Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Field of Glory II is a turn-based tactical game set during the Rise of Rome from 280 BC to 25 BC.
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TheSkirmishLord
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Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Sat Apr 07, 2018 3:56 am

I played a few multiplayer games with the "Remove the Head" option and was disappointed with the results.
For those not familiar with the option, killing your enemy's commander in chief wins the game even if you haven't routed ANY of their army.

The problem is that the victory conditions are still the same as other games so you have no incentive to either track down the enemy's C-in-C or to put yours in any sort of risk.
What happens is the C-in-C is usually put on a very mobile cavalry unit so he can hide behind a hill or on an unimportant Infantry unit that can be hidden deep in the woods. The result is as if you're playing a regular game where you hide one unit.

I've played RTS games where killing the C-in-C wins the game but generally that is the ONLY way to win so you HAVE to track him down.

What I'd like to see is the ability to change victory conditions or add a bonus to the C-in-C which would make hiding him a big disadvantage. This relates to multiplayer only.

For instance:
-add the ability to change victory condition up to 100% enemy routed. Basically, kill the C-in-C or lose your entire army. You could lower that to 90% so that the game couldn't be stalled by hiding a few units in the woods.
-add a HUGE combat bonus when the C-in-C goes into battle. This would be a desperation move since you'd be risking the game so the bonus would have to be worth the risk.
-add a large combat bonus if your C-in-C is in the general area. This would keep him from being hidden.
-add some way to evaluate the risk of your C-in-C getting killed in combat. The present system seems sort of arbitrary and there is no way to predict if a general has a 1% or 100% chance of being killed in battle.

A user I played against suggested an army wide bloodlust type melee bonus if the C-in-C were "wounded". I assume he meant the unit with the C-in-C were disrupted or fragmented as I don't think you can gauge the health of a General.

I understand many of these condition would be hard to implement but would just changing the victory conditions to require a higher rout % for a victory be that difficult?

I think there are a lot of possibilities to make this option MUCH more interesting.

The protect the baggage option could be improved as well but I'll save that for another post.

I'm interested in hearing your comments on this and thanks in advance.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:23 am

Haven't I seen and answered this post before?
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TheSkirmishLord
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:05 pm

@rbodleyscott
Yes, I posted a similar message on the Steam forum and, aside from yourself, got crickets for answers. Some of those I play against agreed with the post but had two basic reasons for why no one commented on it.

The first reason was that most players consider "Remove the Head" as a "sideshow"; they don't use it, don't want to use it, they can't conceive of any improvements that would prompt them to use it and, in general, aren't interested in it at all.
The second reason was that they felt the Slitherine forum attracted the bulk of players and had more thoughtful conversations that the Steam forum.

I can't do anything about the first reason but this post was an attempt to reach a larger audience and get other's opinions.

Based on the results, perhaps the first reason is actually correct.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:19 am

No one talks about it because this is a casual game mode that can't be "fixed" if it is put in a competitive environment.

In general, there is no good way to balance out this scenario or any other all or nothing style game type when it is all down to luck. IE in this specific scenario either you make the General bonus so insane that it would idiotic not to have the General be in danger and the game just revolves around who rolls badly and loses their General first, or the bonus is not sufficient to generate the risk, ergo the General hides out in the back like normal. There is no middle ground here. Just to address some specific game design issues with your suggestion
-add the ability to change victory condition up to 100% enemy routed. Basically, kill the C-in-C or lose your entire army. You could lower that to 90% so that the game couldn't be stalled by hiding a few units in the woods.
As you noted yourself stalling would be an issue in this hypothetical game format. If you make it 90% then the best strategy is to come up with the minimum number of units in this case 11% of your total manpower and hide them. You could move it to 80% in which case you just hide 21% of the army. You could continue to adjust this until all units should be hidden since there is no other way to win the game than to find and kill the General, which no one would expose.
-add a HUGE combat bonus when the C-in-C goes into battle. This would be a desperation move since you'd be risking the game so the bonus would have to be worth the risk.
-add a large combat bonus if your C-in-C is in the general area. This would keep him from being hidden.
The first I already addressed, the second doesn't actually do much other than to hide one unit in the rear ranks but within the command influence radius of a large part of the army. All you have effectively done is change the game threshold from 60% routed to be close to 100% since each player will defend his General to the last man. You still have the problem of the General now possibly being transferred to the most mobile unit left when defeat is imminent and then run away for the rest of the game turns.
-add some way to evaluate the risk of your C-in-C getting killed in combat. The present system seems sort of arbitrary and there is no way to predict if a general has a 1% or 100% chance of being killed in battle.
This does absolutely nothing. The fact remains that you know your General can get killed if in close combat. Whether that is large or small is irrelevant. Whether you know the percentage or not is irrelevant. The correct answer is never to risk him since his death is an auto-loss unless his combat bonus is large enough in which case, as before, all you are doing is playing a game of Russian Roulette.
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:37 am

@MikeC_81
Thanks for your comments but I disagree with almost all of them. I get the feeling from your comments that you view the game fine as it is and see no reason to change anything. The changes I suggest would require a different strategy but it would be an option that players could use or ignore as they see fit; another option in already great game. To be clear, I am NOT advocating changes to the open battle option.

As for your arguments:

Battle Bonus:
I recently played a "Remove the Head" game where my opponent was losing 35% to 9% when he moved his General into a unit that was in combat. I think he was throwing in the towel and wanted to see what would happen if his C-in-C was killed. The units got the general in combat bonus but he lost in three turns anyway. The C-in-C was never killed. What if his troops got the huge bonus I suggested? One possibility is that he could have crushed my line and turned the game around.

Area bonus:
The area bonus would be much smaller that the Command area and would give you incentive to move the C-in-C to dangerous areas where the area bonus would be needed.

Adds too much luck:
This game already has a huge amount of luck with each move being a calculated risk. How many players have seen the perfect attack fizzle into defeat? How many players have see an Elephant or Cavalry run amok and break four or more units? In a game full of calculated risks, these are just different ones.

Victory rout % increase:
I think this is your weakest argument. Anyone hiding 11% or their army would not only put themselves at a huge disadvantage but would probably place themselves at the top of most people's "Do Not Play" list. I think most players are more interested in battle tactics and not hide-and-go-seek. Hiding 20% of your troops would be even more absurd since it would be playing without one fifth of your army ! Even if someone did play this way, you could always exempt the unit the C-in-C was in from line of sight rules and make it visible wherever it was on the map.

Evaluate the C-in-C battle risk;
I think this is vital since it allows a player to make risk assessment on when to put the C-in-C into battle. Otherwise it's just a wild guess. Even with Russian Roulette, you know the odds.

I don't think the remove the head option will ever replace the open battle option and I'm not suggesting it should. I just think a few changes would make the remove the head option a little more interesting.

Thanks again for your comments.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by jomni » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:13 am

I think suggestions may get a better chance of implentation if they are more universal and not just for remove the head.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by MikeC_81 » Mon Apr 09, 2018 4:42 am

TheSkirmishLord wrote:Battle Bonus:
I recently played a "Remove the Head" game where my opponent was losing 35% to 9% when he moved his General into a unit that was in combat. I think he was throwing in the towel and wanted to see what would happen if his C-in-C was killed. The units got the general in combat bonus but he lost in three turns anyway. The C-in-C was never killed. What if his troops got the huge bonus I suggested? One possibility is that he could have crushed my line and turned the game around.
That is nonsensical. If the bonus is that large that simply committing the General could swing a 35-9 battle all by himself, then the correct course of action is to always use the Superman General in combat to bulldoze the opponent.
TheSkirmishLord wrote:Area bonus:
The area bonus would be much smaller that the Command area and would give you incentive to move the C-in-C to dangerous areas where the area bonus would be needed.
That doesn't do anything except making players keep the General on a super mobile unit like an LH which can move this area bonus up and down the line as needed and also run away if things go bad. This improves nothing and just makes it tedious as you have to micromanage your LH general up and down the line as your resolve combats to get the max results.
TheSkirmishLord wrote:Adds too much luck:
This game already has a huge amount of luck with each move being a calculated risk. How many players have seen the perfect attack fizzle into defeat? How many players have see an Elephant or Cavalry run amok and break four or more units? In a game full of calculated risks, these are just different ones.
If you don't understand the concept of how your examples lead to situations which allow a player to take action to rectify, as opposed to simply seeing a loss screen immediately pop up, I don't know what to tell you.

V
TheSkirmishLord wrote:ictory rout % increase:
I think this is your weakest argument. Anyone hiding 11% or their army would not only put themselves at a huge disadvantage but would probably place themselves at the top of most people's "Do Not Play" list. I think most players are more interested in battle tactics and not hide-and-go-seek. Hiding 20% of your troops would be even more absurd since it would be playing without one fifth of your army ! Even if someone did play this way, you could always exempt the unit the C-in-C was in from line of sight rules and make it visible wherever it was on the map.
Why would hiding 11% of my army be a disadvantage? You can actually never lose the game if they can't find your hidden units. Most maps have enough areas that an opponent would have difficulty finding everything within the 24 turn limit. I think reducing your chance of losing to be close to 0% is a pretty huge advantage actually.

Say if I hide 21% of the army and make them all mobile units. By the time you finish with the forces I was willing to commit, you still have to find and pin enough units to win. This is not counting all the units you have already seen that I would be disengaging with in order to make it very hard for you to hit 80%. Fun times indeed. Now the game is reduced to playing whack-a-mole.

Your problem is is that you are approaching all your suggestions with the rather naive assumption that players would just play the game the same way rather than sitting down and to understand the best way to approach these new victory conditions. That assumption undermines the logic for your argument to change the game mode, to begin with. You say that most players are more interested in battle tactics and not hide and seek. Ok, that's fine, then why do we need to change anything then? Because people interested in just battle tactics wouldn't take the absurd step of hiding their 1 General unit now would they?
The result is as if you're playing a regular game where you hide one unit.
Oh wait, but they would since that is your opening argument to lobby for a change.....

Every single one of your suggestions actually just makes for a worse iteration of the game mode that is there now in its current form.
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:46 am

@MikeC_81

Actually, I think all of your negatives are really what I'm advocating; a change in the scenario that would cause players to use a completely different strategy. Killing one General now becomes more important than routing a large part of an army.

Hide units? Maybe changes like limiting the movement of the C-in-C and making him visible everywhere would be the answer. Hiding your entire army wouldn't do much good then but it could be a great ambush strategy.

Deploy your C-in-C? Risk a losing screen or come back from 40 points down? That's your choice and you know the odds. Being down 35-9 isn't impossible to recover from if you're playing to 90%. Come to think of it, with that type of combat bonus, killing the C-in-C would be a challenge in itself.

As it is, the remove the head option doesn't really add much and my suggestions are just some thoughts on how it could be improved.

Whatever would be done would obviously have to be tweaked and won't be for everyone. I think I already know one person who falls into the latter category - lol.

As always, thanks for your comments.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Ktonos » Mon Apr 09, 2018 2:03 pm

Obviously this isn't a major suggestion but I think that it is a simple, easy super easy to implement, and positive for the specific scenario type.

Again obviously the developers seek to go for major overhauls and improvements, but should we be barred from discussing minor and easy improvements?

Kabill
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Kabill » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:05 pm

My initial thought on this is that there's not really something that works but apparently I've given it some thought and can see some things potentially working.

I don't think changing the % routed requirement works. I don't think that will necessary result in players hiding fractions of their army, but the more important it is to kill the opposing general, the more incentive there will be to hide the general unit, so I think that will just exacerbate the current problem. On top of that, most battles are fairly decisively won one way or another, so all this would do is drag out the end of the game as the winner has to mop up and chase down the opposing general, which I don't think would be very interesting for anyone involved.

I also don't think giving generals passive area bonuses works. Generals should actually be perfectly safe in reserve - there are few circumstances I can think of where reserve units should be in real danger that don't imply that you screwed up and/or are losing anyway, or you chose to deploy those units (in which case you just move your general). As such, it would just result in a passive buff without making a difference to the scenario.

As such, if you want to make a change, it needs to be something which actively encourages the player to expose their general. A POA bonus is therefore the obvious choice, as you can only get the bonus if your general is actually fighting. I disagree with MikeC_81 that giving this bonus would result in the player always using this bonus - it's countered by the fact that you can arbitrarily lose the game - while buffing the general bonus does make it a potential tool for reversing victories if deployed correctly. So I'd be inclined to suggest e.g. a +100 POA bonus (rather than the standard +50 POA for having a command attachment), which is a substantial bonus against units without a general and does also allow you to oppose general-supported units effectively.

On top of this, I would also be inclined to increase the rally bonus the C-in-C gets as well (I think it's a +1 bonus at the moment so would suggest +2, but the equivalent if that's not what the numbers currently do). The rationale for this is that it (again) encourages you to keep your general close to the action as otherwise you can't use them to rally units; but it also encourages you to expose your general in vulnerable places (i.e. encourages you to put your general in disrupted/fragmented units to try and rally them). Strategic placement of generals to rally wavering troops could make a big difference to an outcome, at the cost of risking your general being attacked and killed if they are exposed.

As for game longevity, I might suggest a final change which increases the rout-difference needed for an "early" victory, from say 25 to 30. This adds a bit more weight to killing the general vs. winning as normal, while it also creates a bit more space for a losing player to turn the game around through effective use of their C-in-C unit (thus interacting well with the suggestions above).

I still don't think these changes would make remove the head suitable for "proper" competitive play - the random factor is still too much - but I do think they would make the scenario a bit more interesting/different from a regular game. Further, while I don't think changes like this are likely to be made, I do think they'd work well as a mod. I'm tempted to have a look at doing that, as it should be quite simple. I don't know if it would be possible to make it a mod specifically for remove the head but it should be possible to make it a global mod which can be turned on for those games (and would have the benefit of being available to other scenarios as well, which I can see an appeal to as well, i.e. differentiating commander levels beyond their command radius).
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Sun Apr 15, 2018 4:56 am

@Kabill
Thanks for the comments.

I agree that it wouldn't fare well in a "proper" competitive setting; only that it would be an improvement over what is presently there.

The mod is a good idea if it is possible. I don't know much about modding and I didn't think the changes I was talking about could be done in a mod.

I'll have to read the literature on it.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Kabill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:47 am

TheSkirmishLord wrote:@Kabill
Thanks for the comments.

I agree that it wouldn't fare well in a "proper" competitive setting; only that it would be an improvement over what is presently there.

The mod is a good idea if it is possible. I don't know much about modding and I didn't think the changes I was talking about could be done in a mod.

I'll have to read the literature on it.
I'm happy to see if I can put it together if you want. I already did a quick test of the PoA bonus to check how easy it would be (to which the answer appears to be "very" - I was concerned it would require modding values in several places to ensure the combat, odds calculation and tooltip information were all correct but it looks like it sources from a single value which is a Godsend as I've modded several games where that isn't the case).

However, I was misremembering some of the rules previously:
- PoA bonus is fine. The way I would do this is simply scale this to commander level (all generals have a level from 1-3 - this is typically used to distinguish C-in-C, at level 2, from Subgeneral, at level 1, but apparently level 3 generals get used in some scenarios), so +50 PoA per level
- Generals give a +1 bonus to morale checks within 1/4 of their command radius when in combat. This already gives a bonus specifically when fighting, and already scales to the general's level (since command radius = level x 4, so subgenerals radius 1, C-in-C radius 2). Since it already scales, maybe this doesn't need a buff, but otherwise either radius could be increased for higher level commanders, or the morale bonus could scale as well. +2 to command checks in radius 2 rather than +1 sounds really strong, but to go back to your point about wanting battles to hang more on killing the general, having troops be much more difficult to rout around an actively fighting general would go this quite well, I think, so I've be inclined to scale the bonus rather than mess with command range.
- The bonus for rallying is the frequency units can test, not a bonus to the check (I was conflating with with the morale check bonus in the previous point). Short of giving a specific bonus to the check as well, I don't think there's any room for a buff here. And, in any case, it's probably less important than the previous two things, so I'd be inclined to leave this alone and just do the other things described above.

Will have a look at this and see if I can make it work, in any case.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:15 am

Kabill wrote:I'm happy to see if I can put it together if you want. I already did a quick test of the PoA bonus to check how easy it would be (to which the answer appears to be "very" - I was concerned it would require modding values in several places to ensure the combat, odds calculation and tooltip information were all correct but it looks like it sources from a single value which is a Godsend as I've modded several games where that isn't the case).
The combat odds and other tooltip information are calculated directly from the normal combat routines. (i.e. GetImpactPOA(), GetMeleePOA() and GetShootingWeaponModifier())

This means they are not prone to error (apart from the statistical variation in the odds owing to the relatively small sample size of 1,000 iterations) and makes maintenance and modding much easier.
- PoA bonus is fine. The way I would do this is simply scale this to commander level (all generals have a level from 1-3 - this is typically used to distinguish C-in-C, at level 2, from Subgeneral, at level 1, but apparently level 3 generals get used in some scenarios), so +50 PoA per level
Random map games give level 2 to CinC and level 1 to SG, but hand-made scenarios and historically-based campaigns don't necessarily follow this. A level 3 general would be someone like Alexander or Hannibal.
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Kabill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:33 am

Mod complete (and tested for functionality, if not balance), see: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtop ... 92&t=84915
rbodleyscott wrote:The combat odds and other tooltip information are calculated directly from the normal combat routines. (i.e. GetImpactPOA(), GetMeleePOA() and GetShootingWeaponModifier())

This means they are not prone to error (apart from the statistical variation in the odds owing to the relatively small sample size of 1,000 iterations) and makes maintenance and modding much easier.
That's what was looking to be the case but thanks for confirming. I have an unreasonable level of joy from the fact that it's not necessary to keep several data files aligned at the same time.
rbodleyscott wrote:Random map games give level 2 to CinC and level 1 to SG, but hand-made scenarios and historically-based campaigns don't necessarily follow this. A level 3 general would be someone like Alexander or Hannibal.
That's the logic I was running off. Although, in a quick test I did, I loaded a quick battle (rather than custom battle) and one side had two level 2 generals (one C-in-C and one subgeneral). Do the quick battles count work like scenarios and have some additional scripted elements (I assumed they were just quick set-up custom battles but maybe not)?
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by rbodleyscott » Sun Apr 15, 2018 9:39 am

Kabill wrote:That's the logic I was running off. Although, in a quick test I did, I loaded a quick battle (rather than custom battle) and one side had two level 2 generals (one C-in-C and one subgeneral). Do the quick battles count work like scenarios and have some additional scripted elements (I assumed they were just quick set-up custom battles but maybe not)?
No they are random map battles, but I forgot to mention that in random map games, if the main infantry commander isn't the C-in-C he gets to be level 2 also. (To prevent parts of the battle line being out of command range).

So you might want to add some additional logic, so these bonus only occur if the general is the C-in-C.
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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Kabill » Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:10 am

rbodleyscott wrote:
Kabill wrote:That's the logic I was running off. Although, in a quick test I did, I loaded a quick battle (rather than custom battle) and one side had two level 2 generals (one C-in-C and one subgeneral). Do the quick battles count work like scenarios and have some additional scripted elements (I assumed they were just quick set-up custom battles but maybe not)?
No they are random map battles, but I forgot to mention that in random map games, if the main infantry commander isn't the C-in-C he gets to be level 2 also. (To prevent parts of the battle line being out of command range).

So you might want to add some additional logic, so these bonus only occur if the general is the C-in-C.
Ah, ok, thanks. For some reason I didn't think I could identify by C-in-C but I've found it now. Have re-written to make it simpler (just buffing C-in-C) to minimize balance issues in scenarios and also because there's no way to tell the level of a general outside of combat information (which could be a feature, I suppose, not knowing how strong a commander is until you're fighting them, but still).
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Mon Apr 16, 2018 6:28 pm

@Kabill
EXCELLENT work !!

I looked at your post on the modding section & you said there were some problems. What is the status of the mod now?

Thanks for the huge effort.

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by Kabill » Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:50 pm

TheSkirmishLord wrote:@Kabill
EXCELLENT work !!

I looked at your post on the modding section & you said there were some problems. What is the status of the mod now?

Thanks for the huge effort.
There's no problems per se - the mod works best that I know. But as it's set up as a global mod, you can't use it in multiplayer games (which from your original post seemed to be the point). So I need to convert it to a multiplayer module instead but I'm not quite sure how to do that at the moment and haven't had chance to look at it properly yet. I'll update here as and when I sort that though.
Kabill's Great Generals Mod for FoG2: http://www.slitherine.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=492&t=84915

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Re: Remove the Head in Multiplayer

Post by TheSkirmishLord » Tue Apr 17, 2018 12:36 am

Thanks for the update

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