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Sibyllae Vox: gameplay mod


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[edit]Sibyllae Vox website: http://creativekara.fr/doku.php?id=0adsv:start for the latest version and instructions[/edit]


Probably from alpha 18 pre-release I studied the design documents and made a few suggestions. With this mod I try to get things to what I understood. It will I think feel a bit like alpha 17 with new features and some implementation changes (like disapearance of most hard-counters).

For the first versions, I'd like to only redesign units to enhance the battle gameplay with a slower and strategic pace with hope it could be included in alpha 19.

Later on there should be larger changes about territories, resource costs or other things, with more time to plan everything according to what the design comittee would build. Even if I'm part of this committee, this is only my personal work and wasn't agreed by anyone for now.

To play with this mod download the archive and unzip it in the "mod" directory of 0 A.D. Then in tools and options choose select and activate mods and activate Sibylla Vox.

First version changes:

Unit speed and vision


Speed and vision affects battle pace, general map size and range effect.

All foot unit and cavalery share the same speed. This all have the same efficiency at collecting resources. More distinction would be done with running and charging.

Infantry: speed 8, vision 32 (x4)
Cavalery: speed 12, vision 48 (x4)
Siege: speed 6, vision 32 (slow infantry)
Ship: speed 12, vision 64 (open field)

8 seems for me not too slow and to fit rather well with current animation.

Vision is 4 time the speed, it takes around 5 seconds to reach the limit of sight. That is 5 seconds to react without scouting.

Health values


Health is somewhat the natural resistance with no armor. Bigger units would tend to have better health. Armor values will then increase durability.

Infantry: 50
Cavalery: 80
Elephant: 150
Siege: 100
Ship: 200 (all @#$%ed up)
Champion: x1.5
Hero: x5

Female citizen: 30 (upgraded to 45)

Armor, damage and ranges


An unarmored unit should be killed with a few shots. Range should then be adapted to unit speed. That way all units should become a threat if it came unspotted but the battle should give enough time to see what's happening and putting some manoeuvres like flanking with the cav.

These try to give a defined role to unit types and weaknesses like with the hard counters:

Spearmen and pikemen: good armor, bonus against cavalery, front and defensive line (protecting weak units against cavalery). Weak against swordsmen and skirmishers that can hit'n run them.

Swordsmen: superior melee unit without bonus against cavalery, more offensive. Beat spearmen and pikemen but with less armor against projectiles.

Skirmisher: excellent for hit'n run, good damage but short range and medium armor. Can throw a javelin instantly then retreat but will require a armored wall to contain progression (should run faster than them in the future).

Archer: "long" (not that much) range unit with decent damage but must prepare for a shoot. Without any armor they fail at hit'n running and are more sensitive to flanking than skirmishers.

Slinger: high damage but short range and no armor. Kind of a strong skirmisher but with less durability.

Cavalery spearmen: strong cavalery with good armor and damage that can stand in the battlefield, but no match against pikemen and spearmen.

Cavalery swordmen: lighter cavalery with faster damage, better at pinning support and siege weapons quickly.

Cavalery skirmisher: unarmored ranged cavalery ideal for hit'n running.

Cavalery archer: basicaly an archer with more speed.

Defensive structure damages and range


Defense buildings don't really work on their own. They are a little more efficient than an archer and mostly provide a range and protective bonus.


Known issues:


- Naval units are not designed.

- The overpowered skirmisher cavalery rush may be back

- Vision and range may be a little to short, maybe more for archers

- Need multiplayer testing

- Heroes are not reviewed

A Sibylla is and independant and nomadic oracle which would tell prophecies in a mysterious and ambiguous way. The Voice of Sibylla tell you something that you must interpret well and can lead to doubts.

sibylla vox 20150921.zip

Edited by Karamel
Added website, changed topic title
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No feature changes for now, as alpha 19 is knocking on the door and it would be too much changes at once on a very short delay.

I have a local repository but I'm rebasing and editing my few commits, because I log my changerules and want to have only a few neat commits to send.

Still I can join the diffs along the mod (oops, I already fixed things)

Sibylla Vox patches 20150921plus.zip

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The only thing i see changing here are the slingers, they are some faction's only long range units, and they are long range units at that. Though it does seem you are missing some mid range missile troops.

There are spread/accuracy modifiers in the unit XMLs, and that's how I balance my archers with my slingers in PA, but I can see not using that in a strictly competitive sense. It helps keep missile units from getting too powerful though.

I've been doing some slinging as a hobby and the biggest issue i have with it is hitting a target, and its moderately dangerous to anyone else around you're slinging around. messed up my shoulder a bit too but that's my problem lol

There are friendly fire modifiers as well which can help with archer overpower, they work very nicely with spread.

I think we're on the right track though. I didn't care much for the switch from hard counters, flawed as they may be. I haven't properly played vanilla 0 AD in a long time...

It looks like you guys are doing some good work though!


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New day, new version. That one is focused on siege and building, but I just have finished it right now, I haven't tested it (more over because the AI never builds walls and other building are mostly captured). It compiles! Ship it! It was also rebased upon the latest git commits, so it bundles the latest changes in vanilla 0 A.D.

The last thing I want to change before a "feature freeze" and going balancing is ships.

- Heroes and champions are fixed

- Siege damage and armors are slightly changed

- Single armor for every building, but various HP

Same armor for everyone, HP would suffice for more durability
Defense towers get less HP

Outpost: 200, taken down with regular units
Wooden: a few siege shot takes them down, decent against units
Tower: 300, Wall: 400
Stone defenses: somewhat durable against siege, almost undestroyable by units
Tower: 1400, Wall: 2000, Fortress: 3600

Gates: -20% HP

Houses, storage: 260 (320 for large ones), easily destroyed
Large civil: 500 to 600, a bit tougher but still destroyable
Military: 800, require more siege power
Civil Centre: 1600, requires siege power
Large special buildings: 800 to 1200, requires siege power

Known issues:

- Naval units are not designed.

- The overpowered skirmisher cavalery rush may be back, but seems easier to counter

I tried to rush with some skirmisher cavalery but was welcome by some foot skirmishers that took them down very rapidly. It needs more testing but if the skrimcav rush is back, it seems to be much nerfed. Because a mounted skirmisher is not tougher and shot at the same range of a foot one and has almost no armor, it is quickly killed. But it can kill them quickly too...

- Vision and range may be a little to short, maybe more for archers, archery tradition goes outside vision and is somewhat broken

- Need multiplayer testing

I don't really know what to do about slingers, they are a very atypic unit. Archers may also be a bit underpowered. There is not really a long range unit, unless catapults or maybe with archery tradition.

As for friendly fire I have seen it in the templates. I won't change it at least in short term, it may be really interesting but also complexifing a lot battle management. The formations should allow skirmishers to go to the front, shot and get back easily, archer should stop firing when melee is engaged... It would dramaticaly change how battles are handled.

If anyone is interested in testing the mod, check for the IRC channels if I'm around :)

sibylla vox 20150922.zip

Sibylla Vox patches 20150922.zip

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Aaand that's it.

I have reviewed ships (spend some time today to document myself about bi/tri/quinquiremes), even if I think in current state they are a bit broken the with missing features for naval warfare. Some few changes in infantry line of sight and buildings durability.

Fishing ship: 100 HP
Merchant, Biremes and Fire: 200 HP
Triremes: 300 HP
Quinquiremes: 400 HP
Juggernaut: 800 HP

Infantry line of sight increased to 48 (same as cavalry) mostly for archers useability with basic range of 32, 42 with archery tradition.

Buildings armor increased a bit, they fell to quickly without siege power.

Now I can spend more time playing around to see if it's mostly enjoyable.

Sibylla Vox patches 20150923.zip

sibylla vox 20150923.zip

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  • 2 weeks later...

New version with more battle review. This version is mostly a balance one from the previous version with some soft-counter.

Tested on a forest map against 2 normal AI I found the battles good even if their duration could be a little bit longer. Because there wasn't much clear terrain the movement of formations were painfull (from 20 to 50 men) but once on somewhat clear ground it went well. But because of that it was hard to put some cavalry to break the back archer line or pin reinforcements.

Fix champion cavalery swordsmen not appearing in barracks
Increased buildings armor and bonus for siege weapons
Increased arrow damage
Fix Gaul spearmen armor
Updated armors and damages for soft countering

The "counter scheme" is near to the old one but less obvious (maybe around 20% bonus instead of 50% or 100%). Below is the mod unit design even if everything is not implemented and some things are subject to changes.I also have a few more historic references but I'll put them all elsewhere.

Infantry units

Spearmen are the main troop of most armies. Greek spearmen are more armored than other ones and could cost a bit more. They can aslo use the phalanx formation for a tighter and more effective battle formation.

Macedonian spearmen (hipaspists) were the elite, forming the king's bodyguard.
Roman spearmen (Triari) are veteran soldiers

Strength: strong against cavalry, resillient against arrow due to their large shield (see battle of Marathon)
Weakness: subject to hit'n run from skirmishers (see battle of Lechaeum)

Pikemen are a derivative of spearmen, with longer weapons and ligther armor (for more long range mobility and charging).
Individually weaker than spearmen, they do well when organised into a pack.

They can use phalanx and syntagma formation. The latest one make a frontal assault merely a suicide (see siege of Atrax). The mass of pikes also deflected some projectiles

Macedonian pikemen were professional soldiers.

Strength: extremely strong against cavalry, can repel almost any charge in pack
Weakness: strong in number, weak when disorganised, lightly armored

Swordsmen are stronger melee infantry. A good sword was expensive and more restricted to an elite.

See: Spartan elite swordsmen
Iberian swordsmen are the core of the army, but lightly armored and cheaper.
Hastati were the less trained roman swordsmen. They also thrown their pila (heavy javelin) just before charging.

Strength: strong melee infantry
Weakness: not really suited against cavalry, especially spear cavalry

Javelinists are short range support troops. They usually get in front and throw a javelin or two to soften the advancing troops before retreating to leave the melee fight.

Strenght: expert of hit'n run, they do well on uncovered melee units (see battle of Lechaeum)
Weakness: not well armored, they will act poorly when engaged, even if they can survive a bit

Archers are long range support troops. Like their javelinist counterparts they usually acted before the melee battle or target fleeing ennemies.

To distinguish them from skirmishers, archers would not be able to hit'n run efficiently. This is taking only the very long range parabolic shot instead of also direct rapid shots.

Strength: long range
Weakness: not armored at all, they will be overwhelemed by almost anything that can get in range.

Cavalry units

Spear cavalry
The spear cavalry is the heavier one. It is well armored and has the best weapon for pinning down ennemies. Even if it is not the most manœuvrable.

They are so the most expensive unit.

Strength: good and reliable cavalry
Weakness: expensive, weak against spears and pikes are their nightmare

Sword cavalry
Sword was not the weapon of choice to fight mounted. Celtic sword cavalry tend even to fight by foot and get back to their horse afterward.

For the game, they would be lightly armored and manœuvrable, they are best suited for raiding and targeting strategic points (siege units, support troops)

Strength: deal a lot of damage quickly
Weakness: not well armored they will not stay long in open fight

Javelin cavalry
Dedicated mounted javelin throwers weren't mentionned historically. They were mostly bound with spear cavalry, throw some javelin as secondary weapon before joining the battle.

For the game, they would be the top hit'n run unit, but more expansive

Strength: strong at hit'n running, more efficient than their infantry counterpart by being faster
Weakness: because faster than the infantry, they will be lightly armored to be still counterable by other cheaper skirmishers or archers. Otherwise they wouldn't have significant weakness.

Archer cavalry
Fast long range unit, but rare at that time. Mounted archers will after be the most effective unit in the battlefield, until heavy armored knight came.

Strength: fast and long range, hard to pick
Weakness: no armor, to give them a weakness

Check Carthage use of elephants in Punic wars and encounter of Alexander with the Mauryas. They were a few of them comparing to other unit numbers, but also devastating.

They were frightened during the battle of Zarma and some of them turned back against the Carthaginian army.

Strenght: very durable and powerfull
Weakness: very expansive, can lose control

Elephant archer

Camel archer

sibyllae vox 20151007.zip

Sibyllae Vox patches 20151007.zip

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  • 2 weeks later...

I always forget slingers. Meanwhile the unit role is discussed there: http://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=20103 even if I won't try to trick the figure much to perfectly reflect it because there are too much things that can be tweaked and break the fine tunning.

This next version is more about base building, with an experimental implementation of countrysides. In a few words it is: give more importance to map covering even in early game, add more weaknesses spots in base building.

Dropsites can be built outside territory to expand but not too far from the CC (and without much territory to prevent transforming it into a stronghold). These dropsites also have the first level alert to call women to hide in the nearby houses.

The workers are more spread with a reduced limit of worker per resource spot. There's also a no-building land around the CC that forces to put fields in a more opened area.

From a battle point of view, all units got an HP increase and infantry walks a bit slower to give more mobility advantage to cavalry.

Fix Ashoka (hero cavalry archers)
Spearmen bonus reduced to x2 against cavalry
Experimental: territory management, resources spreading
Experimental: more HP and less infantry speed (regular units only)
Archers and elephants are underpowered

The AI is doing quite bad

All of this requires some multiplayer games to get the feeling and feedback about working and broken things.

sibyllae vox 20151016.zip

Sibyllae Vox patches 20151016.zip

Edited by Karamel
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Hello again.

Here is a new version which I reworked almost completely to make better use of git (and larger battles). The project repo is then available here https://git.framasoft.org/0ad/sibyllaevox.

This version contains only unit and structure edit, trying to stick to unit roles and counter scheme that can be found in the general discussions forum (respectively http://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=20103 and http://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=20148). I removed the countryside part in a dedicated branch.

This version is a19.1, not that it would be included in alpha 19 but it is compatible, without any added features (in fact countryside requires some new code, that's why I moved it to an other branch). So it changes a lot how battles are set, but not much more.

Until alpha 19 is out, I think the master branch will keep only balance tweak and fixes, while I may continue to work on new features on other branches (or try to fix pathfinding issues).


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  • 2 weeks later...

I have tested a few games on a19.1 but without the full extension of planned features it's a bit boring.

So here is the second attempt with countryside, including multiple building restrictions (it seems to be still a little buggy with message popup for a patch, the commit is there anyway: https://git.framasoft.org/0ad/sibyllaevox/commit/52db2a919cae06592ac82138d2ee2012f0bfc25d).

There isn't much more things on countryside compared to the first attempt. It works basically the same way, but with most advanced buildings being buildable only around a civil centre (which was not possible without multiple building restrictions).

It is still in an experimental state, I don't feel it to be in good shape but let's try this anyway to see what is not working. The concept draft is there: https://git.framasoft.org/0ad/sibyllaevox/wikis/base_overall

Some changes were done on some units and buildings, generally giving buildings more durability and nerfing a bit slingers. I don't know why yet but some units xml are buggy (rome elite cavalry spearman for example). I'll fix it with other has-to-be-discovered bugs.

Contryside is back in an experimental state

Balancing with:

Female are now doing damages

More HP for stone towers, more pierce and hack damage for all buildings

Swordmen range was too long

Increased siege weapons durability and more damage against buildings

Quick ship review

Reduced slingers damage

sibyllae vox 20151103.zip

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New version which is a bug-fix one while keeping tracks of changes made in svn.

Towers don't expand territory anymore

Champion cavalry swordman is working again

And to make this post more interesting, here is a visual presentation of the some changes and the countryside feature, which I'm getting more satisfied with on large maps.

Shape your city, you must cover more resource spots as there can welcome very fewer workers. But even if your CC territory radius is smaller and you can't build fields around it, you can expand by building depots outside your territory. Then build strong cities and small surrounding villages (which cannot house most of the buildings).

post-16505-0-32623500-1446978232_thumb.j post-16505-0-53573500-1446978247_thumb.j post-16505-0-59771000-1446978211_thumb.j post-16505-0-76771200-1446978170_thumb.j post-16505-0-38469800-1446978282_thumb.j

When it comes to the battle, prepare it or surprise your ennemies either with a small quick raid or a larger backside assault (sorry, the screenshots were against the AI which don't really use large armies, so I don't either). The time to react and get your soldiers from the other side of the city, there will already be blood everywhere. Notice that towers alone won't be able to hold the ennemy line.

post-16505-0-47604000-1446978197_thumb.j post-16505-0-89428900-1446978866_thumb.j post-16505-0-15316800-1446978808_thumb.j post-16505-0-18269100-1446978270_thumb.j

And the more detailed documents: https://git.framasoft.org/0ad/sibyllaevox/wikis/home

sibyllae vox 20151108.zip

Edited by Karamel
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From you images it looks like towers have a territory influence. Is that true? Doesn't that introduce a tower rush? (quickly building a couple of towers near the enemy camp)

Tower territory is a bug that I fixed in this version even if you couldn't build them in neutral territory (the screenshots are from a game in the previous one). You also need some other buildings to expand outside the build restriction of the towers.

Tower rush is still possible but only with wooden towers (stone ones requires a nearby CC), if you dare sending some troops early to build a depot next to the opponent base and constantly bring reinforcements because it can be easily captured and infantry is walking slowly (you can't build a barrack far from your CC).

I didn't tried it, but I don't think it would be easy to do considering the wooden tower power.

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New week, new release (even if it may not be regular).

This version just changes the capture values, with empty buildings being easy to pick while not that much when someone is inside. There's no real concept behind this, just a experimentation.

For regular buildings the first regular unit only captures by half and any garrisoned unit make it requires 2 more assaulting units. Civil Centers requires 3 units for each garrisoned one and fortresses 4. Champions counts as 1.5 unit and heroes as 3.

Territory influence weight is inverted, so captured buildings near a CC are "eaten" by it. In order CC (10) > Fortress (5) > advanced/military buildings (3) > other buildings (1). Towers and walls don't have territory radius.

Menu music was switched just to confirm that the mod is running.

On the way I started to think about how resources could be categorized for a simple usage and smooth progression.

sibyllae vox 20151115.zip

Edited by Karamel
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  • 2 weeks later...

On the way I started to think about how resources could be categorized for a simple usage and smooth progression.

I'm actually thinking about something similar and currently working on a mod that will introduce more variety for minerals (not more kinds of resources, just a system that should somehow encourage a riskier playstyle and add more strategy to resource gathering).

Edit: sorry, I think you meant something different - what resources are most important in which phase of the game and which resources are needed for what, I guess.

Edited by Palaxin
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  • 1 month later...

For those who are willing to discuss, play or contribute to the mod or even just show interest I've created the channel #0ad-sv (enter webchat)

Nothing new since the last message. I was very busy in real life and lost some motivation to work on 0 A.D. Still if you want to have fun ping me there for a game or a discussion.

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  • 3 weeks later...

No new version this time but still some news.

With the help of mimo I could finally implement formation bonuses, that is units get armor or damage bonuses when in position in a formation. I put some bonuses for testing but it is still rough and requires a lot of changes to be used basically (behaviour of units when forming/reforming, behaviour of women, setting direction, pathfinding, formation bending, target picking...). If those changes are not included in the main branch yet and won't be released soon, you can check them in the experimental1 branch.

The countryside feature is now included in the core of the mod even if there are still things to tweak. In a nutshell compared to vanilla, Sibyllae Vox is then:

  • More tactical battles (slower movement, counter-scheme, less champion-centric)
  • More map usage (build villages outside your CC, requires to control more resources spots)
The next release will happen probably next on Sunday with no new features but fixes and little balancing. I have a game to play with Romans to check their swordmen (Iberian will be fixed to have towers again).

Last but not least, if you want to play Sibyllae Vox, let's meet on each Tuesday evening (European time), either on IRC (#0ad or 0ad-sv) or in the main lobby of alpha 19. Ping me at any time if you have questions or want an introduction to the mod.

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  • 5 months later...

Thanks to niektb Sibyllae Vox has been updated to svn. This was a big work and a one that raised the mod from its ghost state (even if I don't know if it is sane to run after ghosts, I'd like to try, thanks to illness to give some freetime…).

By the way I have updated my website and migrated the document pages on it. You can find the download link, concepts and in the future probably more player related things. http://creativekara.fr/doku.php?id=0adsv:start

sibyllae vox 20160702.zip

[edit]And because it was requested, I created a page to list the enhancements that could add more flexibility or features to the regular game. Once I have a sufficiently detailed feature or patch I'll open a ticket for discussion. http://creativekara.fr/doku.php?id=0adsv:merge

Edited by Karamel
Add dev/patches page mention
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