Shadows in the Desert - An Ancient Middle East Mod

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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Shadows in the Desert is a mod project led by Kuauik, DrTomas and Sahran, including major contributions of Alxcruel, Duckwolf, Rgcotl, Lynores, and others. It is not a historically imitative mode, but rather "Historically influenced, historically inspired, and not a historic imitation". This mod's world is one inspired by the historical Late Bronze to Early Iron Age, a period of roughly 1300 BCE to 500 BCE, centered exclusively within the Near East during the rise and fall of great empires like the New Kingdom of Egypt, Neo-Assyria, Neo-Babylonia, the Mycenaean Kingdoms, or the Hittite Confederacy.  Both absolute historical fact, like the Neo-Assyrian military of Sargon II or the New Kingdom military of Ramesses II, and historical myth (The Iliad, Shahnameh) are utilized to present a narrative befitting a historical fiction epic.

Screenshots: W.I.P

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Preliminary Faction List
Kingdom of Persia
Kingdom of Assyria
Kingdom of Babylon
Kingdom of Egypt
Kingdom of Turan (Scythians)
Kingdom of Israel (Including Canaanite and Philistine Vassals)
Arzawa Confederacy - Western Anatolian States led by Troy
Hittite Empire - Hittites and their Syro-Mitanni Vassals
Kingdom of the Achaeans - The Kingdoms of Greece and the Aegean, led by Agamemnon of Mykene.
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FAQ:
Why aren't you aiming for historical accuracy?
Our mantra is "Historically inspired, historically influenced, but not a historical imitation". In the West our inspiration is the fall of the bronze age - the 13th century to 12th. In the East our inspiration is the 7th to 6th century.

How will stats/balance amongst factions/peoples be addressed?
It's still being worked out, but unit's initial stats will be based on a common level of training status: Civilian > Levy > Semi-Professional > Professional > Elite/Noble. Afterwards additional variables will adjust stats so that an Assyrian and Egyptian spearmen of the same level could vary significantly beyond just equipment. Some of the variables may include:

"Discipline": The standard of training. Assyrian definition of a semi-professional reservist implies more than a Judaean semi-professional reservist.

"Cultural Background": Background that would make them better or worse suited to an attribute than another. Persian culture trained in the bow and spear, Judaean culture trained in the sling, and so on.

"Context": If accounts talk about how awesome Judaean champions were at slings, or Persian nobles at sword play, then that'll be accounted for.

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Help Needed:
Coders/Scripters - We really need this. I'm doing a crash course to get us by but we need a dedicated coder(s) for campaign and battle map, although the latter is Ritter's domain right now.

Scipter to create a Chariot Function
Such a coveted feature would naturally need to be shared amongst the community, but it's something we could really use. It needs to be usable by the AI first and foremost, ideally by players too but we'd take what we could. While 2-4 horses is the historical reality, a 1 horse chariot would be fine. Something like Vincenzo's Mount and Musket gun-carriage script, where the AI would be able to stand in the chariot/carriage part and wield weaponry (At least the bow, if not polearms too) and there is either no AI on the front horse or the AI is invisible.

See Vincenzo's MM script in video here: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,156163.msg3755303.html#msg3755303

Campaign Map Makers - Also essential.

Scene Makers - Also essential! Until we get new building material we need a lot of scenes using the Khergit 'clay brick' scenery.

Modelers: Any variety would be greatly appreciated, but modelers for weaponry is especially needed.

Texturers: While Kuauik is our main texturer, I imagine he'd welcome support.

Researchers - We don't need someone who can copy and paste a wikipedia article. What we need is listed, concise, detailed information of City-names, people's names, symbols for banners, and so forth. If you can provide detailed and highly specific information for the military organization of these factions (I'm talking how they referred to their soldiers, how they referred to their equipment), then that would be appreciated too.

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Team:
Kuauik & Sahran & DrTomas: Team Leaders
Docm: Map Creator, armor/weaponry/equipment modeler (Mycenaean cuirass & accessories).
Alxcruel: Weaponry Modeler [Swords, maces, axes, spears, ect], creator of Sling model/texture/animations & Horse Modeler
Duckwolf2: Weaponry modeler [Assyrian Spears & Lances, two assyrian swords, Egyptian sword, Hittite helmet, ect.] & Helmet Modeler
Rgcotl: Contributor of models/textures/advice/scripting
Ritter Dummbatz: Scripter, Map editor [Retired?]
DrTomas: Master Scripter
Kuauik: Master modeler, texturer, all things artistic
Sahran: Master researcher, current 'organizer', stat balancer, script compiler, Jack of all trades
Argesh: Akkadian expert & Architecture builder

Feragorn: Research help on the Israelites & Vassals and Egyptians
Gulchatay: Research help on Scythians
Rez: Research help on Persia
Ogaburan: Research help on Israelite roster
matmohair1: Research help on Concept artwork

And many of our fans who have offered help and assistance.

Credits:
Lynores: Invaluable assistance and material from TPW (
Llew2: Gallo-Roman OSP material (Base Models of torso armor & saddleless horse)
Iyiort's Mulatto Faces: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,54707.msg2877699.html#msg2877699
Jed Q's Faces: http://www.mbrepository.com/file.php?id=1128
Iboltax Faces: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,163242.msg3948767.html#msg3948767
Wanderer949's Horse Textures: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,100898.0.html
Duckwolf2's Assyrian & Egyptian sword, Assyrian Saber, Assyrian Spears, Hittite Helmet, Egyptian Axe, additional stuff.
CGBeebe: Shaders (With Docm's assistance in our acquiring them!)
Time Golem’s Ancient Armory 1.0: http://forums.taleworlds.com/index.php/topic,268849.0.html

Embarrassingly, there's someone who did a great native face overhaul that darkened the skin tones. I forgot to mark down who did this, so please come forward if you recognize your work and I'll add your name here. My apologies!

SIGNATURES: By Falx







SIGNATURES: By Lordique




SIGNATURES: By Kuauik
 

Mandible

Grandmaster Knight
WB
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You've got a good start there, from the looks of things. I hope it works out nicely!
 

rgcotl

Count
M&BWB
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the idea is good, but
i think you still need some more work on models (especially on modelling if you are working on warband)
 

Sayd Ûthman

Section Moderator
WB
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0
Damn, Looks very promising.if you want a good mapper, contact demonwolf,maybe he can help you.
i really want to help you, i can model some helmets if you want.
Good Luck
 

Revan Shan

Grandmaster Knight
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Fuking awesome. Waiting for it.

I've been waiting a lot to command egyptian formations.

I just hope you do some good research and give each their actual characteristics and representative trees. Including charriots, which were the most important unit of that time.

Assyrians and Egyptians both had charriots, but the first ones mastered in infantry, while the others did in archery.


 

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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0
Thanks for all the kind words. :smile:

Revan Shah: Sadly, for all intensive purposes chariots are 'impossible' right now in M&B. They've only been done by one mod, the Wedding Dance, and it's exclusive to that mod and I am not certain it works for enemy NPCs. That's one of the reasons why we are going thematic rather than literal history since we could have a Saitic Egypt sanctioned by archaeologists for its accuracy, but lacking chariots would damn it to historical failure. The good news is that by the 7th-5th century cavalry were on an exponential rise. They were essentially the exclusive mounted arm for Scythia or Persia and probably very close to that for Assyria (most stuff I've read has by the latest Neo-assyrians cavalry being the most numerous, with little or no chariots). For the Syro-Hittites the loss is a bit more felt, but apparently the kingdoms of Homs and Damascus would field 1 cavalryman for 1 chariot so it seems they were on the transition too. It's really only Egypt who suffers the loss of it explicitly - they'll get light horse, but their focus will just be on footmen.

Sayd Ûthman: I'll see what helmets Kuauik needs modeled. Thanks bro.

 

Cruger

What do you guys need coded on the campaign map that you can't do yourself? I could help out a bit if you good some good ideas :smile:
 

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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Well I'm a terrible coder. By that I mean "I can't code worth beans, I can just learn to put in OSP stuff".  :mrgreen: So the hope is to find a more dedicated and talented coder. Campaign map issues is more of a future concern but some of the stuff I think we'd be able to use would be:
1) Ability to traverse rivers & oceans (Kind of hinges on getting a boat scene, but in the short haul it could be reserved for players and AI or just somehow avoid allowing conflict at sea)
2) Especially for the Syro-Hittites, I was wondering if one could script a more divisive atmosphere for their npc nobles. I doubt you can get an inter-faction war going, but for instance if noble A (King of Judaea) doesn't like the Marshall of the Army (A lord of damascus) or the king (of damascus), he might refuse to join the summons of the marshall. Failing that, I would wonder if you could script an 'on off alliance' if we were to split the Syro-Hittites into 2 or 3 specific factions. So if nobody is at war with any of those members they can go to war with one another but if an external state declares war on any of them, they all make peace and work together.
3) We haven't considered this yet, but something I thought about for other mods that might be neat here would be 'emergent factions'/'rebellions', and 'barbarian migrations'. So for instance if certain factors are met Babylon might get a large army of an emergent Chaldean/Aramaean faction spawn and try to take the city.

Also if people are interested in modeling weapons, here's some of the stuff we'd need:

http://imgur.com/a/8NZbB
 

Cruger

Sahran said:
1) Ability to traverse rivers & oceans (Kind of hinges on getting a boat scene, but in the short haul it could be reserved for players and AI or just somehow avoid allowing conflict at sea).
Making points where you can cross rivers is easy, that's just to use the "ford" texture in Thorgrims map editor, then you can code it so that all battles fought on the ford texture is naval battles (I can do that for you whenever you have a scene, it's not hard). If you have oceans and islands etc. it presents more of an issue. Beacuse of hardcoded stuff there is no perfect way of making naval travel perfect, but there are two models. There is the model were you use ford to create some entry points to the ocean, and then replace the texture of an already existing terrain (for example steppe), with the water texture, and then make the entire ocean steppe. Then when a party travels on steppe, their icon change, and all encounters on steppe become naval battles. This is used in 1257AD to name a mod (last time I checked at least).

The other method is again to make the entire ocean of the terrain you feel like you need least in the mod (for you it would probably be snow), but instead of using ford as entry points, you simply just create a layer of water just above the actual ocean. The upside of this is that you can cross the ocean to any location, from any location, opposed to using entry points. The downside is that you can't manevour on the ocean itself, but have to be travelling to a distination on land in order for you to be able to cross/change direction. I use this myself.

The reason why you just can't cover the entire ocean with ford is that the game refuses to load if the map has too much ford.

Sahran said:
2) Especially for the Syro-Hittites, I was wondering if one could script a more divisive atmosphere for their npc nobles. I doubt you can get an inter-faction war going, but for instance if noble A (King of Judaea) doesn't like the Marshall of the Army (A lord of damascus) or the king (of damascus), he might refuse to join the summons of the marshall.
This is standard in Warband afaik. I havn't actually checked the code, but I'm pretty sure a lord already is much more likely to go "I can do greater deeds" with a marshall he has a bad relationship with, than to a marshall to which he has a good relationship.

Sahran said:
I would wonder if you could script an 'on off alliance' if we were to split the Syro-Hittites into 2 or 3 specific factions. So if nobody is at war with any of those members they can go to war with one another but if an external state declares war on any of them, they all make peace and work together.
Making such a script is perfectly possible. Making the three factions working toghether against a mutual enemy is harder though, but still possible. If you're willing to sacrifice the working toghether (were I assume you mean like going on the same campaign instead of launching three diffrent ones), it's no problem.

Sahran said:
3) We haven't considered this yet, but something I thought about for other mods that might be neat here would be 'emergent factions'/'rebellions', and 'barbarian migrations'. So for instance if certain factors are met Babylon might get a large army of an emergent Chaldean/Aramaean faction spawn and try to take the city.
Perfectly possible.
 

DrTomas

Duke
WB
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OH yeah, this is looking to be awesome! Best of luck to you both, I can't wait to play this allready! :smile:
 

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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Thanks mates. :smile: Kuauik's produced a great new replacement to the Assyrian armor, being an edit of Llew2's Roman OSP body model:



Cruger: Sounds great. Once we're further along and able to worry about the campaign map, I'll be sure to get in contact with you. Right now we won't have to worry about oceans and rivers too much, although I was thinking of doing a proto "Nile" in Sarranid territory (Which would be Egypt's). Is there any way to make that Nile act like a road, which the AI would want to traverse and would be faster to travel on but not involve fighting on the ocean?
 

Lordique

Squire
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O my my...If You guys doing this, kuauik, Sahran, it must be great!

Are You saying that ill be able to take my chance of conquering Kadesh? :smile:
 

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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Lordique said:
O my my...If You guys doing this, kuauik, Sahran, it must be great!

Are You saying that ill be able to take my chance of conquering Kadesh? :smile:
With horses, but yeah, eventually.  :mrgreen: At first it'll be a Calradia map, hopefully with villages and cities renamed.

We've not decided on this but I am curious for public opinion. How would you prefer the faction leader & nobility?

1) Tied to a specific date. So let's say it's 660 BC. Assyria would have Ashurbanipal, Persia would have some dude named "Temti-Humban-Inshushinak I" (according to wiki), Egypt would be Psamtik I, Scythia might be "Koloksai", and so on.

2) Based on the most famous rulers, regardless of historical date. Sargon II or Sennacherib for Assyria, Ramses II for Egypt, Cyrus the Great or Darius or Xerxes for Persia, and so on.

3) Based on the founding fathers (In most cases). Sargon II for Assyria, Menes/Narmer for Egypt, Cyrus the Great for Persia, presumably Koloksai or whatever for Scythia, gets trickier with Syro-Hittites.

One idea I like, given our thematic bend would be to use heroic epic & mythology as the ideal resource. The problem is while for Persia that would mean Shahnameh (perhaps Rostam and whomever was king at the time), I'm drawing a blank on everyone else. You could do Solomon except that right now Israel/Judaea is a vassal of Damascus and not a distinct faction, I have no idea who it'd be for Assyria (Sargon? He was akkadian, but Assyrians were offshoots of the Akkadians I believe), Egypt I'm not familiar with their mythology but their founding Pharoah could work.). It would kind of legitimize the anachronistic nature of our landscape as a legendary world rather than historical.

 

Lordique

Squire
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Hmm...hard nut we have here... But maybe it would be better... if mod dont target sick hist.accuracy...that rulers will be most famous, not the right time ones.
So...You wrote that- Egipt= Ramses II *loud 'weeeeeeeee-heeeeeee'!!!*- etc etc :wink:

 

Revan Shan

Grandmaster Knight
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Sahran said:
Thanks for all the kind words. :smile:

Revan Shah: Sadly, for all intensive purposes chariots are 'impossible' right now in M&B. They've only been done by one mod, the Wedding Dance, and it's exclusive to that mod and I am not certain it works for enemy NPCs. That's one of the reasons why we are going thematic rather than literal history since we could have a Saitic Egypt sanctioned by archaeologists for its accuracy, but lacking chariots would damn it to historical failure. The good news is that by the 7th-5th century cavalry were on an exponential rise. They were essentially the exclusive mounted arm for Scythia or Persia and probably very close to that for Assyria (most stuff I've read has by the latest Neo-assyrians cavalry being the most numerous, with little or no chariots). For the Syro-Hittites the loss is a bit more felt, but apparently the kingdoms of Homs and Damascus would field 1 cavalryman for 1 chariot so it seems they were on the transition too. It's really only Egypt who suffers the loss of it explicitly - they'll get light horse, but their focus will just be on footmen.

Sayd Ûthman: I'll see what helmets Kuauik needs modeled. Thanks bro.
There should be a way around, at least for 1 horse chariots. Ask the Wedding Dance guys how they did it...

Maybe moving the animated points from the horse forward, leaving the guy back, on the platform.

Plus, maybe you could add an extra point to the horse animation, to use it for wheels in charriots and keep it unused on normal horses.
 

Sahran

Grandmaster Knight
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Apparently all the Wedding Dancer guys aren't around anymore. Trust me I'd like to see chariots too, but that sort of stuff is far and beyond Kuauik or my domain so we are at the mercy of the community devising something.

IF we can get anything approaching chariots, even one horse ones (which is a good idea), we'll be sure to get them in.