I finally have the time to write a real blog today.
It is on a subject that is entirely worthless.
No insight into my life, aside from me being an addict.
No genius idea.
No story idea, no game idea, nothing of the sort.
But a real entry, all the same!
Because it is, essentially, a to-do list in order to make my dream mod actually come to life.
I've thought about it a lot, and I want to make it real because I know I have all the skills to make it real, I just need to order things in a way which would allow me to have a chance to make it real.
In this case, I would be referring to Civ 3 Conquests, and my ongoing efforts to create the game I want to play repeatedly. A game I don't get bored of mid-playthrough and abandon; a game I don't want to tweak because I got everything right; a game where I got everything done, and done right.
And I know I can do it, too.
This wouldn't be one of my three created scenarios.
I had an idea for a battleship scenario, which I think would be fun as a multiplayer game but as a single player game I kinda sorta suspect that game ai for king units would make it not play the way I want to. (Basically, making battleships the King unit--fully possible, mind you--and have them be the best units in the game, but when sunk, game over. Doable, yes, but AIs park king units in cities, which is what I suspect they'd do. That or leave their battleship in the same spot I put it in. Either way, parked in cities or parked in the same spot, scenario wouldn't work.)
I had an idea for a pseudo-king scenario, where everyone starts the game in anarchy with no governments available, but it's possible to create workers/settlements anyway and units are created by one of four civilizations' "super" units, which when dieing isn't a game over instantly but pretty much condemns them because said super unit is what spawns military units--a little tricky to work with the game mechanics there, but by tweaking some variables, it's actually viable. (Basically amp up food production to get citizens, amp up the science output from scientists, so even in anarchy you can research; allow captured units to create settlements/do worker jobs, etc.)
I had an idea for a game which would have two player civilizations and some unspecified number of NPCs as cannon fodder, "enlightened" and "zealots", where enlightened has like four civ traits (scientific, commercial, industrial, agricultural) and zealots have the rest (expansionist, religious, seafaring, militaristic); enlightened start in a government using paid labor, produce cheaper/more efficient workers, and have better overall military units (especially on the defensive), but have said military units be far more expensive to create (the idea being to go for culture-hugging); zealots start in a government using forced labor, produce cheaper military units, which are better than generic units but inferior to enlightened ones...except in offense, where they are equal or superior to enlightened ones. (The idea being to go for power.) Enlightened would start with more techs and have their own tech tree; so would zealots, with zealots having access to ritual sacrifice--allowing zealots to go for a "peaceful" playthrough, just like enlightened can go for a "militaristic" playthrough.
But cool as the idea may be, it's not something I have interest in following through the minutia of.
What I really want to do is make the "Across the Ages - Mediterranean" scenario become a real thing. Taking the terrain from all the conquests pretty much (some from Age of Discovery, some from Napoleonic Era, some from Middle Ages, some from Fall of Rome, most from Rise of Rome, some from Mesopotamia), and taking the tech from all scenarios (including Japan/Mesoamerica), and integrating it into the content from vanilla conquests.
I know what I want to do, too. For the most part, the map would be molded as an expanded version of the Rise of Rome map. (Sadly, to my knowledge, there's no way to expand an existing map in size. I'll have to recreate it every detail of the way--which I think I can do.) Said map would feature larger sizes of the areas which are larger in other scenarios--for instance, the Mesopotamia map is almost the same size as the Rise of Rome map, but only covers half of the Mediterranean; my map would include everything it does. Rise of Rome also cuts out parts of Ireland and England (not to mention, the areas where the Viking civilizations are, e.g. Denmark), which would be featured as well.
Every Rise of Rome city would be as exactly placed as possible, although for thematic reasons a few would have different ownerships. (Carthage would have Tyre; the Greeks, representing both themselves and the Byzantines, would have Ancyra and maybe Iconium also. I'd of course need to compensate Persia severely for these shifts in balance since Persia is meant to be a dominant starting power, but that can be done by giving them more settlers and more starting military.)
But I would have additional cities beyond the Rise of Rome ones--including as many Fall of Rome ones as possible; as many Middle Ages ones as possible; as many Napoleonic Era ones as possible; as many Age of Discovery ones as possible, without them having conflicting ownership.
Since I'm working with the Rise of Rome eight civilizations, there is extreme artistic liberty taken. The Goths represent the most varied groups, representing themselves from that scenario, an introduced concept of Teutons as their exclusive line, all Viking civilizations (still exclusive to them), all Russian tech (still exclusive to them), and then a whole bunch of others from later--
Ostrogoths, Visigoths, Anglo-Saxons, and a little bit from the Franks...
...Leading to them also being a stand-in for England, France, Germany, Poland, Prussia, Austria, and so on and so forth.
The Celts represent all Gaelic cultures, some introduced concept of the Iberians, and serve as being the rest of England (save London, which is Roman) with presence in areas of France as well.
The Mongols represent the combined attributes of the Scythians, the Huns, Mongols, the Magyars, and literally a stand-in for every Asian culture having exclusive lines of units around that.
Rome serves as itself, Burgundy, and the Kingdom of Naples.
Greece serves as itself and the Byzantine Empire.
Persia serves as itself, the Sassanid Persians, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans/Turks.
Carthage serves as the Phoenicians, themselves, and also both the other Arab civs from the Middle Ages, the two Caliphates. (Fatimid and something else, don't remember off the top of my head, starts with a C tho, I think.)
The game's divided into four eras, loosely from the vanilla game, with the ancient times loosely being "Age of Rome", the middle ages loosely being "Age of Byzantines", the industrial ages being "Age of Ottomans", and the modern times being "Age of Equality", the idea being that there are no unique units for the modern age whereas there are unique units in all other ages.
Which brings me to my first breakthrough.
I was facing a daunting task.
All of Mesopotamia's tech (which was a full four ages) would fit in the first age; all of Rise of Rome's tech (which admittedly fit in one age) would fit in the first age; most of Fall of Rome's tech would fit in the first age; half of the Mesoamerican tech/Japanese tech would fit in the first age; literally all other scenario tech (save WWII) would fit in the second age, pretty much--
The rest of Fall of Rome; the rest of Mesoamerica/Japan; all of The Middle Ages (which admittedly only uses two, three of its four ages, butstill); all of Age of Discovery (which made use of three of its four ages); all of Napoleonic Era (which admittedly only used a single age). All of those have tech levels that go from "pre-gunpowder middle ages" to "pre-WWI, post-gunpowder" tech, which is what the middle ages of the vanilla conquests game covers.
...The breakthrough came when I realized I was approaching it backwards.
I was starting from the ancient times and working my way forward.
When what I should've been doing is starting at the end and working my way back.
Because when I thought about it.
I realized that in the vanilla civ 3 conquests game.
There really isn't that much to the modern age.
Most of the technologies there are for space parts--which is irrelevant if space race isn't a possible victory type (and I didn't envision it as one).
Remove the space parts, and how much free room in that era is there? A lot.
And most of the industrial age tech can then be moved forward an age, as being tech that is "equal". The industrial age tech tree is fairly dense, but it could be a fraction of that size--leaving more room for the post-gunpowder, pre-WWI era techs to be featured and expanded on.
And with those in the third age, that leaves more room for the second age to have late ancient era stuff.
Leaving the crowded ancient era...far less crowded.
So that puts my total to-do list as looking like this:
-If it is possible, figure out how to get my scenario to track scores--for my scenario to be registered in the game with a record. Half the fun in playing scenarios is in trying to beat my old score, but as-is, they aren't recorded at all. I will definitely need to bite the bullet and ask around on this one, because I don't have a clue how to do it.
-On the note of things to ask around for, there's two specific wonder interactions that I'm wondering (ha) if there's a fix for.
Specifically, say you have an improvement that requires coastal installation--the easiest go-to example being a harbor. It requires being on a sea.
Say you have a wonder which gives that improvement to all cities.
...It will literally give the improvement to all cities.
Not just the cities on a sea.
I tried to find a fix for that, but can't figure it out and if there is one, I want to know what it is.
The other half of that is similar.
Say you have an improvement that requires a specific good inside its city radius. Gold mines from Age of Discovery, as an example.
Again, say you have a wonder which gives that improvement to all cities. The intention being, any city that has the goods inside its city radius will automatically have the improvement.
...Those cities will in fact have the improvement...
...But so will literally every other city, ones which most certainly fail to meet the 'has good in city' requirement.
The most baffling thing about this is.
I know that it should function the way I'm envisioning it to. The Hoover Dam wonder gives any city built on a river a hydro plant for free, but it only gives the hydro plant to cities with a river...the way it should be, because a river is required to build a hydro plant in the first place.
That is an interaction which works.
A wonder requiring a river, putting an improvement requiring a river, in every city with a river, but no others. Works.
A wonder requiring it be built on a coast, putting an improvement requiring being built on a coast, in every city with a coast...
...Doesn't work; it puts it in every city regardless of a coast or not.
I believe I even tried the other (though I'm less certain I tested this properly).
A wonder requiring gold, putting an improvement requiring gold, in every city with gold, but no others.
Pretty sure doesn't work, putting it in every city regardless of gold or not.
I feel like this should be fixable, but I can't figure it out and definitely need to ask about it on how to find a fix.
-Another long-standing bug I can't figure out the fix for: resource display in cities.
If I am lucky (I think I got it right once?), I can make it so that the correct luxury icon is showing for known existing luxuries. Wines will show as wines. Silks will show as silks. Incense will show as incense. If I am lucky, at least.
...But what doesn't show? Even when I'm lucky? In cities. I can't get any added luxuries to appear.
What I mean by that is.
Say, it's the simplest of simple additions.
Rise of Rome naturally has only seven possible luxuries because Ivory is a strategic resource instead of luxury in that scenario--an easy addition to the scenario would then be the Middle Ages's Wool (the sheep icon).
I can get the Wool to display correctly on the map.
If I am lucky, having that eighth luxury won't mess with the others, making wines still be wines, silks still be silks, incense still be incense, etc. (Again, I emphasize, there's luck in even that.) But there's...no image, at all. For the wool. The luxury is there, it just is iconless. The icon doesn't work for the city display screen, in spite of it working on the map. (And I believe also working in the trade adviser screen, though admittedly I don't remember there.)
For the life of me.
I can't figure out how to fix it.
I tried looking it up, too--can't find a fix on it.
I'll probably need to get images screencapping this in order for the problem to be conveyed properly, but it's something that should be fixable; I just don't know how.
Those are the big three I know I'll need help for.
There's others which I might need help for, but which I haven't looked up yet and may be able to do once I do the appropriate research.
-I need to figure out how to add the music from scenarios into my scenario (which by default, as it is molded off of a vanilla civ game, I believe is set to use the standard default vanilla civ 3 game music). I want all of the songs to be in the loop for the appropriate age. All music that can possibly play in the first age (by the definitions I gave above), be in the loop to play for that age; all music that can possibly play in the second age (by the definitions I gave above), be in the loop to play for that age. Since the third and fourth ages are beyond the tech of the scenarios, they can be left as-is, pretty much, but the first two ages have a ton of music I want in that isn't there now.
-I need to figure out how to set up civilization contacts as pre-set. By that, I mean. Figure out how civilizations have existing connections to one another. In Rise of Rome, all the five "civilized" civilizations have pre-set contact with one another, and don't have any contact with the "barbarian" civilizations.
In Napoleonic Era, all civs start with contact with all civs.
In Age of Discovery, all European civs start with contact with all European civs.
Yet I also know it's not just as simple as manipulating map-reveals/setting civs to start with embassies.
Because in scenarios like Fall of Rome.
Even if you manipulate things to have that sort of thing.
You don't start in contact with them.
There has to be a variable there.
I need to investigate it further, and see if I can get it working, and if I can't get it working the way it needs to, it's another thing to bite the bullet on and ask for help on.
Then there are things I absolutely know, I can do--without looking them up, even. I just need to mess around a bit to get them to work, spend time actually working on them to get them to work. Things which I don't have mastery of right now, that I need to master, but which are things that presumably the editor can do with no trouble as they are literally things with big buttons telling me that I can do them, pretty much.
-I need to figure out how to get map reveals done right. Are they civ-dependent, or universal? I kinda think universal from my limited experience, but it is something I need to investigate more. All the revealed terrain in Rise of Rome needs to remain revealed in my scenario, in spite of my scenario being built from scrap.
-I need to figure out how to build cities in the editor, plus set their culture values. I already know how to set buildings in them, and how to set city ownership, and how to place units inside of them (obviously), but I still need to figure these little things out.
-I need to figure out how to set civilization spawn points, so that I can set them to be the capital city of each civilization. Also to double-check things work in the intended way.
That's just what I need to figure out.
Then there's what I need to do beyond that.
-I need to chronicle the maps, terrain piece by terrain piece--starting with Mesopotamia, capture every single tile, bit by bit, and develop all of them, extrapolating their terrain.
This can be done more easily than it sounds by tracking the "key points" I've established. Pelusium's a key point (the spot is universally the same across Mesopotamia, Rise, Fall, and Middle ages), Byzantium's a key point (the spot is universally the same across Mesopotamia, Rise, Fall, Middle Ages, and Napoleonic Era), Ireland and England are key points (not quite the same but close enough in Rise, Fall, Middle Ages, Napoleonic, and Age of Discovery), Italy's a key point (pretty much the same in Rise/Fall/Middle Ages/Napoleonic), and the Pillars of Hercules are a key point (pretty much the same in Rise/Fall/Middle Ages/Napoleonic/Age of Discovery).
With those landmarks, I can get a general sense of how to generate the map.
I'll also need one more map on top of all of these, though.
The "Large Map of the World" map which came with Civ 3 Conquests originally.
Mostly, for how it presents the more modern resources. I need deposits of Coal, Aluminum, Rubber, Oil, and Uranium. The other resources are there already (although some I may need to expand; my master list right now is Horses, Iron, Saltpeter, Coal, Oil, Rubber, Aluminum, Uranium, Ivory, Gold, Silver, Tar, Stone, Gems, Spices, Fur for strategic; Silks, Dyes, Wine, Wool, Incense, Olive Oil, Wheat, Whiskey--uses the Sake icon--for luxury).
-The main thing which will allow me to actually make my scenario.
Biggest of all.
A sort-of to-do list for my to-do list.
I need to make a master list--without being burdened by recording all the details of everything--of everything I need to edit.
By that, I mean. Say, for units.
I don't need to make, per unit, a note of every variable for that unit I need to manipulate.
At the top of everything's categories--in this case, units--I would in fact list all these variables I'll need to keep track of, but I won't be listing all the variables on all the listings, just once at the top (with a few minor exceptions).
This master list covers everything.
Terrain values, resource values, terrain effects, units, buildings, techs, civs, scenario properties, game concepts, adjustments, everything.
This would first be by category. Units, Buildings, Game Concepts (there are game concepts I need to add in for this scenario and just about every game concept needs to be modified), you name it.
And then be by alphabetic order.
This gives me perspective on things.
I already mostly have unit groupings, albeit messily done; I don't need more than that.
I need an organized list I can refer back to.
So I can check things off, one item at a time.
Everything which needs to be done--both the game editor and notepad files included. Information from ALL of them.
There would be a couple exceptions to the "no details" rule.
I want to track what age something should be available, when applicable.
I want to track building types (e.g. there's at least 5.5 research buildings I can think of off the top of my head, at least 6.5 religious buildings I can think of off the top of my head, at least three "entertainment" buildings I can think of off the top of my head, numerous corruption buildings too various to count, numerous production-boosting building, at least four coastal city improvements, numerous commerce improvements).
I want to track building portraits--if I intend to include multiple copies of a building with the courthouse portrait, for instance, I want to see which traits should be shared between them and which should be kept separate from each other.
These also extend to wonders, which I'll probably have like...40, 60 of. Wait, no, that's just the great wonders; 80, 100ish wonders total.
I have the inspiration.
I just need to set out and DO it.
Because it'd be worth it, if I could get it ALL working the way I want to.