Thursday, December 23, 2010


Hey everybody,
First of all, happy holidays to all!  And thanks very much to those special few who donated recently.  As some of you know, I'm back early from my overseas trip, due to some medical issues.  In the interest of staying sane, I've been looking at D2TGP and the new project I've been working on, and decided to make some decisions (that I will actually stick to this time).  They are as follows:

  • My next project (see previous blog post regarding that) will now get almost all of my free time by priority.  D2TGP is full of so much legacy code, I don't even want to look at it any more. :)  This is the main reason so many bugs keep popping up as I add new features (or even fix other bugs).  It's time to start over completely instead of plastering half the body.
  • There will be only one more major update possible for D2TGP.  That will be upgrading to a new network library as previously mentioned, and possibly one final change with the Fremen.  No other new features will be added now that waypoints and the new zoom effect are in place.
  • New versions will be less frequent, and as stated, will involve a beta test period available only to donators.  They will be focused on fixing bugs and occasional optimization.
  • The source code may someday be available, but hasn't been up to now for the following reasons:
    • I don't know how to manage an open source code project while protecting against version splintering
    • I code in Blitz, which not many others know, and I have almost no knowledge of C, so working with others collaboratively is difficult
    • It has always been possible that some of what I created for this project will be used in a future commercial effort (i.e. the next project)
  • In short, I have not decided to release the source, but I have decided to make a decision on it some day. :)
So effectively, I am declaring D2TGP as being out of the design stages.  If you wanted, you could say it is out of alpha, and halfway through beta.  Any changes to design at the moment would be minor and will run through the beta process.

So please, continue to report bugs and help the project along.  Good things will come in the future, both for stabilizing this project and for an entirely better system in development.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

1.1.14b Release (Win)

Last release of the year.  Just a small one to fix some bugs.  Please see the previous two posts.  I'm off overseas tomorrow and won't be updating anything until January at least.  I've tested this release as much as I can, locally and networked, and remember that you can find links to older versions in the forums (in case there's some huge bug here I missed)!

And just FYI, the reason so many odd bugs popped up is because I needed to rewrite a substantial amount of code to work with the new zoom system, both to allow the same normal functions at any zoom level, and also to draw so many elements without taxing the average computer system.

One big caution about this update:  random maps now take a lot longer to generate!  I will try to optimize this later, but the upside is that drawing the map itself is faster.  So please, have a bit of patience when starting a game.  It may seem frozen a few seconds but it should complete.

Changelog since 1.1.14a:
  • Fixed bugs with concrete slab behavior
  • Fixed bugs with spice behavior
  • Fixed drawing positions of Starport queues
Other known bugs will have to wait for later.  And remember that Donators will have access to the beta program starting next year, which may also include other projects in the future.

Happy Holidays everyone and see you next year!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Holidays and beta program

Hi all,
I hope you're enjoying the new zoom effect, even though it created some new small bugs.  It took a lot of work to figure out and implement, since it is actually in 2d.  I'll try to get another bugfix version out this week but I'm not sure I'll have time.  The crashing appears to have been fixed though, so I won't feel too bad about the state of D2TGP if it has to stay this way a month.

Now that we have over 100 forum users, when I come back I will be starting an official beta program.  Donators will automatically have access to it.  I will be making early versions available for testing to that select few, and stable versions will start to be released much more slowly to make sure they have as few bugs as possible.

On a related note, I could still really use any donations anyone might be considering.  I leave this Friday and I've only had one donation so far, from someone who already donated before!  Even if it's only $1, that's enough to get you in as a Donator at the forums and to have my thanks.  Obviously you don't have to, and you shouldn't feel bad if you are unable (we're all poor right now).  But it's all appreciated very much.

Thanks everyone

Monday, December 06, 2010

1.1.14a (Win) Bugfix Release

1.1.14a is now available for download.

  • Windows graphics drivers now set to DirectX 9 in an effort to resolve many visual bug issues for certain users (was OpenGL).  It's been used in older versions so there should be no new issues because of it
  • Fixed bad limits for scrolling using keyboard direction keys
  • Fixed Frigate scaling
  • Fixed several issues with graphics being drawn in unexplored areas
Please see the previous post for full changes in 1.1.14.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

1.1.14 Release (Win)

Ok guys, if anyone is feeling the holiday spirit, now's the time to help.  I am leaving in 5 days for my vacation to Europe and I'm very short on funds (i.e., I will be eating berries from bushes unless I get some help).  Thanks a lot for all your support, and I will be very thankful for anything you can spare.
Since I'll be leaving soon, this is the last update for probably at least a month.  I don't plan on doing any development while I am gone.  When I come back I'll see also about a Linux release, but I don't have time now unfortunately.  However, this update should make all you Windows users (which is just about everybody) happy.  It adds a big new feature and should resolve the crashing issues people have had lately.  I'm very proud of this release and I hope you agree it's a great one.

Changelog since 1.1.10:
  • "2.5"-d zoom is now available.  This is basically the same as what was previewed in the YouTube video on D2TGP 2.0 (but we're not quite there yet).  Keep in mind it is a computational zoom effect in 2d, not full 3d in any sense.  It will require some smoothing out and tweaking later I'm sure
  • Infantry cannot be seen on the main map unless the Zoom level is at normal (you will see the Observer graphic on your GUI), or the Improved Radar upgrade is active.  They are still always invisible on the minimap.
  • Clicking the mousewheel button now always scrolls the map.  Rolling the mousewheel now zooms in and out when the player has an Outpost
  • Multi-threading core has now been completely disabled (suspect it was making problems for older computers even while disabled, and too many players were using it accidentally or on purpose and then complaining about stability)
  • Random Infantry no longer eject from destroyed buildings (I know, it's cool for tradition, but I don't feel the random nature of it fits the rest of the game)
  • Added sound effect for players joining
  • Changed sound playback to stop "Base Under Attack" message repeating too often
  • Fixed bug with scattering routines potentially causing crash
  • Fixed bug with IX menus potentially causing crash
  • Added a Donate button on Configurator screen

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1.1.10 Release (Win)

I had planned to make my next update the big switch to the new network library, but that's going to be a bigger job than I anticipated based on the time I have available.  So, here's a minor update to tide you over.
Changelog since 1.1.09:

  • Added Unit Aggression option at Outpost.  When enabled, all units will attack any unit or structure they see when on Attack orders (instead of just military units)
  • Added RMB Move/Attack option at Outpost.  This will control whether Right-clicking with a unit will cause it to Move or Attack
  • Harvesters on Return orders will now request Carryall pickup at any distance to Refinery
  • Fixed bug with some bad Waypoint draws
  • Fixed bug with Default Retreat setting at Outpost failing to apply to new units

Friday, November 19, 2010

1.1.09 Release (Win and Linux)

Minor release, mainly to fix a couple very old bugs.  After this I will be focusing on the major switch to a new network library.
Changelog since 1.1.08:

  • Clicking on the minimap now issues orders/waypoints
  • Fixed last remaining known issue with Maintain flag at Refineries failing to replenish lost Harvesters
  • Fixed last remaining known issue with Sonic Tanks causing freeze/crashes sometimes when all power is lost

UPDATE:  Linux version released also.  May still have problems with the music version due to lack of a perfectly functional streaming music library (and my inability to test distributions), but otherwise should work well.

Monday, November 15, 2010

1.1.08 Release

Changelog since 1.1.07:

  • Units on Attack orders will not fire on non-combatants (units or buildings without weapons).  This is to maximize effective combat between armies and I think you'll like it once you get used to it.  Units on Guard, Stop and other orders will still attack them normally (remember that Attack defaults to Guard orders on reaching its destination), so you should still have good control over things while getting better AI behavior from your military units
  • By popular request, queues may now be drag-dropped by holding down the left mouse button
  • Cargo weight now affects Carryalls even more (maxing to about 50% slowdown)
  • Double-tapping F1 will select and also center on a ConYard
  • Finally made good progress on the bug with Refinery "Maintain" functionality.  Not perfect yet but much improved and I know the remaining issues, so it should be fixed completely soon
  • All non-combatants avoid the special homing effect of enemy weapons when on Move orders (previously this only applied to Harvesters)
  • Fixed bug with pressing Space key during chat causing screen to jump to last event
  • Fixed bug allowing dragbox while trying to place queues
  • Fixed another bug allowing Armed Harvesters to be selected in a dragbox with military units
  • Fixed bug allowing non-combatants to given Attack orders

Thursday, November 11, 2010

1.1.07 Release

First let me say something about the forums.  I DO read everything placed there, and I always give consideration to ideas both good and bad.  Do I get snappy?  Sure, I'm a busy guy.  Will I yell at you for not following rules?  Of course; the rules are there for the benefit of everyone who appreciates this project, and they will benefit you too if others follow them.  So, please continue to use the forums whenever possible.  Bug reports are especially important.  It's very disappointing to me to hear that a version is basically non-functional or something in a big way, sometimes for days or sometimes for weeks, without anyone breathing a word.  Times like that make me wonder why I still keep this project public.  I understand if you really don't want to donate, but at least don't let me lay around in ignorance.  I often have more time to code than I do to actually test the game or discuss it, so I'm dependent on your help if you'd like the game to improve or you want the community to grow.

That being said, I had a few free hours today to get an update done and test things out quickly.  This update is mostly a bugfix but it does have some significant changes.  I promise this time it is at least playable by network. ;)  PLEASE download and try it out, because I think it is really starting to come close to the performance and playability I have been aiming for.
  • Units on Move orders will not longer automatically Retreat when fired upon.  They will move ahead and still take twice the normal damage, but I will leave it up to the player to decide if he wants the unit to Retreat or not by using the Retreat Threshold toggle (A donator recently mentioned that he felt Retreat wasn't very useful.  On reflection I had to agree that it no longer worked the way I envisioned, so this will change things up a bit)
  • Retreat orders now dramatically increase speed and turning radius while active
  • Clients in network games will now draw waypoints (still isn't perfect)
  • Units just produced and on their way to Queue locations will now show waypoints
  • Fixed enormous bug with ordering system causing odd player/unit overlap and most of the orders in a network game to fail
  • Fixed another bug with network ordering
  • Fixed bug with non-combatant units not following waypoints properly
  • Fixed bug with "N" key not working for Harvester Return orders

Sunday, November 07, 2010

1.1.06 Release

Possibly an even more important update than the last, this should significantly improve performance over both local and network games.  This may introduce some superficial inconsistencies in network games, but I hope to iron those out in later versions.

Changelog since 1.1.05:

  • Restructured network communication for units in motion to leverage existing cell-to-cell motion
  • Introduced more staggering routines to prevent massive troop orders from causing lag
  • Removed many instances of debug code causing unforeseen performance issues
  • Fixed bug with Death Hand menu item being unclickable
  • Fixed bug with Armed Harvesters being unselectable

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Performance issues

I'll probably be making another release soon, but right now I'm pulling my hair out, trying to find a performance issue with pathfinding that crept in at version 1.1.02.  If you go back versions you'll see that 1.1.00 had noticeably faster response when moving large selections of units.  The problem is that I cannot for the life of me figure out what was added to cause this change in behavior, and I've gone through almost every bit of code in each version.

The good news is that the next version will have reduced network traffic needs, but until I can get the local performance issue resolved (which also affects 1.1.05), you won't even notice the improvement.

Also keep in mind that I will be working a lot and then leaving for my long vacation (DONATE PLEASE!), so I probably won't be making more updates until the next year.  If I do, they will be mostly bugfixes.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

1.1.05 Release

An important update, so be sure to get it.  This fixes some huge memory management problems that have cropped up, causing very high RAM usage and even crashes because of it.  It also introduces Multithreading as an option, but this is very experimental so far, so don't expect it to do much good yet (and do expect it to crash).  It's really only for my own development.

Full changelog since 1.1.02:
  • Waypoints are now useable by either holding Shift or by holding down an order hotkey.  This functions perfectly in both Host and Client, but the Client does not yet show the waypoint sequence lines
  • Multithreading has been added as an option.  It currently only applies to network games and is not stable, but may be expanded upon in the future
  • Flags now draw only if a building is finished
  • Buildings can now only be produced at a distance from finished buildings (i.e. you cannot lay walls out to infinity now before they are built)
  • Combat Victory conditions now ignore the presence of all 1-cell sized buildings
  • Building rangefinding now measures from the center of each building correctly
  • Windtraps no longer provide power when they are "unpowered" (read: Mindgassed)
  • Fixed combination of issues causing massive memory leaks to reduce requirements down to 20% of previous versions (a normal large game should take less than 200mb of RAM)
  • Fixed bug causing Rocket Launchers and Saboteurs to fail to do extra damage vs Defended buildings
  • Fixed bug with units remaining selected after being converted by a Deviator
  • Fixed bug preventing Death Hand from being purchased
  • Fixed bug with buildings losing power and still being half-selected
  • Many other changes/fixes behind the scenes

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Statement of (re-)direction

So what the heck has been going on here?  First I say I'm abandoning this project in favor of a new one, and then I start updating this one even more frequently than I ever did before.  First I say I don't want the project community to expand too much due to concerns over intellectual property, and then I turn around and start casting games and talking to nearly every member who contacts me on Steam or in the forums.  What gives?

Well, things definitely have shifted around a bit.  Not long after I started on the new project, I began speaking with the developer of the network library I use.  He and I have since decided to collaborate directly on a new project, upon which I will most likely base my new project.  In addition, I continue to learn good programming practices and what is possible, and I've been doing all that at a fast rate lately.  When I get some good ideas I need to start working with them right away, and since I'm not working on my other project at the moment, I have lots of leftover creative energy.  So, I've been taking a lot of those ideas and, even though it is sometimes a waste of time or sometimes a bit crazy, bringing them into to D2TGP.

As far as the community goes, I've decided it's worth the risk to start building it up, and I'm finally proud enough of the project that I want to introduce everyone to it.  I've made a lot of good friends (and a couple great ones) from Europe and Asia and I'm starting to feel more like a member of the "world community", which feels great.

On a similar note, I am in enormous need of money, to keep all my resources going.  So, if you know any millionaires, or even just have a few bucks lying around that want to go on a plane ride, please donate to this project.  I will be most thankful.

So, thanks for your time and keep your eyes open.  You never do know what will happen with me I guess. :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

1.1.02 Release

Let me start off by saying: this is definitely one of my more ambitious releases, so while it fixes several bugs, I'm sure it will add a few new ones in there somewhere.  When I get a burst of creative energy I have to let it go for a while, and at this point I had to force myself to make another release before going deeper into changes.  There's some stuff in here I've wanted to do a long time, and others I've only thought of recently.  As I get better and better at programming, more and more things feel much easier to achieve, which only means good things for everyone. :)

Changelog since 1.1.00:

  • Updated online database and PHP code to track game statistics for possible future ladder system, or at least to view statistics
  • Detonations
    • Now hit buildings once, instead of once for each cell covered
  • Buildings
    • All buildings will now only continue to produce while they are not under attack
  • Ordos
    • Now have Trikes
    • Raider
      • Now a distinctive unit (you'll see)
      • Enhanced to be even faster and lighter
    • Deviator
      • Now has a multitude of possible effects versus ground units, including (get ready) the ability to permanently convert enemy units to other factions (at a very low percentage of course).  Buildings can still only suffer the power-down effect
      • No units are immune to any of these effects now (previously Alliance units were immune)
  • Harkonnen
    • Devastator destruct now does 250 damage down from 300
  • Starport
    • Premium for purchases is now set at static 25%
    • Harkonnen cannot purchase Trikes
    • Ordos can purchase Trikes
    • All factions can purchase Infantry
    • Harkonnen and Ordos can purchase Troopers
  • Alliances
    • Death Hand damage reduced to 350 from 400
    • Spacing Guild now reduces Starport premium to static 5%
    • Fremen Warriors now gain +25 damage vs Foot units, instead of +15
  • Carryalls
    • Carryall speed is now directly affected by the weight of the unit being transported
    • General top speed has been slightly increased about 7%
  • Upgrades
    • Most upgrades have had their costs increased to reflect the new higher map Spice totals
    • Armed Harvesters is now an Upgrade that changes all future produced Harvesters
  • Interface
    • Clicking on a single unit previously selected will now cause all units of that type within a short range to be selected
    • Edge-scrolling is disabled while the dragbox is active
  • Other minor graphical improvements
  • Fixed bug with Death Hand damage application
  • Fixed bug with dragbox being able to select units off-screen
  • Fixed bug with Formation and Retreat level buttons when units are selected, preventing their use
  • Fixed bug preventing Observers from seeing Foot units in Crags

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

1.1.00 Release

Whee!  Mainly a bugfix release (noticed some things weren't working during recent testing) but some new things also.  Most importantly, there are many changes to visibility control that you should pay a lot of attention to.

Changelog since 1.0.99:

  • Some units are now "Stealthy".  This include Saboteurs, Trading Posts, and any Foot Soldier inside Crags while not in combat.  This was already coded in the past but due to a bug was not working properly until now.  Stealthy units cannot be seen or targeted normally unless an enemy unit moves within one cell of them, or they fire at an enemy or take damage.  Stealthy units show a dark circle around them when they are normally hidden.
  • Saboteurs have obviously been fixed as a result, and are now as I intended them to be, which is a very stealthy infiltrator that can loiter inside enemy bases and also do serious damage to buildings at just the right time.  Be sure to keep it out of weapon range against enemies or it will open fire out of self-preservation.
  • Trading Posts behave similarly in that they cannot be seen unless a unit moves right by them.  They also no longer have a weapon, so they are difficult to find.  They can still be seen while in construction however.
  • Foot Soldiers get important benefits from this patch and will now have a far easier time making surprise attacks from Crags.
  • vAutoOrder now cannot be enabled when vShiftAdd is disabled (too hard to deselect units)
  • Guard Turrets have damage reduced to 5, but now have a small Area of Effect that helps damage Foot Soldiers, and are FAR more effective against groups of them.
  • Improved area-of-effect operations
  • Observers should see all units now
  • Walls are now defensive structures that provide no range bonus (doesn't really concern the player)
  • Fixed bug with Mentat providing info on units illegally
  • Fixed bug with selecting buildings of size 1
  • Fixed bug causing crash after losing a game (stopped automatic switch to Observer for now)

Sunday, October 10, 2010

1.0.99 Release

More back-porting of routines I'll be using in my next project.  This time I've rewritten the interface to consolidate "Expert" and "Classic" modes, so there is only one major interface now.  It operates very much like other RTS games now (especially Starcraft 2, which I'm pretty sure everyone will be playing for a long time).  I've still retained some of the things that I personally prefer.  Apologies to all veterans in advance for making you re-learn the system again. :)

Changelog since 1.0.97:

  • Replaced "Expert Mode" option with "Shift-Add" and "Auto-Order" separate options, and consolidated all other interface methods into left-click-focused system
  • Pre-Spice Masses now appear only after 2 minutes of game time
  • Devastators bumped back up to slower rate of fire to accentuate strengths/weaknesses
  • Combat Tank damage increased to 35 from 33
  • In-game chats now have better visibility
  • Reinstated viewport rectangle in Zoom mode
  • Clicking on the Tip Box now causes it to cycle
  • Fixed bug preventing custom maps from loading
  • Added some code underneath for future improvements

Sunday, October 03, 2010

1.0.97 Release

Ok, now you may be surprised at how I am releasing new versions lately.  But, I've decided D2TGP will be my new testing ground for trying out routines and techniques before deciding to use them in my next project.  So, from time to time I'll be back-porting new features or making larger changes.  For instance, I'm currently researching new network libraries, so you might see a version of D2TGP in the future with improved network functionality.
I had the chance to observe a couple games recently, so the following changes are based on what I've discovered.

Changes since 1.0.96:

  • Doubled all Spice on the map in terms of field density (map running out far too quickly)
  • Nearly doubled chances for Pre-Spice Masses to form
  • Added edge-scrolling
  • Observers in net games can now Chat
  • Reduced Devastator fire delay and Damage slightly (too slow)
  • Reduced fire delay for Trike/Raider/Quads by 10% to up their damage potential
  • Increased fire delay for Flak Trikes by 33% to nerf them slightly
  • Fixed some graphic glitches
  • Fixed a large issue causing network games to crash when map was generated

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

More big news (and Ninja Release 1.0.96)

First of all, the new version:
Over a couple hours to relax this weekend, I found a few things I wanted to bring "backwards" into the TGP project while I've been working on the total re-write.  The end result is a small release with some minor updates and corrective balance changes.

  • Performance enhancement with target-finding should make large battles run more smoothly
  • Added new unexplored area graphics
  • Rocket Turrets no longer home on ground targets
  • Guard Turrets now home
  • Gun Turrets, Tanks, Siege Tanks, and Devastators have increased damage and slower ROF (33-50% proportionally)
  • Fixed scaling issues with some sprites
  • Fixed an issue with Harvesters calling for a new Carryall when being attacked by more than one worm

Now, the big news is that the "re-write" of D2TGP is not technically going to be a re-write.  Instead, it is going to be an all-new RTS platform, on which you will be able to play D2TGP using a separate installed package.  This also means you'll be able to develop your own games for it or your own versions of D2TGP.  I am building the engine with as many options as I can fit inside it so that many different kinds of games could be made.  Everything about a particular game will be controlled by INI files, and new sounds and graphics can be included.

However, I'll warn you right away that I intend to sell this Engine as a product for $10.  I'm not sure how I would distribute it, but Steam looks like a good idea for many reasons.  I'll keep working on it until I feel certain it's worth the price.

So, this effectively marks the end of this project in programmatic terms.  The next incarnation of D2TGP will have many more features (in line with the demo video and other aims) and will just be a free mod for an upcoming RTS engine.  Some time next year I'll start up some community and blog pages dedicated to the new project.

Thanks for all the support and participation, and please continue to enjoy the latest release and join the forum discussions.  I won't be visiting that often but I'll still keep an eye on things.

- Drackbolt

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Direction Statement

After a lot of testing of new code and ideas, I've reached a conclusion about what I want to do with D2TGP:  Starting now (actually as of a week ago), I am completely rewriting the project.  I'm doing this because I'm tired of all the legacy code from my earlier project and all the things missing that I've learned since then.  Many of these things are basically impossible to change without the code having been written differently in the first place.

I've thought about (and tried several times to be honest) back-porting some of the new ideas I have to the latest version of 1.x, but it just wasn't feasible.  Adding 3d zoom means a whole new interface is needed to handle changes in visibility and control.  Adding waypoints means I have to rewrite the entire input system to use queues of orders, which means I should add dynamic groups and rewrite pathfinding code, which means the AI need a rewrite also, etc.  It's gotten to the point where nearly everything will need to be touched.

I am now 100% sure I want to rewrite the whole thing, and doing so will allow me to build in the follow features from the ground up:
  • Multithreading for massive battles
  • Dynamic unit grouping and subordination ("flocking")
  • Network lock-stepping
  • Total Object-Oriented structure
  • Generalization to separate RTS engine from D2TGP game code completely
  • Clean easily readable code for my own benefit
You won't be seeing anything new this year; I can pretty much guarantee that.  As for when next year, I'd imagine Q1, possibly going into Q2 depending on life circumstances.  Please don't ask for a better ETA. :)  I think just about everyone knows I'm a workaholic so you can bet I'll be putting almost all my free time into this.

So for now, please continue to enjoy the last release, and have patience for bigger and better things.  Also, feel free to become a donating member at the forums, to help me buy all the Mountain Dew.


Sunday, August 15, 2010

Version 2.0 demo video

A quick preview of what I've been (and will be) working on:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Major update in the works

Hey there,
As you all know, I'm fond of adding surprises to my releases.  This time however, what I'm working on is too big to happen quickly, so I'm giving you all something to get excited about in advance.
The next release of D2:TGP will be version 2.0!  I have very high aspirations this time around.  Nearly the entire user interface will be changed.  Aside from some minor balance changes, I don't expect to change anything about the combat mechanics themselves, so you can breathe easy.  But, after all this time experimenting and testing, I am ready to create the interface of my dreams.
New features will include:

  • Full incremental zoom in and out of the battlefield (think Supreme Commander)
  • Dynamic unit grouping and linked AI/formation actions
  • Whole screen will be devoted to the map view, with minimalistic and dynamic GUI elements
  • "Adaptive Interface", which is what I am calling it when menus appear contextually and only as needed, predicting the user's needs
  • Full waypoint system for all ground units and improvements to flyer control
  • Staging Areas where units can be sent to fulfill pre-determined orders
  • Optional objectives (will be done eventually but won't stop a release on their own):
    • Game recording/replay
    • New research system/items
    • Improved network library for stability/performance
Some of these items are already completed, but they all depend on each other now so I can't release them separately.  As you can guess though, this is not a small update in any way, so this will take months to complete, rather than the usual few weeks you have to wait between releases.  At any rate, I think it will be worth it.  I'll keep visiting the forums now and then so feel free to speak your mind there.

And hey, feel free to donate a buck or two.
-- Drackbolt

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Favorite PC games of all time

(this post will also be found at my new blog, IntelligentReviewer)
First, you'll notice Dune 2 isn't on this list, so here's some background.

As much as I loved Dune 2 (and I did, believe me), it had a lot of flaws that frustrated me.  After playing it for a few weeks I wrote a letter to Westwood studios, detailing all the improvements I thought could go into the game.  Much to my astonishment, a week later I received a letter in response from Joe Bostic himself!  I think I was 13 at the time so you can imagine how I felt; I actually framed his letter.  He was very kind and said that many of my suggestions were already scheduled to be incorporated into the next game, which would be released in about six months.  I was ecstatic to hear all of this, but then devastated later when I learned the next game would not be Dune 3.  So, in my mind, Dune 2 will always be the "one that got away", that could have been perfect but just never was.  And thus, my need to create D2TGP was born.  I still consider it the best $40 I ever spent, but I'll never play the original game again.

I've always loved games with a great atmosphere and intelligent writing.  The more immersive the better, and if it also has a great interface and gameplay, I'll never forget my experience with it.  The great thing for you is, many of these games can be found freely on the web as abandonware.  I urge you not to underestimate any of these greats.  To this day, I could pick up and play any one of them.

Counting down to number 1 (that being the best)...

10. Starcraft
9. Rainbow Six
8. Shogun: Total War
7. Conquest: Frontier Wars
6. Total Annihilation
5. Viet Cong
4. Dawn of War
3. Ghost Recon
2. Unreal Tournament (with my custom voice packs and skins)
1. Serious Sam: Second Encounter

Single Player:
20. Commandos 2
19. Darwinia
18. Master of Orion
17. Warcraft 3
16. Majesty
15. Tron 2.0
14. Final Liberation
13. Planescape: Torment
12. Mechcommander
11. Axis & Allies (1998 and 2006)
10. The Secret of Monkey Island (1990)
9. Bionic Commando: Rearmed
8. Dark Omen
7. Warhammer 40,000: Chaos Gate
6. Master of Magic
5. Space Hulk (1993)
4. Outwars
3. Homeworld
2. X-com
1. Fallout 2

Honorable mention:
Postal (1997), for intensely satisfying my anger issues.  The sequel was too malevolent for me to be interested but the first game felt very direct and focused on anger at stupid people, of which I had a lot.

Friday, July 16, 2010

1.0.95 Release

Changelog since 1.0.94:
  • Made AI a bit more aggressive
  • Updated Mentat and Tip Box info
  • Added sound effect when placing unit queues
  • Carryalls will now try to calculate unit speed versus distance to target before determining whether to airlift
  • Fixed bug with units still firing under some orders while unpowered

Monday, July 12, 2010

1.0.94 Release

Many balance changes, partially driven by the Polls in the forum (but not in all cases since I don't have that many voters yet).  Also includes many code updates for future changes that won't affect things currently, so we'll see if I created any new bugs.

Changelog since 1.0.92:

  • Experimental change: Saboteur is now a more unique unit, visible only at close range or when in combat.  It is essentially the same as an Infantry unit otherwise, but does enormous damage to buildings, even Defended ones.  They no longer have any detonation ability.
  • Experimental change: Fremen Warriors are now close-range anti-personnel units, able to wipe out enemy foot soldiers very quickly.  Against other units they are not worth the extra cost, and they do not do extra damage to undefended buildings like other foot units.  I feel this change, combined with the one for Saboteurs, is very appropriate to give each Ally faction more unique benefits
  • Experimental change: Deviators now unpower units for a random amount of time, just as they do with buildings.  Also, units will no longer lose their orders when unpowered
  • Trading Post is now visible to enemies when in combat or at close range
  • Fixed bug with Building selection graphics in Network games drawing slowly
  • Fixed bug with client units not showing current Order button depressed
  • Fixed bug causing 1/100 chance for game to crash when playing a new Music file
  • Fixed bug where units retained old Retreat coordinates

Friday, June 25, 2010

1.0.92 Release

From now on, updates will be smaller in scope, in an effort both to reduce my workload, and also reduce the introduction of new bugs.
Changelog since 1.0.91:

  • Units and Buildings now have a different graphical method of showing selection.  I think it's preferable to the blinking.
  • Custom music is now supported.  I have updated the Music download.  So from now on, you can add any Ogg Vorbis (.OGG) music file to either of the subfolders underneath the Music folder and they will be used in the game at random.  .FLAC files should also work, but sorry, no MP3 support due to licensing restrictions.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

1.0.91 Release

Just some quick fixes.

Changelog since 1.0.91:

  • Tweaked an AI ratio to make Repair facilities slightly more common
  • Fixed all known color issues in full-screen mode (hopefully)
  • Fixed strange behavior with the dragbox that caused it to freeze when moving off map screen, even when button was released

Monday, June 14, 2010

1.0.90 Release

First off, you'll notice that this "should" be 1.90, but I never thought I'd get this far up the scale near 2.0, and I've decided it's finally time for me to embrace standard version numbering.  So, everything's starting over at 1.0.xx here and I'll stick with this format from now on (or at least until I've made 100 times as many changes again).

Second, I've changed the game's file name to just "D2TGP.exe", which is how it will stay.  This is to help you add it to Steam and such things without worrying about me hassling you with constantly updated filenames. :)

Also be aware that from this version onward, slightly more memory may be required.  I don't know how much yet.

Also again, please be patient on a Linux version.

Changelog since 1.0.88:

  • Major interface updates and bugfixes, too many to list.  Classic mode feels very complete now and both modes gained some new usability.  Essentially, you can expect the Classic mode to behave like Starcraft in almost all respects (one difference being that right-click still issues all orders).  Mapmaker mode interface was also updated to bring it in line with these changes.
  • Zoom mode has received many updates which will be easily noticeable.  This is one step on a longer path to extending the game's feature set.
  • Updated tip box
  • AI players will now be given random colors from the start (but still can be changed)
  • Config.ini file now tracks more information
  • Hopefully really permanently totally fixed bug where harvesters would go to 0,0 sometimes
  • Fixed bugs with Retreat locations for both player and AI units
  • Fixed bug with ground units being transported still drawing in minimap at pickup location
  • Fixed bug with AI Carryalls dropping harvesters right on top of pre-spice masses causing instagib

Monday, June 07, 2010

1.88 Windows/Linux Release

Many of you who know me are aware of how this project began, which is to say it was never intended for mass consumption.  I started it many years ago with the only goal being for my own enjoyment.  Because of that, the design of my game is very different from other RTS games out there.
Since then, I've somehow managed to gather a sizable fan base.  So, once in a while I'll make changes that are purely to help new players get involved, even if it takes up more of my free time.  Today marks another one of those major capitulations.
Also you'll notice there is no Linux update this time.  That is because I want to defenestrate my computer whenever I see a Segmentation Fault.  Later when my patience has returned I'll look at it again. (EDIT: Linux is now updated as well)

PLEASE NOTE:  Your old settings will not be loaded in 1.88, due to changes in the "config.ini" file for future compatibility.  A new config file will be saved after you close the program.  Sorry for that inconvenience.

Changelog since 1.87:
  • Classic Mode Interface.  By default, players will have Expert Mode (the interface previously used for selection/deselection, orders, scrolling and such) disabled, in favor of this much more familiar style of interaction.  In Classic Mode you drag a box over units to select them, issue orders with right-clicks, etc.  Those of us who will still use Expert Mode can select it in the main Options menu.  Personally I will always prefer Expert Mode, and I hope veterans will also appreciate its prioritization of accuracy.
  • Human units on Move orders will now default to Stop orders when reaching their destination (Protect orders must be issued manually)
  • Units on Move orders will now automatically Retreat when attacked
  • Units on Retreat orders will default to Move orders when they are no longer under attack
  • Carryalls suffering enough damage when Repair Hold is active while carrying cargo will abandon the original destination; instead they will return cargo to the Retreat Flag and then dock themselves
  • Outpost sight range greatly increased to 24
  • Minor updates to the CONFIG.INI file format to allow for Expert Mode retention and future usage
  • Made changes to network chat room to help show what settings cannot be changed
  • The active Orders of currently selected units will now appear "depressed"
  • Changed coloring of in-game chat for easier reading
  • Removed the Mousewheel up/down ordering system (too clumsy)
  • Fixed bug where allied Foot units could not be seen in Crags
  • Fixed bug preventing Back button from working in Server List room
  • Minor graphical changes

Sunday, May 30, 2010

1.87 Windows/Linux Release

This time I decided to sit down and fix every bug of which I was aware.
Changelog since 1.86:

  • Rewrote network Hosting code to fix bug limiting players to 3 or fewer client connections online.  Prospective clients should also get a proper message if a server has no open slots
  • Added Ping sound effect to alert players when a server is online (only in server list room right now)
  • Added on-screen map loading window to avoid issues with system pop-up window and full-screen mode (not perfect yet but it works)
  • Confirmed bug with Sonic Tank crashing when unpowered should now be fixed, based on last few release changes
  • Made pathfinding improvement causing units to be more persistent when temporarily surrounded
  • Made improvements to chatroom so faction and custom colors get sent to clients
  • Fixed bugs with Merc purchases not processing
  • Fixed visual bug with Configurator license area
  • Fixed bug causing a unit's Retreat level to display incorrectly while in motion
  • Fixed bug with units being unable to enter spaces where a Spice Blow occurred
  • Fixed bug where a lost Harvester would sometimes trigger more than one replacement to be queued when on Maintain Operations
  • Fixed bug where a unit would be unable to Airlift out of a surrounded location

Sunday, May 23, 2010

1.86 Release

Mostly a cleanup patch, but does include a Linux update.  Changelog since 1.85:
  • Updated code for cross-platform compatibility to release current Linux version (mostly tested)
  • Map size cannot be changed now after loading a map
  • Total network slots available now adjusts for number of AI chosen
  • Fixed bug preventing chat in network chatroom
  • Fixed strange behavior with incorrect Order options when selecting/de-selecting certain combinations of units
  • Fixed bug where players' Death Hands would launch when under attack
  • Fixed bug where units on Guard would move toward allied buildings
  • Fixed drawing error with unit selection menu list
  • Changed drawing behavior of intro and chatroom screens

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

1.85 Multiplayer Release

This is a large release and the first true Multiplayer release, with support for up to 6 human players simultaneously.  Naturally it is difficult for me to test more than one or two by myself to any great depth, so I'll have to rely on you to help.  Please leave detailed bug reports in the forums, but for you new players, be sure to search the posts before making a new one.

Changelog since 1.83:

  • Support for more than 2 players (up to 6)
  • Observer players cannot Chat in-game
  • Mercenary groups now announce a warning and deploy after 10 seconds
  • Mercenary units will not attack any Trading Post
  • Removed Trading Post weaponry
  • Tightened up online server tracking and client messaging
  • Fixed bug with Back button not working for client
  • Fixed bug allowing double-tapping Demolish/Cancel actions
  • Fixed bug with client not displaying some menus properly
  • Many minor graphical fixes/changes

Thursday, May 06, 2010

1.83 Re-release

I'm deep in the middle of the next release and I can't stop now to fix much, but I HAD to resolve that awful client-side visual bug where the ground doesn't get drawn, so that's the only thing corrected in this version.  Other known bugs still remain.  Just re-download this if you had 1.83 from before today (5/6/2010).  I won't even bother giving it a new version.

I sure still wish someone had reported this a long time ago...  And now I had to go and see that someone posted a video of the game and of course naturally, they decided to be a client and run straight into this issue!  Where is teh lovez?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

1.83 Release

Cleanup patch.  Changes since 1.82:

  • Added a "tip box" that throws random helpful information at you (unobtrusively)
  • Mapmaker mode now includes Sand Crags as an additional placement choice, and cleans properly when saving
  • Increased chance for Sand Crag proliferation from seeds
  • Decreased seed chances for Rock Crags to account for addition of Sand Crags
  • Set Configurator window minimum height to make sure license info is readable
  • Fullscreen value in Configurator now reads from config.ini file
  • Added filler graphics for side menu bar at high resolutions
  • Mentat text is now white to increase visibility as needed
  • Updated some Mentat information
  • Mouse cursor is now hidden from mapmaker mode on map screen
  • Worms should now stop a short distance from rock (instead of on top of it).  This is a bit experimental at the moment
  • Fixed minimap mouse click controls
  • Fixed visual bug with spicefields populating outside map bounds
  • Fixed chatroom graphics for Mapmaker mode toggle
  • Fixed bug with current cell coords returning out of bounds
  • Fixed location of radar placeholder

Monday, April 26, 2010

1.82 Release

This is probably best called a "by popular request" update. ;)  It involved a lot of work so I hope you like it, and keep in mind it may introduce some new bugs where I forgot to complete changes.
Changelog since 1.80:

  • Added the Configurator, and rewrote large parts of the system to accommodate.  You'll see what it does
  • Added new crags
  • Clicking on the colored harvester for an AI player now assigns them a random color
  • AI now have darker colors than human players
  • Allied foot soldiers in crags are now visible
  • Restored 1.79 targetfinding code to hopefully fix some new targeting errors
  • Greatly optimized map drawing code

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Work... work...

Last few weeks I've been experimenting with some possible drastic means of optimization, including multi-threading and frame buffers.  Both of those ended up being wild goose chases, but in the process I learned a heck of a lot, and ended up making some other great changes (and plans for more).  Seems I'm making a habit of surprising people with new features in my releases, and all I can say is that this next release will be no different. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

1.80 Release

Mostly an optimization release.  Changelog since 1.79:

  • You can now load maps and then alter them in Mapmaking mode (the map format has been changed so you cannot use maps from older versions)
  • Fixed bug preventing maps larger than 64x64 from loading
  • Fixed bug with map load button behavior
  • Fixed bug with rare crash in Mapmaking mode
  • Fixed bug with client-side Merc groups getting the wrong destination
  • Several code optimizations for a slight general performance improvement

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

1.79 Release

Changelog since 1.78c:

  • MAP CREATION - Choosing a Skirmish game with all Observers will automatically enable Mapmaking mode.  It's pretty simple and self-explanatory.  We'll see how well it works.  Note: you cannot currently load maps as templates and each game you play no longer automatically creates a map file.  Also, do not try to load maps made with 1.78!
  • BUGFIX - Corrected some crashes with loading maps
  • BUGFIX - Fixed bug preventing or causing a crash when trying to restart a network game without exiting program
  • BUGFIX - Players will no longer be able to see Pre-Spice Masses if they upgraded in a previous game without exiting program
  • BUGFIX - Structures can now correctly be placed on rock in loaded maps

Sunday, March 21, 2010

1.78c Release

(Please re-download this if you downloaded 1.78 or 1.78b earlier today)
Changelog since 1.77:

  • MAP LOADING - Whenever you start a new game and a map is generated, it will dump a .TGP file to your drive (same folder as the EXE).  If you like the map you just played with, keep this file and feel free to rename it (but keep the same extension).  You now have an option to load a map inside the chatroom.  This is only map data and game settings, not units or player info.  Future functionality is planned to include a tool for creating your own maps/scenarios.  This feature has been nominally tested
  • NEW SOUND FX - Courtesy of TheRaffy we have a new set of cleaned sound fx.  The overall size of the packed file has gone up slightly to 2.5mb, but it is well worth it.  Some new sounds have also been added to the game
  • BUGFIX - Fixed bug with units "stacking" when being produced into enclosed areas
  • BUGFIX - Fixed bug with health bar drawing oddly upon unit death
  • BUGFIX - Fixed bug with persistent menus for Trading Posts

Sunday, March 14, 2010

1.77 Release

This is a bugfix release (from very successful hunting) that should make network games much more reliable.
Changelog since 1.76:

  • Increased Infantry units health by 50% and Troopers by 20%.  The last update that fixed accuracy issues made foot units start dying at much faster rates.  Hopefully this restores a bit of balance
  • Total Units listing now also shows total including queues (unfinished units)
  • Increased unit turret rotation speed by threefold (turrets should be an advantage after all)
  • Fixed bug with client queues not completing properly
  • Fixed bug with Sandstorm causing crashes in co-op
  • Fixed bug with Palace Alliance causing crashes in co-op
  • Fixed bug with demolished buildings not crediting network client
  • Fixed bug with auto-concrete failing for network client
  • Fixed graphic bug with harvester icon numerator
  • Fixed bug with co-op client having all build options despite Tech Level
  • More slight network fixes, optimizations and sync improvements

Friday, March 05, 2010

1.76 Release

A jump in versions due more to the volume of code being changed than to the number of updates.  Because of the extent of the rewrite, you should probably expect a few bugs to have gotten through.
Changelog since 1.73:

  • Massive reduction in network bandwidth requirements.  You could theoretically even play it on a 56k connection if you kept the unit cap low (not tested though).  All network games should be smoother and more stable.  I have noticed some slight visual evidence of sync loss at the client side (unit or turret facing might be off sometimes, carryalls don't appear where they actually are, etc), but I don't have evidence yet in all my testing of anything critical going out of sync
  • Buildings no longer halt construction when enemy units are close.  Instead, the amount of time it takes before you can build on the same spot again after a building is wrecked has been doubled
  • Skirmish games now start immediately with no countdown
  • Finally fixed the bug with the color-harvesters in the chatroom screen being out of place when exiting and re-entering (wasn't what anyone guessed)
  • Fixed bug in network games with construction going too fast
  • Fixed bug with concrete placement being too slow in Skirmish mode
  • Fixed bug with flags drawing at incorrect speeds
  • Added random offset for craters from detonations

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Network progress

Hey everyone,
I'm making some good progress on a new network sync platform, but I still have some ways to go.  I found that some of the current problems are due to the ordering of network messages; it's TCP so they arrive in order, but unfortunately I didn't write my code in the first place to "absorb" network messages in certain locations of operation.  Right now there's only one point in each cycle where I catch messages and interpret them, and this is causing some things to get out of sync if say, a message causes a unit to die before it receives its last location update (which can make a bullet miss or a carryall fail to deliver or who knows what).  So, it's back to the drawing board on a few fundamental things in the strive for perfection.
On the plus side, next release will have a massive improvement in network performance.  I've done a lot of testing and found that the game was requiring enormous bandwidth in some circumstances.  Previously I was sending out unit updates on an all-or-nothing basis, where if a unit had any of its stats changed, it sent all of its relevant info in the update.  I've since rewritten things so that each unit will track each of its own stats, and will only update those specific stats that change.  That part of things is going very well and should lead to a 90-95% reduction in net traffic (yes, you read that right).
Stay tuned in the next couple weeks.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

1.73 Release

1.73 is released today.  There is only one major change.

Network games now default to 30 frames per second.  A long time ago I decided to go with 60fps to make it a much smoother experience than the original game, but I didn't reckon for high bandwidth needs at the time.  For a long time I've been meaning to make this change, but it took a lot of motivation because of how much code I would need to modify.  Bear in mind that, since this is an expansive code update, there WILL be bugs as a result of it. :)

The game won't "appear" to run any slower as I've modified all the calculations in the game to account for the lower frame rate.  It will look a bit choppier but you won't notice it after a short while.

Also due to this change, I had to re-write some nagging "loose ends" in the code.  It was actually a good thing as it forced me to resolve some older issues.  Carryalls should "wiggle" less often now and generally behave more smoothly, and units should NEVER be unable to hit their target due to weapon speed and distance (occasionally before you might have seen a Quad firing at an adjacent Infantry and never being able to hit it, for instance).

Please let me know in the forums how this affects network game performance compared to the previous version.  My hope is that it will be quite a noticeable improvement and may even correct some sync loss issues.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

1.72 addendum

Hey everyone,
I forgot to list two updates present in 1.72.  One of them is major so I'm making a new post to draw attention.

  • Buildings WILL NOT COMPLETE if they are within any enemy unit's weapon range (except Flak Trikes).  Idea is that construction crews cannot be forced to work under threat of receiving gunfire.  Purpose is to stop building spamming
  • Fixed bug with detonations and unit kill counts; also added cratering

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

1.72 Release

Changelog since 1.71:

  • Foot Soldiers are now invisible to enemies while in Crags.  They will still be attacked as normal by enemies in range
  • Corrected bug with range bonus for Foot Soldiers in Crags (now applies properly in all directions)
  • Trading Posts are now visible to enemies while taking damage
  • Trading Posts no longer count for proximity when building new structures
  • Reduced MTP hit points commensurate with other LVs
  • Fixed bug preventing AI players from building Foot Soldiers at tech levels 2 and 3
  • Fixed bug allowing players to queue extra flyers for HTFs that were not yet completed
  • Fixed bug with Ornithoper weapon sound effects
  • Fixed bug with Merc purchase costing nothing for clients
  • Fixed several bugs with small weapon fired from buildings
  • Fixed bug causing "base is under attack" messages much too frequently
Considering many big changes for next release.  Might be a while.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

1.71 Release

Changelog since 1.70:

  • Major balance changes
    • Light Vehicle health reduced by 40%
    • Infantry health reduced by 50%
    • Rocket Launcher damage reduced by 50% against non-buildings
    • Siege Tank ROF increased by 15%
    • Above changes have the following ramifications:
      • Troopers are more powerful compared to lighter units, hopefully more valuable
      • Heavy Vehicle combat effectiveness against Light Vehicles is improved
      • Lower Infantry strength only matters against units that do not kill them with one shot, i.e. other light units, so they are equalized against LVs
      • Rocket Launchers will now have a much harder time against other HVs, but otherwise remain unchanged
      • Siege Tanks have greater damage output and hopefully are valuable enough to choose over Combat Tanks sometimes
  • Added Skirmish option that does not start any network functions
  • Added Tech Level to game options
  • Added 96x96 map
  • "W" key now selects idle harvesters instead of Tilde/Grave (should help foreign keyboards)
  • MCV now has Sight range of 8 (was 2)
  • Mercs now group together in formation
  • Fixed bug with halting construction giving no return
  • Fixed bug enabling dropping more than one unique building
  • Fixed bugs with Mercs, Alliances, and Starport pricing for network clients
  • Removed popup window when exiting game

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Prepare for a monologue on combat tactics

Every RTS game is a series of approximations and compromises.  In reality, if a bullet manages to hit a soldier, or a tank shell even glances off a hummer, the target is likely a casualty; what makes battles take a long time is that getting that one hit can be extremely difficult, and there are lots of targets.  Obviously in an RTS game we can't have units dying so quickly from a single hit, both because they take a little time to build, and because people tend to like the ability to move units around and use some control tactics to try and improve their chances.  I have tried to introduce more realism to Dune 2 by adding things like threat determination and extra damage for suicidal movements.  I wanted to reduce micromanagement while still having combat results "make more sense". For instance, small bullets with rapid fire are best against infantry, while heavier rounds should be needed against tanks.  The finer details of combat have to be approximated, such as taking cover, distractions, sensory equipment, etc, without cluttering the information or demanding too much from the player.  The general idea is to get to the same end result, where this unit beats that unit, that unit beats this unit, and there is a logical reason for each type of unit to exist.
To this end I've been amusing myself lately by running metrics and tests of various scales on the different types of units in Dune 2.  For the most part when I designed TGP, I've tried to stay true to the numerical values of the original, such as hit points, damage, rate of fire, speed, etc.  I've taken liberties where needed in order to make special units stand out or to help along the general effects of combat I was looking for.  But after my recent tests, I'm thinking about making some big changes.
For instance, one Tank can defeat one Quad fairly easily.  But a Tank is also more expensive than a Quad, slower and shorter-sighted.  So it should have greater combat potential to a high degree.  Quads are fast and should be more difficult to hit, but even so, a Tank should win handily.  However this isn't quite what happens; Quads based on their stats from the original game are undervalued by a fair degree when you take into account the way my version uses weapon accuracy to determine hits.  In addition, because my units think the closest unit to them is the greatest threat, when you take 9 Quads against 6 Tanks (equal in value of credits), the Quads often win because of their shuffling around and distribution of damage.  When I ran tests for other units I came to the same conclusions: currently, having greater numbers is a strong advantage in almost all situations of equal value, and many units feel out of balance in the first place.
So, I am considering several ways of making big changes to combat in TGP.  Those of you who are used to my game being different from other RTS games will know what to expect; this game won't start looking like Starcraft or other games any time soon.  But I can say one thing for sure, which is that when I am done, the numbers won't match up much with Dune 2 any longer.  The end result will be the same and hopefully improved.
Here's a listing of my recent results (in groups of equal credits, usually 1800) and what I think should be changed:

  • Infantry > everything except Rocket Launchers
    • Should suffer more against LVs and Troopers
  • Trikes/Quads > everything except Infantry
    • Should always lose to Tanks and have more trouble against Troopers (but still do well)
  • Troopers > Tanks only
    • Should be better against LVs and equal to Infantry
  • Tanks > other Tanks, Rocket Launchers, Buildings
    • Should be better against LVs
Obviously results will be different when comparing 300 credits of units against each other, as opposed to 1800, because of the advantage of numbers.  But I can't have a situation where a player could just continue to mass more and more of the same units and gain more of an advantage.
I'm going to start experimenting with theoretical "200-credit units".  I'm going to take a typical Quad and put it up against a modified 200-credit Tank, and a 200-credit Trooper, etc., and then start building tables on what happens versus what I think should happen in all the different combinations.  Then I'm going to restore them back to their correct pricing with commensurate stat changes, and try to account for massed numbers as well in equal levels.  For instance, a 200-credit Trooper should be slightly weaker than a 200-credit Infantryman, because it has greater range and speed.  A 200-credit Tank should defeat a 200-credit Quad, but lose to a 200-credit Infantryman.  A 200-credit Siege Tank would be a version of a Tank doing less damage and moving slower, but with a higher rate of fire and greater range.  Plus, I have to take extra things into account like density of firepower; Infantry and Troopers can pack in more units per cell than vehicles and thus can start delivering damage faster.  On the other hand units such as Trikes, with lower density of firepower and low range, gain more of an advantage in high numbers due to their high combat movement and distribution of damage.
I think if I keep thinking this way, I'll be able to accentuate the value of each unit individually when I bring them back to the unit costs we're all familiar with.  So, I think it's time to let go of this part of my desire to stay true to the original, and we'll see what I find out and decide to do in February.

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I ran some history checks at my online database, and saw that Dune 2: TGP has been played from over 2200 unique IP addresses since I started tracking at the end of November, and was played 242 times in the first 20 hours of Jan 16th. That's pretty cool to see. I haven't written anything to tell me how many of those games were network games or not, but I know at least a few of them were, and I see some people signed up at the Steam group as well.
As you may have noticed, I've changed the layout here a bit and introduced ads to the forums. Those of you who donated were marked as Premium members at the forum and won't see the ads; future donators will enjoy the same benefit. The reason for the ads is simple: no one's been donating and money doesn't grow on trees.
I'll probably get back to looking at code soon but motivation's been low and I've been working a lot. Look for an update most likely in February.