21. August 2022 at 11:59 #29167Green EpauletteParticipant
Battle Brothers is an amazing game. The mechanics are great, the gameplay is solid, and the world’s lore is perfectly fitting for a game where you make your own story. Furthermore, procedurally generated maps make this game extremely replayable, with wildly different experiences on each run. I think everyone here can agree it is this replayability what keeps Battle Brothers interesting, and keeps us coming back.
What if we could expand upon this even more?
Procedurally generated maps are great, sure, but over time I’ve come across mods that began to tweak upon the algorithms and make changes to the game’s many worlds. From changing the map’s size to humongous stretches of land, to altering the number of factions and settlements that spawn upon generation. Some even allow you to build your own settlements, upgrade them, and even build roads to connect them with the rest of the civilised world.
Then there are quest mods; player-made custom events that add a lot of new adventures for players to embark on. From hunting down dangerous creatures, to defending cities from large invading armies. Some quests task us with gathering materials to craft specific items, and others let us partake in amazing mini-stories, chaining events together to create an awesome tale for our mercenaries to feature in.
But what if we could take this a step further?
I firmly believe one of the best tools the devs could introduce to Battle Brothers is a map/campaign editor, a tool that would allow all players to create their own world map from scratch, or edit a pre-loaded one if they so desire, with their own geography, their own factions and unit rosters, their own quests and item rewards, and, most importantly, their own take on the Battle Brothers’ lore.
And, of course, they could then share their creations with the community, uploading their maps to the Steam Workshop, Nexus, or this very forum, for all of us to enjoy. Suddenly, we would have access to dozens, if not hundreds of different experiences, different stories to partake in and worlds to explore, with amazing chains of events that are currently, given the procedural generation of the game, are not quite possible.
With the map editor, we could make our own worlds, and design them in ways the current algorithms simply cannot achieve, or is not programmed to do so. They can be as stupidly large or tiny as we choose, with their own carefully crafted geography to create awesome locations and beautiful landscapes, all strategically placed to allow for a much more seamless adventuring experience. We could have large archipelagos to sail around, labyrinthine mountain passes that cross gigantic snowy ranges, or desolate, cursed badlands right in the middle of a fertile meadow, corrupting the lands around the Black Monolith.
How could a map editor be implemented? Well, as it stands, the game’s world map is built upon hexagonal tiles, each with their own specific texture (grass, sand, water, snow, swamps) and a series of decals and entities placed on top (locations, roads, mountains, forests). With this in mind, all we would need is to create a blank canvas, or upload an existing map through its seed, in the editor, and then use brushes to paint the terrain and place down the entities and decals. We already have all of the textures and icons we need in the game files.
As for the faction editor, we could have an interface that allows us to create each faction (or edit existing ones), name it, give it a banner, and then build up their unit roster and assign them cities and villages. Each faction could have its own custom lore, it’s own custom made leaders, and even custom armies with their own troop types. If we want to go really deep into it, we could also include a unit editor where we get to design our own troops, with their own selections of items they can use (armour, weapons, tools, etc), and then combine said units into custom armies, which could also mix and match units from different factions.
Ever wondered what it’d be like for the Noble Houses to field gunpowder weapons? Or for southern slavers to use enslaved orcs as shock troops? Maybe a necromancer has convinced some northern barbarians that he’s a god of death, and now goes around with a mixed army of Wiedergangers and tribesmen.
Lastly, we could also implement a quest editor, which would allow us to create our own mini-stories within the larger Battle Brothers campaign. This could be done through an interface that creates triggers, all set to go off when a specific set of criteria is met within the game (Have X item, complete X number of contracts, defeat X enemy, etc.). This would start a quest, which we could set up in whatever way we so desire, with its own custom text and icon, and its own set of objectives and rewards.
For instance. Let’s say we go to the Ancient Temple, but instead of getting Blessed Water, we find an ancient book or tablet. Then we get a quest, perhaps prompted by one of our men, to take it to one of the faction capital cities to have it translated, or sold. If we pick the former, then we could meet a scholar that promises to translate it for us for X amount of gold, and would take some time (let’s say 15 days) to translate it.
After the time has passed, we go back and learn the book/tablet contains some ancient secrets of the old Empire, and a map that leads to yet another of these ancient structures. The scholar would then join our party, and this time he’d pay us to take him to said ancient ruin. We get there, fight off a Necrosavant and his bony minions, and eventually the Scholar would get his hands on some amazing ancient relic. We’d then get the option to either take our payment, or stab the guy in the back and take the relic for ourselves.
Now, I know this last bit is already doable through mods, but I think it would be awesome if this could be featured as a relatively easy to use tool that’s already integrated into the game’s files, open for everyone to try their hands with.
All in all, I think this would be an amazing addition to Battle Brothers. It would take the game’s replayability to amazing new levels, and give those with a creative mind an awesome way to weave stories for the rest of us to enjoy. And all this can be done with existing game assets. It would require quite a bit of coding, no doubt about it, but I think it would be extremely worth it.
And could be sold as DLC, one that I would most definitely be happy to pay 10 bucks for.
I know the devs, in the past, have stated making an editor was not part of their plan. And I understand that perfectly. However, Battle Brothers has been around for 5 years already. The DLCs have definitely introduced fresh experiences into the game, keeping it fun, entertaining, and challenging, but there will be a time in which the game will start becoming ‘same-y’, if you will. Be it due to a content draught in between two large updates, or, let’s be real here, the possibility of the devs moving on to a new game, and simply not having the time or resources to keep updating Battle Brothers.
If not something to be added now, I strongly believe a map and campaign editor should be introduced at some point in the game’s lifespan. It would keep the game alive for years to come, perhaps even decades, and all would be thanks to the efforts of this lovely community we’re all part of.
Thanks for coming to my TED Talk.
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