So, in the first episode of Rally Point, we mentioned that something new was coming from The Creative Assembly – something you’d not seen before – and we said we’d talk about it on May 18th.
Well, we’ve decided to bring forward that announcement to give the community some time to digest what we’re doing before we release it into the wild.
In the next couple of weeks, we’re releasing TEd, which is short for, simply, “The Editor”. This tool will allow you to create your own battle maps for Shogun 2 and Fall of The Samurai, with a suite of features from adjusting terrain height and sculpting hills and mountains, to placing buildings and terrain features. Packaged within TEd, we’re including the full library of props from both games (including railway tracks!).
With the tool you’ll also be able to create multiplayer maps which are automatically shared when a user joins your game. We’re really excited about seeing what you can come up with.
Designer Elliott Lock has been one of the key driving forces behind getting TEd out to the community, but he’s quick to acknowledge the work done by many at CA to get this tool into the hands of the fans.
He said: “It’s a great team achievement. It’s been a personal goal of mine for over a year to get TEd released, and there’s been a great team effort to make it happen. I couldn’t be prouder of everyone involved.”
Over to Total War’s Brand Director Rob Bartholemew, who wants to say a few words about TEd’s release, and what this means for our modding strategy in future:
“It certainly hasn’t escaped our attention that, despite what we’ve said in the press, the feeling in the community is that CA no longer supports mods, or the modding community. With actions speaking louder than words, it’s something we can understand the sentiment behind, if not perhaps the reasoning.
The rather ugly and slightly embarrassing truth is far from what the conspiracy theorists would like to believe. As we said when we released the Empire/Napoleon XML and XSD tables, Med II and Rome were easy to mod, not because we particularly built them that way, but because they just were by virtue of the tech used to create them. As time has gone on and more recent editions of Total War have been developed, the complexity we have layered on the game and our own development processes has meant end user modification has become far harder without dedicated tools that we would have to specially build. Tools that we don’t use in the production of the game in the first place.
The Napoleon Unit Editor that was mentioned in the run up to N:TW is a point-in-case. It was a lot more work creating an end-user tool from the myriad of different internal processes we used to produce units than we thought it would be, and the result was turning out to be less than impressive. We are a business and we have to weigh these things up, features are cut if they aren’t good enough and if they don’t do what we need them to do.
In the future we will be more definite about features before we announce them, and while the upshot is that we will be more guarded about ideas and concepts we may be excited by, we hope to avoid some of the negativity that seems to have circulated over the years. We hope that you do genuinely understand that we can’t always tell you what we are currently working on for business reasons and that we may see certain things differently (FoTS clan unlock in TWB is a super cool bonus, for example!).
TEd represents an important test for us, if a modest one, and it’s cost a huge amount of time and effort to create and release. We are really excited to see what everyone is going to produce, but just to be clear, it does not necessarily mean that more tools are on the way. We will be keeping a really close eye on it, and working with the leading modders in future to investigate what other ideas might be worked on for the next Total War (more from Craig on this soon), but please don’t expect a guaranteed flow of fabled ‘tools’ from here on.
There of course remain a number of fundamental things that still can’t be modded by the community at all. The Campaign map for example, and AI. It’s possible to induce certain behavioural changes by altering database tables; unit size, spacing, stats, morale buffs/debuffs and so forth. Such changes can alter the outcome of the AI’s risk-assessment, making it more or less aggressive for example, and many modders have implemented this approach, though it isn’t true AI code alteration. We will be looking at aspects such as these over time, but each element presents its own challenges and will be judged against our desire to make more and better games.
In the meantime, please enjoy getting to grips with TEd – the best modders will find it more powerful than it initially appears…”
We’re also releasing the documentation for TEd today for you to look through, which (all things being well) is attached to this post. Please do read this and get to grips with it – it’ll give you a great head start in getting hands-on with TEd when we release it.
In the next episode of Rally Point on May 9th (brought forward from the 18th), we’ll be talking to Elliott in more detail, and Steven Lockett, the writer of the TEd documentation, will be talking us through how to make a simple map. We’ll also use that episode to announce the release date for TEd.
Thanks for taking the time to read this (very long!) post.
The Creative Assembly