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a fantasy Proto-Slavic mod


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First, I would like to praise the 0 AD team for making a great engine, as well as for making it so accessible to modders. The vanilla game is very enjoyable, the music is great, even if the AI nearly always massacres my towns. Also the use of JavaScript is a great choice, as I use it recently a lot in my work, so I don't have the bad feeling of playing too much... But I have to admit, being no real fan of AoE series, the game was attractive for me for the modding options. There were no wizards and dragons, so I thought about making some for the game.

Download here (currently 14.5 MB).

The file contains a .zip, which can be simply extracted to binaries/data/mods folder. The file is irregularily updated. Parameter for launcher: -mod=scythia

The mod basically adds a new faction of Sporians, which are very roughly based on 6th c. Sclaveni, as they are described by Byzantine authors - Sporoi where their mythical ancestors according to Procopius. The fantasy aspect is more important - from rhomphaias and bronze armors to dragons and thunderbolts. I was even thinking about making Red Sonja the faction's main hero. In short, as a "civilization", they are somewhat simplified: units can be trained only in the central building and the fortress. There are no barracks, no stables (cavalry needs the Corral), no "female citizen" unit (all units choose a gender variant randomly at training). On the other hand, basic infantry is cheaper than most units in vanilla and trains slightly faster. Units can also be healed in houses (3 at a time) from the beginning.

The mod is far from being finished, but I wanted to ask for advice about some features.

1. Instead of temples, the faction can build an idol: a wooden statue of a god. As in Age of Mythology, the player has to choose one: Peraunu or Welinˀsu, which provide units with different upgrades. The idol decays in time, but can be repaired by a shaman (the healer/magician unit) dancing around. The decay is provided by a global aura, which is "researched" automatically when an idol is built. Even if there is a limit of one idol per player, the aura destroys any subsequent idol, if the first is lost. Is it thus possible to "unresearch" it or otherwise deactivate a global aura?

2. One of the functions of both idol and its shaman is to serve as a drop-off point for a new resource called "skulls". I got an inspiration for this new functionality from an older game called Sacrifice, where you collect souls of defeated enemies to strengthen yourself. Defeated enemy combat units have a chance to drop an "intact skull", which can be gathered by your units and brought to the shaman or idol. Only skulls from enemies (technically, the dropped skull is an entity granted to the player, who killed the unit) can be collected. The skulls can be used to upgrade your units, e.g. with rhomphaias or dragons (btw, now you need a fully trained Champion and 30 skulls for one). The problem is the gathering itself: to prevent combat formations from running away from battle, I set the scripts so, that only one skull is gathered at once. Also, for some reason, the units are unable to find nearby skulls dropped by dead enemies for gathering. Why does the gathering AI ignore them?

3. Concerning the dragons: update removes the flying ability. Flight is unwieldy to control - they land and take off again each time a new target is selected, they don't always correctly face their targets, and can use only a melee attack. The flying script is somewhat hard to follow, and it somehow overrides attack AI of the unit. Is it possible to set up a simpler flying motion using the UnitMotion component? Or at least without the circling around coded for the P-51?

4. Another solution for the dragon problem would be to make it a "packing" unit: it could have a walking mode, in which it would use a melee attack, and a flying/floating mode, in which it would throw down flames. The problem was, that packing uses a new entity, so a new visual is generated. This affects only the rider, which is small anyway, but I plan to add more variation to the mount too. Is it possible to use the packing feature and preserve entity visuals?

5. There is also a horse archer upgrade, available to Raiders with the Peraunu idol. As I looked for a way, how to make them capable of shooting on the move, I made them to contain two entities, i.e. a horse with a dummy attack and a "turret". Visually, it is not ideal, as the 1. prop did not place the turret entity correctly unless it was parented to root, and 2. it dies separately from the horse. As I saw that some nomadic factions are in making, are there any more elegant solutions for such a feature?

Thanks for any advice, and feel free to try the mod if you wish.



Edited by ivicok
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  • ivicok changed the title to a fantasy Proto-Slavic mod

Another update brings a new unit and a new feature.

The unit - Child - acts as a cheaper "civilian" unit, which is less effective at hard works like lumbering and mining, but gathers fruit well. Boys have a bonus to carrying capacity, girls have a higher resistance.



As my grandfather always reminded me that Romans found it important to know how to read, write and swim, I always found it somewhat surprising, that in most Rome-themed games not even Velites can swim.

This is, of course, not acceptable for a light-infantry-focused faction. Thus, Warriors - both basic and skull-upgraded - are now able to swim. That is, they can traverse deep water with a small penalty to moving speed. A hack was needed in UnitAI component to make the specific animations for idle, moving and attack states.


"don't mind us, we're just having a bath"

Little update - now I understand how to calculate the depth, so the swimming mode should be triggered correctly.



Edited by ivicok
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This is possibly nothing new - boats can be now built with turret mechanics. Units transported by them will sit down unless they have something to attack in range. Currently, the boat also slows down proportionally to the number of passengers.


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