When I write listicles I start with all the content first; the stuff that goes on each of the slides that falls under the topic I'm writing about. I then come back and write this first slide last. As such, looking back upon what I had written -- and after having declared that it was good -- I realized that there was one word that I kept using: imagine.
I think the act of imagining is the exact spirit that video games and, by extension, mods are driven by. Many of us gamers play video games to escape the world. It is our escapism. The worlds, characters, systems, etc. within this escapism serve as our imaginary landscapes. Many of us are happy to cede over our own imaginations to these worlds, to let them do the work. Think of heavily scripted games like Uncharted where you watch a character. And yet many more of us invest heavily in games that allow us to embody a character of our own choosing. Think of open-ended games, like Fallout 3.
But some people choose to go further. They make their own mods or their own games, these people do more creative thinking than merely inhabiting a character, but less creative work than actually building something from scratch. And that's where I come in...
This is my long-winded way of saying: here are some cool mods I’d like to see for Ultimate Epic Battle Simulator.
This one could be one of the coolest mods, but could also be one of the trickiest. Imagine taking the recently added tortoise and then making it a hundred or a thousand times its normal size; it would basically be an adamantoise from Final Fantasy.
The tricky part would be its hitboxes. On a small scale, attacks can be wide and sloppy, but once you get to such a large scale certain attacks would not really work. For instance, biting mid-air in front of him could potentially wipe out half your army even though he didn’t actually reach downwards to do it.
UEBS is silly looking, sure. That’s fine. But if the hitboxes were scaled too large then things would inevitably break. I would be happy to settle for someone adding in admantoises though.
Right now you can possess individual units, but you can not actually really do much as them. It would be awesome to have mods that add in combat options. There could be warriors that feel like they are out of Dynasty Warriors (despite not being a huge fan myself, that type of gameplay fits well in a game like this) or having fully controllable archers/riflemen that can accurately and adequately shoot.
A robust map creating and sharing toolkit could make this game really thrive. To be fair, this feature, especially the map editor aspect, is something that would really work well if the developers implemented it. The ability to easily load in custom levels that you have made would also be helpful. For instance, you could potentially create levels in other software and port them over.
If we are going through the pain of adding in features that let us shape and edit the map, then we might as well add in new structures as well. Maybe they are castles from other games or movies. Forts from real life. Maybe they are completely unique. Imagine playing in a giant kitchen themed level that makes you feel like you are in honey I shrunk the kids or Alice In Wonderland.
Structures could result in the creation of tower defense-esque structures, like ballistas, cannons, or manned catapults, especially if you are allowed to dynamically create and place these structures mid-battle.
There are a lot of units you could potentially add into a game like this. This could be taken way past fan service and go to the point that you are adding in awesome, new units. Maybe you add in pegasus and wyverns so that you can make your own large-scale, live action Fire Emblem battles. Maybe you add in cars with their own control schemes for accelerating and braking. And these could even be made such that normal infantry could "mount" them.
You could even add in mythological gods, such as Zeus, Kratos (I dare you to tell him he doesn’t count) or Sun Wukong, the Chinese monkey god.
There could also be some characters that have unique options for navigating the world. There could be characters that jump really high or fly. The system seen in Prototype and the Saints Row games, where you run straight up walls without the need for premade handholds, could be great fun. And Grow Home/Grow Up’s system, where the character grapples directly onto the drastically varying level geometry, could also work.
Imagine a hoard of zombies climbing over every nook and cranny of the map slowly working their way toward you like a tide of cockroaches.
I want to be able to control troops, on either side, as if this is an RTS. In my eyes, UEBS is basically the equivalent of playing with toy soldiers as a kid. In that context, I want to be able to actually tell my soldiers what to do.
It’d also be cool to be able to possess a unit and command other similar units within the vicinity to attack. For instance, maybe you possessed an archer, now you could command your fellow nearby archers to all shoot in a general area. It’s the little things.
This could rear itself in a lot of ways. Imagine that cavalry dismount their horses to ford a river, speed up to close the distance between enemies, or slow down while the army is traveling.
It’d also be cool to see units from the same "family" interact with one another. Maybe WW2 soldiers will try to save or patch up their fellow injured soldiers. Or a group of roman centurions could form a phalanx.
This would help lend more to life to each character type and family. Currently, all units use the same AI processes causing them to feel like bland numbers. It's just not very interesting.
An ecosystem could mean a lot of things, whether it be wildlife or a city. Imagine combining structures and unique AI to create whole cities of people and then having a war take place within this complex mess. Recreating some of the darker battles/massacres from the Crusades or Viking history would call for something like that.
This could also extend to things like disease. For instance, there were historical battles where a castle or city that was under siege would be attacked by their opponent using dead, infected bodies which would eventually get the people within sick.
I want realistic fire. The type of fire that Far Cry 2 bragged about except bigger and better. I want battlefields to be covered in flames that slowly consume everything in their wake! Sorry, my inner pyromaniac started to come out again. But yeah, fire would totally be cool or something... moving on...
This is similar to the map editor mod, in that it might be better if implemented by the developers. That being said, it would be pointless to have objectives unless some of these other things were implemented. If you don't have unique units and you are not given greater control over both individual units and the larger horde at your disposal, then there wouldn't really be much player input.
However, if we do have all this other stuff at our fingertips, then objectives for custom levels and maps could add a whole new wrinkle to what is possible in the game. For instance, maybe each unit type is worth a certain number of points and you are tasked with composing an army that is worth X number of points that can conquer a preset enemy army. This might require some actual game balancing, but if a niche community built around the idea, then it could become a great time.
The icing on top of the cake. You know the maps you create? It’d be awesome if they could be shared easily -- instead of having to download them as their own separate “mods”.
More than that, it’d be awesome to control your own army against someone else’s. Or just joining buddies and screwing around by moving troops, possessing them, and just generally causing havoc.
Similar to the previous mod, without players being able to exhibit more control, I am not really sure how much fun this would be.
Some games have been modded so extensively that they have become whole new games because their rules changed so significantly. Perhaps the most famous example is Arma 2’s mod DayZ. Adding in objectives, balancing troops, creating maps for a campaign, letting players take control of units while also allowing them to command them around. All of these things, combined in the right way, could make an excellent new game all on its own.
Undoubtedly, we can’t really know what UEBS’s future will hold. Will it just be a passing fad? It gets big on Twitch and YouTube for a couple weeks, but before you know it the game’s player base is basically dead. (Can you even really call UEBS a game at all?) Who knows what the mods will look like for this game or if we'll ever get to the point that the modding community around this game thrives. But at least we have our imagination. Imagine...