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Nazgul foot/horse/fb toggle

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#1 GothmogtheOrc


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Posted 04 December 2010 - 02:29 AM

This is a public response to a private message I recently received asking for any thoughts or suggestions I might have regarding a way to have the Nazgul mount both the horse and fellbeast (default being on-foot). I decided to make this public so that anyone else who is interested can see what I have tried and what routes might be worth following. The following are my reflections on what I tried and what worked or didn't work several years ago when I attempted this myself:

1) In order for this to work you will need to have three model states (foot, horse, fellbeast). One way to accomplish this would be to have the default state be on-foot, have the horse state be a 'hero'-state (like BladeMaster -> WEAPONSET_HERO_MODE), and have the fellbeast state be 'MOUNTED'.

2) A problem: the locomotor only can change twice. Meaning you can have foot/horse OR foot/fellbeast OR horse/fellbeast but NOT all three locomotors. I messed with this for quite a while but never could get the third locomotor to work. As I recall, there isn't any good way to switch between the three since most units use foot/horse or a special one but not three.

3) Idea: have the default model state be on-foot then have the fellbeast/flying state be MOUNTED. This way you can easily toggle the locomotor between foot/flying. Then make the horse model state be WEAPONSET_HERO_MODE and have it use the on-foot locomotor but give the unit an AttributeModifier that increases speed, changes the armor, and anything else that a mounted unit would need but that is only active when the unit is 'mounted' (i.e. on the horse, not the MOUNTED condition state). I don't remember if I was able to try this or if I dropped the idea before doing this... so I don't know what might work or go wrong. My gut feeling is that I tried this but found a problem early on in the attempt...

I suspect that problem was related to the flying locomotor. Specifically I seem to remember there being an issue where the fellbeast would not fly like normal if the flying locomotor was anything other than the default locomotor for the unit. I want to say that it wouldn't swoop down on troops or something like that...

4) One important issue to plan for ahead of time is how this triple model unit will work with its commandset if you are able to get it working.
For instance, what possible mount/unmount commands should be possible:
Foot <-> horse
Foot <-> fellbeast
Horse <-> fellbeast?
Depending on how you answer this, you may need more commandbuttons than is really feasible for a given unit. For instance, to accomplish the above you'd need:
* Screech
* Power2
* Power3
* Toggle to-horse
* Toggle to-fellbeast
* Toggle to-foot
If you simplify it and only want to use the first two options (meaning you always need to go to on-foot before switching steeds) then you simplify matters slightly:
* Screech
* Power2
* Power3
* Power4
* Toggle horse
* Toggle fellbeast
However you still have to figure out a system wherein you cannot click the mount-horse button while flying and vice versa.

This might seem like too much thought for a simple issue, but it actually makes a huge difference in gameplay since it determines how many special powers the nazgul or witchking can have and it determines how quickly a player can toggle between steeds. It also plays into how you code the whole setup since the toggle-to ___ would be a different coding setup than the normal toggle-horse or toggle-fellbeast commands.

5) Another possibility: make the fellbeast a separate unit that the nazgul can mount, like the oliphants for the haradrim. However this option has quite a few unknowns/issues as well:
* Can you command the fellbeast if it doesn't have a nazgul rider?
* Do you have a model for the fellbeast that doesn't have a rider?
* What happens with the fellbeast locomotor when you allow it to transport other units (i.e. the nazgul)?
* How do you change the fellbeast model state when the rider mounts it?
* What happens to the nazgul on-foot when he mounts the fellbeast? does his model turn invisible? will he be selectable? can he use his powers? ... remember too that the way the oliphant works for this would not work for the nazgul without extensive new animations for the nazgul and probably a new skeleton for the fellbeast.
* Can the nazgul mount the fellbeast when the nazgul is on his horse?
* Will screech work when the nazgul is mounted? Which commandset will the fellbeast use? Does the fellbeast commandset change when it has a rider? If so, how?

So while this option at first seems possible, upon further reflection it seems quite hard to implement and not very feasible for gameplay.

6) This leads to the final thought: what is the gameplay reason for having this mounting setup? As far as I can tell there really isn't a very good reason for this from a gameplay perspective or from a cost-benefit analysis. You'll lose slots for additional special powers and you'll be more vulnerable to either pikes or archers. True the nazgul would be faster when mounted, but that doesn't necessitate two mounts. If you get really fancy and have a different commandset with different special powers for each mounted state, then that might be worthwhile, but that would be a TON of work.

This is why I gave up on the idea for Kings of the West; as cool as it might be, the benefit isn't worth the cost and the code hurdles you'd have to overcome. Instead I decided to have the witchking mount a horse and have additional special powers and then the other nazgul could have fellbeasts so as to keep mordor's unique hero style.

Anyway, I hope the above thoughts are helpful in some way. I am going to see if I can find my aborted code for this since it might save someone some time in the future or provide some additional ideas. If I can find it (buried somewhere in my archived backup files), I will try to post it here and/or on my website so that it is publicly available.


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#2 Gfire



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Posted 04 December 2010 - 06:14 AM

I think I experimented a little with using like a disguise ability or something to mount fellbeasts, along with mount for the horse. This way the fellbeast is a separate unit which the Nazgul is "disguised" as. Nazgul would take the place of Eowyn and Fellbeast the place of Disguised Eowyn and the Rohirrim (which it looks like to the enemy,) I'm not sure if I ever got it working.
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#3 eduardo

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Posted 04 December 2010 - 01:01 PM

Thanks GTO. You got it.

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