Gamma Map Changes
We've been making some adjustments to all the maps for Gamma, changing the mood a little, some terrain adjustments and fixes, in addition to adding in the brand new tech levels. For example, let's take a brief look at Bunkers. It was already expanded, but there have been a few more changes which make it look and play better most importantly.
Early game is going to be very different, not just due to Tech Levels evening out unit progression. Vehicles cannot go up the sides until Engineers have cleared the hedgehogs, and there is an infantry-safe zone on one part where soldiers can stay to avoid being run over but have a good view of incoming units. There is more foliage to use for cover and it adds to the ambience.
In the following shots you can see a bit of what I'm talking about, and you can also see the new M16 and LAW. Eggman is still working on all of those behind the scenes, but with so many infantry/weapons it's taking a while.
We know that Gamma's still a long way off, but don't worry about a lack of places to play. The upcoming 1.4.0 Cold Fusion update will have some new maps, we have a couple we hope to get out already but I am not sure if Raapnaap will be available to do as much as he hoped becaused he recently suffered a massive injury and might have permanent damage. He's going out of commission for a few weeks just for everyday things, and recovery's more important than maps. That said, we're looking to include at least Camos Canyon, and possibly Equal Opportunity, fixed up and out.
Ripping out older trees and replacing old settings is actually a pretty large task for us, as we need to re-apply glass settings and plant new setpieces after removing the old ones. Complex has something like 180 trees on it now, which give great cover and make a fun place for infantry to fight while having reasonable cover. Ridge War has had all its older foliage replaced, and PointlessAmbler spent a couple hours planting trees across Volcano and you can really feel the difference.
New Audio/Visual Effects
We've added new smudge marks for when you hit the terrain with explosive weaponry, including a bunch of new burned grass and kicked up dirt effects. They let you feel like you're doing something and make the landscape more interesting after a battle. Grass burns for a while after you shoot it, and you can kick up volumes of dirt. Grenades also have a new explosion, as does the flak burst.
The light and medium sized tank cannons also have new audio, as does the flak and grenade explosions. I have picked up some new audio editing software, which means we're good to go again as far as new and improved EVA clips and everything else. I went through several dozen today, over 115 in fact, but there's still many more to go to ensure you can hear BattleLaf's lovely voice telling you just how well (or poorly) the battle is going. A couple were just uploaded to ModDB in case you forgot what he sounds like.
It's hard to get screenshots of the new effects, but here are a couple. You'll see them better when we put out some more videos, but you can see the newer rocket explosions in our newest trailer. You may notice in the screenshots today that the view looks a bit off; we've redone the camera settings and it's a fair bit better than before.
I think our testers like most the fact that the grass burns for a short while after you shoot it.
TheBeerinator has finished texturing Kane000's Flame Tower, to replace the ancient one we have right now. In addition to looking nicer overall, like all of our newer defenses it features a deeper base that will allow us to place it a lot easier on uneven terrain which gives us more options when we do our maps, and will be rather important when we implement mid-game player-constructable defenses. We think we have an elegant idea of how to do that now, and you'll hear about it later, but for now just go take a look at the Flame Tower!
You might have noticed that the Soviet defenses have gotten some nice attention lately, and the Allied defenses are just finding new ways to blow up, but hopefully soon we'll be showing off the Pillbox and Camo Pillbox. All anti-infantry defenses have been adjusted, so that the RPG and LAW can outrange them. This way we can put defenses on infantry-only maps, and still have a path for players to destroy them without suffering massive casualties (as long as you protect your anti-armor troops from the defending players).
Some images of the Flame Tower are now on the ModDB profile as well, so be sure to use the links up top.
Tech Levels Again
Tech levels were a brilliant idea that happened almost by accident. If you're following along, they basically are a way for us to unlock units mid-game instead of declaring a map "low tech" or "high tech" and having it stay that way. This lets us make your buying potential not locked just to your economy, but also time or objective completion or both.
They are adjustable per-map but if you want to go with default settings, they're super easy to set up. The three key things to include when making a map are the RA Game Manager object, the Kill Message Handler object, and the Tech Level object of your choice. There is one Tech Level object for Tech Level 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, and they'll magically work for every map factory combination.
The default timing is as follows:
Tech Level 1: Immediate (0:00)
Tech Level 2: +3 Minutes (3:00)
Tech Level 3: +3.5 Minutes (6:30)
Tech Level 4: +4 Minutes (10:30)
Tech Level 5: +4.5 Minutes (15:00)
Whenever you tech up, you hear it and get a text notice.