20 08:11 PM EDT (US)     7 / 7  
    Wow, AoW+ has been in the works for a long time. Just lurking past posts in search of clues lol
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