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  1. Knights of Honor II: Sovereign - Judicates Dev Diary #2 : The Mediterranean keystone Hello everyone, and welcome to the second development diary of Judicates. I hope you're doing well ! Please, take a seat : today, we're going to focus on a specific region that always had a great importance. First of all, this very diary is coming several months after the previous one, and I apologize for that, because that was not my initial plan. Reflexions, other map making works and IRL issues slowed down this project, although I made some progress. By that time, the official developpers of the game published their own diaries, with a better regularity, and I have to admit I could not read it all. However, the explanation of several game mechanics was highly useful. Even though it has been said the players will have a wide freedom and proper tools in order to make their own mods with ease, remember that Judicates aims at melting into the core game and using the same game mechanics, at least when it comes out. Obviously, this is a map expanding mod before all. Still, if it becomes a concrete sandbox for all types of players, I'm all ears with the addition of new mechanics, or the reshape of basic ones, should modders want to collaborate and freely share their ideas. The rule is simple : you can take my ideas, I can take yours ! If sharing is the motto, then anyone can help anyone. You might ask : I know nothing about modding, what if I can't help in any way ? And I'll answer : Any help of yours will always be welcome and appreciated, don't underestimate that. It could be historical infos and sources in a language I can't understand or do not master, as well as your own thoughts on the project, like your thinking about its balance, the relevance of one of its elements, or even a single encouragement. In a house made of bricks, there is no insignificant one, not even the smallest ones. So, as I said above, I made progress on the map, though not as fast as I wanted to, yet I made it. The region I wished to present to you, back in Spring, is still on works, and gave me a hard time deciding which towns, which settlements, which frontiers, which rivers should be represented, how to connect the roads and how to enhance the terrain to make it realistic, pleasant and playable. To this day, there are still a lot of enigmas around it, but I hope I'll be able to finish it and publish it during the next months. Consequently, I worked on other parts of the map, especially on another region I know a bit more, and it paid off well. I encountered almost no problem on it, and went to a fine result, flexible enough to represent its geographical, political and cultural varieties, which played a major role in this territory's identity. Thereby, without further delay, I am proud to show you which is this jewel jealously coveted by foreigners, often times invaded, rarely conquered : here is the Mediterranean keystone, Sicily ! The island shares some similarities with Sardinia, since it was conquered by the Berbers and the Arabs over the Romans too. However, there grew an emirate that lasted for a couple of centuries, quite autonomous from North Africa (where came the invasion), as well as prosperous, to the point of letting some Arabic influence in certain words of Sicilian language. This is under their reign the capital was moved from Syracuse to Palermo, more suitable for a western power, but the Romans never renounced to reconquer the island, and tried several times to retake it many years after they completely lost it. Then, the Normans appeared in south Italy during the eleventh century, and after seizing there a large amount of land for themselves, they conquered Sicily in one generation, even faster than did its previous masters. Though the proper term of crusade did not exist yet, it looks like this one saw its beta test succeed (!). On the first start date, which is set in the early twelfth century, the player choosing to begin here will rule over a quite steady and unified realm owned by Roger II, Count of Sicily, a unique character leaving then his childhood and on the brink of becoming one of the most famous rulers of its time. Concretely, the twenty-three provinces of Sicily (of which Malta) offer a formidable base, with perhaps the best average rank of settlements per province of all the map. However, it will be in your hands to satisfy the barons, or crush them if needed to, as well as control the rest of your internal factions. Should you stabilize your realm, you may, as Roger did historically, invade other places, such as Africa, or wage war to inherit the south continental part of Italy. Foreign rulers, both muslims and christians, will observe you with a strange eye, since the area was very multicultural until the mid 1200's. It may be in your best interest to leave it as it is, and shape your traditions by keeping in mind the benefits that can bring you tolerance of your subjects belonging to the two religions (and I really hope such a system already exists ingame). After all, most of its inhabitants were muslims until mass conversions and expulsions, which occurred under the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick II (with whom will open the second start date). At last, on the third start date, Sicily is under the control of the distant kingdom of Aragon, and plays no longer a center of power of its own (though a cunning and disloyal player may want to gain its own independence). Since Sicily has been set as it is, I went back to Sardinia and polished it to better shape its traditional territories, adding there a few provinces, towns and settlements (which will better represent its political and cultural situations on each start date). In my mind, an area's average number of settlements represents its development and its potential wealth. Though there is a great difference between the current poorest region to the richest one, it's up to the player to survive and expand its realm the way he can or he want, depending on his situation. I would like to speak about start dates again : on the previous development diary, I explained I aimed at following the same dates available in the core game. However, due to the complexity of History, I wish to add a few ones, if it is ever possible. I am currently thinking about a start date in the late XIIIth century, which, in Sicily, would represent the Angevine dominion and the risk of a massive rebellion, like during the Sicilian Vespers. Also, an earlier start date, set in the eleventh century, which would preferably cover the Norman conquest of Sicily, would be very interesting, for both sides (Normans and Sicilian Arabs). These are only ideas for the moment, as it would imply to choose perfect and interesting dates for most realms on this large map. Another option would be to create scenarios focused on a single region, and set on a specific single start date, to cover a famous historical event, or a reknowned character . But yet again, these are potential ideas, which, remember, can be taken by anyone. So be free to take and share ! Here is the end for today. I hope you enjoyed reading this diary, it's been a pleasure for me to write it. I should come back with a third one sooner this time, expanding the map with a new place worthy of interest. Until then, please, take care.
  2. I am writing about what (I think) the situation right now might be and how it could look if there is a mechanic that allows the player to upgrade units. When I thought about that I also found some complications and issues that may arise with this. For sure I am not saying let’s do this because it sounds cool. I will talk mostly about peasants and will be viewing two different situations. The first is as I said earlier - “Hey, why my peasants are still peasants and what to do to improve them?” - Upgradeable Units Let's see how Peasants look in KOH2 It says “Peasants are non-professional soldiers called upon to fight in desperate times and ...” With that, you could say that it makes perfect sense to have non-upgradable peasants in the game that you can hire and disband whenever you want and I can agree with that. That’s why I added the second option - Leave the peasants to be Peasants 4 Life! But with some benefits. Upgradeable Units For the purpose of this example, I’d like to change the term peasants to peasants recruited as soldiers or just Recruits. The goal is to have the option to keep and upgrade the unit until it reaches the most advanced level without deleting them. Why do this? First - It sounds just natural. If you are recruited as a soldier, there are most likely two options for you - either to die in battle or to get experience and become a better and better soldier over time. So staying a recruit for the rest of your days is not very likely. Second - I don’t know if manpower is a concern in KOH2 because in KOH 1 wasn’t really. From the screenshot above I can see that just peasants cost 3 Manpower to hire and that is 3 times more vs. KOH1 so it looks that in Koh 2 Manpower may be a bit different. With that said if you already have the men recruited you should not spend manpower to upgrade the unit. The cost for upgrading in terms of gold/food could be also reduced - like 75% vs what you would pay if you recruit the unit, not that makes a huge difference but still…If the unit costs 2000, with 75% discount you save 500, not bad. If we have Manpower as a vital resource for our kingdom, disbanding units in order to hire more advanced units sounds like a waste - a terrible waste. Third - UX. I think that brings a lot of flavour to the game. The player could have the feeling that they hire real men from their kingdom, and keep them and improve them over time, not just unit slots that you could delete at any time without even thinking about. Forth - This may be a dumb reason for someone but not for me - It saves number of clicks - click(hover) select + click remove + click select + click hire + click select desired type of unit = 5 clicks Click(hover) select + click upgrade + optional click to select type of unit = 2 + 1 Clicks Setup I think that's pretty straightforward. In the battle or/and by having a “Trainer” marshal skill units get XP points. When the unit gets enough XP the marshal would go to a town or castle and if in the province are already built the required building for the next level unit you will be able to click on the upgrade button Here is a simple unit tree without going too much in detail. The Green XP shows the points needed to upgrade, req - means buildings required to train or upgrade unit Let's say recruits can get up to 100XP Once they get it you would be able to upgrade the unit to bowmen or swordsmen. Then with more XP, you can upgrade again and so on. Would you be able to hire higher-level units directly? Yes the cost will be slightly higher for recruitment and you will spend manpower Would you be able to disband units at any time? Yes. You may have other reasons to do this. What happens if you have a unit with some XP but you lose men - this sounds like a big issue. For easier calculation, let's have the following example: We have a unit of Recruits that could have a maximum of 100 XP and a maximum of 100 men. The actual stats are 70XP and 50 men. We go to a town and refill the unit with fresh recruits. What would be the XP value of the just recruited men? If they join with 0 XP, when we combine them all, we would have an average of 35xp - Not cool! How will you be able to upgrade a unit if you have to refill it with fresh men with 0XP? I can see a way to avoid that problem - to redesign the entire recruitment process and hire men, not units - but this is a topic for another day. What happens when you disband a unit? Think about real life. The relationship between you and the unit is employer vs. worker. In this case, you hired men to fight for you. Disbanding them would mean that you leave them without work. In the end, you have unemployed soldiers that are also mad at you, or at least disappointed. From here I see two options. The first is to join or form a mercenary camp in the lands of your rivals with the hope that they would be hired and fight against you. - A mercenary camp popups in enemy lands or is refilled with more units/men, Or it’s manpower pool is increased - Don’t have any idea how mercenaries work in KOH2 The second is to join the nearest active rebel group. - The rebels get reinforcements. In both cases you may get a nasty message saying - "These ungrateful soldiers did this or that..", ...just to make you feel bad about your decisions. Peasants 4 Life! From the unit description - “Peasants are non-professional soldiers called upon to fight in desperate times …” For me that means that when the situation is so desperate you go to the villages and tell your subjects - “There is a war you must join the army and fight!” So in theory when you disband them at some point they should be more than happy to return to their wives and children and live in peace and grow fat in their farms and villages (if they live enough to see that day). But in the game they are not called to serve their duty, they are hired as soldiers - Recruits so we go back to the previous scenario. If they were called to war there should be an entirely different mechanic. I imagine there would be a button, for example in town or in the king or on the marshal menu that would say Call the peasants! And what will happen will be to see some men armed with whatever they have travel from the villages and go to the marshal or the king. And they join the army as extra number of fighting men, not unit slots from the slots menu. When you don't need them, click again on the same button and they are released. Also, they may have weapons as well, some of them may have swords, others may be hunters and shoot pretty well. That’s details.. What could possibly happen if you click on that button besides that you will get some extra men with crappy battle stats? You would probably spend some food and gold on click and your expenses and food consumption will be increased. There is also now the Peasantry class and if you click that imaginary button you would probably lose opinion points with them. When you call the peasants there will be also fewer people left in the villages - mostly only women, children, elders (and the cowardly bastards of course) From here I see 2 negative possibilities for the person who clicked that button: First, the work on the fields and farms will be slowed down - your provinces will have less income - This may not occur immediately but to build up over time - "Called to war peasants - economy modifier" - starts from -1% and goes to -20% - why not?. Second - there are not any strong men left to defend the settlements, with less resistance the villages and the farms should be raided faster in game time by enemy armies or rebels. // Let's not go too much in detail about what could happen to the women left alone in villages during the war. There should be a cool-down on that button for 1-2 hours for example after you released the peasants - Why not? Something rings a bell from the earliest dev streams, someone said the more you stay in war the more your economy suffers. So it may work in a similar way, but right now the peasant is still a hirable unit and the peasant can be called to war not only in desperate times, but … anytime. I think both Upgradable units and Peasants 4 Life could exist in the game because they involve completely different approaches and mechanics and could create unpredictable situations, problems or different strategies, but this may also to reduce the huge peasant armies to some level. I know that this became a long one so if you reached this point, well thanks for reading. If you have some thoughts about that please jump in, I would be happy to read it. Cheers!
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