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This is a set of maps with balanced resources intended for competitive gameplay. Maps: - Balanced Mainland - Balanced Hyrcanian Shores - Wrench - Cross - Britannic Road - Slop

New 'stable' release, v0.18.0: - Revamped food, wood and mineral generators - Fixed inconsistent fish spawns on cross - New map: Britannic Road https://mod.io/mods/file/143785

Seems like the forum didn't like it, it should work now.

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Hi @badosu - as we discussed, I'm looking to feature Balanced Maps on my Youtube channel Mod previews. Got a few quick questions I reckon you'll be able to clear up easy, if you got a minute.

1) Fixed Maps. So I see a few maps with the 'fixed' postfix on them, for example, Balanced Mainland. Does that mean that the original version of Balanced Mainland has an issue, i.e. it wasn't quite as balanced as it should have been? I'm curious as to why there should be a fixed and not version present, I'd have thought you'd want one, definitive version of the map to avoid confusion? Both maps play and they seem somewhat more balanced than ordinary Mainland, are there any other 'gotcha's' involved to using the unfixed balanced maps as opposed to the fixed?

2) Can I clarify that in a multiplayer game, am I correct that the host and the other players all need the Balanced Maps mod installed? I initially thought it was just the host for playing. I know bizarre things happen if you try and watch a replay of a game on a balanced map without the mod (it was quite funny!) but what about joining a game. I had a player who couldn't join a match and they got a mod related error, so assuming that was the case. 

3) Where will we be with A24? I'd have hoped that the full game would possibly have fixed Mainland to be more balanced by then, being as it's taken a Mod to demonstrate just how unbalanced it can be. Have you been approached with a mind to include your variation of balanced mainland in the full game so a mod is no longer required? 

4) Anything else you think it's critical I mention when summarising the mod? I'd have thought this particular mod is fairly easy to cover, it doesn't have lots of little, hidden features - it sounds like it pretty much does exactly what the title says :) 

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Sure @mysticjim, I'm honored to have the mod in the spotlight :-). Some overview beforehand:

balanced-maps was started at first to provide fair competitive maps, the current vanilla maps, especially with each civilization quirks are not suited for that.

Most balanced-maps have these generator parameters:

- 3-4 patches of wood near p1 range (global 3 or 4, means each player gets 3 or gets 4), except for savanna biome (the one with sparse wood). For hyrcanian shores, wood is not balanced
- One stone and one metal mine around p2-p3 range. Except for maps like Cross or Slopes
- Food for both players, this can be either berries or fauna. The total amount is global but if it's berries or fauna can vary for each player. Berries and fauna are valued equally, fauna can be at or just a bit away from edge while berries are usually inside p1 territory. Remainders of distribution of food (around 100-400 food) are placed as 'straggler fauna' inside p1 range.
- The max for food, propensity for berries over fauna and the fauna types can vary with biome and map. Berries are restricted to at most 2 extra patches.

These are technical stuff that you may want or not to share, but just to give you a detailed idea of how the generation works and how it tries to balance for players.

1) Fixed means fixed positions, so the order of players in game setup (the screen before the game starts where host can set things) is the order of players in map. For example if player 1 is just before player 2, player 1 will border player 2 while in vanilla the order of players within a team is random. There are some interesting games that can be played this way in TG, for example 12121212 (where each player is surrounded by enemies), 11221122 (2 player pockets), 11122212 (one vulnerable player for each team) etc... Valihrant uploaded a recent game on Wrench (fixed) if I'm not mistaken.

2) When a host starts a game with a balanced-maps map set, other players can't join unless the mod is installed. That said, players should still be able to join the game if a vanilla map is set and also host vanilla maps. The mod should block users from joining, but due to a bug on 0ad some players are stuck in 0.18 which might show some error messages. To fix that the player needs to remove the old folder manually and update to 0.20.

3) Some people have asked me to consider sending patches to vanilla a24. I'm not rushing to do that for some reasons. More importantly to do that I need to work on setting custom flags for maps so players can still play the old full-random type of map without having a lot of different map names. Casual players or players just wanting to have fun might want to play like that. There are some other reasons, like time, bureaucracy, having to refactor code to adjust to vanilla code style etc... It's on my mind but I'm not rushing to do it

4) Sure, here are some interesting settings to cover:

- Cross 1v1 (medium), TG (one size bigger than vanilla)
- Slopes 1v1 (small/medium), 2v2 (m), 3v3 (m,n), 4v4 (nor)
- Balanced Mainland (vanilla size)
- Balanced Hyrcanian (vanilla size or 1 bigger)
- Wrench (1 bigger)

Again, thanks for covering it and let me know if there's anything else you want to ask.

Some map quirks:

- Cross has lakes on the back and sides. The side lakes have more fish than the back ones, and include 1 metal and 1 stone mine, each facing opposite player. Cross is a very tactical game and with a more map control meta.
- Slopes has better wood on sides, metal mines on mid, and two side lakes. Each side lake has 2 small patches of fauna and one of metal/mine.  Slopes is very aggressive, securing/taking over other players ponds takes a big role in 1v1 and for TG trying to attack at the front is not always the best way, instead chipping away with map control is better.

Edited by badosu
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@badosuthanks mate, that's brilliant info. :) I understand now about the 'fixed' business - that is something really useful to know. I reckon calling it 'fixed starting positions' would make that clear to someone not in the know, but I see what you were aiming for. And yes, that feature does make for some interesting combinations. 

Were there other maps you'd considering 'balancing' when putting this collection together?

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Well, there were come requests to other balanced maps, I am not looking forward to change vanilla maps, instead I'm more excited to make new maps with unexplored dynamics in 0ad (or poorly explored).

Balanced continent was one of those but I implemented it poorly for the last release so don't take it into consideration.

I have now put balanced-maps aside for a bit while I'm focused on Monitor mod, the maps are good enough for a Bo5 on a competitive tournament which was the original goal. But I have taken some map suggestions into considerations and have thought of some ideas (maybe experiment with elevation and ramps is something I intend to do).

Another important reason is that releasing a new version is a big disruption to players (migrating to 0.20 from 0.18 has been a big pain for example) so I'll just release a new version when significant improvements are made.

This is one of the map ideas I am considering for the next map (with proper adjustments to 0ad):
 

 

Edited by badosu
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That map, or something akin to it, would be an awesome addition :) 

Have been keeping an eye on the Monitor Mod (c'mon, you've got to give it a more kickass name, surely?) 

While I think it's extremely clever, and potentially huge for realtime analysis, I'm still not if it helps in terms of bringing the coverage to the small screen when doing a replay with commentary. I'd worry I'd spend too much time fiddling with buttons and icons and not focusing on the on-screen action. But we do have very different styles in terms of our commentary videos, yours is definitely rooted more in the technical nuts and bolts of what the players are doing, whereas I quite dig the human element and the drama when there's a lot of fighting and explosions and stuff! 

Just floating this out there - collaborations are all the rage on Youtube at the moment, apparently, what do you reckon to trying to cover a replay together? I think I can do the waffling bit and fill the dead air, and I can hand over to you for the analytical/technical bits when it requires someone who knows what they're talking about? :) No idea how we'd make that work technology-wise, but sure there will be a way to do it. DM me if you want to chat about it further :) 

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The production row is just one of the elements that is part of the envisioned Monitor mod.

The mods aim is to provide a better UI for both players and specs. The interactivity was not part of the initial plan, and surely it would change on the more advanced versions, focusing more on more and useful 'quick view' checks like units lost, population graphs, income difference etc...

I sent you a PM

 

Edited by badosu
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11 hours ago, wowgetoffyourcellphone said:

0 A.D. needs proper cliff support.

Also water on elevation :)

I think there's a huge unexplored space for new map dynamics in 0ad. Even the more bold maps we have employ restrictions on resources
or some cheeky gimmick. In the end the result is the same, spam and overrun.

The only map I really feel has any kind of proper layout for a dynamic game is Slopes and that's even considering the other balanced maps.

Edited by badosu
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