schnitzel hat geschrieben:
flamming_python hat geschrieben:
But we're getting a little ahead of ourselves in all this - we'll need to get some graphics artists eventually, if we're serious about later transitioning from 2D to 3D
Yes having a great graphics artist in the Team would be nice.
flamming_python hat geschrieben:
Yup I speak/write Russian but I would hold off on contacting them for a little while; let's actually make a start on our project first. Really, we need some legal advise from someone - I personally rather doubt that they'll be able to do anything about what we're doing, but the last thing I want is a Cease and Desist letter or whatever. If we actually make a good start on our project though, there's a higher chance (although very far from guaranteed of course) though that they will simply accept the inevitable
OK this sounds good, no release till we get an official "OK". If we shouldn´t get their permission to use the old resources we still can create our own 2D-Resources and Sounds and make a completly stand-alone game (we will need many helping Hands then
- Last Soldier is a good artist I think). On the other Hand, we can switch to a groundbreaking 3D experience.
I've thought about it and it almost seems like it's a better idea to leave the 3D-resources, sounds, etc... to the mod teams - or as an alternative; to work with them closely when doing so - as they already have experienced, proven teams of artists, gameplay coders, etc... assembled.
We will have to do the 3D terrain system ourselves, all the wireframe generations, damage models, line-of-sight, movement over terrain types and so on - but as for the actual resources; textures, models and so on, not to mention the 3D unit models and animations - the mod-teams can take over.
There are still plenty of active ones around, the German RWM community has slowed down but I see there is still plenty of activity on this board so with a new engine it can be revitalized. The Russian modplanet community is working on some 3 mods concurrently, they have quite a number of active people who would happily switch to a new engine, not to mention the union.4bb.ru who are doing a mod for Blitzkrieg; but with a modern, 3D capable Sudden Strike engine it's quite conceivable that they will want to switch to it.
There's of course the hs2france forums with the HS2: Fusion project - they are still pretty active and again, if our engine is viable - I don't see why they would hold off on switching to it.
So the common denominator here as you can see - is creating a stable engine on which it's possible to reproduce the Sudden Strike experience or any of the mod experiences; as well as allowing a host of new possibilities including 3D units and terrain. The ones I also had in mind were:
- A proper morale system
with soldiers being suppressed and temporarily unable to carry out commands, or being shell-shocked, surrendering, or fleeing from danger altogether. Check out the Close Combat or Combat Mission series to see what I'm talking about. SS2 already has a morale system technically, but it's pretty much pointless.
- Likewise the experience system could also be expanded
- so that less/more experience actually starts to affect the decisions and behaviour of units; and not just in combat but also for things like pathfinding, etc... more uncertainty factors can be added; if for example a bunch of trucks were ordered to move through a forest to a destination, a less experienced driver might drive his vehicle straight into a tree and suffer some damage. Different types of experience can be implemented too for roles and vehicles; a 500 exp crewman in the tank driver position might turn out to only have 75 exp for the infantry role if you boot him outta the tank. When you man an abandoned tank, the crewman automatically fill the positions they are most experienced in as appropriate.
- Also a better cover/concealment/line-of-sight
system - Sudden Strike has a decent one at least in some respects already, but with 3D terrain it would be possible to create a superior one taking into account elevation and height of units (improving sneaking by crawling) and so on; although even with 2D terrain it can be improved.
- Better pathfinding
, with vehicles driving on roads when possible (and their speed varying depending on the terrain), infantry moving to cover when under fire, and without the constant turning, loops and blocking each other when you order a mass of vehicles to get from point A to point B (it's even worse in Blitzkrieg); instead you'll get an orderly convoy, with combat vehicles in key positions if you ordered some to come along, all moving at the speed of the slowest vehicle. None of this rubbish with the wheeled vehicles turning on their axes like tanks either - realistic vehicle movements only
- More realistic vehicle behaviour in general
- and this ties into the morale and pathfinding issue too; when a truck or jeep on a road comes under fire it might either try to go off-road to get some cover between it and the enemy, or it will speed up and try to pass danger quickly, or - if it was told to assault-move rather than move - it would unload its passengers automatically. And of course vehicles can try and maneuver to find cover just like infantry can.
- The option for infantry to be assembled into squads
, with bonuses if there are officers or experienced soldiers in the squad, and fighting and moving as appropriate when in a squad, supporting each other with firepower. More intelligent infantry fighting in general, fanning out when disembarking from a vehicle under fire, taking cover when under fire, realistic reloading (e.g. an SMGer can't fire off more than 30 bullets without reloading) and more realistic firing (bursts from machine guns but with better accuracy, etc...). Some of this stuff is already in SS2 but it's fairly rudimentary. Formations can also be added. This is all a bit Blitzkriegy of course, but as a convenience option it could be there. You can create some pretty whacky squads such as ones purely of machine-gunners, or SMGers, etc... if that's the way you like to play (pretty much the way I do it).
- Convenience functions in the user-interface
to minimize excessive micromanagement; more hotkeys (check out the RWG 3.0 mod, they have hotkeys for selecting all officers, or all crew, all normal infantry, etc...), and also the ability for example to select trucks and troops or trucks and stationary guns together and order them to go some place; in which case the trucks will automatically load-up the troops and/or guns before moving out. And also a Blitzkrieg-like objective system where you can bring up the objectives at any time and see what you need to do and where. Things like that.
- Overhauled fortification system
; digging trenches, proper convenient functions for the intelligent auto-layout of minefields, barbed wire, tank obstacles, etc... (i.e. as a zone, rather than having to shift-click for individual objects), and also increasing the camouflage of existing fortifications; i.e. pillboxes, dugouts, etc...
- A more realistic damage-system for both men and vehicles
. Essentially the elimination of health-bars as the damage model itself (but they or colour-coded bars can still be used as an abstraction to roughly show the state of the unit). Troops will have several statuses; healthy, injured (affecting accuracy and/or movement), incapacitated or dead (another borrow from Close Combat). Different vehicles meanwhile can be made up of different components - each of which can suffer damage or be taken out completely, including tracks/wheels and other components that would lead to immobilization. Not to mention the crew being taken out or injured which is already in Sudden Strike; but here it can mean more of a significant loss in effectiveness for the vehicle, less frequent firing, more sluggish movement, etc.. depending on which crew member in which position is taken out and which other crew-members have to cover those responsibilities
- Better system for firing from buildings
- actually SS2 already has a good system in place; considering that it's a 2D engine, but for 3D buildings a more accurate model can be developed. Support for assaulting occupied buildings/structures too - Blitzkrieg style, with the building type/layout being a factor for success.
- Support for larger maps and a greater amount of units
than in the original SS2.
- Linked maps in campaigns
; the same map can be re-used for different times of day, etc... with your defenses still as they were from the night before, or alternatively make linked maps where one leads to the next or the next is otherwise implied to be close-by. Units carry over and gain experience after each battle within such linked maps.
- Of course the fuel system
from SS2: Resource war - with the greater distances in larger maps, it can start to become quite important. It can also become quite important if we implement a system whereby vehicles do not move at their max speeds all the time, either because moving as part of a convoy, or when just moving normally in casual conditions. However, they can rev up to their max speeds when coming under fire for example, or when explicitly ordered to do so (e.g. double-clicking a destination rather than single-click). With 3D terrain you'll have elevations too, in which case vehicles would use more fuel and go at lower speeds; again this would make fuel more of a factor than in SS2: Resource War.
- Fatigue system
for troops (borrowing from Combat Mission); they can get tired from running around non-stop or going up elevations and their movement speed and combat effectiveness will suffer (it will give new meaning to those huffing and puffing sounds from HS3). But having them walk instead of run (single-click rather than double-click) will tire them a lot less, and traveling by vehicle or standing still won't tire them at all and will allow them to recover, former more than the later. It will serve to give trucks a purpose other than being the futile bullet-magnets that they are now. When troops enter combat - they will run at full-pace, so save up that stamina!
- Have recon vehicles actually mean something
- because right now they're a bit pants. For example significantly longer sight-range or marking down on the map a couple of positions of AT guns, etc... depending on how long and close the recon vehicles were, if they came under fire or what they saw.
- Make air-combat look a little more realistic
because right now it looks a little funny sometimes. The good thing is that we can have 3D planes separately from 3D terrain or other 3D units - provided that we get ahold of 3D models and animations; this could be implemented a lot earlier than the other 3D stuff. In this case fighters can switch elevations and Stukas can divebomb. When a plane lowers altitude it becomes an easier target for AAA and would come into range of certain AA systems or machine-guns, conversely when it picks the altitude back up the lightest AA won't be able to target it or at least hit anything. More realistic this way.
- More than 2 weapons per unit
- As a real HARDCORE option you can also have command-delays for ordering units
about (again borrowing from Combat Mission); so for example a system where you can shift-click a bunch of orders for a bunch of units and it will take them a few seconds to receive the orders and start carrying them about, and then although you can give them new orders, it will take a minute until they start carrying them out (depending on the size of the group you gave orders to, if they're in combat, etc...) to simulate the fact that you can't change your orders that quickly and that it will take some time for a unit in motion to receive and process new ones, especially if they've come under fire or whatever. For recon units and scouts this delay can be less, and officers, command tanks, etc... will also be able to decrease the delay and increase your control of the local battlefield. If all your officers or radio-equipped vehicles get taken out you could just end up losing control over the entire formation and unable to give them orders until you bring in another officer or radio-equipped vehicle. This could be quite fun for certain mods or multiplayer
- Occasional vehicle breakdowns
can be a HARDCORE option too
Now I want to stress - all such things should be OPTIONAL, and when a user loads up a vanilla SS2 map; there should be none of it for compatibility reasons, and for new maps the decision as to which such feature to include should be left to his discretion, or alternatively at the mod-makers discretion.
In fact it's not even neccessery to create everything mentioned ourselves - the main thing is that our engine would be built in such a way - that mod teams will be add components or behavior like this. If the game ends up being open-source, then forks of our project would also be possible, or if not then the source-code can be given away privately - if someone wants to do something radically different.
Another thing - as you can see the volume of work for any such endeavor can truly end up being colossal
. Believe me when I say that we'll have more than enough on our plate with just reproducing vanilla Sudden Strike in Java; never mind the 3D terrain system. 3D units, mod-support, multiplayer and any extra features.
Right now we're just 2 developers. And we will need more developers - whether by finding them here or in other forums, and/or by making the project open-source, etc...
So let's not worry about the 3D stuff just yet, our priorities should be building the skeleton of a game-engine for now.
After an OK and finding a good way to prevent multyplayer cheating we can make the source code public. Or maybe an from-the-start public Repro for the 3D-approach...
I think multiplayer is pretty vital, as it would attract the attention of mod-teams, but still - it's not an immediate worry nor priority. Perhaps identifying those sensitive areas of gameplay mechanics or code would be a good start.
For now we can have a private repo, build up the skeleton of the engine, and then once we have something to show for our efforts, and have generated some excitement, we can start to think about opening up the project and bringing in more developers. Making it open-source would be an excellent way to do this but not the only way, so don't worry we have options.
So what are the next steps?
I am not sure, if I will find that much time I wish to have for the project in the next weeks, but I will try!
Next steps are likely those I identified a couple posts ago; figuring out the data structures as you're doing now, drafting the rough architecture of the program and what technologies we'll be using, etc...
Right now all my free time is going into this XML database of SS2 maps; once I finish it I'll move onto the map-browser program itself. That will take me a good few weeks. And once I finish that, I'll upload it to our repo, and then I'll review your code and familiarize myself with your work thus far; and we can set ourselves some tasks and move onto the coding.
Who is contributing?
Who has additional Information about the Data-Structurs?
Well if Last Soldier here claims to have a document in his possession then I would sure appreciate him sharing it with us