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Introducing the Official community mod for Alpha 26


Should this be merged in the Community Mod  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. Team bonuses tweaks - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/13

    • Yes
      17
    • No
      7
    • Skip / No Opinion
      7
  2. 2. Ptol changes: easier capture and +50% build time - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/12

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      7
    • Skip / No Opinion
      6
  3. 3. Axe cavalry minor buff - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/11

    • Yes
      21
    • No
      3
    • Skip / No Opinion
      7
  4. 4. CC & colony territory expansion & cost adjustment - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/10

    • Yes
      23
    • No
      3
    • Skip / No Opinion
      5
  5. 5. Rams changes to turn rate / acceleration (faster) - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/9

    • Yes
      14
    • No
      13
    • Skip / No Opinion
      4
  6. 6. Athen hero changes (Pericles, Themistocles) - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/8

    • Yes
      18
    • No
      1
    • Skip / No Opinion
      12
  7. 7. Make healers (much) cheaper - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/5

    • Yes
      23
    • No
      6
    • Skip / No Opinion
      2
  8. 8. Move T2 blacksmiths techs to Town Phase - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/4

    • Yes
      22
    • No
      7
    • Skip / No Opinion
      2
  9. 9. Nerf heroes Iphicrates and Ptolemy - https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/-/merge_requests/3

    • Yes
      11
    • No
      9
    • Skip / No Opinion
      11


Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

LINK: https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26image.png

Following recent & less recent discussions on the forum, the team has a proposal on how to improve balancing that seems viable in the short term. This post will explain the 'what' and 'why'.

What

We will make a copy of the files relevant to balancing (templates, civ data, techs, ...) as of A26's release, and create a new repository on Gitlab. This repository will be bundled as a 'A26 community balance' mod, and regularly signed & uploaded on mod.io by the 0 A.D. team. The mod will also be easily downloadable directly from gitlab.

Community members will be granted commit access to this repository, on a voluntary basis, by 0 A.D. team members. This commit access is subject to the expected rules, such as not trying to mess everyone's work and generally behave productively.
More generally, the mod will be public and anyone can easily make PRs using GitHub/gitlab's interface, and people with commit access will be able to merge PRs.

This mod can then evolve on its own after A26's release, independently of 0 A.D.'s work towards A27.

Why

We agree with you that balancing is a sore point for 0 A.D. The issue is complex, and the team lacks time to fix it. Previous efforts, such as the balancing PM or the balancing subforum, did not work well enough. Furthermore, we receive a lot of feedback from the community on gameplay and would like to give the community a more hands-on approach. There are far more players than team members, and we hope that having more people with commit access will speed things up.

We understand that Phabricator is a little unwieldy. Using a better known tool will also make it easier for people to make changes.
We cannot currently give commit access to the whole SVN repo, nor can we easily split the 0 A.D. mod to make balancing its own repository.
Making more regular releases seems unrealistic at the moment.
Migration to gitlab is also a work in progress.

Therefore, we think this is an easy way to make strides forward while not increasing the workload of the team too much.

By making it a mod that can easily be downloaded, and that's provided by the 0 A.D. team, we can somewhat ensure that the mod will be played, and thus a better product. This also relieves the team of some of the pressure of balancing the release right away, since we know unbalanced units (which are somewhat inevitably discovered after release) can be fixed.

What happens with A27?

This balance mod's scope will not follow potential engine changes in A27, and may not be immediately portable when the time to release comes around. Our hope is that, by comparing the mod with A26, the 0 A.D. team can understand the direction that things should go in and port relevant changes in a coherent manner. This will almost necessarily lead to some changes not being ported, or to some work being necessary to do so.

To summarise: we'll give you the keys to the car to make A26 a more fun game. By the time A27 comes, we can hopefully use your work (and our own) as a good template for a better game out of the box.

If this experiment is a success, we may reproduce it after A27, but time will tell.

---

The repository will be shared around the A26 actual release, to make sure the files are indeed those from A26. In the meantime, feel free to share feedback on the idea and indicate what you'd consider a fitting role for yourself.

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The biggest problem of balancing is that everyone says that the team needs to change this and that. It is like waiting for the bus to arrive while not realizing that you are the bus driver of your own life. Very little people actually realize that everyone has the power to do so. I think that attitude needs to change and this proposal can help with that.

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45 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

The biggest problem of balancing is that everyone says that the team needs to change this and that. It is like waiting for the bus to arrive while not realizing that you are the bus driver of your own life. Very little people actually realize that everyone has the power to do so. I think that attitude needs to change and this proposal can help with that.

we must define a few axes as well.

Units roles/ counter(soft and hard).

Asymmetrical RTS(yes or not) and how?

And future planned features.

 

And redesign unpolish gameplay (capture, siege, naval units).

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very good news. I hope the mod gets to be really used by the community. if this is the case, obvious unbalances (like carth merc cav or iber fire cav) can be fixed promptly, and also gameplay can evolve more rapidly - provided that the adoption of the mod is wide enough.

how the "balancing team" will decide to organize itself will also be fundamental to the success of the experiment. I hope everyone gets very practical now.

2 hours ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

Units roles/ counter(soft and hard).

Asymmetrical RTS(yes or not) and how?

these discussions still belong to the forum I think. hopefully they can lead to a new updated design document.

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By the way, is there any plan on the off chance that a check is implemented, that pops up an advise to download the latest version of the mod, anytime you join the MP lobby without the mod or with an old version?

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1 minute ago, alre said:

By the way, is there any plan on the off chance that a check is implemented, that pops up an advise to download the latest version of the mod, anytime you join the MP lobby without the mod or with an old version?

And auto loading the mods required to play a particular match would also be a major help in making this work.

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5 hours ago, alre said:

By the way, is there any plan on the off chance that a check is implemented, that pops up an advise to download the latest version of the mod, anytime you join the MP lobby without the mod or with an old version?

I do plan to have some screen on the landing page if you've activated the mod, but that'll only be for signed versions of the mod, which I expect to lag behind the 'fastest' stuff. It's going to be a little awkward, unfortunately, but less so than having to actually apply patches or something

5 hours ago, hyperion said:

And auto loading the mods required to play a particular match would also be a major help in making this work.

Not doable for this release either, though yes that would be a nice feature.

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This is very promising. :)

While (understandably) this does not go as far as some proposals, it does open up a new, more streamlined pathway for balance provocateurs to submit modifications to the game and then test the effects of those modifications without jumping through loads of technical hoops.
I tend to have more confidence in technological measures that change the facts on the ground pertaining to a problem, over "community initiatives" that call on individuals to adopt a new paradigm without addressing any of the incentives that produced the situation in the first place; and this solution does a bit of that. So... merci and bravo!

Whether this will be enough to break some of the gridlock in 0AD's balance development I cannot venture to predict. Probably it will not fix all the problems in one go, but so long as the community maintains realistic expectations, the contributors remain committed to an incremental campaign of periodic improvements, and the main developers are open and supportive to increasing integration with the main mod and other balance-adjacent endeavors in the future, I cannot see this being entirely fruitless.

As to the poll questions: would this be enough to get a vocal complainer like me to get off the benches and contribute some skin to the game? I think the answer is yes. This answers many of my objections about barriers to working on balance improvements. I've got some stuff going on right now that would make taking on another project hard, but once that is done I would be open to contribute, insofar as I am competent to.

10 hours ago, Lion.Kanzen said:

we must define a few axes as well.

Units roles/ counter(soft and hard).

Asymmetrical RTS(yes or not) and how?

And future planned features.

 

And redesign unpolish gameplay (capture, siege, naval units).

I agree with Lion that discussions must be had about the intended scope of this project. Is this to be focused on minor adjustments to specific balance issues, or will it be open to more radical reimagining of established unit roles and gameplay conventions? (Someone working on fine tuning archer balance is going to be pretty angry if someone else comes along and completely resets the balance relationship between melee and ranged a week later.) Best to have a plan, and maybe (gasp) a design document.

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15 hours ago, LetswaveaBook said:

Very little people actually realize that everyone has the power to do so.

yes but it is hard for these changes to get approval, even with some agreement.

It seems to me the hardest part of this role is getting people to test the balance changes one makes, while people then provide feedback without testing.

The beauty of this balance mod is that it should overcome the difficulty of ordinary players to test individual mods (download and install).

also, it will be nice to test changes alongside other balance changes.

Many thanks @wraitii!

Edited by real_tabasco_sauce
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11 hours ago, ChronA said:

Is this to be focused on minor adjustments to specific balance issues, or will it be open to more radical reimagining of established unit roles and gameplay conventions?

Indeed something to be discussed. That being said, my intention here is more the former than the latter.

I hadn't really considered it, but I think I could maybe set up a branch system to have variants of the mod, so you can use the provided infrastructure for other things. Alternatively, you could just setup forks that implement entire redesigns.

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On 18/06/2022 at 1:46 PM, ChronA said:

This is very promising. :)

While (understandably) this does not go as far as some proposals, it does open up a new, more streamlined pathway for balance provocateurs to submit modifications to the game and then test the effects of those modifications without jumping through loads of technical hoops.
I tend to have more confidence in technological measures that change the facts on the ground pertaining to a problem, over "community initiatives" that call on individuals to adopt a new paradigm without addressing any of the incentives that produced the situation in the first place; and this solution does a bit of that. So... merci and bravo!

Whether this will be enough to break some of the gridlock in 0AD's balance development I cannot venture to predict. Probably it will not fix all the problems in one go, but so long as the community maintains realistic expectations, the contributors remain committed to an incremental campaign of periodic improvements, and the main developers are open and supportive to increasing integration with the main mod and other balance-adjacent endeavors in the future, I cannot see this being entirely fruitless.

As to the poll questions: would this be enough to get a vocal complainer like me to get off the benches and contribute some skin to the game? I think the answer is yes. This answers many of my objections about barriers to working on balance improvements. I've got some stuff going on right now that would make taking on another project hard, but once that is done I would be open to contribute, insofar as I am competent to.

I agree with Lion that discussions must be had about the intended scope of this project. Is this to be focused on minor adjustments to specific balance issues, or will it be open to more radical reimagining of established unit roles and gameplay conventions? (Someone working on fine tuning archer balance is going to be pretty angry if someone else comes along and completely resets the balance relationship between melee and ranged a week later.) Best to have a plan, and maybe (gasp) a design document.

It is essential to decide if I have two CSs are the same or not and in what things the civs/factions will be different.

The problem of balancing them is have in consideration how equal will a Maurya lancer without armor be to a Triarius.

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  • Stan` pinned this topic

Hello everyone,

The mod is now live! You can contribute over on GitLab at https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/

The mod can also directly be downloaded from 0 A.D. using Mod.io. The current version, 0.26.1, incorporates the Han rice/grain fixes as a demonstration.

Feel free to reach out to @Stan` or myself if you would like to become a maintainers. Otherwise, open the web IDE and get ready to make PRs!

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2 hours ago, wraitii said:

You can contribute over on GitLab at https://gitlab.com/0ad/0ad-community-mod-a26/

There are so many different idea's on what would be an improvement for 0ad that success isn't automatically guaranteed. What is a good change or not, is highly dependent on what you think the game should be and how (competitive) play should unfold.

So I would guess it would be good to first discuss what the concrete goals/virtues/aim of the mod is.

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I think it would be nice for certain gameplay features or balance concerns that are widely agreed upon. For example, in a25 we could have added some merc cav nerf or firecav/brit chariot nerf and go back to playing with those units. I think the main challenge for the mod is the same that the RC's have before alpha releases: people don't get the mod, and if they do, they cant find a host they want to join, so they go back to the main release.

I think the community mod would be most useful as a way to test gameplay features such as unit specific upgrades or the Sparta diversification package.

My thinking is if the community mod is continually progressed, it will be important to have clear and easy ways to see what is on it, and for only the most recent version to be supported.

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While I remain an advocate of big structural changes for 0 AD, at this juncture I think restraint would be wise for this mod. With the brand new alpha no one knows yet what the current crop of balance problems will be (even if we have some guesses). Rushing into a set of features that don't reflect the current balance zeitgeist, or worse create entirely new problems on top of the endogenous deficiencies, would risk discrediting the project. Plus there might be governance problems in these early days that would be easier to sort out before real balance politics begins.

Better to wait a month or so to see how things shake out with alpha 26. Maybe start collecting proposals, drafting design documents, and organizing in the mean time.

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I'm not a numbers guys,  I don't know much about the proportions of the units in terms of I'm not a whole number let's see I don't know much about the proportions of the units in terms of attacking or defense.

 

Here is my question....

What equivalence must I have for a battering ram It is exactly equivalent primed to the battering rams seen in  AoE II.

 

 

 

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My perspective is to start with small things that people agree are OP or broken (such as the Han thing I fixed).

As a maintainer I'll only merge stuff there that feels consensual enough, whether that comes from a PR on the mod or from a diff that ended in A27 from A26 playtesting.

 

The idea of the mod is to allow:

  • Having an A26 that's playable in MP
  • Allowing some experiments potentially in a slightly easier way
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12 hours ago, wraitii said:

My perspective is to start with small things that people agree are OP or broken (such as the Han thing I fixed).

As a maintainer I'll only merge stuff there that feels consensual enough, whether that comes from a PR on the mod or from a diff that ended in A27 from A26 playtesting.

 

The idea of the mod is to allow:

  • Having an A26 that's playable in MP
  • Allowing some experiments potentially in a slightly easier way

I see, so we could start to address the han swordcav rush in this mod?

(honestly in this case, i think swordcav in general are just a little too tanky, -1 pierce armor seems fine to me)

 

Would something like my proposed unit specific upgrades (https://code.wildfiregames.com/D4788) be to large a change for the community mod?

I guess this would be done once there is some agreement on the upgrades (and first whether or not to add them).

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11 hours ago, real_tabasco_sauce said:

I see, so we could start to address the han swordcav rush in this mod?

Yes that's the idea.

11 hours ago, real_tabasco_sauce said:

Would something like my proposed unit specific upgrades (https://code.wildfiregames.com/D4788) be to large a change for the community mod?

I do think so, but I kind of intend to let the community actually handle thing here.

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On 29/09/2022 at 2:08 AM, BreakfastBurrito_007 said:

I think it would be nice for certain gameplay features or balance concerns that are widely agreed upon.

That sounds like a fair suggestion, but it might run into practical problems. Like with fire cav, people agree that something needs to be done, but they might not agree on what needs to be done. Also, I wonder if the virtue of allowing things "widely agreed on" invigorate some bigger innovative changes.

On 29/09/2022 at 9:23 AM, wraitii said:

Allowing some experiments potentially in a slightly easier way

I would prefer to take a more experimental approach. In my view, one of the major problems of 0ad is that the natural state of the game is to decay to a boring boom game.

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30 minutes ago, LetswaveaBook said:

That sounds like a fair suggestion, but it might run into practical problems. Like with fire cav, people agree that something needs to be done, but they might not agree on what needs to be done. Also, I wonder if the virtue of allowing things "widely agreed on" invigorate some bigger innovative changes.

Balance fixed.

what I liked about Katerine.

she helped me with the numbers of what I told her it could be.

Since she left I no longer have someone to help me reason out the proper numbers for units.

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