Author Topic: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion  (Read 1126 times)

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Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Hello!

Some of you may already know about this project from my Discord announcements.
Well, the project is AlmostTM ready for a public alpha, and I am just so excited to get this out there, and I hope by the end of this post, you are just as excited as I am.

This is a total conversion of Freespace 2 into a multiplayer tactical RTS. I started with a blank Unity3D project and built it up from there.
The amazing work done by the FSU team as well as the meticulous documentation on the HLP wiki has enabled me to create a totally new, visually stunning game that I have been slaving away on for a few months now.

Important note: This is a FREE game. Free as in really free. I do not have any intentions of making a single penny on this creation. There will be no limits to gameplay, no microtransactions, etc. etc.
I feel this is necessary to mention. Rights to the FS IP obviously still lie with Interplay, and I am hoping to operate in the grey area that others mods do. With that being said, when this is released, you should own a copy of Freespace 2 before playing.

I will be replying to questions in this thread, but I will be making updates to this post to announce news or post new videos. I will also update this original post when I release the public alpha.

You can also catch me on Discord to chat or ask questions, Sniflheim#6415

Procedural Scenario Test (9 Sep 2021)

Bomber testing (Sep 2nd 2021)

Older:

Here's a few more videos of previous builds and other tests:

Thanks for your attention!
« Last Edit: September 09, 2021, 11:32:31 am by Sniflheim »
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Looks amazing! :D Hope you keep up with it!

How hard would it be to, say, add your own ships? I am curious.

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Looks amazing! :D Hope you keep up with it!

How hard would it be to, say, add your own ships? I am curious.

My experience with Unity has never included creating a modding interface, however I have had several questions from others about that, so I'm looking into it. Definitely a 'later on' kind of feature. Right now there is no exposed interface for modifying ships or properties, and this is partially intentional: #1, it is easier to iterate changes when these values are inside the game; #2, I don't want to end up with fragmented multiplayer compatibility.

All that said, eventually I will expose property tables in text form, and hopefully more, with the caveat that games hosted by a modified client will be tagged as such.
Also, I am already working on a battlefield editor to allow for some more custom experiences, and that won't affect multiplayer compatibility because the host can merely send the required positional data to the client for scenery.

deep breath

And finally, as long as a ship can be balanced to be in line with the others and mostly fits the aesthetic, I have no issue at all with including it as an 'official' asset. Just let me know.
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline Cyborg17

  • 29
  • Bawsh: i HAz Shivun frend buttons
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
I think there are a couple ships that could fit that description. Once we get to that point, the Nemesis and Phobos would be good choices as Easter Egg or unlockable ships.

Our Multi service PXO 
has built-in table validation, which allows us to use multiple mods and even versions of the same mod on that service.  Players just need to be on the same mod.

I don't know how much effort it would be to duplicate or port that code or add this to PXO, but I am really excited to play some games with this it's ready.

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
A simple MD5 hash of the tables would suffice for mod compatibility, as well as a check for the assets required. I have the solution sort of floating around in my head in a foggy, pseudocode kind of state, I just haven't really had a desire to focus on it right now.
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline wookieejedi

  • 29
  • Intensify Forward Firepower
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Oh wow this is very impressive! Terrific work so far, can’t wait to see more!

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

  • 212
  • Snoop Junkie
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
In that last video (not chronologically though) it appears as though the Shivans like to engage targets with extreme prejudice, as they can't stop firing on that already-destroyed Aeolus, despite the fact that several other ships are continuing to pour fire into them.  I hope that tendency was overcome.
The Trivial Psychic Strikes Again!

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
In that last video (not chronologically though) it appears as though the Shivans like to engage targets with extreme prejudice, as they can't stop firing on that already-destroyed Aeolus, despite the fact that several other ships are continuing to pour fire into them.  I hope that tendency was overcome.

It was just that the Aeolus wasn't removed properly when destroyed. As far as the AI was concerned, the ship was still there. That was a very early build and my AI code has tripled in length since then, plus the rest of the code is more robust so errors like that don't happen.
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

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  • Snoop Junkie
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
I also noticed that a ship's main beams seem to double as anti-figther beams.  Does the code not permit the same targeting priorities that FS uses?
The Trivial Psychic Strikes Again!

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
The top video has target priority code, but the AI aren't using it correctly. I fixed this bug last night. Videos prior to that show builds without target prioritization, so ships will just shoot whatever they are told to. The AI simply chose the closest target back then.

The behavior now is this:
Flak and AAA beams prioritize bombs, then fighters, then capital ships.
Blob turrets prioritize bombs, then capital ships, then fighters.
If a focus target is selected, these weapons still prioritize bombs and fighters, but if there are none, then shoot the target if it's within firing arc. Otherwise, shoot whatever they can see.

Main beams always fire on nearby capital ships, unless ordered to focus. Main beams do not fire when ordered to focus if they cannot see the target. This is a mechanism that allows for power conservation, since main beams drain a heavy amount of juice. Main beams do not shoot fighters or bombs.

I hope that makes sense. Positioning and planning are very important, as well as knowledge about ship weapon layouts. The fleet builder will eventuallyTM include an inspection window that will show weapon and subsystem placements.

Speaking of subsystems, I just implemented that last night as well. Subsystem damage affects ship effectiveness according to the system type.
Engine systems control maximum speed (and yes, redundant engine systems add protection. Looking at you, Hecate...);
Weapon systems control accuracy;
Sensor systems control visibility range;
Reactor systems influence reactor efficiency (recharge);
Fully destroyed navigation systems prevent a ship from jumping;
Fully destroyed communication systems prevent a unit from accepting orders.
Damage to fighterbays increases the delay between fighter launches. Fully destroyed fighterbay cannot launch fighters.

A damage control ability will be available to allow for repair of subsystems, but the unit must stop moving and stop firing to use it.
If the comms are destroyed, the unit automatically activates damage control to restore functionality.
Communications are not restored until the system reaches 25%.
If an engineering ship is nearby (e.g. Faustus, distance ~1000m), subsystem repair speed is increased slightly.

I think this adds a nice layer of tactical thought; you'll want to protect ships from critical subsystem damage by thoughtful placement

All subject to change of course, but that's my first pass. Let me know what you all think.
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline wookieejedi

  • 29
  • Intensify Forward Firepower
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Sounds great, and very well thought out!

 

Offline Cyborg17

  • 29
  • Bawsh: i HAz Shivun frend buttons
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
All that sounds good, but you may want to allow repair craft which can dock and more quickly repair subsystems. Maybe a limit on damage control, since there would only be so many components on board.

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

  • 212
  • Snoop Junkie
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
If you're ever considering expanding how different assets can complement each other, take a look at Blue Planet.  They rely heavily on the use of AWACS for jump plotting, comms jamming, and to disrupt missile guidance.
The Trivial Psychic Strikes Again!

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Just a quick update:

The notable interest in the moddability of Tactics led me, over the last week, to make ships generate procedurally from table files. That, along with my graphics drivers blowing up randomly, have slowed me down a bit but I'm back in the swing now. These improvements to my engine should also mean rigging ships becomes an absolute breeze (it was painful at best before), which means development moves faster. Everyone wins!

Sadly I don't have anything flashy to share today, but technical details matter too!
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline wookieejedi

  • 29
  • Intensify Forward Firepower
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Oh that's very exciting to hear, thanks for the update! Any increases to moddability are terrific.

 

Offline Sniflheim

  • 22
  • The Tactics Guy
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Couple of new videos added to the original post since my last update.
Latest one includes the scenario system which I am quite excited about since it improves replayability and extendibility.
Freespace: Tactics
https://www.hard-light.net/forums/index.php?topic=97698.0
Discord: Sniflheim #6415

 

Offline wookieejedi

  • 29
  • Intensify Forward Firepower
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
Oh that new scenario option looks fantastic! Terrific and impressive work.

  

Offline Trivial Psychic

  • 212
  • Snoop Junkie
Re: Freespace: Tactics - A Tactical RTS Conversion
That newest mission was cool, though it's a pity you had to lose an Orion.
The Trivial Psychic Strikes Again!