Tools of the trade

I have officially passed the three month mark. Looking back it seems silly to think how nervous I was when I got the phone call telling me I got the job. I had no real C++ experience and no experience programming as part of a team. I had no idea what kind of tools or programs they used. I was actually quite nervous that I would fall flat on my face. That obviously didn't happen.

As it turns out, programming here is not much different than modding. I still use Notepad++ to edit Lua files, though most everyone else either uses Visual Studio or Ultra Edit (which I used for a short time, but didn't like as well). I have had to get used to using Visual Studio for C++ files, but that hasn't been hard.

I still use Araxis Merge as my file diffing tool of choice. I tried to get used to using Beyond Compare, but it just wasn't the same. Luckily, I was using Google code for my AI mod for Forged Alliance, so getting used to using the Perforce repository was easy.

The thing I didn't have to deal with until I started working here was resolving files before submitting them to the repository. I also didn't have to deal with the possibility of breaking the build by submitting a bad file or forgetting to submit a new one (done that last one a few times). It really sucks when a message pops up saying that the build broke and for breakers it lists your name, then you start getting the instant messages.

All in all, sitting down to program at work is not much different than sitting down to mod at home. At work I just have more workstations and more people to answer to if I screw things up. I also get the opportunity to do more than I ever did modding.

16 comments:

BulletMagnet said... / December 2, 2009 at 2:47 AM  

may i ask, what is the preferred Lua plugin for VS2008? i'm not too pleased (but it does the job) with the plugin i'm currently using.

Dunbar said... / December 2, 2009 at 10:46 AM  

umm how about some more supcom 2 news :-)

EdWood said... / December 2, 2009 at 6:36 PM  

Hi Sorian,

thx for the little insight you give us. What I am also interested in is, how do you create effects?
I mean, coding ok, I can imagine how you do that, using special tools and stuff. But...how do the guys at GPG create the weapon effects for example.
The fire the Cybran-Zilla spits out?
How do you create these effects like you want them to look like. You wrote earlier that you came up with a new weapon idea for that Zilla. So you explained everything to the special effects guy and he created something. How?

Ed :)

Andrew said... / December 2, 2009 at 8:15 PM  

Hi Sorian,

I dunno if you'd remember me from the Supcom modding forums, but in any case maybe you can find out some answers for the rest of us modders with regards to Supcom 2. Or point me in the direction of someone who *would* be able to answer those questions.

The big main question revolves around Granny3d - basically, do you know if GPG is continuing to use the Granny 3d module (as they have for Demigod), and if so what the prevailing attitude towards 3rd party mods is over there at GPG? Supcom started out with a big push for modder support and key to almost all the mods out today has been the 3d importer/exporter... I'm really hoping that this is going to be an option for Supcom 2.

#2, and maybe you can comment on this from a Demigod perspective if you're not allowed to talk about Supcom 2... Supcom 1 had an inbuilt Lua interpreter and debug module that was in later releases rendered non-functional. Have you guys fixed those tools up at all or is there another way you're interacting with all the lua in the game? (Maybe running off stock lua dlls by now?)

Recon & I are looking forward to tackling another mod project with the release of Supcom 2, what with everything so far looking and sounding great.

If you can spare some time, please drop me an email - pawz.777 at gmail dot com.

Thanks,
Pawz

Sorian said... / December 3, 2009 at 9:49 AM  

@EdWood: If I recall, there is a console command that brings up an in-game effects editor. The effects guys load a texture and edit what that texture does. Combining a lot of these effects to make 1 whole effect.

I believe the same editor is in Demigod.

@Andrew: We love modding over here. Patrick, Servo, and I talk a lot about the new mods coming out for Demigod.

Unfortunately for Demigod, an exporter would be needed to insert any new models. Still hoping Stardock decides to release one in the near future.

I am fairly certain we are not using Granny for SC2, but I am not sure what format we are using and whether or not modders will be able to use it. It will depend on what format we are using and (if it is a 3rd party format) whether Square Enix decides they want to release an export tool.

Tobias Fong C.W. said... / December 5, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

You know, it just occurred to me. There is this one bug in Forged Alliance, that every time the game freezes or crashes (some fatal error thing), and there are people who posted it on tech support on Gas Powered Games' forum. Unfortunately, it seems that GPG didn't have a tech support team or something, and no one came up with a solution for that particular problem. Here's the thread: http://forums.gaspowered.com/viewtopic.php?t=13297&highlight=forged+alliance+freezes

I'm worried this might happen for Supreme Commander 2. What if it freezes or crashes into some fatal error again? That will stop a lot of people from buying, especially with no one giving the proper patch or solution for it. I know Chris Taylor said Supreme Commander 2 will require less hardware and lower requirements, but I do hope you guys will have tech support this time. Otherwise, if serious bugs like these re-emerge, it will turn a lot of people away from buying GPG games and Supreme Commander 2.

That's probably one of the reasons why so many people just pirate it (I think, I bought an original copy).

By the way, do you happen to know a solution for it? I know I'm not supposed to ask you, but everyone's been asking on tech support since 2007 and there's no solution. For TWO YEARS! O_O Since Supreme Commander 2 is coming out next year, I hope it won't be that big a deal, but just let you guys know about the bug issue, since no one's taking care of it.

Sorian said... / December 5, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

@Tobias: Sounds like a Sim lock issue. I have run into them (and fixed them) in SupCom 2. They are caused by an infinite loop in the Sim.

At the moment all known Sim locks have been fixed for SupCom 2. I have not seen a Sim lock in about a week or so.

Tobias Fong C.W. said... / December 5, 2009 at 6:51 PM  

Thank you very much! I'm very relieved that you fixed it. It's extremely frustrating whenever the game freezes or crashes late into the game. After spending more than an hour or two building up economy and forces, and getting ready to deliver the finishing blow with a Mavor, you can imagine how horrible it feels to see all it come to nothing. If you've fixed them, then hopefully it won't emerge in Supreme COmmander 2. Thanks.

By the way, there is no counterpart for the Mavor in Supreme Commander 2? The Mavor is my favorite experimental unit (and the single unit that turned me into a UEF player), and I hope it will be back. But if the Noah Unit Cannon takes its place, that means no more precision all-over-the-map artillery?

Olivier said... / December 6, 2009 at 1:21 PM  

seems like there won't be any supcom 2 beta, seems like S.E. is hurrying things up by wanting supcom 2 to be out early in march 2010 ... can't prevent myself from thinking it's linked to Starcaft 2, Dow2 expansion, RUSE coming early 2010 .... i simply hope S.E. is not going to jeopardize Supcom 2 success by bringing a non polished game (especially multi part and network code) on to the market. Simply hope they know what they do, and they know about key factors to make a game a success ... ;-)

Sevenix said... / December 7, 2009 at 9:24 AM  

Im still waiting for some pictures from the office Sorian :)

Andrew said... / December 7, 2009 at 10:45 PM  

Hi Sorian,

Thanks for your answers! One last question I'd like to ask is: Will Supcom II implement multiplayer save games? :)

It's a biggie I know, but something to remind you guys with while you're in there tinkering with the engine ;)

olivier said... / December 7, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

Tuesday last week, lots of people from gaming medias were invited to play supcom 2 at GPG and it's still hard to find out feedbacks on the web .... guess they have a NDA :-( However next week my favourite gaming mag (CanardPC) will report all this, i guess they will speak about you Sorian, because you're really famous in the Supcom world :-)

Sorian said... / December 8, 2009 at 10:26 AM  

@Andrew: Can't answer that one, sorry.

@oliver: Neat. Would love to read what they have to say :).

@All: Sorry about the long delay from my last post. Trying to get approval to talk about a particular subject.

olivier said... / December 8, 2009 at 12:44 PM  

will translate Sorian :)

Andrew said... / December 8, 2009 at 8:20 PM  

Sorian, no probs. At least I know the thought has now crossed a GPG developer's mind :) Thanks a lot for answering questions as best as you can!

Another question occurs to me - you guys have majorly modified the pathfinding engine obviously. And from the videos there are still air transports and such. Have there been any improvements to the way Supcom handles patrols and transport routes? (Is there still a need for improvement?) The two hot topics would be air patrols and transport routes - setting up routes that aren't linked to a specific unit. That and any thoughts on the new pathfinding system would be welcome :)

Dunbar said... / December 9, 2009 at 12:50 AM  

what are these gaming medias that played supcom2??? Nothing mentioned anywhere I can see...

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