Hello everyone! I'm very pleased to announce the first patch and "official" release of the Alpha version of Explorer! Big thanks to everyone who helped identifying some of the bugs in the initial Alpha release.
For those of you who are completely new to Explorer, I would recommend looking at some of the old articles, such as this one.
Please check the Download file for installation instructions (press "Read More..." in the description!)
NOTE: You must use WSE to launch the game, or else you will experience some bugs. Luckily it is nothing too bad (non-WSE version is still fully playable) but you should expect problems nonetheless.
New: Discord Server!
At the request of like, 3 people, I have set up a Discord server to talk about the mod. You can join by clicking here: Discord.gg
If you have any suggestions, bug reports, or especially if you need any help with installation, come join the discord! It will be the fastest way to get help if you have any issues.
There are numerous differences and many new features compared to the old Demo version. Still, Explorer is early in development. Many features are still WIP or placeholder, especially dialogues. With that being said, here are some of the main features of the Alpha version:
- Worldmap: Press M to bring up the worldmap, which shows all known locations, as well as tracking the path you've travelled (and showing the terrain type at each step.) Slowly uncover the entire map! Hover the mouse over an icon to get directions. If you've uncovered a lot of it, post a screenshot in the Discord! I would love to see who has travelled the farthest.
- Joining Factions: You can now join a faction by talking to any faction hero (king, lord, lady.) Whereas in the Demo recruiting troops was unrestricted, now it is joining factions. In the future there may be requirements/special quests to join a faction, but for now, all you need do is simply ask to join.
- Recruiting: There are now several ways to recruit followers. The first, is to either hire mercenaries in towns, or persuade individuals to join your party (Persuasion Skill+CHA.) If you join a faction, you will be able to recruit from the garrison at any of your faction's settlements. Additionally, you can ask other parties of your faction to follow you, without formally joining your party.
- Sieges: You can besiege a center that is at war with your faction - the only caveat is that you must be a member of an established Kingdom. There is currently no way to own land without first joining a faction.
- Village Raids: The player can raid villages by drawing their weapons, and either ordering a Charge, or accosting the Village Elder. You can also threaten the villagers into giving up their wealth or supplies.
- AI Siege/Raids: The AI are able to raid and lay siege as well. You will know when a location is under attack if you can see fire/black smoke rising from the location in the distance. A looted settlement will have white smoke and no fire.
- NPC Death system: In the Demo, your companions could die permanently whilst being controlled by the player. This is still true, however there is another thing you must watch out for: Other NPCs. Any named character is now deadly to other named characters - if a hero NPC kills another named hero NPC, they will be killed. This goes not just for your companions, but for lords and kings as well!
- Raven: The strangest feature of them all - press Y to scout the area as a Raven. You can issue orders while flying to get a handy view of the battlefield, and you can also press Backspace while flying to "zoom out" and look at the whole worldmap.
- Mountains, Rivers: The map has been touched up a bit. Land should now be much flatter away from mountains, and rivers and shorelines are now randomised and look much nicer. Mountains and shores have been quickly retouched as well, though there may be more to come there.
- Travel by Ship: No, there is no real sailing yet - however, you can hire a ship to transport your party from certain coastal settlements. Look for hooded figures called Seafarers/Boatswains/Bosuns when you're in towns/castles/villages close to the river/the sea.
- Town Walkers: A bunch of characters have been added walking about in towns. These are really just here as placeholders for now, but eventually they will be the main recruit pool for players that join factions as a manhunter, merchant, etc. You can find Mercenaries, Caravan Masters, Manhunters, even Looters - as well as some other NPCs like Travellers and Minstrels.
- Party Encounter System: This is mostly hidden for the player, but it is a basic version of one of my "goal features" - creating encounters based around the player and their choices. It is rather rudimentary at the moment - but now parties and named characters are created/introduced based on a number of factors. Mostly, the real position of parties is accurately tracked - and when a party leaves the scene, they will travel accordingly on the worldmap. However, encounters are also created to encourage the meeting of new characters (in early game), recycle characters based on their past/relation to the player, or created/introduced based on actions taken by the player directly. At the moment it is probably inadequate for a whole world-conquering campaign, but works well for single wars/early playthroughs.
- Lav's Companion Overseer: Quickly manage loot and companion inventories by pressing P during travel. It is simple enough to figure out how to drag/drop equipment to companions - there is also a button to automatically equip your companions from your inventory. Loot generated from your companions kills will also collect in the Loot section - so after a battle, with 2 mouse clicks you can take all the loot and distribute it to your companions. You can also check your companions stats on the 2nd screen, and talk to them through there.
- New combat animations: A combination of Native animations + PapaLazarou's popular Combat Animation Enhancement mod. Some of the animation blending is a little wonky - if you hate this, please let me know. Otherwise however, the animation variations should give a bit more flavour to combat, and make feints harder to read.
Alpha.01: Patch Notes
For anyone who got the Alpha in the last few days, here are some of the fixes/changes:
-Fixed a major bug with the lua/combat AI not functioning
-Fixed several crashes
-Fixed some dialogue issues, added dialogue options for all encounter party types + village elders
-Fixed a bug with sieges
-More wars at game start, also wars are more likely to start in peace-time
-Reduced maximum # of encounter parties in scene (performance saver) and reduced size of Swadian Plains parties
Support Explorer! on Patreon
If you like this mod, I would highly encourage you to donate a dollar on Patreon! I enjoy working on this mod, but unless the project brings in some funds it is unlikely I will be able to continue. It hurts to say - but that's just the way it is. I still intend to nurse some more patches/features and at least keep the game playable. Apart from that, I will be releasing the source code so that others can use some of these features. This project is by no means dying - but I can't keep it up alone and still release anything consistently. And so with that said...
Do you have any experience with modding/game development/etc? I am looking for talented contributors who would be willing to help get this mod into a more polished state. I have nothing against people with less experience, but I won't have time to teach total newbies, and so I ask that you have a decent level of experience in either M&B modding and/or modding/dev on other titles.
If you are interested in getting involved, do not hesitate to reach out and say what you can do. But especially, I am looking for:
- Quest/dialogue writers - you must be able to code these things on your own (or at be able to figure it out)
- 2D/3D artists/designers - for anything from UI improvements, to new assets, or even simply redesigning faction units
- Experienced coders/scripters - do you know/think you know how I coded all the features in Explorer? Think you could do better? I want to hear from you.
- Scenemakers/level designers - introduce new locations, redo old scenes, fix up/improve siege scenes etc.
- QA testers - not very necessary at the moment, but in the future our own beta testers may be needed.
- Anything else - have some other talent? Let me know what you can do to help!
Ultimately, I would like to increase overall development while slowly focusing my own role towards design/special features.
If you're interested, the best way to get in contact is through the Discord channel: Discord.gg
You can find the mod credits on the download file description, after the Install instructions.
Special credits for the new Alpha features go to:
- _Sebastian_ for his unreal shader talents
- Azan for his BladeEd terrain editor
- Crusader: Way to Expiation team for the animated birds+scripts
- Lav: Lav's Companions Overseer
- Rubik: Rubik's worldmap presentation was used as a basis/example for the new worldmap
- Floris team/Monnijke for the new castle icons
- Autolykos for arena fight improvements + dhorak keep scene