Hello, everyone! This week's Friday Update is going to be rather less colorful than usual, as the K&B team has been mostly devoted to number-crunching, analyzing, coding, and debugging things this week. With that said, there are at least five new textures done this week by peugeot407 and Pepp that I was dying to show, but they aren't quite completed yet and neither artist seems fond of showing their work before it's polished and finished. So, we'll have to go light on the eye candy and settle for a peek at what I've personally been working on lately, with pretty much all of the historical work verified and finished for the Prologue; Civ Balance!
Here at K&B, we're introducing a somewhat different approach to balance in our mod on a foundational level than we think has been used in the modding community so far. Instead of just adding tons of new features in the hopes of making our civs somewhat different from each other or sticking to a "re-skinned AoE3" kind of vibe, we've echoed the full-conversion nature of our mod in its combat and economy. That is to say, we scrapped the basic template of civs in AoE3, took our concepts and civilisation ideas, and created a strategy template that took the most fun parts of Age of Empires strategy throughout the series and opened them all up to equal viability. To reflect this while maintaining a marked uniqueness in every one of our civs, the bonuses, homecities, and unit rosters of each civilisation is tailored uniquely toward three different trends. There is a primary strength to each civ, which determines generally their most effective strategy, based on how their attributes interact with those of other civilisations. These primary strengths are divided conceptually once by the general nature of their civ's playstyle (aggressive, economic, or defensive) and again by a sub-strength within the former. To show an example, here's a chart I created from our civ balance discussions showing the general placement of the civilisations by their specialised strengths:
~ Rushing: The rushers, are, in short, the civs with the greatest ability to quickly and firmly decide the game. Their early militaries come fast and strong, and opponents will need to make some brilliant maneuvers to hit them back just as hard.
- Holy Roman Empire
~ Map Control: These civs gain advantages for gathering natural resources, and their early armies are very versatile. This, combined with their skill in keeping the enemy bottled up, makes them the raiding and pillaging specialists in K&B.
~ "Purer" Booms: These civs are all about "more resources, more quickly". Whether they're contained or allowed to expand, their economies will have the potential to outclass nearly any opponent's.
~ Military-Oriented Booms: These civs stress economic growth as well, but their economic and military qualities make it very advantageous to start engaging the enemy in costly battles from the beginning of the game.
~ Versatile Anti-Rushers: These civs have advantages that make it very hard for their opponent to destroy their town during its beginning few stages, while retaining versatility and choice in strategy.
~ Stronghold Civs: These civs' unique aspects give them a marked advantage in creating big, sprawling, fortified settlement-cities, and keeping the game going until later in the ages.
Now, this is only a glimpse of where which civ really has a marked advantage over the others due to unique bonuses, cards, and units. There are two other trends we take immediately into account, which are a secondary strength that we shore up to give a slightly lessened second advantage, and whether each civ reaches its greatest potential relative to its opponent earlier, in the mid-game, or later on. In addition, civsets give their own advantages, like the Racetrack or the Chapter House, so for example the Vikings and Moors are both primarily focused on exploiting the natural resources and topographical advantages of the map they're on, but their differing civsets give them different and unique ways of going about that before we even get into their unique bonuses, cards, or units. As a result, the various circumstances and civ match-ups of each game are different enough that the primary strength of each civilisation, while almost always a valid choice, will not by any means always be the best one. This outlook on civ balance, and our firm belief that every civ should be able to perform any established strategy they wish while still maintaining uniqueness and endless potential for strategic innovation by the player, gives our civilisations hugely different playstyles from each other while maintaining balance and a cohesive sense of "K&B gameplay".
This week's quote comes from peugeout407, our fearless leader, who's continuing a recent texturing trend with some brand new features!
peugeot407 wrote: This also happens to be the first time ever in my modding career that I've textured a unit with a cape, by the way...
K&B salutes... David Pujadas and France 2. The largest advantage I get as a bilingual American is the ready availability of the relatively unbiased European press.
K&B refutes... the recent flares of violence, chaos, and hatred in the world as a result of religious radicalism and widespread dehumanization of differing cultures. We'd like to see some news stories about fundamentalist groups who dedicate themselves to a literal translation of the most beneficial and humanitarian parts of religious scriptures for a change.
- Quoted from Synecdoche