Mod Development Guide

This guide uses as examples the Advanced Genie Editor codes from Wololo Kingdoms DE. Most of those codes are the same for Comunity Patch v1.6 except for things speciffic for Definitive Edition civilizations that have been deleted for that mod.

Author: Pancrol


Back in march 2020 I had no idea how to create mods. I have a basic understanding of programming and assumed that there was a big file somewhere storing unit stats, technologies and so on. With that knowledge, I assumed that adding balance changes like +1 armor for certain units or faster research time for a technology had to be easy.

During that time, Europe was going through the worst of the covid pandemic and several countries, mine included, where on lockdown. Despite not being able to go outside, my girlfriend and I like Age of Empires a lot so we had things to do together. However, my girlfriend’s computer is not powerful enough to run Age of Empires 2 DE so all we played was WololoKingdoms. I took a look at the mod center several times, thinking that, if adding balance changes was as easy as I suspected, someone must had have the idea to add stuff from DE already. Of course I found DE Balance but that one didn’t have all the civilizations.

So I did a bit more research and discovered that mods are created using Advanced Genie Editor. Indeed, through that program you can modify unit stats, costs, research times, and so on. In a couple of days I had copied most of the balance changes that were basically changing numbers in the code. The one that made me decide to publish it was the Khmer farming bonus. After a day trying to understand how DE did it and realising that I couldn’t port it as direct copy, I figured out a way to adapt it in a way that kept the spirit of the original one and worked within the limitations of userpatch.

I uploaded the mod to Voobly before going to bed and next morning I already had a message from Voobly staff. Obviously they had been waiting for someone to do exactly that: a mod with the balance changes from DE that could be played on Voobly. We developed the installer that checked for legitimate copies of the original game and throughout the summer, I added the four new civilizations.

Then, one day in September, someone by the name of katsuie wrote a post with some code that, allegedly, implemented autofarming. I didn’t understand the code but he made a functional patch that implemented that functionality. Since then, he has added the villager distributionper resource, global command queue, improvements for the display of technologies in the game, and new hotkeys.

We also have the help of GorLeon who, appart from creating several graphics mods like Age of Mandala, has a very good grasp of Advanced Genie Editor and has helped me add new bonuses to the game.

I don’t think I’m the leading expert in Advanced Genie Editor but, throughout these months and with a lot of try an error, I’ve grasped a very good understanding of how things can be implemented. So here is my guide, done as structured as I can, where I’ll try to explain what you need for modding AoE 2, how to find the part of code you want to change, and several of the issues you may ran into.

Hope it helps someone someday.