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OpenRA Playtest 20180102 now available
January 02, 2018 - 11:35


The OpenRA developers are excited to welcome the new year with a new OpenRA playtest! More than 700 commits from 42 contributors were merged over the last five months, with each commit helping to fix bugs, improve code quality, or add new features that improve the single- and multi-player experience.

This playtest is a timely opportunity to get community participation, as we celebrate a massive record of games played. At the end of November OpenRA passed 500,000 completed multiplayer games since August 2014, when we started recording online server statistics. This is a huge accomplishment for our community, congratulations!

The main focus of this development cycle was modernizing core parts of the engine and game code to support the work-in-progress Tiberian Sun mod and other community projects. These shouldn’t have visibly changed our released mods, but big changes always have a risk of introducing unexpected bugs or side-effects. Please note that changes to the way hotkeys are managed mean you will need to redefine any custom hotkeys in the Input settings.

The changes weren’t all behind the scenes; an overhaul of the multiplayer UI added long-requested features:
  • The server browser shows the name/faction/team of connected players
  • The server browser is now also available as a tab in the server lobby
  • The main menu and server browser will notify you if a new release is available
  • The Global Chat has been removed from the server browser and lobby
  • A chat dialog has been added to the in-game menu



The new server player list is one of several improvements to the multiplayer UI.

Of course, we realize that the vast majority of OpenRA players do not play online. You haven’t been forgotten either! Improvements for the singleplayer experience include:
  • The full Harkonnen campaign in D2K
  • Refinements and improvements to several campaign missions in Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn
  • A fix for the AI cheating when it uses superweapons and support powers
  • Several other changes that should improve the AI behaviour and performance



Improvements to the AI support power targeting mean that this will be a rarer sight.

Other notable changes include:
  • New lobby options to disable bounty, build radius, and re-packing Construction Yards
  • Units will no longer target enemies revealed by the Red Alert GPS Satellite
  • A collection of community-driven balance changes for Red Alert
  • Fixes for many graphical glitches and polish issues
  • Fixes for several platform integration issues on Windows and macOS
  • Further improvements to memory usage and performance



The Map Options tab includes several new settings, and can be customized by scripted maps.


Platform integration fixes include “Pin to taskbar” support on Windows and 64 bit support for macOS.

As always, we suggest you read the full changelog if you’d like more information on the full list of changes. These playtests are released to get feedback from the community about the future direction of OpenRA, and we value your feedback. Let us know what you think and please report any bugs you discover via our forum, our GitHub issue tracker, or in the comments below.

OpenRA playtest builds do not overwrite the release version if you are on Windows or macOS, and you can switch between the two when joining an online server. So head over to OpenRA's download page and give it a try!

This development cycle brought significant improvements for community mods, but we recommend that modders wait for a future playtest before updating their projects. There are plans to merge a new version of the semi-automated rule upgrader before the final release, which will simplify the process of updating your Mod SDK based projects to the latest engine version. Stay tuned for more info!

Posted by pchote
Comment (1)


Happy 2018, from Project Perfect Mod!
January 02, 2018 - 06:45


Happy new year and hello everyone! One vision, one purpose. We wish you brotherhood, unity and peace. You know that today is that time of the year, I always make a news post wishing a happy new year, reminding some good things that happened last year and our plans for the current year, which we do not expect to see it happening in full scale, but it is posted just as a some sort of a roadmap that eventually gets forgotten. So, according to our famou script, here are some of the good things that happened last year:

- We have enforced SSL support for the main PPM domains, such as the PPM Home and PPM Forums.

- The PPM Forums has received  proper Keywords support for the Forums, allowing forums to list topics by keywords as well, which was done with many of the the tutorial related forums. We also have OpenRA Tutorials Database, New Profile Options, the ability to share topics on social networks and an updated captcha policy with the support of the Brotherhood of Nod (this one was added three days ago).

- The following mods were released at PPM: Twisted Insurrection 0.7, Dawn of the Tiberium Age 1.16, Death Label 0.99, Medieval Warfare 17102101 and C&C Crisis.

- The last ModDB Mod of the Year Popular Choice has featured Twisted Insurrection in 3rd position and Dawn of the Tiberium Age in 8th.

- OS: HVA Builder 2.18 has received a plenty of new features, such as a FLH simulator, turret offset, grid, section center, palette choice, several rendering fixes, vsync enabled and everything that 2.12 had. Its source code is now available at the SVN and its documentation is also properly updated. OS: Voxel Viewer 1.84 has also inherited some of these features, such as FLH coordinates simulation, turret offset, rendering fixes, vsync, etc.  Voxel Section Editor III has received some bug changes and it has been incremented with some shortcuts.  

Lin Kuei Ominae has released the Image Shaper, which is a tool that combines images and convert sequence of images into SHP files. Starkku has released the MapTool, that apply changes to tile, overlay and object data of map files of Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun & Red Alert 2 based on pre-defined conversion profiles. You can use it to convert desert maps into snow or urban maps or even convert RA2 maps into TS, under certain conditions. Also, tomsons26lv has released the Westwood Color Conversion Utility, which is a RGB to HSV converter that takes into account Westwood's HSV range (255, 255, 255) instead of the traditional (360, 255, 255). Nyerguds has updated the Westwood Font Editor 1.10.5, adding transparency support for pasting images and adds the ability to save edited palettes to a new entry on an external file, among other things.

- Ares has received some upgrades in this year. The version 0.D allows additional customization to mouse cursors under several events, it also allows infantry and vehicles healing different unit types, AI players can be ordered to build a pre-determined number of specific buildings without the need of using work arounds and clones, etc... The version 0.E has brought the tunnel network feature from Generals, further customization to IFV like units, KillDriver logic has been expanded, additional warhead effects and logics were added, and much more.

- The Tiberian Sun engine has also received some reinforcements in this year with the Tiberian Sun Client 5.40 that allows you to play the Tiberian Sun demo missions in the final game, while 5.38 added  support for multiple sides for Prerequisites and AITriggerTypes and an OpenGL version of the client. You can also use the C&C Executable Modifier to customize pip storage for tiberium, waste, passengers and ammo.

- OpenRA engine has advanced a lot in this year. It has started by providing new trait conditions system for a much better control over trait interactions; overhauling actor vision to support features like the RA active gap generators, D2K actors revealing themselves when attacking, and cliffs blocking vision in heightmap-enabled mods; simplified weapon definitions using inherited yaml templates; etc. Later in this year, the mod support has changed considerable to add proper support for multiples mods without deprecating them when a new version of the engine is released. It has also added a command bar at the bottom of the screen for issuing common orders and changing unit stances. There were also countless fixes in terms of gameplay, AI and so many things.


And finally, the plans for 2018. Considering that, for all these years we have been posting very long term plans, do not expect us to change much from the previous years. In fact, we do not expect to finish any of them in this year, just to move closer to this direction. So, yea, I am practically copying and pasting it from the previous years, with minor changes:

-> Re-design and modernize the main website, merging the main site with the mobile one: We plan to use modern web based design solutions to make a clean looking site that offers the current content. Furthermore, such new design should make future expansions to different topics (game development coverage) easier in a long term plan, as well as approach the content of our hosted TiberiumWeb to our own. As a bonus, this new design will remove Revora's network bar from our site.

-> Expand the site to become more popular with games beyond Tiberian Sun, Red Alert 2 and OpenRA scope: We are slowly adding content for other games here, but we are not getting many modders interested to discuss them in our community yet. We are already trying to change this situation by adding more content and trying to approach communities from other games. Now we can also re-use our existing content to quickly expand new subjects that can be covered here, which is something that we did recently with OpenRA.

-> Progress with VXLSE III's 3D model export feature: This is our ultimate goal to become a significant community that modifies or develops 3D games. We have many voxel assets that would be very useful in newer games if we are able to convert them. Don't expect this to be finished in 2018, since I have a doctorate to finish first and the my thesis will be used on this solution (being a small, but significant part of it).

-> Attract more high quality mods: We need fresh blood and attractive content in this place. PPM is still an attractive place to have forums to advertise your projects and it still holds a community with skilled modders and artists to improve the quality of your project in the long term.

-> Improve news coverage from other games and communities: Nowadays, we are covering news related to RTS Command & Conquer games and OpenRA, while we want this place to become a modding reference for every game. We plan a more aggressive approach to obtain news generated in this community and also from other sources. We plan to use bots to help us to collect these news and provide a quicker way to transform this information into news posts. Obviously, these news posts will still be written and revised by humans. We want to use it to increase the activity of this site and the attractiveness for game designers and user content creators that are not restricted to the universe that we cover nowadays. We expect to do that by using the RSS importing feature of this forum, the keywords feature and writing softwares to interpret the collected data and convert them into readable posts.

-> Improve the organization of our content: The News Tracker and the Key Words features are a nice way to organize the content that we may explore. Now we need to use these resources to expand the potential of this place as a good reference for game design and user content creation, as well as a good place to learn news about it. We will also improve the way we organize our key words.



And finally, I said last year that I was obligated to finish my doctorate in 2017. Unfortunately, that didn't happen and I am still doing it. However, unlike in the last year, I do not have strict deadlines to finish it (at least in a low term), although I do have financial limitations which motivates me to finish this doctorate faster. Regardless of that, I am fully committed to keep this place running and improve it. I understand that this place is important not just for me, but for many people and the modding community as a whole and I am very motivated to work on it, although I have to respect my limits as a human being. Happy new year and let's keep the party running in PPM.

Posted by Banshee
Comments (2)


Doom Desire End of 2017 Update
January 01, 2018 - 01:50


This is the last update in 2017 for Doom Desire, or the first one for 2018, depending where you live. But before going to 2017, there are still some things that happened in 2016 that didn't have their proper news post.


Vintarid Neonate The psionic energy that each Neonate has to handle is volatile, and it ends up lobotomizing most of them. Those that end up like that, are then used as a powerful anti-air weapon.


Vintarid Sleeper/Feral With entire cities turned into rubble, nobody could track what's happening to the population anymore. They were all deemed lost forever. Yet, many are still there, wandering without purpose, ignoring everything around them.
Sometimes, guided by an invisible force, they walk great distances to reach human settlements. Then, when a shadow passes over the sky, they wake up...


Vintarid Stalker First officially identified in the city of Wanamingo, Stalkers possess an ability to disappear in plain sight, making them impossible to spot with any optical device, and perfect for ambushes.


Vintarid gfx revamp
Featuring units not mentioned in any update on PPM yet, such as the H'derera Seeder and Goara Soulbinder.


Surmount There is a rumor among soldiers of a monstrosity that once plowed through an entire army alone. Those few that survived talking about an unstoppable, screaming horror, feeding on their fear itself, as if the hopelessness and inevitability of defeat materialized in a form of a hulking monster.
Theurge The elusive Theurges are probably the least understood thing on the battlefield. The reason for that is their nature: hyperdimensional beings capable of crossing time as effortlessly as we cross the street. Anyone, and anything, that faces a Theurge in combat, may find themselves back at home after having a strange dream they can't remember.
Or worse - never have been born in the first place.


Now, back to 2017, that started with very little to show, until April, when I managed to finish some things I was working on. Those being:


Civilian vehicles


Updated Dreamspark and Phantasm


Watcher It's rare for anyone to be able to spot a Watcher, but those who do, report of a series of mishaps, disasters and conflicts following the encounter. Most of them also ends up going insane, locked in a psychiatric ward.
Shifter Most humans abducted by the Vintarids end up abandoned to wander aimlessly, only to make them go feral when such need arises. For the rest of them, the most common fate used to be being sent back to their homes, with some modifications, where they could live their lives as if nothing happened, until given order to activate and wreck havoc.
Volatile Mind Some people are more than willing to join the aliens, either due to naivety, or their disgust for humanity. Others have such strong willpower that they need to be "acquired" regardless if they wish it or not. All of them receive a gift: ability to destroy objects with mere thought, at the cost of their mental stability.

Later I moved on to work on other Paladin Infantry, after which I went back to finish Vintarid ones.


Paladin Knightmare These humanoids are entirely covered with metal armor plates, with purple flames sipping through the holes. They close in, causing fear and confusion with their breath, to cut their targets with their flaming swords.


Sun's Chosen Sun's Chosen are probably the most diabolical and terrifying weapon that the aliens use - a pregnant human woman with a developing Neonate inside her, controlling her thoughts and actions. When its mission ends, or it feels threatened, the Neonate dies, creating a rift that kills all life forms in the vicinity, including its host.
Overseer Overseers are Theurges that appear in their true form - blonde humans of an unsettling beauty - commanding the Vintarid armies instead of engaging in combat themselves. Entering the battlefield has no effect on the control they have, but it splits their attention to their army and makes them unable to directly retaliate to attacks.

After that, with all Vintarid infantry being done, it was time to move to Essence again. First, another walker:


Essence Hephaestus Artillery Walker Essence combat doctrine expects ground forces to require as little aerial support as possible (which also includes no transportation through air), so a walker is more fitting for a heavy-gun platform, despite being potentially more vulnerable to attacks.

And then finally starting work on their infantry:


Raider Raiders are mostly volunteers, often without even the most basic military training, eager to join the cause against the aliens that destroyed their lives. Amateurish, naive and unpredictable, they are generally disliked by any real military personnel.
Intruder Each Intruder carries a backpack with enough power to support one strong area electromagnetic pulse that disables multiple targets at once. After using the charge, the device has to be left idle to recharge, otherwise, only a continuous single-target beam can be supported.


Rocker Quad While squads of Raiders are generally hated by proper military personnel, Rocket Quads are the first, and the most widespread, truly professional force. The launchers they carry are used to fire both anti-tank and anti-air missiles, sometimes even mortar shells.
Hunter Thanks to their rapid-fire sniper rifles, Hunters are able to quickly dispatch a small infantry squad from afar, which is especially helpful for base infiltration missions. They are also equipped with explosive charges they can plant on buildings and vehicles.


Engineer Engineers are equipped with what's necessary to capture and secure enemy structures. When the need arises, they can also use their suitcase as a timed bomb.
Surveillance Drone Fragile and unarmed, but fairly cheap and easily accessible, these flying drones provide anyone who purchases them with necessary intelligence and situational awareness.


Hopefully, I'll manage to finish Essence infantry soon, and then I'll be able to move to Paladins.
That's it for 2017. Have a happy 2018.

Posted by mevitar
Comments (5)


Mod of the Year 2017 Results!
December 28, 2017 - 02:46


Every year, ModDB.com (and IndieDB) makes a popularity contest known as Mod of the Year (and Indie of the Year). In this year, we had two mods that have been proven to be quite popular on their ranks. Twisted Insurrection is the 3rd place there, while Dawn of the Tiberium Age has got the 8th position. Here's the media press release on this event:


Quote:
As 2017 reaches its end, we have tallied 104,181 votes and can announce the 2017 Mod of the Year.

---

December 29th, 2017 - This year saw many compelling entries however in the end it was Brutal Doom that took out 1st place, followed closely by the popular Star Wars: Thrawn's Revenge II: Ascendancy and Twisted Insurrection taking out 2nd and 3rd respectively.

We believe that modding is going to play an increasingly important role in shaping the future of gaming, as new content and creativity is key to engaged and happy players. This is evidenced by the winners below, who have pushed boundaries and made something amazing on top of the games that they modded. The final top 10 includes:

10. SWAT: Elite Force
9. Age of Empires III: Wars of Liberty
8. Dawn of the Tiberium Age
7. Morrowind Rebirth
6. Age of the Ring
5. The Empire At War Remake
4. Third Age: Reforged
3. Twisted Insurrection
2. Star Wars: Thrawn's Revenge II: Ascendancy
1. Brutal Doom

Huge thanks to all modders and supporters of the awards who recognize the work these developers dedicate to their craft, read the full results, the editors choice and best upcoming.



Although I have personally lost my enthusiasm regarding popularity contests for a couple of years, I have the moral obligation to congratulate the teams behind Twisted Insurrection and Dawn of the Tiberium Age for this achievement. It's worth reminding people that Tiberian Sun is a 18 years old game that became freeware for nearly a decade and these guys are constantly making a miracle out of a dinosaur.

However, from another perspective, and paying more attention to the other mods listed there, it is clear that most of the popular mods there are based in old games. I think this might be related to this DLC and micro-transactions monetization policies taken by the strongest players in the game development market and the complexity of the newer games that are still moddable that poses as an obstacle for the creation of popular mods by common people.

In PPM, we hope to create tools to eventually lower the difficulty of modding these games or to allow the creation of resources for more advanced indie games. I've been working on it for my whole doctorate. Hopefully, one day, we'll see the result of this effort... but we still have a long road ahead.

Posted by Banshee
Comments (11)



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