Hier mal die Vorstellung zur schon sehr erfolgreichen Modifiktaion "Europa Barbarorum" für ROME und dem nun folgenden zweiten Teil für Medieval 2.
Developing Units for Europa Barbarorum 2
It's been a few months since we made our last Stele, and it's about
time we give some feedback to EB fans about how the development is
going. So, in this 4th Stele, I will divide it in 2 parts: current
development situation, where you get to know how things are progressing
and a second part where I give you an idea of how we are developing
units for the mod.
I hope you like this Stele format and keep visiting our forum, asking
questions, placing suggestions and giving your feedback. Very soon we
will compile them into a development FAQ, where we will answer your
questions, in the best way possible.
Current Development Situation:
This is always a tough part to write, since so many things happen at
the same time, with different degrees of completeness. So, I will split
this part into sections, so this will be more understandable.
I think this is a good place to start from. The team is comprised of
about 60 people, not all of them active, but enough to provide all the
info we need to work: historians, programmers, modelers, skinners,
illustrators, multimedia specialists and support people (website,
control version software and programming tools). We are always looking
for talented people, from every one of those areas, to join us, since
the huge scope of this project requires a large team of devoted
members. Also, a large number of the current members are still involved
in the final stages of development for the EB1.1 release.
Basically, this was where we started. The EB1 system is being revamped
to seize many new possibilities offered by the M2TW:K engine. We are
mixing concepts like culture and religion to provide a somewhat complex
system where the player will have a tough time trying to balance all
the variables in each conquered region, so that it can go from a
rebelious to a fully integrated provice of your growing empire.
We are still discussing this, but there's already some coding done, to provide an experimental base for adjustments.
Traits and Ancillaries:
We are importing traits and ancillaries from EB1, before we begin
coding them using the much-improved code instructions that M2TW:K
provides. There's still a lot of work to do here, but things are
We are finishing the process of identifying the units which will be
part of EB2. We know this is something that will suffer changes well
into the first release, but this is an important part of the unit
development process, and it's good that we're about to finish the list.
We will be using the Eras funcionality of M2TW:K to reflect the
factional recruitment, since each faction will be able to recruit more
than 100 units. So, no more need to replace the EDU file to be able to
find a factional unit in the full roster, before a MP or custom battle.
One of the Eras will already show all you need.
No coding for now; just listing the units and their factions.
I will be putting more detail into this section later, but the
situation is that we are still in the beginning. As you know, M2TW:K
offers better graphics and the ability to have several skins in the
same texture file, which allows for a lot of diversity within the same
unit. However, this also means much more work to be done, from
concepting, to modeling and skinning. So, we made a great recruitment
effort among modelers and skinners from several games (RTW, M2TW,
M&B and even Crysis), which brought a new batch of talented people
into the team. With them, and some others that we are still searching
for, we expect to surpass the number of models made for EB1, with much
This is another area which is still in the beginning. We are currently
producing the overhand spear animations for greek phalanx, before we
move on to the macedonian phalanx and the slingers. A lot of work still
to be done here.
Nothing done in this field yet, as was expected.
Loading Screens and UI:
This is a part which is progressing very well. The loading screens are
almost finished and we are also changing the UI for each culture.
For now, we are concentrating our illustration efforts in the concept
art for new units. Though we have started recently, I think this is
going to have a good impact into the unit development process.
Not much done in this field yet, but we have recently recruited an
artist that will specifically work in this area, so I expect to have
some progress in the next Stele.
This one is a tough part. There isn't yet any breakthrough into the
World files, so we can't change the buildings in the battlemap for now.
This is a major problem in any game that strives to build a
non-medieval setting using M2TW, but we're convinced that sooner or
later this breakthrough will happen.
This is another area which is having a good progress, mainly due to the
fact that new voicemods are being made for EB1.1 and they will be used
in EB2 as well. Q-Celtic is completed; Pahlavan and Proto-Germanic are
Following in Foot's footsteps, who gave a detailed account on how we started the EB2 development (read Stele #3), I'm going to tell you how we are conducting the unit development process and what's involved in it.
Developing units for EB2 is a fun thing for historians and artists,
since the former have to search their sources and come out with pieces
of evidence that support their concepts, while the later have to
produce a model or skin based on that concept and bring to life a unit
which walked in the "real life" fields of battle more than 2000 years
Procedures for Unit Development:
Unit Development Coordination:
- Concept threads:
the historians from each faction pick up a unit from the list already
compiled of the units that will make it into EB2 and start a concept
thread where they post pictures of murals, paintings, pieces of
equipment, etc, which will serve as basis for the artists' work on
models and skins. In these concept threads, there's also a lot of
debate about the unit's characteristics and representation. In the end,
the historian responsible for the thread gives the GO for the unit's
- Modeling Work Assignment: when the concept is nearing its
conclusion, a modeler is assigned to the initial stage of the unit
development. This is done mainly taking into account availability and
the will of the artist.
- Modeling: the modeler picks one of the basic models, which
was done sometime ago and does all the modeling process, posting
questions on the concept thread as needed. In the end, the historian
approves the model and it's ready for the skinning work.
- Skinning Work Assignment: the historians define how many
skins are needed for that unit, and which attachments (shields, weapons
and helmets) are to be used for each faction or group of factions. Once
again, the skinners are assigned to make a certain skin based in the
same conditions as for the modelers. The same skinner can do all the
skins for a certain unit, or several skinners divide the work among
- Skinning: the skinners get the uvmaps produced for that unit
and start the texturing process. They also post on the concept thread
to get info from the historians. When each skinner finishes his work,
he posts some pictures in the concept thread, which are evaluated by
all team members, but specially from the respective Faction
Coordinator, to be approved.
- Integrating the unit into the build: After approval, the
artists upload their .mesh and .texture files into the build (we use
SVN for version control) and inform the Project Manager or the Unit
Integrator. These members use an internal tool that gathers individual
unit XML files (with the required model and skin info for that unit)
and assembles the battle_models.modeldb file. This great tool
provides a safe way to "edit" that file without introducing errors,
since makes several validations when reading the individual unit XML
file, and showing in the screen any errors to be corrected.
- Ingame validation: in this step we validate how the unit
looks ingame, and we take screenshots for all factional/cultural skins,
so the historians can ask for any final adjustments.
This is a series of tables with data for the assignment of historians
and artists. We only show current assignments, which means that the
name disappears from the list when the work is done. This way we can
control who's working on what and how's the status.
In here we have a small gift for you: the concept model for a new hellenic unit (which doesn't exist in EB1), called Euzonoi. Enjoy!
And in here we offer you the vision of one of our ported (from EB1) loading screens. This one represents Makedonia. Enjoy!
That's all for now, folks. I shall return with further news soon.
Signaturen sind wie Frauen:
Hat man keine will man eine, hat man eine will man ne andere
Hat man keine will man eine, hat man eine will man ne andere
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