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How to implement Emperor Battle for Dune rules edit

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Hey, I've tried many times, but I thought I'd try again. I wanted to edit the rules set for Emperor Battle for Dune using the Dune Visual Mod Creator program. On this site I found instructions saying to put the rules.txt into a "model" folder that you create in the data directory. I've never been able to get the game to load up my custom rules though. I was wondering if anyone here knows how this is works or if it even works?

Thanks

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18 hours ago, djman123 said:

Hey, I've tried many times, but I thought I'd try again. I wanted to edit the rules set for Emperor Battle for Dune using the Dune Visual Mod Creator program. On this site I found instructions saying to put the rules.txt into a "model" folder that you create in the data directory. I've never been able to get the game to load up my custom rules though. I was wondering if anyone here knows how this is works or if it even works?

Thanks

Ayy dude! I dunno if what you described works, but I know you can edit the rules (like, the gameplay) for Emperor through TibEd. And that should be quite easy to do, they set it all up and stuff to make it easier.

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Hey, thanks for the reply! I finally figured it out. I ended up doing most of my editing just through text editing. It turns out the rules text that was being generated when selecting the "campaign" option, didn't generate any of the changes. Then I figured out a lot of the title text at the header was wrong. Once I changed it to the same as the rules.txt found within the archive files it worked. I've been trying to do a full rebalance for this game. Always loved it, but always felt like everything blew up too fast and was too chaotic to take your time or implement strategy. I ended up slowing everyone down and beefing up hp. It's possible i don't know what I'm doing since I've never really attempted something like this, but I'm basically trying to make it play more like Red Alert 2 or Tiberian Sun.

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4 hours ago, djman123 said:

Hey, thanks for the reply! I finally figured it out. I ended up doing most of my editing just through text editing. It turns out the rules text that was being generated when selecting the "campaign" option, didn't generate any of the changes. Then I figured out a lot of the title text at the header was wrong. Once I changed it to the same as the rules.txt found within the archive files it worked. I've been trying to do a full rebalance for this game. Always loved it, but always felt like everything blew up too fast and was too chaotic to take your time or implement strategy. I ended up slowing everyone down and beefing up hp. It's possible i don't know what I'm doing since I've never really attempted something like this, but I'm basically trying to make it play more like Red Alert 2 or Tiberian Sun.

I feel ya. I do kinda like how fast-paced things are in Emperor, but I think it's even faster than in D2k, and that... says quite a lot. lol

Good luck! Feel free to come back with a mod sometime. :)

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Right on. I'm thinking about posting the rules set when I'm done. I'm not sure if anyone will want to try it. It seems like Emperor hasn't had nearly as many mods done for it as the C&C games or eve D2k. It's a shame a true widescreen resolution can't be done with it either.

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5 hours ago, djman123 said:

Right on. I'm thinking about posting the rules set when I'm done. I'm not sure if anyone will want to try it. It seems like Emperor hasn't had nearly as many mods done for it as the C&C games or eve D2k. It's a shame a true widescreen resolution can't be done with it either.

Heck, I've still got my Emperor CDs. Could be fun. :)

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Well, it's definitely a rough. I'm super amateur at even coming up with balance, so this might be considered a butchering. I took some inspiration form Starcraft 2 in terms of like how responsive units are. I went into this always having the problem with this game having super bad path finding ai and just feeling like I was sending everyone in to get blow up instantly. I wanted it to be a little more like C&C where I could rely on some of my armies or buildings to last, at least a little while. I think what I did at least made it easier in a way to command large groups, but the game still kind of just devolves into chaos at a certain point. 

Things I changed

Speeds

-all infantry are slower

-different infantry have slightly different movement speeds (i.e rocket launcher, flamethrower, snipers guys are 2.75 speed vs 3.0 for normal infantry.

-all vehicles are slower

-all units turn faster

-increased firing rate of most infantry (I think)

-sandbikes, dust scouts, and buzzsaws are much slower too but still the fastest ground units

-carryalls are much slower

-worms and storms are much slower and less frequent (almost non existent really most units can outrun them, but barely)

Health

-doubled and nearly tripled all units and buildings

Damage

-changed all continuous damage weapons like gas and flamethrowers to shooting out in bursts (took inspiration from firebats in Starcraft)

-made infantry able to do a little more damage to vehicles and buildings

-made vehicles tank/missile/laser type vehicles able to do a little more damage to infantry

-disabled friendly fire for flame and gas weapons, and minotaurus

Other stuff

-gave assault tanks one more attack range

-gave Harkonnen and Atreides one more attack range because I was sick of them blowing themselves up on barrels.

-reduced scout viewing range a bit.

-made refineries able to hold less spice (though thinking about it now, I'm not sure if that actually worked, probably didn't have a full grasp on how those settings work)

-made refinery addons half the price and cheaper to addon because now they don't give you a harvester, which also means you don't get a carryall and have to build those up separate

-made harvester able to harvest less spice, but also unload spice faster.

-left on an option for carryalls to be selectable and you and move them, but you can't really issue them to pick up a harvester or move once they've picked one up, so I'm not sure if it's even useful. Maybe just to get them out of harm's way.

One other thing, I probably didn't put as much thought into air units as I should because I don't really use them that often, but they at least got health increase.

I think that's it. I didn't touch the build times or prices beyond what I mentioned. I didn't alter super weapons because I haven't really fully tested a campaign yet. About halfway through a normal one on two houses. The cool thing about turning all the speeds down is it let me set the game speed from 6 to 7 and it's smoother looking while not being to overly fast to play, which is what I recommend. I'm open to any ideas of changes. Really I'm just trying to address my own personal issues with this game. I was looking at the forum earlier and saw this awesome looking mod Emperor Remake mod, but there wasn't any link and it's like 7 years old, so I don't think I'm finding that. It looked like they did some AI work, which would be nice. Anyway, if anyone's interested in my weird take on rebalancing the game I attached the rules.txt. You have to put it under Westwood/Emperor/DATA/model (and make the model folder of course).

TL;DR, I changed a bunch of crap, I wish there was more modding for this game. Always wanted to tweak it, this is what I came up with. Recommend playing it on 7 speed.

 

Rules.txt

Edited by djman123

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3 hours ago, djman123 said:

Well, it's definitely a rough. I'm super amateur at even coming up with balance, so this might be considered a butchering. I took some inspiration form Starcraft 2 in terms of like how responsive units are. I went into this always having the problem with this game having super bad path finding ai and just feeling like I was sending everyone in to get blow up instantly. I wanted it to be a little more like C&C where I could rely on some of my armies or buildings to last, at least a little while. I think what I did at least made it easier in a way to command large groups, but the game still kind of just devolves into chaos at a certain point.

Ayy, we all start somewhere with modding. It's little bit by little bit... and then bam! Ya get real good.

I like unit balancing in SC II, they definitely learned their lessons after the OG SC. The story though... aagh, it kills me! I mean, I wanted Raynor to kill Kerrigan! You know?

If you're looking to get better at balancing, I could offer a few tips, myself.

Spoiler

For RTS, it's generally a good idea to make sure that no unit is worthless. Maybe players can drift towards certain preferences, but it's generally a good idea to keep the different units or combinations viable even if they are used differently.

I'll give you some examples! In OG SC, terran players may go bio or mech versus zerg. For bio, you've got your Marines and Medics with Science Vessel support. And Siege Tanks, always Siege Tanks lol. The Marines provide very flexible and sustainable support for your Siege Tanks and Science Vessels, the Siege Tanks can help chunk the Zerglings and Ultralisks headed your way, and the Science Vessels can pick off Defilers and help against Lurkers easily. All bases are covered.

In a mech-based strategy, you've got your Vultures, your Goliaths, and your Siege Tanks. The Vultures are awesome at zoning because of their Spider Mines, and they're fast, so you can get map control and then go harass enemy workers once they drop their mines. The Goliaths do a great job at bothering Mutalisks and fulfilling that flexible ground support role, helping the Siege Tanks move up in formation, and obviously you've got your Siege Tanks for everything else.

Both viable, no units are useless, even if they're not necessarily used. Firebats are really uncommon, but they still can fight under the Dark Swarm where Marines can't, so they have their place. In fact, here are a couple of games between pros that show different strategies for TvZ, including those I mentioned:
Game 1: https://youtu.be/CLSlqG9f4AQ?t=24
Game 2: https://youtu.be/llxx2AouoMc?t=17

Side note, those pros are freakin' awesome. They're a real wonder to watch!

For Dune, it might be easier to design a mod around unit types. I'll give you another example: I'm currently doing work on a D2k mod, and as you may recall, it has several types of factories:
 - The Barracks, for cannon fodder infantry.
 - The Light Factory, for fast but fragile vehicles.
 - The Heavy Factory, for slower but stronger vehicles.

So what I decided to do was focus on categorizing the different units. And here's what I came up with:
 - Infantry are slow and fragile, but they uniquely self-heal, their firepower adds up, and they can garrison infantry rock.
 - LAVs, AKA Light Armored Vehicles, are excellent harassment and interception. They're very fast, but also very fragile.
 - Armor, like Combat Tanks, deal low damage compared to other unit classes. They absorb the most damage by far.
 - LRA, AKA Long Range Artillery, are slow, fragile, and expensive, but they can fire over walls and at the best range.

So you've got your weak but inexpensive infantry who can hold terrain and take an enemy base apart piece by piece if you can get them in close. The LAVs are around to hunt enemy Harvesters or pick off important units on the move, or rush in past enemy defenses and go straight for the valuable stuff, like Refineries. Armor's there for the tough assault on fortified positions, be that only LRA behind walls or even turrets. Aaaand then you've got the LRA, which are the ideal units for abusing natural and artificial barriers and supporting positions. And of course, units that previously sucked - like Siege Tanks and Quads - are better at what their class is meant to do. That's part of the fun of doing a mod - even if you intend to keep things faithful to the original, you can still improve on it however you see fit. And how I saw fit was to focus the game more on the micro game over the macro while keeping things fast-paced, but simple. Four main categories of units, obvious strengths and weaknesses.

What do you suppose might be good for Emperor? IIRC, the Harkonnen get very sturdy vehicles that operate at maximum efficiency until they're destroyed. The Ordos get recharging energy shields, and the Atreides have excellent infantry training. And all the factions are characterized in this way - the Atreides have a balanced fighting force and stand tall with their mechs, the Harkonnen have those slow and stocky tanks for a more armored assault feel, and the Ordos have their hit and run thing going on. That's all as part of the original game, the original design. Have you considered categorizing the factions a bit in your own way? :)

 

4 hours ago, djman123 said:

Things I changed

Well, it sounds like you did what you wanted to do! Slowed the pace down, allowed for more time to react to things. The hilariously low damage some units do, I sympathize about wanting to change that. Enough bullets can tear up a tank, and infantry can't take perfect cover from explosives by crouching in the sand.

Fun fact, there's some weird interaction between lasers and shields in the Dune universe that causes them to destroy each-other. That's why if you take a Sardaukar Elite and an Ordos APC, if the Sardaukar Elite uses his laser attack on the vehicle and its shield is up, both units are instantly destroyed. Weird, huh?

Anyway, I have to recommend caution in one particular area: Economy. It's VERY easy to screw up the economy so that it's too easy to harvest Spice, or too difficult. There's a happy medium where the player can sustain his own income for several factories, but needs to keep expanding and stuff as his production increases. Dune, however, has its limits; three factories of the same sort, at least in D2k, will cap the production speed. Therefore, there will always be a point where the player can snowball income TOO hard and never have to worry about it again. However, that doesn't mean it can be easy to achieve that peak economy. Like if you leave the income quite sustainable - quick enough Carryalls, enough of a Harvester load to work with - that'll be easier to balance. And then you can manipulate other things, like how quickly that income can be racked up by increasing the build time or cost of Refineries or Harvesters.

<.> Economy is hard to balance. Very complicated.

5 hours ago, djman123 said:

One other thing, I probably didn't put as much thought into air units as I should because I don't really use them that often, but they at least got health increase.

Personally, I prefer not to use many Light Infantry in D2k, but I still tried to consider where and how they might be useful. Hypothetically thinking can make some good changes, even without experience.

Also, I LOVE the Harkonnen Air Defense Platform in Emperor. I really wish it weren't so freaking squishy because those damn Atreides Mongoose walkers snipe them easily, but they're really awesome for gunning down whatever on the ground can't fire upwards. They're slow, sure, but their firepower is awesome so they're good for defending a specific area once they get to it. If they're one of the units you tripled the HP for, I'm quite in favor of that change!

5 hours ago, djman123 said:

I think that's it. I didn't touch the build times or prices beyond what I mentioned. I didn't alter super weapons because I haven't really fully tested a campaign yet. About halfway through a normal one on two houses. The cool thing about turning all the speeds down is it let me set the game speed from 6 to 7 and it's smoother looking while not being to overly fast to play, which is what I recommend. I'm open to any ideas of changes. Really I'm just trying to address my own personal issues with this game. I was looking at the forum earlier and saw this awesome looking mod Emperor Remake mod, but there wasn't any link and it's like 7 years old, so I don't think I'm finding that. It looked like they did some AI work, which would be nice.

Unfortunately. I was looking at that same thing, but ah well. Just gotta deal with what we got. :P

Hopefully my advice helped. And hey, if you're looking to branch out... I know a thing or two about editing Dune 2000! And you can do a LOT with it, although it does have its various limitations. The original campaign maps can be edited, new ones are a snap to come up with, the AI is remarkably easy to work with (I've tried TibSun, Emperor, Starcraft... all quite the hassle). And even without much skill in drawing, it's still possible to come up with a new structure or something with enough dedication. I really suck at drawing, but here's a brand-new structure in D2k inspired by the Guild Megaturret from Emperor:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=me-gH4G_1xA

The Storm Lasher, or SLasher for short. ;)

And it's even possible to design new environments easily. Easily, but not without tedium. Here's an in-game screenshot of a Heighliner map in D2k, again inspired by Emperor and drawn up by yours truly
, so we can take this sandy game to space:
H8QTOYj.png
I've always loved how Emperor allowed us to go to a Heighliner and to each of the factions' homeworlds. Everything about Emperor made the game feel really big and grand and awesome. So, that had to be the inspiration here too - to take the game beyond its limits and allow us to do more with it than ever before! :D

Anyway, again, I hope my advice helped you out with your mod. :)

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That's really cool. Thanks for the the pointers. I like the idea you have of Dune2k having self healing infantry. Making Emperor style levels is awesome too.

I'm not sure how much more in depth I'll go on this rebalance. I'm definitely going to take a few days away from it, I was kind of on a tirade. I think my balance probably did take away some of the each side having their own play style.  Part of my problem with both Dune2k and Emperor is just how fast infantry gets taken out, especially by blowing up buildings. I'm something of a fan of the Dune universe, it is cool how they put in the laser/shield dynamic.

I mainly capped the economy because I was trying to figure out a way to make it so playing the game wasn't so "mash the queue on this unit 100s of times" nonstop. I'm not really super skilled at rts, I'm mostly a campaign guy. I was looking at RA2 and how you get 1000 ore per run in that. So I figured if I made harvesters that can dock up to 3 at a time add up to roughly the same, maybe I could arrive at a similar flow.

On another note, I just discovered this thing called "OpenRA" last night that supports C&C1, RA1, and Dune 2000 under an open source engine. It's pretty neat. It adds in all the convenience features that came later such as rallypoints and queuing up units. I wonder under that engine if it would be possible for my dream mod to happen. I've always wished you could combine the skirmish modes of C&C1, RA1, and Dune2k, and have all the different sides face off.

*edit*

Wow, I was just playing a level and it was brutally difficult. They put the Ordos right next to pretty much the only spice field. It was a total grudgematch all the way through. Turns out I'm dumb and forgot to make it so Ordos doesn't get a harvester when building a refinery dock. Anyway, I decided, screw it, I'm renabling that aspect for all sides anyway. I'm speeding up the Carryalls a little more and taking away the ability to select them because it just gets in the way. I still wish Carryalls were something earned, even though it wouldn't make sense from a Dune Universe canon perspective.

Edited by djman123

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7 hours ago, djman123 said:

That's really cool. Thanks for the the pointers. I like the idea you have of Dune2k having self healing infantry. Making Emperor style levels is awesome too.

Thanks! It always bothered me that falling debris would reliably kill them outright. You know? So fragile... but, infantry are really good in D2k anyway because they hit really hard and can stack up in one tile. Five rocket bois in one tile means Quads get one-shot. lol

I wanted infantry to be able to take advantage of their position more often, so if you've got rocket guys in the rocks and cover them with long range units or quick LAVs, they can last a very long time and effectively deter most enemy units. So, they're cheap and effective defense. In addition, they can really chunk enemy bases as long as they have a little bit of time to rest between structures. Debris can still kill them if they're at half HP, which is the furthest self-healing can go unless we figure out a way to edit that too, but it's much less likely when they're not permanently stuck in the red! And, the scatter + guard combo is more useful since whatever infantry survive, even if they're in the red, will recover fairly quickly to decent health again.

Besides, what infantry don't have medics on the field? :P In one form or another.

7 hours ago, djman123 said:

I'm not sure how much more in depth I'll go on this rebalance. I'm definitely going to take a few days away from it, I was kind of on a tirade. I think my balance probably did take away some of the each side having their own play style.  Part of my problem with both Dune2k and Emperor is just how fast infantry gets taken out, especially by blowing up buildings. I'm something of a fan of the Dune universe, it is cool how they put in the laser/shield dynamic.

Yeeess!! The infantry must liiive!!!

I agree, the laser / shield thing was an awesome easter egg.

Hey, mods are there for whatever ya want. If you'd rather adjust the rules according specifically to your own preferences, that's fine, play the game by your own rules for fun. :) If you want to re-balance it in such a way that it would be a new, interesting, but fair take on the original game, that's more involved but it does make a fun hobby.

7 hours ago, djman123 said:

I mainly capped the economy because I was trying to figure out a way to make it so playing the game wasn't so "mash the queue on this unit 100s of times" nonstop. I'm not really super skilled at rts, I'm mostly a campaign guy. I was looking at RA2 and how you get 1000 ore per run in that. So I figured if I made harvesters that can dock up to 3 at a time add up to roughly the same, maybe I could arrive at a similar flow.

Ah, that's a very good point. Emulation is useful for getting the balance right if you feel it was better somewhere else. And I do like it in RA2! Still, we should take into account the costs of things in Dune versus RA. I think units in general are more expensive in RA2 than in D2k.

I'm also more fond of campaigns, myself. Tell a story, create some interesting gameplay with unique scenarios. Good stuff in campaigns. Still, it's always interesting to check out what multiplayer enthusiasts can do! Have you seen any D2k multiplayer gameplay? Shaokhan uploads often and he's really good. Here's a game: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NNfyAbUvzsU

The game picks up after six minutes in. They really know how to mass units quickly. Very good macro game.

8 hours ago, djman123 said:

On another note, I just discovered this thing called "OpenRA" last night that supports C&C1, RA1, and Dune 2000 under an open source engine. It's pretty neat. It adds in all the convenience features that came later such as rallypoints and queuing up units. I wonder under that engine if it would be possible for my dream mod to happen. I've always wished you could combine the skirmish modes of C&C1, RA1, and Dune2k, and have all the different sides face off.

Oh yeah, but doesn't OpenRA also add a bunch of things that aren't in D2k normally? Like fog of war, new units, or am I mistaken?

Have all the different sides face off? Do you mean, put all those factions into the same game? That sounds majorly ambitious. I wouldn't know where to begin. 😅

In any case, I'd definitely recommend exploring OpenRA in case you find other options to mod with. The default D2k game can be modded pretty heavily, but there are naturally certain restrictions you'd need to work around. Still, I regard it as very easy to mod and by playing with the normal game, whatever mods you create can be more readily accessible.

8 hours ago, djman123 said:

Wow, I was just playing a level and it was brutally difficult. They put the Ordos right next to pretty much the only spice field. It was a total grudgematch all the way through. Turns out I'm dumb and forgot to make it so Ordos doesn't get a harvester when building a refinery dock. Anyway, I decided, screw it, I'm renabling that aspect for all sides anyway. I'm speeding up the Carryalls a little more and taking away the ability to select them because it just gets in the way. I still wish Carryalls were something earned, even though it wouldn't make sense from a Dune Universe canon perspective.

XD I found a bug just the other day in my mod where one faction's concrete was a few credits cheaper than the other two. I had no idea it was there, but it's fixed now. There's always a little something to change, it seems.

Hah, yeah. I remember. They give you Carryalls for free, right? I guess it's only fair since there's so much more anti-air in Emperor.

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