Download link for current version (Empires of Faith 0.301)http://www.mediafire.com/download.php?9k4rjepnvqn507x
Website (URL to follow soon)http://184.108.40.206/
It is the thirteenth century, by the Christian reckoning, in a world slightly different than our own. In the West, the Holy Roman Emperor has seized Rome, asserted his dominance over the papacy, and numbers the kings of Britain, France, and Spain as his vassals. His rival in Christendom, the Basileus in Constantinople, still holds Greece and Asia Minor and has extended his suzerainty into Russia. The Caliphate, after a century of rapid expansion, ran into fierce resistance in Anatolia, Central Asia, and India and has consolidated, but also avoided the pitfalls of relying on a slave soldiery. The Turks of Central Asia united with their fellow nomads of the steppe to confront the Muslim invasion and have forged a strong, lasting khaganate, amalgamating the mystic traditions of Tibetan Buddhism with their own traditional sky god to create a religion of imperial rule. The emperor of China, though racked by civil wars, never completely abandoned the Tang Dynasty's imperial ambitions, and continues to contest with the khaganate for control of the Silk Road. In India, the Cholas of Tamil Nadu have expanded their sea empire to make tributaries throughout southeast Asia, and have sent armies of religious devotees to the north to fight the Muslim incursion in the name of Shiva, Krishna, and the Goddess. These six imperial powers, each proclaiming to be uphold the will of the Heavens upon earth, contest with each other for dominance while at home they struggle with restless vassals, rebellious nobles, ungovernable tribes, and others. It is the age of the empires of faith.
The goals: a historically immersive multiplayer game with MMORPG-like features. Battles feature lots of bots, making for a challenging experience both when playing with others or on an otherwise empty server. Gold and renown is earned and characters can upgrade, but starting characters should also be competitive and there should be little sense of grinding.
You can also play single-player by hosting a game. Any game you host won't be "official," however, and your winnings will not be uploaded.
DISCLAIMER: Although this has MMORPG-like features, this is still in a fairly early test phase. This means -- your character, gold, renown, and accumulated levels can be wiped out at any time! I envision a much more ambitious version which might mean considerable restructuring, and I doubt I'll be able to retain existing character stats as the game develops. Plus, I might accidentally wipe them out...
At later points in the development, characters will be more stable.
I am in the process of updating this game description, so there will be important aspects of the game not mentioned.
Known bugs as of 0.301
* Players may be dropped from the score list during a game
CREATING A CHARACTER WALK-THROUGH:
I use the term "character," but in fact a "character" in this game represents a family, clan, or dynasty.
* Choose the name of your house. Create a character with that name on Warband. Please try to choose a plausible family name for the region of your choice for the 11th-15th centuries. If you can't think of one, don't agonize about it, but in future versions of the game I might enforce historical-sounding names.
* Join the server. A character with your name will be created on the game's database. Each new map, after a few seconds of playing, you should log in, which gives you access to your player's accumulated "levels" and thus better types of troops and equipment.
* Note down the unique ID -- a five or six digit number, usually -- in the messages when you are logged in.
* Any wealth you make in-map must be spent in-map. Your score however will give you renown and gold that are saved between games.
* To view your character, go to this address -- http://220.127.116.11
-- and enter that number when you're asked to log in. At some point I'll invest in a domain name.
* Choose a home province. This will also determine your faction.
* If you have enough points to upgrade your assets, do so. This will give you access to new troop types for your main character and retinue types. Upgrading in the game means that your family is moving up in the world -- acquiring land, making marriage alliances, establishing ties with merchant families, etc.
* Whenever you start a game, you can choose a retinue of up to five bots to fight with you. You choose them by hitting the "choose retinue" button after selecting your equipment.
Unfortunately, I have not yet figured out an elegant way to give information about the bots like the mouse-over for equipment. So, just be aware that the further that they get more powerful as they move across the screen from left to right, and that the light blue background means cavalry and the light yellow means infantry.
* You can fight for any faction, regardless of your own faction. (This is historically accurate -- even during Christian/Muslim holy wars in Spain or the Levant, noted warriors fought for kings of the other faith, and suffered no lasting damage to their reputations). However, in future games, you will earn more renown by fighting for a faction of your own faith.
Troop types - what to select, for yourself and for your retinue - are useful to know to play the game.
There are eight categories of troops. Bots are also ranked for their tier. Tier 1 are troops with no affinity for combat, 2 are inexperienced, 3 are experienced, 4 are veterans, and 5 are champions. Players always have stats roughly equivalent to a tier 4 bot.
Spearmen (sp) -- Some of the best defensive troops, with high shield skills. Usually fight in formation.
Light infantry (li) -- Most infantry that is not trained to fight in formation. They are fast and have shields, one-handed weapons, and javelins.
Skirmish infantry (sk) -- Armed with missile weapons, and trained to avoid melee.
Light Cavalry (lc) -- Fairly cheap to outfit, for a player. From tier 3 and up they are equipped with javelins.
Missile infantry (mi) -- Different then skirmish infantry in that they are trained to receive a charge, and have melee capacity and are equipped with shields. Historical examples: English archers, Genoese crossbowmen. Used by Latins and Muslims
Heavy infantry (hi) -- Equipped with two-handed weapons. Often deployed within spear formations to smash up the enemy line. Used by Latins, the Orthodox, and the Khaganate.
Horse archers (ha) -- Horsemen with bows, who are trained to use them while moving. Used by the Orthodox and the Khaganate.
Heavy cavalry (hc) -- Armored cavalry armed with lances. For a player, they require a lot of money to be equipped effectively. Used by all factions.
Lvl 1: Allows you to play as heavy cavalry. Lets you deploy tier 3 hc in your retinue
Lvl 2: Lets you deploy tier 4 hc in your retinue
Lvl 3: Lets you deploy tier 5 hc in your retinue
Lvl 1: Lets you deploy tier 3 sp, li, and sk in your retinue
Lvl 2: Lets you deploy tier 4 sp, li, and sk in your retinue
Lvl 3: Lets you deploy tier 5 sp, li, and sk in your retinue
Lvl 1: Lets you play as horse archer, for Orthodox and Khaganate. Lets you deploy tier 3 sk, lc, and ha (if you have them) in your retinue
Lvl 2: Lets you deploy tier 4 sk, lc, and ha (if you have them) in your retinue
Lvl 3: Lets you deploy tier 5 sk, lc, and ha (if you have them) in your retinue
Lvl 1: Lets you play as heavy infantry (Latins, Steppe, Orthodox) or missile infantry (Latins, Arabs). Lets you deploy tier 3 sp, mi, and hi (the latter two if you them) in your retinue
Lvl 2: Lets you deploy tier 4 sp, mi, and hi (the latter two if you them) in your retinue
Lvl 3: Lets you deploy tier 5 sp, mi, and hi (the latter two if you them) in your retinue
The game is set in an alternate history 13th century. It is alternate history because, while I'm very attached to the real world's geography, languages, religious history, etc, to code a recognizable historical game that properly reflects all the differences between regions and realms is a massive, massive undertaking. So, all the factions in the game will have a similar structure, at least for the time being.
Also, I'm interested in a fairly wide spread of historical periods and phenomena -- the Reformation, the exploration of the New World, the rise of Sikhism in India, Cossacks -- that I'd like to mix into the game at some point.
The factions all represent religious/civilizational blocs, similar to what "the Holy Roman Empire" meant in the 16th century or the Middle Kingdom meant to the Chinese in, say, the period of Warring States: a common framework for legitimacy. Within the civilizational blocs you will find vassals and independent states.
The factions are:
1. The Holy Catholic Empire (what the HRE would it have been, had it won the Investiture Controversy and moved to Rome. Latin is the language of rule.)
2. The Orthodox Ecumenical Empire (what the Byzantines would have been, had they remained militarily strong in Anatolia and also been recognized -- even nominally -- as suzerain over the Russian states, perhaps because a Russian dynasty is now ruling Constantinople. Greek and Slavonic are the languages of rule)
3. The Caliphate of the Prophet (what the Umayyads would have become, had they survived the Abbasid empire and not imported slave soldiers en masse. Arabic is the language of rule.)
4. The Middle Kingdom (what China would have become, had the militarism of the Tang not been 'tamed' by the neo-Confucianist bureaucracy of the Sung. Chinese is the language of rule.)
5. The Universal Khaganate (what the Gokturks would have become, had they responded to the Muslim incursion by forming a strong state with a strong religious identity -- in this case, an amalgamation of Tengriism and Tibetan Buddhism. Old Turkic and Mongol are the languages of rule)
6. The Dharmic Protectorate (what the Cholas would have become, had they been able to maintain a naval presence in southeast Asia and also extend their power into the Ganges, and had other kingdoms turned to them for protection from the armies coming across the Khyber. Sanskrit is the language of rule.)
You might notice that this alternate history removes or weakens a lot of unique insitutions -- the supranational Latin church, the powerful Chinese bureaucracy, Islamic Mamlukage. This is intentional. I don't want to code a separate social structure for each society, at least not at first.
More details about the setting will follow, including specific details of the alternate history. My "point of departure" from the actual historical timeline is around 700 AD, and will mostly be based on the pace of the Islamic conquests -- which, since they occurred in the geographical middle of the Old World, affected everyone else around them.
The historiographical underpinning of this alternate history will be that some kinds of external challenge can cause societies/civilizations to organize themselves more efficiently -- jerk them out of their complacency, in other words. Too much of a threat can destroy them, of course.
One other theory is that large, multi-ethnic civilizational blocs allow the spreading of ideas. In this alterate universe, medieval Europe and China are much more aware of each other than the real equivalents would be. (This makes life much easier for game design, as I don't need to simulate geographical ignorance.)
Some kinds of technological development, however -- like metallurgy, or the production of useful gunpowder -- required vast amounts of trial and error by small communities of urban artisans. These extremely precise, complicated techniques would not necessarily be transmitted throughout empires, so while this alternative universe might be a few centuries ahead of the real world in terms of ideas circulating, it is technologically in about the same place.
This is an age of faith. Material self-interest, the quest for status, and personal rivalries all play a part in this epoch's politics, but the broader questions -- who should rule whom? what makes a king legitimate? how should society be organized? -- are all framed through a religious frameworks. Some people truly believe that there is a divine plan for the world, and that it is their task to implement it. Others are secret skeptics, or simply assume that Heaven only wants what is best for them. But everyone knows that if you want to argue for a certain policy, your ultimate justification must be that Heaven wants it so.
Ultimately, the game will treat religion in some detail. I envision this alternative 13th as being similar to what Europe was in 1500 -- dissatisfied with the status quo, and on the verge of a great upheaval.
A few basic religious concepts, to make sense of the religious labels (when they are implemented).
* Canon -- This is the basic set of texts or assumptions about the universe and God. For example, all forms of Christianity in the game ultimately fall back on the Old and New Testaments. Hinduism comes in many, many forms, but all (for game purposes) fall back on a few basic assumptions about karma and dharma.
* Community -- This is any group of people that consider themselves of one faith, and exclude others. For example in the game, two groups of Christians may both have the same canon, but consider each other schismatics and heretics. This tendency is much stronger in the medieval era than it is today. Examples: the Catholic and Orthodox churches, Shiism and Sunnism. (These groups would not necessarily think of each other as heretics today, but they tended to do so then).
* Theology -- This represents disagreements within a community as to how religion should be interpreted. If relations between two theologies get very hostile, one might break off -- or be declared apostate -- and form a new community.
Puritanism (for example, the al-Muwahidun/Almohads) whose primary focus is corruption or incorrect belief within their community, although they make very effective holy warriors. They tend to be militant and disciplined, but also very disruptive to the social order.
Establishment -- The default theology. They tend to look very askance at any religious doctrine that might cause difficulties for the authorities. God couldn't really want us not to borrow at interest?
Devotional -- They believe in bringing piety to the masses. They are not terribly obsessed with doctrines, and willing to accept all kinds of heterodox behavior if it ultimately strengthens faith. Examples: Franciscans, Buddhists in China, many Sufis.
Humanist -- They want to use religion to create a more rational, compassionate social order. If any scripture or practice would seem to contradict this, well, then it must have been misinterpreted.
* Dominant religion -- This represents the religion of the ruling classes in any given province, and the faith that is used to legitimize authority there. It is usually -- but not necessarily -- the majority religion.
* Religious undercurrents -- This represents the most powerful religious tend in the province. It can be a theology or a restive religious minority. Restive minority faiths don't have theologies in a province, as they tend to be more unified in the face of the dominant faith.
* A note on Buddhism and eastern religions in general -- Theologically, eastern religions could be quite different from the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) in the Middle Ages as they tended not to claim an exclusive monopolgy on truth. They were often almost as intolerant towards any doctrine that they perceived as subversive, but they did recognize that one could have multiple religious allegiances -- a Buddhist who also respected the Emperor's Mandate of Heaven, and respected general Confucian values.
For this reason, Buddhism is treated as a theology under Tengriism and Chinese heaven-worship. Confucianism is also a theology ("Establishment") because it didn't really tackle questions about the universe, but questions about human society.
Theravada Buddhism in India and south Asia is however treated as a separate faith, because it was a separate way to justify who should be king, and thus more of a direct challenge to the social order.
v 0.200 Mini-MMORPG features are live -- you can now accumulate gold and renown from game to game
v 0.120 Adds two new game modes: Field Battle and Livestock Raid
v 0.114 See note
v 0.111 hopefully fixes bug that prevented player joining MP from spawning with horse
v 0.11 adds new start-up screens, new map, config files, the module system. Tweaks desert map and AI. Allows map selection in AI panel. Adds separate team scores.
v 0.101 removes message spam, hopefully prevents MP crashing
GAME MODE DESCRIPTIONS:
CARAVAN RAIDING (the mode, not to be confused with name of the game):
Two rival caravan routes run along the two sides of the map. To make money, escort the caravan camels safely to their destination, or attack the other side's caravans and loot them.
It takes a little while for the bot raiders to get to the other side of the map. Give the game a minute or so to get started in earnest.
To raid caravans, kill the camel riders. The cargo of the caravan will then spawn. Hit "f" to collect it, at which point you as a looter will gain a 40% share, and the one who killed the rider will gain a 60% share. The cargo will eventually go away.
To make money from escorting, stay on your own side of the map. You will gain a bounty for each raider you kill, plus extra bounty when a caravan reaches its destination. The more players join the other side, the more money you make by escorting caravans on your side.
If you want to heal, go stand in front of the carpets, laid out with water, that also marks the cavarans' destination point.
Your score is the amount of money you earn. If you buy equipment, you lose money, but not your score.
Team scores are separately tabulated: one for each enemy slain, 10 for each caravan which successfully reaches the other side of the map.
In order to keep the map from filling up with lost bots, the game removes guards who have lost their caravans, or raiders who have lost their mounts. Normally this shouldn't happen in the middle of a fight, but if you see someone disappear, this is probably what's going on.
Two rival clans live in neighboring river valleys, split by moors. Raid the other clan's livestock corrals in the corner villages, and defend your own. Livestock will cross the map on their own, but can be recaptured easily. Capture livestock by moving close to them. Smoke indicates a village under attack.
The score: Top score is each team's number of kills. Bottom score is the score derived from livestock ownership, with the total number of livestock/livestock in corral indicated in parentheses.
Control a squad of light infantry or cavalry, fighting between two formations of spearmen. Disrupt the enemy's spear formation to goad them into attacking.
The score: Measures the morale of each team's spear formation. Red is aggression, blue is discipline, yellow is fear. When aggression exceeds discipline, troops will break formation and the formation itself will begin to advance. When fear exceeds discipline, troops will start to run away.
First, without Barny's provision of the server, this probably would never have gotten off the ground
I'm also in debt to the community for their excellent visual mods and additions
Credit to Belendor Torheal Artendor for the new logo and opening screen
Credit to Lucke189 for the Realistic Colors mod
Credit to Idibil for allowing me to use Brytenwalda animals
Credit to Fredelios for the goats and for re-rigging the cows
Credit to Pino for his Sarranid and other armors
Credit to Varkhash for his camels.
Credit to Narf for his Rus armor
Credit to Wei Xiadi for his armors
Credit to MarkQuinn for the Better Banners pack
Credit to Yoman for his Sarranid helmets
Credit to Noste for his retextured Sarranid leather
Credit to gutekfiutek for Polished Landscapes
All art is from the Wikimedia commons.
WHERE AM I GOING WITH THIS:
This is a very tentative schedule for development.
* Complete a siege mode
* Complete the current features of the strategic system
* Fix bugs related to score display
* Change the name of the game to 'Empires of Faith', and get a sub-board
* Produce more scenes for Europe, North Africa, and West Asia
* Start the first "official" campaign, where I won't reset provincial conquest scores
* Complete a naval game mode
* Add China
* Make the strategic system less abstract, with on-map armies that players can support
* Complete a hunting/trapping game mode
* Complete an urban game mode (ie, gang wars, etc)
* Add India/Southeast Asi. This will require elephants.
* Create customized fiefs that players can develop, defend, or attack
* Expand number of realms and provinces
* Allow players to hold offices in realms
* Allow players to have individual characters who can have different careers, gain new skills, marry, produce heirs, hold office, and die
Screen #1 -- The riverside caravan route. Camels and guards are setting out in the bottom left, while raiders sally out into the deserts
Screen #2 -- Final agonies of a caravan stripped of its guards, now being cut to pieces on the wadi route
Downloads of 20x. This works on the old Caravan Raiders server which I am about to discontinue.http://www.mbrepository.com/file.php?id=3313http://filesmelt.com/dl/Caravan_Raiders.rar
(this may be faster)
This upgrades the downloadable version to 0.202. You'll need to replace files in your Caravan_Raiders module folder.