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Topic Subject: Cutting off access to city for enemies
posted 05-14-20 10:27 ET (US)   
If a natural disaster happens while enemy forces are attacking and it ends up blocking their path to the city, what happens to the enemy forces? (With the invasion point being different from entry/exit points.)
Replies:
posted 05-14-20 17:41 ET (US)     1 / 28  
I've never seen or experienced that in a Zeus game.

However, in Pharaoh, it is possible for enemy soldiers to invade the map on a side of the Nile that you're not on. Maybe you built all your stuff on the east bank and they're invading from the west bank. They can't reach any of your buildings because the Nile is in the way.

When that happens, the enemy soldiers just kind of stand around for a while. After a month or two, they leave.

So I am going to guess that something similar happens in Zeus if enemy soldiers suddenly find their path to the city cut off by a natural disaster.
posted 05-15-20 00:41 ET (US)     2 / 28  
I've done this before, since I've implemented it in one of my (uncompleted) adventures back then.

They won't be able to attack your city, but they will remain there for quite a long time - depending on the number - and with them there, they will halt any immigration to your city... I can't remember if trade will be halted, though.. but I think that as well.


But what's awesome about this is, it works just like a siege scenario. Imagine being in this situation while waves of enemies invade your city... with trade and immigration halted, you have to use what you have wisely, conserve as many troops as you can to fend off other invasions.

Troops and defenses depend on pop, and hence depends on immigration to replace losses in troops and defenses.. without immigration, there is no way to replace them, and so they will dwindle, and if there are losses, that impacts employment as well.. with an embargo on immigration, there is also no way to replace employment losses, meaning your city operations won't run efficiently... all of this, because of enemies laying siege on your city, right outside and not attacking you... and waves of other invasions actually attacking you!!

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-15-2020 @ 00:42 AM).]

posted 05-15-20 11:07 ET (US)     3 / 28  
I like that idea, could be a workable new game scenario type for Zeus. If you finish that adventure I'll definitely play it.

In my case I was thinking of making the player sweat by having an overwhelming force attack the city, but then stop them with a natural disaster, like a deus ex machina. Having a siege type of situation doesn't sound like what I was going for however.

What about killing enemy forces with lava or a flood?
posted 05-15-20 13:21 ET (US)     4 / 28  
What about killing enemy forces with lava or a flood?
I also tried this at one point as well. xD
And it's honestly a great idea to have, for a scenario.

If lava or flood lands on enemy troops, they will disappear, and you can get victory from that alone... and that would be a fantastic moses' style adventure to try out!! But the issue is, you have to time it right and ensure it works every time... and there are other things to worry about with this, such as:

-- what if the player decided to surrender to that invasion?
If so, he won't experience that surprise factor.

-- what if the player built dense walls in one area? This would force the invading party to find another route to attack, meaning there's a chance the disaster event won't hit them.

-- what if the player built towers in the area where the invading party appears? If so this would really ruin the timing.. the invaders would attack straight away instead of waiting for a bit, like they usually do.


------------------------


With the first point, I guess you can include one more invasion with a disaster event (say.. an invasion right next to the coast gets hit by a tidal wave, and an invasion from the mountains gets hit by lava??). With that, it could kill two birds with one stone, I think..

-- some players would always choose "fight to defend city", some would choose "surrender 1st, fight 2nd", and some would decide to "fight 1st, surrender 2nd".. and so by having two invasions from the same enemy with two disaster events landing on them, it ensures all three types of players will witness this, and it will help all of them, no matter what strategy they're using. So I think it works on paper, but you'll have to test it out.

Another thing you could do is keep the one invasion/one disaster event, and just mention in the story that the gods are protecting you or something... maybe use lava to block access to invaders coming from one particular point? It could work I guess, but I'm not too sure.


With the second point, you can improve the odds of a disaster event hitting the enemy troops by only allowing one point of access for them to the city, and blocking off any other route (e.g. mountains with no ramps or rocks blocking other routes to access the city), but you'll need to really test it thoroughly for this to work!!

With the third point, I guess you could disallow towers until that moment, making this event happen at an early or mid episode... See if that could work out with your ideas. Just some food for thought.

Good luck with your adventure.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-15-2020 @ 01:25 PM).]

posted 05-15-20 14:13 ET (US)     5 / 28  
what if the player decided to surrender to that invasion?
IIRC when the player has already become conquered by another city and then somehow angers it, the conquerer city sends troops to raze the vassal city (you), with no option to bribe or surrender. Is it possible to force that sort of razing attack without having been vassal?

As for making the disaster 'land' properly, I was thinking I would have the enemy troops traverse a tunnel that leads to the city, and maybe time a lava eruption filling the tunnels about a month after the enemy forces first arrive, so it will hit them while they're halfway through it. Does that sound reliable? Also I'm only assuming I can cause an enemy attack at a specific time as an event, I haven't gotten that far yet.
posted 05-16-20 10:55 ET (US)     6 / 28  
IIRC when the player has already become conquered by another city and then somehow angers it, the conquerer city sends troops to raze the vassal city (you), with no option to bribe or surrender.

Is it possible to force that sort of razing attack without having been vassal?
Yes, it's very much possible. All the player has to do is reduce that rival's opinion of him to "hostile"; even a low "displeased" opinion is enough to have an unscripted invasion coming from that rival.

If you want to force it, you can do it using "goods requests" from the rival.. scripting requests that the player could not fulfil (e.g. massive amounts of one resource, or a resource that there is no way of getting). By failing to comply, this will reduce the rival's opinion.

And when it gets low enough to reach "hostile", then you can be sure that an unscripted invasion is coming your way.. Just take note however, that when this launches, it always takes 2 months to reach the city.
As for making the disaster 'land' properly, I was thinking I would have the enemy troops traverse a tunnel that leads to the city, and maybe time a lava eruption filling the tunnels about a month after the enemy forces first arrive, so it will hit them while they're halfway through it. Does that sound reliable?

Also I'm only assuming I can cause an enemy attack at a specific time as an event, I haven't gotten that far yet.
You'll have to test it thoroughly to see if it works. But in my experience, enemies attacking the city would always wait a bit at the start, to organize their forces before they start to move/attack. This can take a couple of months, or more.. depending on how many troops they have.

The only case where they don't wait at all (and attack straight away) is if they're under attack at the moment they appear, either by a tower, rabble, or even watchmen.. (which is why I mentioned towers in my 3rd point).

Just try and test it thoroughly to ensure the timing works.
But so far, the tunnel idea sounds great!!
posted 05-16-20 11:22 ET (US)     7 / 28  
Yes, it's very much possible. All the player has to do is reduce that rival's opinion of him to "hostile"; even a low "displeased" opinion is enough to have an unscripted invasion coming from that rival.


This particular attack might have to be scripted to work as I'm intending however. Do you know if the enemy city can be made to be hostile at the outset, as in as soon as the city flourishes or the episode begins?
You'll have to test it thoroughly to see if it works. But in my experience, enemies attacking the city would always wait a bit at the start, to organize their forces before they start to move/attack. This can take a couple of months, or more.. depending on how many troops they have.


I could time the lava eruption to occur after the minimum time (over many playtests) it takes the enemy troops to start moving toward the city. If some of them make it all the way through the tunnel that's even better, as it's more dramatic.
posted 05-16-20 12:28 ET (US)     8 / 28  
This particular attack might have to be scripted to work as I'm intending however. Do you know if the enemy city can be made to be hostile at the outset, as in as soon as the city flourishes or the episode begins?
Ahh, I see what you're saying now. (I was wondering why you wanted to have the rival hostile in the first place, as this obviously wouldn't work for something so precise. xD)

In that case, you don't have to make the rival hostile at all... you can actually just script an invasion of any number you want to occur at any time you want, without needing to anger the rival at all.

https://i.imgur.com/lUBLxwO.png

Just take note of the rival's city number as well as the marker point where you want the invasion to appear in the city map, and once you do that, just fill in the blanks, and you're pretty much done.
I could time the lava eruption to occur after the minimum time (over many playtests) it takes the enemy troops to start moving toward the city. If some of them make it all the way through the tunnel that's even better, as it's more dramatic.
Yeah, I like that idea. Like you said, it makes it more dramatic and it also takes some effort for the player to fend off the remainder as well, as the lava helps but doesn't remove the threat completely, which is nice.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-16-2020 @ 12:35 PM).]

posted 05-17-20 09:17 ET (US)     9 / 28  
https://i.imgur.com/lUBLxwO.png
Thanks, now I'm just trying to interpret these settings (first time using them, as you know). Does the yellow 1 refer to the player city and the yellow 8 to the invading city? And the numbers are yellow because the setting is not eligible, right? As in there are no cities nos. 1 or 8 for instance.

Do the amounts refer to horsemen and hoplites (or their equivalents) respectively?

Do the markers refer to entry (left) and exit (right) points?

Also, I think this question got lost in my myriad of questions:
Is it possible to force that sort of razing attack without having been vassal?
I think it's necessary to the premise of my adventure, as the enemies aren't trying to conquer the player city, but to eradicate it.

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 05-17-2020 @ 09:35 AM).]

posted 05-17-20 13:40 ET (US)     10 / 28  
Thanks, now I'm just trying to interpret these settings (first time using them, as you know). Does the yellow 1 refer to the player city and the yellow 8 to the invading city? And the numbers are yellow because the setting is not eligible, right? As in there are no cities nos. 1 or 8 for instance.
The yellow numbers refer to the city number. So if you want one specific city to attack you, put the same numbers.. but if you want the computer to choose what city (i.e. randomize), then indicate different numbers.

And yeah, they are yellow because there are no cities in the world map yet, as this is just a rough example.
Do the markers refer to entry (left) and exit (right) points?
The markers refer to the entry point where the enemy will attack, and not their way of exit. These markers are invasion points, which you would place in the city map. Here's an example from a map I did a year ago:

https://i.imgur.com/arum2GE.png

Take note of the shield icons on 2 of those flags; these are the invasion points that the markers in the invasion event refer to. You'll also see their number (4 and 5) which you would put in the invasion event. These points are where the enemy will attack from; you can place them anywhere and choose what point will invaders attack in the invasion event.

https://i.imgur.com/lUBLxwO.png

Also, the editor gives you two boxes in the invasion event, to allow you to randomize their point of entry (which you probably wouldn't want in your case).. so let's say you put "1" and "4" on these boxes.. this will allow the computer to choose between entry points 1 and 4 (so either 1, 2, 3, or 4) for the enemy to appear.
Do the amounts refer to horsemen and hoplites (or their equivalents) respectively?
Actually, the number refers to the total amount of soldiers attacking you. But their composition (as in how many are hoplites, cavalry, rabble) is fixed, and depends on what type of civ they are.

You can find out right here:
http://zeus.heavengames.com/misc/gameinfo/EnemyInfo.shtml

So let's say a trojan city sends a force of 100 men to attack you, 50 of them will be swordsmen, 20 javelineers and 30 will be cavalry; but if a phoenician city attacks you with 100 men, 70 will be archers, 30 will be cavalry, and no infantry will be present.

EDIT: And just like the markers, the double boxes allow you to randomize the total force.. E.g. putting 50 and 100 on the boxes allows you to randomize the total number between 50-100 men.. but if you put - e.g. 50 and 50 - this allows you to fix the total number of men to 50..... Same goes for city number.. putting a number between 1 and 21 allows you to randomize what rival attacks.. but if you put say, 1 and 8, it omits the rival cities who have a number >8 .. but if you want to fix the rival city, put same numbers.


-----------------------------
Also, I think this question got lost in my myriad of questions: Is it possible to force that sort of razing attack without having been vassal?
I can think of two ways to do this, actually.

1) Adding another rival with exact same name, location and shield number as the one you want to attack, but this time, indicate that you are to pay tribute to him in the world map option (I'll go this later). Also, make it a city that's not active and not visible until that episode where he attacks you.

So in that episode, have that city appear and become active, whilst the other city with the same name that was active becomes inactive and disappears (make sure you do "city appears/disappears" and "city becomes active/inactive" events in the episode before that, and make them work after "episode completion". You'll know it once you're more familiar with the event scripting. )


I'll give you an example on this, using the same adventure I worked on a couple of years ago (sorry xD)... https://i.imgur.com/v4Zi2hS.png


If you look at the right side, you'll see "no tribute". Now, if you change that city from "ally" to "rival", you can toggle the "no tribute" option to "rec tribute", meaning when that city appears, you have to pay tribute to him.... Also, take note at the "REC 4,000 drachmas".. This is the tribute you would pay at hero level (if you want to change that, go ahead).

So using the invasion event, set an invasion from that rival city in that episode, and you'll see "[rival city] seeks to destroy you" when you playtest it. This means you have to fight this invasion off, or you lose the game. Just make sure you set an invasion before the rival demands tribute (I think that's either around 1 year from episode start, or January.. not really sure).. so maybe 6 or 8 months.


2) Script an invasion from the rival twice, before the city demands tribute.. so an impossible invasion of 250+ men (where the player has no choice but to surrender), and then the invasion where the disaster event would work (where the player is forced to fight, or lose the game) before year 1 expires. This is a much simpler thing to do, but personally though, the first option is way cooler, imo.


As you can see from these two options, they both require the player being a vassal to work (as it's impossible to send a razing attack without being a vassal), but I think they're both good workarounds to fit what you're going for, so you can pick either if you want.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-17-2020 @ 02:43 PM).]

posted 05-18-20 06:17 ET (US)     11 / 28  
Many thanks yet again, I'm learning a lot here.
http://zeus.heavengames.com/misc/gameinfo/EnemyInfo.shtml
Well, now I have a question related to this as well: how does the atlantian fire launcher upgrade improve the attack value of the frigate?
If you look at the right side, you'll see "no tribute". Now, if you change that city from "ally" to "rival", you can toggle the "no tribute" option to "rec tribute", meaning when that city appears, you have to pay tribute to him.... Also, take note at the "REC 4,000 drachmas".. This is the tribute you would pay at hero level (if you want to change that, go ahead).

So using the invasion event, set an invasion from that rival city in that episode, and you'll see "[rival city] seeks to destroy you" when you playtest it. This means you have to fight this invasion off, or you lose the game. Just make sure you set an invasion before the rival demands tribute (I think that's either around 1 year from episode start, or January.. not really sure).. so maybe 6 or 8 months.
Oh, this is so cool. But will the rival demand tribute 'again' at the end of the year if the player survives the attack? Because apart from the disaster-impeded attack I think I want the attacks (from maybe several rival cities) to be recurring until episode goals are met.

Also
https://i.imgur.com/v4Zi2hS.png
What's going on with those land trade routes?
posted 05-18-20 22:36 ET (US)     12 / 28  
Well, now I have a question related to this as well: how does the atlantian fire launcher upgrade improve the attack value of the frigate?
Ooh, that I'm not too sure.. But all I can say, is that they really pack a punch. I mean, if you compare the tower with and without orichalc, the one with orichalc can kill enemies faster. A group of orichalc towers in a chokepoint could help you win battles that normal towers wouldn't even be capable of winning.

I could say the same thing with the frigate too.
Oh, this is so cool. But will the rival demand tribute 'again' at the end of the year if the player survives the attack? Because apart from the disaster-impeded attack I think I want the attacks (from maybe several rival cities) to be recurring until episode goals are met.
Nope. When the player survives that attack, the player will be free from paying tribute to that rival city... But if the rival attacks again after that and the player either surrenders or loses, he will have to pay tribute once more.

The only way the player loses the game - in regards to invasions - is if he can't survive an attack from the rival city while being a vassal to that city.. (that, as well as being too unpopular for too long)..... So let's say, you are a vassal to Athens, and paying tribute to that city. If Athens launches another attack at you, the event msg will display "Athens seeks to destroy you". And if you can't survive that attack, you lost the game... But if you win that attack, you are no longer a vassal, hence no longer paying tribute.


But I know quite a lot of players do the "surrender one battle-fight next battle" tactic, which exploits this mechanic.. and I do this as well. It's a way to conserve fighting battles only when it's important, especially when there are other rival cities attacking at the same time.
What's going on with those land trade routes?
Oh, that.. Haha!! xD

Those are actually land trade routes that don't involve the parent city or the colonies, so they served no important purpose, and are not even visible in the world map when you play it...

So I just put them to the sides, so I could concentrate on designing the important trade routes (involving the parent city and colonies - the ones that appear in the world map).. It's kinda cool to organize it that way.
posted 05-19-20 08:11 ET (US)     13 / 28  
The only way the player loses the game - in regards to invasions - is if he can't survive an attack from the rival city while being a vassal to that city.. (that, as well as being too unpopular for too long)..... So let's say, you are a vassal to Athens, and paying tribute to that city. If Athens launches another attack at you, the event msg will display "Athens seeks to destroy you". And if you can't survive that attack, you lost the game... But if you win that attack, you are no longer a vassal, hence no longer paying tribute.


Hm, I don't suppose I can somehow secretly renew vassalage after every won battle against a razing force? I might have to just do one huge battle every episode instead of recurring ones then. Unless the hidden hostile rival city trick can be repeated several times in one episode?
posted 05-19-20 08:45 ET (US)     14 / 28  
Hm, I don't suppose I can somehow secretly renew vassalage after every won battle against a razing force? I might have to just do one huge battle every episode instead of recurring ones then. Unless the hidden hostile rival city trick can be repeated several times in one episode?
On the other hand, you could also script 2 recurring invasions from the same rival city, but on different dates and close enough to each other.. so for example:

-- invasion 1: year 0-0, month 4, recurring, 120-180 men
-- invasion 2: year 0-0, month 7, recurring, 120-180 men

This is just an example. But from these 2 scripts, what will happen is that 2 invasions will be launched every year, 4 and 7 months after episode start, and both between 120 to 180 men. By setting the months close to each other, there is a greater chance that the player will surrender one invasion to prioritize fighting the other, and make sure he wins.

So technically, you've renewed vassalage every year, forcing the player to fend off at least one invasion otherwise he's screwed. I think that could fit with what you're going for.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-19-2020 @ 08:53 AM).]

posted 05-19-20 11:59 ET (US)     15 / 28  
This is just an example. But from these 2 scripts, what will happen is that 2 invasions will be launched every year, 4 and 7 months after episode start, and both between 120 to 180 men. By setting the months close to each other, there is a greater chance that the player will surrender one invasion to prioritize fighting the other, and make sure he wins.


Oh, but the point is to not have the option to surrender (or bribe), as the attacking city is out to eradicate the player. That's what I'm trying to figure out, whether it is possible to have the enemy city (or cities) attacking the player, with the highest stakes possible, several times over the course of an episode. I've been trying not to give too much away, but essentially I'm building a military survival adventure around mounting and managing an effective city defense.

If I can't repeat the hidden rival trick for the same rival city in one episode, then I think I'll go with one rival city launching a razing attack once every episode. Unless several different hidden rivals can emerge at different times during the episode and all be in the demand tributes/launch razing attack mode?
posted 05-19-20 22:22 ET (US)     16 / 28  
Long post ahead, so I'm really sorry about this. xD
But I tried to shorten it as much as I could.
Oh, but the point is to not have the option to surrender (or bribe), as the attacking city is out to eradicate the player. That's what I'm trying to figure out, whether it is possible to have the enemy city (or cities) attacking the player, with the highest stakes possible, several times over the course of an episode.
The part you quoted does exactly that. Having 2 invasions from the same rival city, but the 2nd landing one month after the first would force the player to fight.. here's an example:

-- invasion 1: year 0-0, month 4, recurring/one time, 180 men
-- invasion 2: year 0-0, month 5, recurring/one time, 180 men

In gameplay, the player will receive 2 msg's of an invasion, and when the first one lands, he'll choose to either fight or surrender... but the final outcome doesn't make a difference.

--- If he fights, he'll be forced to surrender the 2nd one; if he doesn't survive this fight, he loses the game.
--- If he surrenders, he'll be forced to fight the 2nd one; if he doesn't survive that fight, he loses the game.

So either way, he will have to fight an invasion with the highest stakes possible or he will lose the game, and he won't be allowed to surrender completely and solve his problems that way. Though, this might be a problem if the player resorts to bribing, and hence the difficulty level he's playing.. (more on this below).

...
(or bribe)
The bribery thing, is (regretfully) impossible to not have as an option.. it's kind of a game mechanic you can't really disallow, which is too bad, really. But all I can tell you regarding bribery is that it depends on 1) how many troops in total there are, 2) the difficulty level, and 3) if there are warships (for naval attacks)


But you can reduce the likelihood of bribery by ensuring the player can't profit too much in that episode... so I can think of a few things off the top of my head.. for example:

-- no selling highly valued stuff like sculpture or armor.. instead, opt for giving opportunities on selling low value resources like food or fleece etc; wood is a nice resource that doesn't allow too much profits/losses.

-- goods requests of money from allied cities.. if the player doesn't fulfil, allied cities will lower opinions and he can't request money; if he fulfils, he can request money, but he'll lose money fulfilling their requests.

-- no tax offices.. a lot of money could be made by taxing elite houses; without tax, you could only depend on trade to make money.. and having something like wood to sell (75 dr), only humble profits could be made.

-- trade change events can further limit the player from making too much money.. so e.g. sculpture's value lowers from 640 to 70, or marble from 84 to 50... you could also do this from the beginning using the world map.

-- raise the number of men in the invading party, but you'll have to balance between difficult and impossible, but you'll come to know it by playtesting the episode many times.


There is also an article on briberies, if you want to roughly estimate the bribe value of an army, you can take a look at it at the bottom, if you want. http://zeus.heavengames.com/misc/gameinfo/EnemyInfo.shtml

...
If I can't repeat the hidden rival trick for the same rival city in one episode, then I think I'll go with one rival city launching a razing attack once every episode. Unless several different hidden rivals can emerge at different times during the episode and all be in the demand tributes/launch razing attack mode?
You can actually create as many hidden rivals as you want. But keep in mind, that you can only have upto 22 cities in total in the world map, so if you plan to have a lot of cities, you'll have to think over it for a while.

Here is what it looks like in the game:

-- In the editor, I placed 5 cities randomly in the world map, all named Amphipolis. I then merged all of them together carefully (except 4, as I mucked that up, lol), to make it look like there's only one city, all demanding tribute, except for the one city hiding them (city number 1).

-- What I also did is script "city appears" and "city becomes active" on the hidden cities in the episode before that, so that the player doesn't know about the change, and the razing attack will take him by surprise.

-- Playing the game, if you look at the world map, you'll see the rival city, but it's not demanding tribute from you... but, you get the message "Amphipolis seeks to destroy you", and as the player, you wouldn't know that there are 4 rivals named "Amphipolis" located in the same exact place, and all except one demanding tribute.


But, with 4 hidden rivals demanding tribute, you'll see 4 "rival demands tribute" every year, from what looks like the same city, which is weird... You can script "city appears" for that rival in the year they attack (instead of what I did), to prevent that.. but this gives away the surprise, and makes things flow unnaturally.. (imagine you're the player, seeing the same city appearing again and again.., you'll start to wonder what's going on).

So in summary, the "2x invasion method" is less gimmicky and gets the job done, but if you go for the "hidden rivals" method, I think it's best to use just one hidden rival per episode; you'll also need to plan ahead a little, so just remember the lowest city number will always hide the higher numbers.

Tell me if any of those things suit your ideas.
I could also think of another way, but I'm not sure if that one works. I'll have to test it out first.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-19-2020 @ 10:25 PM).]

posted 05-20-20 06:59 ET (US)     17 / 28  
So either way, he will have to fight an invasion with the highest stakes possible or he will lose the game, and he won't be allowed to surrender completely and solve his problems that way.
Oh, I see now what you meant.
But you can reduce the likelihood of bribery by ensuring the player can't profit too much in that episode... so I can think of a few things off the top of my head.. for example:

-- no selling highly valued stuff like sculpture or armor.. instead, opt for giving opportunities on selling low value resources like food or fleece etc; wood is a nice resource that doesn't allow too much profits/losses.

-- goods requests of money from allied cities.. if the player doesn't fulfil, allied cities will lower opinions and he can't request money; if he fulfils, he can request money, but he'll lose money fulfilling their requests.

-- no tax offices.. a lot of money could be made by taxing elite houses; without tax, you could only depend on trade to make money.. and having something like wood to sell (75 dr), only humble profits could be made.

-- trade change events can further limit the player from making too much money.. so e.g. sculpture's value lowers from 640 to 70, or marble from 84 to 50... you could also do this from the beginning using the world map.

-- raise the number of men in the invading party, but you'll have to balance between difficult and impossible, but you'll come to know it by playtesting the episode many times.
Yes, part of this adventure will be having no allies initially, with taxes and silver mining being the only income, basically breaking even with the expenses of running the city. Eventually there will be allies who will trade, but I thought I'd make that coincide with the attacks from rival cities starting, so whatever the player is dependent on buying from allies/colony, the exported goods will barely make up for, making bribing enemies an unsustainable solution. Also, this adventure will have no elite housing and only atlantian archers, towers and depending on colony choice, triremes.
You can actually create as many hidden rivals as you want. But keep in mind, that you can only have upto 22 cities in total in the world map, so if you plan to have a lot of cities, you'll have to think over it for a while.

[...] But, with 4 hidden rivals demanding tribute, you'll see 4 "rival demands tribute" every year, from what looks like the same city, which is weird... You can script "city appears" for that rival in the year they attack (instead of what I did), to prevent that.. but this gives away the surprise, and makes things flow unnaturally.. (imagine you're the player, seeing the same city appearing again and again.., you'll start to wonder what's going on).
Hm, yeah, that's a good point.
So in summary, the "2x invasion method" is less gimmicky and gets the job done, but if you go for the "hidden rivals" method, I think it's best to use just one hidden rival per episode; you'll also need to plan ahead a little, so just remember the lowest city number will always hide the higher numbers.

Tell me if any of those things suit your ideas.
I could also think of another way, but I'm not sure if that one works. I'll have to test it out first.



Here's a more complete picture of what I've got in mind (massive spoilers warning, lol): The setting is post-Two Worlds Colliding, you're atlantian, all of the atlantian cities have been devastated, the atlantian peoples are persecuted throughout Greece, all their noble families annihilated (therefore no elite housing). The player will be facing off with the Greek cities active at the end of Two Worlds Colliding, so Mycenae, Athens, Sparta and Knossos. The player settles the last atlantian city in Greece with Atlas' guidance, it's a hidden city on an island, so there's no trade, and all the rivals will at first appear as isolated cities on the world map. The city will first work to become self-sustaining, some episodes in the player will choose between a bronze/armor colony and an oil colony (triremes or fully evolved housing), he will elicit the help of a few sympathetic greek gods along the way. Colony choice could also affect which allies appear on world map during colony episode and for the rest of the adventure. After the colony episode the parent city becomes revealed to the greeks, at which point the invasions from cities, gods and monsters begin.

I have two land invasion points at opposite ends of the map, and in the south a river connecting the city to the sea which can be traversed by ships, so sea invasions can also enter. However, the city is surrounded by cliffs, and the only way in and out is via a western entrance through a short corridor with plenty of space for towers above, an eastern entrance through a long, twisting tunnel with some space above for towers and for archers to mobilize, and an entrance from the sea into the river which can hold some towers or archers (also, with triremes the barely traversable river is much more easily defended than without--the Citadel of Poseidon will also become available at a later episode, giving the player the Kraken, which is useful but not nearly as reliable as 6 triremes with atlantian fire launchers).

Here are some ways I've thought about doing this (which may or may not be mutually exclusive):

- One rival per episode will launch recurring razing attacks against the city until the episode goals are met (this would be the best kind of solution I think, a true survival scenario)

- A set number of attacks throughout the episode, maybe escalating in size, ending with a god/monster attack (no Heroes, player must use archers to kill monsters)

- In every episode, the currently attacking rival will attempt to attack every entrance once (set number of attacks) or, if the first solution on the list is possible, the three invasion points can be randomized

- Every episode ending with one of your own proponent gods retaliating at the attacking rival city, taking them out and making them isolate. In the last episode, they could all come back and launch a huge overwhelming attack spearheaded by Zeus, who might have to be distracted with the Hera quest, again, lol. This is where I imagined having proponent gods step in and help out by causing natural disasters, as it's the epic climax of the adventure

- If multiple attacking rivals per episode is more feasible, then the different rivals could perhaps attack from different invasion points (Knossos always by sea for example), giving the player a heads up regarding which entrance to mobilize at

So having the player surrender at any point would be contradictory to the story. Bribing seems less unlikely, but still doesn't completely jive with the motivation of the attacking forces. That's why I'm partial to the hidden rivals solution, but I'll have to think on it some more to see if I can make it work.

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 05-20-2020 @ 07:05 AM).]

posted 05-20-20 14:28 ET (US)     18 / 28  
So having the player surrender at any point would be contradictory to the story. Bribing seems less unlikely, but still doesn't completely jive with the motivation of the attacking forces. That's why I'm partial to the hidden rivals solution, but I'll have to think on it some more to see if I can make it work.
I think I've found the perfect solution to your problem. And it's something I completely overlooked, so bear with me... And this goes perfectly with the hidden rivals solution.

So let's say you're placing multiple rivals with the same name, all with "rec tribute", and hiding them behind the main rival, and your plan is to use them to launch "razing invasions" against the player, whilst giving the illusion that they were not paying tribute (which makes perfect sense in the story's context).

Now, the problem with this was that multiple cities under the same name would demand tribute every year, defeating the story.. but there's actually a way to REMOVE that tribute demand, whilst at the same time, allow razing invasions whenever you want, and I've tested this out to see if this really works.


The trick is to set "rec" drachma tribute to 0, to every hidden rival city... by setting it to zero, you will no longer receive any "tribute demand" message in the game, and you can still script razing invasions whenever you want, using multiple hidden rivals that you placed in the world map.

https://i.imgur.com/htq7F3x.png
(highlighted in red)

And this really works, because the tributes won't show, as all of these rivals are hiding behind a rival that doesn't demand tribute, and what you wanted was to launch razing invasions without having the tribute thing and giving no option to surrender every time. And I think this small solution is the perfect answer to that.


But keep in mind the total limit of cities you can create in the world map is 22, and this includes the parent city and colonies, and that - based on what you're aiming to do - you can freely launch razing invasions from each tributing master only once in the entire adventure.. But tell me if this solution really works for you.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-20-2020 @ 04:54 PM).]

posted 05-21-20 06:33 ET (US)     19 / 28  
That's brilliant! So with 4 rivals, that's max 5 cities per rival, more than enough to do the attack-every-entrance-once solution and still have enough for the big comeback in the end. If I space out the attacks over enough time for the player to fulfill the goals and make slaying the end monster a goal, I can avoid having any dead time because the player survived the attacks and is still working on the episode goals.

What do you think about having a proponent god smash the attacking rival into isolation at the end of an episode? Does inactivating a city make them disappear from the world map? Can I inactivate the 4 hidden rivals and make the last visible rival isolate? I'm guessing that an isolated city icon won't hide an active city icon on the world map.
have that city appear and become active, whilst the other city with the same name that was active becomes inactive and disappears (make sure you do "city appears/disappears" and "city becomes active/inactive" events in the episode before that, and make them work after "episode completion".


Also, regarding the 22 cities limit: do 'enchanted places' count as cities?

And also, I ran into the snag with placing cities on the world map running a widescreen fix. What do you guys do when you need to edit the map?

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 05-21-2020 @ 09:33 AM).]

posted 05-21-20 23:58 ET (US)     20 / 28  
What do you think about having a proponent god smash the attacking rival into isolation at the end of an episode? Does inactivating a city make them disappear from the world map? Can I inactivate the 4 hidden rivals and make the last visible rival isolate? I'm guessing that an isolated city icon won't hide an active city icon on the world map.
Actually, the "city disappears" option from the "city status change" event does exactly that. It makes the city disappear from the world map, even if it's active.

So let's say you want to make 4 hidden rivals disappear.. this is actually very simple. Just script "city status change -- city disappears" events on the 4 cities and you're done.

EDIT: and if you want to make the last visible rival isolate, just do "city status change -- city becomes inactive". This will turn the city into the isolated city icon.
Also, regarding the 22 cities limit: do 'enchanted places' count as cities?

And also, I ran into the snag with placing cities on the world map running a widescreen fix. What do you guys do when you need to edit the map?
I'm afraid so. Enchanted places, ruins, cities, parent cities and colonies count to the 22 cities limit. But the good thing is regions don't count (which is why I had a lot of labeled regions in my world map. )


And regarding the widescreen fix, I can't help you on that I'm afraid, as I never really needed it. But you can take a look at this thread if you want.. user3's reply could answer your problem.

Like he said, I think it's better to use the original one (or pecunia's fix) for playtesting and adventure designing - even if you have the widescreen fix - so as to avoid anything odd happening for standard players.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-22-2020 @ 01:48 AM).]

posted 05-22-20 06:02 ET (US)     21 / 28  
Actually, the "city disappears" option from the "city status change" event does exactly that. It makes the city disappear from the world map, even if it's active.


Oh, so it's not max 22 cities in the editor, but 22 active cities in the game? That significantly raises the cap on the number of attacks I can have.
I'm afraid so. Enchanted places, ruins, cities, parent cities and colonies count to the 22 cities limit.


I can't seem to find the ruin city type in the editor, does a city have to start out as active in order to become one?
And regarding the widescreen fix, I can't help you on that I'm afraid, as I never really needed it. But you can take a look at this thread if you want.. user3's reply could answer your problem.

Like he said, I think it's better to use the original one (or pecunia's fix) for playtesting and adventure designing - even if you have the widescreen fix - so as to avoid anything odd happening for standard players.


Luckily it turns out I made a backup of vanilla Zeus.exe and the DATA folder, so I'll just switch between these and the fixes when editing/playing. Imagine being stuck making Master of Anatolia-adventures instead.

I've been reading some old threads, and now I really want to do this requests and giving gifts to yourself thing as well. I was thinking a simple solution to not having the greek rivals attack my colony is to make it a distant city after the colony mission. It won't be able to make tributes, but a hidden city with the same name as my colony might. I also have some fun ideas for 'discovering' items in the parent city. Since the thread is archived I thought I'd ask here: is it as straightforward as Haspen says? I can just make a hidden active city and name it and the leader appropriately? Also, can I make two such cities, or would that start to muck things up for me?

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 05-22-2020 @ 10:16 AM).]

posted 05-22-20 16:04 ET (US)     22 / 28  
I can't seem to find the ruin city type in the editor, does a city have to start out as active in order to become one?
Crap, my apologies. The city has to be scripted to be destroyed in order to become a ruin - through a military request, where if the player fails to fulfil by sending troops to defend (rival attacks ally) or a hero (city terrorized by monster), the city becomes destroyed in effect.
I also have some fun ideas for 'discovering' items in the parent city. Since the thread is archived I thought I'd ask here: is it as straightforward as Haspen says? I can just make a hidden active city and name it and the leader appropriately? Also, can I make two such cities, or would that start to muck things up for me?
Man, that thread. xD I was super ambitious at the time with that adventure, and though I never finished it, I loved it a lot.

But I think I get the idea of what you're saying. I tried Haspen's idea back then, but it sadly never worked... I tried experimenting with it again now - just to make sure - and the only thing that worked was the "city conquered" event, where the (hidden but active) rival conquered my allies before it was scripted to appear.
(Come to think of it, that would be fun to implement... like, make a rival do sneak attacks on your allies, and you have to fulfil a quest to make the enemy "appear" and give you the chance to conquer it).


In the case of "discovering items" in the parent city, you can do that using "gifts -- city 0" events, but just indicate a hint in the story that "items are being discovered" (e.g. maybe you sent an expedition to explore the land around you... or in your absence, your co-leader found stocks of things lying around), just so it makes sense when you play the game.

But other than discovering items, you can do a lot of creative things using "city 0" (i.e. the parent city).. like, maybe your city is experiencing COVID-19 in one area and your adviser requests food or drachmas from you to give as relief goods to people under community quarantine ... or getting huge amounts of copper after slaying Talos... or military requests from your advisor to hold off a key area occupied by rebels or an enemy etc, and if you don't comply, this triggers a trade embargo.. a LOT of creative stuff.
I've been reading some old threads, and now I really want to do this requests and giving gifts to yourself thing as well. I was thinking a simple solution to not having the greek rivals attack my colony is to make it a distant city after the colony mission. It won't be able to make tributes, but a hidden city with the same name as my colony might.
I think with the colonies, you're kinda over-complicating it a little... When you go back to Parent City, the only case where rivals attack that colony is if they're scripted to do so, and this is by way of:

-- military requests: colony asks for troops to help them defend an attack from a rival city, and if the player fails, the colony either gets 1) unaffected, 2) conquered, 3) destroyed.

-- city status change - city conquered: colony gets conquered by a rival immediately

Without adding any of these two events, there's no way a rival will launch unscripted invasions on your colonies when you get to the Parent City.... if you're thinking along the lines of that.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-22-2020 @ 04:08 PM).]

posted 05-23-20 07:30 ET (US)     23 / 28  
The city has to be scripted to be destroyed in order to become a ruin - through a military request, where if the player fails to fulfil by sending troops to defend (rival attacks ally) or a hero (city terrorized by monster), the city becomes destroyed in effect.
Can this be done invisibly somehow? Like before or in between episodes? I thought it would be cool to have a Lixus ruin on the map, just to help create the apocalyptic atmosphere, as long as I don't end up needing the city slot for something else.
In the case of "discovering items" in the parent city, you can do that using "gifts -- city 0" events, but just indicate a hint in the story that "items are being discovered" (e.g. maybe you sent an expedition to explore the land around you... or in your absence, your co-leader found stocks of things lying around), just so it makes sense when you play the game.


Oh, so I can just gift wares to the parent city from the parent city? Will the message read "Greetings me, have an orange, please accept this with your compliments"? Lol. And on that topic, it's not possible to script messages like events somehow, is it? Because that would be so useful.
I think with the colonies, you're kinda over-complicating it a little... When you go back to Parent City, the only case where rivals attack that colony is if they're scripted to do so [...] there's no way a rival will launch unscripted invasions on your colonies when you get to the Parent City.... if you're thinking along the lines of that.


Thanks for clarifying this.

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 05-23-2020 @ 07:47 AM).]

posted 05-23-20 11:07 ET (US)     24 / 28  
Oh, so I can just gift wares to the parent city from the parent city? Will the message read "Greetings me, have an orange, please accept this with your compliments"? Lol. And on that topic, it's not possible to script messages like events somehow, is it? Because that would be so useful.
Haha!! Actually, that's not the case (and it'll be weird if it was). But when you script a gift event from parent city, the leader name used is not your leader name, but the governor name you placed in the parent city that's put in charge when you build a colony.

https://i.imgur.com/mzkKupj.png
(highlighted in red)

So let's say, the leader name you use to play adventures is "Larry".. but the leader you put in the parent city is "Acrisus" (like the above example).. the "gift from parent city" event will use Acrisus as the leader name, and not your name (Larry). Example:

https://i.imgur.com/GC68ePQ.png

So here, my name is "Queen Elissa", which I use to play my adventures.. and my parent city name is Lamia.. but the message says "I, Acrisus of Lamia offer you a gift", hence not using my name but the governor that would look after the city when I found a new colony... And this could be put into so many different story contexts if you think about it.


Here's a few examples of how it could be implemented:

1) In my (unfinished) adventure, I scripted a gift of 1 amphorae of wine to myself, representing the object used to store the ashes of a loved one, so that the leader in the story empties the ashes to a small pyramid of hera built in that chapter to serve as a burial ground for her loved one.

2) From the same adventure, I scripted a gift of 64 marble in another episode, where a secret treasure was found, hidden by the leader's deceased husband in the honeymoon residence where he and the leader spent after their wedding around 5 years ago...

The player here, now has to choose what to do with the 64 marble: 1) Build a sanctuary, 2) Sell it, or.. 3) comply a rival king's request to marry him and use the marble for a wedding hall. (If the player does 3, it will make things a lot easier in the next episode; if not, that king will make things harder in the next episode)


3) I remember another one where the natives would ask military (defense) requests to cripple and ambush invaders, and if the player complied, he would receive a parent-city-gift of armor as "spoils" taken from the defeated invaders.

Aside from these, I could think of a million other ways where parent city events could really make sense in the story.



Regarding script messages, you can change them using the game's text files in the \Model directory, but you have to know what to change and what not to change.. and even if you do, only you will notice these changes; if you send your adventure to someone else, they won't notice those changes. It's just not worth it, imo.
Can this be done invisibly somehow? Like before or in between episodes? I thought it would be cool to have a Lixus ruin on the map, just to help create the apocalyptic atmosphere, as long as I don't end up needing the city slot for something else.
Hmm, I don't think you can do it invisibly.. but if you're interested in doing something like that (which is great for immersiveness!), you can do military requests from allies (under threat of invasion by rivals) that the player could never hope to fulfil early on, and when this fails, those allies become destroyed.

A great example of this is seen in "Proteus and Bellerophon", where allies under threat from the Chimera seek your help, but you can't help them, so they end up destroyed, and change their city icon to ruins.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 05-23-2020 @ 11:17 AM).]

posted 05-23-20 13:47 ET (US)     25 / 28  
when you script a gift event from parent city, the leader name used is not your leader name, but the governor name you placed in the parent city that's put in charge when you build a colony.


Oh yeah, that was mentioned in the archived thread. That's still useful even if it doesn't let me do precisely what I had in mind.
Regarding script messages, you can change them using the game's text files in the \Model directory, but you have to know what to change and what not to change.. and even if you do, only you will notice these changes; if you send your adventure to someone else, they won't notice those changes. It's just not worth it, imo.


That's too bad, I think the narrative would be so much more vibrant with well timed text boxes as opposed to only using pre- and post-episode adventure texts.

Well, I'm out of questions to ask, for now.
posted 05-31-20 13:15 ET (US)     26 / 28  
All the player has to do is reduce that rival's opinion of him to "hostile"; even a low "displeased" opinion is enough to have an unscripted invasion coming from that rival.


I have another question. I set the hidden rival alterns' favor to 50 (apathetic I'm guessing), but I'd like the visible rivals to have as low an opinion of the player as possible without them sending unscripted attacks. Is the favor cutoff between not sending unscripted invasions / sending unscripted invasions 'low displeased'? Do they other unscripted things at any favor level?

Also
The city has to be scripted to be destroyed in order to become a ruin - through a military request, where if the player fails to fulfil by sending troops to defend (rival attacks ally) or a hero (city terrorized by monster), the city becomes destroyed in effect.
Is it possible to script a rival into becoming a ruin? Like a +0 months monster attack that the rival doesn't ask the player to help out with (no request message), being a rival, and just ends up being destroyed. Or something to that effect.

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 06-01-2020 @ 01:01 PM).]

posted 06-05-20 03:03 ET (US)     27 / 28  
Apologies, btw.
I only just saw this now.
I have another question. I set the hidden rival alterns' favor to 50 (apathetic I'm guessing), but I'd like the visible rivals to have as low an opinion of the player as possible without them sending unscripted attacks.

Is the favor cutoff between not sending unscripted invasions / sending unscripted invasions 'low displeased'? Do they other unscripted things at any favor level?
Yup! I'll just give you the breakdown of the stuff in the displeased opinion part.

-- At levels 21-39, rivals will display the displeased opinion
-- But from levels 21-30, rivals will always turn hostile 6 months into the game
-- And from levels 31-39, rivals will not turn hostile, but still displeased. (I think you want this one).

If the rival turns hostile (levels 30 and below), they will always launch an unscripted attack against you.. and in the start of the game, rival opinions between 21-30 will always turn hostile 6 months later... Now, let's go to the furious opinion -- which is even lower than displeased:

-- At levels 0-20, rivals become furious (and will always turn hostile)
-- from levels 0-10, they will turn hostile 2 months later (so, from January, they'll turn hostile at March)
-- from levels 11-20, they will turn hostile 3 months later (so from January, they will do this on April)

Hope this helps!!
Is it possible to script a rival into becoming a ruin? Like a +0 months monster attack that the rival doesn't ask the player to help out with (no request message), being a rival, and just ends up being destroyed. Or something to that effect.
I think it's possible, as I remember doing this before.. I think you just script the warning as 1 month?? Sorry, my head's a bit foggy on this one, so Haspen or user3 could correct me if I'm wrong.

But I do know it's possible.. just playtest every change you've made on the hero request event... if you did it right, you won't see "monster attacks city" event, but you'll see "city thinks less of you" and "city is destroyed" messages when you play the game. Just make changes and see what happens, until you get it right.

[This message has been edited by Mazeppa (edited 06-05-2020 @ 03:04 AM).]

posted 06-05-20 05:22 ET (US)     28 / 28  
Perfect, thanks!

Edit: I set the favor to 31 for all four visible rivals, but they appear as apathetic when they first become active on the world map. Same if I set favor to 1. Is it more like shields in that it slowly approaches the target value over the course of the game?

[This message has been edited by Yiannakis (edited 06-05-2020 @ 06:01 AM).]

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