[Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

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Catasteroid
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[Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

Not sure if this is the best place for it but as there's no dedicated forum for gameplay mod releases I'll place it here for now, anyway...

What started as a small set of changes developed into a proof of concept and then into a mod proper, scope/feature creep is the current name of the game! As I work out how to make/mod stuff I intend to follow up with a set of guides on how to do the same, whilst this is the first mod of it's kind it is my hope to change that fact.

CMod, A Shadow Empire Gameplay Mod

Changelog

Version 2:
- The blank production costs for the ammunition factory are now fixed
- Gas turbine engines!

Version 3:
- Six additional character feats including two artifact feats
- Ten additional hex perks
- Two negative fate stratagem cards
- Four new assets
- Extra levels and adjustments to the Hunting community asset
- Half track option for trucks including new graphics
Version 3 Patch 16:
- Unfinished duplicate cards removed
- Art and logic of Embezzlement and Blight stratagems fixed
- Embezzlement stratagem unrest malus reduced to sane levels
- Missing Hunting post graphics readded
- Placement type of Fishing port
- Missing half track graphic readded
- Useless luxury items replaced with luxury QoL points (these attract additional free folk)
- Spurious private worker costs for Hunting Post resolved (hopefully)
- Missing/incorrect construction, production and upkeep costs for Hunting/Fishing/Both biofuel farms resolved


Installation instructions
- Firstly and most importantly, make a backup of your randomgame.se1, a backup copy from Beta 1.09.07 is included but if you're using a different version and you don't keep a backup you'll have to reinstall/repatch the game if you want to stop using the mod.
- Make sure your game is updated to the latest patch for compatibility.
- Place the zip file in your Shadow Empire directory and extract it there, it'll dump the necessary files into the shadowscenarios folder.
- Boot up the game and from the main menu select the "Import se1zip" button, then navigate to the CMod.se1zip file that should be in your shadowscenarios folder to unpack it.
- Select the "Modlib picker" button, click on CMod in the list and check the button in the bottom right to flag the mod to be loaded when starting a new game.
- Generate a new planet and start a new game to use the mod.

Uninstallation instructions
- Select the Modlib picker from the main menu
- Select CMod rom the list
- Uncheck the check box that appears in the lower right
- Any new games you make whilst the "use this mod" for CMod is unchecked will not use the mod
- As the contents of the game's database/data tables are saved with the game you cannot (easily) remove the mod
from a game once you've already started it
- Rename or delete the copy of randomgame.se1 that came with the mod
- Replace it with the backup copy you made or the copy that came with the mod in the backup folder
if you forgot to make a backup copy, you'll have to swap the files back if you want to reinstall the mod later

Multiplayer Requirements
The functionality of the mod is saved with the game so technically the mod will still function if a player doesn't have the mod installed but all the new hex perks, assets, model types and stratagem cards won't have their graphics.

Current Mod Features
- Fifteen new hex perks
- Five new multi-level assets (Ammunition factory, hunting post/fishing port, earth- and xeno-biofuel farm)
- One new artifact asset
- Elevent new character feats, including two artifact feats
- New aircraft weapon (quad MGs)
- New AA gun sizes (now 50mm, 76mm, 88mm, 105mm, 128mm, 150mm and 105/128/150mm twin guns)
- Adjustments to the metal/IP/ammo cost, firepower and armour penetration metric of AA guns
- Gas turbine engines (you'll need the turbojet tech to use them and an up to date version of the game)
- Half track trucks which are an early tracked transport option

Suggestions, feedback, balancing advice and such are very much welcome, please let me know if you have any issues and I'll try to address them as soon as possible.

Issues I'm aware of:
- Aircraft Quad MGs and (probably) the new AA guns not having sound assets, this is a fundamental drawback of the level of access to the game's assets the current modding tools provide- I'm just unable to access the data that assigns audio file values to weapons (hopefully just for now)
- The behaviour tree that determines computer-generated models is hard-coded so AI players (and the initial starting models human players begin with) will always ignore the added model choices

Image Gallery: http://imgur(dot)com/a/b4qP3QT
Link: https://www.dropbox.com/s/87ebuslhvh2yhr9/CModv3.zip
Place the downloaded zip file in the shadowscenarios folder in your Shadow Empire install folder (either in [Drive]:/Matrix Games/Shadow Empire or steamapps/common/Shadow Empire for the Matrix Games download and steam version respectively.).
eddieballgame
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by eddieballgame »

Nice, was all this done using the 'S&S' Editor?
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

Too much of it! I started using openOffice Calc towards the end as the S&S editor is missing basic features like mousewheel scrolling and the scrollbar's down button not working, ctrl+A dnot selecting everything, no autoscrolling and such. I tried to do as much as I could with the basic default library but I was having issues with the Modify existing table entries having invalid data by the time they're loaded due to the library's IDs being reassigned earlier in the load order which meant the assets I tried to make would never have the correct art. We're stuck with vanilla art for assets unless Vic finds a gap in his schedule to fling a set of blank libraries my way in the next few weeks.
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

And that's version 3 released, if any issues are encountered please report them in this thread, thanks.
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ggm
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by ggm »

Catastareoid,

Is Cmod compatible with easy logistics. I am having some difficulties getting it to work with easy logistics.

great mod.

what does luxury goods do in production?
Alas, poor Yorick!--I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it.
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

Easy logistics? I'm not sure what you mean, if you mean the easier logistics option in the start game options interface then yeah it doesn't modify anything on that front, it doesn't touch any logistics assets. If you're talking about another mod that I'm unaware of then it's possible it isn't compatible with it, I can't guarantee it'll work with other mods running alongside it. I'm not 100% sure but I think it contributes to QoL points, they're what private industry buy a lot of goods from traders to make if I remember correctly.
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ggm
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bump

Post by ggm »

bump
Alas, poor Yorick!--I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it.
William Shakespeare Hamlet
Don_Kiyote
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RE: bump

Post by Don_Kiyote »

Lets give it a try, then.

The AI wont use any of the new stuff, right? So its fair to say this mod will buff the player. Could we somehow buff the AI in response?

edit:
...from the main menu select the "Import se1zip" button...
wait, where is that button exactly, please? I dont see it on the either the launcher or the game Main Menu. Is my old 1.09.00 version able to load the mod?
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

ORIGINAL: Don_Kiyote

Lets give it a try, then.

The AI wont use any of the new stuff, right? So its fair to say this mod will buff the player. Could we somehow buff the AI in response?
Specifically the new model components, it's also very possible the new assets won't be used either but they're accessible to all players in multiplayer. What kind of buff did you have in mind? I know the AI won't use aircraft anyway.
Don_Kiyote
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Don_Kiyote »

Would it be possible to award the AI with Stratagem Cards, or Fate Cards, and have them use it?

If so, you might be able to persuade AI nations to develop a more robust economy.

Also, would it be possible to gift the AI an existing model which uses the new (CMod) components, and have the AI use them that way?
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

ORIGINAL: Don_Kiyote

Would it be possible to award the AI with Stratagem Cards, or Fate Cards, and have them use it?

If so, you might be able to persuade AI nations to develop a more robust economy.

Also, would it be possible to gift the AI an existing model which uses the new (CMod) components, and have the AI use them that way?
I could definitely provide computer/AI players with stratagem cards though the way they generate and use them is quite different from how human players handle and use them. As for the models it's highly unlikely that I'll be able to find and use some kind of hacky method to add a new entry to the Regime Models table that uses some of the new model choices and even if I do manage to add one it's unlikely that a computer/AI player will actually use that model, especially if it's not one of the types of models that computer/AI players will actually use- for example even if computer players have viable aircraft regime model types they won't actually use/construct them at all.
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Don_Kiyote »

...the way they generate and use [Strategem cards] is quite different from how human players handle and use them.
It must be very different. But could you do it?

I guess you've played a few games and noticed the AI empires are underdeveloped. Maybe it was just something specific in my game, but there was only a bare, bare, minimum of facilities in the AI Regimes in the one full game I've played.

A mod which had a system of awarding or giving the AI a stratagem card, such as a "Free Upgrade to your Public Industry in this Zone", or a "Free Metal Mining facility", might be a good way to buff the AI. I mean, on principle, and because it never plays very well, just giving the AI free stuff isnt much better than just giving it a +10%/+20%/+30% buff to some stat or stats. But if the AI gets those buffs according to a context-dependent trigger, then that's cool. If the AI suffers some cost for this buff, then thats even cooler, so long as it doesnt interfere or imbalance the normal functioning of its cost-benefit calculations, ie. the mod shouldnt cause the AI to freak out.

Is it accurate to think about the AI's decisions as a Cost-Benefit Assessments (CBA)?

The other interesting way to use Stratagems is co-operatively. I love playing this way. That is, keeping the AI in the game as long as possible; using it as a buffer; trying to persuade it to do certain things; maintaining alliances, leaving openings, using diplomacy and dividing territory and control according to an imaginary dialog with the AI faction.

So perhaps there is a Joint Planning Bureau which allows the player to give the AI certain Stratagem Cards.

Models would be nice, too. If the AI does use a CBA approach, then once the player designs a model using the new, added technologies, a mod would just need to give an AI regime that design, and the new design would slot in alongside all of the other vanilla designs, because your mod doesn't add any new categories of unit statistics. That is what I would hope anyways.

So again, its Diplomacy, Espionage, Salvage, or a scripted Trigger, are ways to buff the AI.

...As I imagine it, the AI under-utilizes Air-Force units because it rarely detects a use for them. It has a problem evaluating their value or benefit, because events which should signal this to the AI havent been entered. Mod-added regular ground units shouldnt have this problem. The AI will (hopefully) just see for example "Tank 'A'" versus "Tank 'B'" and (hopefully) correctly select the more powerful and appropriate model to build, whether or not that model includes mod-added component (eg. Gas-Turbine Engines) or not.

Thanks for looking in to this. I hope you get a chance to try it.
zgrssd
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by zgrssd »

A mod which had a system of awarding or giving the AI a stratagem card, such as a "Free Upgrade to your Public Industry in this Zone", or a "Free Metal Mining facility", might be a good way to buff the AI. I mean, on principle, and because it never plays very well, just giving the AI free stuff isnt much better than just giving it a +10%/+20%/+30% buff to some stat or stats. But if the AI gets those buffs according to a context-dependent trigger, then that's cool.
Such a check would first have to account for there being enough hireable population to run those assets. Population running private economy might not be availible due to it being critical - or paying too much. In that scenario, a extra building would worsen their economy.

Adding and upgrading buildings is not a 0-sum game in SE.
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mroyer
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by mroyer »

So I've been playing around solo with the cmod. Very nicely done Catasteroid. I have a couple comments on the hunting post and fishing port:

(1) For the hunting post I'm getting the message 'Too arid for open farming...' which I don't believe is correct.

(2) I see 112 private population (I think that's what that symbol means) required for production, while the example image shows 5500 workers req'd.

(3) I see a bland hex image instead of the nice crystal for qol points.

(4) In my opinion, the assets (both hunting and fishing) are overstated vs. an agricultural asset.
I think agriculture production should provide the bulk of food for a zone (and require the most workers). Hunting and fishing provide more of a QOL luxury food, i.e., meat and fish.
e.g.,
So, given a level 1 Agriculture asset uses 5500 workers and 1000 water to produce 200 food.
I'd set up Hunting and Fishing something like this:
Hunting: 2500 workers, 25 ammo => 25 CR 50 QOL 50 food
Fishing: 2500 workers, 1 machine (boats/winches) => 25 CR 50 QOL 50 food

The way you have it set up now, hunting/fishing are always preferable to agriculture assets. (Unless I'm missing something.)



Reference image:
Top two rows are how I see the assets, next two are from Catasteroid's example images. The last row is a regular agriculture asset for reference.

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Don_Kiyote
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Don_Kiyote »

a check would first have to account for there being enough hireable population to run those assets.
Its true. A building does not only cost what the initial construction and finishing cost amounts to. There is a running cost too.
...

In Cost-Benefit Analysis, running costs can and should be included with a present-value calculation. So you roll the future costs together in to the present, to get an idea of what they are. You dont have to pay for those costs immediately, but you can approximate the impact of those costs by lumping them together at a reduced rate according to how far in the future they are.

Honestly, I can barely remember how it works. I took a class in it once. The trick, as I recall, is to gauge the cost at a discount rate equal to how much the institution would prefer to have that money now versus then, or then versus now. This is also the (theoretical) cost of financing those future expenses.

So for example, if the entire running costs for Year 2 could be financed in Year 0 at a 10% annual discount rate, they would be approx 20% lower then, in Year 0, because to ensure you had enough money for those expenses in Year 2, you would only have to invest 80% of that cost, and by the time Year 2 rolled around, there would be enough money in the bank to pay for them (96% to be precise, excluding compounds).

Then you use this "Total Present Cost" value by comparing it, the figure or rating of one project, with a figure calculated in the same way for another project, and with a 'Do Nothing" scenario.

I think I have that basically right...

Note that it CBA doesnt actually tell you if a given project is worth it, or viable, or even necessarily a good idea or not. It is only really useful for comparing one project to another, or to 'Doing Nothing' for a period.

...

So the Vanilla AI may be doing something analogous to a Present Value/Present Cost calculation already. Or it probably should be.
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Catasteroid
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Catasteroid »

Firstly I'd like to thank both of you for your feedback, MRoyer I must ask when you downloaded your version of the mod, I've updated it many times to correct issues like those you mention though I will make a balance patch to adjust the food (and other product) output and resolve the asset type for the hunting post being agriculture type instead of hunting type, and the accidental (re-)introduction of the private hunting asset's upkeep/production cost to the public asset's production costs. I had changed the luxury items production to QOL_Luxury points as I wasn't sure the luxury item units were even used and I instead opted for the safer option of using that zonekey instead.

Don_Kiyote; I think the issue is a difficult one because I think a lot of the behaviour trees, which are likely big switch/if statement trees, are hard-coded and flawed in a way that can't be adjusted without recompiling the game and distributing modified copies (which even ignoring Vic's potential thoughts on the subject, creates a host of issues- Infiniminer, the Zachtronics game that inspired Minecraft suffered from the playerbase being split among several incompatible modded recompiled game forks), I'm not sure that AI major regimes even make an air force research council or develop new aircraft models after the initial set they're provided at the start of the game.
As for providing the AI with boons via cards to make them more competitive I may consider making new self-play cards with radically different effects depending on whether a human or AI regime is playing them, it would be a bit gamey but I could possibly make template aircraft or other unit types and provide the AI with cards that spawn those units like the card that spawns friendly AI walkers, maybe even some artifact cards that provide GR troops, we'll have to see.

I won't be starting work on version 4 immediately; I'm currently making mods for a different game; Vintage Story for fun and also to expand my capabilities, I'll probably start in a week or two though once I've released an update for my first mod for that game and possibly released a second and third.
mroyer
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by mroyer »

I must ask when you downloaded your version of the mod

I have CMod v3. I downloaded it fairly recently - perhaps in the week prior to Christmas.

-Mark R.
Don_Kiyote
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RE: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Don_Kiyote »

the behaviour trees, which are likely big switch/if statement trees, are hard-coded and flawed in a way that can't be adjusted without recompiling the game and distributing modified copies
yup.
I may consider making new self-play cards with radically different effects depending on whether a human or AI regime is playing them, it would be a bit gamey but I could possibly make template aircraft or other unit types and provide the AI with cards that spawn those units like the card that spawns friendly AI walkers, maybe even some artifact cards that provide GR troops, we'll have to see.
Sounds good. Anything to buff or direct the AI, really.
brhugo
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Biofuel Farm Question

Post by brhugo »

I am using this mod for the first time and have been unable to get any output from either of two Biofuel Farms. In one location the temperature was 28°C, in the other 20°C. The cause seems to be "Agricultural environment/exposure modifier -100%. There was plenty of water.
I really like the idea of this new facility.
Bruce R Hugo
Don_Kiyote
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Re: [Mod]CMod - An SE gameplay mod

Post by Don_Kiyote »

bump and reporting that Ive actually started a game (1.10.04b) with this mod. Ammo factory I is up, about turn 40, and Im fiercely dependent on one of your '+x Metal' Hex Perks.
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