An open letter from the Kingdoms of Arda team, and the total-conversion mod community

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Bloc

Archduke
WB
Getting started with modding, on the other hand, is a lot harder in Bannerlord than it is in Warband.
Yes, currently that's the case. But I don't think this will be the case in the future. Warband was "easy" because it had a lot of documentation and tutorials from the community. And this was also the reason why we had hundreds of duplicate-like mods in Warband. No one was able to add something new unless they get their hands dirty - and if you weren't a technical person, that wasn't an option for you anyway. Warband's strange module language is also counter-intuitive for most people. C# is both good in terms of language resources and experience. Any person with OOP knowledge can adapt to that code easily, doesn't have to be expert on that or needed to have professional level experience. For Warband that wasn't the case. LISP like Python they used was strange and needed time to understand. Debugging was also a nightmare.

I think after EA, Bannerlord community will create it's own guides/tutorials and such. Some people will provide template projects. We will have OSP's etc. So that more and more people will get their hands on modding.

I mean, isn't it? Sure, it's not 100% impossible to edit (like everything stuck in the exe file), but it's... 95% impossible to edit instead. If you have to replicate and replace complete libraries in order to edit a few particular values, that's not exactly mod friendly.
Is it bad for modding? Yes, because you have to do x2 work to change something that you could change in seconds if TW wouldn't do it like in that way. But is it actually really deeply hardcoded? I don't think so. And since letter/OP is mentioning about Total Conversion mods, I don't think patching it piece by piece should be the solution anyway. They can hire all the interns in the world, this won't change the fact that TC/FC mods will be extremely annoying to work on with patching/extending Native. If they simply provide the "gameplay" modules as a project with open-source, any modder can built/compile his own from that and this would remove all the issues mentioned in the letter ( apart from documentation but that part is already clear).
What about the small modules then? For them, removing constants/internals would make life easier. So the combination of both solutions would increase the moddability of the game for sure. But that is up to TW anyway.

Technically, the game does support Full Conversion mods in a certain manner.
It does, yes. I mean technically, you also have a good module/mod system(compared to other games) where you can write your own `Native` run the game with that folder only and call it Full Conversion if you want.
But as far as I can see, game doesn't want you to "patch" Native piece by piece so that it will be a Full Conversion - this is not only too much work but also kinda exploiting the logic behind modules. Changing Native from source and building your own Native should be way easier than this approach. But again, that's just my opinion.
 

dijiTurk

Banned
WBNWVCM&BWF&S
I was imagining this :

"TW released moddingkit, and modders working hard with tools for great mods; they just need server files to run their mods & keep development.."

But, heck no?! I read the full letter without usng any dictionary... There are some serious problems which are quite clear. Modders are starving from :

-lack of Critical Documantation
-modderstoper/any kind of Roadblocks
-lack of modders' critical feedback before each design decitions.



>Modders must be happy aganist starvation objects taht i listed above..
>Contunious Communication between each talented modders & top developers; must achieved.


I do want to see total-overhaul mods.
Community do need it.




Edit for a bit better grammer
 
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LDominating

Regular
ofc because currently BL gives fun for max 50h. MP is dead I dont count it.
How so?
I got 700H+ without the multiplayer.
And even now,3 months without PC,Bannerlord is the only game I want a PC for.
I just get so immersed in the game,time flies by doing so.
 

Xylord

Recruit
It does, yes. I mean technically, you also have a good module/mod system(compared to other games) where you can write your own `Native` run the game with that folder only and call it Full Conversion if you want.
But as far as I can see, game doesn't want you to "patch" Native piece by piece so that it will be a Full Conversion - this is not only too much work but also kinda exploiting the logic behind modules. Changing Native from source and building your own Native should be way easier than this approach. But again, that's just my opinion.
For most FC mods, patching native is not actually really needed, rather it is required by those select few hard-coded parts of the source. The vast majority of the source seems to be compatible with someone taking out all SandBox units, cities, cultures, factions and stuffing your own custom ones in instead, which is 95% of what most TC mods want to do. From what I've seen, almost anything most TC mods want to do can be done by using a custom GameType and adding custom CampaignBehaviours.

In other words, the Native module is mostly well-designed enough that it is abstracted from the Campaign content, and I think this is an intentional design decision on TW's part.
 

Kadbros

Recruit
Hi guys,

We want to thank you for the time and effort you have put into coordinating with each other to communicate your concerns with us. Modding has always been a massive part of Mount & Blade, and Bannerlord is no exception to that! We of course want to do what we can to support you in your efforts wherever possible.

It will require some time to address all your concerns, but we held a meeting today regarding your letter and reviewed our feedback and bug reporting processes, along with the specific points you raised. We decided to set aside some time next week to discuss possible solutions and ways in which we can support you more, such as with more extensive documentation. In the meantime, we will be reaching out to gather some more modding-related feedback and suggestions.
Very good, prefer you keep the discourse between the devs and the modders, don't need voices from everywhere for this one specifically.
 

John_M

Subforum Moderator
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
I mentioned this before but for Total Conversion mods, the best thing to do for TW would be separating the copyright/sensitive code from the gameplay logic DLL's and then publishing the entire Gameplay source in Github or any other place. This might be daunting for TW to do at the beginning but It comes with several pros, rather than cons.
- With this way, Total Conversion modders can simply download the entire gameplay logic as a VS project solution, do their tweaks, change whatever they want, built it from that and name it MyCoolNative2 and tell players to use only that module in module folders.
- With this way, you wouldn't have to patch anything, you wouldn't need to reverse engineer it and you wouldn't be "angry" about hardcoded stuff since everything will be accessible. TW also wouldn't need to change their unorthodox style and continue what they are doing.
- With this way, community could make PR's to populate/comment on methods and help out the documentation. Also since it will be a Git comparer, seeing module system v1 to v2 changes would be extremely easy to track by modders - they can even argue about certain changes in merge-pull request branches if this goes too complicated in the future.
Sounds positive, but the game uses more than just "Native", a lot of the problems come from the storymode and sandbox modules. Not sure how practical it would be, if TW would have to release all of the modules or if the game could work fine with a single custom module.

I don't see how that would help with hardcoded stuff as things like skins(man,women,child) are assigned through the engine, not the native or storymode modules.

TW has already released the sandbox mode, which disables some of the storymode features allowing a base that ignores much of things many mods just want no part of. Which might be in the right direction, I just don't know how much work we can expect TW to put into this.

OP and overall the letter has valid points as I said in my first post. However, they are missing the fact that, currently, the module system doesn't look like it's designed to support Total Conversion mods anyway. I mean game literally enables Native + SandBox modules by default and makes it impossible to disable it from Launcher UI.
The points are not missed, it's kind of the focus of the letter. Its just the letter was made with the knowledge of deliberate choices, not chance or bad practice as you suggest.
If the game is made fundamentally with total conversions in mind, by opening up internal and sealed classes and with less constant values, or the suggestion you make, that'd be great sure. But it currently isn't the case, choices were made to be "small modification" friendly.
 
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Bloc

Archduke
WB
I know it's not just Native - I gave Native as an example.
I don't see how that would help with hardcoded stuff as things like skins(man,women,child) are assigned through the engine, not the native or storymode modules.
This is something else though, isn't it? If I understand it correctly at least.
As a result, if a modder wants to change or remove these hard-coded behaviors and fields, they must choose to patch them with Harmony, or rip out and replace the entire system.
The letter mentions hardcoded stuff ( such as constants etc ) - it's not mentioning providing more endpoints where you can do more with the engine. However, about this, I agree with everyone else. It would always be better for modders to have access to as much as possible.
My previous suggestion was to eliminate "rip out and replace the entire system" logic. If they provide the whole solution, you will always build it from that source and for full conversion, you will always have chance to write whatever you want on top of Native/Storymode etc. You can leave everything as original and just compile the exact same Native - if you don't change anything.

If the game is made fundamentally with total conversions in mind, by opening up internal and sealed classes and with less constant values, or the suggestion you make, that'd be great sure. But it currently isn't the case, choices were made to be "small modification" friendly.
If that's the case, then it's sad. I never heard that from someone directly saying this in TW and coding practices that they have are the same as 4-5 years before what they had - where the game wasn't even in EA or Beta.
That's why I'm sceptical about saying "this is designed in a way to block total conversion mods"

Anyway, I also got information that they will make further meetings about this. It's not clear which path they will go with but they are aware of the fact that mods and modders are their friends and they will probably spend time to support as much as they can.
 

dijiTurk

Banned
WBNWVCM&BWF&S
Should TW cover its' own-uniqe mount & blades combat mechanism within custom mods?

I dont think so. Beause, modders can completely change game's atmosphere with tools/areas that TW provided. One employee also did a completely different 2d game inside Bannerlord. Thats an example this.

While all gameplay parameters have to be open change(or adding more to existing ones) in modding, only firm's(TW) rights must be covered with -roadblocks- . TW must cover its' rights, yes. And also, bannerlord must be purchased from stores/Mods need to follow this rule. These are OK. However, modders n2 make all gameplay modifications they need. This is my opinion..
 

adrakken

Sergeant
M&BWBNWVCWF&S
I don't doubt that there are more mods now that there were in the past, but that's because the number of games and players has skyrocketed in the last few years, as well as the number of game developers (who often start out modding). That doesn't mean it's not harder.

Back in the 90s and early 00s for example most games were made by a small handful of people and were relatively simple and self contained, and could realistically be reverse engineered even if there were no official tools. Most of the overhaul mods from back then were made by one person.
Yeah dont go there mate, been playing games since the 1980s and not many people could mod before 2005 without any coding skills at all. Today, anyone can mod if the game has either official tools, professional tools the games use (like unreal), or player made tools released to the public. And then there are games now, made by experienced programmers with modding in mind like the previously mentioned Empyrion Galactic Survival (this is a survival combat game with a hint of NMS in it with a large randomly created galaxy in it that can have over 10,000 star systems) that just with Notepad++ and a little knowledge of how the game is laid out, you can mod all the basics (in Notepad++) because they MADE it to be modded easily. A bunch of .ECF files with basic game information for items/creatures/blocks and then .YAML files that handles all planet data, temperature, graveity, what life/items appear and how many, planetary objects like trees, rocks and all colors associated with it, all editable...with more files that alter how many planets, star systems...you name it, it can be edited and to create a new kind of existing creature all it takes is a simple copy/paste into the correct files and assigning an ID that is opened and creating/adding a loot list for it and if you want a brand new one, only requires creating a new skin to be created and exported to BMP and placed in the right folder and have your new creature call to it.

No actual programming knowledge required...in fact, many games being made with Unity 2018 or later, are easy as hell to mod.

This is a snipit from a planets .yaml file
Seed: 1
PlanetSize: 3
PlanetAxis: 21.54195
TemperatureMinMax: [0, 45]
TemperatureNight: 7
HumidityMinMax: [0.1, 0.7]
SeaLevel: 40
TerrainLevel: 140
BaseLevel: 0
LandWaterRatio: 0.1070294
TemperatureHeightRange: [30, 50]
TemperatureGradientRange: [0.55, 0]
TemperatureNoiseFac: 0.75
HumidityHeightFac: [0, 270]
HumidityNoiseFac: 0.9

Gravity: -10.93
Radiation: 0.0
AtmosphereDensity: 1.4
AtmosphereO2: 0.2
AtmosphereBreathable: True
GroundFogIntensity: 0
GroundFogHeight: 0
AtmosphereFog: 0
PvP: False

Want a larger planet possibility, just change 3 to 4 or 5. Altering planetaxis changes suns rise/set position. Temp max, is clear raise that 45 to 50 for a much higher possible max temperature...you can change water to land ratios, effect of gravity and oxygen...all just by changing some numbers and then clicking the SAVE BUTTON...do not even need to re-cook any files or anything. That is just a TINY portion of this file, everything about a planet can be changed. Even the skys color, color of grass(if there is any)...everything...in a simple file opened in Notepad++. The only kind of better than average knowledge you would need would be if you were wanting to do animations and knowing how to do some graphics design to aid in making new skins faster. The game is so moddable you can create a TEXT FILE for your story and just import it in as long as you added in the correct contextual locations for where the text needs to be placed in the game. And if you want to create every aspect of a planet from scratch, you can do that also with one of several player made tools that does require a slight learning curve but should easily be able to nail it in a day or 4. The game isnt fully released yet, and already has more than a few full player made "scenarios" and over 100,000 player made ship designs on the Workshop.

So sorry to break it to you man, but modding is not limited like it once was. It is prolific and there are far more mods now, because its far easier to mod...not just because there are "more games" that have it and it will continue to expand as more and more companies make games with Unity and Unreal.
 

Dayne57

Recruit
Do it for the modders, they did so good on warband just imagine bannerlord potential with arda mod and all the others !

Respect the community who create cool things for your game, help them.

Your community always trusted you, it's your time now !

Bad english sorry about that :roll:
 

DariusPlayer

Recruit
i havent seen this thread here yet so i am just going to post this again.

I am a long time forum lurker, almost daily here reading all kinds of posts but never bothered to create an account. after reading the letter from the mod dev team i just had to create an account and tell @Tellworlds to get you stuff together, the only reason why i havent refunded Bannerlord yet is because of the upcoming mods specially Kingdom of Arda. I dont care about vanila Bannerlord anymore, i wish i would but the devs just totally neglected critical points and continue to do so. I am happy if moddser can fix this mes, but seeing that taleworlds is even blocking them from making any progress is a shameful display. i am going to change my steam review, i had it on positive for all this time but not anymore. I encourage everyone to write a steam review if you havent done yet, i dont think they will listen to us unless we show our opinion on steam reviews.
 

La Grandmaster

Sergeant Knight at Arms
This is extremely sad to hear. I made The Reckoning mod (the zombie apocalypse one) for warband and worked on the VC dlc. Mods are what kept Warband alive (The Reckoning had like half a million visits/100,000 downloads and was number 1 on ModDb for a while - and all that was for a 8 year old game at the time) - mods played a big part behind the hype in Bannerlords development and release (and subsequent sales). I have been holding off modding bannerlord until it "settles" a bit so it is sad to hear taleworlds have taken this approach.
 

DariusPlayer

Recruit
This is extremely sad to hear. I made The Reckoning mod (the zombie apocalypse one) for warband and worked on the VC dlc. Mods are what kept Warband alive (The Reckoning had like half a million visits/100,000 downloads and was number 1 on ModDb for a while - and all that was for a 8 year old game at the time) - mods played a big part behind the hype in Bannerlords development and release (and subsequent sales). I have been holding off modding bannerlord until it "settles" a bit so it is sad to hear taleworlds have taken this approach.
Any plans to do a reckoning overhaul for bannerlord, if modders would be support appropriately by Taleworld? I really enjoyed you mod in warband.
 
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