Hello Ladies and Gentlemen,
As some of you would know, Expanded Mod has changed a lot, for the better, or for some of the older fans: for worse. But that's just the tale of making a mod, and even games, this will be the first of a planned four dev diaries, where I will speak about the development of Expanded Mod, and help provide in-sight.
Changes + Updates
One of the main issues with Expansion Mod, due to it's size and scale was thing being ignored, lost in the development process, or changes that were made, yet never made to the language file.
- Gods such as Hades, Isis, and Loki where changed but never had any statement made in the language file, and were only proven by noticing the change, or looking through the files.
- Some units were claimed, or said to have abilities and statistics that were either false, or forgotten about, such as the Heavy Cavalry being an Anti-Infantry unit, Sphendonetes being identical to Peltasts, etc
- And many others that can't be listed off the top of my head.
The Secondary Goal behind v2.0 is to improve, fix, stabilize and solve many issues that plague Expanded Mod (and AoMEE/ToTD to an extent) One example is the In-game Techtree, which is unchanged. But Wait! You might be asking, "Does this mean there will be an Expanded In-game techtree? Sadly No I reckon myself to be fairly adept in Age of Mythology .xml code, but sadly the techtree is a very complex element, not to mention it would need an ENTIRE REWRITE to help Expanded Mod, and I am not an Official Developer for the game, so I have no Idea for the life of me, on how this system works.
Don't stress, I may consider making an Excel document or PDF file that lists units, buildings and how to get them.
Complete List of Fixes (as of 26/5/17)
Fixed various inconsistencies in en-language file
Fixed an Issue where Archaic Age Greek Heroes couldn't be trained from TCs.
Several Units and Buildings have been given sounds.
Portable Rams now longer cost 3 Population.
Repeat is now in it's original location, UIEkantra screwed up with this, and nolonger covers whatever techs/units.
Fixed the issue where the summoning tree would have giant butterflys, instead of the smaller ones that went in a spiral.
Mountain Giant no longer covered by Battle Boar.
Solved an issue in where the Pirate Ships in Omens would not attack, or send soldiers resulting in progress stopping after the initial kraken.
Geat Pikemen no longer go black in their Champion attack animation.
Temples now correctly have Gather Point.
Old Atlantis and Regicide no longer have incorrect descriptions.
Atef Crown now affects Mummy attack, instead of a none-existent function, as intended originally.
Bread and Butter of v2.0
An Extended Edition port of Expanded Mod was originally dismissed, and rejected many times, but on January 2017, I planned to release an Expanded Mod v1.4, but I ran into an issue, "There's only so much to add until there is too much of the same, or identically functioning thing" then there's the whole maximum of 7 ambient lights in the Titans, and I wanted to do something different.
Thus in April I began to port an early version of v1.4 (the original version of v2.0) and began to add the abandoned for two-months Expanded Mod content, and in February 10th announced it (Yes, Expanded Mod v2.0 started two months after the announcement *autistic screeching from Titans Expanded Modists*
So Now I will walk you through the painfully slow 4-8 hours I took me to work on the initial Expanded Mod test version.
Rather Simple, finished anything buggy, or could Theoretically cause issues. I started simply with Textures, Models, and minor stuff that wouldn't affect EE or ToTD.
Obviously the most important aspect of EM is the data, without it, the new units, techs, updated menu, etc wouldn't be able to make it.
This was the pain-in-the-ass part of the porting process.
See FE, and Skybox completely screwed the techtree system,
any New techs they added, were forced in, otherwise the game would deliberately lock me out until either I made it the required amount of techs before the last TOTD tech.
Any Expanded Mod units located between IDs of 801-930 were forced to go to other IDs, because the game would most likely have a spastic attack and screw up.
Then there was the language file, which, due to ToTD, and EE's changes.
HAD TO BE COMPLETELY MOVED TO THE ID RANGE OF 91000-92500 (That is 1500 lines of names, and sentences! That includes the language content in the proto and techtree files!
Luckily Everything else that was ported easily.
As some of you would know, Tale of the Dragon isn't really Great, hell it's just a mediocre overpriced piece that was made by a bunch of modders and sold as a glorified DLC for a "near-broken port" One of the developers, Alexander Flegel was the lead designer of the Napoleonic Era mod, one of the best, highest rated, most popular Age of Empires III mods, CysionBE worked on The African Kingdoms, which was a very great DLC that fit the theme of Age of Empires II, and ES' Style very well, yet they screwed up on Tale of the Dragon.
Here's the rundown:
- The Chinese are overpowered as high hell, according to Cysion: "We made them overpowered to give incentive to buy the DLC" The hell? Most people who got the DLC, wanted to play Multiplayer! The Mode of major focus! ES made Balance the most important asset of AoM!
- The Chinese lack polish, and I am not talking about animations (since a bulk of AoM uses the same animation sets) the Buildings look like heavily modified Greek buildings, which is funny since the Chinese used a lot of White-Grey bricks, Red, Sea-Blue and Black in their Architecture, not to mention some of the unit and myth unit models are based on cut/alpha/beta units.
- The Chinese have a very generic, Greeco-Egyptian techtree ripoff, with merged Barracks+Archery War Academy, A Fort that trains Siege units, and elite units (Greeks + Norse + Atlanteans) no to mention that neither Jians, Zhanmadaos (The Ancestor of the Katana, and invented by a Han emperor circa 14 BC would've been a great anti-cavalry unit!) Meteorhammers or other worthwhile Chinese weapon-wielders make it in, not to mention that the use of Warrior Monks/Shaolins is almost non-existent, and we get trashy Wololo priests from AoE2.
- The Wonders and Fire Lancer are historically inaccurate (as they are out of the 4000s-500s timeline of AoM, and AoT)
- Their Walls are just identical to the Atlanteans.
- Even More re-used assets, the duck is ripped from AoE3, the generic unit sounds are ripped from AoE3 (and feature in-accurate Mandarin Chinese instead of Middle/Eastern Han) The Civ intro sound is a ripped Ambient Age3AD track from the 1421 campaign from Age3.
- The Campaign was absolute trash, forgettable, downright offensive (to some) seemed like it was made and drafted by a 12 year old kid, getting into fanfictions, and D&D Stories. Not to mention that it's way out of the FoTT, and TNA campaigns by 1000 years. You also fight Chinese all the time, and the player's forces summon a 5 year old dialect ability TITAN (the antagonists of TT) which is Ironic considering that they are trying to bring back Yin and Yang.
Look I could go on about how much TOTD is a waste of time, bait, and a shit on the the common consumer, and fan-base. But Expanded Mod v2.0 will change that.
I don't have much to say for this afterword, the next one will best less disjointed, less word heavy, better focused, and have pictures.