Stronghold Crusader 2

Stronghold Crusader 2

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TheBlackGrouse Mar 24, 2015 @ 4:08am
SOLUTION FOR INTERESTING GAME: MODDING & EVENTS!
Given up Firefly, they are extremely busy ending their own company.

Modding and creating events is a possibility. Maybe it is only a solution for Single Player. Some of you will know the Close Combat Series. Well these games have the same problems as Crusader 2, with one big difference. Modding is possible with software, written especially for the game. I started programming this game for better balance and unit diversity. It takes time, but in the end it is fun. If Crusader 2 is moddable, you can change things like Wall hitpoints, where Siege Camps are build, make Rangers be able to climb the Walls, digging Moats etc.

The next thing is working with the Map Editor and creating events to add strategic options. I have experimented with the Holy Route. You get extra Candles from your villagers when building a Church early in the game. Devoted people attract a Princess from a strong Catholic Royal Family for a marriage. That gives a popularity boost. Tricks with Pilgrims are possible, things like that.

So, who has clues for modding, examples to share?

Or ideas for events?



Last edited by TheBlackGrouse; Mar 24, 2015 @ 10:44am
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Showing 1-15 of 31 comments
Baron Mar 24, 2015 @ 5:51am 
Modding unit stats is (mostly) possible, as the relevant data is contained in rules.xml and you can modify pretty much every value apart from the range on ranged units. Adding or changing functionality is probably not possible because from the looks of it everything else is in the .exe or a .dll.

{LINK REMOVED}
Extract this, and use it on the .v file to get at the game's content
Last edited by Baron; Mar 24, 2015 @ 5:51am
TheBlackGrouse Mar 24, 2015 @ 10:00am 
'The People are looking forward to the Jousting Tournament, my Liege'

Thanks Baron!!!

Opening the files is easy. I have been changing all sorts of things and it works.

It gives a lot of opportunities to make the game more interesting and harder. And that's what we want, isn't it?

For those who want a little information before breaking up the main game files, things like this are to be found in the Rules.xml.


PRICES
You can change the buy and sell price for the Market.
These are the lines in the Rules.xml, they speak for themselves.
<class>APPLES</class>
<sell_price>6</sell_price>
<buy_price>12</buy_price>
By changing this, you get rid of this bread-only economy. Just drive up the prices for meat, apples and cheese. Now you can't live without enough Apple, Dairy and Pig Farms. So space for Buildings becomes much more important.


CANDLES
Crusader II exists because of a little religious misunderstanding in the Middle Ages. But Candles in this game are made out of Divine Inspiration and don't need Resources. Winning by selling Candles is not The Honorable Way. You better lower the selling price of Candles.


TREES
Diamonds of the Desert. Strange that you can buy Wood so easily. We are in the Desert, remember... Trees are rare so Wood should be expensive. Change buy_price, sell_price and the game becomes harder and more realistic.


WALLS
We can make them better, cheaper, stronger.
These are the original values:
<class>StoneWall</class>
<hitpoints>10000</hitpoints>
<stone_cost>7</stone_cost>
Finally, StrongWalls for everyone. Praise the Lord! Change the costs and hitpoints, according to your personal playing style.


HOARDINGS
<class>Hoarding</class>
<hitpoints>22000</hitpoints>
These useless Hoardings need more hitpoints. So you can place the Oil Smelter and the Oiltipperguys guys will be safe on the Walls. Brings back a little more feeling of Castle Defence.


NUMBER OF BUILDINGS
<building>
<class>Church</class>
<max_per_estate>1</max_per_estate>
Holy Cow, you can build your own Catholic Refuge with a lot of Churches.


ENGINE TOWERS
<class>EngineTowerBallista</class>
<hitpoints>3000</hitpoints>
At the moment these Towers are a waste of money, look at them and they collapse. Give them more hitpoints and they will be a serious option...


MACEMEN
<class>Maceman</class>
<wall_damage>1.9</wall_damage>
Not satisfied with the Macemen? Well they have this fine weapon for crushing skulls. Maybe transform them into real wallbreakers by changing the Wall_damage.


RANGERS
You want the Rangers to be a serious unit? Change the damage/hitpoints, or their armor, maybe even their speed.


PAPER HORSES
<class>Horse</class>
<hitpoints>5000</hitpoints>
Tired of your Horses dying as if Conan the Barbarian is hidden behind every tree? Now they can be changed into normal Horses.


HISTORICALLY ACCURATE EVENTS
<game_event>
<id>OCCUR_PLAGUE</id>
<duration>120</duration>
Those events do not last long. You can change the duration, so the Plague is not over within a few seconds. In Medieval times it went on for years...


'SPACE' OF UNITS
<peasant_cost>1</peasant_cost>
You can change the peasant cost of the Knight. Make it 4. After all, a Knight needs a Horse and people have to take care of that animal. Also Knights have servants who polish their armor and lute players for entertainment during the long dark Medieval evenings. And so it is quite realistic that a Knight takes up more peasant space. Then, spawning Knights will be far more difficult. If there are only 4 free Peasants, you have to think carefully before you pick a Knight. You can have 4 Macemen instead.


Well, there is a lot more. But it gives you an idea. This could be the Revolution we are waiting for, at least for Single Player. Maybe it is possible for Multiplayer, if everyone uses the same basic files.

I'm experimenting with more expensive Knights, that need 4 Peasants and have Horses with double hitpoints. I've upgraded the Ranger to a better melee fighter by changing armor and price. Plus some adjustments to Conscripts and Man-at-Arms to make them a little more useful. After all, when Knights are harder to get, you need other troops to build your army. In the end it looks like a real army with all sorts of soldiers. And that's the way we like it.

After a few hours modding and testing, the game is already harder and more interesting. It is .... .... (pick two words) that Firefly has not done something like this.

Hopefully, there are Modders out there, please share your experience.
Last edited by TheBlackGrouse; Mar 24, 2015 @ 5:53pm
TheBlackGrouse Mar 25, 2015 @ 4:25am 
Maybe it's possible for Multiplayer if all the players have the same Rules.xml. That's not too difficult. Just a few important changes: hitpoints Walls, Gates, Hoardings, Horses, EngineTowers Some adjustments to Ranger, Man-at-Arms, Conscripts, Knigths and the one-soldier-army belongs to the past. Change the prices of Wood, Meat etc and the economy is more challenging. Limit the number of Siege Camps and so on. No more winning by spawning 250 Knights and 25 Trebuchets!

Tried it yesterday and it's a big improvement. Now it's a matter of finetuning. I notice myself buying Conscripts, Man-at-Arms and Rangers, the soldiers that are normally only useful in the first few days of a Skirmish. Feels like three new units.

Well, if the Game Developer does not listen, multiplayers can agree about some changes, upload the file and fire away. After all, discussion is the function of a forum.

Anyone, who has experience with sharing Multiplayer files?
Last edited by TheBlackGrouse; Mar 25, 2015 @ 4:35am
Baron Mar 25, 2015 @ 6:05am 
We might avoid Out of Syncs if everyone had the same rules file. You'd have to make some kind of patching program for it, where you could replace files inside the assets file without having to run it through makev and copy the whole thing over, and stick rules.xml on dropbox or mediafire or something. I don't know if there would be enough interest though.
TheBlackGrouse Mar 25, 2015 @ 6:48am 
You are right, it should be user friendly. Balancing, finetuning, creating strategic options works for me. But I can't make a patching program. In the Close Combat community there are hundreds of mods, no one plays the original version. They use them also for multiplayer. This community seems different. It is not exactly that 'The People are revolting, my Lord'.
J. O. Napes Mar 26, 2015 @ 5:39am 
hope you computer smart guys can do all the stuff mentioned sounds great for single player. if host of a multiplayer game loaded everyone who joins game with new values like a map load that would be magic.
TheBlackGrouse Mar 26, 2015 @ 6:19am 
Working on balance and economy. Still testing. I've upgraded the Ranger and Pikeman (no attack with a Pike?) in combat and price. Originally, in the Barracks you have a lot of units around 10 Gold and then there are the expensive Swordsman, Sergeant, Knight. The Ranger and Pikeman are now in between with 20-25 Gold. Changes in hitpoints, missile armor, melee armor etc. Also the function of the Conscript has changed. Well it didn't have a function at all, now it's a player again. This big wooden log he's carrying gives some damage, but it's very bad for defence. Changed that. Now you really feel a hit with that club... but he has a weak side.

Balancing, testing, it takes time. The original game is poorly, poorly, poorly balanced.

One Wheat Farm feeds your whole Village? We don't call that an economy.

Cheap Wood in the desert? Forget it.

The Firefly team did not pay much attention to strategy, economy and environmental factors, we are talking about serious under-performance.

For me this is the only way, I stopped playing weeks ago because of the boring economy and spawning system, but this could be the solution.

Baron Mar 26, 2015 @ 7:19am 
Also you might wanna keep backups of any mod files you produce because when they next update the game the .v files will be overwritten.
TheBlackGrouse Mar 27, 2015 @ 6:27am 
Have them in a different folder, also have a logfile with the changes. Do you know if it's possible to mod other files than Rules? For instance, I'm trying to give the Ranger some Leather Armor, therefore we need a Cow and to make it realistic the Armourer Workshop has to be changed. Things like that. I can do this with events, but that's a lot of work for every map...
Last edited by TheBlackGrouse; Mar 27, 2015 @ 6:28am
Baron Mar 27, 2015 @ 7:15am 
It's possible to modify everything inside the .v file, and have the game load that instead of the original. So you could change stuff like the AI castles, for instance. I don't know about leather armour, though: you could try adding a entry in rules under resources, but the game might not pick up on it. Back in SH3 everything was done in LUA files, which would have been a huge boon to modding had the game not bombed horribly, but now most of the cool stuff is locked up in the .exe file, which we can't get at.
TheBlackGrouse Mar 27, 2015 @ 4:46pm 
Ok, have been modding and testing for nearly 24 hours. Terrible weather here and some time, so I go for it. First results are promising, in Single Player against 3 opponents. Your Castle is now the decisive factor in the game, as it should be in a Castle Sim.

When finished I think this is fun for other players too. The user-friendly solution is to pack it in the complete assets.v file but that thing is more than 200 Mb. Maybe there is a better way to do this?
Baron Mar 28, 2015 @ 5:52am 
might be too big, and there's a load of art in there (UI files, those awful deviantart tier backgrounds, etc) which would break some EULA somewhere. You'd just be better off putting the .xml file on mediafire and giving really precise instructions as to how to patch the program.
Last edited by Baron; Mar 28, 2015 @ 12:43pm
TheBlackGrouse Mar 28, 2015 @ 11:10am 
Also modding other files in a lot of different maps. The average computer user may not be able to install it. StrongholdNation is possibly the best place for this. Still thinking how to make it userfriendly.

By the way, Baron, I'm playing with Definitions\Buildings\buildings.xml to limit the building area of the Siege Camp. These camps breed like Rabbits, coming out of nowhere near your castle, totally unrealistic.

There must be a second code somewhere because 'placeable_on_neutral' works with every building except this Siege Camp. Any idea? Or does the exe-file override some codes?

The other solution is countermeasures like Pitch that's placable outside your territory. Tried it and it works fine. For balance issues the price of Pitch has to go up. The advantage of Pitch is that soldiers have to be around to ignite it. That makes it realistic.

Things like this give a lot of tactical options, and that's what the game is missing.
Last edited by TheBlackGrouse; Mar 28, 2015 @ 11:22am
Baron Mar 28, 2015 @ 12:37pm 
It might be. Test to see if siege camps and other buildings obey the same distance to enemy limit, and if they don't, then FF have pulled some crappy workaround in the .exe rather than make their game work properly.
TheBlackGrouse Mar 28, 2015 @ 6:03pm 
Solved it with Pitch and Man-Traps being able to place outside your walls. The War Dogs didn't work because this clever AI keeps spamming Trebs, without bringing in soldiers, and they all get killed immediately by the dogs.

Big advantage is you can build your Castle to the white faction line and still place the Pitch and traps. Your Castle looks better. Pitch (with no Brazier around) can be ignited by destroying a BurningCart.

Had to make the traps more expensive because they will be used in narrow passages everywhere on the map.

I always found it a bit strange that Mantraps are placed inside your own Castle, right in front of stairs and gates. How do your peasants move? Far in the Woods or Desert as ambush is more realistic.

Takes an enormous amount of time but this is fun. Have to stop soon, but we'll seen what happens then.
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