• The Silver Shield 3rd Edition


    The Silver Shield Issue III
    (Originally published September 1, 2009)

    A note from Gen. Chris and Content Staff


    Hello everyone!

    A long time ago a group of local moderators on this site decided to make their own mark on the Content branch. Known as the Silver Shield, the publication was one of Content's most popular publications until it was cancelled over four years ago. Hidden from the public eye of the site, it has been mostly forgotten by the the membership of Total War Center, save for some old veterans who used to read it fondly.

    We in Content have decided that it is time to make them available once again. Every once in a while we will publish one of these archived articles for the site to read once more. This will take some time to accomplish as there are many issues, but one day they will all be available for you to read once more.

    From those who work in Content, we hope that you enjoy reading these voices of the past so that their excellent work can always be remembered and never forgotten.

    For now, please enjoy the second issue.

    Gen. Chris

    *Note: I am aware pictures may be missing. I have no way to retrieve them as far as I know. I apologize for that.

    A Letter From the Editor


    Greetings once again Total War Center!


    This month we decided to release a little earlier than we have been. Due to a gaping error in last edition's print a special feature of a great looking Empire Total War modification headed up by [USER]l33tl4m3r[/USER] and [USER]Alpaca[/USER] had been left out. We'll start this edition off with their grand strategically focused mod which you ETW fans are sure to enjoy. In addition the Shield team has put together some great work and had been getting a little antsy with the wait, threatening mutiny if I were to hold it back yet another month! Considering I couldn't do all this without them I thought it be wise to oblige!

    However on the serious tip, I do have some very mixed news on the teamfront. My wingman and art director the renown [USER]y2day[/USER] has stepped down from his position. He still remains as our local moderator of the Silver Shield headquarters and our team consultant, but is no longer able to continue work on 'The Shield'. Therefore on behalf of the team we wish him the best and want to thank him for his help in getting the Silver Shield off the ground with such spectacular imagery.

    Now to the brighter news! Prior to stepping down y made a special appointment to the position of Art direction naming the esteemed [USER]Tzar[/USER] as his replacement; and I must say the choice couldn't have been better picked! Tzar has worked diligently with us going above and beyond our expectations. And so you can be sure that the Silver Shield will continue to shine brightly throughout the coming season!

    Getting on to business, a subject of our preview edition [USER]Nakharhar[/USER] has come aboard to produce his own series dedicated solely those of you interested in the magic of mod making. In his first installment he'll cover the Medieval II config file, a review of the Viking era mod 'The Last Kingdom' and profile a talented modder by the name of [USER]Gigantus[/USER]

    After that our writer / reporter known as [USER]Nazgűl Killer[/USER] has been on fire since he joined. In this edition he'll bring you 'Star Wars: Galatic Wars' for ETW and an interview with mod leader [USER]P.A.[/USER]; then finish it off with a one on one with former CdeC member, Curator, Civitate, Artifex, Wiki staffer, Librarian and local moderator at 'The Capitol' Soulghast.

    Continuing on [USER]TheFirstONeill[/USER] talks with our very own Tzar about his Epic scaled Medieval II modification 'Ferrum Aeternum' with a grand campaign map spanning from the far northern Faroe Islands to the south eastern island of Sri Lanka!

    In conclusion [USER]The10thLegion[/USER] introduces us to "A Different Taste in Mods" as he ponders the question why certain eras seem to be more popular to modders than others, in the process he shines light on two unique modifications: Fall of the Republic: Rise of the Empire and Paeininsula Italica and engages their team leaders for the goods.

    But enough from me! It is now time that I present you with a fantastic 3nd edition of the Silver Shield. We hope you will enjoy the read!




    'A Review of the Local Communities'



    Armatus
    The Editor




    3rd Edition Staff

    Editor/Group Moderator [USER]Armatus[/USER]
    Group Moderator [USER]y2day[/USER]
    Art Director [USER]Tzar[/USER]
    Reporter [USER]Caesar Julianus Morelli[/USER]
    Reporter [USER]TheFirstONeill[/USER]
    Reporter/Writer [USER]The10thLegion[/USER]
    Reporter/Writer [USER]Nazgűl Killer[/USER]
    Reporter/Writer [USER]Nakharhar[/USER]



    Contents





    'A Proper Empire: Terra Incognita' & Interview with Alpaca
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 







    By [user]Caesar Julianus Morelli[/user]
    (Local Moderator for Carthage, Pontic Campaign fora)




    CJM-First of I would like to thank you, from the SS team and myself for giving us the time to ask a few questions. Alpaca if you could, would you introduce the team. Could you give us a little on each team member and what their job in this mod is?
    Alpaca Our team currently consists of five people:

    [USER]l33tl4m3r[/USER] who is both mod leader and PR salesperson. As far as direct modding work is concerned he's responsible for combat balancing, most of the coding of new units, the startpos file, and implementing smaller mods (with due credit of course)

    Our lead scripter and campaign dude who also works on understanding more of the game engine parts

    [USER]Tan Zhi Han[/USER] who is also responsible for units and the startpos file

    [USER]Chesh[/USER] - units and unit descriptions.

    [USER]The Donz[/USER] our 2D arts guru, courtesy of whom you get all the wonderful banners and the like


    CJM- If I may be so bold as to ask, why after Empire being out for such a short time, did you all decide to mod the new Total War?
    Alpaca As usual with Total War releases, the game showed a lot of potential but very few of it was realised. A Proper Empire started out as a minor rebalancing mod but as l33tl4m3r continued expanding it and started to incorporate some other mods like the smoke&blood mod it grew to one of the major modding projects on the TWC with its own hosted forums.

    Terra Incognita on the other hand was initially intended to be my own small campaign-redesign mod where I could play around and see how to best improve the original's gameplay by introducing many more leverage points for different strategies and also to implement new features that haven't been in any Total War game to date (such as manpower, which was inspired by Europa Universalis but has it's own twists in APE:TI).

    l33tl4m3r started testing my changes in TI and got hooked on them so he started to try convincing me to join our efforts and (after a lot of convincing) I finally decided that it might be a good idea to have someone who's more into combat and unit design to complement my work, and also to share any future work.


    CJM- How far into the designs and construction of the mod are you in at this moment?
    Alpaca As for design: we don't really have a detailed design but an overarching philosophy to further historical interest (and historical accuracy if possible) and to introduce more interesting choices into the game. That said, we mostly plan about one or two release steps ahead with our features and of course we have a lot of ideas that would be sweet to see in the game (and are subsequently designed or dropped depending on many factors, one of which is time constraints). So it doesn't really make sense to give a percentage, it's a continuing process of improvement and I'm sure we'll not be at a stage where we say "we don't see anything more to mod" any time soon.


    CJM- Alpaca, if you would be so kind, could you give us a description of your mod?
    AlpacaA Proper Empire: Terra Incognita is a complete overhaul mod for ETW. Our primary aim is to introduce a more interesting and more challenging gameplay and ultimately to produce something that is fun to play for us and as many fans as possible. We have extensively changed both the tactical and strategical layers of the game and will continue to do so in the future with new features like a score system that will measure your success not by conquest but by attaining certain goals like a happy populace, trade supremacy and so on.

    Whenever possible - i.e. when it doesn't clash with gameplay considerations - we're trying to attain a high degree of historical accuracy, for example artillery has a much higher accuracy in APE:TI which results in more realistic kill percentages, the morale system and ranged combat performance is much more realistic making a lot of real-world tactics viable that wouldn't work in the original game and we introduced manpower and supplies (abstractly) on the campaign map to make sure that rich but small factions don't have an absurd advantage over factions with a large number of inhabitants but a small amount of trade income.


    CJM- What are some of the new features we could all expect from the Terra team.
    Alpaca Apart from the already-mentioned and already-implemented manpower and supply system and the score system I shortly referenced, we are working on our area of recruitment system that will allow you to recruit units based on geographical location rather than nationality - something that is already in another mod (The Rights of Man) and has been around in the older Total War games. This will also tie in closely with a mercenary system that allows you to recruit certain units more quickly than others and without incurring manpower penalties but which are - as everything has a downside - much more expensive to recruit and maintain. These mercenary units will also be limited to a certain number for each mercenary recruitment area, so you will for example have a pool of Swiss mercenaries in Northern Italy that is shared by all the factions there and when it's depleted it will take some time to fill up again.

    The score system we have planned is also a very interesting concept. The basic assumption is that the AI will never be competitive when compared to a human participant, so you will win almost every campaign in ETW which makes it a bit boring. We are intending to implement a score system that compares your score to a certain target threshold and then tell you how well you did based on this. You will also be able to compare your campaign results to other players in a kind of high-score list. A nation's success will be measured relative to its starting position and the scores will be based in large parts on other goals than conquest: You will be rewarded for making your population happy, building prestige buildings, research, economic success, trade supremacy, diplomacy, and so on. All in all, the system is meant to allow you access to a large number of completely different winning strategies (conquest being only one among them).

    Apart from these campaign-related features, we are of course also working on the battle side of the game. Balancing this to be both more fun and more realistic, winning a battle is much more satisfying in APE:TI than in vanilla. A sign of this is that we are furthering the multiplayer community by hosting tournaments using our mod as a base and generally trying to balance it well (we have a small advantage here in that a lot of the people who exploit or cheat will stay with the vanilla game because they don't actually care about a fun game but only about winning, so they are less likely to download a mod).

    We are also researching the game engine and mechanics as time allows, one idea is to create culture-specific user interface sets like in M2TW: Kingdoms for which there's a good chance of becoming a reality. Of course we are trying to understand better how the map works in order to be able to modify it, too.

    CJM- I love asking this for all my interviews. Could you give us some screenshots of units, maps, and the battlefield?
    Alpaca The maps look like vanilla but we have a very nice screenshot thread with a lot of nice stuff here
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 









    The forum link is here: http://www.twcenter.net/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=1163


    Alpaca, and team. Thank you all again for taking the time to answer these question.
    You're welcome, we love talking about our mod almost as much as modding it





    Nakharars Modding Monthly
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 


    By [user]Nakharhar[/user]
    (Local Moderator of the East of Rome (EOR) fora)



    Heya guys here my piece,


    Welcome to the first edition of the “Modding Monthly”. Many of you may know Modding is a big part of the website and a huge amount of the Silver Auxilia come from mod teams. In these editions there will be various parts including reviewing mods, modders, modding tools and you might even learn a thing by two. We will start with a review of a mod.




    The Last Kingdom Mod Review







    THE LAST KINGDOM is a mod which has loads of public interest and is looking very pleasing in all aspects, units, map and even the previews. The Last Kingdom (TLK) is a Viking Era Mod which focuses on the Viking Invasion of Britain and Northern Europe. Indeed when it was announced by the mod leader DaNova he has already been preparing it for a few months and the First Preview of the mod hit us all with a bang. With everything from banners to splashes and maps to shields looking amazing.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Until a few months ago TLK looked very strong and we all expected a release soon. But like most mods the hard points hit. The period where a lot of mods die but TLK survived with great determination from the team and a bit of advertisement from Danova. And so TLK finally found a few coders and scripters to help out and finish the mod.

    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 



    Now many fans look forward to a release soon as TLK enters the final stages of modding. So The Last Kingdom isn’t one of those straightforward mods that has a broad map and doesn’t get much detail in, it also doesn’t look like one of those “Total War PWNS” mods which is just purely about loads of battles, but it is an interesting map and time period as well as interesting faction selection. Definitely a mod to look forward to.




    The CFG file,Odds and Ends







    CFG file is maybe one of the biggest game changing files, by modding this you can change a huge variety of stuff. Many of you new modders out there might notice that you cant save the CFG(medieval2.preference). That is because the vanilla cfg is a read only file this can be changed in two ways, one go to properties and untick read only, once the file is modded go back and change it to read only. Once again unless you want to have to mod the CFG every time.
    The Vanilla CFG is pretty straightforward, with the usual.



    “auto_save = 1”
    “ai_factions = skip”
    “mute_advisor = 0”
    “morale = 1”
    “unit_size = large”

    And many more, they are self-explanatory. In the CFG there are various headers like [video] or [ui] all which control there own options for example under UI there is “full_battle_HUD = 1”. In the Video sections there are a lot of the video options that can be changed via options ingame.
    Now a common addition to the CFG file is the hotseat option:


    [hotseat]
    turns = 0
    scroll = 0
    autoresolve_battles = 0
    disable_console = 0
    disable_papal_elections = 1
    save_prefs = 1
    update_ai_camera = 1
    validate_diplomacy = 1


    Paste this into your CFG and from then you will be doing and starting up hotseat campaigns.
    Now let us analyze a CFG of a mod for example TATW.
    It starts with the line [features] this has under it editor (battle editor). Battle editor can be added to any CFG under [features] and it should work. All mods then have under features.
    mod = mods/Third_Age
    This tells the game that this is a mod and you can find the mod in the folder mods and third age. The .exe file locates the CFG telling the game to see the CFG after launching to launch the mod.



    [log]
    to = logs/system.log.txt
    level = * error

    As you can see [log]is a very important part of modding under log the line to = logs/system.log.txt to = logs/system.log.txt tells the game to send any errors to the file in the log folder called system.log.text. Level=*error means that it only shows errors. If that is changed to level = * trace it means that in the log every action will be shown(opening folders and files) which is used to track down harder to find errors and bugs.
    show_banners = 0
    under [video] disables banners if that is changed to 1 then battle banners will appear.



    [misc]
    show_hud_date = true
    ;bypass_sprite_script = 1

    Show_hud_date makes it show the year instead of the turn number. The Bypass_sprite_script is used to create sprites but that isn’t important now and a ; is put before it to disable that command.



    ;windowed = true
    ;movies = false

    These two under video are a important part of the game, windowed makes the game windowed and a separate window instead of the full screen, but that is disabled as it is used mainly for modders modding.
    The most important line



    [io]
    file_first = true

    This allows modding to take place, any modded files wont change anything unless this is in the cfg.
    Movies=false stops movies including faction intro movies and game intro movies to show but that is disabled too as the TATW Team want movies to appear. So that brings us to the end of the CFG file introduction, I hope you guys learn something and remember the CFG can change a huge variety of things. To summarize the important lines:



    [video]
    windowed = true
    movies = false
    show_banners = 0

    [misc]
    show_hud_date = true
    bypass_sprite_script = 1
    [log]
    to = logs/system.log.txt
    level = * error
    [features]
    editor = true
    mod = mods/Third_Age



    Review the Modder - Gigantus







    Now for “Review The Modder” I have chosen to pick one of the most talented modders on TWC who is keeps a very low profile and help isn’t noticed much sadly. He is usually found lurking around the Medieval 2 Mod Workshop and many of you would know him for his famous words


    NAME: [USER]Gigantus[/USER]

    KNOWN FOR: “One is glad to be of service "

    MAIN MODDING SKILL: Mapping

    ACHIEVEMENTS: Artifex

    Tutorials: Basic Mapping from Scratch - Height Map with 3Dem
    Adding detailed Regions - Adding a new Faction
    Map Templates with Worldwind - Name Converter
    Formatted Campaign ModelDB files - The Grail of the seven Forts
    Bare Kingdoms

    MODDING CAREER: Of course you might have guessed it is Gigantus. He is most known for participating and creating maps for many mods as well as creating a great base of tutorials, and if any of you have ever tried modding and got stuck and posted in the mod workshop/mapping section you would probably got an answer of him. His maps are played and seen on a daily basis and has done a load of maps that are some of the best I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately it seems this modder is for his standard relatively unknown though I am sure he is remembered by all people he has helped. And it doesn’t stop there to this day and too this hour he still helps in the mod workshop, as well as joining and helping more mods.

    Mods:
    Ornamentum
    Rise of Empires
    PRO DEO ET REGE
    Ferrum Aeternum
    Africa Total War
    East of Rome
    Latinokratia
    The Last Kingdom
    Falcom Total War
    Dragonlance Total War
    Wrath of the Norsemen







    'Star Wars: Galactic Wars' for ETW & Interview with P.A.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 




    By [user]Nazgűl Killer[/user]
    (Local Moderator for the Scriptorium




    Art courtesy of Tzar.
    I am extremely pleased to say that in the not-so-far-yet-not-too-near future, we will see an Empire Total War modification based on the Star Wars canon called Star Wars - Galactic Wars, or, SW:GW.
    Polite Assassin (Or, P.A.
    ) has also kindly agreed to answer a few questions of mine, but that would be shown later in the article.

    This mod will supply us with a lot of inter-stellar action and, as promised, space fighting along with many other special features from around the Star Wars galaxy, including a Jedi faction, Gungan faction, Hutt faction and unlimited turns for the campaigns!
    In addition, the development team has decided to create the "Clone Wars" campaign first, meaning that we have a lot to look forward to as they will move up the ladder of time to face off with the Rebellion and the Empire as well.

    The preview made by the development team looks extremely promising, if in such a short time they can produce such amazing outcomes, I cannot wait to see the second preview, which should come out any second now thanks to the extremely devoted team.

    Speaking to Polite Assassin, he seems very fond of his team and he has nothing but compliments about them and their work, making me feel very confident in the future of this mod.
    I have previously inquired whether this mod will, or will not, have space battles... And as you can see, there are the answers:
    This mod incorporates 20 different factions at a very specific timeline and seems extremely devote and true to the Star Wars canon, making sure that the Star Wars fans will be very pleased when playing this mod.

    As the team still faces off with several obstacles such as physics in space and the recreating of the (Insane) battles of the Star Wars movies, along with the implementation of Jedi, I have every confidence they will not fail us in creating one of the best mods this community has ever seen.

    Not too long ago, the second preview of this modification has been released, and even though the obstacles I had stated before still stand before the time, they seem to shrink more and more as the team continues to work with such dedication...








    So, I wish this team the best of luck in the development of this modification and I hope we will see this modification released as soon as possible, I know I will keep track of it.

    Sources:
    SW:GW first preview - Requires membership of the Modding Empire (Easy as signing into TWC).
    SW:GW second preview - Requires membership of the Modding Empire (Easy as signing into TWC).
    SW:GW info.
    SW:GW news.
    SW:GW thread on TWC.





    This is an interview with Polite Assassin, co-leader of the SW:GW mod. (Star Wars Galactic Wars)

    Question 1: Star Wars Total War, sounds like an intimidating project, how do you intend to actually make the Star Wars universe be implemented into a Total War game?

    We intend to do our best. We will use the new features provided by Empire Total War, and hopefully add some of our own

    Question 2: Space battles - Will they happen?
    Yes. Space battles will be included in the mod.

    Question 3: How will they be implemented, if they do happen, I mean, space has (Unless near celestial powers) no gravity, a whole new set of laws of physics... This looks like quite an obstacle.
    Well first we will just be replacing the textures of the water with space. The ETW ships will be replaced with ships from Star Wars such as Star Destroyers, Venator Class, Providence Class ships.

    Question 4: When did the project start, and how far are you to completion?
    The project started maybe about a year ago? We havent done much work due to us growing our team, but ever since we got situated at our new community The Modding Empire, we have been doing a great job on progress.

    Question 5: Is there a hype around this mod, I mean, do people seem to like the idea? Are you gathering a big fan audience?
    I believe so. I log onto the Modding Empire everyday, and see at least 5 guests looking at the Star Wars sub forum. They done sign up though, which i encourage them to do. To see our new previews you have to be a registered member of the Modding Empire.

    Question 6: As one of the earliest mods for E:TW, you face a daunting task, doing what a few have done before you, how do you feel about that?
    I think it is a great challenge. Many have come and said that we will fail, but I am sure i speak for the team when i say we wont.

    Question 7: There is some juicy talk about the mod being separated or some inner staff war... What happened?
    I wont disclose any information about that. It was an internal problem, and we have taken steps to prevent another like that.

    Question 8: Who's the staff?
    The staff of the team is as follows:
    EpicJon - Chancellor
    KillerRabbit - Co-Leader, Public Relations, Head of Security
    PoliteAssassin - Co-Leader,
    Radboud - Speaker of the House
    Karot - Judge of the Court
    Sithlord447 - Security, Librarian
    PGeo36 - Security
    War Lord - Security

    Question 9: What do -YOU- do in your mod?
    I help with the modeling and the planning.

    Question 10: Why don't you have a proper TWCenter subforum?
    The reason we dont have a TWCenter sub forum is for first, we have been denied one when Ravenous was part of the team. Second, i feel that the Subforum on The Modding Empire is where we have a better place to work. If you were to look at our Sub forum, you would see what i mean. We have a better layout in my opinion, more space, team security, and more. It is a more friendlier environment.

    Question 11: What I truly want to know, is if Jedis are possible, if so, how do you intend on making them? Single units, units of 60, units of 90... Generals...? One must remember that at the time of the Old Republic, there were plenty of Jedi, but at the time of the Rebellion, there were no Jedi aside for a selected few who went into underground... How do you intend to make this possible?
    We are discussing that right now. We may have them as small units of about 20 or so, or maybe as generals/captains. Nothing is official for that yet.*

    Question 12: There are all sorts of amazing creatures in the Star Wars universe... How do you intend to make those, if you are?
    We are focusing on the Clone Wars right now, so we will just be having Droids, Clones, Jedi, Sith, etc. We may have some aliens though,

    Question 13: With the growing fan support for the Star Wars franchise and the amazing work being put into it, are you afraid you will not meet the standards?
    We are doing this out of fun, because of our love for Star Wars. We are not meeting anyone's standards but our own. What i think makes our team unique is that we all decide on the mod. We have a very democratic team. Ask the others, we all voice our opinions, vote on them, etc.

    Question 14: The Star Wars universe had amazing lazer battles, messy and confusing, the E:TW system hardly allows that, they have specific line units sitting near each other and firing, how do you intend to make the messy battles available? For example, battle of Geonosis? Three words: Light Infantry Doctrine


    Question 15: Fighters - How will they be possible? I mean, we all know the Star Wars dogfights, utter chaos in space, but how will the E:TW engine allow them? Fighters are an issue that we have been discussing also. We may not have them in our first release, but we would like to have them if we can make it happen.

    Question 16: There are two mods out there about Star Wars, Star Wars Galatic Wars and Star Wars Total War, why?

    We had a problem with one of the original co-founders.

    Question 17: Wasn't the leader of the SW:TW mod a co leader for what is currently SW:GW? Well, he wasnt the overall leader. He was a co-leader. He has no part in SWGW, he was voted out.


    Question 18: If people do not want to be recruited however feel like they want to contribute, where should they go?They can go to the site, and PM either me or KillerRabbit.


    Question 19: My final question, do you like the way this mod is looking up until now? Absolutely. I am very proud of the team I am working with. They all have very great and unique skills. We all share our opinions, and help each other out. It is a great environment, and I expect us to come out on top.


    *As this interview is a month or two old, and I have received new information, I am to inform that the team is probably making a Jedi faction - No longer discussing. This is from my sources, not from PA
    .






    MII mod 'Ferrum Aeternum' & Interview with Tzar
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 






    By [USER]TheFirstONeill[/USER]
    (Local Moderator for THERA, A New Beginning, Ferrum Aeternum fora)


    TheFirstONeill:::Hello Tzar

    As the mod leader for Ferrum Aeternum, can you outline the general aims of the mod, time period, geographical setting etc ?

    Tzar:::Greetings, TheFirstONeill.
    We in the Ferrum Aeternum team would like to give player as much diversity as possible including new Units, Factions, Cultures and Religions. Our goal is to make nice balance out of all these factors. Ferrum Aeternum is focused neither on Western nor on Eastern factions. FA timeframe is 1174 -1453 AD, so starting when King Baldwin IV (the Leper) taking over the throne of the Jerusalem and ending with fall of Constantinople. To achive our goal we will be featuring probably the biggest map made for M2TW.


    As you can see, map is stretching from the Faroe Islands at North-West part of the map and reaching Sri Lanka on the far South-East of the map. Map, will be also presenting great Himalayan Mountains, vast Asian steppes, fully navigable Red Sea etc... Imagine the possibility of forming greatest Empire ever.


    TheFirstONeill::::The map is beautiful, and the scale truly epic, it must be quite daunting leading a mod with such a huge scope. Have you found it rewarding reviving this much awaited mod, after its development hiatus?

    Tzar::::It's not as much daunting as it's time consuming. There is lots of stuff which is happening behind the scenes, mostly through private messaging. Other thing is that team could be bigger and some duties and jobs could be shared among team members but such a big number of mods leaving us with small chances to find dedicated modders to concentrate just on FA.The only reward at this moment is my internal satisfaction.

    At the end of last year the situation in the mod wasn’t that good. I was thinking what could I do to shake thing up a bit, I decided to sacrifice myself and to quit the team hopping that such a action would wake up some team members.

    Unfortunately, shortly after my announcement of leaving the team, Ataegina (mod founder and person who did the biggest part of the job in FA) announces complete collapse of the mod.

    That was heart breaking news for me because it wasn’t my intention for this mod to end up in the TWC Cemetery. Anyhow after few months when things began to cool down I arranged with Ataegina to take over leadership of the mod and managed to get some new members.
    I can promise one thing that this mod will never die


    TheFirstONeill::::You have done the MTWII community a great service by reviving this potential super-mod. What is your view on the reality versus gameplay debate, and how havv you included 'real' history into the mod

    Tzar::::Realism and game play needs to be nicely balanced. We will try to set up start condition of this mod as much realistic as possible. Once when you start to play, you start to rewrite the history. I would say that this mod will be "Reasonable Realistic".


    TheFirstONeill::::Which are your favorite features in the mod, and how do you think they will effect how the mod is played ?

    Tzar::::My favorite features are some of the new factions which will be presented in FA. Factions like Khara Khitans, Rajputs, Makuria and Serbia are something new, something which wasn’t in vanilla M2TW and are very rare in other mods. These are my personal favorite which doesn’t mean that other factions will not be fun to play. Each of these factions will require different tactics and way how to make empire. There are all bunch of new features but list be too long to discuss it here.

    TheFirstONeill:::: Tzar may I offer my thanks and indeed Im sure thanks from the entire community for taking the time to talk to me, and for the fine work producing what I am sure will be an ground breaking mod.




    A Different Taste in Mods - Featuring two unique RTW mods and their team leaders
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    By [USER]The10thLegion[/USER]
    (Local Moderator of The First Triumvirate)








    Introduction

    I spent a few days trying to think of a topic for an article to give you fellow Silver Shield readers but the idea came when I was searching for a new RTW/BI mod to add to my computer. I was searching around the forums and one fact became very clear to me, almost all the Roman mods started either around 270 B.C. – 200 B.C. or around 270 A.D. and later. There is nothing wrong with these mods of course, they are some of the most popular in the site, but I did some research to why they all almost all had the same timeframe.

    A few questions sprung up in my mind while I did the research. Don’t people like the other era’s for Rome? Countless articles in the VV forums are about Caesar, Augustus, Trajan, Aurelius, and other middle Imperial/Late Republic people are made so why don’t we have many mods around there? Additionally I see many people express an interest in the very early stages of Rome yet I didn’t see many mods about it. Well I asked many people this question and the general response is, gameplay is much better during the early republic/Late Empire eras. Carthage, Rome, Greece, Macedon, and many other powers are struggling to contend in the Punic Wars timeframe while the Late Empire time period is very struggling for any contending faction as they are almost all surrounded by enemies. This is compared to the Late Republic/Early Empire period where Rome is no doubt the superpower. The next issue is availability of modders. If the other mods are hogging all the modders who is left for the new guys? Of course there are many modders out there but do they have time to commit to a full new mod? The last issue is that the Punic Wars fascinate us like no other period does. Hannibal marches the alps and defeats many Roman armies, Scipio Africanus invades Africa, and finally who doesn’t love to re-write history? You get to see how Rome or Carthage or Macedon or any other faction gets out of this struggle. In the Late Empire you get to see if you can unify Rome again and remove the filthy barbarians from your borders.

    The two mods that really sprang up at me when I was searching for a new era for me to rule as Rome were Fall of the Republic; Rise of the Empire (FR-RE) and Paeininsula Italica (PI.) FR-RE is lead by Salvor Hardin and PI is lead by SigniferOne I have enjoyed the interviews with them, I hope you do to.








    Fall of the Republic; Rise of the Empire

    Quote Originally Posted by The10thLegion
    First off Id like to thank Salvor Hardin for taking his time. It has been an honor interviewing him.
    The honor is mine, mate!
    What were your humble beginnings of this site and modding?
    I think that I started modding as many people do: I had played the game a thousand times (RTR Gold, more precisely) and one day I started reading some tutorial and discovered that modding only consisted, at first, in changing text files. You know, I thought that you needed to use C+ or Basics or some programming software.

    After that came the cataclysmic fall of the RTR site and at the same time the FRRE team lost his coding leader, Orb. So we all moved to this site, where we feel really comfortable, to be sincere.
    Who is on the FRRE team?

    Can you explain to me the mods the FRRE team has made and give our readers a general outline of what they are?
    Our team is currently formed by Bucellarii (historian), Empedocles (tester) and myself. Plus the eventual cooperation in coding of DaVinci.

    Concerning the mods that we have released, these are:

    - The First Triumvirate, developed by Stuie, DaVinci and King Phillip, which is a coding masterpiece, as it enables you to play as any member of the First Triumvirate (Caesar, Crassus and Pompey), plus Vercingetorix and the Parthians. All of it with the same install!

    - 77BC: Twilight of the Republic: which goes from 77BC (just after the death of Sulla) to the appointment of Caesar as governor of Gaul. The campaign is heavily scripted for the Roman player, while it gives more freedom to play as the other factions, specially the Roman rebels of Quintus Sertorius, which is my favorite faction.

    - 58BC: Caesar Imperator: portrays the campaigns of Caesar from the War in Gaul to the Civil War against Pompey and the Senate. Again, it is very scripted and only the faction of Caesar is playable. It is some sort of spin-off of 77BC, as it continues where the former ends.

    Who do you think this mod is suited for? If so, why?
    I think that our mods are more suited for people who love and know Ancient History and use RTW as a platform to relive that period, more than as a game per se. This means that we do not have a huge fanbase as other projects but the people who play our mods really appreciate the final product.
    I know you guys are making a new mod, can you give me some details about this new mod?
    The mod is First Man in Rome and it is going to portray the period immediately previous to 77BC: the ascension to power of Gaius Marius and his strife against Sulla for supremacy in the Roman Republic. So we will have a lot of interesting things: the war against the Numidian King Jughurta, the invasion of the Cimbri and Teutones, the rebellion of the Italic people against Rome (the Social War) and finally the Civil War of Marius vs. Sulla and the first war against Mithradates of Pontus.

    The plan is to make three different mods: an all-faction mod, which will help to beta-test the map and the units, a scripted Marius campaign and a scripted Sulla campaign.

    When do you expect a release for it?
    I had an estimate release date of the first part (the all faction campaign) for this summer.

    But that was before I learned that, besides a new map, our resident historian, Bucellarii, had planned to remake almost every unit in the game. So at this moment I am still struggling with 3D SMax and Photoshop to complete all the faction and AOR rosters.


    Thank you for your time, any last comments?
    If there is any artist that is willing to help us, that would speed up the mod development and ease my familiar life. LOL

    Here are some pictures from FMIR!
    The Seleucid Thureophoroi (using a model created by Prometheus and modified by bladerunner), trying to break the Pontic phalanx...in vain




    Clash of phalanxes! The Seleucid phalangites are also a creation of Prometheus, for Res Gestae.



    In the meantime, the Seleucid Companion cavalry (again, model by Prometheus) tried to outflank my line. It took the combined strength of my own Pontic Hetairoi (our adaptation of Prometheus model) and of the Asiatikoi Hippeis cavalry (model by Atilla Reloaded, again changed to suit our mod), to defeat them.



    Thank you for the interview, it has been an honor.
    My pleasure!








    Paeninsula Italica

    What were your humble beginnings on this site and with modding?
    I began during the summer of 2004, in the build-up to the release of Rome: Total War. Just then entering upon my interest in the Classics, my excitement for RTW was so thick that you could cut it with a knife. I even bought the old Medieval: Total War to get my fix of the Total War gameplay.

    I immediately began modding of the RTW beta on the first day it was released. In those days, since the excitement of so many others was thick enough to be cut with a knife also, RTW beta modding was a veritable cottage industry, and many of us took into modding it as others would for modding full released games. Then RTW itself came out, and the rest say they say is history. I've been modding TW games ever since.

    Can you give some details about PI and give our readers a general outline of it?
    Yes, PItalica is a mod centered during Classical times on the peninsula of Italy. You are able to take command of the nascent Roman legions, of the hill and mountain tribes strongly opposing them, of the refined technological Greeks in the south of Italy, or the rampaging Gallic hordes in the up north.

    The original version was designed for the RTW engine, and I have been working on the Medieval 2: Total War version here.

    Who is on the PI team?
    Since the mod has been worked on for such a long time, many people have come and gone, so I should probably suffice with giving you the skeleton crew, where even there guys have come, gone, and later appeared again. So amongst the current crew are:

    o Myself
    o Luciano B, who has made all of the unit models,
    o Hister and Aper, responsible for a number of key text changes such as adaptation of PointBlank's RealCombat system to our mod,
    o RexInvictus, who's only been with us for a short time but in that interval managed to create that sensational heights-map for our map,
    o davide.cool, who has been busy making some incredible strat-map models,
    o Pnutmaster, who has been working on our traits,
    o and Mylae, who has made a host of new 2d Building icons, and Event notifications

    In addition we have been closely working with the XAI team to bring a new level of AI realism and immersiveness to our games, and that means people like Xeryx, Naimad, and MiiKLL.

    What type of gamer is this mod made for?
    It is made for an entry level gamer who loves the excitement of Roman and Hoplite battles, and is interested about Ancient History!

    I heard you guys have improved the autoresolve feature. How is it different now?
    This has been on of the central features worked on by Hister and Aper above, and the entire EDU has been rewritten with it in mind. All units have a Health entry, as modders know, but there's also a Secondary Health value that has been customarily ignored. In a sensational discovery it was found out that the Autoresolve Process places a strong emphasis on the Secondary Health value to gauge the strength of each unit.

    Each unit in the EDU has been rewritten with a thoughtful emphasis on the Secondary Health, that is expressly for autoresolve (since secondary health is disregarded during real-time battles). The basic approach has been to give weak units -1 in Secondary Health, strong units a +1 in Secondary Health, etc. However if we start with 0 Secondary Health as a 'base' value, it would be impossible to differentiate average units from the weak ones. Thus we gave all units a 5 Secondary Health 'base' value. Although at first it might seem egregious to any modder that units have 5 Health, remember that it is secondary and thus is never read during real-time battles. But during Autoresolve, it helps create a base value that all average units will have. Then strong units have 6 Health, weak units have 4. Elites would have something like 7, rabble units 3.

    In this fashion Elite units are capable of doing incredibly well in autoresolve versus weak or rabble units, and the imbalance of the original RTW and Med2 is gone.

    Thank you for your time, any last comments?
    Thanks for the interview, and expect the mod to be out by the end of the Summer!


    Here are some Screenshots from PI!

    Animated bowstrings:




    Campaign map pictures:




    The scope of our map, indicating the inhabitants of the Apennine mountains:

    Closing

    This week Id like to give a shout out to a fellow Nirvana fan - The Man Who Sold The World, and to the TFT and YATS members. Hang in there guys .



    Interview with former CdeC member 'Soulghast'
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 







    With the blessing of my fellow writers and our gifted editor, I have decided to interview a former CdeC member and the current Curator, Soulghast - Whilst he may be a very busy man, he has taken the time and read/answered my questions, just in time I might add!

    Now, without further ado - My interview with Soulghast.

    As a Curator and formerly a CdeC member, I have chosen you for this interview, and I am honored you decided to oblige.
    Now, I must ask, what does the CdeC decide, aside who gets citizenship or not?


    The CdeC, in addition to handing out Citizenship, has the right to temporarily or permanently suspend it, and may also remove inactive Curial Officers.



    I see many members who are disgruntled by the fact they were rejected in the past and they deem the CdeC not qualified for this sort of job... Do you think the CdeC is qualified?

    I can assure you that a proper amount of research takes place before a decision is reached, even though I may not always agree with it. So yes, I would say the current CdeC is qualified enough.

    Who are the members of the CdeC?


    The list is here:
    http://www.twcenter.net/forums/showt...26071#officers

    As a former CdeC councilor, I must ask: What does the CdeC councilor do?


    The CdeC Councillor has to take part in discussions and vote in all cases that come before the council. Much of my time was spent in researching possible citizenship candidates, while a significantly smaller portion of it was spent in trying to express my opinion accurately and concisely in the relevant CdeC threads.

    What are the qualifications for applying to the CdeC, if you can apply?

    Anyone who has been a Citizen for more than 3 months and has no active warnings may apply.

    I am sure that many people want to be citizens, so, I want to ask you, what are the qualifications of becoming one? I mean - Generally, what do you need to do?

    You need to have contributed considerably to the site. I know that is overly broad, but it would be impossible to cover it adequately without needing to write down a huge blob of text, so I will refer you to the Citizen Antechamber(to see which members have been accepted, and why), the FAQ and a couple of posts including useful advice. 1#, 2#. Becoming a Citizen does not require any special skills(though those will certainly aid you greatly) it merely requires time, commitment and a good-natured attitude.

    How long is the process of accepting, or rejecting, someone into Citizenship?

    I feel the Constitution does a good job in describing it.


    Article II. PatronisationAny Citizen holding their rank for three months can patronise a Peregrinus for citizenship subject to the requirements in Article I above. The process of patronisation is as follows.

    1. The patron confirms the candidate meets the requirements, OR a candidate meeting the requirements contacts a Citizen asking for patronage.
    2. The nominee sends the patron a PM explaining his duties and privileges as a Citizen, and his contributions to the community. The patron posts this paragraph, along with his own, outlining why he nominated this member, in a new thread in the Patronization forum.
    3. A CdeC member opens a thread in the CdeC Forum and the proposed nominee is discussed for two days.
    4. The CdeC member who opened the thread, responds to the corresponding thread in the Patronization forum, denoting that the proposition has been moved to discussion.
    5. After the two day discussion period has passed the Curator adds a Poll lasting for five days.
    6. If the nominee achieves sixty per cent of the non-abstaining votes and at least two-thirds of all CdeC members voted, he becomes a Citizen.
    7. The Curator informs the candidate and patron of the result.
    8. The Curator promotes the member to Citizen, with a Citizen badge.

    If a nominee fails his vote, he is not eligible to be considered again for one month. Members of the CdeC must abstain from voting on members they patronise. All CdeC votes must be concluded within seven days of the thread being opened in the CdeC.



    With the ever growing TWCenter community, I have no doubt more and more people wish to become citizens, so, how many applications do you get... Let's say... Per week?

    The number of cases being processed can vary greatly. We have had as many as 10 applications being processed in one week, but we've also had as little as 2-3 in some other cases. It's not really possible to provide an average figure.

    Is it true that the CdeC wants to take control of the world?

    No.

    How long have you been in the CdeC?

    I've served 4 months as a CdeC Councillor, and have been overseeing the body for around 4 months as the Curator, so I'd say I've been directly involved in CdeC affairs for about 8 months.

    Who's the most veteran CdeC member? I mean, who has served longest?

    I believe Fabolous is the only member who currently has a Gold CdeC Medal(denoting six completed terms) at the moment.

    Does the CdeC answer to anyone, or is it a stand-alone part of TWCenter?

    Well, the CdeC technically answers to Hex as does every body on TWC, but Hex rarely is involved in the CdeC and the Curia as a whole. The Curator is entrusted with overseeing the CdeC, so I would guess you could consider me its "leader", though I use that term very loosely.

    Now, for my last question - Once in how long does the CdeC rotate?

    There are elections on an almost monthly basis. This sticky contains a Curial Election schedule.


    Thank you, very much, Soulghast, for answering my questions and help us all take one step further towards understanding the secrets behind the CdeC!






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