Hi, I am AnimalMan; I lost access to my original account; so I am using this account I once made to discuss modding Dune2000.
It had been a while since I modded EBFD, but I have been making a mod recently and I have been making new discoveries left right and centre.
The difference between this mod and my last mod; is that 4 or 5 years ago when I made a mod for EBFD; I had absoloutely no knowledge of game development< but now things have changed.
Anyway if you are active PLEASE LETS INTERACT AND CONNECT AND DISCUSS THIS BEAUTIFUL GAME.
I am going to start off by showcasing a breakthrough I had modding EBFD last night, and show off a new gameplay mechanic that resulted..
Trading / Economy
New Item available at Starport - Trade Goods Trade Goods are crates that are delivered to the starport by the CHOAM frigates.
The Trade Goods are then collected by any infantry or unit and credits are awarded to the collector of the crates.
Trade Goods are the first of a great number of enhancements I have made to this version of EBFD. And I do believe I am restoring the playability of this game to a standard that was originally intended for the game, before it was rushed to the shelves. I will showcase my other improvements when I can get some actives up in here. I might even make a discord server to connect with you guys regular. And we can develop this thing for a good player base. I am removing the clunkiness of the game; and the mid-development vibe that the original game was dominated by(really fast units, weak buildings, all of the things that turned what is suppose to be a long game, into a match that is over in 5 mins; something you might want when you are testing many different mechanics; but is not intended for the final game) So we are restoring the game to a playable state akin tactically and in depth to Dune2000.
ADDING NEW UNITS ----
Finding reasons to include or add new units is always tough in Dune Games. Though there is always a need to add new units and structures.
The problem I face with adding new units; its adding new units with justified functions; or uses; or mechanics in which the player can have fun with.
This is why with this mod I kept main faction expansion to a minimum, and focussed on adding a set number of units; and these units would be hybrid
classes between two selected sub faction houses. This would give player more choice in subhouse combinations, and would be encouraged to explore
different combinations of subhouses to unlock different hybrid technologies. I have many units in game currently, but this is the first one I made; and it is also
a structure I featured in a previous mod.
Just as in ancient Egypt; the Sphynx, Pyramid and Palace combine the Imperial Sardaukar and Guild into a formidable, and independent faction of its own.
FIXING THE ECONOMY
CARRYALLS --- THE ORIGINAL BROKEN GAME ---> TECH JUMPING HARVESTERS && SLOWING DOWN THE PACE
In the original version of EBFD -- you will receive a free harvester and carryall when you construct a Refinery. If you upgrade the refinery with a refinery dock you will also receive a free harvester and carryall.
When playing vs lots of AI; this makes spice fields quite messy. With lots of carryalls circling around but no harvesters. And fundamentally; this is because everybody has carryalls. Therefor, this has been nerfed. And doing so throw up some unexpected benefits. For example;;
The Tech Tree ----
In dune2000 carryalls are like a luxury to your core harvesting abilities. They just speed up the process; but the key in dune2000 was that they came at a certain tech level. In EBFD this idea was scrapped; and carryalls were expected to escort every harvester all of the time. With the introduction of the refinery dock upgrade; this allowed refineries to upgrade two additional docks; originally intended to reduce queue times at the refinery; however they would each also come along with their own harvester and carryall. But not anymore.
I have removed the free harvester from dock upgrade and reduced the refinery dock upgrade cost to 500 and cut the build time in half. It no longer comes with a free unit, which means it no longer comes with a free carryall; only an 1800 credits Refinery will grant you a free early tier carryall and harvester; but only grant one of these. Everything else needs purchasing when the tech level is reached.
This fix effectively slows down the tech progression and it becomes more obvious who is at what tech level simply by how they are managing their spice harvest operations, and in the process we decrowd the spice fields early game.
But what does this effect? ---
This fix effects player and AI speed of progression, and development of base/spending of resources; and puts the player and ai on more reasonable grounds. It makes the AI harder early game, and by late game it has the AI sporting on average two Refineries, with 6+ harvesters and around 3-4 carryalls managing each. (on average); and ordering harvesters in groups from starport; and building them at the factory(which was a rarity before). And gameplay-wise this is a lot more reasonable then having carryalls everywhere. It simply improves the feel of the game all around. and progression from a 10k start(which is how it has been balanced) has us progressing the tech tree at around the same rate as the AI, instead of vastly surpassing it as was the state of Skirmish on release.
In addition; as a player activity --> we are now having to manage our refineries instead of just building them and clicking the upgrade dock button. We are having to spend factory production time on building harvesters; and we are having to actually use the Airbase for something economically useful.
And finally.. Tactically ---
This makes early decision making all that more important. since you will have limited funds early game -- you can no longer rely on a dock upgrade to keep your spice flowing; and such a military rush is harder to achieve and more high risk than it was before as the spice will flow at slower speeds if you do not invest production time into harvesters.
Here we make decisions on space and time; --- we cant keep building refineries to exploit a free early tech carryall; as we will simply run out of space; and we will fall behind in the construction of other structures. We can build 3 harvesters - but then we'll need to address the traffic at the refineries by building additional docks. And later on -- when we have an outpost up and running we can buy carryalls to pimp out our fleet of harvesters. This simple adjustment -- believe me -- completely changes the game. And I am sure that had the original game not been rushed to release -- then the final game would have seen this change.
Infantry Movement Speeds; Defensive Structures and War
In addition to economic fixes; all infantry (except contaminator) have seen a 50% movement speed reduction -- they are now 50% slower; and All Buildings && Defenses have seen a 100% hitpoint increase.
The contaminator at its base speed(unmodified( is now slightly faster (.5) than tier 1 and 2 infantry(except scout).
Buildings are no longer made of matchsticks;
and infantry are no longer covering the distance of the map in a matter of seconds.
All attacks on base are less effective.
Recon vehicles are now the fastest units in game.
Defensive structures are stronger and last longer
(AI now also act to repair a damaged structure or defense much faster than before; usually while you are still attacking it)
Everything is more realistic as to how it looks and how it would have been if this had been Dune2000. Slow but effective infantry + Fragile but more efficient vehicles.
and most of all -- Attacks require a number of infantry and vehicles and no longer are Ra2 Tanya style surgical tactics as easily performed.
The player has time to enjoy the game, explore the tactics; use strategy; and stop playing feeling satisfied that it was a good game. lol
Unlike the original version; that saw infantry move faster than vehicles; scouts moving faster than trikes; defense structures that cost near 1000 credits dying in 2 or 3 hits and most of your stuctures got one shot by a Harkonen Nuke. And what made this all so bad on release was that the actual infantry animation speed is tied in with its movement speed; so these infantry animations on release were looking ridiculous.