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.