Release is soon! So very soon! Even as I type this, the last test session has been announced and will soon be underway! That said, let's reveal some more peeks of the coming version.
While the sidebar is not exactly new, you'll notice that the icons have a different look.
But that's only a small preview of the changes!
New Purchase Terminal Icons
Almost every icon will be seeing a revamp, which is around ninety new icons! Now I can't go about dumping the whole lot of them into a single blog post, but I can show a couple or two.
Allied Artillery, Longbow, Mechanic, and Medic:
As you may notice, these icons bring to mind how these units originally appeared in the Red Alert sidebar. Several other purchase terminal icons will be having this RA-throwback treatment, so keep an eye out for those.
A fan-favourite, Pipeline will be looking and playing a little differently. Pushwall brings you this new experience.
Oil is the most abundant resource in the area! To keep the war machine running, you will have to capture the Oil Pumps that are on the map. Once captured, an Oil Pump will generate additional credit income for your team.
Each team starts off with their western pump under their control, with three neutral pumps out for the taking. Not just any infantry can capture these structures, however. To capture an Oil Pump, an Engineer is required. Only the Engineer and his Golden Wrench can change ownership of Oil Pumps. No amount of gunfire or explosives to the Oil Pump or its Control Terminal will change that.
Each Oil Pump generates 2 credits per second. With no Ore Refinery on the map for either team, capturing and maintaining control over the pumps is key. And you may then ask, no Ore Refinery? Indeed, that has been changed. Building composition has changed for both the Allied and Soviet bases. The Ore Refinery has been removed in place of a Construction Yard and a Radar Dome. Additionally, a second Service Depot has been added. You still have an Ore Silo to go along with your teamed Oil Pump to help the credits get moving.
Buildings have been rearranged, the bases have been pushed back to the map boundaries, plateaus have been added, rocks have been moved around, walls have been set in place, and both sides have base defenses present.
Fifteen minutes into Pipeline, and EVA will appear with a warning.
Around then, as the warning reads, a sandstorm kicks in for the duration of the round. As the match progresses, the sandstorm will in turn get progressively worse, further limiting visibility for both sides.
Keep Off The Grass
You read this right! Keep Off The Grass! Only, this may be a bit different than you may remember it. Keep of the Grass has seen a vast overhaul. ChopBam has done much in making more than several changes and greatly improving this map.
To start with, the two bases have been expanded on. The Allied base will be seeing not one, but two Gap Generators shrouding their base. The Allied Barracks has been moved to the northwest corner, and base defense locations have been moved slightly, with a couple of Pillboxes and an extra Turret added to cover a new route of attack for the Soviets.
Most importantly, a Power Plant has been added, powering the Allies' radar and Gap Generators. Be wary; the Power Plant sits outside of the Gap Generators' spheres, making it a visible and prime target for the enemy.
The Soviet Base has not been as rearranged as the Allied Base has been. The Soviet base arrangement remains largely the same, although with the addition of two more Service Depots, another Tesla Coil, and added Flame Towers.
Just as the Allies have their Power Plant, the Soviet Base will also have a Power Plant, powering their radar and coils. Don't forget that a Spy can disable power temporarily, granting your Allied teammates a window of opportunity.
Buildings within the base have tunnels running between them, thereby allowing one (such as say, a Technician) to traverse under cover rather than running out on in the open.
Backdoor routes have also been improved, and will very likely be seeing use. Be cautious of enemy sneak attacks and watch your flanks.
The landscape has been vastly improved. From the cliffs down to the trails and ore fields, ChopBam has paid great attention to detail.
The pictures truly do not do it justice. When you're not killing each other, take some time to admire the scenery.
One neat thing you'll find heading out of base (south of the Soviet base, west of the Allied base) is what appears to be a nice holiday home. Also ChopBam's doing, this house is a marvelous piece of work.
Take some time out of the war and kick back and relax. Or bring the fight there indoors and RUIN THE PEACEFUL ATMOSPHERE. Your call.
As an incentive to visit inside, there is a wine cellar in the basement!
Okay, so maybe you can't drink the wine but hey! Who knows what other neat things you may find inside.
The Grand Texture Overhaul
If you've a keen eye, or read the last blog and saw the Engineers, you'll see that Aprime has put in more than his fair share of work. Aprime has since redone many textures for our structures and units.
Not only has he done the Allied and Soviet Engineers, he has also redone the Minelayers, the Barracks interior, the War Factory roof and interior, the gems in the fields, the Construction Yard exterior, and much more! Indeed the list goes on, and much more for you to see once you're in-game.
And not only textures, but have a look at the new menu he has put together.
Now you may ask yourself, "How well would this new version play performance-wise?
We're doing whatever we can to improve performance in the face of all these new features that eat it up. Saberhawk has been making improvements to how file loading is handled, particularly textures, which has improved the frame rate considerably over the past few test builds.
Pushwall has added the VIS system to all maps to better improve playability. To explain the VIS system, it makes it so that if certain objects can't be seen from a certain position, they won't be rendered.
And lastly, the husks of dead base defenses have been optimized - they used to be quite a resource hog because they split into many fragments on death, which continued to be rendered separately afterwards. Now, once the animation is over, the bits are no longer rendered separately, which should reduce the performance falloff that tends to happen later on in a match."
All this means is that the game will run well and we'll all be having a good time as we play!