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Age of Kings Heaven » Forums » News Discussion » Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms - Dev Blog #6 Posted!
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Topic Subject:Age of Empires II HD: The African Kingdoms - Dev Blog #6 Posted!
HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 10-15-15 02:28 PM CT (US)         
With the release of the African Kingdoms expansion coming on November 5, we couldn't resist putting out another dev blog to whet some appetites. This blog deals with a hotly-debated, often controversial subject, but nevertheless a necessary one - the balance changes coming with the new expansion.

Over the past while we've analyzed our past work on this front and used that experience to help us going forward. One important thing to note here is that all balance changes will be coming to both The Forgotten and African Kingdoms, regardless of which you own. Vanilla AoE2HD will keep the AoC 1.0c dataset and not receive any balance changes, of course, so those who are not inclined to change will have that option.

One of our most important balancing initiatives here is with regard to water warfare. I don't want to spoil too much, but suffice it to say that water maps will become far more interesting! Addressing the issue of monotonous water gameplay was a high priority to say the least.

As always, the full dev blog is available at ForgottenEmpires.net. Give it a gander and feel free to post your thoughts below!

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies of one who has done well." - Hávamál

"Hockey is the only sport left for true men." - ax_man1
AuthorReplies:
Devious Dev
Official Professional Qualified Noob
(id: dragonslayermcmx)
posted 10-15-15 03:00 PM CT (US)     1 / 22       
Fire Galley and Demo Raft... sounds kinda familiar... hmm...

D E V A S T A T O R
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Proud Member of BlackForestStudios
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TriRem
Huskarl
posted 10-15-15 03:22 PM CT (US)     2 / 22       
Didn't someone write a guide to rebalance water warfare a few months ago ? It would be cool if he could contact the AoF team to share his ideas... Oh wait

I really like it though, it is a bold move, so much that I didn't think it would make it into the expansion. Well done, I look forward to see the results ingame.

Fluctuat nec mergitur.

[This message has been edited by TriRem (edited 10-15-2015 @ 03:25 PM).]

Zetnus
Squire
posted 10-15-15 05:35 PM CT (US)     3 / 22       
When I read the "LAN party" bit I thought we were finally going to get true offline LAN again, but sadly that remains wishful thinking.

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Ravenhall
Squire
posted 10-16-15 02:15 AM CT (US)     4 / 22       
I do appreciate the addition of new ships in the Feudal Age to counter the usual clustersquare of galleys - unless people start massing the other ships as well, in which case we're back at square one.

Balancing some civs, and boosting others, will prove interesting. Hopefully the less played civs will get another chance at love from players.
Mahazona
Squire
posted 10-16-15 02:51 AM CT (US)     5 / 22       
The new ship sails looks nice but the ship hulls seems tad too dark from the original.
gag2000
Squire
posted 10-16-15 06:46 AM CT (US)     6 / 22       
unless people start massing the other ships as well, in which case we're back at square one.

let them mass, because now you can train the counter ships
Ravenhall
Squire
posted 10-16-15 11:58 AM CT (US)     7 / 22       
True, true - but in a way it just seems endless xD
But of course, with total domination on the seas a bit more uncertain, it could lead to some really fun and interesting games
HockeySam18
Dúnadan
posted 10-16-15 01:34 PM CT (US)     8 / 22       
Didn't someone write a guide to rebalance water warfare a few months ago ? It would be cool if he could contact the AoF team to share his ideas... Oh wait
Haha

On that topic, it should be noted that the article I wrote here a few months ago by no means represents a "blueprint" of sorts for what is going into the expansion. Some of the points of the article, of course, will be in the new expansion (the feudal ships), but when it comes to designing the expansion there are a lot more minds behind the balance changes than just mine - the end result is a product of our collective thought and testing.


As for the general comments on the naval warfare balance - the point of a properly balanced water triangle is that a diverse navy of different ship types will be required to win the water. One can still decide to mass galleys from the start, of course, but the other player can simply build some fire galleys and shred your fleet (and force you to build demo ships, which are in turn countered by galleys, which are in turn countered by fires, etc). The end result will be that players will constantly need to adapt and build a diverse fleet in order to be successful on the water.

Storm on the Steppe | Galderton Hill RP | Proud member of Stormwind Studios

"Cattle die, kindred die, every man is mortal:
But the good name never dies of one who has done well." - Hávamál

"Hockey is the only sport left for true men." - ax_man1
Childe
Squire
posted 10-17-15 09:40 PM CT (US)     9 / 22       
this looks incredibly great guys! can't exactly tell why but the graphics in the balance testing banner are so neat!
I'm especially thrilled to see that the camel archers blend in so well with the already established units.. along with the stellar african building set and great new terrains my hype is through the roof now

cause that was one of my only issues with some of the forgotten unique units
they still looked great but sometimes out of place.. especially those long lances by both magyar huszars and kamayuks were blown out of proportion imo
cause halberdiers and pikemen already wield some weapons which would be way longer in reality than pictured in the game.. and I always liked that design choice by ensemble studios cause this type of weapon length can honestly be a little irritating.. more so on the kamayuks of course but they obviously need some length on them to cover one range :P still, couldn't it be a bit less? like making them barely hit the one range by pushing their lance forward with one hand?
that banner on the magyar huszar lance is not so aoe 2-ey too.. cause all aoe 2 weapons are so abstract and almost toylike with only like three colors- brown, silver and gold

but enough of that, it's just nitpicking as always
I should rather tell you how much I appreciate you guys introducing new stuff to the game*1 while remaining respectful to the original and trying to do this like ensemble studios would with a new expansion.. introducing meso american civs, halberdiers and unique technologies was so huge with the conquerors

oh, one last thing :P could you call the fire galleys fire boats? you know, so it falls in line with the heavy (demo ship) / fast (fire ship) naming dichotomy while not overlapping with the galley-galleon line- eg (demo) raft / (fire) boat
maybe you agree with my logic here :/
you could swap the blue white galley cloth at the rear with a wood bump akin to that of fishing ships*2 (more prominent tho due to size differences) to differentiate it from the galley line more
would even have the convenient side effect of being able to see a lot easier what kind of fleet comp you are up against.. although sneaking some fire galleys in between common galleys could be fun too
it's up to you in the end, I'm just putting in my two cents! huge fan!


*1 especially those three generic units get me pretty hyped! hopefully there's one infantry unit among them cause there's so few.. would give infantry civs more options to stand out and have different bonuses too.. thinking of vikings/aztecs there
more units, more options, more playroom for civ bonuses- it's so simple yet beautiful same reason why I love buffing more than nerfing.. cause the more spread you have between unit stats the more space of action you have
*2 I actually only thought of that cause I was convinced fishing ships are named fishing boats for some reason :P

[This message has been edited by Childe (edited 10-25-2015 @ 04:26 PM).]

destroyo64
Squire
posted 10-18-15 07:52 PM CT (US)     10 / 22       
The naval balance update is really great news! I have been asking for this on both Steam and AoKH since before the release of The Forgotten!

http://steamcommunity.com/app/221380/discussions/0/864975632550964894/

http://steamcommunity.com/app/221380/discussions/0/864977563930226258/

http://aok.heavengames.com/cgi-bin/forums/display.cgi?action=st&fn=9&tn=43712&st=306#post307

Although the idea of a "naval ram" was not chosen, I am very pleased that a rock, paper, scissors type gameplay was finally adopted into the game. If the other units are priced correctly, naval combat will finally evolve past war galley flooding!

Additionally, the AoF dev blog mentions this gem: "Last but not least, a lot of the Castle Age unique technologies will see their costs slashed."

Great to hear that. I was hoping underused technologies in general would get a cost reduction/buff (and units too for that matter). In the below thread I described a lot of the possible improvements (i.e. scorpion line rarely used due to low HP, hand cannoneers rarely used, camel line rarely used, monastery research costs too high, etc.):

http://steamcommunity.com/app/221380/discussions/0/864980734706707134/#p3

Memories are like footprints. If you don't revisit them, they are soon enveloped by new snow...
John the Late
Knight
posted 10-19-15 08:45 AM CT (US)     11 / 22       
Same here, but you were even earlier!

I think that this water combat adjustment is a bold (but needed) move, so kudos to FE guys for doing it.
Childe
Squire
posted 10-19-15 04:26 PM CT (US)     12 / 22       
I always get amazed how camel archers are basically cav skirms love it!
Childe
Squire
posted 10-29-15 09:09 PM CT (US)     13 / 22       
very nice! the new maps look super fun!
I can't wait for the african world maps as well!

and inspired by your new map types I just thought of three more random maps- maybe you like some of the ideas and can tweak them into something that works- here they are:

1) african land map with loads of close together small tree clusters as well as straggler trees but almost no natural food sources albeit some dangerous animals like lions and crocs, maybe some ostriches
so at first there isn't much room to build and no food- you have to use almost lumberjacks only to get some room to lay down some farms and get up to feudal, and even after that it will be a struggle to put down the buildings you need
since you spend a relatively long time in dark / feudal age this map would be great for early rushes and shenanigans
if that's too slow of a map you could put an empty desert like area in between the tree'd up bases which is void of any resources but some lions, zebras and ostriches- would be great for hunting vill fights, early scout harassment and, later, forward farms as well as buildings while you get your other resources in the back

2) water map with two very narrow strips of land on each side
the land strips contain lots of wood and gold to enable fleet production but not much more than that- in the middle of the map is just water which makes for lots of deep sea fighting- the coasts are very raidable and there is not enough room to put up farms which could compete with the fishing economy so once you lose the water you basically lose the game (you could put reeds near the shoreline where fishing ships can gather wood from if you want to enable longer games- the option to self trade would be great for this map as well)

3) another water map with two islands which have deep bays with tight choke points as entryways- they are easily protectable with a couple towers already- however once the enemy gets through that strait and into your deep round bay it can very well be gg cause he can harass your whole city from the inside
the outer frontal coastlines left and right from the bay opening are guarded by cliffs so you can only land your troops once you are inside the bay
in the middle of the map is a small island with extra resources (gold, relic)- you can use it for map vision as well by building a watch tower or even tower there)


only criticism towards your maps I can think of right nw is, you could have that mcdonalds shaped forest map look more natural by broadening and randomizing the road on which the player bases are- like you could change the road's width at some areas and have it cut into the forest differently at the u turns- it looks kinda gimmicky like this

also, could you surround socotra with the original brown aoc cliffs? looks kinda weird with all these random rocks surround the complete coastline :P


EDIT: wrong thread- should be in dev blog 7 thread lol

[This message has been edited by Childe (edited 10-29-2015 @ 09:15 PM).]

Cysion
VIP Forgotten Empires
posted 10-30-15 06:33 AM CT (US)     14 / 22       
Cliffs cannot be placed in proper patterns, so we're sticking to rocks along the shoreline to block off the players =)
Devious Dev
Official Professional Qualified Noob
(id: dragonslayermcmx)
posted 10-30-15 06:47 AM CT (US)     15 / 22       
The rocks look weird, at least use the brown AoK variant

D E V A S T A T O R
Paradise Lost ~ Scored 1st in the ACSC12! ~ Voted Best Cinematic Scenario of 2013 ~ Official Rating: 4.7
Demon Town ~ Scored 1st in the HHC11! ~ "...as unique as an AoK scenario can get." - Panel ~ Official Rating: 4.2

Proud Member of BlackForestStudios
My AoE2 Youtube Channel
John the Late
Knight
posted 10-30-15 06:51 AM CT (US)     16 / 22       
Just don't place shallow water so it can't be docked, would look better than the rocks in my opinion.
Hades85
Squire
posted 10-30-15 09:20 AM CT (US)     17 / 22       
They released a new Dev-Blog-Post

http://www.forgottenempires.net/age-of-empires-ii-hd-dev-blog-7-marco-polo-new-maps

They included the new indian set from Tzontlimixtli.
Jan dc
Squire
(id: Den cekke)
posted 10-30-15 09:49 AM CT (US)     18 / 22       
Actually Tzontlimixtli's mod will not be included in the expansion but will be featured instead. The data in the new expansion is set up for it though and his Indian building set can be easily downloaded from the workshop with the mere click of a button.
They released a new Dev-Blog-Post
Yh waiting for Sam to make a thread for it here on aokh.

[This message has been edited by Jan dc (edited 10-30-2015 @ 10:37 AM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 10-30-15 09:53 AM CT (US)     19 / 22       
Sam seems away for the moment so I put up a post where you can now comment.
Childe
Squire
posted 10-30-15 10:10 AM CT (US)     20 / 22       
Cliffs cannot be placed in proper patterns, so we're sticking to rocks along the shoreline to block off the players =)
I see :/ that's a shame but in the end it's the gameplay that matters- I'm glad to hear you tried to use cliffs as well tho
damn I gotta say it again- the map idea is genius! can see this becoming an all time fav of mine- hopefully even the pros!


EDIT: could you use those new african rocks? they look so neat and fit with the sand better. if they can't be placed as the coastline you could just place them one tile from the coast right?
Just don't place shallow water so it can't be docked, would look better than the rocks in my opinion.
does that work? if so that's a great idea!

[This message has been edited by Childe (edited 10-30-2015 @ 10:18 AM).]

John the Late
Knight
posted 10-30-15 10:32 AM CT (US)     21 / 22       
Childe
Squire
posted 10-30-15 11:24 AM CT (US)     22 / 22       
Yes, you can only dock shallow (light blue) water.
nice! but now that I think of it there should be rocks or cliffs- cause that makes it more claustrophobic and mystical :P

but the rocks right now don't really fit right?


EDIT:
unless you elevate the island until it's like a plateau if that works- that'd be pretty cool too- if there was just deep dark blue water around

lol discussing dev blog 7 in dev blog 6 thread cause we're rebels :P

[This message has been edited by Childe (edited 10-30-2015 @ 11:28 AM).]

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