1. The new recruitment system is progressing well. The separate troop trees are in place so that commoners troops are hired from villages and professionals from towns and castles. I also put into place the opportunity for the player to build a barracks in any town or castle he/she owns. The barracks, when built, permits the player to recruit elite troops instead of the tier 5 professional troops. These elite troops are rare, and exist only in the party templates of Kings. I am planning to add one more recruitment feature to villages so that when a manor is built by the player, the player will be able to recruit higher-level commoner troops instead of the lower level troops normally recruited. The will make the manor worthwhile to build.
2. I have just integrated custom player faction troops into the game and am currently testing to see how this works. So far it works as intended. I need to make sure this new feature is fully compatible with my recruitment features shown in item 1 above. This feature allows the player, when king, to choose any faction culture, including player faction, for troops. These customizable troops come with an inventory of weapons and armors that you can select from. This still needs a bit of tweaking to keep the custom troops and equipment consistent with the 1050 A.D. era. Adding this popular feature has added a few weeks to the modding calendar so that is why I will need a few more weeks, most likely until mid-June to complete the work and testing.
3. Some minor changes have been made to the faction troop trees, troop skills and proficiencies, and equipment. The changes to skills/proficiencies was mainly to differentiate between commoner troops and professional troops, to add the faction elite troops, and to tweak/fix any issues with skills/proficiencies that I have found in play-testing (for example, if a mounted soldier didn't have high enough riding skill or a spear thrower didn't have high enough power-throw). I have tried to be systematic about these changes throughout each version of the mod and hope that this version will be free of those kinds of problems. One thing you will notice is that spearmen are even more deadly than in previous versions, having better spears and better pole-arms proficiencies. There is a new two-direction spear attack animation that will make it better for AI and the player to use spears.
4. A good number of armors and weapons have been added. Some armors are of my own creation and you will be able to see them in the images. The game still runs well in spite of the new resources added, even on my middling computer.