(Original Blog can be found on the forums here)
Maps and all that jazz
Well, Neosaber's (sorta) back and that means we can get down to business with 994. Naamloos, Tweekbee, and Bigwig are going to be most likely working on fixing up or redoing parts of existing maps rather than making entirely new maps. Although that's not neccessarily true for Bigwig. I've got him working on something else that originally, I thought probably wouldn't make the cut or be workable for 994. We'll have some neat things to show next time, or maybe as an update later this week, regarding all of that. Permagrin finally stepped up to do something that Exdeath was going to have done months ago, so hopefully 994 will be able to have some pretty slick bonus game "modes." Tweek might end up remaking either Stormy Valley or Alpine Lake to flow better. The new version of Seamist might actually be ready for our testers to go over soon, too.
From data we've been collecting, it looks like Stormy Valley is actually a pretty slick map in terms of balance, but Alpine Lake might need a little adjusting. Oh, yes, we've also got some new things rigged up to let us check the balance of a map over a period of time, and also review how each win that occurred happened. Details such as player count are also recorded. Hopefully this should let us pick out what maps really are the most unbalanced based on actual data, so that we can make the right changes to the right maps.
Where's mah textures?!?
No new textures for you to look at and accuse of being smeared grass when it's actually dirt. The only news for textures I have is that Ackart's working on some, and maybe soon we can get one or two of the older maps upgraded to full 994 form in terms of looks at least. Once that is done, we can start putting together these little unit preview videos. Remember that Aces of Razgriz was hired to do some promo stuff? One of the neat little projects he'll be working on is short half-to-full-minute clips of each unit, that will give you an idea of what the unit looks, acts, and handles like. Of course, we can't really get these done up until we have the textures updated to 994 standards for the maps and then record some footage.
Buildings, 1.0 stuff
Been talking to GDIrish and Sir Phoenixx about the barracks for each side. Originally we were going to stick to the two-floor layout, but then a one floor style seemed attractive. Unfortunately, memories returned of HINDs camping the barracks, and the thought of a lone mammoth trashing the place up and slaying anybody who spawned or tried to heal it kinda changed that around again. Although I don't have it now, GDIrish is working on some concept art for this all. We probably will be featuring multiple ways of changing your elevation in a building for 1.0 instead of relying on single methods like we have now. For example, the barracks will feature both stairs and a ladder for the Allies, and both war factories will likely have a combination of lifts, ramps, and ladders. That way you get to take your pick of the pros and cons (and lag susceptibility) of each when you want to make your way up.
scripts and stuff
Jonwil and Saberhawk are doing pretty much the usual. Jonwil has been looking into getting all the scripts like we mentioned last time set up. The APC announcing that it is full, for example. The unit sale and repair scripts are all set up for the naval facilities and service depot, and all the testers have sidebar action well and good and have for a while. But some people might be confused, especially newer players, about where and when they can perform certain actions. I spoke with Jonwil today about setting up some simple functions we can use to send little tutorialish messages along with a unique sound effect to players, just to let you know for sure that you can press a key here to repair, or hit a key there to get the sidebar. Of course, these gentle little reminders will be likely used for a variety of things: A supply truck in a convoy was destroyed, reinforcements have arrived, your atom bomb is ready soon/is ready, there are ants approaching, and the like.
Just extra feedback so you'll have more situational awareness and so that map makers can add interesting objectives or elements to their maps, and have either a single player, their team, or everybody get an update on the action; or to explain to a player about what certain areas can do.
For mappers, there will probably be a good number of scripts you'll need to put on each map to make them work properly. Hopefully we'll rig up a single object you can plunk down on your map though, that will handle everything from custom map timing (Yes! No more 40 minute rounds of maps like FOI and Fissure) to custom kill message handling. We have a few more adjustments to make, and I have a few more icons to make, before the new kill messages will be ready. We'll keep you updated on that.
By the way, does anybody have a good idea for the default keybind to sell your vehicle?
Oh, also, the MGG will be able to spin. It wouldn't before.
Many members who have been here a long while will likely get the bit of an inside joke this week's comic has. Everybody else can appreciate the awesome MS-Paint-flavor Mammoth Tank.
This is likely not going to be a 994 feature. It might end up being one, but likely not. Here's your explanation of how this unique functionality will behave in APB. There have been some strange methods employed by Renegade server owners before, but we think we are going to have a much better approach, and obviously have the advantage of creating the whole system how we want it and integrating it into each map properly. So here's the scoop.
Let's say you want to build a base defense structure in APB; a camo pillbox, or a flame tower, or something. But first, you need to have two things: a construction yard, and some cash. Don't have either? Well, there go your hopes. Think you have what it takes? Okay, let's move on. First, we'll talk about the cash.
Unfortunately, the cash doesn't come quickly. Unlike the poor implementations used by many Renegade servers, you will not be able to pool your private funds with others' in order to quickly build up your building construction fund. You won't be able to whore up the enemy base with your artillery units then turn that into a new guard tower. As it turns out, in APB, each team will have a unique account that is unrelated to that team's player's accounts. You cannot donate to the account, the account will not go up when you repair your base, the account is unaffected by killing or being killed. You cannot just camp around and wait for the silo to boost your account up either.
The team funds will, for the most part, only increase every time an ore truck (player controlled or not) dumps at the refinery. If you want to actually be able to turtle up inside your base or reinforce your position after suffering an attack on your defenses, you are going to need to find the time to go play miner in the ore fields, because in many situations that's the only way to increase your team account; and your team account only gains a fraction of the amount of money that each player gets per dump. If you think you're going to be able to pop up a turret every other dump, you're sadly mistaken.
The Allies have a slight advantage here; they have a secondary way of obtaining funds for their team account: the Thief. Not only will a Thief be able to nab each player's funds, but a Thief will also be able to steal from (and deposit into yours) the team accounts. Imagine making four runs to the ore field, only to come back and find the money for your Mammoth + Volkov rush gone and not even being able to pop up a single Flame Tower to help deal with the likely parade of Tanyas on their way to your base.
Now, the next thing we have to do once you have the cash, is make sure nobody else is building. If they're not, you get presented with a special build menu that also shows an overhead map of your base, and on it are several possible locations for building your new defenses. All of these are, of course, pre-placed by the map maker. You might, therefore, find yourself able to remotely reinforce choke points rather far out from your base; or you might be limited to defenses in the middle, guarding only the entrances of your buildings.
Now, you get to pick what you want to build. Most likely, of course, will be the capacity to deploy pillboxes, camo pillboxes, turrets, and flame towers. These are the general fare for base defense construction. Of course, you might want to build a new wall segment or five to buy some time versus incoming tanks and marauding Rocket-Ranger pairings, or maybe just some sand bags to make life harder on Engineers and Tanyas. Aircraft annoying you? Sick of watching for Chinooks full of Shock Troopers sneaking around behind your Construction Yard? Get some more AA Guns. What kinds of attacks you want to prepare for, and how you want to do it, will be up to you.
Oh, by the way: We most likely will look into allowing the reconstruction of the, shall we say, greater tower defenses. Meaning, the Tesla Coil and Gap Generator. You won't be allowed to get new ones, but you will be able to fix those that broke.
Okay, so you decided what you want, and picked out a good spot for it. Assuming you still have the cash and nothing else is building at the moment, you make your order and the CY does its magic for you. As long as your desired spot is not occupied. Just like in RA1, if an enemy (or stupid friendly) is dancing in the spot you want to put your fresh new defense structure, you won't be able to build and will have to try again or pick a new spot. If all goes well, you get returned to the action, your team funds are adjusted according to your purchase, and a brand new defense structure undergoes a short construction period, during which enemies are encouraged to flee the vicinity. At the end of the build period, the new defense is fully functional (assuming you have power, if it is a powered defense) and ready to save the day or die trying.
(Original Blog can be found on the forums here)