Changing the game - one piece of code at a time

One thing I really love about this job is I get to go into the code a fix some of the things that really bugged me about Forged Alliance. Hopefully during this milestone I will get an opportunity to improve even more things.

The effects for the new demigods are finally in and they look awesome. The ability icons also made it in today. One of our artists got them together this morning and I got the lovely task of going through them all and setting up alpha channels, making them look more button-like, exporting them as .dds files, and then fixing the blueprint and ability files to point to the new icons. It was actually kind of fun getting to do something completely different.

I also got a chance to tweak a few more things. I unintentionally made Demon Assassins Warp Area way overpowered yesterday. If you used it with only one target in range that target would get hit for every warp. Now there is a maximum number of times a singe target can be hit. I also put the finishing touches on Occulus' Blast Off ability. I definitely think Demon Assassin is more fun to play, but I'm not a General person. If you like Generals, Occulus will be more your style.

I have been trying to hunt down every bug I can for 1.2, but a some of the ones that have been reported recently I just can't repro. The main one I tried to hunt down today was the report of a desync that was "99.9% reproducible" by having one team control the map. I had the game running and creating a desync log every tick so that I could track down exactly what was desyncing, but I could not reproduce that bug. If I get time tomorrow I think I am going to take a look at the weapon targeting code and see what I can do about the demigods auto attacking nearby stuff when you want them to attack something else.

Now, for the news you have been waiting for. My screen shot got approved today. Keep in mind, the game is still in alpha stage, so what you see here can (and probably will) change. Enjoy.

Image removed at the request of
Square Enix

28 comments:

EdWood said... / October 13, 2009 at 10:40 PM  

First,

Thx Sorian for this awesome picture, I mean its the first water map picture for SupCom2. I really like the water and the effects (bullets) look really nice. I don't know if I like the design from these ships, but its definitely interesting. I guess I have to take a longer look and wow I love these colors. Looks awesome.

By the way, what do you mean with, you fix more code that bugged you in FA? Is this a hint that you work on the beta patch for FA and there will be some more bug fixing? That would be awesome.
Or are these bugs related to the game engine which is also used by Demigod?

Thx for your post, Ed :)

Spooky said... / October 14, 2009 at 12:25 AM  

Thx from me too :). It really looks good. The shading is great and the structure in the back gives it a distinct flair. The painting on the Cybran ships may need some getting used too, though it reminds me of Homeworld, which is a good thing ;)

Spooky said... / October 14, 2009 at 12:29 AM  

Btw. regarding that desync: can we also produce such logs so that when it does happen again (it's not really 99.9 % reproducable, at least not for me, but it frequently happens immediately after the anouncer said "The Forces of Light control the map" (maybe it's some language issue?)) we could send it to you.

mocafrost said... / October 14, 2009 at 1:43 AM  

Wow. Those are interesting looking ships. I haven't decided if I like the design or not (have to see them in motion) but I like the boldness of it and all of the weapons. That structure in the background is an impressive map feature too. Thank you for the screen. I can't wait to play.

lukedegner said... / October 14, 2009 at 7:44 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
lukedegner said... / October 14, 2009 at 7:45 AM  

Ooo, I am totally digging the art style of these ships. As the ground pathfinding is sounding totally awesome, this screenshot got me wondering about how the pathfinding with a mass of ships works. Are you able to say anything on that? Anyways, thanks for the screenshot and keep updating this great blog!

Sorian said... / October 14, 2009 at 8:26 AM  

The ships use the same pathfinding system.

I am not working on a patch for FA. What I was referring to was the fact that I can fix the things that annoyed me in FA from the engine so they won't annoy me in SupCom 2. Fixing them won't fix FA. SupCom 2 uses an updated engine.

Tobias Fong C.W. said... / October 14, 2009 at 9:35 AM  

Thanks for the picture.

Are you sure they're Cybran Ships? Now I'm just waiting for the UEF ships.

And thanks for fixing the stuff in SupCom 2 that annoyed us in Forged Alliance. I really hope the bugs are all gone and that SupCom 2 will be a flawless sequel as humanely possible.

Darien said... / October 14, 2009 at 10:28 AM  

Aha! I've finally figured out what Cybran ships remind me of. The Vaygr from Homeworld 2. Looks awesome

Sorian said... / October 14, 2009 at 11:55 AM  

Cybran ships in the foreground.

UEF in the background :)

Wind said... / October 14, 2009 at 12:04 PM  

I know this is just an alpha stage so there still is room for improvement. But I would like to share some thought on this particular screenshot. The sky is beautiful, no matter if it is static or the clouds actually drift in game, it look nice either way. The distance structure give us some size comparison for the ships, something SupCom and FA lack of.

In SupCom and FA, they didn't have recognizable structures to let the player feel the size of the units. In SupCom and FA, trees looks like bushes, because it is smaller than even the light assault bots. In this huge empty lifeless space makes everything looks small, even most experimentals. I for one really looking forward for the new SupCom 2 maps. Fighting next to those massive recognizable human-like structures definitely will let the player easy to compromise the size of the units.

Now back to the screenshot, I believe the ships closer to the viewer should be UEF ships, and the further ones in the back is Cybran ships. The ships model looks really nice. The textures having the torn-off paint style really gave this impression that the ships are made out of metal. Now about the textures, the stripe coloring style make the ship less a warship but more a lifeboat. This particular red and white stripe on water strongly resembles a life belt. I really hope there is some redesign for them. Add some navel emblem or anchor or something instead of stripes.

As for the water, it looks too flat. I hope the new engine could handle some current generation water effects used in game such as Empire Total War or Red Alert 3. They have simulate waves very nice. Despite Red Alert 3 water looks like swimming pool, the game have the best water interaction I have seen in a RTS game. Helicopters flying over water will produce some pushing effect on the water caused by the downward wind. As well as explosions and ships traveling on the water, all interact with the water in some realistic ways. I really wish to see that kind of interaction in SupCom 2. Nuke explosion on water should cause some sort of tsunami. Yet I know it is currently quite difficult to transform 3D water surface this way.

Anyway, as an alpha stage it is going in the right direction. I hope to see more impressing screenshots in the future. Keep up the good work.

Sorian said... / October 14, 2009 at 1:00 PM  

Nope, the closer ones are definitely Cybran, I set up and took the shot

EdWood said... / October 14, 2009 at 2:09 PM  

Wow, yes the cybran ships really reminds me about the Vagyr too. lol

Anyway, I like the design and the colors are really nice, I guess thats really good later on for teamplay online. Easy to recognize whose units belong to .
Its funny, i was irritated too. First I thought the ships are UEF, cause the look of the cannons, but form and color are more like cybran. Also you can see the red lasers flying around, coming from these ships.

I really wanna see them in motion. :) Thx for this cool picture. I guess the new maps will be awesome.

Ed

ManfredSteyn said... / October 14, 2009 at 10:31 PM  

I was hoping to see a shift back to the hardcore mechanistic/industrial look of Total Annihilation units. My one complaint about SC/FA and now FA2 is the units look more and more far-fetched and impractical.

shinzok said... / October 15, 2009 at 12:20 AM  

Hmm. Sorian, about that auto-targetting nearby stuff. Could you maybe suggest to other GPG employed people if they could maybe do that for FA also.

Kinda like a button or something in the ACU unit commands ui, a button to switch between shooting other ACU's and between shooting units/building and all that other stuff.

Cause it's pretty annoying when running away from a charging ACU (that has brought backup) that ones ACU keeps firing other ACU when instead I would want to kill the units first. Cause they pose a bigger threat.

Not sure if it is possible but it would be awesome. (if it would be possible by use of say a UI_Only mod, I would also like to know. might make the mod myself then :)

-Shinzok

aurelwuensch said... / October 15, 2009 at 8:20 AM  

looks pretty cool, just the color scheme on the smaller cybran ships is somewhat strange but I'm sure it will look a lot better in the final version.

EdWood said... / October 15, 2009 at 10:50 AM  

I like the design and I like the color scheme. I would like to see it in action to make a final judgement. A lot of people over at the GPG Forum are complaining about the design but mostly about the color scheme. So my question is, will there be changes or is this really the final concept?
Am really surprised, its such a nice picture and most people are complaining. Am very thankful for all your efforts to show us this new picture with ships.
If I would be a hard working developer/coder and then read in the forum negative comments, I guess I would lose my drive. lol

I hope you guys at GPG don't cause you do a good job there.

P.S.: Sorian, did you try last.FM? :)

Ed

aurelwuensch said... / October 15, 2009 at 1:18 PM  

to be fair the reaction on the gpg forums isn't that bad at least compared to the "Tankofant"-Drama there was with the Siege Tank in Starcraft 2 ;)

Sorian said... / October 15, 2009 at 1:50 PM  

@EdWood: Yes I did. I like it, except that you can't pause.

As far as the GPG forums, if the most they are complaining about in that screen shot is the color stripes on 1 ship type than I call that good.

Michael said... / October 15, 2009 at 2:42 PM  

Thanks for posting this info. It's very interesting to follow. My one biggest question is..do you know if this game is going to be as moddable or more/less so than SupCom1? I would love to be able to make stuff for this engine. Especially if the maps can be built partially in Max.
You may not be able to comment on such things but some little nod or wink about modding would be great!

olivier said... / October 15, 2009 at 3:25 PM  

Many medias say that Supcom 2 is schedulled for first quarter 2010, is that realistic considering the early alpha stage ?

EdWood said... / October 15, 2009 at 3:28 PM  

@Sorian...
With Last.FM the missing pause button, thats a music company thing. All songs are under license and they don't wanna give you full control over the songs. Also, Last.FM is supposed to be like a radio station and you cannot pause the radio either. Also, because of that you cannot select single songs, only bands or music genres/styles.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do...

Rock on, Ed :)

mocafrost said... / October 16, 2009 at 8:57 AM  

@Sorian. Are allowed to say what ship types we're looking at in the screen?

Sorian said... / October 16, 2009 at 9:58 AM  

@Spooky: Sorry for the delayed response. If you want to help track down the desync I would need a desync log from every player in the game and it would have to be from the time everyone desynced.

To do that you need to add this to the shortcut for the game: /desynclog c:\desynclog

This will create a desync log every time the game checks for syncs. This will cause the game to run slower. I will only need the log that was created when the desync occoured, so it should be the last one in the folder, and I will need that same log from every person in the game.

Send to: mrobbins at gaspowered dot com

Spooky said... / October 18, 2009 at 5:42 AM  

Ah, ok, maybe we can gather some players to help track this down.

Skylar said... / October 19, 2009 at 9:29 AM  

Just so you know, Sorian, the 'forces of light control the map!' desync can also occur during dominate when the accouncer says 'the forces of light are halfway to victory'.

I hope that helps.

Michael said... / October 19, 2009 at 11:01 AM  

Sorian,
Can you comment on the "modability" of SupCom 2? Do you think that will be in the plans? Maybe you aren't allowed to say but maybe you can just nod if you think modders will be happy ;)

Spooky said... / October 21, 2009 at 4:26 PM  

Why did Square Enix remove the picture again? :(

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