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Emperor: Game Help
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Caesar IV Heaven » Forums » Emperor: Game Help » Ewok Overlords take China: New campaign in development
Topic Subject:Ewok Overlords take China: New campaign in development
posted 10-25-17 15:48 ET (US)         
While working on my building model modding project; I decided to take Gweilo's challenge to make a real campaign.

Here is a storyline text idea

Freddy of the claw is dead. the great high council of Ewok supervisors convened to elect Jason of the mask, who ran unopposed, by a narrow margin of 1 vote. news flash: The great high counsil of Ewok members have died of self consumption. New members will be elected soon.

A girl child has finlly been born to the Terra Ewok's. She has been taken to the sacred tree root, married to the deceased Freddy and then sacreficed; her blood nurturing the sacred root so her spirit might join her husband in the afterlife.

A human has been ordered to oversee the tumulus's construction of the two departed & there afterlife honor guard. 1000 human soldiers will be sacrificed, there bodies will be encased in lifelike ceramic effigy.

1st Mission goals:
Tumulus, Grand Tumulus and Underground vault.
Map is Chang-AN Sui, not custom.

Campaign intro text idea:
A couple generations ago, when the overlords descended in their sky chariot upon Chang-an to demand the humans surrender their kingdom to their whims. The humans scratched the sky chariot which greatly angered Freddy. He just had it polished. He ordered the complete destruction of the city. Then there was great festing upon the human corpses and survivers until the last captive was finished. A few escaped to tell this tale.

Hope to have weekly updates; maybe a release date of Christmas holiday. Presently testing the first mission to insure the building model mods are balanced.

Some scrumptious images to wet your appetite.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 10-25-2017 @ 06:22 PM).]

posted 10-25-17 18:26 ET (US)     1 / 11       

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posted 10-27-17 11:37 ET (US)     2 / 11       
I settled on 2 more locations for Missions; Chengdu and Shaoling, but there wasn't a prefab name so settled on Shanyang, which is close enough to its modern name of shaoyang.

I envision a monument building campaign, just no Canals or Great Walls. The premise that the Ewoks have subjugated the human population(two classes: slave & servant); controlling trade and people flow between the human districts(semi-autonomous).

Ewoks don't understand humans clinging to monetary systems but they permit it; while forbidding the accumulation of usable resources, such as heavy metals and crystals. Technology development is also forbidden; no ingenious copying of Ewok tech via acid jar batteries, etc.
So humans can mint bronze coin and print money(imaginative value of labor hours only). Jade industry is a maybe at this point.

Since Ewoks monitor the humans activity there isn't much use for Military; but Ewoks do like watching primitives' bloody themselves in battles, so I'm allowing some military.
All human cities(chinese) will be Allied, but neighboring nations might be attacked. And, the Ewoks might allow their slaves get attacked for the blood sport aspect.

Trade routes will be straight lines to represent Ewok transport craft and contriband inspections at the port authority. No human is permitted to exist outside of their assigned district. Ewoks play and hunt in the larger between lands.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 10-27-2017 @ 11:55 AM).]

posted 10-27-17 22:30 ET (US)     3 / 11       
Sounds really interesting and definitely original!

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posted 10-30-17 09:34 ET (US)     4 / 11       
Progress report:

M1: Chang-An map tested good for my purpose. I will try editing the EmperorMM.eng file in coming weeks to give detailed instructions of Ewok expectations. Had a few tweaks that shouldn't effect map testing results.

M2: Inspection of the in a placement testing showed that I will need to customize the MAP to allow for greater flexibility. Half of the MAP is useless to the player presently. Grand Temple Complex(dedicated to the Creator of the multi-verse & destroyer of human immortals[Shen Nong survived by capitulating]), Clock Tower(concept: 24 hour back lit sun pointer style using Ewok tech & stadium video screen for tourist info or Jason of the mask wishes to address human slave population) & a few other goals.

M3: Have made a MAP sketch for the custom Arid map. It has all the point flags and basic terrain features I desire. Testing will tell if I over-complicated/over-simplified player options. City name is "Yining"; don't know if it is timeline correct(circa 1230ce) but the translation concept is what I desired. Have not settled on which monuments, yet. Terrain features include two artificial water reservoirs and artificial ground-water piping.

I am thinking of just one mission per map. I will need to do future scripted invasions within that mindset. Thinking of Tibet, Viet and Mongul for the nationalities. 4 or 5 missions total(shrug).

mini update:
I am dropping the use of tutorial messages as special instructions. 'Replay mission' has a habit of dropping the tutorial message, process timing similar to the 'new years festival' exploit causes this behavior. There doesn't seem to be any length restrictions when editing the ENG. I think the restrictions are imposed by the 'glitched' input editor box.

[edit: removed loopy thought process from last night]

I may even resize the dialog box size/position(for 1024x768 resolution [assuming nobody plays at 800x600 anymore]).
*Unfortunately, the Campaign/Mission briefings size is hardcoded in the exe resources. Maybe I will have better success with the Help system, tomorrow.*

Would be so nice to be able to edit the stock images before December/January; no pressure I could just use the C3 hack method if I get some good images to use.
Notes from my EmperorMM.ENG editing experiments(some char don't display correctly on the forum(shrug))

@# = Link to message id(green)
& = space within Link
[space]=link ends)
~ = link-ends (useful before punctuation)
@B = Big text(yellow)
@G# = Graphic id
@H = Yellow Fontcolor
(doesn't work on type="3",
as all text is pre-formatted as yellow,
cant get white chars on type 3,
needs a @L or @P, to end font change.)
@L = Linefeed
@P = Indented Linefeed

@B doesn't display 'big' when combined with @# links.
@# trumps @H so inbed a link within an @Himportand stuff (@#link~). @L
Various bracketing marks are not displayed except for ().
No idea why they exist in the eng file when viewed in hex. Perhaps, someone forgot to include them in the exe resources.

Removed(ok) - id=180{after last help file message} to 219 which has a period for content. Probaly placeholder entries for addition help file messages

ODDBALL types/subtypes [keep for now as they may be used somehow]
id 220 to 228

Removed(ok) - message id 229 to 269 [unused]

Removed(ok) - tutorial messages
type="0" subtype="4"
starts at message id="270" to 275
title is centered+Big
white text with normal format options
[glitched messages when 'replaying mission']

Xia Dynasty and a few more oddball entries[park&ruins]
I will keep these for now upto message id 399

Removed(ok) - Campaign/mission Briefings
type="3" subtype="0">
assuming type = 3 is special for mission/campaign briefing format. Wondering what the subtype does.
lowered font weight, normal text is yellow as if fontcolor is reversed. I may try @H to verify or change subtype#.
Core Campaign(Shang+) and Mission text starts at 400
MP Campaigns starts at id 700 to 715
the 716 to 979 message id's I beleive are expansion room for MP campaigns
[id 400 to end of file not needed for my purpose]

more useless research and ideas

type="1" subtype="0"
About Emperor [leave it as is]

type="0" subtype="0"
Help system [message id 1 to 179(upto 219 may be used) needs to be fixed/expanded]
*dialog x="0" y="0" width="49" height="38"/*
*better for consistency and makes the dialog box fill the City View area, doesn't error on 800x600 but it isn't pretty either, wonderful for 1024x768 and higher*

type="2" subtype="0" to "8"
message id 220 to 228 [leave it as is]
I suspect these are used, maybe mouse-over hover boxes or confirmation dialog boxes (shrug)

message id 229 to 269 I have marked as unused

type="0" subtype="4">
message id 270 to 275 I have marked as glitched 'tutorial messages' [replay mission incompatible; plus hex edit required to them working in custom missions - not worth the trouble! - but the type/subtype could replace camp/miss strange formating behavior with inconsistant player expectation 'goals' format being the trade-off{desperation/last resort option}]

type="3" subtype="0">
message id '276 to 349' & '364 to 399'
[unused customizable campaign and mission TEXT use]
[between message id's are for Xia dynasty campaign - preserving for now]
{idea: remove all message id's after 228, use 250 and beyond for custom campaigns, maybe leave 'examples' between 230 to 239 of type0/sub4 & type3/sub0 declarations, use 250+ for custom campaigns}

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 11-07-2017 @ 02:38 AM).]

posted 11-01-17 04:46 ET (US)     5 / 11       
Hey Gweilo;
I know your going to be interesting in my Modding research, so drop me an email and Ill share my EmperorMM.eng, EmperorText & whatever else. I got Mission intro and victory to display huge amounts of instructional data as well as easily editing City names and leaders.

Pecunia's ENG converter program is your godsend!

Problems with image hosting sites again so cant upload screenshots, darn.
posted 11-01-17 05:44 ET (US)     6 / 11       
I need a clearer understanding of where this is headed, so I have a question: after you use the new tools (Pecunia's plus any others) to create a new custom campaign with these modified game files, will the world-wide player community need to do a special install of modified game files in order to play that campaign? Or will their existing 'stock' installation of ERoTMK play the modified custom campaign just fine?

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
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posted 11-01-17 06:05 ET (US)     7 / 11       
If you use my or your own edited EmperorMM.eng to use the 'Text data' checkbox. The Designer needs to provide the modified EmperorMM.eng with the PAK.
If you use my or your own edited EmperorText.eng to use the city/leader name changes. The Designer needs to provide the modified EmperorText.eng with the PAK.

Special instruction as per HG policy or '?.bat' or automated installer all could be used. Same as Bing and Chronicles of Wei downloads, yes.

PS: My working EmperorMM.eng file size is 256KB.
Standard EmperorMM.eng size is 413KB, if your concerned about inflating the download Zip.
My working EmperorText.eng is only a few K smaller then the standard.

PSS: In the future I envision an 'HG Help File' correction patch. Things like 'Underground Vault' help dialog claiming weapons are needed. Which has me intrigued; I plan on making an unpatched install to see if the had weapons originally for the Underground Vault. Is it broken and can we repair it?

July 2002, before the original release date the Underground Vault did not require weapons, but we might still be able to add weapons as a requirement.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 11-05-2017 @ 01:16 PM).]

posted 11-01-17 06:50 ET (US)     8 / 11       
Thanks for the clear explanation. While I do support what you and the other modders are doing, I have decided not to participate right now. I definitely reserve the right to change my mind later.

Here is a bit of background to explain my decision. I'm still seeing many new players discover the CB series of games. Many of these new players are not very computer-savy, they are more casual players. Eventually, some of these players may decide to explore the library of custom adventures/scenarios/campaigns that designers have uploaded to our HG sites over the years. When they take that step, I want it to be as painless for them as possible, without having to follow special instructions to backup game files, perform special installations, etc. I want them to be able to jump easily and quickly between the core scenarios/adventures/campaigns and the custom ones they have downloaded.

Expand your fun by downloading free custom campaigns for Emperor: Rise of the Middle Kingdom.
Visit Zeus Heaven to expand your knowledge of Zeus and Poseidon.
posted 11-01-17 06:59 ET (US)     9 / 11       
Perhaps create a new download category for the complicated installation types such as Bing & Chronicles of Wei & Ewok Overlords take China. Lol, Lock them up as 'registered user only' downloads with nagging popup warnings, too.

Anyway I moved onto enlarging the Help File display for addition of stock images and eventually custom replacements or additions when the sgwriter project comes to fruition.

Now back to the drudgery of playing my third map and editing it so players have less to complain about. I need to dream up something for the forth mission too.
[sarcasm]Imaginative aint I[/sarcasm]

PS: figured out why the image host errored out. Here is the Victory screenshot I couldnt post before.

progress report:
Yining map tested to my satisfaction. Disappointed that my freshwater beach idea doesnt look as good once the system mangles its appearance after the map editor save.
Yining will have 3 monuments; Great Temple, Pagoda & Large Palace. Attacks will be from Mongol; I helped the player by highlighting the invasion points with sand dune tiles, pre-built some city walls in unimportant edges so they only need to sure-up the big gaps. Building models have City Gates with much better HP values, but they do crumble within 4 months which is better then 1 month.
Settled on Baoding for the final mission. Mongol and Korean invasions are envisioned. 2 of the medium temples for Jason & Freddy cult worship.

PS: I didn't like my descriptive titles of missions(too bland) so I made them comically darker.
M1 intro text draft written into the MM file. Getting quite long so will use the Victory text for background info on my freakish realm not needed until later missions.
Preamble / Assignment (Instructions)/ Doctrine
Victory: More Indoctrination

Dropped Viet as an enemy. Ewoks control all the Humid region by the time my campaign begins.
Mongul, Korean and Tibet are my final chooses. Empire map set as such. Going to use factions Chinese vs the rest.

I feel it was important to update the Inspector Tower Help dialog to reflect my Campaign peculiarities.
Wondering if I should include Feng Shui info with the updates, the stock image seems to be highlighting Feng Shui placement.

I'm severely perturbed that the QA team was so out of the loop in 2002/2003. Obvious only to me, Sierra was pressuring managers to expedite the project completion and the Help system suffered greatly.
Weaponsmith 'bronze' link goes to bronzemaker? No mention of checking the commodities list. Inspector service radius not mentioned nor warning of hanging buildings on corners. I may have to delay the release of this campaign, a few months, just to semi-fix the Help system text.

I didn't like the Inspector or Guard building names. EmperorText.eng now uses the term Code Enforcement Office & Law Enforcement Office. This reflects the changes to the Inspector walker fighting behavior(somewhat comical but effective).
Admin City -> Community Bureau
Daoist/Buddhist 'Shrine' -> School
Temple/Pagoda -> Academy
The maximum safe loop distance(+4 to herbal/acupun) is 60 with religious and Inspector going ~50 tiles. Note: Very hard difficulty players might stay with 56 tile loops, less if they use a residential gated Inspector. Peddler/announcer go to ~60 tiles(market bounce compensation). Some walker speeds have changed.

For the Baoding map I'm thinking of the stock, it is a bit small(Huge) and the waterways are too thick, but it might work with a little editing.
Done with the edits, renamed then; changed to temperate climate, slimmed and moved part of the river, cleaned up a few black holes, moved flags to suit my use and other minor stuff.

EmperorMM.eng edits for Community Bureau(admin city), Code Enforcement Office(insp tower) and Law Enforcement Office(watchtower) renaming are done. Had to do a EmperorText.eng edit to get the Safety report to display the text length increase better.

Contemplating changing the Acupuncturist to Therapist and his building to Therapeutics Parlor to reflect the full range of body treatments. Herbalist seems to be non-professional to me, thinking of changing the building to Pharmacy(pharmacist). Ewok don't waste resources on curing diseased slaves, so the policy remains; kill them and then controlled burn of the corpses and housing. Who believed the herbalist was curing anything, huh? Maybe Ewok offer vaccinations to some workers and servants; nice perk, yes.

EmperorMM.eng now uses the term academy to replace pagoda/temple. Now, pagoda/temple refer only to monuments. 'School' is used for Daoist/Buddhist shrines.

Continuing to edit Help system messages; adding stock images, adjusting message dialog width/height, correcting text. I have also made an attempt at reorganizing the 'Table of Contents. I believe I can get 3 columns displayed with a little title shortening. Grouping of monuments might be helpful, stuff like that.
Too much trouble aligning the columns; going with a comma separation and let the system parse the line lengths. Grouping of similar info types; monument list rather then spreading them out over the whole alphabet, that kinda stuff.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 11-06-2017 @ 03:56 AM).]

posted 11-07-17 12:42 ET (US)     10 / 11       
The checks out for placement of structures. Up to the player to choose the better options. Starting to contemplate how the military actions will unfold. Wont be a lot of scripting, but a full play though is delayed until I get the Help system to my liking.

Several hours reformatting the Help>Table of Contents only to discover I interjected conflicts. @H caused some issues, The dialog sizes of popups contributed, and well, I have addressed most issues. Wont be as fancy as I like, but it should work better then what I started with.

Here is my progress with the Table of Contents.
[JPEG, (448.75 KB)]
image is stitched together obviously with paint

Finished with the 'Table of Contents' reformating for now. Resolved the linking issue somewhat by placing @G grapfics at intervals. This pushes the Empire Map undefined climate grid safety definer, which seems to have been used as a clickable area limiter, between the @G's rather then full dialog size. Odd, but thats the best explaination I have and I'm sticking to it until a sierra manager/programmer gives a better accounting. May come back to this when my brain chemistry recovers.
Edited the common housing message to reflect my building model changes. Keyboard/hotkeys message reorganized, may add links later. Clear tool message created and a short explanation written. Reserving message2 for my credit/reminders list of game mechanics changes. I will probably just work my down the message list alternatively checking messages from the table of contents links, as my mood changes/boredom sets in.

I'm using the term 'Palatial Menagerie' to replace 'Palace'. Menagerie still refers to the zoo part. EmperorText edit finished, working on the EmperorMM. Added some stock images to some messages and re-writing messages 5~30. I may leave the link-texts using 'palace' as is in most messages, just changing the important ones where the distinction matters to me.

While rewriting the Help system messages and adding graphics; I sorta decided that it was rather useless to do more MM.eng editing. Switched to storyline tweaking and adding the final scripts to what I will assign a difficulty of 'Normal'; though with so much changed I am expecting some kick-back. Try to finish this by Turkey day.

M1 re-tested good. Need to change to Code Office and Law Office as The previous name was too long for proper display.

M2 half way through testing. Need to lower shield count of Tibet. maybe some more starting money. scripted invasion too early not enough recovery time for player if they cannot bribe or have a personal rule.

Finished with my adjustments to M2. Retesting M2 from New Game start, bypassing M1. Looks good so far, I added fishing as a 4th real food but its not necessary(shrug) the map just had fish so why not. Satisfied that Casual players will have a good challenge, Advanced players may find the building mods interesting. Onward to M3.

[This message has been edited by user3 (edited 11-16-2017 @ 09:07 AM).]

posted 11-17-17 00:41 ET (US)     11 / 11       
Finished testing M3. This may be too tough for some casual players, advanced players may have some fun laying out the city and figuring out the farming.

Hoping to zip things up this weekend.
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