hardcore will never die but you will
Years ago, hjd devised the hardcore starting conditions, with only the minimum of goods to get your economy started - find the discussion here. I thought it was a lot of fun, quite possible on large maps against the inefficient AI. When the names of wares and workers changed I adapted it, but I never gave it back to the community. Since then, minimum target quantities in an economy were lowered to zero, enabling more control over the toolsmith's production, and also greater potential for evil in providing scant starting wares. So now, in addition to the resurrected hardcore start, I present:
The Minimum Starting Conditions!
Discover exciting new ways in which to deadlock your nascent economy! Cringe as the wrong worker irreversibly claims the last hammer in your warehouse! Wait even longer as your woodcutter slowly provides much needed trunks!
So I tried to provide the minimum wares needed, with a tool instead of a worker, and if possible just some iron (ore) instead. I made it a bit more tight than hardcore, but still allow for a forester and a soldier, which are not always strictly needed. You also get a warehouse and a small area artificially visible instead of an HQ, symbolic for the narrow path you have to walk in the darkness of economic dearth, never more than one step removed from deadlock. A word of warning: your economy will remember a worker once requested, and long after you've forgotten about it, one will be created when her/his tool is ready. These minimum starting conditions could have been a bit worse, I did not consider the possibility to dismantle a building in order to give you even less starting wares.
Instructions if you want to try this: get the zip from Launchpad and extract somewhere. Put the six lua files ('hardcore.lua' and 'minimum.lua') in the corresponding maps in data/tribes/scripting/starting_conditions/ - but don't look at the hints in the files! Also apply 'tribes_preload.patch' - in the data map: "patch -p0 <tribes_preload.patch", i suppose - it should add six lines to data/tribes/preload.lua.
So, do we want to include something like this in Widelands proper? There seemed to be some interest for hardcore, with a number of caveats:
- It can be considered boring: once you know what to do, most of the early game consists of waiting. But if you make one tiny mistake, you're inevitably doomed.
- The (current) AI can't handle this, but it would be very ambitious to make it handle such specific situations really well. I put a warning in the popup message for the game configuration screen.
- It's not very flexible: if there's no wood or pile of stones in reach from your starting position, you're dead. If you need ships to get gold on another island, you're basically dead as well. If you need to expand too far to get iron and coal deposits and your opponent isn't very slow, you're dead too.
I hope some people enjoy this as much as I did...
(Edit: add zip URL)