Scythian Civilization [Nomadic Mobile gameplay]

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by TuranianGhazi, Jan 10, 2021 at 7:53 AM.

  1. TuranianGhazi

    TuranianGhazi Spearman

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    Hello AOEO Project Celese Forums!

    Just coming from Mr. Paul Flores' excellent article on the Romans! Can't wait!

    I'd just like to discuss this separately.

    I'm really really really hoping that Project Celeste undertakes creating a truly NOMADIC civilization, the Scythians. Once I'm freed up after I finish I finish my The Last Khanates mod for Empire/Napoleon Total War, I'm ready, willing to learn the modelling/texturing/rigging/animating workflow pipeline of AOEO and hoping to contribute.

    Empires Apart with the Mongols really nailed down what I see as nomadic civilization in an RTS game. I have a gut instinct feeling that the Age of Empires 4 would probably steal most of the thunder and ideas from Empires Apart for the Mongol civilization. Here check out the description of the Mongols in Empires Apart: https://empiresapart.gamepedia.com/Mongols

    Already, when I saw Babylonians getting the Ox Cart as a mobile storehouse, that's exactly what I was thinking AOEO needs for a NOMADIC civilization. I still find it very odd that Babylonians who were city and wall builders are so nomadic and with units like Lancer (I think it fits better with nomadic than Babylonians). Shield-bearer REALLY fits Babylonians in my mind. Imho, Babylonians are more of an infantry rather than cavalry civilization. Persians more archer civilization, but I have my own historical biases. I'd rather see Babylonians get extra Palisade walls or an extra mini-Fort/Castle kinda like the Bulgarians got with Krepost' than see them as a cavalry civ. Just my 2 cents.

    Some features of a NOMADIC civilization such as Scythians that I'd LOVE to see in AOEO:
    - Villager drop off 30% of their wood gathering as food, resulting in a wood-focused economy when natural food supplies run out
    - Buildings and siege units are built out of [UNIQUE BUILDING: perhaps War Host] which unpacks into buildings for free and can repack at will, allowing for a high amount of mobility.
    - [UNIQUE BUILDING aka War Host] costs a single population each which disappears when the unit is packed up
    - Town Center can be packed up and transported across the map when resources in starting position run out
    - All buildings produce a small amount of population, NOT just houses
    - Houses are Yurts or Gers and can double up as Outposts with good visibility range or as herdables container
    - No walls
    - Only Cavalry units, no Infantry units of any kind; only through specific Advisors perhaps, that's it
    - Cavalry units with bonus against infantry
    - Cavalry units with higher armor
    - Cavalry units with bonus against spearmen
    - Cavalry with malus against Camels. Camel troops hurt cavalry more.
    - No Farms
    - Instead of Farms, Pastures: herded by a Shepherd as infinite but slow Food resource
    - Hunting bonus food
    - Can't forage berries
    - Instead, placing Pastures near Berries increases yield, perhaps?
    - Also Pastures can train Herdables like Sheep, Horses, Camels for food, cost Wood or Gold. THis is fast Food needed in a pinch, for example
    - Market just like any Scythian/Nomadic civ building can pack up and move around, no need to rebuild it
    - Instead of Castle as a building, it's a [Horde] of Cavalry Archers in an animation loop of the Cantabrian/Central Asian circle, just running when not under attack, but firing animation when under attack. Long time ago, I tried to make this work for AOE2HD... now I'll try to get to that in AOE2DE for Cumans for example.
    - Shaman priest who provides evasion and anti-snare for the cavalry troops
    - Unique building that provides increased speed of the units in its vicinity... aka creep from Starcraft II. Wait, upon further inspection, Millaria built by Engineers is the same thing, huh? hmmm might need to rethink this one then... perhaps Roman Millaria only increases speed of Infantry and Archers, foot soldiers? While the Scythian unique building only increases speed of Cavalry not Infantry/Archers or foot units? Compromise? Or just keep brainstorming something more unique and fitting?
    - Access to Bactrian or Two-Humped camels of their own. So far in-game AOEO I don't think there are any Two-Humped Camels. Actually in the The Last Khanates mod for ETW/NTW, I have obtained/paid for Bactrian/Two-Humped camel model and have made it into a new mount with its own weight and parameters. Working on this right now. Even have an armored version with chainmail. So Cataphract Camels essentially
    TLDR: Bactrian Camel Riders and Cataphract Bactrian Camel Rider units
    - Horse Cart or Bactrian Camel Caravan as a mobile storehouse
    - Wanderlust ability on Scouts and Villagers: If they stop and are idle, their vision grows to 2x the vision of the normal villager or scout... this is to simulate that they take in the surroundings and are good trackers
    - Bloodlust ability on ALL military units: Increases their damage and attack speed as long as they continue to kill enemies. Or vice versa. If they kill X number of enemies in Y amount of time in Z radius, then they can earn an activatable Bloodlust that increases their damage and attack speed for A amount for B seconds. Kinda like Total War: Warhammer 2's battle mechanics for Greenskins and the Dark Elves, you know what I'm talking about?
    - SCYTHIAN/Nomadic economy is weak but simple: their main resources are wood and gold for their cavalry archers and siege weapons, with a bit of food for their melee cavalry.
    - Temple as Kurgan field
    - Altai metalworking and gold-gathering rates are higher than other civs. Scythian Golden Man and many excavations show that they were rich in gold and loved to adorn their noble armors in gold. Altai mountains provided one of the earliest instances of iron-working, stirrups (odd that Norse get it), and prodiguous gold-mining
    - Effectively operate on only three resources. Stone needed for upgrades for blacksmith, and that's it

    I just went bullet by bullet point from the Mongols description from Empires Apart game. I LOVE civ designing like this. I hope that I'll soon have the time to dedicate to this pet project.

    I'm a modder myself in other titles, such as Total War series and this constantly comes up to my mind. I've finished my Crimean Khanate Expansion mod adding the Crimean Khanate playable and with custom units, models, textures, horses, equipment, bows, arrows, and so on. However, once I realized that I could expand the map by converting Wasteland regions into Full Regions, I'm now working on adding the Kazakh, Kalmyk, and Khivan Khanates to both the map and with unique units, models, textures, rigs. Basically, my idea was to port EU4 (Europa Universalis 4) units into Total War Empire and Total War Napoleon titles. I've learned the entire pipeline, so I don't just re-texture that's it, I actually port the entire military unit model of the soldier, complete with helmets, weapons, shields, bows, and I re-rig this model to the bones of the variant mesh used by ETW and NTW. It's a slow, painstaking process but worth it! Yet, the issue I'm running into now is that I over-engineered the Crimean Khanate with all the "fantasy" and "unique" goodies leaving little to the three other Khanates. So now, I'm paring down very much similar to what sounds Paul and Project Celeste team have gone through with regards to the Persians (no War Elephants, less chariots, I believe there is a scythed chariot via an Advisor but that's it) and the Celts being good at siege (that's more of a Romans thing, I'm glad the Celeste designers highlighted Romans as more siege plus engineer with Millaria construction [I'd love to see some kind of road building by Engineers but Millaria comes close to that]). I dub this project of mine The Last Khanates mod for Empire and Napoleon Total War, in similar vein as the Last Khans expansion for the Age of Empires 2 DE with the Cumans, Tatars, Bulgarians, and Lithuanians.

    Looking forward to the discussion. If Scythians were already suggested in another larger and existing thread, please do let me know.
     
    #1 TuranianGhazi, Jan 10, 2021 at 7:53 AM
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2021 at 8:08 AM
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  3. Andy P XIII

    Andy P XIII Moderator
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    I wanted to jump in here just to point out why a civ like the one you are proposing wouldn’t fit into AoEO. Essentially, it would make too many sweeping changes from the rest of the game.

    A few notes on the Buildings proposed:

    Every AoEO civ shares the same 13 so-called Common Buildings that appear at the same Age and do the same thing.

    Age 1: Town Center, Storehouse, House, Watch Post, Dock, Wall, and Barracks;
    Age 2: Market, Farm, Guard Tower, Armory;
    Age 3: Fortress;
    Age 4: Wonder.

    In each civ, between one and three of these Common Buildings will be either so-called Improved Buildings or Advanced Buildings. Improved Buildings have some special technology or other attribute that improves it a little, such as the Persian Storehouse (it heals), the Celtic house (it allows you to Age up), the Babylonian clay Wall (cheaper in Age 1), and the Norse Fortress (Burning Pitch). Advanced Buildings are unique versions of Common Buildings but have unique names and special powers, such as the Norse Longhouse (House) and Outpost (Watch Post) and the Babylonian Ox Cart (Storehouse), which is actually a unit that replaces the role of a building).

    So while any one civ may have up to three of these special buildings, every civ will have about 10 or 12 buildings that are completely identical to those in the other civs.

    This proposed Scythian civ chucks that completely out the window and envisions every single Building to be moveable and to add population space. So basically it would eliminate all Common Buildings and turn them all into Improved Buildings. That's incompatible civ design for AoEO and not something we could ever accommodate. Sometimes a House just needs to be House or an Armory just needs to be an Armory. They can't all have special traits.

    Then, the proposal completely removes two of the Common Buildings (Walls and Fortresses). Again, there is no room in AoEO's design rules for any civ to be missing any of these Common Buildings, at least not as we understand the game and read the game files.

    Finally, the Building roster proposes two other Buildings that stand on the toes of some unique features of existing civs (a Babylonian-like Ox Cart and a Roman-like Millarium), which is also something we would consider a violation of a design rule. New civs need to let old civs breathe.

    With Units, there are also a few similarly extreme proposals that, respectfully, would not be compatible with existing civ design:

    First, the proposal envisions sweeping changes to the Villager (Villagers turn Wood into Food, cannot forage Berries, and have increased Line of Sight when Idle). In AoEO, every civ shares four so-called Common Units that are virtually identical: Villagers, Caravans, Fishing Boats, and Merchant Transport Ships. Creating one civ that has weird Villagers would not feel right in AoEO.

    Second, the proposal envisions zero Infantry Units. This, again, would be an extreme change that would make the civ incompatible with all others. Every civ in the game has Infantry, Ranged, Cavalry, Siege, Priests, and Ships. While there may be room to have as few as one of these Units in certain civs, it would be poor design to launch a civ with zero of any of them.

    Third, the proposal envisions some kind of "bloodlust" mechanic for every unit. Even ignoring that this is lifted from a different game (which is not something we would want to do), it would be very strange in AoEO for only one civ to have a mechanic (let alone for that mechanic to appear in every Unit).

    Overall, there may be a way for us to artfully capture the tone of a nomadic civ under the constraints of AoEO. But it would be quite a challenge. Who knows, maybe a challenge we one day will consider!
     
    #2 Andy P XIII, Jan 11, 2021 at 2:26 AM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 7:43 PM
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  4. TuranianGhazi

    TuranianGhazi Spearman

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    Thank you very much for your responsive feedback, cogent analysis, and constructive criticism (going bullet by bullet point for three main proposals), AndyP! Much appreciated!

    Devil's advocate, I'd argue that IF and WHEN the Babylonian Ox Cart is permissible as a mobile storehouse, that already breaks the AOEO design to be permissible for more pushing on the mobility/nomadic tone of a civilization like the Scythians or Huns. My proposed Centaur race in Warcraft III had a similar mobile storehouse, Kodo Packbeast. I made that unit way before the Babylonians of AOEO came to be. So when Babylonians Booster Pack came out, I felt very vindicated in that design choice. Actually, I got so much flak from Warcraft III community for having a unit act as a mobile drop-off resource spot because it was literally unprecedented. However, in AOEO, there is now a clear precedent. I'm just pushing the envelope that much wider.

    Also, one could argue that the Roman Centurion having a ranged (pilum) attack is treading too much on Persian Immortal, right? Imho, I think that 15 second cooldown and that it's not always up DOES change the meta and it's permissible, different enough from the Persian Immortal. So see, I don't see my ideas are that crazy, really :p lol Based on a December 21, 2020 video of Primus Pilus Roman officer as a chariot with Two Lions... umm that's not historically accurate, but it's HELLUVA fun and very Roman, so one MUST have fun with this as well, especially in cartoony AOEO, c'mon! So when I propose a Bactrian Camel Chariot (never actually a historical record of such lawlz) unit with 2 or even 4 camels in tow for NOMADIC civ (Scythians/Huns) you have no counter! :p Lawlz, I'm just kidding and joking around with you, but not really hahaha

    Actually, I think a NOMADIC civilization needs a cavalry unit that is both ranged and melee like the Persian Immortal but for a cavalry unit. In Empire Total War for example, there were no cavalry archers that could double up as a decent lancer charge cavalry, so I combined the two into one, a Cavalry Archer Lancer, not as good as a dedicated lancer, but much more versatile. Actually, for a NOMADIC civ in AOEO, that'd be my first available unit or a unique powerful unit for Age3 like the Persian Immortal. In short, first available unit for a NOMADIC civ has to be a cavalry unit and then Age2 provides the anti-cav unit, similar to the Persian Sparabara in Age1 but followed by Spearman (anti-cav) unit in Age2.

    Yet now, I do see that these two elements of Babylonians really do steal the thunder from a nomadic civilization: 1) Babylonian Ox Cart as mobile storehouse and 2) Lancer with charge upon Champion upgrade. Imho, those two do not belong in an infantry-centric civ like Babylonians, but that's just now legacy, untouchable design of the AOEO originals.

    For my own mod, offline solo, I'd definitely remove those two elements from Babylonians and add them to the Scythians/Huns instead, while designing something much more fitting for Babylonians: perhaps 1) Mini-Fort available in Age 2, stronger than a Tower, but weaker than an Age3 Fortress, in lieu of AOE2DE Bulgarians and their Krepost' 2) Instead of the Lancer mounted on horseback, a more fitting cavalry unit for the Babylonians would be the Babylonian Onager Chariot (clumsy, heavy cart pulled by four onagers, or semi-wild asses aka donkeys). For Champion upgrade, instead of the current Lancer's chargex3, this Babylonian Onager Chariot would have AOE damage, similar to the Persian War Wagon but in close melee proximity range. Just some thoughts.

    Once I wrap up with my ETW/NTW mods, first I'd like to learn AOEO modding and the tools/pipeline on how you guys achieved Romans. Once I have that done, I'll start working on my version of the Scythians/Huns in an offline/scenario mode as a foundation and then once that becomes rolling, we can have a compromised/AOEO-palatable version up on the Celeste server dev side. How does that sound? Of course, after you guys release Romans/polish/balance/tune them up upon release. So that gives me time, I hope enough sufficient time to get up to speed.

    Andy, where can I find AOEO modding guides? I think that's a level beyond what most people on AOEO search for in the forums, for example.
     
    #3 TuranianGhazi, Jan 12, 2021 at 8:55 AM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 9:18 AM
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  5. Andy P XIII

    Andy P XIII Moderator
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    Hi there.

    I believe that the Babylonian Ox Cart was a throwback to the Ox Cart of the Norse in Age of Mythology. http://aom.heavengames.com/gameinfo/units/norse/oxcart.htm

    Second, I didn't mention your camels because I didnt identify any issues with them. I could imagine a Cav unit with both ranged and melee fitting somewhere into the game.

    I am not familiar with how modding works in other games, but we do not have any modding guides. I am not sure any one person could ever pull off creating a civ in this game -- there's just too many assets and work to do. Our core team of about 10+ people has worked thousands of hours over the last 2+ years.

    Edit: I just counted. We have had at least 32 people help us build the Romans so far.
     
    #4 Andy P XIII, Jan 12, 2021 at 1:52 PM
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2021 at 2:14 PM
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  6. DynasticPlanet

    DynasticPlanet Champion

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    A question here: how does this civ deal with spearman rush? With no other unit to fall back on, this cavalry unit will crumble to any half competent player. I don't care how many tournaments you've won, if I see your version of Scythians I'm sending a few spearmen and expecting an easy win.

    Maybe your cavalry is anti-infantry? Great, I hope it doesn't have a bonus vs Spara or that Spara has a bonus vs it, otherwise the game vs Persians is even more onesided since Sparabara don't have any natural cav armor.

    And then there's a few more issues. Does this unit have snare? It'll be hard to escape from snare cavalry, but most snare techs for fast units are locked behind champion techs unavailable until Age 4 (Prodromos, Bab Mounted Archer, Celtic Horseman) as it's probably a bit too much to have that snare potential early on.

    At this point, why not do an overhaul and call it Assyrians or something? Actually, carts and chariots pulled by an donkeys is more inline with Sumerians, who didn't have horses and struggled against Assyrian and Elamites who did. Also might entice people to give it a look if you give it a cool name.

    I with through and added numbers to each one just as a frame of reference. I won't argue or touch on all of them, but look up the number to see my points on each.

    1. I suppose it's doable. Thing is, eventually wood is going to be a far easier resource to gather than food, especially if your civ gets even 2 wood cutting techs. (even a civ that has researched all 3 farming techs gathers from farms slower than one who has 1 wood tech). I think unlocking through tech would be better.
    2. Buildings can pack? Sure. Siege though? I mean other than the long range building buster, why? Why make rams need to pack and unpack.
    3. The idea of a building using Pop slot makes me uneasy.
    4. I wouldn't make this available too early. Namely, if you accidentally hit the pack hotkey on your TC, you can lose precious villager training time all because you didn't even mean it.
    5. Not sure about this. Houses have a build limit to precisely bring you to the pop cap alongside 4 TCs. This balance is wierd. Some might even assume they can breach the 200 limit.
    7. Not negotiable. In PvE you'll struggle to solo VoK and maps like Aegitna become even more impossible (that map is harder than Vok I don't care what the star ratings say!) Walls are vital to keeping AI busy while you boom up through the ages.
    8. Also not negotiable. Besides, Scythians did use foot units, with weapons like the Sagaris axe, and had Amazons. Every civ needs at least 1 Infantry unit. Some quests have infantry or spearman only secondaries like Memphis.
    9 & 11: Why are these different. This just clues me in that you don't understand the mechanics of the game or the fact that spearman isn't a unique unit type. Spearmen ARE infantry. Thus it's redundant and makes something seem bigger than it is. Let's include bullet point 12 in there too because a special armor type for camels is also headache as this would be programming on a large scale individual unit level.
    13 & 14: Why? The farms could just be animal feed. Screw too much realism, ya gotta have some sense of balance and scale. Doesn't sound like you have a lot of units, so why not both?
    15. Maybe through a tech? But these sorts of bonuses are built in to standard units.
    16. That's just awful! Maps like Elite Meet in Crete ONLY offer you berries to get your food eco going and no hunts. How many level 40s do you have?
    20. I don't even understand this. Is it a building? Does it help me defend in maps where a secondary objective is to not build towers and walls? Does it train any units?
    21. Evasion chance is an ABSOLUTE NOOOO! That is luck based mechanic and if you win your pvp matches because you luck haxed your enemy, you're going to start seeing people ban this civ and/or unit.
    24. Seems to be an oxcart clone. What if the pack animal was attached to the villager and traveled to dropsites for them?
    25. Villagers and scouts are the last units you want to encourage to stay idle. There's a reason idle villagers is such a vital button and by the time you might have idle villagers, you've likely got good sight of the map. This just encourages bad habits of keeping villagers idle.
    26. A tech or toggle called blood lust could work. Making it per unit on an individual scale is a bit too micro intensive as you need to keep a tally of all your troops and watch their kill meter.
    28. Kurgans are more tombs and mausoleums. There could be more potential to it than just 'train priest unit' (which were called Enerei)
    29. How do you propose to show this in game? Maybe a Milestone?
    27 & 30. Not using stone is bad, but this comes back to not having forts and other defensive structures. It also means their wonder doesn't use Stone either? Do they not have a wonder henceforth?


    Most of this stuff seems haphazard. I was following Empires Apart until it kinda just went DoA. So maybe the Mongols in that game really do have that level of complexity?

    Either way, a few things to consider.

    Units are defined by their unit type tag. There is no tag for cavalry archer or camel. Tags are as follows: ranged, cavalry, infantry, siege, priest, building, ship, herdable, huntable or villager and I might be forgetting one or two.

    Norse Dogs are huntables, meaning you can research Hunting Dogs to go dog eat dog and enable your villagers to gain 50% more damage (2x in pvp) against them.

    upload_2021-1-14_12-33-26.png

    The line that reads Type: followed by the blue Infantry indicates the unit type.

    You'll see the damage bonuses. This unit does extra vs any unit with the cavalry tag, and will not discriminate if it rides a camel, twin lion chariot or an elephant. He will do his 33 damage before considering any bonus damage armor (reduces damage from bonus damage) or infantry type armor the enemy may have.

    In fact villagers technically don't have a unit type, but some can get bonuses against them. Some units, like Oxcarts and Norse Chiefs, don't have a unit type either meaning they take no damage bonuses, but for the oxcart, it does mean its tech research speed does not benefit from Gardens and Norse Chiefs won't benefit from infantry advisors.

    Celts in PvP once upon a time didn't get the second wall tech but even they needed a helping hand so now they do.


    I think you need to get a feel for the game. You might be on to something here. I can't tell because it feels haphazard and like a Frankenstein of "It sounds cool" instead of a cohesive machine.

    In any case, modding skills and programming are a welcome sight, I want to see how you can play with the engine (if possible) and am curious to see what comes of it.
     
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