A Myth II: Soulblighter modification by Viktor
Much of the material for this project have been borrowed from existing mods. A majority of the unit collections as well as some maps have been taken from Creation's “Bushido” and “Civil War” modifications. Additionally, some units, maps, and scenery have been borrowed from the “Assassin!” map by Deathwhore, and two maps are derived from the “Culloden Hill” and “Calm before the Storm” plugins, by authors unknown to me. Admittedly, I did not formally ask permission to use these people's work, but assume they wouldn't mind as long as I gave them credit.
This project has been worked on solely by myself for the past two years. I would, however, like to thank the members of the Myth community for all the map-making advice I have received on the forums and elsewhere, as well as my friends, whom I have forced to play this (often at gunpoint) to resolve balance issues. I am glad to be finally releasing this project out to the general public, and would like to hope it receives some attention.
This project is by no means complete, in the sense of being a final, polished product. It lacks much in the way of organization of material, as well as cosmetics- in particular, most of the maps have not been renamed from the original, nor the pre-game map pictures, or minimaps, changed. Most importantly, there still exist a number of bugs, in particular occasions when units won't appearing in multiplayer after being selected.
However, this version is complete in that it is a fully playable unit tagset linked with a number of multiplayer maps, some designed specifically for the tagset. The units are fairly balanced, and visual effects as well as physics generally do what is intended.
If this project catches the attention of any experienced (or not) mapmakers who would like to help me in further development, I would be very happy and can be contacted at email@example.com. I still have unrealised ideas concerning the mod, in particalar some related to new unit collections which I lack the skill and technology to produce, and will appreciate any help.
This mod is inspired by the Sengoku Jidai, or Warring States Period, in Japanese history (Not to be confused with the Chinese Warring States Period, which occured much earlier). The Sengoku Jidai is said to have started at the onset of the Onin War in 1467, and lasted until the consolidation of Japan under the Tokugawa Shogunate in the early 17th century. This period was marked by almost constant warfare between rival Japanese factions- daimyo, rebel samurai, peasants, and religious sects, as well as conflict with foreign powers like China, Korea, Portugal, and the Ryukyu kingdom. Given these conditions, Japanese way of war evolved and expanded rapidly. The professional samurai armies of the pre-Sengoku period, fighting mostly with bows from horseback, began to be replaced by massive infantry formations of samurai as well as ashigaru (commoners) utilising combined-arms tactics of bows, pikes, and firearms. Under the daimyo Oda Nobunaga, one of the Three Unifiers of Japan, the Japanese military underwent a transformation that made it one of the largest, best organised and best equipped militaries on the planet -in particular, Japan at this point possed more firearms than any other nation.
As daimyos vied for power, the period saw examples of some brilliant (as well as disastrous) generalship, and the chaos of this era cause a temporary decline in the importance of traditional Japanese values, such as honor, loyalty, and hiearchies. It fudged distinctions of class and lineage, creating a new degree of social mobility- an unknown commoner by the name of Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose through the ranks of Nobunaga's army to become the ruler of most of Japan.
It is this historical legacy that inspired me to begin this project. Additional influences came in the form of Japanese cinema, in particular Akira Kurosawa's "The Seven Samurai" and "Ran", as well as the anime film "Mononoke-Hime" (Princess Mononoke)
Hopefully, this project has succeeded at least somewhat in capturing the violence, chaos, and glory of that era.
Sengoku aspires to be one of the most strategically deep and open-ended multiplayer games ever created for myth II, as well as to present a somewhat realistic model of Japanese technology of the period. It emphasises combined-arms tactics and massed troop movements over micromanagement and special abilities. Thus, I have attempted to push the limit for the number of troops which can be availiable on each map, though not without some issues stemming from the vagueness of that limit. A two-player map will typicall feature two armies with about 175 units each.
One of the key aspects of gameplay which is noticeably different from most other Myth mods is the increased engagement range- arqubusiers can fire as far as they can see, and some artillery pieces almost twice as far. Even the range of archers is longer than it used to be. It might be important to note that ranged units as a rule have long-range eyesight where as melee units have short range; this was done to prevent artillery spotting by fast melee units.
I have attempted to increase the relevance of physics and the environment on gameplay, mainly by exagerating some effects which were, I felt, underemphasized. First of all, I increased the importance of variables such as armor, meaning that most units have a Journeyman-like ability to absorb a certain percentage of hits, as well as the effects of different kinds of damage. Which means that unarmored and gunpowder units, for example, will suffer more from fire and explosions. Secondly, I emphasized terrain types, making water obstacles slow units down to a far greater extent than they would normally; snow and other terrain types are similarly exaggerated, though to a lesser extent. Thus, fording a river is now an important strategic consideration. While most projectiles are not affected by wind, some are, such as fire arrows. Aspects of gravity and velocity of objects have been carefully edited to seem realistic- things such as bullet drop, showers of projectlies and puffs of smoke. I have also made use of the new Fear feature that allows units to be "pushed around" by explosions if the damage is significant enough. Gunpowder weapons also have massive smoke discharges that are visible beyond sight range, making it possible to detect the number and position of attacking guns.
I have increased the amount of precipitation on some maps, as well as made sure to emphasize periods of "light" and "heavy" precipitation, with all that implies for missile units and explosives. I have also attempted to use scenery in maps in a logical way, to create barriers and obstacles in some cases, and cover in others. On some maps I have decreased visibility by introducing heavy tinting and fog. Lastly, most maps feature limited visibility at the onset of the game, much like in the campaign maps, preventing early game rushes, and encouraging a more methodic style of gameplay.
In general all units could be divided into three general categories, with some overlap- melee, ranged, and artillery. The gameplay is designed in such a way as to limit the independence of each unit type. In the past, I have become frustrated at the camping aspect of many Myth II and mod multiplayer games- my sentiment was that it was too difficult to dislodge an opponent camping a strategically effective location like a hill, wall, or chokepoint. Thus, the advent of artillery. Artillery is slow firing and inaccurate enough that it will not inflict massive casualties immediately after being deployed, but effective enough to convince your opponent to either clear off that hill, or think of something quickly to silence you cannons. Losing all your artillery pieces, which are few, is a significant disadvantage that will often result in defeat; but artillery also makes for good bait due to its importance.
Ranged units in Sengoku vary in their particulars, but in general the best way to employ them is in the direction and a clear shot to the enemy, in a streched single-row formation. Importantly, unlike in regular Myth, ranged units will target entire formations rather than individual units. While there is some difference regarding stopping power, it can be said that while ranged units may inflict significant casualties on frontally advancing melee fighters, even a few melee fighters that reach the line will set the score even. In general, the massed nature of the fighting in Sengoku means that ranged units are almost entirely ineffective when not deployed properly, and are extremely vurnerable without some melee support. Still, they inspire more confidence than the archers or soulless of regular Myth.
Melee units do what they should do- run at the enemy and cut them down, with some important details. First of all, all melee units in Sengoku can "charge", meaning they begin to run faster within a certain range of the enemy. Heavier units will not charge as early and will not increase speed as much a light or assault infantry might. This dichotomy of charge speed vs regular speed allows for melee units to actually be effective without giving them an overall speed advantage over the ranged units. Secondly, all melee units (but not ranged) are affected by morale-boosting units, of which there is currently only one- the flagbearer, who does nothing more than boost morale, which means they "vet-up" units within a certain radius by a few virtual "kills"- in the case of flagbearers, 2. When friendly units leave that radius, they no longer have the benefit of two extra kills.
It is important to note that only 4 unit types are "balanced" in regard to points- they each cost one point and are tradeable. The other units are non-tradeable, and each army is given an equal amount. This system arose partially out of the difficulty of balancing all units, and partially out of a desire to maximise the number of units in the battle (to prevent large numbers of weak units from being traded in for a few powerful units).
The last point to be made on units is that there are no two units which are identical in function and purpose (as opposed to regular Myth, where a Trow can do anything a Maul can, but better), with one possible exception which I will mention later; but there are a number of very effective unit combinations as well as some very bad ones. Every unit has a design specialty which means it fights in its own unique way, and a couple have special abilities.
LIST OF UNITS
The spearmen are a heavy infantry unit, that, nontheless, are considered one of the 4 basic types of units (the weaker units) due to their limitations. They are well armored (meaning they absorb hits frequently), and have a decent amount of hit points. The attack of their bisen-to(a precursor to the naginata) is one of the most damaging attacks in the game. However, spearmen are very slow in movement and attack (slower still when engaged at extremly close range); the former nearly guarantees being cut down by concentrated fire if attempting to attack ranged infantry over open terrain, and the latter means that despite the impressive damage of the bisen-to, they will lose one-on-one duels with most other melee fighters.
Spearmen's main advantage is the range of their weapon; spearmen can engage opponents even through 2 ranks of friendly soldiers, meaning that a cohesive group of spearmen is far more effective than a similar group of other melee fighters. Somewhat unlike many other units, spearmen fight well in square formation, or in lines a few rows deep. If the formation is broken up, however, the fighting can degenerate into a series of 1v1s in which the spearmen suffer; it is therefore important to keep them close. Spearmen formations thus further benefit from the presence of a flagbearer- the increased speed of their attacks means they can often kill an approaching enemy without even being damaged- as well as some tougher friendly units in the front line. Given these three conditions are met, a squad of spearmen is a nearly impregnable bulwark that can literally destroy waves of weaker enemies; even if one of them is true, they pose a formidable threat given they actually manage to engage the enemy.
The wako, or Japanese pirates, are a basic type of assault unit. They are beefy but lightly armored, and attack quickly at very close range. In general, they are outclassed in a melee by most other fighters. Their main virtue is their initial movement speed, allowing them to respond fast when they are needed, and their even-faster charge which lets them quickly close ranks with or chase down ranged units. The wako's versatility allows for lightning-fast assaults even on well-defended positions, or to fill gaps in a defense.
Archers are commoners trained in the art of the bow. As such, they can release a flurry of arrows with surprising accuracy. In fact, they are probably the most accurate ranged unit in the game, making them great duellists in shoot-outs. They also wear the same armor as the spearmen, which offers them substantial protection. They are, however, physically less robust than the spearman, and have a noticeable minimum range. Their arrows do not deal nearly as much damage as other missiles, and the slow arching flight of the arrow somewhat deprives it of stopping power, being easy to sidestep. Each archer comes equipped with a fire arrow, and can carry up to 3; as well as creating brushfires, their firearrows detonate explosives on impact. It must be said that with all factors considered, the fire arrow in Sengoku is somewhat more robust than in regular Myth.
The advantage of archers is their versatility. Their arching fire means they are effective in a greater variety of situations than arquebusiers, the sheer volume of their fire is enough to decimate slow or flimsy units, and their firearrows burn and break up enemy formations. Archers can advance under the cover of terrain on other ranged units, scatter them with firearrows, and quickly pick off the survivors. But their physical weakness and slow speed make offensive action with unsupported archers a dangerous gamble.
Monks are somewhat reminiscent of ghols in their role. They are rather flimsy, entirly unarmored, and very vurnerable to fire and explosion attacks. They are unlike ghols in that they are unsurpassed duellists, attacking so fast with their staff they regularly interrupt the enemy unit's attacks and can kill all but the toughest units, though they do not have enough hitpoints to survive large fights. Monks truly shine in unexpectedly attacking formations of ranged units, closing ranks with them before the enemy even realises they're there. Being the fastest melee unit, monks can fight on their own terms, and approach the enemy from the best direction.
Monks each carry one bottle of flammable spirits- really, a "nerfed" dwarf coctail. They can use this in two ways- either by automatically tossing one at the enemy at close range before they enter into melee (the way ghols toss carried projectiles) or by using it as a healing special ability on themselves or another unit. The coctails do tremendous damage to ranged units, killing two or three closely grouped archers at a time, and detonate projectiles carried by handcannoneers, but are generally ineffective against melee fighters. Throwing the coctail can be avoided by telling monks to charge past the point where they would be throwing, effectively moving them into the minimum range of that attack and forcing them to resort to melee.
Monks will usually lose pitched melee battles, and are dangerous to keep around other units because of their explosives; but they are an excellent "special forces" unit for skilled players.
*NOTE: Only the 4 unit types mentioned above are tradeable. The rest aren't.
Arqubusiers have the longest range of any ranged unit outside of artillery, and their shots do enough damage to kill most units in 2 or 3 hits. The damage they deal is greater at close range, as the bullet does not have time to lose velocity due to air resistance. The almost-flat trajectory of the bullet ensures that it is lethal even if it flies past its intended target, unlike an arrow which will usually hit the ground. Unfortunately, arquebusiers have extremely low hitpoints, vulnerability to fire and explosions, and a lack of armor. Additionally, they have a relatively long cooldown time, are less accurate than archers, and their flat path of fire means shots are often blocked by uneven terrain or trees. Despite these substantial drawbacks, well-ordered arqubusier formations dominate the battlefield.
Arqubusier veterans make for expert marksmen late in game, when their range allows them to snipe scattered survivors with little danger to themselves.
Handcannoneers are more robust than regular ranged units, though they lack armor and are even slower than archers. They attack firing a small explosive cannonball in an arc, at a range only slightly inferior to the arquebusier; the cannon ball explodes either on impact, or when its fuse runs out. Rainy weather can put out the fuse, but a nearby explosion or fire can set it off. Even in dry weather, duds are commonplace. This fact, as well as the handcannon's inaccuracy, makes them far more effective when groups of handcannoneers fire on the same position, their cannonballs detonating those that fail to detonate themselves.
The long cooldown time, slow flight, inaccuracy, and moderate damage of the handcannons give them 0 stopping power against charging melee units; however, handcannoneers can confidently advance on grouped enemies and destroy large groups of weaker ranged units with concentrated fire.
A special ability of the handcannoneer is to lay down a fused satchel charge, of which he carries 4. The lifespan of the charge is about 7 seconds, after which it will violently detonate. (It is important to not that this charge can also be put out by rain or snow) The damage is similar to that of the original satchel charge. This can be used by an entire line of handcannoneers retreating from an approaching enemy; if timed correctly it will deny the enemy passage for a few seconds lest they risk being blown up, and since it can be done 4 times this tactic can buy a group of handcannoneers enough time to escape their pursuers, or for backup to arrive.
It is imperative to keep handcannoneers away from one another; if one is hit by a cannonball, it could start a chain reaction that would kill the entire group. It is also important to immediately move them after placing a satchel.
Horse archers are the fastest unit in the game, and have a cosiderable number of hitpoints. They cannot shoot firearrows like regular archers, and are less accurate but have somewhat faster cooldown. While fast, they are a large target, their horses turn very slowly, and the flinch interrupts their actions for longer than other units. This means that while horse archers can run away from approaching enemies, it is also possible to encircle and trap them with clever tactics.
Horse archers are very versatile, and can be used to support a frontal assault, make devastating hit and run attacks on slower infantry, support defensive lines with the sheer volume of their somewhat inaccurate fire, and scout. They are also somewhat less affected by difficult terrain such as water obstacles and snow than other units.
Rhonin are basically an up-armored version of wako, and share their movement speed and charge distance. Rhonin have armor protection second only to samurai, and are very resistant to fire and explosives. Rhonin are hard to kill; their only drawback is their katana, short by battlefield standards and not as deadly as the greatsword of the samurai or the bisen-to of the spearmen.
Rhonin can be used in combination with wako for frontal assaults, but their protection makes them a good defensive unit as well, having the ability to hold an area despite intermittent artillery fire against them. Rhonin's survivability makes them even more formidable late in the game, as by then they may have become experienced veterans.
Samurai are the toughest unit in Sengoku. They're built like a tree (perhaps a slight romantisation of the actual samurai) and their heavy armor blocks 25% of all attacks. Their no-dachi (field-sword) can make short work of any opponent and has longer reach than most other melee weapons, and the samurai are expert swordsmen, able to wield this monstrous weapon with nearly the same speed as a regular katana. This is very taxing, and after a few strikes the samurai will become fatigued and attack much more slowly (as indicated by their mana bar). However, a few strikes of the no-dachi usually clears the immediate surroundings of any potential enemies, giving the samurai the few seconds he needs to rest...
Unfortunately, encumbered by their equipment, samurai move very slowly, and often fall prey to lesser men wielding bows or firearms.
The bombard is a basic, though very powerful cannon. It fires in an arc over tremendous range; the cannonball detonates on impact in a massive exposion, sending shrapnel in all directions. It takes half a minute to cool down, and is rather inaccurate. Everytime it is fired it must be reloaded manually by pressing T, which instantly recharges the mana bar. The bombard come with 14 pieces of ammution; after they are spent it is useless, except as bait.
The large minimum range of the bombard makes it impossible to defend a position using this weapon against advancing enemies.
The field cannon has a longer range than any ranged unit, but somewhat shorter than the bombard. Its fire is more accurate than that of the bombard, but the splash radius is far smaller. Also, having a flatter trajectory of the cannonball than the bombard, it is prone to hit hills and trees standing in the way of its target. The field cannon also carries a complement of ammunition, and must likewise be reloaded by pressing T, though its cooldown time is faster than that of bombard.
The field cannon differs from the bombard in one key aspect- its small minimum range allows it to lay down withering fire against advancing foes, in much the same way as the arquebusier, but with potentially more spectacular consequences... Like the arquebusier, the damage of the cannonball decreases as the range increases.
Both the bombard and the field cannon are blind and will disappear once out of sight range of other units; both also are vulnerable to fire, are very slow, and take a long time to turn.
The standard bearer increases the morale of friendly melee troops within a radius of 10 units away from himself by two veteran points. Other than that, he wears the same armor found on archers and spearmen, and is thus offered the same protection, but is also equally encumbered. He is sligthly tougher than the average spearman.
Special attention must be paid when sending a group of soldiers with a standard bearer in their midst to attack enemies. The standard bearer, having no attack of his own, will stand still. It is important, therefore, to manually tell him to just move to the needed position along with the rest of the force.
Many days of testing and playing went into this project in order to create balanced gameplay. A few obeservations should be made regarding tactics that have proven themselves either foolish or useful. In general, it seems that defensive, or rather, more methodic, players tend to win unless the more agressive player employs the artillery to its fullest potential. Large-scale assaults have to be carefully managed- initially cohesive groups will often become scattered during the charge by terrain and obstacles, and sometimes units will get snagged on scenery due to problems with pathing. This often results in the units advancing on enemy positions as a trickle rather than a wave, and should be avoided.
There are a few other known bugs that have not beed fixed:
-Handcannoneers will sometimes begin to come closer to their enemy if the enemy moves within their minimum attack range, instead of running away
-Because of the speed of their regular attack, archers sometimes do not initially respond to the order to use fire arrows; the order might have to be repeated a couple times.
-Horse archers are notorious for shooting other horse archers in their group if not well organised.
-Units will not appear on certain maps in sufficient quantities.
- The charge ability can be exploited by increasing the run speed of retreating as well as advancing units in the proximity of enemies; thus, a melee unit can use it to outrun pursuers, which was not intended.
In any case, enjoy playing this, and experiment- this project could still use some development, and I'd like to hear back from people regarding its quality. If you have suggestions and/or complaints, please be specific. Once again, my email is firstname.lastname@example.org