Monday, August 25, 2008

Preview 3 is up (also music files)

Hello all,

Preview 3 is now up and ready for download. You will need to install OpenAL if you want sound, and if you want music, download the music files and unzip them into a folder called "music" wherever you place the executable file.
If you choose a faction, you'll have one random AI opponent automatically; if you play in Observer mode, you can enjoy watching three AI players duke it out.

Major recent changes:
  • After a boatload of research and testing, I have successfully switched the audio library to OpenAL. Two major reasons: One, it's multi-platform, which is a must. Two, this allows streaming of music, which means no more needing 800mb of RAM free to decompress the files!!! I think you'll also find the sound is much cleaner in general. However, it does mean you will need to install OpenAL to have sound in the game.
  • Computer opponents are now (nearly) fully implemented. They aren't the smartest on the planet and their performance is erratic, but they'll beat you up good if you let your guard down. They won't build special units, so consider that your advantage.
  • Made some more minor graphical changes, including removing the "half-radar" screen you get without an Outpost and replacing it with your House Emblem. Haven't decided whether to keep this.
  • Optimized a few parts of code, hopefully it's noticeable on slower systems (we'll see).
  • Config.ini file now working properly, so you can play the game in FULL-SCREEN at glorious 640x480!
  • Added an "Air Strikes" toggle at the HTF allowing you to recall/release all Ornithopters in one go.
  • Move orders now default to Protect orders at destination. This was only logical.
  • Death Hands still destroy themselves when launching, but will not detonate over a wide area. Malfunction rate is higher though.
  • Power penalties for buildings now scale more drastically with distance. Knocking out an enemy's windtraps at a remote station will very likely bring the whole station down.
  • Combat production buildings release units outside of the buildings now, instead of inside one of the building cells. They are still most likely to come out near the old "exit" zone. Refineries and Starports are unchanged, since they have cells that are intentionally traversable by friendly units.
  • Homing bullets now function more effectively and should not fail to strike infantry at high speed.
Next major release will have multiplayer capabilities, but this will be some time in the future, likely many months from now. Hold your water.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

1.23 Update

Done a lot in the last few weeks. Tried out many different ways of changing the construction methods in the game, such as auto-spreading concrete and requiring concrete to build. Eventually I settled on what evolved into several of the game updates listed below.
  • All buildings can only repair when outside of combat now. This makes the game much more offensively oriented as even a single unit can eventually take down an undefended building.
  • Various minor balance changes reflecting above change.
  • Several noticeable graphical changes (for the better).
  • When a building is destroyed, it leaves rubble. This rubble prevents any buildings from being placed in that location for ten seconds. This resolves land-spamming issues.
  • Microwave upgrade now allows buildings to be placed at three times the normal distance, instead of at any distance. Power penalties for distance still apply, and factor heavily in taking damage to expansion bases.
  • There will be an AI opponent in the next release. :)
  • Wormsign is now a timed event that lasts for random durations. Approximately every two minutes, the status of worms in the area changes. Movement of heavy vehicles should be limited during Wormsign.
  • Expect many further minor changes in unit stats, costs, etc.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

BlitzMax coders needed for possible recruitment

Hello everyone. I have an announcement.
While working on the AI routines and thinking about the future of the project, I've been toying with an idea I've mulled over for some time: Turning this project over to a group. This single project has been too long in the making for me in many ways, and I'd like to be able to devote some energy to other things, new things. I have over 700 hours personally invested in it now, including the original Dune 2: TSHA up through the current Universal Version.
So here's the situation. The structure of the gameplay itself is basically intact, and works as I would like it to for a single player. If any readers have provable BlitzMax experience and want to join a potential group to take this game all the way to the end stages of production (AI, multiplayer, better chatroom/wrappers, etc.), contact me. The project will still be under my control, so if I do this, don't expect to inject a lot of your own personal creativity beyond the code itself; however, you will have full credit, and you will be part of a group that may do something even better some day. I may not approve any deviation from gameplay, but I will be very open to rewrites and code enhancements. I know I'm not the world's greatest coder.
Please only contact me if you have good BlitzMax experience, or are very confident you can lend expertise in some other way (such as being a C++ guru, or a sound editor, etc).