There is a thread for this mod here:
Download the file, place it in your main AOW directory and unzip it. If it asks if it can overwrite files, press yes to all.
The documentation for the mod, Gandalf Mod documentation 0.022.PDF will be placed in the main aow directory, it's a really good idea to read this to get an impression of the changes in the mod.
The file places a number of graphics files in the /Images/units sub-directory (new unit graphics), plus new items graphics in /Images/Items.
It also adds 2 new sub-dirs to the User/Resources folder:
Gandalf Mod 0.022 ROCK and Gandalf Mod 0.022 EARTH.
Finally, it places 4 files in the /Dict folder (new spell names for the mod).
Once you've unzipped the file, do the following:
Install the spell names for Gandalf mod; follow the instructions under 3).
2) To select Gandalf mod:
Run aowsetup.exe and select language = English (will set Gandalf Mod spell names on, if you installed them). Select Gandalf Mod 0.022 ROCK
Close aowsetup.exe and run AOW, now you're using the mod.
If you want diggable UG when playing:
a) Start the game with Gandalf mod 0.022 ROCK
save after 1st turn or later
b) Close aow, run aowsetup.exe and set Gandalf Mod 0.022 EARTH
Run aow again, and load the save, and you have diggable earth in the UG.
3) Installing the spell names for Gandalf mod:
This is optional, as it's a bit bothersome.
The installer placed the following files in your /Dict subdirectory:
To get the right spell names, first
Initial installing of the spell names:
a) RUN (double click) the file runonce.bat. It is VITALLY IMPORTANT that you do this before you run gmodon.bat or gmodoff.bat. Runonce.bat makes safe backups of both your original resstr.mld file (that contains the spell/ability names) and the new Gandalf Mod spell/ability names file (Gmodresstr.mld).
Now you have INSTALLED the Gandalf Mod spell names.
Setting Gandalf mod spell names on:
1) Run gmodon.bat (this will fetch the gandalf mod resstr.mld from the backup and set gandalf mod spell names ON, regardless how many times you run it).
2) Select Gandalf Mod 0.022 in the list, AND REMEMBER to set language = ENGLISH - otherwise you don't see the spell names and changed ability names from Gandalf Mod.
Setting Gandalf Mod spell names off:
1) Run gmodoff.bat (this will fetch the original resstr.mld from the backup and set original spell names on, regardless how many times you run it).
2) Go to aowsetup.exe, select whatever mod you want. Now if you want to use upatch or MP 1.6, select language = Auto. If you are changing into another mod that has special spell and ability names (both dwiggs 6.0 and ComA mod has this), select language = English.
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Why play Gandalf mod?
Regretably, there are very few online players left, and even amongst those, my mod isn't being used as much as I'd hoped for, although personally I like it much better than either the MP mod, COMA or the Upatch (naturally, for otherwise, why should I make this mod?). What follows on this page, then, is a bit of a sales pitch for the mod, to explain why I've designed it as I have, and what I think are its best features.
The mod contains 5 level 1 heroes as well as 2 level 3 heroes for each race, which is a total of 84 heroes. This means that all races have a hero for nearly all the 6 classes of heroes: Warrior, rogue, shaman, priest, ranger and paladin, so a lot more heroes are available. On top of this, the heroes are stronger: They start a little stronger than in upatch 1.4, and better upgrades (determined by what class of heroes they belong to, so that priest heroes generally get magic updates, and warrior heroes get fighting skills etc.) are available to them, all of which make the heroes more useful in the game.
The new level 1 heroes still follow the same templates as the originals, however, so they are all mounted and look like the race they belong to; only the level 3 heroes (which, sadly, you can only recruit in inns, and even then rarely) are custom-made to different body types, and named after well-known AOW players.
I've made a large number (probably around 60, but I don't remember) of new items for heroes, so more diverse skills are available with the items; this of course further increases the usefulness of the heroes.
I have added 1 extra unit for each level (1-4) of each race to give the races more diversity. In adding these units I have taken great care that the new units follow the racial theme and add abilities that the specific race needs (or, as a minimum, which complements the other units); for instance the undead level 0 is a good scout, something which that race in particular needs a lot.
New machines and transports:
I've also added new machines; mainly catapult-type machines, which are very useful both in attack and defense and should increase the value of machines in the game. The catapults (depending on their race and price) have several different types of attack: Hurl boulder and firebomb (the traditional setup, which combined with seeker in the trebuchet makes for an excellent attack unit) – for neutral races; bombard (death and magic damage) – for evil races; holy bombard (holy and lightning damage) – for evil races. To further increase the usefulness of machines and slow units, I have also given each race a cheap racial transport, which is available in early game and can therefore be used to transport units like catapults or dire fungus along in an attack so they are not reserved only for defense purposes.
Finally, there are far more ships available; this generally doesn't mean a lot in the game, since sea battles are rare, but if you're air specialist or have 3-4 air picks, you can cast wind walking on them, which makes them formidable attack and transport weapons.
More morphing units and better upgrades at medals:
In online games before the later versions of the MP mod, people chose pacifist by default, because the disadvantage of this was minimal. To avoid this, and to spiff up the game, unit in the Gandalf Mod gets better upgrades at medals, and around 10-15% of them can morph into stronger forms when they get gold medal.
Changes in racial bonuses and in building costs and bonuses.
The racial bonuses are changed, the details can be seen in further down. The main purpose of this is to a) create more variation in the bonuses and b) make the bonuses more consistent with the 'racial features', although this is a bit difficult (how exactly do you determine the features of the race?).
The tower shooter is more expensive and more effective (because of my desire to make a stronger defense possible – but then, also costly). The town income system is changed, so that more income derives from the buildings rather than the town itself, which again means that if you don't invest in structures in your towns, they will give less income – which makes perfect sense from a 'natural' viewpoint.
Diggable UG available:
Finally, this mod has diggable UG available. To get it, you need to start with the ROCK version of the game, then save the game (after turn 1, or later as you prefer). Then close AOW, select the EARTH version of the mod in aowsetup.exe and load the save game again. Now there is diggable UG in the underground. Because of the diggable UG, all races have the drill available, and more races have 'natural' diggers (faster then the drill).
More of the new Upatch units available:
These are available as structure guards, as new buildable units, as prisoners in dungeons, or as rewards from quests. I think it's a shame, given all the new units that have been made in the Upatch, that they aren't used more often in online games, so therefore I've tried to make more of them available in my mod.
Advantages in single player games:
These various changes both mean that the game is a lot more fun and varied in multiplayer settings, but it certainly also spiffs up the gameplay in for single player maps, which is one reason I think more of the single/PBEM players should try it. Given that a lot of effort in single player games are made on levelling up heroes and units, Gandalf mod is ideal for this, and the extra available units provides for more variety.
Link to the full documentation here:
[Edited on 01/29/09 @ 11:21 AM]
This is a fun fast mod to play. It plays about the same pace as MP games, I think there are still some balance changes to be made but it helps that gandy is still in the community so he can work and improve the mod with user imput. A must have mod for the multiplayer aow fan. Good Work Gandalf DK, Keep it up we appreciate the hard work!
Thanks for the comment, Mr. Fizzle. I'm back doing a bit of aow after 8 month's break. I will update to v 0.023 (or maybe 1.0) soon, just correcting some mistakes (unit description different from the actual upgrades) and changing some little details (syron magician too strong, for instance). Comments on balance issues are very welcome indeed! (as are ideas/suggestions to the mod in general).