For some time there have been whispers of some fundamental changes to how maps work in Hyrule Conquest. We kept these ideas off to the side while we spent eight months updating Hyrule Conquest to the 0.25 version of 0AD. Now that everything has finally been ported over, our map changes had come up again and we had quite a discussion on how to implement them. We really went all in. So I present to you today one of the biggest and most exciting changes I've been looking forward to.
The Node System
It should be obvious that over the last several years, Hyrule Conquest has slowly but surely been shifting away from 0AD's style of gameplay and morphing more and more into a Battle for Middle Earth
inspired game. Adding in Battalions was the first big move in this direction, and now we are taking another big leap and fully adopting BFME's map design and Node based system. There are several key reasons why we are doing this (other then mine and Exodarion's love for BFME as a game):
1. Lack of many worker battalions will greatly help the game's performance
2. Map design becomes much easier and less chaotic, with the map divided into dedicated nodes it becomes easier to make great "set pieces" that the action takes place around.
3. Our planned Minor Faction system (something I'm even more excited about!) depends heavily on dividing the map up into Nodes
So What's changing?
The first and most obvious thing that players will notice is that maps are divided up into a series of "Nodes". There are many different types of nodes the player can capture, and each type will allow the player to build different structures and provide the player with different options and resources. To compensate for this system, bases will be entirely linked to Nodes and structures will be built on plots that spawn around captured Nodes. Resource collections will now be completely automated and based on what resources exist within the Node's perimeter. For example, if you capture a node that has three Berry Bushes and a Rupee Deposit, once you have set up your base these bushes and Rupees will begin to drain automatically and added into your coffers. If you have played Battle For Middle Earth, Rise of Legends, or Halo Wars, you'll have some idea of what I'm talking about.
-The Hylians capture an Outpost Node and transform it into a happy little base-
As you might have guessed after reading the first point, Workers as a unit are no longer viable with this system since buildings are based on Plots that spawn around Nodes and Resources are automatically drained within your captured Nodes. Workers will become purely visual as a worker will begin gathering the resources that your Nodes are draining. With the way bases work now many other awesome non-controlled units will be seen walking around your bases doing stuff such as civilians going to your marketplaces and children playing with each other in the streets.
-Even Children will play in the streets of your bases-
This method of dividing up maps will create a noticeable ebb and flow to a match where players move their armies and expand, allowing for the creation of "set pieces" around each node to give areas of the map something visually recognizable. It generally makes the design and creation of maps easier and will also help out with randomly generated maps down the road.
- Some examples of map blueprints with the Node system -
Let's take a look at the Node System in more detail and see what you can capture.
There is only one Settlement Node per player on a map, and it's always the Node that you start out with. This large area contains some of each resource to get you started, and plenty of building slots to start construction (Most factions will have 7 buildings plots). Depending on what faction you pick, these nodes may also start with walls and tower defenses around them.
The primary means of expanding your base, capturing an outpost will allow you to build a smaller secondary and tertiary base, assuming you can capture more than one. Most factions are provided with five building plots when they capture an Outpost node, and may also have walls depending on your faction of choice. Like the Settlement Node, Outpost Nodes often have multiple resources on them making them very valuable locations to fight over.
Very small expansions, Camp Nodes let you set up tiny bases. For most factions they will provide three building plots. Camps do not come with Walls, though there are some exceptions. While nowhere near as valuable as an Outpost or Settlement, Camps still often contain multiple resource types and are thus worth capturing and holding. Camps are also the only Nodes that you can construct your chosen Minor Factions'
A small node that can be captured and provides you with one slot to construct a resource building. Resource Nodes often contain just a single type of resource (Such as Lumber). While Outpost and Camps are the most tempting targets, Resource Nodes will absolutely be the main means of expanding your economy. Once resources have been completely drained from these nodes, players can convert the resource building into Houses to increase their population caps. Some other factions will also have additional options of what they can build on these nodes, such as Mercenary camps.
Small and Large Ruins
Rupees are an extremely rare resource out in the wild, thus capturing Ruins and unearthing their treasure is the primary means of collecting Rupees. Ruins will be absolutely critical to take and hold, as they are the main source of Rupees and the only reliable source of them. Ruins will come in two sizes, the small providing only a few Rupees per second and the Large providing many. Unlike other Nodes, most factions cannot build anything on or near Ruins. Some factions however, such as the Darknuts, can actually convert Ruins into brand new bases (Large Ruins function much like an Outpost for them and Small Ruins like a Camp). Other factions (such as the Stalfos) completely rely on using Ruins to construct their bases instead of the normal nodes.
Usually found at the center of a map, these nodes are the only location a player can construct their Wonder. Just as often a large and terrifying Boss might be found guarding this node and must be killed first before it can be captured. Capturing this node will allow you to construct a new base with many defenses around it as you begin construction on your imposing Wonder.
That is a general overview for how maps will be designed and how the Nodes on these maps will work. This is a very broad and generalized summary of the topic, the particular nuances of how each faction interacts with nodes will not all be exactly alike. I already gave examples of how Darknuts and Stalfos break the rules with this system, and there are some many interesting ways other factions will have interplay with Nodes (I'm looking at you, Moblins...) There are many other awesome features linked to this new change, such as Wildlife Lairs
and the previously mentioned Minor Faction
system. However I will save those for another article in the future.
- Juicy Minor Faction details will have to wait... -