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Millenium AD - REVAMP


Radiotraining
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Hola guys!

Premise: so I was thinking how to make a good medieval version of 0ad that can be fun to play and can stand together with the main game. I think it could be a strategic choice, given the recent hype surrounding the release of AOE 4 (which is, after all, the progenitor of 0ad itself) and the latest interest surrounding classic rts games in general. 

An alternative mod that can be presented together with the main game could be also another element that showcases the potential of pyrogenesis engine and, hopefully, attract new talents and devs that could enjoy working for the game. 

For this reason, I think Millenium AD provides already a solid base to work upon. It's been updated to the latest alpha version (thanks Yekaterina!) and it works quite flawlessly. The name itself works very well in a continuum with 0ad and re-inforces the overall brand of games that can span from ancient wars to modern times with a set of different titles that can offer various gameplay experiences. 

But the project seems to be abandoned. The last messages in the forum date back to 2-3 years ago and I have no idea if there're still people interested in the project anymore. The original creators also seem to have left and what remains is an interesting work with some good ideas but a lost potential. 

Since the mod relies mostly on the features in the vanilla game, I think the work required to revamp the game would be mostly cosmetical: - new civs, new assets, UI update etc.. because all the other gameplay features would just follow along each alpha release of 0ad. 

So what I want to propose is a simple roadmap to refresh the mod and make it enjoyable to play, despite the long hiatus. 

-Very simply: stick to a more indefinite timeframe around 1000AD (from the fall of the Roman Empire up to 1200-1300 ca.) and compress the two original parts of the mod into a single one that can "generically" evocate medieval times in that timeframe. 

-Focus on 3 new civs only that can offer enough variety in the game together with the other civs already present.

In synthesis: Kiss. 

Keep it simple, stupid! ahaha 

 

Seriously though. It would be nice to have a fun and playable mod, and I think the shortcut would be to focus on simple goals that can be manageable and can keep the game fresh without too much strain. 

So for now we have: 

   

Europeans:

 

- Carolingians

 

- Anglo-Saxons

 

- Norse

 

Arab:

 

- Umayyads 

 

Middle-Eastern:

 

- Byzantine

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And I wanted to propose:    

   

Nomad/Turks:

 

- Avars

 

East Europeans:

 

- Muscovy Russians

 

Asian:

 

- Feudal Japan

 

Hopefully this set of new civs could give enough choice and variety to the gameplay by having some unique characteristics. 

(*Further it may be expanded with some European civs, like Holy Roman Empire and Italian States, and Goryeo or Song Dinasty in Asia, but only after this first roast of civs) 

 

Now, the tricky part: I'm no developer and no 3D artist (but I can learn this part!). I only tried experimenting with some concept art for the Russian civ and I had quite some fun with it, so I think I can design a detailed concept for each civ: buildings, units, techs that can be more easily adapted into 3d assets and into the game. But then I have to defer to more experienced people in the forum if they want to chime in and participate with their talent and expertise. And, generally, if you guys think it's a wortwhile project, alongside the current schedules. Or if simply you have suggestions, how to start with a mod etcc.. 

 

I don't know. I have no idea about the current schedules of 0ad development, so this is only for the funsies! :D

 

Beside, let me know your comments! This is just a proposal, but I'm very interested to hear opinions, suggestions or anything that can be helpful to the discussion! 

 

Edited by Radiotraining
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Okay, here an example of how these civs can be developed. Here's the Muscovite Rus' (just a draft).

 

Muscovite Rus'

The Grand Duchy of Moscow (or Muscovite Rus’) was a Rus' principality of the Late Middle Ages centered on Moscow, and the predecessor state of the Tsardom of Russia in the early modern period. It was ruled by the Rurik dynasty, who had ruled Rus' since the foundation of Novgorod in 862. Ivan III the Great titled himself as Sovereign and Grand Duke of All Rus'.

The Muscovite Rus’ is a great commercial empire, spanning from the Baltic Sea to the Bosphorus. For centuries this land has been territory of passage between the germanic tribes of the north and the hellenic civilizations of the south and a crossroad between East and West. 

The trading of furs, wood and precious metal is the source of the richnesses of the Russian Grandduchy. For this reason, one of the key buildings of this civilization is the Trading Post, a unique building available at a early phase that can be placed in neutral territory and act as universal dropsite and trading hotspot. It allows a quick expansion into the map, and it can be upgraded as a Civic Center (economic expansion), or as an Army Camp (military expansion). 

Army

The core of the Rus’ army is its light/medium cavalry and ranged units, due to their tradition of hunting wild game in the forests. One of the special units is the scout, a light cavalry unit always followed by 2 hunting dogs that can be used for exploration or early incursion.

The infantry is generally very basic and weak, composed mostly by peasants (citizen-soldiers). The élite is composed mostly of mercenaries coming from the north: the Varangians, while the cavalry relies on “Qazaqs” from the Caspian steppe and their military traditions. 

Economy

The Russian civilization has cheap and fast buildings and relies heavily on three resources for its sustainment: food, wood and metal. This makes the civilization very competitive in forest-based maps, but weaker when this crucial resource is lacking. However, due to their trading bonuses they can often trade the underused stone to compensate. 

The enormous extension of Russian plains allow for an extensive food production: Rus’ farmfields are 25% larger and allow up to 7 farmers to each field. 

A later technology called “Serfdom”, allows to train “serfs” (slaves), cheap and productive units that can sustain the rest of the army.

 

 

 

Rus_First-Buildings.jpg

Rus_Unit_01.jpg

Edited by Radiotraining
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Okay, a couple of other ideas (if they will ever see the light):

 

Heian Japan

The Heian period (平安時代) is a period from 794 to 1185 beginning when the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu, moved the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). It is a period in Japanese history when Chinese influences were in decline and the national culture matured. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. 

Heian (平安) means "peace" in Japanese. 

Despite the name, this period of relative peace was precursor of future internal wars inside the Japanese Empire. In fact, Japan during this period was fractured among various feudal lords. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, an aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family.

 

Playing with the Japanese, each territory around the Civic Center is a feudal province. To progress through the technology three you have to build several buildings around the CC area. The concept is “synergy building mechanic” to unlock techs. (will it ever be possible to try this feature, technically speaking?)

The central building in each province is the “castle”, the residence of the Shogun. It’s a centre of power and wealth. It unlocks élite military units and generates a trickle of metal, but doesn’t shoot arrows so it can’t be used for defence. 

Japan excels in the late game with powerful units and techs, but it requires a slow buildup that makes it vulnerable to early attacks. 

 

Army 

Most of the Japanese army is composed of levy infantry from the peasant population (Citizen-Soldiers). They’re relatively cheap to train and quick to die. But the rest of the “core” of Japanese military is composed of specialized heavy infantry that is provided by the feudal lords in the castle. The cavalry is composed of nobles from various clans. They have heavy pierce and hack armour, but this slow down considerably their attack

 

Economy

Overall the Japanese military is strong and specialized, but slow and expensive. So a solid economy is required to sustain such an army. 

Metal and stone are the most important resources to build advanced buildings and train champion units. 

The castle provides already a metal trickle helpful in the late game, but the rest of the economy is sustained by the peasant population that work endlessly in the farms and in the forests. 

The class of citizen-soldiers and rōnins  is particularly inefficient in gathering resources, so an elevated number of villagers is required in the economy, making it vulnerable to raids. 

 

 

Japan_First-Buildings.jpg

Edited by Radiotraining
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6 hours ago, Radiotraining said:

Okay, a couple of other ideas (if they will ever see the light):

 

Heian Japan

The Heian period (平安時代) is a period from 794 to 1185 beginning when the 50th emperor, Emperor Kanmu, moved the capital of Japan to Heian-kyō (modern Kyoto). It is a period in Japanese history when Chinese influences were in decline and the national culture matured. The Heian period is also considered the peak of the Japanese imperial court and noted for its art, especially poetry and literature. 

Heian (平安) means "peace" in Japanese. 

Despite the name, this period of relative peace was precursor of future internal wars inside the Japanese Empire. In fact, Japan during this period was fractured among various feudal lords. Although the Imperial House of Japan had power on the surface, the real power was in the hands of the Fujiwara clan, an aristocratic family who had intermarried with the imperial family.

 

Playing with the Japanese, each territory around the Civic Center is a feudal province. To progress through the technology three you have to build several buildings around the CC area. The concept is “synergy building mechanic” to unlock techs. (will it ever be possible to try this feature, technically speaking?)

The central building in each province is the “castle”, the residence of the Shogun. It’s a centre of power and wealth. It unlocks élite military units and generates a trickle of metal, but doesn’t shoot arrows so it can’t be used for defence. 

Japan excels in the late game with powerful units and techs, but it requires a slow buildup that makes it vulnerable to early attacks. 

 

Army 

Most of the Japanese army is composed of levy infantry from the peasant population (Citizen-Soldiers). They’re relatively cheap to train and quick to die. But the rest of the “core” of Japanese military is composed of specialized heavy infantry that is provided by the feudal lords in the castle. The cavalry is composed of nobles from various clans. They have heavy pierce and hack armour, but this slow down considerably their attack

 

Economy

Overall the Japanese military is strong and specialized, but slow and expensive. So a solid economy is required to sustain such an army. 

Metal and stone are the most important resources to build advanced buildings and train champion units. 

The castle provides already a metal trickle helpful in the late game, but the rest of the economy is sustained by the peasant population that work endlessly in the farms and in the forests. 

The class of citizen-soldiers and rōnins  is particularly inefficient in gathering resources, so an elevated number of villagers is required in the economy, making it vulnerable to raids. 

 

 

Japan_First-Buildings.jpg

This is very good, i believe that a good foundation of conceptual art helps a lot in the creation of 3d models, which in the end is the biggest bottleneck for creating a civ. There are key buildings like barrack, cc, houses, towers, fortress and economic buildings. This makes it easier for a 3d artist to dedicate a week. Alias Congratulations on the initiative.

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Yeah, I'm legit having lots of fun with this! :D

The Rus' faction is taking shape! I tried to give some indications on how the buildings could possibly work. It's all ideas, of course, so everyone can feel free to change/add if they want! :)

One of the ideas was also to conceptualise new unique buildings/units that allow to experiment with new playstyles and strategies (like the Trading Post here). If something works well then it can be potentially implemented also into Vanilla :)

I'll try to continue this faction sheet with all the other buildings, units and tech. This is only a first roast.

Beside, if you have suggestions on how to start with Blender, texturing, tutorials etc.. let me know! The learning curve seems to be pretty steep, but I'm interested to get some more proficiency with 3D, I think it can be helpful

Rus_building-order_01.jpg

Edited by Radiotraining
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6 hours ago, Radiotraining said:

Beside, if you have suggestions on how to start with Blender, texturing, tutorials etc.. let me know! The learning curve seems to be pretty steep, but I'm interested to get some more proficiency with 3D, I think it can be helpful

Try some tutorials with Andrew Price on Youtube. If you send me your models afterwards I can give you some pointers about making them better.

Great work on those concepts! Keep it up. Storehouse/Dropsite could use some love. Two stories buildins are nice but I'm not sure about the farmstead. Maybe one story would be better. Could also be an upgrade for the building.

How is the trading post different from a market?

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Hey! Those are some great feedbacks!! Thanks for checking in, Stan! I know you're already super busy :)

Quote

Try some tutorials with Andrew Price on Youtube.

Aha! I know the guy! Yeah, I'll start with him! :)

Quote

If you send me your models afterwards I can give you some pointers about making them better.

That sounds awesome! Yeah, I'm just a bit lost in the process.. I just don't know what to make of those models, how to properly uv wrap them or animate, so I would definitely need some guidance in the beginning. Hopefully without taking out time from anybody!

Quote

Storehouse/Dropsite could use some love. Two stories buildins are nice but I'm not sure about the farmstead. Maybe one story would be better. Could also be an upgrade for the building.

Yeah, I can make some further iterations: better storehouse and a simplified farmstead. One story is probably enough

Quote

How is the trading post different from a market?

Aha! That was my idea to give some "flavour" to this faction :D

Since pretty much all Russian history is a history of frontier, that was the idea of a commercial outpost that can be built anywhere in the map in neutral territory. Is a standalone multi-purpose building that can be used as resource dropsite, establishing a trading route far away from town, or it can be later upgraded to full CC to finally gain territory. You could also train some basic support units, like a trader and a scout. That's why it would be a bit different from a regular market and it's designed to allow a fast expansion in the map. Perhaps it could be unlocked after building a regular town market ?

I don't know if these kind of changes to buildings could be implemented, but I think it could be quite cool :) so, in case, some new playstyles can be experimented with this mod

Edited by Radiotraining
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8 hours ago, Radiotraining said:

That sounds awesome! Yeah, I'm just a bit lost in the process.. I just don't know what to make of those models, how to properly uv wrap them or animate, so I would definitely need some guidance in the beginning. Hopefully without taking out time from anybody!

It take some time to get used to it, but if you practise it should be fine :) Feel free to ask any questions you have to me and I'll do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

8 hours ago, Radiotraining said:

Since pretty much all Russian history is a history of frontier, that was the idea of a commercial outpost that can be built anywhere in the map in neutral territory. Is a standalone multi-purpose building that can be used as resource dropsite, establishing a trading route far away from town, or it can be later upgraded to full CC to finally gain territory. You could also train some basic support units, like a trader and a scout. That's why it would be a bit different from a regular market and it's designed to allow a fast expansion in the map. Perhaps it could be unlocked after building a regular town market ?

Sounds like something that can be done alread.

  • To put it anywhere you have to play with territory restrictions
  • Docks are already markets and resource dropsites
  • The upgrade feature can allow you to update to a CC. Alternatively you can also create a special tech (since A24) that allows you to give a territory root to your building.
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Basic roast of units from the Barracks.

- The style of clothes comes from images of traditional rural life from classic russian painters like Apollinary Vasnetsov

- This is just a blueprint, so feel free to add comments on weapons, army composition and type of units that could fit the scenario and timeframe around 1000 a.d.

 

Rus-units_first-roast.jpg

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37 minutes ago, Stan` said:

Feel free to ask any questions you have to me and I'll do my best to answer them in a timely manner.

Thank you very much!! :) I'll try to not bother too much

 

37 minutes ago, Stan` said:

Sounds like something that can be done alread.

  • To put it anywhere you have to play with territory restrictions
  • Docks are already markets and resource dropsites
  • The upgrade feature can allow you to update to a CC. Alternatively you can also create a special tech (since A24) that allows you to give a territory root to your building.

Oh..!! that makes lots of sense!!

It still a level 10 to do so for me :D ahahah but I see the logic behind!

Okay, time to break some code! ahahaha

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Bearing in mind that the dark period of Byzantium that began around 640 and lasted until the 800's with the Macedonian dynasty, you should keep the following in mind.

The Byzantine empire of the time was beginning a phase of centralization in which a new organized and effective state was being formed. An example of this were certain campaigns and incursions to the Arab neighbors, an occurrence that demonstrated that the Byzantine state was transforming from a defensive state to a more aggressive and ambitious one.

On the military issue I think the mod was very close to the Byzantine army of the 6th century and the late 5th century, but it leaves plenty of room if it is planned to be 7th century onwards. The armor set for this time should be that of lamellar armor and Oriental scales with the seals of the Hellenistic armor, the same applies to their helmets and patterns on the shields that show certain inaccuracies. The helmets depicted are explicitly late Roman and not Coptic or Caucasian as they should be in the mid-7th century Byzantium. While the patterns on the 7th century Byzantine shields were extremely personalized, often with Psudo-Greek inscriptions and decorations, Greek natives.

Now I think that certain units should also be added, perhaps to the "Kontarioi" which were an adoption of the Hellenistic war manuals of the "phalangitai". The "kontarioi" like their predecessors were armed with circular shields the size of Macedonian pelts with spears of up to 8 meters to form a "Chiliarchia" which was a Macedonian phalanx only with more combined use of the light infantry "Toxotai" and "Psiloi".

In the administrative and architectural aspect I believe that an extremely important Byzantine structure is needed. This was called the "Bouleterion" or "Bouleteria", it was a building dedicated to the assemblies of each city in which administrative and judicial matters were supervised. The Byzantine "Bouleteria" were largely a continuation of the classical Greek parliamentary system as they were structured and had the same purposes as their ancestors. A Byzantine "Bouleteria" would have been led by an "Aristoi" under the supervision of an "Epitropes" who was the presence of the Basileus in Constantinople, in the same way the Hellenistic kingdoms would establish "epitropes" to supervise the cities under their rule and assist to the assemblies led in them. I think this "Bouleteria" should be a research structure with a lot of economic benefits. It was in these Bouleteria that financial, judicial and administrative issues were treated and discussed by the Byzantine upper classes "Dynatoi" "Prouchontes" "Megastinoi" and "Aristoi".

I wrote much of this article on wikipedia a few years ago:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_battle_tactics

This article explains a bit the circumstances of the Byzantine military world. (The mod "the great conflicts" of total war, in my opinion, is one of the most accurate in terms of Byzantine military equipment from the 7th to 11th century with small inaccuracies such as the lack of variety of armor in certain regiments.)

contaratoi_tier1.thumb.jpg.ebb7125306cd5dfdaa70132fcea1712f.jpg

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9 minutes ago, Andronikos Medina said:

In the administrative and architectural aspect I believe that an extremely important Byzantine structure is needed. This was called the "Bouleterion" or "Bouleteria", it was a building dedicated to the assemblies of each city in which administrative and judicial matters were supervised. The Byzantine "Bouleteria" were largely a continuation of the classical Greek parliamentary system as they were structured and had the same purposes as their ancestors. A Byzantine "Bouleteria" would have been led by an "Aristoi" under the supervision of an "Epitropes" who was the presence of the Basileus in Constantinople, in the same way the Hellenistic kingdoms would establish "epitropes" to supervise the cities under their rule and assist to the assemblies led in them.

That's an interesting suggestion! I had no idea of the existence of such a building dedicated to bureaucracy and administration. 

Even though I started this thread, I have no particular decisional power when it comes to the mod itself, which it's been started by other people. But certainly new ideas are interesting and maybe is possible to find a good concept for them, both in terms of design and playability, so they can become relatively easy to actually implement!

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21 minutes ago, Andronikos Medina said:

I really liked your representation of the units for the Rus but I was wondering if you have any representation or idea of what the Byzantine units would look like.

No, I haven't thought anything about it yet.

If you go at the beginning of this thread I layed out my ideas for this mod, starting from what's already present and just adding a couple more civs. So I wasn't considering to touch the Byzantine civilization. But you coincidentally appeared right on time and I think that your knowledge and historical background could be really helpful to re-design some elements if necessary! :)

So all the material that you're deeming necessary is very welcome!

 

Btw: I took it for granted that you already played the mod, but maybe it wasn't obvious. Basically, if you have the version a25 of 0ad, you can download the mod from github here: https://github.com/0ADMods/millenniumad and should be possible to play it!

There's already present a Byzantine civilization, together with a few others. And some historical feedback from you could be very interesting!

 

Edited by Radiotraining
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31 minutes ago, Andronikos Medina said:

Haha thanks for the context, I did play the game! But I started to have problems with the mod and gave it up eventually.

Speaking of new civilizations, wouldn't you like to include Georgians or Armenians? To the Lombards perhaps?

I think the problem lies in planning too much stuff ahead that risk to derail a project. That's why I chose to focus on 3 civs for the moment, just to have a clear goal -relatively- manageable.

Bear in mind that I have zero experience with modding. I just launched this idea just a few days ago and now I'm trying to figure out the rest. So even making a single civ could be an incredible accomplishment to me! So I would stick with some limited goals for now. ;)

This is to give some context. But again, the civs I chosen to focus on are completely arbitrary: I just picked up some interesting/influential ones that were already planned to be included in the mod somehow. So they surely can be discussed, if it's the case!

For example, I was considering to switch the Avars with the Bulgarian Kingdom, since it had close contact with both Byzantine and Russian empires, so it could fit coherently with the rest. But I don't know. If you have knowledge about this one it would be incredibly helpful to plan it out, in case!

Although I would say that if you want to pick a specific civ and take care of its details, feel free to do so and we'll see how to implement it.

But in general, future civs could be added later, only after the first goals are accomplished. Otherwise it's a bit too much.

 

 

 

Edited by Radiotraining
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I could help you with the Bulgarian history both with its institutions and in the military aspect. My acquaintance with neighboring nations such as Bulgaria, Armenia, the Kievan Rus, and divided Italy is extensive but not as broad as in the area of Byzantinism that I do best. But if you prefer to focus on these specific nations, I could also give you what I know on the subject. Since the Kievan Rus are the priority I will inform you as best I can in the historical context of the Rus.

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Love it!! ^^

No no, let's keep also the ideas for Byzantine Empire! :) that's a good source of ideas, and I love the fact that is your area of expertise! We can start from that and then move to the next ones. 

For now I'll have to figure out also all the technical aspects required ehehe not an easy task for an absolute noob like me :D

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