Internal game files are a mess

Honestly I don’t expect anything good to come of this, so it may just be an empty rant, but I feel like writing it:

I have done some modding with the Genie Editor and I was somewhat shocked at the mess the internal files are in

  • The operation “Make tech x% cheaper” is done by actually specifying the absolute cost change, or the new absolute cost. Both approaches are used, but this mismatch isn’t as important as the fact you have to look up the original cost and do maths to figure out what the change means.
  • The operation “Make tech free” is either done by setting the time and various cost attributes to 0 individually, or by creating a civ-specific tech that grants an effect that grant the tech.
  • The numbering of units, techs and effects is inconsistent and often without logic.
  • Many of the behind-the-scenes effects and techs have meaningless names.
  • All kinds of effects, techs, armour classes, etc are left in the files after their effects have been removed, without them even being labelled as -vestigial-.

Given all this it is not surprising that it is hard to make changes without creating buggs. Modders work with the files of their own free will, and the devs get paid, but I still don’t see how anyone could be comfortable asking anyone else to work with these files in their current state.

Some fixes, which probably won’t be implemented because they’re not worth it at this point, would be:

  • Create a macro for "“Make tech x% cheaper”
  • Create a macro to allow the wood & food & gold cost to be modified by X% at the same time
  • Create a macro for “Make tech free”
  • Find a way to change the numbers of techs, effects & units without breaking internal references
  • Get someone to move all the techs, effect etc to sensible numbers and give effects & techs sensible names and remove/label all vestigial techs, effect etc (In particular remove the vestigial armour classes)
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the original genie editor has evolved and DE simply build off of AOK then AOC etc.

they can change hard coded stuff but why bother? game functioning just fine so they’d have to spend tens of thousands just to hire 1 or 2 individual to make it look nice and easy for the modders.

thats why they hired FE staff to continue the game in DE which made sense, because no need for training and do something they do not understand themselves.

Changing existing reference IDs is not a good idea because it will likely not only break the game but also all existing mods which already use them.

A better solution to a problem like this would be to make better tools which abstract the view on the data in a way that the modder/user never need to see or edit the internal refs directly.