Author Topic: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)  (Read 12177 times)

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Offline neoterran

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Offline EatThePath

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A few days ago I released a version that cleans up a few things and mostly gets the model and texture of the SD Abel back where it needs to be. The animated tubes still need some attention, but that'll happen eventually. Beyond that, I wanted to say some stuff about the future of Warmachine. I've talked openly about most of this with discord folks, but I realized that the forums are mostly in the dark, so lets fix that.

There are a number of further revisions we've been working on that apply to AoA. A few are fairly close at hand, and are together being refined into what will hopefully be a releasable version before too long.

  • Warmachine was always supposed to have a damage and armor typing system that makes certain weapons better against certain targets than they would be otherwise. Some of the tech descriptions are meant to indicate this; for instance Xiphos should be getting full damage vs fighters and reduced damage against larger targets, while Enyo should get bonus damage vs cruisers and bombers and reduced damage against fighters. But unfortunately, we screwed up and none of this was in replace for version 1. The balance implications are broad enough that I didn't want to rush out a patch turning it all on before we could get a decent amount of play time and make sure nothing horribly broke, which hasn't been in abundance the last few months but is slowly getting there.
  • The pulse cannon effects have been rebuilt from scratch, in a way that has balance impact that also needs evaluating. For a preview of the sub-destroyer version, see here
  • Vishnan missions are still more hellish than I want. We're working on bringing some neglected aspects of their fighters to be less of a step down from the GTVA superfighters you can get used to, and some mission tweaks are on the table to make life better too.
  • The characters should all get to say their lines in A Time For Heroes.

My attempts to build a new alternative TEI fighter lineup to switch the missions over to are probably not going to be included in this version, as my attention has been elsewhere.

Beyond that, we are looking into making some ship models. This is a thing both myself and Talhydras have done for other games in the past, but we need to catch up a bit on modern skills. More will be shared when it's more sharable, but we're going to try to not let anything else get hung up on waiting for these.

In similarly long term ideas, I do want to be clear that we do intend to build a campaign for Warmachine. Some work and planning has been done here, but results won't be overnight. I'm sure you know the drill around here. More when there's more here too. But I want to say now; Warmachine as a project first emerged as speculation about and reaction to AoA back before there was a WiH, and trying to adapt those ideas to stay compatible with all the BP out now wouldn't let Warmachine remain Warmachine. So, we're not going to go out of our way to contradict BP, but there's quite likely going to be a lot of places where we do. That's just the nature of the thing.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
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It would be interesting dancing in and around the margins of the Shivan threat. Remnant forces, splinter fleets, strange signals, ghost ships, weird subspace events. It seems like it would be right up the TEI's alley to hunt and sweep for any hint of Shivan presence for both weapon testing and research. Which leads to all kinds of opportunities for the hunters to become the hunted, as is usually the case in FS2.

 
I really like what you've done with this mod. In particular, I think that the bomb-by-bomb lock system is an easy way of answering the question of how to make bombing runs interesting. The missiles are all really fun to use, the multi-lock system clearly has a bright future. I have a few suggestions, though.
One of the issues with adapting a tight, story-focused campaign like AoA is that it doesn't offer many opportunities for playing around with ships and weapons loadouts. Most of the missions don't have relatively calm periods. Retail FS2 has a lot of missions where you jump a couple of freighters and a cruiser + fighters or defend against unfocused respawning Shivan fighters. One of the reasons for those missions is to encourage the player to experiment with weapons in a permissive environment.
I would suggest adding a mission like that to the simulator. Maybe you kill a cruiser and disable a couple of transports. Then defend against large numbers of unfocused bombers and fighters while some marines aboard Argos storm the transports. Maybe you have to defang a corvette or a destroyer while an allied ship kills them. You then have to defend the allied ship against waves of fighters and bombers.

Also, I really think you should make sure beams are the longest ranged weapon on a given ship. It looks really goofy when the Orestes guns down the Sathanas before it even enters beam range. It feels really wrong for beams to not be the most visually impressive weapon on a FreeSpace capital ship, but that's an aesthetic matter.

 

Offline EatThePath

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Thank you for your kind words!

...doesn't offer many opportunities for playing around with ships and weapons loadouts. Most of the missions don't have relatively calm periods. Retail FS2 has a lot of missions where you jump a couple of freighters and a cruiser + fighters or defend against unfocused respawning Shivan fighters. One of the reasons for those missions is to encourage the player to experiment with weapons in a permissive environment.
I would suggest adding a mission like that to the simulator. Maybe you kill a cruiser and disable a couple of transports. Then defend against large numbers of unfocused bombers and fighters while some marines aboard Argos storm the transports. Maybe you have to defang a corvette or a destroyer while an allied ship kills them. You then have to defend the allied ship against waves of fighters and bombers.

That's a pretty valubale piece of advice I think, thank you. My tendancy when I open FRED seems to be to start cobbling together another high intensity set piece battle involving at a minimum of three destroyers, but that kind of bread and butter freespace gameplay is I think pretty important to tie things together and let the big brawls breathe a little. Right now if I open FRED it's probably to build things for the eventual Warmachine campaign, but it's very worth keeping in mind.

Also, I really think you should make sure beams are the longest ranged weapon on a given ship. It looks really goofy when the Orestes guns down the Sathanas before it even enters beam range. It feels really wrong for beams to not be the most visually impressive weapon on a FreeSpace capital ship, but that's an aesthetic matter.

It is largely an aesthetic choice yeah, one of Talhydras's early motivations was a frustration with capital ship weapons besides beams feeling like they didn't come into play outside of knife fight games, especially relative to the lengths of destroyers.  But perhaps you'll find some solace in the eventual next update when I get it out, where he's gone and made the pulse cannons a bit more true to their name...  :D
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
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Offline EatThePath

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It's sure been a minute since I put updates here hasn't it? Easy to fall into the trap of dropping bits and dabs in discord as they happen and never posting here.

It's been a busy year so far for me, but a lot of it with non-warmachine things. I've got some things working that we'll talk about some other time, because I want to show you what Talhydras, who has been busy on Warmachine, has been busy with.

If you've played the mod you may have noticed two fighters with names that don't match their models and crazy good stats, the GTF Achilles and GTF Ishtar. These are intended as powerful next-next-generation fighters, representing the next step beyond the main-line TEI fighters. Talhydas has been stepping up his 3D art game to produce at last his vision of the Achilles.


This fighter is being worked into the game currently, and while there might be some kinks for a while owing to the fact that it's design was not tightly constrained to engine limits, I see no reason why it shouldn't be part of the next release version.

You may notice the missiles it carries look new, and you're right. To fit with the new model Tal also rebuilt the missile models so we're not leaning on either his last pass on them from many years ago or on the even older BP missiles that have been filling in our gaps. He's also modeled some of the powerful new secondary-bank gun pods, as they form an important part of the superfighters' identity and silhouette. He's collected them here for exhibition:


These two are going into game presently, for use on all GTVA fighters, with the same Warmachine missile behaviors you're familiar with.

If you want to know more about his process, inspirations or objectives, he's been chronicling his work on the Achilles and on other things too over at his art blog. There's several posts about the Achilles, both WIP and background thoughts, if that's what you're into.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
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"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline EatThePath

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Warmachine: r2 development sprint, testers recruitment
Some features we’ve been waiting on got merged into FSO this last month, and it is currently our objective to have the next version of Warmachine ready for testing when the release candidates start up, hopefully in just a few weeks. If you’re interested in testing it, please post here or PM me, here or on Discord(EatThePath#6123).

Internally titled R2: ZIPSANDZAPSANDMISSLERACKS, Warmachine 1.2 will consist of all the same missions as it has so far, but with at least the following changes, and possibly a few more.
  • New graphics and behavior for the Pulse Cannon weapon family, using some innovative tricks from Talhydras and the new Type 5 Beam engine capabilities engineered by Asteroth to live up to the name better than ever before.
  • The Achilles fighter now fully modeled and accompanied by new models for most of the GTVA secondary weapon family. Some features of the Achilles, related to complex animations and external weapon features the engine doesn’t yet support, will likely be absent and get patched in down the road, but the fighter is pretty glorious even without them.
  • The GTVA TEI fighter lineup has been nearly entirely replaced with new ships. These ships use existing models, but have new names and stats in service of my personal attempts to have more well defined gameplay roles.
  • In addition the GTB Boanerges has substituted for the GTB Sirrush, a fast strike bomber using the UEB Lapith model. Carrying a special heavy weapon in it’s second primary bank and significant secondary capacity, the Sirrush serves as both missile bus for the heavy Sunflare ASM and as a cruiser-chewing gunship.
  • Talhydras has spruced up many of the visual effects, and in particular he and Kestrellius have collaborated on a general overhaul of the laser sprites. Part of this relates to a WIP engine feature to make long skinny projectiles look less weird while seen from directly ahead or behind, but those particular changes will if needed be deferred to future patches if that feature doesn’t get into the next engine version.
  • Lafiel and Svedal’s enhanced HUD icons is integrated. I’ve customized the settings for icon size and fading some, and may replace a few icons here and there, so feedback on that would be useful from testers.
  • Some missiles are new smarter in their locking behavior. For instance if you target a turret with the massacre or spectre missiles selected you will acquire locks on only the other turrets and subsystems of that same ship, but when you have a fighter or bomber targeted they will continue to behave as you’ve become used to.
  • The Marduk and Tiamat secondary gun pods have been added in to the appropriate weapon pools, a powerful supplemental long range sniper weapon and close range shotgun respectively. The Osiris gun pod, a high rate of fire option already available in existing versions, has also received a visual, audio, and gameplay overhaul
  • Vishnan missions, weapons and especially ships have received an overhaul to try to even out the difficulty a bit more. Vishnan ships should now be similar in mobility to GTVA superfighters, rather than being stuck with standard BP movement stats and capabilities
  • The mod has been updated to include the relevant content from MVPs 4.4.x in a way that avoids the issues some mods(Like blue planet itself) have been experiencing with mainhall files.
  • AIs will not try to use secondaries that are out of range, so all those fighters with 900m range massacres in their first bank and multi-km range wraiths in their second bank won’t be holding fire until they see the red of the shivan’s eyes anymore.
  • The armor and damage typing system that was intended to emphasize weapon roles has actually been implemented. If a weapon says it’s good against cruisers and bad against fighters, this is now supported by damage multipliers. Mission balance may have subtly shifted as a result.
  • Some small adjustments to various missions, most heavily in optimization of Universal Truth, the deployment of some new Shivan weapons there, and some experimental changes to how Fallen Angel plays out.
  • Loading screen tips have been added to try to make some of the subtler changes to gameplay more easily noticed and taken advantage of
If you expect to have the time and temperament to give any significant chunk of that a good through stress test in late this month and early next month, please consider testing

I thought I’d also throw in an art tease here too. Alongside the Achilles Talhydras has been working on a new bomber model, the Marathon. This is intended to be in some ways more and in some ways less like a traditional bomber than the Sirrush, the gameplay concept includes a steath mode/variant, attempts to make having a turret more fun, and ideas for special bombs/bombing gameplay. A lot of that will need custom missions to really shine, but when done it should be able to flesh out the roster of bombers in regular missions immediately.


I don't think I can say for sure if the Marathon will or won't be in the initial r2 release, we'll have to see how the various timelines pan out there.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 
Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
is this your own campaign
if il tet your thing

 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Wouter: The testing will be of Age of Aquarius again, new missions are still in the pipeline but not here yet.

My hope is still to get that version out to testing for the FSO release candidates, but that's waiting on a few things. In the mean time... I thought about making a different video for today, but I got side tracked on this other novelty. The Icarus cutscene mission War in Heaven gets used for benchmarks and references fairly frequently, and I have often wondered what it would look like with Warmachine's GTVA in place. While we still have no plans at all to make a 'Warmachine in Heaven' conversion of WIH, because god help anyone who tries to make flying against this **** fun without completely gutting it, a little(okay a lot) of find replace and minor tweaks got something pretty spectacular, and the dogfight in the middle makes for a pretty solid Achilles showcase.

Besides the Achilles fighting, keep an eye and ear out for the revamped TEI point defense turret at around 54 seconds, and also the Carthage has gotten the weapon set from the Orion I used on the Isen simulator mission. Because of the somewhat quick and dirty method used to get the new pulse cannons firing there's also just a lot more gratuitous beamfire in general, and some double-beaming going on. I have deemed this acceptable for the goals here.

Once R2 is out I'll probably post that mission file separately for anyone who wants it.
« Last Edit: July 04, 2021, 10:33:06 pm by EatThePath »
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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It's sure been a minute since I put updates here hasn't it? Easy to fall into the trap of dropping bits and dabs in discord as they happen and never posting here.

It's been a busy year so far for me, but a lot of it with non-warmachine things. I've got some things working that we'll talk about some other time, because I want to show you what Talhydras, who has been busy on Warmachine, has been busy with.

If you've played the mod you may have noticed two fighters with names that don't match their models and crazy good stats, the GTF Achilles and GTF Ishtar. These are intended as powerful next-next-generation fighters, representing the next step beyond the main-line TEI fighters. Talhydas has been stepping up his 3D art game to produce at last his vision of the Achilles.


This fighter is being worked into the game currently, and while there might be some kinks for a while owing to the fact that it's design was not tightly constrained to engine limits, I see no reason why it shouldn't be part of the next release version.

You may notice the missiles it carries look new, and you're right. To fit with the new model Tal also rebuilt the missile models so we're not leaning on either his last pass on them from many years ago or on the even older BP missiles that have been filling in our gaps. He's also modeled some of the powerful new secondary-bank gun pods, as they form an important part of the superfighters' identity and silhouette. He's collected them here for exhibition:


These two are going into game presently, for use on all GTVA fighters, with the same Warmachine missile behaviors you're familiar with.

If you want to know more about his process, inspirations or objectives, he's been chronicling his work on the Achilles and on other things too over at his art blog. There's several posts about the Achilles, both WIP and background thoughts, if that's what you're into.


Well..... Here we go again.gif
(complimentary I assure you)

 
Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Yeah but someone else is busy with this projact
Blue planet is not from you
Its from someone else
Bp team is it from but i like testing but you really need te make your own campaign stuff instead of bp bp is from them bp team that edit is also for them idea you can give but dont use someone else content
No offencive to you eat the path but its true previeuwsly told about it
Look at goober campaigns and all other ppl made thier own content with designers
Make a own one its mutch better then stealing from other ppl  :p
I hope you understand what ive saying

Nothing agenst you at all

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
There's nothing wrong with making mods of mods as long as credit is given and consent is reciprocated.

  

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
There's nothing wrong with making mods of mods as long as credit is given and consent is reciprocated.

Does Orestes control approve?  ;7
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Offline EatThePath

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Personally I don't think that a mod of a mod should need permission from the original mod team any more than I think a mod should need permission from the original game developers. Legally both are needed, but ethically, I fall on the other side of the question.

But that's probably a matter for another thread if people want to chew on it more. In this specific case, the only reason Warmachine ever even approached release is the encouragement and help of the blue planet team back in the IRC #BP. Blue planet devs have been in the loop for years, and have only ever had positive things to say about the idea.

It's certainly true that the mod would be better off with our own campaign. Some recent chat on Discord made it clear to me that AoA's first few missions are deeply inadequate at teaching the player enough mastery of the arsenal by the time they get to Forced Entry, for instance(though Forced Entry being a sudden difficulty wall that makes you repeatedly hammer your face on it until you Git Gud is very nostalgic for pre-WIH Blue Planet, I must say). We're working on it, but neither Talhydras nor I have a surplus of unallocated creative energy or a great deal of FRED experience. So, enjoy AoA and Isen Defense for now. Or don't, I guess.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline Colonol Dekker

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Orestes Control is very uncontrolling.

I should've said, regarding RELEASE
There's nothing wrong with making mods of mods as long as credit is given and consent is reciprocated.
but overall it's not the sort of thing we normally get hung up on.


 

Offline EatThePath

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Well, life has repeatedly thrown wrenches at both Talhydras' life and mine, and it seems like the same is true for some of the SCP critical to getting their release candidate out too, so... that thing about a few weeks from testing feels close at hand, but not any closer than it did the last time I said it, so, it'll be done when it's done I guess.

Tal has been plugging away at the Marathon bomber I posted a little bit back, deep into the texturing of it.


I think it's turning out pretty great, and sooner or later I'll have to start editing/making missions to give it a chance to shine.

Speaking of shining, I've been distracted a lot by the shader work Qaz has been doing, and got sucked into that. There's stuff on the horizon there that's very visually exciting for me... but it nerd sniped me hard along two different angles. One angle is hopefully going to grow into an FSO code contribution, but that's a topic for another time and place. The other angle concerns Warmachine more specifically though.

Simply put, the good old TEI ship models, while glorious works of art in their own rights, are done a disservice by the modern game, both the lighting engine and how they compare to the recent monsters produced by Nyx and Oddgrim, and AoA puts them right next to one another often. That's by no means a critique, it's a nessicary evil, but messing with the shader options made those new ships look even better, while doing next to nothing for the TEI ships.

That largely owes to the fact that the BP ships don't have PBR textures, coming from the era before that. It is highly impractical to overhaul so many ships with their complex textures, and with PBR textures you'd probably have to start over from scratch to get good results, since the workflow is just so different from the old way.
 
So anyway, last week I overhauled all the TEI ships to update their original textures to be (sorta) PBR assets.

In some lighting conditions the effect can be subtle, in others it can be dramatic. The conversion was highly automated, but I strove to tune the pipeline to bring out some of the different materials implied by the old textures as much I could. It still is humbled by the MVPs' PBR capital ships, or the texture work Talhydras has been doing lately, but it is enough of an upgrade to really make me feel better about seeing the ships together.

Of course, these textures will be made available to BP whenever they want, and anyone else using these ships in a mod is welcome to them as well. And if anyone wants to update other old ships, I'm not offering that as a service but I'd be happy to talk to you about how I did it.

And finally, as a break from texturing Talhydras surprised me by revealing a deeper affection for the Hecate than I ever suspected and churned out a Warmachine-era upgrade package for it, and after he added it to Isen I recorded a run, with fully polished up TIE textures to boot.


Tomorrow night I might post a shinier Icarus too.

Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
I must admit I hadn't looked into your mod before, but that was INTENSE!  Those rapid fire turrets really give more action than the usual blob turrets.  Are they actual short-period beams with same-cooldown flags, or just really long and fast laser pulses?  I did note that they aren't always following the turret normals though.  Is that deliberate behavior?
The Trivial Psychic Strikes Again!

 

Offline Iain Baker

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
The videos are beautiful :-)

If I had a recommendation, it would be to tone down the particles spewing all over the place when the pulse turrets fire, since they look like the ship itself is being shot at, sparks are flying and its' taking damage. :-)
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Offline EatThePath

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
Are they actual short-period beams with same-cooldown flags, or just really long and fast laser pulses?  I did note that they aren't always following the turret normals though.  Is that deliberate behavior?

To the first, they're short period beams with a texture that has gaps in it and scrolls at many km/s. Though the 'classic' version in the current public build is very fast lasers with long trails.
To the second, no it isn't deliberate. it is I believe an engine bug that has proven... difficult to pin down.
Name your damn turrets and sounds! Numbers alone aren't helpful!
"if disco is dead then I am the laser lich"
"...[Warmachine] keeps changing as fast as EatThePath can force the engine to do his dark bidding..."

 

Offline Trivial Psychic

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Re: RELEASE: Warmachine(Looking for testers for next version)
You can force a beam to fire ONLY down a turret's normals by making it a Type 4.  You just have to make sure you add enough flags to the turret to tell it only to engage when its pointing at the target.
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