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This is an upcoming low fantasy mod for Warband based on 17th century warfare. It will feature five major factions and several minor ones, all set in a land called Kharisir.

Features


Main Features
  • Highly dynamic gunpowder combat with a completely recoded AI, designed to rapidly outmaneuver the player.
  • Dozens of unique battlefields and open siege maps which appear based on world map terrain, designed to avoid bottlenecks and encourage strategic movement of units.
  • Artistically consistent yet well optimised graphical overhauls of every aspect of the game world, including terrain, civilian clothing, smoke effects and armour.
  • A dynamic economy based on population, trade and rebellion, with 14 new buildings to manage each of these features.
  • Realistic recruitment: troops must be recruited from the population of a settlement, and warlike factions may find themselves unable to recruit men.
  • Ammunition supply: armies have a limited supply of ammunition, and must return to their settlements to resupply, else musketmen will be unable to fire their weapons.
  • 13 Thoughtfully (un)balanced factions, from tiny principalities to vast sprawling empires, each with their own unique playstyles and economies.
  • Factions will modernise over time as AI lords build and develop their cities, allowing for powerful rifle troops.
  • A strong focus on strategy and tactics over individual troop statistics.
  • Battlefield morale has been overhauled from the bugged system in vanilla. Troops will rout from the battlefield if frightened, and the careful timing of morale shocks such as cavalry strikes and musket volleys have the potential to break the enemy.
  • Customisable units are available to lords.
  • Rebellions, riots and raids: rebel armies will rise up in rebellious lands, peasants may riot and seize castles for themselves, and enemy lords may sack or even destroy cities.

Gameplay

This mod attempts to remove all the "safe" spots in warband combat, such as magic force field shieldwalls, top-tier spam, and the lack of a reliable counter to heavy cavalry. Players cannot turn peasants into mounted doomknights - instead, commoners, recruitable from villages, wield massed-rank weapons (pike, musket), while noblemen--expensive, few in number and recruitable only from cities and castles--carry other weapons.

Some factions have larger armies and give more recruits than others. These factions rely on their commoners to carry the day - the noblemen among them are only marginally more capable than them. Other factions are still very inegalitarian and expect their highfalauting landowners to lead the battle.

Gone are the days of blind upgrading. Many unit types may be more effective at lower levels in certain circumstances, and some troop trees are considerably larger than others. It might not always be cost-effective to max out all your troops.
Combat is based on pike and shot warfare. Pikemen form the backbone of some of the larger kingdoms, and are present everywhere. Flanking with pikes is esessential. Groups of pikemen can take down any unshielded foe in seconds, but their primary role is protecting musketmen from cavalry.
Muskets are inaccurate at range, but can tear apart even the strongest pike formations given enough numbers.
Cavalry is expensive, and the horses are often weak, but they can dispatch undefended musketeers between volleys. In a battle against massed musket formations, mounted troops are essential in preventing casualties in the large battlefields.

This rock-paper-scissors emphasis prevents the sort of "Blob vs. Blob" or "swadian knight spam vs. Everyone" that makes late game native warband uninteresting.

A WORD ON UNBALANCE:

I specifically set out to make many of the factions unbalanced. However this doesn't mean that one faction will steamroll the others, or that some are unplayable. Some factions rely on large numbers of infantry, yet flee the field at the first sign of trouble. Other factions have a powerful and versatile core of noble soldiers, but have to work alongside a weak and inflexible levy. Yet the elite troops of other factions will best every other faction in most areas, but take a long time to train and are expensive.
In addition, not every faction starts off with the same amount of land. The game is set immediately after the truce of a long war, meaning that some factions have had most of their land taken from them, while others are overstretched. Trouble brews below the surface, and the player must understand the politics of the land in order to prevent other factions declaring war.

Backstory

Kharisir is an isolated region of fertile land along the largely arid coasts of the great Mekish sea. It has a long a vibrant history, beginning with the arrival of the first hunter-gatherers in the prehistoric era.
The first cities grew quickly, fed on the great harvests cut from the black soil. The greatest of these was Gasha in the west. Ancient chroniclers describe in great detail the wide range of food available to its inhabitants, and the vast libraries and universities in the city.
The throne in Gasha ruled over most of kharisir for centuries, each successive dynasty continuing to reign in gasha.
This was not to last.
The invention of the printing press, and a universal writing script, allowed those not of noble birth to read and write. The power of the common man was rising.
Pressure from the expanding deserts forced nomads, once situated far from gasha, to move their flocks southwards. At the same time, sea raiders and traders alike from a far away land settled in the wet and marshy south. The throne in Gasha was losing its grip.
The final straw on the camel's back came swiftly. The invention of gunpowder in an otherwise unremarkable monastery bought the Gasha kingdom crashing down. The poorly disciplined armies of Gasha were routed by a musket-wielding peasant coalition at Kherzhil, in the 13th century of Gasha rule. The city was razed to the ground and the capital moved to khalahar, a small trading post in the shadow of the mountains. The previously unheard-of Sayaz dynasty took control, and the new kingdom flourished in three centuries of peace. For the second time, kharisir was united under a single banner.
However, the stability could not last. The Shahs of Sayazn withdrew to their vast palaces. Rebellions refused to be put down. And the devastating Gashajin war between the shah and his western generals split his empire in three.
You, the player, come to kharisir in a time of uncertainty. Rising powers in every corner of the world seek to benefit from the power vacuum. But Sayazn is still capable of striking back at the usurpers. Do you join the old dominion and reconquer kharisir? Or take up the black banner and take it for yourself? The choice is yours.

Factions

SAYAZN
An old, crumbling gunpowder empire. Relies heavily on massed musket ranks to make up for the weakness of the common soldier. Lords frequently squabble amongst themselves. Led by the eldery Sayaznshah.

Sayazn has a long-standing rivalry with Gashajin. There is still unfinished business after the gashajin war, where peace was never officially signed.
Sayazn's disorganised, sword-wielding armies were later reformed under a general from the city of davishim, modelling them on the nearby republic of kasthind. This allowed them to win a short war against khaldim in which they retook several towns, but created a large number of disbanded soldiers. Some openly rebel and ravage the countryside, attempting to cripple the sayaznshah's power, but most travel the land, either getting involved in elaborate duels, or grumbling their outcast state.

SAYAZNID PROVINCES
A loose conglomeration of lesser vassals owning lands on Sayazn's periphery. Ranges from monasteries perched high in Kharisir's mountain ranges, to forested castles and steppes. A buffer between Sayazn and her many enemies.

GASHAJIN
A breakaway province that emerged to Kharisir's isolated west during the protracted Gashajin War. Ruled by ruthless lords of nomadic heritage, they are distracted by the Qara Shay who currently occupy the desert to their north.
The Gashajin pose the greatest threat to Sayazn: although their armies retain the old sayaznid structure, their weaponary and armour is far superior.

Gashajin is known colloquially as "gazermatshakk", literally "moneymaker castle" or "the industrial nation". Pioneers of the dark satanic mill, and inventors of a machine which could mass produce chain-mail at astounding rates, they were well positioned in the iron-rich thaaysir deserts to challenge sayazn.
Gashajin drafts thousands of men to its vast armies, but suffers from the same disorganisation that plagued sayazn before its military reform. Its many lords often struggle to control what is essentially a conscript army.
However, the readily available stashes of chainmail armour make a gashajin army truly formidable in close-quarters. The charge of their cataphracts open the battle, disrupting formations until the main body of pikes and muskets arrives.
The black walls of cities in the thaaysir desert are a hub of technological innovation. The invention of the textile spinner has made its growing merchant class very rich indeed. However, "useless" technologic breakthroughs go largely unnoticed. Mathematics, chemistry and biology are pursuits reserved for the noble lady or the innocent courtesan.

ISHTAR and Allies
Ishtari traders from beyond the seas are a common sight in Kharisir, but only during the instability of the Gashajin war were they able to gain a foothold along the coast, albeit in the form of  fractured states.
Gunpowder and muskets, along with all the new industry in kharisir, are a completely alien phenomenon to them. The average Ishtari soldier still feels most comfortable with a sturdy Taxus Longbow, and a heavy Kopis to hand to cut down foes, although there are those among them who have taken to musketry and seek to challenge their new neighbours.

Ishtar has a long history, being the oldest surviving kingdom in Kharisir. The main continent inhabited by the ishtar is known as zeldanisir, or "the land to the left". Its inhabitants belonged to a collection of warlike city-states who were united in a series of bloody wars. The king's hold on power is weak -- instead of hereditary lords which he can control, ishtari society praises individual prowess on the battlefield, often with a particular weapon. As a result, most of his vassals are incompetent in strategy but fierce in combat.
Droughts in zeldansir are the bane of the agrarian society. A wave of settlers leaves the land every summer in search of greener pastures. Two breakaway states have emerged on the mainland as a result. The large gunpowder empires view them as an ever present threat, but the desperate situation of the fledgling ishtar states, coupled with their ability to negotiate, mean that they are a constant presence in the back and forth of politics.
Most swords in even the most modernised of states are based on the single-edged ishtar sashud, which replaced the old double-edged swords which used to dominate combat.  However, such a design is falling out of favour, as muskets become effective enough to negate the need for a sidearm.

KASTHIND
Once the great second city of Sayazn, now an independent city state with only nominal ties to the Sayaznshah. It is unique in that, with their nobility long buried, military promotion is decided by merit - at least in theory.

Kasthind calls itself a republic, but the name is all that remains of it. Councillors in the state of kasthind are elected, but their behaviour more accurately reflects an old aristocracy.
Their capital city is the largest port in kharisir, and is bustling with goods from other continents. Unlike most other states, the majority of citizens in kasthind live in large urban centres. This forces them to rely on neighbouring Ishtar for their supply of food, forcing them into a permanent agreement with the state.
The military in kasthind is not at its full strength. Still burning with republican spirit, most citizens do not take conscription lightly. As a result, they can never stand up to neighbouring sayazn in a protracted conflict, instead relying on their good relations with ishtar and gathan to deter disadvantageous war.

GATHAN
"Gathan" is a term, oftentimes derogatory, that refers to the horsebound nomadic tribes scattered on the edges of kharisir. Historically, when threatened by Sayazn, their leaders unite under a single banner.
The Gathani Tribes breed the best horses in kharisir, and learn to loose arrows from horseback at a very young age. Their widespread nature makes them a threat to every lord.

MINOR FACTIONS
Khaldim: a city state in the mountains that still holds out against sayazn. It is ruled by the defiant Queen Shastavi and her five advisors.

Sengahid: a collection of isolated monasteries dotted across kharisir. They tend to avoid conflict with the secular kingdoms, but will condemn their aggressive actions and call for spiritual war against them.



Screenshots


Videos



Sigs:



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Froi

Infidel
Knight at Arms
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
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This Mod seems interesting, I like the idea.  I will be following this.
 

Cero

Sergeant at Arms
WBNW
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I quite like the Middle Eastern/Oriental feel of this mod, based on the screenshots! The first one with the red uniforms and feathered helmets looks quite fetching. Good luck!
 
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most recent screenshots:

New army uniforms


World Map

Map Overview

Rebel Lord: large parties of rebel soldiers


Bridge battles, courtesy of arch3r (will credit on release)

rebel soldiers

 

Scuba Steve

Master Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
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0
I like your world map textures with the farm plots. Makes it much more interesting to look at and breaks up the monotony of just green plains with trees.
 

Mangowarrior

Recruit
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Interesting point on the troops and the troop trees, I'll admit I do tire of endlessly slaughtering everything in sight with elite demi-gods, this mod is going to have some promising battles I presume. Best of luck in it's development.
 
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Okay, so I've completed three factions and have been play testing a lot of battles.  I just want to ask if you'd like more pike or more shot in the mod; at the moment it's sort of geared towards large musket armies with a contingent of pikemen to ward off cavalry. But if I decrease musket strength then it'd mean pikemen become more dominant. I'm asking since a few people complain about the oversaturation of musket mods. Either way, I'm giving most of the factions some distinct speciality, for instance one factions top-tier musket unit is pretty good in melee, while another has particularly high damage. But Not in an over the top way - for example the latter might only inflict 20% more casualties than a weaker factions musketeers. So mixing and matching between cultures isn't worth the penalties in morale and the enormous costs of upgrading to top-tier commoners.

So more pike or more shotte? Anyway here are some screenshottes:




 

SWAT_1990

jacobhinds said:
Okay, so I've completed three factions and have been play testing a lot of battles.  I just want to ask if you'd like more pike or more shot in the mod; at the moment it's sort of geared towards large musket armies with a contingent of pikemen to ward off cavalry. But if I decrease musket strength then it'd mean pikemen become more dominant. I'm asking since a few people complain about the oversaturation of musket mods. Either way, I'm giving most of the factions some distinct speciality, for instance one factions top-tier musket unit is pretty good in melee, while another has particularly high damage. But Not in an over the top way - for example the latter might only inflict 20% more casualties than a weaker factions musketeers.

So more pike or more shotte? Anyway here are some screenshottes:





My opinion: make a balanced game...a few pikes, a few guns, a few arrows etc.
 

DoctorPainkiller

Master Knight
WBNWWF&SVC
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I'd prefer more muskets. It sounds like you're trying to do what WFAS was supposed to do. It looks quite promising so far.
 
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SWAT_1990 said:
My opinion: make a balanced game...a few pikes, a few guns, a few arrows etc.
The game is balanced, I just want to know in what way you want it to lean. For example at the moment a combined arms force of 40-40-20 pike-musket-horse is the most effective killing machine against anything, including single unit spam. But it might be better to make cavalry weaker/stronger etc, to change the layout of the most flexible and versatile army.

Also there won't be many arrows; some old fashioned nobles might carry a bow or two but other than that, they'll be hard to find and ineffective against armour.

Thanks for the replies though, I'm at a point where the mod could go either 15th century warfare or 18th century warfare.
 
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just finished 4/6 of the major factions and 1/5 of the minor factions :grin:
i might have this out before February, free time permitting.

Lords of the main faction (sayazn) are the only people in the game who wear plate armour. i've treated them a bit like bosses; some of them have very high bow skills, lance proficiency etc.

I did my first round of proper campaign mode playtesting, and it's working pretty well considering i haven't implemented PBOD yet. there are a few minor issues due to me messing around with files, but once i finish the last few factions it should be fine to play.

I've also added banner carriers as you can see in a few of the screenshots. upon starting the game each army tends to have a reasonable amount, i.e. 3-4 per army. but i might have to test it more to make sure they don't hoard top tier troops, because after only a month of ingame time, the vassals seem to hire prisoners and you get soldiers in the wrong places.
 

Scuba Steve

Master Knight
M&BWBWF&SNWVC
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jacobhinds said:
Okay, so I've completed three factions and have been play testing a lot of battles.  I just want to ask if you'd like more pike or more shot in the mod; at the moment it's sort of geared towards large musket armies with a contingent of pikemen to ward off cavalry. But if I decrease musket strength then it'd mean pikemen become more dominant. I'm asking since a few people complain about the oversaturation of musket mods. Either way, I'm giving most of the factions some distinct speciality, for instance one factions top-tier musket unit is pretty good in melee, while another has particularly high damage. But Not in an over the top way - for example the latter might only inflict 20% more casualties than a weaker factions musketeers. So mixing and matching between cultures isn't worth the penalties in morale and the enormous costs of upgrading to top-tier commoners.

So more pike or more shotte? Anyway here are some screenshottes:




While I personally think an equal mixture of pike and shotte is good, I'm of the opinion that it should at least somewhat lean more in the shotte direction.
 

Cero

Sergeant at Arms
WBNW
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jacobhinds said:
It's loosely based on a semi-serious comic strip i did a while back http://i.imgur.com/vkOY3tH.jpg
I saw this, was intrigued, and thought the style was cool was hell. Any chance of you uploading the rest of it?
 

Cunobelin

I really like this mod. Are these large starting goals going to delay development or.....
 
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Cero said:
jacobhinds said:
It's loosely based on a semi-serious comic strip i did a while back http://i.imgur.com/vkOY3tH.jpg
I saw this, was intrigued, and thought the style was cool was hell. Any chance of you uploading the rest of it?
It was for a competition, and one of the rules is that you can't publish it until the judges make a decision, but by coincidence this might be around the time i finish it. So i will upload it, just not now. Anyway, here's the rest of my drawings: http://axiaterraartunion.deviantart.com

Cunobelin said:
I really like this mod. Are these large starting goals going to delay development or.....
Not really. I never really liked mods with a million features because i hardly ever use all of them, and the focus of the mod was to fundamentally change the way battles feel and look. So most of the work is modelling and texturing etc, neither of which take very long for me to do.
 
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Okay, I'm getting closer to the first version.
things left to do:
- add one more faction(I missed out three of the minor factions, I'll probably add those next release),
- do the NPCs and dialogue. this won't take me long; a day at the most.
- remove all the unused native items from module.txt and module_items.py for a smooth load time.
- fix the map, a lot of the hills are stupidly pointy because i underestimated their height in thorgrims.
- sceneing. i might do two scenes per settlement type just for the sake of gameplay to begin with.
- iron out the bugs caused by my earlier stupidity
- give credit where credit is due

and that's it, i'll be done. but at the moment i need to test the long-term effects of the campaign since i've made quite a few changes, so if anyone's willing to beta test for me when the time comes, i'd be very grateful.

first, a question: I always wanted to change the in-game images (you have been captured etc.), but since this is based on low fantasy, i'm not prepared to scour the internet for a bunch of incoherent concept art, so i decided to make my own. i started off with the HUD:



what do you guys think? i'm not sure it looks realistic enough to fit in with the rest of the game, but hopefully it'll blend in to all the other drawings i've done for the mod. please give scathing criticism; should i improve it or get rid of it altogether?

more images from ingame:

I've also tweaked the scene hex code so that maps are pretty large and relatively flat. i'll probably release a separate lot of files for lower-end rigs (I've maxed out the dust and smoke to near-darthmod levels), but imo the battles play better when you arent opening fire on each other from the outset. it allows time for deployment.



More Screenshots:


A group of musketeers prepares to fire on charging cavalry.


advanced formations implemented.


pretty devastating volley; killed at least 10 horsemen.


once they reach our lines however, there isnt room to fire and almost half of my men are killed. these are top-tier musketmen against average cavalry lancers.


two pike blocks advance.


ishtari archers attack pikemen. archers enjoy a much faster rate of fire but do far less damage, even to unarmoured opponents. only the ishtar carry bows - they are what you might call the wildcard faction.





Gashajin cataphracts, the most heavily armoured guys in the game. they ride slow horses however, and are very vulnerable once dismounted.


They also do the- hey, who's this?


anyway, preparing for a charge. note the f-


who IS that??




muzzle flares implemented.


Gashajin musketeers. their faction begins with unarmoured recruits, who quickly become heavily armoured in mail.


Guiding the ishtar through the forest.


Preparing for a volley.




one of the more graceful battle maps. i hope to tweak the settings so that more of the maps turn out like this.




"It's up to you, mate. see ya"


Charging through the forest


Battle tactics.