Questions About the mod

Eder

Mr. Standoff
The Vision engine is only "antiquated" for people who are too lazy to try and come up with something new for it. I know what I'm talking about here, and the rest of you, minus about a dozen people, don't - so stop pretending.

I mean, geez, this is the freaking WC community, and lately it seems most of the people who aren't preaching against fan projects as a whole are preaching against the engine of the last WC game we had.

I'm yet to find out what's so "crappy" about the Vision engine apart from arguments such as "you need to write code to edit it!!! OMFG!!!" and "WTF?!?!?!11 There's no 1024x1024 x 32 bit super colorful space background nebula textures!!!1111"
 

Cam

Spaceman
That unregistered guest was me by the way. I didn't realize I wasn't logged in. :D

In any case, the Vision engine is six years old. You'd probably reach a greater audience if you made your mod on a current more popular engine, with Windows 2000 and Windows XP support. I'd love to play a Macross mod, but Prophecy and SO just don't like my new OS... I doubt you'd just want to target Wing Commander fans anyway, because the only people likely to still have Prophecy around are they.

Oh I didn't see your response Eder. :)

Being more graphically-oriented, I find that the engine just looks damn ugly (in comparison to more modern games). And nobody really has attempted to mod the engine into something that would be able to compete with modern games--at least not to my knowledge. Can it support high res textures (512 or 1024)? Can it support incredibly high polygon counts and render fast like say... UT2003? 16bit or 32bit colour? Bump mapping and specular maps?

I'm not saying the engine isn't capable of getting the job done--but there are newer, more compatible, more technologically advanced engines that could be modded. Popularity and compatibility are probably even more important issues than how capable the engine is. But I suppose if you guys don't really care about those things that's fine too, I'd still support you guys. Go Macross Mod!

Oh here's a few more questions:
- Is your mod going to be played in first-person or third person view?
- How are you going to be able to transform between the various flight modes?
- Can the vision engine handle model animations? If not, will you make it do so?
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Cam, have you played Unknown Enemy ? It features a hi-res 1024x768 tweek in 32 bits direct3D. And it works quite well in Win2000 and XP. And the basic SO package being freely downloadable on the net, it's more accessible to the masses than any other engine I know. (A Vision Engine mod doesn't need WCP to run, only SO)

The only reason I can see why the SO engine isn't the best suited for this project is the fact that it doesn't do model animation, so no tranformation.
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Cam said:
In any case, the Vision engine is six years old. You'd probably reach a greater audience if you made your mod on a current more popular engine, with Windows 2000 and Windows XP support. I'd love to play a Macross mod, but Prophecy and SO just don't like my new OS...
I don't know, but I'm pretty sure almost all the issues WCP has with XP are solveable... and about reaching a greater audience, well... compatibility is the key, higher system requirements are not, and it's always pretty much a matter of using one to compensate for the other when it comes to these subjects.

When it comes to mods, here's how I think this works... all Macross fans - no matter which machine they have - are likely to be thrilled about a Macross mod which will require only a 32mb card and a Pentium 233. Same with WC... I'm sure many people here can run stuff that looks twice as good as Standoff with the same framerate, but they're still looking forward to the project. Mods aren't like commercial games... my target audience are WC fans, from the ones that still upgrade their computers to run all the latest games to the ones who had to save up to buy a computer that could run WCP nicely and haven't upgraded it ever since. Anyway, nothing to do with the engine discussion there, that's just my take on fan project target audiences :D

Cam said:
I doubt you'd just want to target Wing Commander fans anyway, because the only people likely to still have Prophecy around are they.
This I agree with - for a WC mod, I still insist that the WCP engine is the best choice... for anything else, it also depends on a) the target audience (if you're making a mod about that TV series which only ever aired in Russia, go with an engine that has russian character support :p) and b) what your gameplay needs are (for example, if you're making a mod that doesn't need nav points, feel free to go the FS2 way).

Cam said:
Being more graphically-oriented, I find that the engine just looks damn ugly (in comparison to more modern games).
Eh, come on, Cam... the ships can look as good as on any other engine that doesn't have specular/bump mapping, and the space backgrounds can too (just without the big-ass omnipresent nebulas that IMHO *plague* space sims nowadays - I consider that particular piece of eye candy to be a step backwards) - it's just more work (I'll give you this, nobody has *really* pushed the engine to the edge so far).

Cam said:
And nobody really has attempted to mod the engine into something that would be able to compete with modern games--at least not to my knowledge.
I think the lack of interest in the engine is to blame for this. All these people who just prefer to pick a different engine for their mod every week (not that these people would do the engine any good in the first place, but...) aren't helping anyone at all... If we had more than just half a dozen people (with busy lives, no less) dedicated to messing around with this engine we could improve it even further - because remember, it's already been improved a lot from the original by HCl, for example - and also keep in mind that this isn't the only engine in the world which needs improvement... this engine needs as much improvement as any other, but people seem to have just chosen to just give up on this one and deem it a lost cause rather than work on it

I'm sure someone who has started a mod for X2 last week will have many difficulties and will take some 2 years to finish the project - by then, the engine will also be outdated and look like crap, unless somebody actually takes the time to update it... with the Vision engine, it just happened that the few people who didn't lose interest and move to an easier engine are too busy to make any major modifications to the game.

(It's worth noting that most people who lose interest in an engine when something better comes out, and switch engines like there's no tomorrow, are not only missing the point that THEY should be doing something for the old engine, but are also dooming the project to failure. By the time you're done porting stuff - if you don't change engines again and start a new cycle - your oh-so new engine will also look like crap, because you don't update the engines you're using as you go along... you just ditch them. This happens a lot even to retail games.)

Cam said:
Can it support high res textures (512 or 1024)?
I'm pretty sure it can, in Direct3d, if your video card does. I don't use anything larger than 256x256 in Standoff because I favor compatibility and framerate on low end machines over looks. I'm pretty sure there aren't higher res textures in UE either, although a while ago someone suggested trying to use only 512x512 textures for UE2 (Filler, I think?).

I'm pretty sure most people here hate the WCM and will think this is a lame-ass example, but take a look at the WCM Rapier model I've released for the CIC's birthday. That thing has about a thousand more polygons and twice the textures than the average Standoff ship... and it looks as detailed as the average Freelancer ship (except that it isn't a copy of another ship with one extra part attached and a different name slapped onto it - here's my unavoidable stab at Freelancer for today ;)). The reason we don't see better looking stuff in the Vision engine is because nobody is working on it, not because the engine isn't capable. I wouldn't make all of Standoff's ships as detailed as that WCM Rapier, because I'd rather have the game run better on slower machines... and, well, apart from me, there aren't that many people modding WCP at all, let alone using a different philosophy :)

Cam said:
Can it support incredibly high polygon counts and render fast like say... UT2003? 16bit or 32bit colour?
It can render fast enough... Killerwave ran a test for me once, on his GF2 MX (IIRC) - we went up to 15 capital ships (2000 polygons each, approximately) and a couple dozen fighters on 640x480x16bit with no noticeable framerate slowdowns, then we just figured we didn't need to test any larger numbers of ships. This may not be "fast like UT2003", but it certainly is *enough* for most projects' needs. Any hardware T&L card with decent texture memory is likely to be able to run WCP smoothly - no matter the resolution, color depth, or number of ships you have onscreen... and I mean even if you have the absolute maximum polycount and texture detail allowed per ship. IMO that's a damn good tradeoff for not looking as good as X2, and the added bonus is that it can reach larger audiences (back to the discussion of mod audiences being different than retail games' again).

Cam said:
Bump mapping and specular maps?
No, but I don't see many options here either. FS2's implementation of specular maps is still a work in progress... As I understand the effect turns off when part of the ship model in question is out of view. I don't know about Freelancer, but it didn't look any good in my opinion, so IF these features are in, they were used extremely poorly - which is not to say they couldn't be used properly by a fan project, but why would anyone botter with such an unflexible engine? Vega Strike is slow as hell on anything but the video cards that came out the weekend before each latest build... the only good looking engine I've seen lately is X2's, but that probably runs slow as hell on any affordable computer too. For the average WC fan-project which wants to reach as many WC fans as possible and still looking a dozen times better than the last oficial WC products, the Vision engine is the way to go. (If I knew more about Macross, I'd be happy to comment on the Vision engine's usefulness for it, too. <G> I'm just going to risk a guess and say that the problems you'll have here - like no transforming ship models and transition to ground missions, etc - you'll also have in most other engines).

The only other engine I would consider for a mod right now, for its balance between looks, playability, and customizability, is Starshatter. I still haven't had a good look at X2, but if it's easily customizable and runs well on the average machine of today it could also be something worth considering, since it looks absolutely gorgeous IMO...


Edit: Bah, Pierre beat me to it, even though he has more diapers to change between each post :p Anyway, my post is a more general argumentation of why the vision engine is still a viable option for any WC mod... since I don't know much about Macross, I can't speak for that, but so there, Pierre apparently can <G>.
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Eder said:
... since I don't know much about Macross, I can't speak for that, but so there, Pierre apparently can <G>.
Well, the only Macross things I've seen are Macross Plus and Macross II movies, so I am no expert either.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
TC said:
Is it the Byydo method of turning the fire delay down to zero?
No, it's some other method (though I don't know exactly how it works). Though actually, I guess turing the fire delay down to zero would be pretty effective as well.

Eder said:
(just without the big-ass omnipresent nebulas that IMHO *plague* space sims nowadays - I consider that particular piece of eye candy to be a step backwards)
Hear, hear. What the heck is wrong with empty space in a _space_ sim anyway? :p
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Ummm, you really couldn't shoot down missles in SO, I'm wondering if there was any way that that would be possible in the mod?
 

Cam

Spaceman
PopsiclePete: Yes I did, but playing on my Windows 2000 it had the habit of crashing the game every 10-20 minutes so I couldn't get very far...

Eder: It sounds like there should be a mod where the sole purpose would be to enhance the Vision Engine's capabilities and performance to match that of a contemporary game engine. Perhaps an ongoing project that may never be complete--as one could continue to upgrade it indefinitely in theory. Too bad the WC community is seriously lacking in number of programmers though. I'd much like to see modders change and add to the game engine to create new value rather than just have new media content. Advanced particle systems, reflection mapping, realistic material shaders, bump and specular mapping (looks very realistic in HL2, I wouldn't use Freelancer as an example :) ) Some stuff like that would really make the engine look better... But nobody has really added anything like that. :(

Although I haven't seen the MacrossDYRL design document or project proposal or whatever, a problem I foresee with the use of the engine and a lack of coders (I'm not sure how many are on the DYRL team) would be the inability to achieve a true. Macross combat experience. That's all fine and dandy if the goal isn't to convey an experience, and rather just convey a story--but that's how a lot of mods are and I would rather see a greater focus on changing the game engine around so you can present gameplay which wasn't there when I bought WCP or played SO. So as I said I don't know your plans for the mod but I hope in your case that you guys can really change it around and do something different, y'know?
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Unregistered said:
Ummm, you really couldn't shoot down missles in SO, I'm wondering if there was any way that that would be possible in the mod?
You can definitely shoot down missiles in SO... it's just tough, because they're so small and so fast :p.
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Cam said:
...Some stuff like that would really make the engine look better... But nobody has really added anything like that. :(
Just for the record, Blackwolf used 512x512 textures on his fighter cockpits and he told me they worked without any problems... so there you have an example of something which could be done all along, but nobody was doing until now :p
 

Eder

Mr. Standoff
Well, I know, but I just used the most recent available example of making the engine look better :p

Seriously, though, as far as making things look better go, I think HCl's hi-res, 32bit, increased viewing distance, and engine limit increase patches are the best we have.
 

New

Spaceman
Is there going to be unlockable secrets, like the ability to pilot an Eva? Or no?

And what are the difficultly levels and plot?
 

AdmiralHuang

Spaceman
Just to be clear here, we all know that Robotech is not Macross and Macross is not Robotech, right? Totally different franchises. No confusion, right?
 

Tomato

Spaceman
I just watched the teaser vids and saw some of the game play. I am wondering if you are going to change the HUD or are you keeping the same as the wing commander one? Another thing is that no ships in Macross had shields (well at least in the time period your putting your game in) except the Macross itself, which had its 4 pinpoint barriers and that big omnidirectional shield, but during DYRL nothing else had energy shields so are you going take them out or leave them in?
Oh and one last thing, we will be able to transform in flight right? (I pretty much thing that's a given but just making sure)
 

theblackwulf

Spaceman
yes we are editing eventhing in the game so the huds will look more like Macross and the shields will be done and probly be replaced with armor As for the transformation yes one why or another we will make it happen we now are working on 5 ideas to make it happen in game .We will be pushing the engine as far as we can
Blackwolf
 

AdmiralHuang

Spaceman
A Gundam? Um, where's the logic in having one in the game? Macross... Gundam... different franchises? Oh, you mean as an easter egg or something. Cool idea.
 
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