JLPOWELL -> RE: USSR winter event (4/16/2012 5:01:38 AM)
The events are very complex lumped together by country under-documented and interdependent (even between country files). For end users or modders it will be very difficult to tinker with this without breaking something. And if you do break something it might not show until turn 120 so then only if a particular set of conditions is present.
I have reverse engineered this to an extent (really only scratched the surface), but have no interest in serious modding. I am happy perhaps to assist those who do or perhaps I may venture into modding if there is no alternative. Unfortunately opening the events to modify looks like more work than I am willing to do 'for free'.
The 'flags.txt' file could be used (perhaps without even any design change) Tripping some flags will 'switch off' some events.
With a relatively minor change (which unfortunately would need to be written into each event) a 'master event file' or perhaps the existing flags file could contain an 'on off' switch which could be set and when an an event was evaluated and the switch was 'off' that event would never fire. This would almost certainly require changes to the executable code (Perhaps trivial but perhaps significant).
I can see why Wasteland uses events so heavily (here are three good reasons):
1st It clearly saves development effort particularly when game balance needs to be 'tuned'
2nd Permits Modding
3rd Provides a mechanism for adding 'historical flavor'
Unfortunately the events are a bit of acrutch used whenever a 'fix' is needed and should not be 'the' solution for all game balance / accuracy issues. They are almost universally over utilized except perhaps for the special 'AI' events which are needed to give the AI a fighting chance.
Obfuscation or of the events is not deliberate, but nonetheless effective. Interdependent events are in different files and the (rather terse) description text is in the language file. While I understand the need for this as the game supports multiple languages my guess is the xml could be commented in English and those comments could be used to generate at least an English language readme file. (Someone can correct me if I am wrong assuming that English is the most likely language understood by the population of customers)
Documenting the events would 'open' the designers to dispute over decisions made in the design process which players may not agree with. This is healthy, some of the events would wilt under scrutiny, others would hold up well, and the game would be better for it. Leaving them hidden serves no purpose from a playability standpoint. Comments in defense of this are just absurd the exact timing of events can be a surprise and there is a random factor related to that or even if an event triggers but hiding the nature of the events is just hiding. NO one playing a WW2 game is going to be 'surprised' by pearl harbor or by the declaration of Vichy. Most events are just someones best guess and could benefit from a bit of outside checking. They are entered to provide 'historical flavor' game balance etc. but in many cases cause more damage than 'no event' would as they can seriously damage playability.
One driving force here is that there are unfortunately some differences between features which 1. help a game sell, 2. get a good 'review' and 3. make a good game. Functionality described and included (even if poorly executed) sells games. A reviewer who plays a short game and trips a plausible event will have a positive experience. In contrast a player on turn 120 of a PBEM game which has the whole game skewed by a unexpected implausible random event will be pretty disappointed.
Events are OVERPOWERED. HUGE things happen by event. This should be used with caution not abandon. Events which marginalize players actions are almost by definition bad.
Events degrade with age in game turns. Attempts to 'add historical flavor will just look silly 100 turns in when the conditions which trip the event are nothing like the factors which historically caused something 'unique' to happen.
I think a better solution could have been that : One event = one xml file, and one line in the event txt file list. With a list like the existing csv events list (but a little few detailled concerning the effects of event), each player could have been able to erase the event he does not like (just erasing this event of the list in txt format).
At this time, it is not possible to do that : you must erase a entire event file (without choice in the content), or you have to open the xml file with a xml editor to erase manually the concerned event you don't want to use.
But before that, you have to find it... I was not able to find this URSS winter event in any event file. In wich event file is this event, please ? (if someone know that)