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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.


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 t
he 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. 




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.






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.
result =
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. :P 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.

Edited by WermRider
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2 hours ago, WermRider said:

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.

(sorry for a little OT)
Thanks for posting this, it sounds really interesting that there's still some modding activity going on such older game. I haven't played Emperor: Battle for Dune, so I cannot really say much into this mod. But as you might have noticed, there's also new modding reseach going on the Dune2000 forum. I made quite many new discoveries about Tilesets, and I'm working on improved version of map editor to be able to edit newly discovered tileset data and provide much better support for custom tilesets.

If Dune2000 is your cup of tea like EBFD, you could take a look there too.

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Thanks, I used to really want to get that unused snow tiles into a snow set. You should try out emperor; you can get it for free @ some places I believe, though I run it from a disk.
The modding capabilities of dune2000 often puts me off; as its still not possible to add new units, and making each faction more unique in that game is really everyones dream, but tilesets and new maps are also cool, as that game has timeless aesthetic. I might take a look at it again soon; but I know i'll be encouraged to remake it from scratch in a new engine if I do so.
Thanks for dropping in and saying Hi. Its always nice to know we are not invisible :)

I updated the main post with some more content.

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I did a quick read to anything, It blows my mind the "starport delivering crates"; I didn't ever know that could be possible; I never edited Emperor at all, so I don't really know how modable the game it's, but I never imagine delivering literally crates of money into the game.

I think you mean these changes oriented to skirmish, but how about campaign (although campaign plays a lot like skirmish)? it may be interesting at some point playing dune emperor with that dune 2000 mindset; I agree on some points with the speed (and in campaign it doesn't help you can get Sardaukar or Ixian bombs early and win a map in 3 minutes, and I an not a speedrunner at all).he tech it's roughly the same".

But if the campaign can benefic It may be something I may try eventually.

Edited by Cm_blast
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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi there !

I'm currently omw to make a crossover Dune / Command and conquer mod for C&C remastered collection.


Do you know how export units models from emperor for dune ? I'm searching a way for the moment...

Feel free to contact me, respond on this post, i will ask for an account on this forum.

Best regards, JackYsback

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On 3/3/2020 at 7:58 AM, WermRider said:

Hi, I am AnimalMan

Waddup animal man. I just got Emperor re installed and this time using Voodoo wrapper to play at 1920x1080. Glorious high resolution. I got TibEd too. I'm gonna try to make my own mod, inspired by your economy/carryall/harvester changes. Salut, good ideas.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Its so cool people are still playing and modding this game. I started playing this game again for the first time in a long time last year, and just started modding it. I mainly focused on improving infantry units and adding more units for each faction. I also wanted to be able to build the mega cannons for the Ix and Guild that you could see in some campaign levels and take over, but not build in the skirmishes. I had to reduce their power to make them more balanced. The one thing I really want to do but don't know if it is possible, is to make it so there is more than three main factions available to play in the skirmish, and turn some of the subhouses into their own independent factions. Adding units in the rules and artini files is easy, but I can't figure out if its possible to add new main factions. I tried messing around with some of the files in the UI directory, but can't figure it out. It would be cool to be able to have just a Fremen faction fighting against House Corrino and House Harkonnen, or have a battle between just House Vernius of the Ix and the Bene Tleilaxu.

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  • 1 year later...
  • 9 months later...

Sorry to necropost, but I don't know anywhere else more relevant to discuss this than this topic on this website. Emperor is such an underrated game that needs a few things done to it to really make it work better. I'm partially posting to find out of the original topic creator has ever posted their mod. I similarly got inspired to do an overhaul on the balance back in 2019. I think I posted about it here or on another Dune mod site.

I ended up doing something similar to this guy. I recognized that game speed and framerate were tied. The quirks of that were very apparent when infantry turned. I made every unit slower. I gave different types of infantry have different walk speeds. I slowed everything down so that I could take the game from my default of 5 speed, up to 7. Now the game looks more fluid, and is still slightly slowed down. I doubled and sometimes tripled health pools for all units and buildings. Adjusted build times. I gave almost everything much snappier turn radius. So the game is hopefully smoother to micro with.

I originally was designing it to improve the campaign. The problem I run into is when you're in a really scripted mission. Since the game is running at a higher speed, mission scripts happen sooner, and since the units are slower, it takes longer to get through the a level relative to the scripting. It's manageable when you have control over income, like on Arrakis, but when you go off world you run into trouble. I actually gave up on the mod back in 2019 because I hit the Harkonnen Brother vs Brother mission. My income couldn't keep up with the amount of units and nukes they slammed me with. I decided to come back to the mod this week, years later, and I was on Ordos off world mission with the Tleilaxu attacks and I remembered that was another thing my rebalance made more difficult. The Teilaxu with increased health pools simply were too difficult. My solution this time was to make them the exception. Gave leeches and the melee units health more on par with vanilla infantry. I figure it's a fair trade. Their units have the ability to basically death sentence mine. The rules.txt has entries for increasing spice income on offworld missions, but so far I don't fully understands how to increase it or what the numbers represent.

I wish there was a way to mod the campaign so you had to capture every territory. As far as EBFD modding, it seems the best we have is editing rules, which it needs desperately. It's a shame this is the least regarded Dune RTS, because it could be the best if it were properly rebalanced and given widescreen. It's certainly my favorite. I'm attaching my rules.txt as of today if anyone is interested. As far as I know it has to go inside a "Models " folder in your "Data" folder in the install directory. I had to make the Models folder.


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I made my own E:BfD mod based on Animal Man's ideas. I used TibEd. All infantry movement speed is cut in half, so if a guy was at 7 speed, now he is 3.5. All structures except for Refineries (which bug out when you mess with their settings) are double their health. A lot of vehicles are slower turning speed, and harvs and MCVS and carryalls are slightly slower. No more free harvs and caryalls with each Refinery docking pads. I followed Animal Man's goals to a Tee. Also, building prerequisites like in Mental Omega are now added. So, Conyard gives enough power to allow you to build a barracks and a refinery off the bat.


Mack's EBfD Mod.tib

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Thanks for sharing yours. I was wondering, how do I use a .tib file? Is it like the rules.txt? I was also curious what you meant by refineries bugging out. One of the things I did in mine was decrease Carryall speeds as well.

I might steal the docking pads don't give you harvesters or carryalls idea for my rules set, or at least try it. I wonder though, could a similar slowing of the tech advancement be achieved by making them more expensive and take equal time to build as refinery?

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Tibed file works with the program called TibEd:


When I tried to increase their health the refineries went weird, harvesters wouldn't dock properly, instead of the center they docked off to the side, and the docking pads wouldn't work anymore.

Carryalls always pick up a harvester as the harvester turns. I'm trying to figure out how to stop that behaviour.


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I guess I never noticed. I'm pretty sure I would have increased refinery health pools. Maybe I don't notice it on mine because all the Carryalls are slower so maybe they never fill all three docking pads at once.

I haven't messed with this value but at the top of rules.txt under General, there's a value:

MinCarryTileDist=10            //carryall pickup harv


I wonder if decreasing this would allow harvesters to move on their own more. It feels like the Carryall will pick them up depending on how far they gotta move.

Edited by Goater24
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  • 2 weeks later...

Interesting! I also have made carryalls slower. Their default speed is 20, I changed it to 17, which is the same speed of advanced carryalls. In addition to that change, refinery docking station upgrades no longer provide a free carryall or free harvester. Also, harvesters are slightly slower.

I increased MinCarryTileDist=10 to 20. I had a fully upgraded refinery with 3 harvesters and 1 carryall. I watched them harvest the spice for a while, and I didn't once see the carryall prematurely pick up any harvester before it was finished mining. So that's a good sign.

I'm a little confused though as to what MinCarryTileDist means. Does it mean the minimum distance between a carryall and a harvester before the carryall goes to pick up the harvester? If that's the case maybe I should lower that value instead of increase it.

In the past I've tried decreasing the harvester's turn speed and that's when I noticed the carryalls prematurely picking up the harvester before it was done mining spice. I've watched closely. When the harvester is travelling in a straight line the carryalls stay in the air circling nearby. As soon as the harvester starts turning the carryall breaks from circling and quickly moves towards the harvester to pick it up. Usually the harvester turns fast enough so that the carryall stops and goes back to circling in the air.

Edited by DoMiNaNt_HuNtEr
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  • 2 weeks later...

That's interesting. I have my carryall speed set to 6. Advanced is set to 10. Partially because I have my whole balanced designed around turning everything down really low, so I can turn the gamespeed up to like 6 so the gameplay feels more fluid. The only drawback of slowing the carryalls down that much is they kind of shake weird when carrying the harvesters.

I haven't done any testing with that MinCarryTileDist parameter, but I guess I did interpret it as the the limit of how far they could travel without a carryall coming to pick them up. Because I'm pretty sure you can order them short distances without carryall intervention. Kind of like the tunneling APCs in C&C Tiberian Sun. You order one to move more locally and they roll to it, but if it's too far away, they go underground.

I'll admit, some of my balances are kind of outside of what Westwood would have done, like I gave most units much faster turning speed, but I did it, because this game's maps tend to be very crowded, and units tend to break up and go wherever they want. I tried to make everyone slower and more responsive to work around that. I will admit, my most iffy rebalance, is I made the Devastator like really fast. But I did it because even with all the increased health pools, having it be slow meant it was never breaching my bases, they just weren't a threat. Then I thought, well the thing is modeled after a Ram, so why not make it a crazy charging Ram. It's honestly kind of terrifying now when they attack.

I really wish this game got more attention. It needs a widescreen mod. It needs the same level of online support as other Legacy Westwood titles. I don't know how it's the least regarded Dune rts. If it was in widescreen and rebalanced in a smart way, it's easily superior to Dune 2000, or at least vanilla Dune 2000 where you didn't have unit queuing. It's a real shame that the Herbert estate just completely wrote off old titles. They probably don't even know how important Dune is to the RTS genre.

Years ago, I found an old Emperor Battle For Dune promotional video with Louis Castle, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Y_HcuXIrZw ) talking about how EBFD had a co-op campaign. A feature I didn't even know the game had, and of course didn't have the internet to be able to take advantage of, back in the day. I only discovered it back when you could still play Emperor on XWIS servers. Unfortunately I was never able to get that feature to work. I always wished I could play the co-op campaign with a friend. It's another thing, where if we could just get some kind of modded version, like OpenRA, maybe that feature could finally be realized.


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  • 7 months later...

Sorry about necro and I guess double post? This is so odd. Last year I uploaded my rules and talked about how I made the Devastators fast. After seeing Dune Part 2 recently I decided to boot up these rules, but I noticed Devastators were quite slow. I remembered years ago not being able to make mech units walk faster. But I swear back when I worked on this, I had the Devastators moving really fast. Anybody have any idea how to make mech unit speeds faster? I've tried everything I can think of.

Edited by Goater24
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what we really need is for someone to mod this so the game speed is decoupled from the fps it's running at. the radar and everything is just waaay to fast at 120fps. and as mentioned, triggers inside missions are also happening faster which makes the missions a lot more different to what they originally intended to be.

makes the game kinda unplayable for me

what is this games original fps? 30? 

i guess you could cap it at 30 and speed it up in the settings but idk

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I actually was playing this thing 280hz and the UI animations were really bad, really distracting, but I started to be able to ignore it. On my latest revisit, I was unable to figure out why suddenly Devastators weren't moving the way I had balanced it. Eventually I was looking at the DGVoodoo program I had installed on it. I'm not sure how the file was generated (because I couldn't  find it in backup duplicated installation files) but editing dgvoodoo.cnf, there was a section for framerate. In there you can cap it to 60. The game might have been a 30fps game, I don't' really remember because when I owned the game as a kid, we didn't exactly have a good computer that could push performance like what you can do today. I do know those UI animations look a lot less ridiculous at 60fps. I still cap mine at 144, because I just wanted it smoother gameplay animations.


The way the game dealt with speed, is what inspired me to mess with these rules. I noticed that at higher speeds the framerate was smoother. So my solution (the OP for this thread's solution) was to slow units down. Yes, the scripting happens faster. But I would also argue that the original balancing on this game was very.... first draft. Which is why I opted increase health pools on all buildings and units. So now battles aren't just everything blowing up instantly. And it helps a little bit with microing your units through some of the maze like terrain. I didn't touch costs or build times though, as that was something I attempted a few years ago, and it resulted in off world missions being basically impossible because I couldn't keep up with the AI. This current rebalance I have affects health pools, unit speeds, unit damage values, ranges. I've tested playing through each campaign on easy with it. Off world missions were doable. But, in order to get through Harkonnen's Geidi Prime mission, I had to resort to turning gamespeed down so I could do a more calculated rush, and I did have to rush. Turtling wasn't feasible. So it's just barely playable, and maybe a more skilled RTS player could work within those confines better.


I agree about the gamespeed framerate decoupling, but more than anything, I just wish it was widescreen. I don't get why this is the least liked of the old Dune RTS, it has such amazing potential. It has the tab system introduced in RA2, which to me gives it a huge edge over Dune 2000 for me. Plus no need to put down concrete for everything. But the maps are kind of not that great, and balancing were sloppy. But that soundtrack, oh man that soundtrack. Anyway, sorry for wall of text. Thanks for the conversation on the game. I just feel like no one cares about this game anymore.

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I wish WermRider released this. It looks beautiful and I look to expand my interest in nostalgia with some BFD mods. I take this is unobtanium since there isn't a download link?

Generally love things that overhaul the game with as much added into it as possible for all factions and sub-houses, things like this mod to be exact.

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