Lately the question arose when version 2.5 would be finished, and what's still left to be done. These aren't new questions: with every version so far people asked when the next one would come out, and what the new features would be. In a way it's very flattering to know that people highly anticipate the next release (no pressure!). But while we work as hard as we can, we can't do magic: it's all done in our spare free time. To give you an idea of the scope of the project and the time it takes, I want to give you a brief tour through the history of the mod pack. Then you might see why some versions were done pretty quick, while others take a few months.
It all started with my AAR: Me, Floris
. Originally I started it on the Paradox forum, where AARs are a regular occasion, but someone asked me to bring it over to the TaleWorlds forum, where it became an instant hit. In this A
eport, I showed screenshots of my own game. Once I had brought it over to the TaleWorlds forum, I started to look around, and thus noticed all kinds of mods available. It were the early days of Warband, so not that many had been made or brought over from the original M&B yet. I downloaded a few, read the readme's and followed the instructions
. I had no clue what I was doing, but hey, it worked! I tried a few simple mods, where the readme's basically said 'copy these files into that directory, and add these lines to the module.ini'. Surprisingly combining a few mods also worked. I made some screenshots of my successes, and showed them in my AAR. Slowly the amount of mods increased, and people saw the results without being able to test it themselves.
One day someone asked me to turn my little mod experiment into a full-blown mod, available for everyone. At that moment I had quite a few mods working together, but it was all still very bugged. I didn't mind it, but if I would make it available to others, it'd better be working well. So I had some doubts. Would I take the time to get rid of the bugs, or would I just go on playing and writing? In the end I decided to make it available. I asked permission to all the creators of the mods I used (which I got), spend two days to get rid of the bugs and uploaded it all. This was the Floris Mod Pack version 1.0, available on 20 September 2010. Can you imagine now that I had doubts starting this mod?
The mod pack only had 15 mods back then, and it was still made like my earlier attempts: just a bunch of mods thrown together after reading all the readme's. I didn't have the source code because I had no clue on how to edit with the module system. The first version was simple and small. But immediately after the release I started working on version 2.0. There were some things that needed to be improved, and there were some really nice mods that I wanted to add. Also I did see the value of having the source code been made in the module system, so I needed to learn how to work with it. What did I add to the mod pack to go to version 2.0?
- 30 new mods (I thus tripled the amount of mods in the pack!)
- 4 new scripts (I needed to learn the module system for that)
- I updated the mods to the latest versions (a practice I kept on doing)
- I added quite a few items and adjusted their stats. Most of the added mods didn't offer python lines for their items to add to the module system: I needed to manually write really a lot of lines of code to get all these new items working.
- I added the current troop tree: it took quite some time to design it.
- Of course I did some bugfixes.
Adding 30 mods to the pack sounds like a lot of work, but that wasn't the main culprit: making everything work in the module system, while learning how to work with it at the same time, that was what took up most of my time. There were two months between the release of 1.0 and 2.0, and during that time I worked - on average - 10 hours a day on the mod pack. That's around 600 hours of work to go from version 1.0 to 2.0! If it had been a paid job I probably would have worked 40 hours a week on it, and it would have been finished in 4 months. But now I did it in half that time.
When I released 2.0, it was still very bugged. Logical, when you think about it: I just started to learn how to handle the module system from scratch. Luckily Duh and Caba`Drin joined the team, and together we made every two weeks a new version. 2.1, 2.2 and 2.3 were thus created pretty fast after each other. It was necessary to get it out pretty soon to fix all the mistakes I had made. Along the way we incorporated even more mods. But finally, with 2.3, we had a version that worked as intended.
During the earlier versions, people also asked me when the next one would be out. During those times I actually gave a date, which I never
made. Every version for which I had given a release date was delayed. No big problem, you would say, but actually it was: the moment the release went past the deadline I had given, it began to stress me out. That's why I decided that I won't give any release dates anymore
. If I would give a date and won't make it, I would get mad at myself for not making it, and we can't have that. The next version will come out when it's ready.
Between the release of 2.3 and 2.4 were again two months. This time I didn't work as hard as during those earlier versions: I needed a break. After that I worked in a more 'normal' tempo on the project. A few hours a day on average. Real life was catching up (money needs to be earned, social interactions need to take place, stuff like that). Luckily we were now working with more people then during the previous 2-month period: with 2.4 22 new scripts were added. This of course created quite some new bugs, for which Caba`Drin released a bugfix patch.
Till 2.41a the mod pack had been savegame compatible, even from native (altough with a small adjusted textfile). You could play your game all the way from native through all the old versions to 2.41a. I did that with my own savegame for my AAR. Unfortunately some bugs form earlier versions kept on existing in the savegame, but hey, you could continue your ancient game! But while keeping it savegame compatible is noble, fixing some bugs becomes almost impossible. That's why we finally decided to let this compatibility go. Version 2.5 won't be savegame compatible, thus allowing us to fix quite some issues that otherwise can't be fixed. For example, the items: in order to keep it savegame compatible, I had to add items at the bottom of the item list. This turned that list into one giant mess (as any modder that made a submod can tell). Also, in order to keep it savegame compatible, the amount of items couldn't be lowered: only increased. So the amount grew, while keeping quite some ugly or buggy items. Especially in 2.4 we noticed that we hit the maximum amount of feasible items in the game. This stabs performance in the back. So for 2.5, I rearrange all items logically, and lower the amount by deleting the ugly / buggy ones. But not just that: where necessary I create new textures, or fetch other items to replace the ugly ones, so that a good amount will be available, while not hindring performance.
I'm too sloppy to keep a list with new features we're working on up-to-date, but for this one time I promised somewhere to post the current status. Here is a short list with all the main points I'm working on (just me, not Duh and Caba`Drin: they work on other stuff):
- Sort all troops, rebalance them and give them items according to the new list. in progress
- Create 5 new companions and write their dialogues. in progress
- Add new face textures. in progress
- Sort, check and reduce all items. in progress
- Use the castle siege fix. done
- Check the sounds again. not yet started
- Normalise the music and add some new songs. in progress
- Add the bugfixes from 2.41 to 2.5. done
Of course, this is very general. Personally I keep a much more detailed list. Some items on that list may be 5 minutes work, while others will take a week to finish. For example, Sort all troops in the troops file
was done in an afternoon, while Add multiple troop trees
still isn't finished after working for two or three weeks on it.
- Sort all troops in the troops file. done
- Give all troops recognisable id's. done
- Add some extra unused troops for each faction that can be used by modders. done
- Create different village / town / spy walkers for each faction. done
- Add custom troops and give them a troop tree. done
- Add troop heroes. done
- Enable the town crooks and check their faces (no purpose for them yet). in progress
- Add multiple troop trees. in progress
- Give the troops, companions, lords, ladies etc. items according to the new item list. in progress
- Rebalance troop stats. not yet started
- Add stats to the custom troops. not yet startedCompanions
- Add 5 new companions. done
- Incorporate the new companions into the relation circle. done
- Design faces for the new companions. in progress
- Write dialogues for the new companions. not yet started
- Adjust the dialogues of the old companions to integrate the new ones. not yet startedFaces
- Add new male face textures. done
- Adjust the male face codes to use the new male face textures. done
- Adjust the faces of the starting quest merchants. done
- Create 4 African face codes. done
- Add new female face textures. not yet started
- Adjust the female face codes to use the new female face textures. not yet startedItems
- Sort all items in the items file. done
- Check the trade items textures for too much darkness. done
- Create a new fancy dress for Arwa (And Isolla). done
- Check all books and adjust / remove where necessary. done
- Check all dresses and adjust / remove where necessary. done
- Check all horses and adjust / remove where necessary. in progress
- Adjust the skin texture for the dresses of Arwa and Isolla. in progress
- Check all axes and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all blunt weapons and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all lances and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all polearms and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all swords and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all ranged weapons and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all armors and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check Narf's Rus Armour Pack v1.2
. not yet started
- Check Crusader Mail Armour Pack v1.2
. not yet started
- Check OSP Indo-Persian Armor II v1.0
. not yet started
- Check all boots and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all gloves and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check all headgear and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check WEe's Helmets v1.0
. not yet started
- Check all shields and adjust / remove where necessary. not yet started
- Check Various Roundshields v1.0
. not yet startedScenes
- Use the castle siege fix. doneSounds
- Delete the extra lines and recheck the sounds. not yet startedMusic
- Normalise the music. in progress
- Add Warband Live Music v1.0
. I've got permission! in progressBugfixes
- Add all bugfixes from 2.41 to 2.5. done
As you can see, there are a lot of things on my personal list. Nowadays I'm not
working 10 hours a day on the mod, something that also isn't going to happen in the near future. Because all things on the list need to be done before 2.5 comes out, it's taking quite a while. And I rather do it well than hastily.
With this dev diary I hope that the following has become clear:
- What are we working on? (well, at least what am I
- Why is it taking so long? (it's a lot of work)
- When will the next version be out? (I'm not telling ya, na na nana na)
Thank you for reading this wall of text, and see you next time!