The Explorer! Demo has been released.
You can download it here on moddb: Moddb.com
Or if you got it earlier, you can update using the patch: (and look here for changelog from yesterday)
You can find installation instructions after the feature list:
What this is:
This is the very earliest version of what I hope will become, well, something rather more grand. Everything is being rebuilt from scratch. As such, this mod is currently incredibly feature-sparse. With that being said, I think even in this stage the mod is well worth trying out. There is a basic gameplay loop that is perfectly replayable, and gives a taste of what this project can become.
Here are some of the features I haven't covered before in the previous articles.
No overland map
I guess I will mention this one again. Spot towns in the distance, ride to the map border, cross to the next scene. Stumble across bridges, mountains, rivers, beaches - even waterfalls. Look here for more details and screenshots.
You can recruit up to 140 companions by talking to literally any NPC. They will always agree, and there is no cost at all to taking them on: No morale, no wages, no infighting, nothing. (That will come later.)
Access their skills and equipment by talking to them (equipment updates in real time.)
Travel with your companions! They won't follow you 30 feet back anymore, your companions will try to match your pace.
In Explorer, if you die with companions still alive, you will continue playing as your companions.
But there's more to it than that. When the player character dies, their flag is spawned where their body fell. You must recover the body to continue playing as your player character. If you don't recover the flag, you will continue the game as the current companion.
No. Because there's still even more to it than that! Just like in Native Warband, your companions can't be killed: only wounded.
But, if you are controlling a companion when they are killed, they die permanently.
If your party is completely wiped out (dead OR wounded) the player character will reset:
You will notice various parties as you travel through the world. This system is completely placeholder: parties are generated randomly based on your location and the faction/type of the nearest center. However in true Explorer style, if you follow a party off the map, they will appear ahead of you in the next area.
There are 6 different party types that are unique for all 6 major factions, however eventually each faction will be split into 3 separate cultures, and this is partially implemented already.
Party types can be:
- Kingdom patrollers
- Merchant Caravans
- Mercenary parties
There will be two of these parties in any scene allied to each other and neutral to the player. (Besides bandits.) Another party type can also appear:
- Kingdom raiders
There is a chance you will encounter a warparty from a (random) outside kingdom. These warparties are always aggressive, and will attack anyone they see.
Attacking neutral parties:
You can signal your troops to attack by drawing any weapon, and signal them to desist by sheathing your weapon with the sheathe weapon key (not by scrolling up.)
If you approach a party with weapons drawn, they will take it as a sign of hostility. You can still sheath your weapons to show you mean no harm, but once the first drop of blood is spilled on either side, the fight will begin in earnest.
Healing your party:
Press Tab to set up a camp while travelling. You can use the camp to pass the time (interact with the sleeping bag) and also you and your companions will regain health while in the camp scene. Press TAB again to break camp and keep exploring, or ride to the map borders to travel as usual!
As I mentioned in a previous article, camp size increases with party size. Your companions gather around fires, and tents spawn around. I had to drop AI camps from the demo, but that's coming very soon.
Wind and Ambient sounds
There's more to come with this, but I'm pleased to announce the integration of a few of the tracks from SoundRound-ing by Aeon.
It consists of very high-fidelity wind and ambient effects as well as some very understated ambient music.
Support me on Patreon
If you like what you've been seeing so far, and you want this project to turn into what it could be, please consider donating! I am new to Patreon but it is a helpful platform for creators - I don't have any incentives for supporters at the moment, but let me know what you need to make you want to donate. If you don't like Patreon but want to give some other way, reach out to me and we will work it out.
Donations will directly benefit how much work I can put into the mod.
Even though this started as a hobby, I have September completely off work and decided to buckle down and put some real effort into this project. However, it can't be completed in just one month. I have a flexible work schedule: If I receive even a modest amount per month to work on this it will feel less wasteful spending extra time on it.
There is no pressure to donate, and I will never hide the mod or any extra features behind a paywall. Even if I do not receive many donations, I will still work on and update the mod, but I will not be able to justify spending so much time on it, and although I will try to maintain the quality, there will be fewer and smaller releases, and way fewer of these blogs/feature writeups.
If you want to wait and see where the mod goes before donating - that's fine too. But I really have to stress that, as much as I want to see this project completed, I need the community's help to get it to the level we all want. I will try to maintain my current level of productivity for the rest of the month. Please help me keep it going longer!
Join my party and help Explorer realise its potential!
Download and unzip the Explorer file into your Mount&Blade Warband/Modules folder. If you use steam you can find this folder in the Steam/SteamApps/common/ folder.
To run the game, use the WSELoader in the mod folder
/.../Mount&Blade Warband/Modules/Explore/WSE Lua/WSELoader
Everything is set up to work with Steam. All you have to do is load the mod by running the WSELoader.exe
I recommend making a shortcut to place on the desktop (or wherever.) You CAN still play the mod without WSE, but there will be more bugs, more crashes, and over time less compatibility with the mod. Regular launcher is officially unsupported for Explorer, but for now it still mostly works.
"This WSE stuff seems fishy."
While it is good to be cautious of running unknown .exes, you have nothing to worry about here. Warband Script Enhancer simply acts as an alternative launcher for Warband, which allows modders to use a few extra techniques. Here's a forum thread that should more than calm your nerves, with 190 pages of proof that this isn't anything harmful: (including the source code)
Here are some of the major OSPs used in this project:
Battle of Europe
This mod needs more recognition! This is where all the beautiful shaders and cloud effects in Explorer come from. The shaders were made by _Sebastian_, and it is I think self-evident how important they are in making this mod "work". Unfortunately, BoE is a multiplayer only mod and the servers are now gone - But the project is OSP, including the shaders used in Explorer. If you want this in other mods - go bug their creators!
The mod that needs no introduction: The most ubiquitous and essential Warband mod ever made - the only reason not to have it is that everybody does. Gutek's art style has literally shaped the modding community for years.
Persistent Troop Identities
A slightly more obscure mod, it accomplished some amazing things and obviously laid the groundwork for the ideas playing out in Explorer. Only the names are currently used, but look at some of the features in the mod - companion management in the future will take more inspiration from PTI over time.
Native Scene Replacement Pack
by The Bowman
Competitive-style Combat AI
Crusader Way to Expiation
For a list of full credits, please see the Description on the Demo file here.
And that's it! Thanks for reading!