An idea has come to mind of a system for multiple unit images and it comes from this problem.
Each unit can have only one image. If you want to have different unit images you have to put in the effort of making another unit and copying all the stats, and I think it could be made a lot simpler. Also, some might want it so that certain factories / production units produce units differing in appearance. That is why I have thought up this system.
The way one would give a unit multiple appearances would simply be by adding a number to the end of the unit image name (1) and the next being (2) and so on. If the unit image does not have a number coming afterwards the system would treat it as a (1) to prevent problems.
Doing that without changing anything else would make the game assign the images randomly. If anyone would want to increase or decrease the odds of the different images being used they could make multiple copies of the same image.
For the problem with unit stacks: let’s say a unit with appearance(1) and a unit with appearance(2) are being stacked. The one with a lower appearance value represents the stack, but when you click on the stack a random unit from the stack is taken. The unit appearance is not overwritten.
But what if you want to make it so that certain territories / factories produce units different in appearance? This would be done through the game’s xml code, with the way it works described below.
<option name=”unitImages” value=”(1),(2)”/>
<!-- The images to use this game, if not mentioned then the engine assumes all of them -->
<option name=”image(1)territoryOrigin” value=”territory”/>
<!-- Where the unit can originate from. Any number of territories can be entered as values. If this unit is produced in this territory, it takes on this appearance. If not mentioned the game engine assumes the unit can originate from any territory. Cannot be used alongside unitOrigin -->
<option name=”image(2)unitOrigin” value=”factory”/>
<!-- Will probably not be used very often, however would be useful if you have a “general” unit that produces units with a different appearance but the same stats. If not mentioned the game engine assumes it can be produced in this appearance by any unit. Cannot be used alongside territoryOrigin -->
If you want a unit to have a certain appearance at the start of the game just do this:
<unitPlacement unitType="unit" territory=”territory" quantity="#" owner=”player" appearance=”(1)”/>
If an appearance is not selected then the game engine uses the first image.
This would be a good addition for a number of reasons:
1- It’s not a very complicated system.
2- It would make the game more visually appealing with lots of different unit images.
3- It is completely optional and would not break any existing games.
4- It would make things easier for the people who like to track their “favorite” units.
5- It would make it more historically accurate, for example infantry produced in colonies could represent their nationality and tanks produced in a certain factory could be of different models.
Please consider my suggestion.