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Topics - mtarini

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TLD.808 / Making better starting menus
« on: March 04, 2008, 05:37:52 PM »
The very beginning of anything is the most important time of all   
[Bene Gesserit]   

Three minor style suggestions about starting menus:

1) Give a clear cut choice:
    Who will you side with?
  ...no, even more direct:
    Choose your side:
       Men
       Beasts


I used to just love how it sounded (before elves were playable), expecially because it is the very first screen when you start a game. Poetic, even!
Don't let elves water down the way that choice looks. Leave it for just later: if you side with men, your next choice is between "Gondor (men)" "Rohan (men)" or "Lorothien (elves)". Please!


2) Make the starting point a part of the characterization of the chosen sub-faction. i.e. if you are a gondorian you get to choose between a few places in Gondor.
Title it on the lines of "Where did you live until now?"


3) When game starts, postpone popup of explanations about formations until you have acquired someone in your group.
    (just like explanation of nightfall arrives only at the first nightfall -- that's neat, btw)



2
TLD.808 / Map Beautifing thread
« on: August 13, 2007, 10:39:45 AM »
In this thread I plan to accumulate ideas and results on efforts in making the map look better, or more fit to the TLD scenario.
AW and Thorgrim did a good job on the map (including icons) already. Here we try to understand if/how it be improved.

I'll use this to show results, and poll opinions suggestions and contributions.
This is just an attempt: if everything reaches a point where it is recognized as an improvement and AW likes it too, I'll submit results to him for inclusion in the module.


In general, I would like the map to be a mixture of realism and illustrative techniques. In other words, a mixture of the typical Tolkien paper map style and the satellite view of google maps.

There's a few things on their way already, but I can think of a few additional ones:

- Color schema. It is inherited from the native, and it is suboptimal IMO. Many colors seem too saturated, especially grass. Rivers and seas would probably look better if they were tad darker, and, again, less saturated.

- General scale perception: trees, mountains, rivers, stuff seem to hint on a scale which is a lot smaller than Middle Earth, as if the map depicted a region as big as a City district. It would be better if it looked larger. This is again a consequence of inheritance from the native mod, where, for example, a single mountain covers a good percentage of the map, and the scale of the map is such that a single path on a mountain is large enough to be walked down.

- Mountains is a particular subcase of the previous problem. In TLD, we need mountain chains, not isolated big blobs of rock, that the system is designed for.


Here I'll start with the last one: mountains.

Ready? go!

argonath model by lost angel/textured by triglav. --sticking this here so I dont forget to credit.
saruman hand by mtarini

3
TLD.808 / Idea about chasing and being chased
« on: July 05, 2007, 08:17:35 AM »
There is an issue about chasing and being chased (on the map).

If you chased an enemy group into a fight, then "holding your position" shouldn't be an option.
(If you want confrontation but they want to escape, then holding your position would just let them walk away).

I wonder if the following is moddable:

if the enemy battle group was escaping from you when the battle started, then, if you orders are set to "hold your position" for all of yours for more than a few secs, a message pops up telling you that enemy escaped, and battle is over. There should even be a big chance that they hold their positions, instead!

Needless to say, this would add to variety, challenge, and realism of the game.

4
TLD.808 / OffTopic: homemade LOTR based game.
« on: May 25, 2007, 05:24:07 PM »
<OFF TOPIC : START>

Hello everybody.

Sorry to go off-topic, if there was a The Last Days  sub-forum on "Off-Topic Chat" I would use it instead.

I wonder if anyone here knows/have the LordOfTheRing-based, 2-players, turn-based board-game, named "Lord Of The Rings: The Confrontation" by the game designer Reiner Knizia. You know, the one where the dark players tries to guess where Frodo is...

I feel like sharing with this little, great community a little computer adaptation I made of it a while ago.

So if anyone is interested, go ahead.
But be warned that you will need two computers (over a LAN or the web)  AND a human(*) opponent to play it, plus, at least one of the two players must know the IP address of the other.

(*) well, elven or dwarf opponents are fine too ;) .

I called it "E-Palantir" (Electronic Palantir).
I made it to play that game with remote pals, and, so far, I shared it only with a few friends, but it has long been kind-of comlete and ready to go.

downloads and more info here:  http://vcg.isti.cnr.it/~tarini/funny/epalantir/


EDIT: I should add that, to be on the safe side, I had to add a few disclaimers about copyrights and stuff.
         It is an unofficial computer adaptation of a commercial game, after all.


<OFF TOPIC :  END>

5
TLD.808 / Ecomomics in TLD
« on: May 23, 2007, 02:27:29 PM »
((TLD is really great. It is. Since what I am about to write here can sound as an ungrateful critique, let me stress how much I like this MOD: VERY much. Now, onto the subject.))

What one of the biggest elements that make a game at M&B-TLD far from the Middle Earth scenario?  Economics.

M&B original economics system (looting enemies, selling/buying stuff, hiring/paying soldiers, selling slaves...) is well fit for the individualist, pre-industrial anarcho-capitalism of the native scenario. Totally unlike JRRT Middle Earth.


1- What Middle Earth Economics is NOT.

As a Free Man (Gondor, Rohan) in JRRT Middle Earth, (say a Gondor officer), you would never, ever, ever:

- hire fellow soldiers in taverns for money. 
Not using your money, not anybody's. Not anywhere, and especially not in taverns

- buy your own equipment in town, with your own money.
Instead, you go into royal smiths and are given your war equipment, or something like that.
Even food is not bought by soldiers or officiers. There is a part in the book where they in Minas Tirith someone mentions to Pippin that the refectory is probably still open for him to go and collect his daily intake of food, or something like that.

- loot smelly orc stuff and sell them in town for personal revenue.
Who would want that anyway? And why would you seek personal revenue.

- be paid a fee from your king, or pay a fee to the soldiers under your command.

- ask a fee to escort a convoy of your faction

- loot enemy for money on the battlefield - or share it with your battlemates.

- sell the... slaves (!!!) you captured as POW on the battlefield, again for personal extra revenue.
The only mention about evil-human captives in the book that I can remember is one or two quick mentioning of them being made to swear they would not do it anymore, followed by setting them free. Can anyone confirm?

- be seen jousting happily, for fun or money, and betting sums on yourself to top.
It is a gloom, worrying time, after all.

Actually, when you think about it, basically every situation involving "dinars" in the game represents a blunt in the MiddeEarth scenario.



2- What Middle Earth economics could be instead.

Now, I am personally not very sure exactly how economics can be thought to work in Godor or Rohan, and if anyone knows better, out of JRRT lore, I'll listen.

As from me, I would say that money is never mentioned, at least outside the Shire, and nothing is ever seen being bought or sold.
Even the value of the famous Mithril mail is expressed in land and metaphor rather than in any currency.
Beverages at the Prancing Pony might have been bought with money, but that's very far from Rohan or Gondor.

Merchants are mentioned - usually to state that they are not many around because of unsafe, bad times we live in - but they may well be trading stuff for stuff, (say, ore for salt), not money. Soldiers are provided uniforms, armours, weapons, from the armory; there are common folks in Rohan and Gondor working as healers, horses breeders, smiths, farmers, beer-brewer and so on but it does not seem that anyone is paid for their services by their costumer. It vaguely seems like some... well, war-communism, if it had to be described in modern terms.



3- What TLD can do to embed that.

Maybe dinars should just be called something else, like "honor points", or "rank points", or whatever, and used to "buy" stuff.

Many elements could be just like they are now, with only minor (cosmetic easily modded) coatings. For example:

* You would still gain money, ehr, replenish Rank Points via your weekly "wage", from the lords (it would not be called "wage").
The amount should be adjusted to compensate for lack of most looting revenues (see later). You still gain "rank points" for winning battles, and lose "rank points" for incurring in the disgrace of losing a battle (right now, money is stolen from you by the winning side).

Cities, say, in Gondor, could feature:

* "The Barracks": where soldiers live. You can go there and  ask to someone in charge if he "knows any soldier able and willing to volunteer and follow me in dangerous war missions". They cost Rank Points to get them in the group, and other Rank Points for staying under your command, just like with dinars now. They "desert" if you run out of Rank Point (just like they do now for lack of wage), because they feel that you are not a worthy enough leader anymore. "Barracks" include the possibility to ask for food, and for lodging (so, it is similar to the tavern).

* "The Gondor Armory": which equips soldiers who need it; in game terms, they sell standard (not magic) Gondor equipments to players, making them spend their Rank Points.
If the player overspends, if should be told something along the lines of "In these dark times supplies are limited", and that he received enough already, and that everybody must try his best to make do with what he already has... stuff like that. You can also "return" (not "sell") used equipment, resulting in a partial recover of the points spent.

* "The Werehouse", for goods.

* "The stables", for horses.

The "Royal armory" full with magic items, should stay as it is.


However, some current money-driven things would never map in this schema, and should just be removed.
For example:

* No Slave trader, No Jousting:
I know that many players are accustomed to the jousts and the slave trader, but these elements are really out of place and their removal would make for a nicer mod (I known that I can just ignore them, as I am doing, but their presence still detracts from the game IMO). Maybe the capture of rank-and-file prisoners, when not for a mission, should be only cosmetics. You can take them around, but if you talk to them you can have a "go home, never do that again." dialog and set them free (maybe you gain respect, that is, Rank Point, for that).

* No looting weapons and armours after battle:
You could still loot caravans for goods like salt, ore etc, and "sell" them to the "Warehouses" back home (that is, donate them and gain somehow a little piece of gratitude from the realm). And, horses. Horses can be looted and "sold". But not these foul armors and weapons, etc. Can the Mod dictate that ork equipment and the like is never found in the loot screen?

* No "take me 10 stumper horse / 10 armours" missions.
I don't think many fancied these "Delivery Boy missions" anyway.
However, if necessary, they could be substituted with "We need these supply of [say, horses] to safely resupply City X in need. Bring them there",
or "we need you to go to city X, collect that and that, and bring them back here"

* No 'buy here, sell there for dearer prices' tactics.
No difference in prices, no 'merchants' player profiting from difference in prices.

Finally, some action that is currently performed spending "faction points" should be better done spending "rank points" (i.e. money), like:
ordering troops around the map, being received by healers, acquiring expert troops (which are just a lot more expensive than freshers). Faction points  would be only spent to "buy" permanent stuff, like magic objects and heroes.
IMO accumulated faction points should be permanent, and also set the upper limit of "rank points" you can accumulate in any given moment.
See also an earlier post of mine for related ideas (separate points for each friendly faction, etc)... ARGH, it is gone. Old board. Damn.



4- About the dark side.

I think that "beast" Playing Character could be dealt with a system that is similar to the one used now. It makes sense for them to have some kind of currency, to loot battlefields, to sell slaves (in their own cities! In isengard as slaves, in ork camps as live food!).

It would be cool if Isengard and Mordor orks, after a won battle, could occasionally engage in a fight (one round, not to the last man) for the loot, depending on the choices the player makes in what currently is the simple "thank you for helping against these bastards" dialog. Ok, I stop daydreaming.

And, good-human and elven equipment would not appear as such in the loot screen after beating them. Rather, the "orkized" version of stuff should appear. Elms gets dirty and rusty. Weapons are assumed to be modified by the orks collecting them. Some object appears that is just labeled "reusable iron", "shiny elven stuff", and so on (can be sold, cannot be wear or used).

This all would have a nice side effect: ork players (and ork NPC heros) would never be seen wearing "human" equipment, and no human player would ever wear ork equipment.  This triggers the possibility that Orkized version of looted  armour, and all ork armour, use different 3D models which could be customized to match the shape of ork body, making them more ork-like and less human (just in the same way that "feminine" armour, in the "feminine armour mod", are shaping the female bodies).
The "coat of furs" (not sure about the name) that some tribal ork wears in current version is already making them look more similar to orks than their companions without it.


(Edit: minor corrections.)


I wonder how much of this can be modded in TLD.

Thoughts?



6
Onin No Ran / Q: shields
« on: May 14, 2007, 05:25:49 PM »
I cannot try this mod right now, but from what I've read I am looking forward to this. Meanwhile, I thank all the people inveolved in its creation!


I'm writing because I am very curious about two things:

1- With all the bow-and-arrows in this Mod, faithful to the depicted historic scenario, and given how M&B works, how does this mod do without shields?

2- With all the bow-and-arrows in the real historic times in japan, and given how reality works, how did people do without shields?



I know that at lest the latter has been addressed already (two handed weapons = more important), by still it sounds impossible to understand to me
.
I've always been puzzled by the almost total lack of (personal) shields in the Japanese equivalent of middle ages.

For sure, (in the real world, but in M&B as well) I would want one if I was about to get into a battle, and I would want most of my melee soldiers to be equipped with them, and if I knew my opponent army did not have them, I would base my army on missile based units.
In reality (and M&B) unmounted troops are basically helpless when they face enemy archers in the open without a damn something to block arrows!


Why is "medioeval" japan different from what EVERYBODY ELSE was (at least partially) doing, from the bronze age included to gunpowder excluded?

Is it cultural? I find it difficult to believe that culture would prevent people from being the as effective as they can in a war, when so much is at sake.
Is it some obscure (to me) technical reason making shields non effective? Or difficult to make?


Thank you in advance!

7
So I played as an huruk this time. I see that while many dialog texts are changed to fit my new role, the majority remained disturbingly gallant. I understand this is far from being a priority, but it detracts a little from the "Hail Saruman! Gu-ak! Snort!" feeling, and I was wondering whether that is gonna change soon.


Btw, the initial choice ("MAN" - "BEAST") is so nicely put! Even poetic! It is just the perfect screen to have as the first one after a "start a new game". Well done!

EDIT:

I just encountered a bug. I play as Isengard.

When both free-food-factions - I mean, Human-factions - collapse, and Mordor wages war to Isengard (which is totally great!), for some reasons Moria stopped being a friend.
Its cities (well, Moria) and units are friendly-green, and I am not chased by their units, but I cannot enter Moria and if I make contact with the units, relationships deteriorates, and I am only offered the possibility to attack or leave - no dialog. The little un-thankful bastards! Yes, Moria is alive, not fallen.
(This is annoying because this way I cannot ask to anybody about the elves status).

BTW, I had a similar problem, since the beginning of the game, with Moria legions (not hosts or other units). They were green on the map, but if I contacted them I could only attack or leave.

Using the last version of TLD, ver 7.51 of M&B, no minimods.

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TLD.808 / Ode to The Last Day
« on: March 02, 2007, 08:12:11 PM »
The Last Day, how much do I like you?
Let me count the ways...

I love how LOTR is put in context, depicting everyday war-life in Middle Earth in a sober and convincing manner, instead of being an Aragorn-based shoot-em-up.

I love how you can make a little bit of a difference, but not too much,  in a war which is much bigger than you are

I love that the overall result of the war is kept track of. Just love this. One of the most value adding element of this mod.

I love that not every fight must be an even chance. Sometimes it happens that you don't have a chance, and sometime they don't. Realistic.

I love the lack of plate armour, and the fact that everything is in style. This MOD truly is the result of love and dedication.

I just LOVE the fact that Mordor and Isengard wage war at each other once elves and men are down.

I love to see all the skirmishes and minor battles that are the essence of every attrition war, and the fact that most often they are not epic or climax. And I love the occasional "climax" battle moment.

I love to hunt down these large hosts, to occsionally face wargs and trolls, to listen at the movie music while I play  (no, "movie" is not a bad word), that every Rohan lance point is dangerous even to uber PC, and so is a pack of orcs, I love the war cries. I love that feeling that this great game has the potential go get even better.

I love the way it keeps me playing month after month. The single game that I played the longest period of time, and counting (and I have been addicted to games, let me tell you).


Time to say thank-you thank-you and never stop.


(Back to the game now!)

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