Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

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Sat42
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Sat42 » 19 Apr 2019, 16:11

OK first things first:

@Loewenherz, I believe you don't quite realise how incredibly important this Ambient Pack is potentially to me! The community is small so feedback will come in slowly but I just wanted to say - I only just installed the 1.5 normal version and have been checking out your pack in the editor - THANK YOU for doing what seems to be nothing short of a FANTASTIC job!

Now for some quick feedback (hopefully constructive criticism):
- new animals are welcome but it is a shame that the new models do not live up to the standards of the official models: the bear is too low poly (it would fit in the original Empire Earth), so I won't be using it; the crocodile and rhinoceros fair better, until you notice how they animate in-game (only the rhinoceros is OK, but even then, the tail always inexplicably goes between its legs), with the crocodile literally never opening its mouth and letting out a dog's howl when dying... not usable in current state. The rabbit however is totally fine BUT not animated - only usable in a cinematic I guess.
- HOWEVER, the ability to give animal units to the player - most notably cows and goats - is GREAT, and they even make appropriate sounds when selected, so for my scenario ideas this would be perfect... just a shame that the livestock don't give food in this form (like sheep or turkey would - even when controlled by the player - in Age of Empires 2 and its expansion), so for example in a given setup I would need to have the cattle be controllable by the player in a scenario where you need to migrate, and then upon arriving at the new settlement, I would have to "replace" (delete and spawn immediately) the cattle with normal cattle (under the Animals category) that is non-controllable but can be used as a food source!
- "upgrading" the wolf unit to be lethal is good (and the wolf 1.5 unit animates better when running compared to the default wolf, so an overall improvement there), why not the same with tigers and lions? N.B.: one thing which definitely feels half-assed in Empire Earth 2 is how they made predators overall, with barely acceptable animations, and no sound when attacking! This would be nice to improve (and it's possible in light of what you did with the elephant - see below)
- the elephant 1.5 unit is also a much appreciated upgrade which feels logical: the attack animation is still weak but at least the creature emits an appropriate crying sound when attacking!
- if anything, while the totally new creatures as they currently stand are not usable for me, this pack still allows me to do a few more things with existing animals (very important for my first campaign idea, where prehistory plays a role), so thanks for that!
- as for all the rest: no complaints, it's usually great and systematically usable!!! I love the new ambient elements whether they are ruins of ancient civilisations or just rocks with tropical plants on them - and bridges too! And icebergs! (I could nitpick about the stone textures for Stonehenge which could have been higher resolution, but that's a detail) Great work, I think the only thing that is probably not very usable is the attempt at making an asset for waterfalls - I haven't tested the sheets in-game, but in the editor they seem completely static and without particle effects the water falling would probably seem artificial.

I hope this feedback is of some use! Note: I am not a modeler or animator (though I wanted to start using Blender), so I could not do what you did, and while I still hold out hope for more assets in the future (including better animals and animations/sounds), if I start looking into this I would probably be limited to acquiring existing assets from elsewhere (like free for non-commercial use, stuff like that), and trying to import them into the game.

Now onto something else:
- is there no way for this pack to work in the Developers version of 1.5?
- is there a way to play a scenario/campaign in AoS (with Normal 1.5 version) which has these new assets when selecting "No" for the Unlock UP1.5 units etc. option? This is because I want to play without the new camera, which IMHO shows that the game was not really designed with that ground camera ability in mind (the sky can look good in a well-made cinematic, but in-game the new camera allows to see the sky through the interior of buildings etc.)

Cheers and thanks again for sharing your awesome work with the community!!


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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 19 Apr 2019, 17:32

Just to make things clear:
Loew's Ambient Pack didn't add any animals to game. "New" and other animals which can be produced in the "ZOO" building were added with the normal, first version of UP1.5 (back in 2014 or something).
- is there no way for this pack to work in the Developers version of 1.5?
There is, if moving and editing files from db_155.zip to db.zip... But why complicate life like this?
- is there a way to play a scenario/campaign in AoS (with Normal 1.5 version) which has these new assets when selecting "No" for the Unlock UP1.5 units etc. option?
All models are ALWAYS available by the scenario editor. The "Unlock" units function only disables the production possibility in normal games, so AI won't build/produce 1.5 units, and players can't do this as well. It's even possible to load saves from "enabled units" version on "disabled units" version. All those models are still accessible for compatibility reasons.
However, the behavior of "disabled units" version in Loew's Pack was changed to display building blockers, so it's possible to block areas while setting the new world objects (so units won't cross stones, etc.). Whenever units are "disabled" you can see building blockers as city plazas (under textures). When units are "enabled" those blockers become invisible, so it looks incredibly better.

For the camera zooms... I personally don't see a problem. The only thing that is affected are total zoom-in, greater zoom-out. The camera is basically the same if you scroll just a little bit. I know it's harder to control, but once you learn how many times it should be scrolled for your favorite settings - it's fine.
However, I added undocumented solution for old camera fans. I explained it in this topic: viewtopic.php?p=20337#p20337 (that was before "No (keep the new camera)" option was added.
Dr.MonaLisa wrote:
09 Dec 2016, 13:31
You can disable the new camera by UP1.5 Settings: ( https://ee2.eu/help/#disablefeatures ). Unfortunately it will also disable the new units/buildings. It's not recommended to disable the new camera when 1.5 features are unlocked, because UP1.5 changes the flying height of many objects (planes, helicopters) so you simply wouldn't see them in game. I would recommend to simply zoom-in a little and don't zoom-out. You would get the same effect as with the old camera.
If you still want to disable the new camera when 1.5 units are unlocked:
1. Start UP1.5 Settings and set "unlock the new units..." to NO.
2. Save changes.
3. Start UP1.5 Settings again, and type the custom configuration command: "DontCheckCamFixStatus=1"
4. Save changes.
5. Start UP1.5 Settings again, and set "unlock the new units..." to YES.
6. You will have the old camera + 1.5 features unlocked in game. If you want to revert changes, simply type: "DontCheckCamFixStatus=0" in UP1.5 Settings.

For the lag problem, I would recommend to read: https://ee2.eu/help/#lags
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

Sat42
Posts: 42
Joined: 03 Dec 2018, 18:01

Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Sat42 » 19 Apr 2019, 18:08

Thanks for clarifying Dr.MonaLisa!

Regarding the animals: understood, makes sense. Sorry @Loewenherz for bothering you with my comments on all those animal models :P

Regarding the new world objects: what you are saying (sorry if I am slow) is that none of them have collision detection, correct (I admit I didn't test)? so in order to take advantage of Leow's ambient objects in a scenario and maintain believability in the game world, one needs to use the building blockers (represented by city plazas visually, in Loew's editor mode which disables 1.5 units production in Skirmish mode etc.) in conjunction with said new objects, and then you have to set your settings to "enable the 1.5 units etc." in order to actually NOT see the building blockers when playing your scenario, hence maintaining the illusion for the player that these new ambient objects are actually physical (with "collision detection")?

Many thanks for the solution with respect to keeping the old camera settings even with 1.5 features unlocked :P ... thing is, I am not interested (for now) in the modern age where such a solution would be a concern. And if I have to have the 1.5 features unlocked in order to NOT see the building blockers which add collision detection to Leow's objects in-game, then I will want to use this solution :P

EDIT
And thanks again in general for everything regarding the unofficial patch, it's massively appreciated.
You are right, the Developers version might be superfluous for me at this point, and hell I might even want to use the new 1.5 units/buildings in a modern scenario in the future (not what I am interested in now though), but it depends a bit on how modding goes - I want to modify quite a few things (like having buildings such as temples and city centres look like in the Iron Age when the player is in the Bronze Age)
Last edited by Sat42 on 19 Apr 2019, 18:25, edited 1 time in total.

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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 19 Apr 2019, 18:20

Regarding the new world objects: what you are saying (sorry if I am slow) is that none of them have collision detection, correct (I admit I didn't test)? so in order to take advantage of Leow's ambient objects in a scenario and maintain believability in the game world, one needs to use the building blockers (represented by city plazas visually, in Loew's editor mode which disables 1.5 units production in Skirmish mode etc.) in conjunction with said new objects, and then you have to set your settings to "enable the 1.5 units etc." in order to actually NOT see the building blockers when playing your scenario, hence maintaining the illusion for the player that these new ambient objects are actually physical (with "collision detection")?
Yes, that's correct.
Initially Loew wanted users to edit the "blockers" file manually... But that would be annoying for most of players, and even harder to explain. So I decided to rename the "Ask me before game start" option in UP1.5 Settings. Building/units blockers can be placed on both (disabled 1.5 units and enabled 1.5 units version), however on "enabled 1.5 units" they're invisible. 99% of players keep the 1.5 units unlocked - that's why. And those who want it disabled usually won't be interested in Ambient Packs as well. The "Loew Mode" (disabled 1.5 units) also allows rotating buildings/units (have to select an unit, move a mouse a little bit on side, keep CTRL pressed and move to rotate it). That's the reason in "disabled units" mode Loew's ambient units are under "Animals" tab.
I know it's confusing... We actually waited with tutorials until someone asks.
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

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Loewenherz
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Loewenherz » 20 Apr 2019, 10:47

Thanks for the Critic. It was a horrible work, to create this pack, but is it with many love from a scenario maker for scenario maker. It is, how Mona say, so i think, i dont must declare it here detailed. Maybe later, i update the ambient pack a little bit. In the development i have cut thing like statues and parc ambients. By the way, the ambientpack is now almost too big. Im have mostly importet models from EE3. The waterfall is a helpless attempt, but better as nothing. All in all, it is so that for map maker like me, is the best solation. Now are the maps not more so empty, if you use all the new details.

Here you can read it detailied, how you can work with the new ambients: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5216
If you have questions, write me. I can give you tipps for scripting. For the beginning, look in the scrips from me:

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=1737&p=23816#p23816

PS: Make for the beginning a good single player scenario. It's better, if you start with scripting and have no programming skills. A big campaign is too much for the start, i think. If you first mission good, Mona sure intgrate she in the campaign menu.
EDIT
And thanks again in general for everything regarding the unofficial patch, it's massively appreciated.
You are right, the Developers version might be superfluous for me at this point, and hell I might even want to use the new 1.5 units/buildings in a modern scenario in the future (not what I am interested in now though), but it depends a bit on how modding goes - I want to modify quite a few things (like having buildings such as temples and city centres look like in the Iron Age when the player is in the Bronze Age)
Let it bee for beginning. You can make that, "See russia City Center in AOS Campaign", but for the beginner is that to much and it is heavy ddf scripting. Mona dont like that, because it can make the game crashed. I have long work with him, until he have aceptate my work. :D
List of tutorials, useful threads and utilities (look here before posting): Here

Add Pics to Map: viewtopic.php?f=54&p=25184#p25184

Loews Work: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5160

Sat42
Posts: 42
Joined: 03 Dec 2018, 18:01

Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Sat42 » 20 Apr 2019, 11:48

Hi Loew!!

Thank you for the detailed reply, and advice! I think you may be right about first working on making one scenario that feels well rounded and complete, before trying to delve into the epic undertaking of making a campaign, and avoid ddf scripting at the beginning. :) I shall try to do this, then... especially since, to be honest, for the first couple of scenarios of the campaign I plan to eventually make, I actually do not need that trick as in "See russia City Center in AOS Campaign" so no heavy ddf scripting to begin with anyway :P

And many thanks again for your ambient pack which will ABSOLUTELY be used in my maps extensively! :)
Thanks for offering help with scripting too! I shall look into those scripts examples and commands as part of my education :D

Cheers and see you around!

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Loewenherz
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Loewenherz » 20 Apr 2019, 13:47

Write me a Message, when i can give you a tip. The campaign ddf can we use for you first mission (Single Scenarios), if she ready. Write a topic, if you are finish, so that we can test here. :)
List of tutorials, useful threads and utilities (look here before posting): Here

Add Pics to Map: viewtopic.php?f=54&p=25184#p25184

Loews Work: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5160

Sat42
Posts: 42
Joined: 03 Dec 2018, 18:01

Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Sat42 » 20 Apr 2019, 13:54

Excellent man, thanks again for offering! I will remember to get back to you and create a "project topic" when the first mission is more or less ready :) It will take a while though, as I first need to read carefully the available guides and learn the tools and actually decide on and build the physical layout of the first scenario. Looking forward to it!

EDIT: the good thing is the first scenario is conceptually fairly simple, so it will come along in a reasonable time frame :)

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Gonzalo
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Gonzalo » 02 May 2019, 18:45

EDIT
And thanks again in general for everything regarding the unofficial patch, it's massively appreciated.
You are right, the Developers version might be superfluous for me at this point, and hell I might even want to use the new 1.5 units/buildings in a modern scenario in the future (not what I am interested in now though), but it depends a bit on how modding goes - I want to modify quite a few things (like having buildings such as temples and city centres look like in the Iron Age when the player is in the Bronze Age)
Let it bee for beginning. You can make that, "See russia City Center in AOS Campaign", but for the beginner is that to much and it is heavy ddf scripting. Mona dont like that, because it can make the game crashed. I have long work with him, until he have aceptate my work. :D
[/quote]

Hi Loewenherz, I join the general appreciation and commendation of your mod...but I quote also these few lines of your writing for renewing the question...is there any way of changing visuals of an unittype like the Russian City Center so it can still work as CityCenter in order to take over a territory, but looking like a Russian City Center? Help would be much apopreciated and thankful. Congratulations, anyway, for your huge, massive and at all respects awesome mod!!!

Gonzalo

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Loewenherz
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Re: Loew's Ambient Pack for EE2 1.5 (Final)

Post by Loewenherz » 05 May 2019, 11:21

Gonzalo wrote:
02 May 2019, 18:45
Hi Loewenherz, I join the general appreciation and commendation of your mod...but I quote also these few lines of your writing for renewing the question...is there any way of changing visuals of an unittype like the Russian City Center so it can still work as CityCenter in order to take over a territory, but looking like a Russian City Center? Help would be much apopreciated and thankful. Congratulations, anyway, for your huge, massive and at all respects awesome mod!!!

Gonzalo

viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5224#p24904
List of tutorials, useful threads and utilities (look here before posting): Here

Add Pics to Map: viewtopic.php?f=54&p=25184#p25184

Loews Work: viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5160

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