Starstrike: NS 2D!

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  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    Oh man, Strategic zoom from Supreme Commander has spoiled my RTS abilities soooo much. It's so awesome, but at the same time tough to get right. I think if you add it it should be very much an extra flair, not a core component.

    As far as the complexity of the game, I'm a little curious as to why it's so cumbersome. What are the heavy duty algorithms? Granted I don't expect you to put out a physics fest like Supreme Commander, but they obviously can handle huge numbers of flying and falling and shooting physics, what's giving issues in StarStrike? I would guess pathing. Gotta love pathing.

    Maybe I'll stop being lazy and mash through some source code one of these days.
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    New weird bug.

    I managed to take out a group, but then as the welding and building commenced, a team randomly dropped an IP in the room. After some initial shooting, and another enemy entering the room, they stopped shooting and kept on welding and building. They did not engage the enemy even as it began shooting them, nor any of the other enemies that entered their range and started firing on them.

    I think something that needs to be added is manually attack and better control over units in general. Right now they are doing move orders, firing as they go. What about attack move, where they stop and fire, especially against Aliens. Or Aliens running past Marines and only landing a few bites. Or my favorite Marines shooting a RT and ignoring any enemies, even as they're being shot and chewed on. All 5 of them. =[

    There's also weird stuff going on with Arms Labs and them being destroyed. I lost my Arms Lab while researching Weapon1. Not only did the upgrade not stop, but Armor 1 stayed available and Weapons 2 opened up when Armor 1 finished. I guess there's not detection yet on shutting down tech if a building goes down.

    Oh, and how do I get the Lerks to gas? They end up being skulks with a little more health without it....
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hi Spellman:

    The random IP bug is known and has been fixed. You won't see any more of that in the next release. The shooting bug sounds like they ran out of ammo, but that would've been obvious to you at the time so perhaps it's something else. Still, the current mechanic is this: If a marine is standing beside an unbuilt building and there is nothing nearby to shoot, it'll build it. If at any time during construction an enemy arrives, he'll stop building and start shooting. If he runs out of ammo, he'll stop considering nearby threats and continue building even if there are enemies nearby, cause he can't shoot them anyway. Are you sure your marines had ammo?

    With respect to giving units orders, the interface is going to receive an overhaul at some later point. Right now I'm concentrating on other areas of development but I do intend to change the way orders can be given to units and make them a bit smarter with respect to autoselecting targets (shoot alien lifeforms before their RT's, etc).

    Armslabs are not handled identically to NS at the moment. Research is a game mechanic completely independent of any structures; the interface just reds out a button if you don't have the prerequisite building. Once the research starts, even if the building is destroyed it will continue and the effects of the research will remain. This is going to be updated in a future release so that destroying all of a particular type of building will stop its ongoing subordinate research from being completed and remove the effects of any already completed subordinate research - same as NS.

    Lerks don't gas yet; they will be getting gas in a future release. Similarly, Gorge will be receiving bilebomb and onos will be getting stomp. In the meantime, I've already changed lerks so they don't bite anymore - they've got their high velocity ranged spike attack back. I'm still tweaking it a bit, but you'll see this change in the next release, making them a lot more useful.

    The biggest problem with lerks is that in NS, their primary advantage is their ability to fly, making them hard to shoot down. Flight doesn't translate well to a 2D game, however, so being able to "fly" really only means he can move a bit faster. Therefore, changes are needed to make him useful in Starstrike. As I've said, he's already got his old spike attack back, making him a ranged raider typer. I also intend to make him immune to mines (as he can 'fly' over them) and I have designs for a vent system, much like in NS, which only skulks, lerks and marines with jetpacks can get through. This will increase the usability of the lerk, and also of the jetpack which is of limited value at the moment. These changes are coming in a future release.


    * * * * *


    Now that that's all done with, I have some new stuff to show you all. Kirilot, our character animator, has come through with a new set of alien animations! No fade yet, but the others are almost ready to go. Have a look:

    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/aliens_all.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/skulk_standing.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/skulk_anim.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/gorge_standing.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/gorge_running.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/lerk_standing.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/lerk_moving.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/onos2_standing.gif
    http://www.starstrike.ausleague.com/files/onos2_run.gif

    Also, I've got the strategic zoom function working much better than I expected. There are a couple of bugs to work out but I hope to have it fully functional for the next release!

    Stay tuned for more smile-fix.gif
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Spent all day improving the AI on both sides.

    The Aliens AI now gestates all lifeforms and plans ahead, saves resources and drops a force of multiple Onosses and Fades on you at once if you let him expand too much!
    The Marines AI now uses all item drops except Jetpacks and Mines (these are coming later), and has new and improved build and research orders. He is now MUCH stronger than he used to be as he will repair his damaged stuff and throw HA trains at you when he has enough resources! You also need to be ready for pitched battle right at the start of the game now as he will occasionally throw a shotgun rush at you right off the bat!

    More updates to come - and a new release very soon!
  • CrispyCrispy Jaded GD Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-08-22 Member: 30793Posts: 3,225
    QUOTE(Agent @ Jul 17 2008, 10:54 AM) »
    You also need to be ready for pitched battle right at the start of the game now as he will occasionally throw a shotgun rush at you right off the bat!
    Can you disable that from the 'slow' and 'slowest' speed settings? I'm sure complete newbies looking to learn the ropes at their own pace won't be thankful for punishing shotgun rushes. If you don't want people to quit out of fristration, that is. That way you're only dumbing down the lower difficulties, which is exactly what lower difficulties are for.
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hi Crispy,

    That's not what the game speed setting is for. Game speed pretty much just lowers the frame rate, so that things happen more slowly (in terms of real world time vs in game time).

    Actual difficulty settings are coming in the future. At the moment difficulty can be adjusted to a certain extent by playing with the files in the AI folder, though I haven't released any AI modding instructions at this point. I'd have to put together a tutorial including a list of what all the numbers contained in those files represent before people can modify them. The files include build orders and research orders, and direct the AI to build structures in a certain order and try to research tech in a particular order. Things like weapon drops and attack frequency are hard coded at the moment and I may make those user-modifiable in the future as well. Difficulty can be controlled from the build and research orders by not including certain structures or research, which will restrict the hard coded behaviour of the AI; for example if you don't include heavy weapons research in the research order, you'll never come up against HMG's or GL's, or you can tell it not to build so many turrets if you think his defenses are too hard to crack.

    Right now my attention isn't on user modification, but I will put together a document to help people play with the AI files in the future. For the time being, the game is only really being advertised here on these forums, where players come pre-trained in how to play!
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Ok, because I'm up late and am too tired to code, here's a VERY quick tute on AI modding, for anyone who wants to play with the files for fun or experimentation.

    Simple.sbo is a build order for the marines AI. Simple.sro is the research order for marines AI. Simplealiens.sbo is the aliens AI build order, but you won't see that file in your version until I make a new release as there's no Aliens AI in the current one. There's also a simplealien.sro, which does nothing and should be empty but must be present.

    For build order files, instructions come in pairs. The first number in a pair is the structure type to build, the second number is how many the AI wants before continuing to the next pair. If at any stage a structure is destroyed by an enemy, the AI will return to that point in the list and reconstruct things in order. Using a number pair of 11 followed by a 3 doesn't tell the AI to build 3 IP's at that time, it tells it that it must have a total of 3 IP's before continuing - in other words, you're telling the AI to bring its total number of IP's to 3. If it's already got one IP, giving it a quantity of 3 will make it build two more.

    Note further that RT construction is hard coded; no matter what you put in the build order files, the AI will scout for and capture resource nodes at its own rate. Placing an entry in the build order file for RT's tells the AI not to build anything further down the list until it has that many RT's. If the number of RT's ever drops below that number, the AI will stop building new stuff until it's recaptured enough nodes.

    Here's what the structure ID's are:

    1 Light Marine
    2 Heavy Marine
    3 Jetpack Marine
    4 Unused (engine will crash if you use this)
    5 Skulk
    6 Gorge
    7 Lerk
    8 Fade
    9 Onos
    10 CC
    11 IP
    12 Armory
    13 RT
    14 TF
    15 Sentry
    16 Siege
    17 Obs
    18 Arms
    19 Protolab
    20 Phase
    21 Hive
    22 Alien RT
    23 OC
    24 DC
    25 MC
    26 SC
    27 Egg

    I've included object ID's for unit types as well as the gestation egg for completeness. The AI *can* be ordered to build them, but that'd just be silly smile-fix.gif Also, the AI will not check prerequisites; if you tell it to build a phase gate before you tell it to build an observatory or sentries before the TF it will do so, even though that 'breaks the rules'. Also, the Marines AI can be ordered to build alien stuff, if you want to muck around... it's kinda funny to see marines spawning from a hive smile-fix.gif Chambers still function, too, so the AI will heal his marines at a hive or DC, run faster with MC's and shoot harder bullets with SC's. That kind of thing might be all a bit of fun, but if you mix the races up in the AI build orders you're playing with fire - be warned that the engine won't like it and the AI might break entirely.

    Research files aren't in pairs, just an order of research ID's. Note that research structure prerequisites *are* checked. Don't put phase tech early in the research order if you've put the observatory late in the build order. However, if you do something dumb like this, the AI will *skip* a research entry if it wants to research something but doesn't have the prerequisite building to perform the next item on the list. It'll come back to skipped entries later. However, research that depends on other research can be done of order, so if you want to try to break the AI you might put Weapons 3 before Weapons 1 or 2 and that will work; though when it gets to weapons 1 its damage bonus will DROP from 30% back to 10%.

    Here are the research ID's:

    1 Armor 1
    2 Armor 2
    3 Armor 3
    4 Motion tracking
    5 Weapons 1
    6 Weapons 2
    7 Weapons 3
    8 Heavy Weapons (equivalent to an upgraded armory)
    9 Medpacks
    10 Ammo Packs
    11 Cat Packs
    12 Phase Tech
    13 Jetpacks
    14 HA
    15 Siege Weapons

    Generally, putting in a zero, a negative value or an otherwise nonexistant ID in either the build or research files will break things.

    If you think you can come up with a better (harder, smarter, faster, tougher, etc) AI than I am currently using then tell us about it!

    Obviously, a lot of dodgy stuff can be done if you want to mess about a bit, but you're asking for trouble. I only include information on how to break it for the sake of completeness, so you know what the AI's limitations are and so you can have a bit of fun if you don't mind breaking things. As usual when playing with game files, take backups and use common sense.

    So, if you think the AI is too soft, see if you can make him smarter and more efficient! Or, if he's too much for you, try removing armor or weapons upgrades entirely from his research order, or reducing his IP's to just one to drop his respawn rate. You might cut his build order to just one IP, one armory and nothing else, with an empty research queue if you want to keep things really simple.

    If you manage something cool or otherwise fun, let us know!
  • FraxinusFraxinus Members, Constellation Join Date: 2008-03-02 Member: 63783Posts: 177
    edited July 2008
    Adjusting the gameplay speed was really helpful for me to get used to the game. Building ocs+dcs makes any rt invincible which is nice cause you dont have to worry about it. However fades on their own aren't that powerful. Looks like it could shape up to be a good game though smile-fix.gif

    after playing through a complete game one thing i noticed was that sentry turrets fire after the TF is destroyed and buildings are still dropped after the comm chair is destroyed.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    -Frax*
  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    hm... can the marines ever knife to save ammo? sorry for being picky. But yeah, potentially it was an out-of-ammo thing.

    That system for the AI is OK to an extent. The trick is gimmicking the system. For example, in Advance Wars, the AI always had to have a certain number of basic infantry around. However, when you're pounding their base, you'd think they would build tanks and such to push you back. Nope, they just built more infantry for the slaughter.

    One key thing people forget in their AI (usually) is exceptions to the rules. For the above example, there should have been an exception for when you're far into the game and need to play defensively. For StarStrike, there is thankfully a fairly linear progression of buildings, but perhaps a reconstruction flag or something like that to recover from a blow by getting the essentials out first to re-equip instead of re-building the entire structure progression. Also, some variability would be cool. Such as a short portion of the build able to be randomized between 2 or 3 different progressions (arms lab versus obs for example).

    Just some thoughts to make the AI more nimble. Haven't tested the new system just yet.
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hi Spellman,

    There's no knife in the game. The pistol has been coded into the game but there's no way for a marine to use it right now. I'm considering a system where a marine who's out of ammo will switch to the pistol (which has unlimited ammo), but I'm not sure yet whether that's a good idea. Thoughts?

    On the AI, given that the most essential structures are generally at the start of the build list, going through the 'entire' structure progression usually does result in the most essential stuff being rebuilt first. As for variability, there's only one AI at the moment ("simple"). Down the track there will be multiple AI 'personalities', and each AI will be assigned one at random or possibly be selected by the player. This will change how each and every game plays out. There's also a certain amount of randomness already in how the AI acts with regard to its hardcoded behaviour, so as development continues we'll see some variance in the way the AI's act.

    I'm still tweaking the AI at the moment, adjusting a few behaviours and making a very changes to balance, etc. A lot of time is going into watching the AI play against itself and identifying weaknesses in its behaviour for future strengthening. I also want to add the remaining alien lifeform's special abilities (stomp, bilebomb and spore cloud) before the next release. Still a bit of work to do, but I hope to have a new release for you all in the next week or two.

    Also, Kirilot is still working on the alien animations. If he comes close to finishing that work, I might delay the release until that's ready for inclusion as well.

    Now, a question for all you playtesters out there: I'm thinking of reworking the sentry gun. Right now, it duplicates the sentry in NS, but I was thinking of changing it into an actual machinegun emplacement by increasing its rate of fire to compare with the LMG, and reducing the damage of each shot proportionately. The upshot is that they will be cooler and more fun to play with, but the downside is that they will no longer be like the NS sentries, and after all I am trying to make NS in 2D. What do you all think?

    Keep the feedback coming!
  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    kool. Glad to hear you have a non-static AI in mind in the future. kudos.

    As far as turrets, I wouldn't mind either way. The real question is will it destroy my framerate?
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Members Join Date: 2008-06-17 Member: 64467Posts: 194
    edited July 2008
    This maybe the Noob question of the week but I need help getting this thing to start up.

    But I can't Get the game to start up because of "Runtime Error 506-Could not load image at line 4879.

    Sorry if this has been explained before but I haven't seen it and I've tried it several times. If anyone could help I would be Thankful.

    EDIT: Do I have to put it in a specific folder similar to garry's mod addons?
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hey BlackHawk,

    Have you unzipped the archive? You can't run the game straight out of the zip file, because it needs to access the other files in the zip (which are still compressed!)

    Double click on the zip file that comes down from the website, and drag the folder inside that file to your desktop, or anywhere else you like. Then close the zip, go into the folder you put on the desktop and run the game from there.

    Any other dramas, let me know, and remember to post comments on the game when you've tried it!
  • BlackHawkBlackHawk Members Join Date: 2008-06-17 Member: 64467Posts: 194
    edited July 2008
    Well, I did unzip it, but I Ran out of the zip thinking it would be faster (don't ask why my logic confounds me sometimes smile-fix.gif ) however thank you for you help and I look forward to playing this game smile-fix.gif .

    Edit: got it to work smile-fix.gif and yes it is fun. Only problem is I wish that the computers didin't have prebuild bases. I though we got rid of this after the original command and conquer smile-fix.gif
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hello again,

    They don't have prebuilt bases by default - that's decided at map design time. The game still uses some maps from back before I had taught the AI to build their own base, so they had prebuilt positions.

    Have a go at the map entitles "Corners". That map is the best example of the game in general terms. The CPU does not have a prebuilt base on that map and it will build its own position dynamically.
  • PlasmaPlasma Members, Constellation, Squad Five Blue Join Date: 2003-04-26 Member: 15855Posts: 605
    Hey, just had a quick game of this - pretty neat.

    I'm hopeless, are there cheats to give me resources? tounge.gif

    Keep up the good work.
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hi guys, just a quick update!

    I realise it's been a whole month since I've updated the thread, but I took a short break while I helped a colleague with another project. Now I'm back and ready to continue work on Starstrike!

    What I'm looking for these days is continued bug reports, wishlists, suggestions, ideas, concepts, whatever you want to tell me about the game as it currently stands! The more feedback we get the better the game becomes!

    Back to the posts!
  • SolitarioSolitario Members Join Date: 2006-10-29 Member: 58097Posts: 245
    Is there any new version in progress? I love your game, hope you guys won't stop working on it! =)
  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    also interested.
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    QUOTE (Solitario @ Mar 15 2009, 08:28 AM) »
    Is there any new version in progress? I love your game, hope you guys won't stop working on it! =)



    Hey guys, been a while since I've checked in!

    I'm actually at a bit of a standstill in production; the majority of the game mechanics are completed and there's not a great deal left for me (as lead programmer) to do. What I really need right now is artists (2D sprite animators for units and structures, and static content for the UI and tileset art). As you're all aware the game is using placeholder art right now for pretty much everything, and now that the engine and mechanics are pretty much done it's time to give it the look to go with the walk, but I have nobody on board right now to create that content.

    The game's website was also hacked and destroyed, which was a little strange and surprising given the scale (very small) of the project. Of course I have backups of the files but since production has virtually halted I haven't bothered resetting the website.

    The bottom line is, I still have great interest in the project and want to push it forward, but I can't go any further without help: Artists, put up your hand! If you want to see more done with the game, help me find tileset artists and animators to work on the units and structures!
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hey everyone - still trying to garner interest in the game and get the feedback of the NS community!

    I'm also still looking for artists to contribute to the production of the game.

    And anyone who's played, let us all know what you think of Starstrike!
  • spellman23spellman23 NS1 Theorycraft Expert Members Join Date: 2007-05-17 Member: 60920Posts: 3,365
    well, interested, but I believe I've already stated most of my stuff. and I'm not an artist.
    helping bring perspective and learning since the olde days

    QUOTE
    <jenny> What's the plural of 'Onos'?
    <Mexican> For a while, I thought it was 'Oh ######'!


    Vote on your Ideas/Suggestions!
    http://www.unknownworlds.com/forums/index....howtopic=125347
  • EmooEmoo Ibasa Members Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11198Posts: 535
    Just played a couple of games, was fun :) theres a lot of potential there. Played a game of aliens(me) v marines(cpu) and another of marines(me) v marines(cpu). The first game was much easier, aliens can just build DC OC walls and the CPU had no chance against them.

    Was a bit confused on some of the rules to start, I thought MCs and SCs wern't working at first when I couldn't build them, then moused over the hive and saw that it was like 1.04 rules. Also MCs and SCs don't seem to have any local effect like the DC so you may as well just put them at the safest part of your base not on the front line like DCs.

    I'm not a great artist, mostly mapping and programming but this is something I'd like to help out with in anyway if your still looking?
    Ingame name = Ibasa
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Yeah, you need a second and third hive to build a second and third type of chamber (hasn't that always been the case in NS?).

    OC and DC walls are pretty strong, but so they are in NS too. It takes a heavy train or strategic use of GL's to get through, both in NS and in SS. The AI isn't smart enough to use duck and cover tactics with a GL yet, so it'll only get through a wall in the late game when it has heavys out.

    I don't really require any assistance with the programming side of development at this time; besides which, it's written in a language nobody's ever heard of (DarkBasic Pro) so I doubt I'd find any support there anyway :)

    Still, I can always use assistance testing and balancing. If you have ideas, drop them on me!

    Glad you enjoyed the game :)
  • EmooEmoo Ibasa Members Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11198Posts: 535
    edited August 2009
    Ah I've heard of DarkBasic, never used it though.

    I keep playing it everynow and then so I'll let you know if I find any bugs, or balance issues.

    Just wondering about the artwork? Could you not just use screenshot of the NS models for the sprites? Load it up in model viewer and its easy to get a from above image and can step through animations as well.

    Also any chance of more map textures, objects? Vents would be a good first addition, and weldables if its possible? Of course you'd then have to make a map editor :)

    Also I havn't yet seen the AI use anything other then LMG light marines. Never gets to heavys even if I leave it running for hours.

    [EDIT]

    Just played another game as marines, the whole research system is currently nothing like NS. Buildings have no stratigic value except their res cost, even turret factories don't need protecting once the turrets are placed. Also is there any chance of advanced armory, advanced turret factory being put into individual buildings rather than just being map wide? Also electification?

    I've also found line of sight can be a bit dodgy and sometimes it takes a few seconds for enemys (units and structures) to appear. I've also experimented with re-doing some of the buildings with screenshots from HLMV, it looks much better :) just need to get the scale right.

    [EDIT (again)]

    So heres some screenshot of the marines building and items and alien buildings, also did an onos replacement but that didn't work out so well :(

    image
    image

    Also I couldn't work out how to use mines? And when I was playing alien maze the computer kept trying to build in the top hive even when I had control of it (can see an armory in the screenshot) but it didn't build in the bottom right hive. Also im struggling to maintain 30 fps and its dipping to 15 at times, considering I can play source on max graphics I can't see why.

    I'm really liking this :) good work keep adding to it!

    [EDIT]
    Also would it be possible for jetpacks and lerks to fly over building? I was slightly suprised when my jetpack marine got stuck in that top screenshot.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Ingame name = Ibasa
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hey Emoo,

    Yeah DB isn't a popular language, but it's really very powerful.

    Artwork: I did in fact use screenshots of the NS models, but I grabbed them from ingame as I don't have 3D studio software (hence the horrible quality). If you'd like to donate the higher quality caps you've grabbed I'll take them!

    Map textures: Yes, but not right now. Graphic assets are at the bottom of the list (I'm not an artist, and I don't have an artist on my team). If and when I acquire an artist for the required work, pretty much all visual assets will be overhauled.

    Vents and weldables are on the list. Vents will be skulks, lerks and jetpacks only. Weldables will, obviously, be marine-affectable only.

    The AI will use all equipment, if left long enough - same as human opponents. If you let them live long enough, with access to sufficient resources, they will dump shotguns, HMG's, and HA's, along with the occasional JP and GL. They don't use mines yet, though. I don't often see them deploy heavy equipment in games I'm playing properly (I like to deny my enemy resources) but in an AI versus AI game, they do get there about as quickly as I'd expect a human player to.

    I haven't decided yet whether to make turrets dependant upon the TF to continue function. They have been weakened healthwise to make turret farms far less effective, though the AI isn't smart enough to hit and run with GL's to get through them yet. The engine, actually, isn't designed to replicate NS - I'm just using NS as a baseline for the engine, towards the end of making it a completely different real time tactics game (way down the track). Since I like NS so much, I decided back when I began the project to model it on NS until the engine is complete. When the engine is complete I'll make a release of NS2D as final and finished as possible, before I move Starstrike on in its own independant direction; but that's the reason things aren't *exactly* identical to NS.

    LoS is indeed a little buggy. I've found that sometimes enemy objects can move into LoS and remain there for a few seconds (firing all the while) before they become visible to the player. I've been hunting this bug for a *long* time and haven't been able to track it down. If you can determine a specific set of circumstances under which it occurs (I haven't been able to), that would be useful information.

    Mines: Deploy a pack of mines to a marine, then move him to where you want to set them. Hold CTRL and rightclick a space next to the marine to deploy a mine. Like NS, you get four mines in each pack. They're a bit overpowered at the moment, I think. Balancing will come.

    Your FPS drops are on account of your CPU, not your GPU. SS is a 2D game and doesn't use any 3D functions at all. It will run just as smoothly on a Radeon9200 as a GFX280. Despite intense optimisation, SS is still a mathematically complex game, so your CPU is the bottleneck.

    I do plan to implement Jetpacks and Lerks flying over *mines* and into vents, but the thought of having them pass over buildings never even occurred to me. I'll think about this!

    Thanks for your comments! :)
  • EmooEmoo Ibasa Members Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11198Posts: 535
    edited August 2009
    Heres a rar file with the buildings and items (http://www.2shared.com/file/7108210/fa381fcc/Starstrike.html) I'll have a look at getting the lifeform and marine sprites done at some point as well.

    While baseing the game from NS could we use NS artwork? You mention Charlie had cleared you for using some assets. If so I can make NS textures into useable sprites probably, and do a few of my own.

    I haven't watched an AI v AI game yet, I'll do that later. But I've found that the AI while very aggressive and map controlling is very poor at breaking a solid defense and very bad at defending itself.

    I think if the plan is to release NS2D at some point before moving on to your own game the turrets and research should be dependent on the buildings, just to stay true to NS.

    I'll keep an eye out for LoS bug and let you know if I notice anything :)

    My CPU is an Intel core2 quad Q8200 2.33GHz, it's not top of the range but I wouldn't expect to to have any issues with 2D sprites. It certianly finds the 4 player maps and times where there are lots of units on screen to be difficult.

    Couple of questions, do you plan on making a map editor or releasing the map specification so someone else can make a map editor?
    Also you have a multiplayer option greyed out at the moment, is this going in at any point. Real humans would be much harder than the AI and would making balancing this much easier.

    [EDIT]

    Had this happen today, once with a marine res tower and once with a sensory tower. Screencapped the sensory tower, as you can see the background is black instead of transparent, it was a black background when it was first placed not just once it was "built".

    image
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    Ingame name = Ibasa
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Hey Emoo,

    Thanks for those image files. I'll see about integrating them into the game for a nice graphics boost. Will your 3D asset program allow you to make animations for the units as well?

    Yeah the AI isn't perfect yet, but as long as it still gives a good game it's doing its job. Upgrades to its tactics are always being made. We'll see about increasing its specific offense and defense capabilities in the future.

    AI vs AI games are interesting and fun to watch. The Aliens AI needs more work than the Marines AI at this stage, I think, but then it hasn't received nearly as much attention. You can learn a lot about how it acts by watching it play against itself.

    It wouldn't be too difficult to make turrets fail in the absence of their controlling turret factory, but it would be an engine rework if I wanted to make research building-specific and I have no plans to do this at the moment. I'll consider doing it in the future once the game becomes more complete and we're looking more like a full release, but for the moment research will remain global.

    The slowdowns are calculation related rather than 2D sprite rendering related. I've optimised the code extensively and I can't figure out how mainstream 2D games like, say, Starcraft are able to handle all the calculations without straining the CPU. I'm running a 3gHz dualcore and don't have much of a problem with it but I am aware through public playtesting that my system is pretty much threshold specs. I'll have to look more extensively into it, but SS is very CPU intensive.

    I have already made a fully featured map editor early in project development, which was used to create all of the maps already in the game. Perhaps it's early days yet to be releasing content editing tools, but if someone wanted to design some maps for the game I suppose I could release the map editor to them.

    I'd like to include multiplayer, but it's a big job. The game engine wasn't designed for it from the start (big mistake) so it'll be a lot of work to allow for it, but it *is* on the drawing board.

    The black square bug is known and I have no idea at all what causes it. On the face of it, it *appears* to be a compiler bug and not a problem with my code, but I haven't looked into it very extensively at this stage.

    Your continued feedback and contributions are appreciated! Perhaps you'd consider looking at producing unit animations with your 3D asset software? Thanks!
  • EmooEmoo Ibasa Members Join Date: 2002-12-20 Member: 11198Posts: 535
    Hey Agent,

    Yeh I can do unit anitmations with my software, but between work and going away prob won't have them done till sunday/monday. Quick question about animations, it seems that it has 8 frames max, is this correct? Also does it only have idle, moving and dieing animations, there seems to be no attacking animation?

    Speaking of attacking it seems that there are no reloads (marines) or energy use (aliens). Could these be implemented? I think it would slow fighting down a bit as currently marines are just full on automatic machine guns :-S

    I tried to watch an AI v AI game, but it requires cheats which you havn't told us (or I missed). If you could just explain how the cheats work I'll watch a few games.

    Understand that getting building related research may be difficult and that currently just playing agains the AI it's not worth it, but if you get muliplayer sorted I think it should be put in.

    Hell even Age of Empires could handle 100s of units at once and that was 10 years ago. I'll try and find some ideas to improve the performace.

    I'd be intrested in getting hold of that map editor :P See what I can do with it.

    I think multiplayer should be your long term goal for this, it would really make it great!

    The black square bug seems to be a bit random, it's only happend twice so far but I'll keep my eyes out for any recuring traits.

    And no problem I'm having fun playing the game, anything to make it better :D
    Ingame name = Ibasa
  • AgentAgent Members, Constellation Join Date: 2004-02-10 Member: 26330Posts: 82
    Just a very quick response, not much time to write today:

    - Try entering IRWINNER into the console. The rest is up to you :)

    - If you're going to watch the AI play, it might be interesting to enter MONITOR into the console after the first command (it won't do anything unless you've already entered the first one).

    - I do plan to get multiplayer running at some stage. Some connectivity code already exists, but it'll have to be rewritten (too much core stuff has changed since I wrote it).

    - I'll probably release the map editor soon.

    - Age of Empires is a chump's game compared to Starstrike, both in calculation complexity and awesomeness :)

    - Black square bug is really annoying! It's been dodging my efforts for months.

    - Alien energy use does exist in the current working build, there are three alien abilities that use it: Leap, Healspray and Blink. More abilities for other lifeforms yet to be coded.

    - Reloads: Not sure yet. Might add some depth to combat. Will think about it.

    - BBL :)
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