Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

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Sat42
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Joined: 03 Dec 2018, 18:01

Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Sat42 » 03 Dec 2018, 18:51

Hi to the team!

I am happy I discovered the existence of the 1.5 "unofficial" patch - I started playing Empire Earth II recently and frankly, I believe I have found the true successor to the "classic" Age of Empires series (N.B.: I have yet to play Age of Empires III, that's for later - maybe in a couple of years). I only finished the tutorial and the Korean campaign so far but I can already tell that this RTS is up there with my best experiences in the genre. I would have been sad if the game had been completely "dead" at this point. Especially as I would like to make some nice single player scenarios (some historical, some fictional) in time, and one needs an audience (however small) for motivation!

I think I would be dumb not to take advantage of the 1.5 patch (note: screen resolution isn't a problem for me, I'm playing on a 1280x1024 monitor), seeing as it seemingly fixes pretty much all the bugs left after the last official patch (already very stable anyway, haven't noticed bugs so far apart from an invincible scout for the player in the last scenario of the tutorial campaign, but I always assumed that was a trigger-related bug), but I am interested in experiencing the game as close to "vanilla" as possible.

I know about the "Change UP1.5 Settings" button to switch option "Unlock UP1.5 units, buildings, models, sounds and camera settings in game" to "No" (and it seems the saves and settings can be carried over from the previous version of the game) so all good there, but I still have some specific questions:
- are "graphical improvements" still carried over no matter what? specifically, I mean the enhanced effects for the nuclear explosions (I didn't find other examples): I would prefer to leave them out for the purpose of my first complete vanilla playthrough (notably since I always write reviews of games in their "best official state" separately from community "enhanced visuals" efforts), though admittedly this isn't a big issue (I will "suffer" benefiting from better nuclear explosions lol, the vanilla ones are just OK)
- is the issue with the shadows of submerged submarines still showing on the water surface (using vanilla highest video settings, incl. complex shadows) corrected? that would be great
- regarding the AI: have there been improvements to how it works (I am happy with it in general, it does the minimum I expected from a "modern" RTS post-Age of Kings - the AI was also the factor that decided me to skip Empire Earth), and specifically, have there been improvements to how the AI reacts to War Plan proposals? From experience with the last official patch, I can't quite yet say if it actually works one way or the other (I might create a separate topic for this, detailing my experience so far). I would absolutely welcome improvements in this area!!
- are there improvements to the map editor?

Many thanks for your help! And cheers for doing this work for a game that was commercially successful, but ultimately overlooked seeing as this truly is one of the most interesting RTS titles in existence.


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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 03 Dec 2018, 20:40

Hi Sat42.
Thanks for your post. I like to answer this type of questions where people are actually interested in reading :)
- are "graphical improvements" still carried over no matter what? specifically, I mean the enhanced effects for the nuclear explosions (I didn't find other examples): I would prefer to leave them out for the purpose of my first complete vanilla playthrough (notably since I always write reviews of games in their "best official state" separately from community "enhanced visuals" efforts), though admittedly this isn't a big issue (I will "suffer" benefiting from better nuclear explosions lol, the vanilla ones are just OK)
For the nuclear effects - the original one is still used. The new "big" effect is only available by "Super ICBM" which is unavailable when UP1.5 units are disabled. There also is a new "camera shaking" effect (earthquake), unfortunately it's included even when 1.5 units are disabled. However, please read the further part of this post for other solutions.
- is the issue with the shadows of submerged submarines still showing on the water surface (using vanilla highest video settings, incl. complex shadows) corrected? that would be great
Not touched this stuff. I actually didn't notice, but will take a look and see what can be done.
- regarding the AI: have there been improvements to how it works (I am happy with it in general, it does the minimum I expected from a "modern" RTS post-Age of Kings - the AI was also the factor that decided me to skip Empire Earth), and specifically, have there been improvements to how the AI reacts to War Plan proposals? From experience with the last official patch, I can't quite yet say if it actually works one way or the other (I might create a separate topic for this, detailing my experience so far). I would absolutely welcome improvements in this area!!
AI behaviour in general is hardcoded, so it can't be "improved" using any easy method. The scripts are basically from the official ver. 1.2 and only ordance to build new UP1.5 buildings / units was added. Those scripts respect the "switch" to disable 1.5 stuff. So pretty much AI behaviour is the same as on the official version.
- are there improvements to the map editor?
Yes:
- "Pro Map Maker" by DomDom11/12 (modified tools sizes for easier map making).
- Changed the maximum territories brush size in the Map Editor in EE2: AOS to 90.
- Fixed a rare bug where game settings are lost after quitting map editor.
- Fixed a game bug (present since ver. 1.0) which always resetted the "AI Map Type" settings to "Plains" when a scenario file (.scn) was loaded (by the Main Menu, Campaign Menu or Map Editor). It fixed a bug where AI players didn't build docks and ships in custom scenarios.
- Fixed a bug causing option "DISABLE Crowns System and Leaders" to be enabled every time user entered the Map Editor (so it was impossible to get crowns during the "Test Mission").

There is a different version of Unofficial Patch 1.5 compatible with the other mods. It's even more "vanilla" with DirectX9, screen resolutions, some bug fixes. It is available at: https://ee2.eu/patch/developers
The Developers version doesn't fix some crashes which required game files modification to be fixed. That's why I recommend the "normal" version of 1.5 to everyone who doesn't use other mods. However, you can try the Developers version to see if you like it more. It requires a clean EE2 installation (for example in a different folder) and only Developers version files on it. If you paste developers version over existing EE2 + 1.5 installation - it won't work.

Please feel free to ask any other questions, also if I skipped something, don't feel affraid to repeat it.
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

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

Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Sat42 » 03 Dec 2018, 23:39

Hi Dr.MonaLisa,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply, much appreciated! :)

Let me go through this step by step:

- OK for nuclear effects, glad to know! So does this "camera shaking" effect occur also with the Developers version of the 1.5 patch?

- yes please if you can check out the shadows of submerged submarines issue

- OK for AI. I will open later another topic to discuss the AI behaviour with respect to War Plans

- Great about editor improvements! So for that, I need to use the Developers version of the 1.5 patch?

- Does the Developers version of the 1.5 patch include the fixes to seemingly big gameplay bugs like bomber not dealing damage to ports, airports etc.? (I saw that in the list of changes, never noticed these bugs before but if they occur it would be pretty bothersome!)

Again, my thanks for taking the time to reply!

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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 04 Dec 2018, 00:23

- OK for nuclear effects, glad to know! So does this "camera shaking" effect occur also with the Developers version of the 1.5 patch?
No it doesn't. The effect is added in modified .ddf files which are not changed at all on Developers Version of UP1.5.
- OK for AI. I will open later another topic to discuss the AI behaviour with respect to War Plans
You could, but please remember that this behaviour will never be improved (lack of the game source code). So all we can do is changing bonuses and units/building production order.
- Great about editor improvements! So for that, I need to use the Developers version of the 1.5 patch?
By default, all features are available in the normal version of UP1.5 (with extra "mod") at https://ee2.eu/patch
If I remember correctly, the "Pro Map Maker" was added to Developers version in later update (as exception, because it actually changes game files, but no other mods edit the file it changes, so it was safe to add).
The bug "which always resetted the "AI Map Type" settings to "Plains" is also available in Developers Version, because it's applied by game .exe assembly, so doesn't affect other mods. ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=CKbF4nNWJ7U )

I'll try to explain in short:
- Normal Version of UP1.5 is incompatible with the other EE2 mods, because of all languages support and to apply extra crash fixes (like a missing bird death animation which used to crash game) I had to change files structure. It means that some files that were originally read by game are now skipped, and instead files with "5" at the end are read. Nothing really to worry about, because it's just to separate them.
- Developers Version of UP1.5 was designed for players who use other EE2 mods (EE4, Realistic Mod). I love all users equally, so Developers Version has as much features from the normal UP1.5 as possible. For example additional features (option to disable crowns system, cycle time of day, more population/ceasefire limits, etc.) are also available. However, I made sure to not change anything that could affect original balance.

By default, I always liked the "vanilla" version of EE2 as it is. That's why:
- To reduce usage of new units in Multiplayer games, new stuff is more expensive than it should be.
- I always refused to apply ideas of re-balancing game.
- Added a switch to disable modified units.

However, there are some exceptions (I probably don't remember all):
- Tanks and HERCs were way too weak. No players used them (at least on Multiplayer). That's why their health and attack damage was doubled. Now they're quite strong, but that's good as armored units shouldn't be killed with 4 infantry shoots like before.
- Range glitch fix removes range bonuses from formations, but it was simply a glitch that in some cases caused catapults to attack from the half of the map. On Multiplayer people were getting annoyed by it.
- An option to disable crowns system was added, and recently it's more used in Multiplayer. It doesn't affect the original strategy as this option is optional, but still worth to list it as it's something that changed gameplay for most of people.

Besides that I personally am not a type of person that wants to change everything possible. I play EE2 since I was 7, and a priority for me is to keep it as it was. In my opinion keeping the "vanilla" strategy is the most important part. For the last 2 or 3 years I only focus on compatibility fixes (Win10 problems) and new, optional features.
- Does the Developers version of the 1.5 patch include the fixes to seemingly big gameplay bugs like bomber not dealing damage to ports, airports etc.? (I saw that in the list of changes, never noticed these bugs before but if they occur it would be pretty bothersome!)
Unfortunately not, as .ddf files are unmodified on Developers Version... However, the good side of it is those bugs were actually caused by the changed cruise height of air units on normal version of UP1.5 (with enabled new units). Therefore those bugs don't exist on Developers Version (and also on Normal version with disabled 1.5 units).

What I would recommend is to:
- Install EE2 again. Backup this folder.
- Copy the Backup folder 2 times, call it: "EE2 1.5 Normal", "EE2 1.5 Developers".
- Paste Developers Version files to "EE2 1.5 Developers".
- Install Normal Version to "EE2 1.5 Normal".

Play the Developers version for some days, see if you experience crashes, bugs or other negative things.
No matter what - try the normal version of 1.5 with enabled units and see if there is something negative about it. If you don't like AI using new units, you can disable new units and play. The fixes that required game files modification will be still present on Normal version with disabled 1.5 units, so nothing to worry about.

In short (again, lol):
- Normal Version with enabled units is recommended for all players who are able to accept minor strategy changes.
- Normal Version with disabled units is recommended for players who want to play the "Vanilla" EE2, and are able to accept minor changes with glitch/range/anti-multiplayer cheats, etc. fixes. (and that camera shaking effect for nukes, probably it's the only exception).
- Developers Version is required for players who use a different EE2 mods and recommended for players who want the "pure" 1.2 version with fixes that allow them to use DirectX 9, screen resolutions, compatibility on Win8+, etc.

On every version there are some compromises that had to done and both sides need to accept them (dev and players). It's impossible to make everyone happy, but I believe my changes are not too invasive.
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

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

Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Sat42 » 04 Dec 2018, 19:22

Thanks for the great reply Dr.MonaLisa! :D

From all this info I think the Developers' version of the 1.5 patch is best suited to me. Will try it as soon as I can (thanks for the link you provided earlier).

About the AI: understood! I might still open a topic about War Plans in SP, so others may share their experiences. It's good the AI is of a good level, since we can't touch it!

One last bit of clarification: you mentioned that bug which always resetted the "AI Map Type" settings to "Plains" - there is still a way around it, correct? You just have to set it again every time you want to continue work on a scenario, and of course the AI Map Type is preserved when you save the map and quit? (Sorry I haven't looked up the YouTube link yet, will try to find a moment when I get home)

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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 04 Dec 2018, 19:29

One last bit of clarification: you mentioned that bug which always resetted the "AI Map Type" settings to "Plains" - there is still a way around it, correct? You just have to set it again every time you want to continue work on a scenario, and of course the AI Map Type is preserved when you save the map and quit? (Sorry I haven't looked up the YouTube link yet, will try to find a moment when I get home)
No, there was no way around it. It never worked before, but it's now corrected for all versions (normal and developers).
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

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

Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Sat42 » 04 Dec 2018, 19:55

Dr.MonaLisa wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 19:29
One last bit of clarification: you mentioned that bug which always resetted the "AI Map Type" settings to "Plains" - there is still a way around it, correct? You just have to set it again every time you want to continue work on a scenario, and of course the AI Map Type is preserved when you save the map and quit? (Sorry I haven't looked up the YouTube link yet, will try to find a moment when I get home)
No, there was no way around it. It never worked before, but it's now corrected for all versions (normal and developers).
Thanks for clarifying ;) the developers version it is!! (I might test the normal version later, once I am done with the official campaigns)

Cheers!

EDIT: I wanted to add that I appreciate your integrity and love for the game - trying to preserve what made the original game great and accessible to future generations, while also allowing for some new options for those who want to experiment.

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Dr.MonaLisa
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Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 04 Dec 2018, 20:12

I'm glad that you like it :)

Please remember that the normal 1.5 version includes some new campaigns (accessible by the campaigns menu on normal EE2, not AOS). You might want to try them as well. I personally didn't have time yet to test them.
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

User avatar
Dr.MonaLisa
High Representative
Posts: 7423
Joined: 17 Jun 2010, 11:21
Location: Poland

Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Dr.MonaLisa » 11 Dec 2018, 00:56

Hi again.
Sat42 wrote:
03 Dec 2018, 18:51
- is the issue with the shadows of submerged submarines still showing on the water surface (using vanilla highest video settings, incl. complex shadows) corrected? that would be great
I tried to reproduce this problem, unfortunately I'm unable to.
Could you please tell if it looks the same for you?
EE2_ScreenShot438.jpg
EE2_ScreenShot438.jpg (328.72 KiB) Viewed 951 times
EE2_ScreenShot437.jpg
EE2_ScreenShot437.jpg (345.73 KiB) Viewed 951 times
EE2_ScreenShot436.jpg
EE2_ScreenShot436.jpg (394.91 KiB) Viewed 951 times
EE2_ScreenShot435.jpg
EE2_ScreenShot435.jpg (320 KiB) Viewed 951 times
EE2_ScreenShot434.jpg
EE2_ScreenShot434.jpg (286 KiB) Viewed 951 times
What is wrong with shadows there? I can't see any.
Best regards,
Dr.MonaLisa
Ministry of Game Affairs
Department of Control and Complains

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

Re: Patch 1.5 and "vanilla" experience for EEII+AoS

Post by Sat42 » 11 Dec 2018, 12:20

Hi again! and thanks for looking into this :)
Due to lots of work I have yet to play with the Developers' version of 1.5, I am planning to play after New Year, but:
I quickly checked this issue on 1.2 via the tutorial's last scenario and (re-)discovered that my problem is not with shadows but reflections, and it's only systematic when the camera is farthest (vanilla) from the ground. Here are some screenies (hope this works - I'm doing this quick):

problem here and also problem below:


Below however is fine (zoomed in):

and below is fine too!


Again, below is not fine:

And on the surface, not fine either when the camera is farthest from the ground:


My settings (all on max on 1.2 of course):


Hope this helps! Maybe once I install 1.5 Developers this problem will cease to exist, but it would be good to know what causes this! :)

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