Mod developer of older games. These include:
Ground Control II,
Sins of a Solar Empire (Rebellion),
FreeSpace 2 (SCP),
Independence War 2,
and some little stuff here and there. So far I've only made a release for GC2.
Hey there, thanks for the kind words and suggestions!
Sadly, I wasn't able to make artillery spawn on hold fire without also disabling their ability to fire automatically. I felt having the option of letting them shoot on the move without constant micro was worth the price of having to set their stance to hold fire manually if you wanted finer control. I do agree about the friendly fire though, its probably one of the reasons why artillery was manual-only in vanilla.
It did make their mobile modes much more useful though, because now you can set them on a waypoint path around the edge of the fray and just let them shell the enemy as they appear, and not worry so much about counter-battery. Depends on your playstyle though of course.
The radar change was much more straightforward: I don't think its balanced to be able to turn an APC into a mobile scout with better sight range than the actual scouting units. This is an even bigger problem in my mod because deployable radars now have significantly larger sight range (400, as opposed to 300 in vanilla).
One of the subtler changes in the mod is how all of the units' vision, perception, stealth and weapon range values work together: Infantry can avoid detection a lot better now even out in the open, which makes up for their reduced health. Tanks rely on more fragile units to spot targets for them, etc.
Deployable radar has a perception value of 200 (it was 250 in vanilla), which means that it can detect any hostile unit closer than that regardless of how stealthy they are or what the weather is like. That's fine for something you put down to watch a point or keep an eye on the flanks, but I feel giving any vehicle force that kind of advantage is practically cheating. Even infantry setting an ambush in buildings or a forest will get detected long before either party is in weapons range.
Theoretically yes, near as I can tell pretty much everything is built in Lightwave: The mesh, UV Map, animations, etc. Showbox (which is included in the SDK) then gets used to convert the model to .mrb format for the game, and configure any animation loops, particle sources and so forth that haven't been set up in Lightwave.
Showbox is a very limited utility and I've had to invent some clever workarounds because of that, but on the flip side it means if you wanted to put new models into GC2 all you really need is Lightwave because most of the process is done inside of it.
In practice though, I have no idea how much trouble it would be. I'm not much of a modeler, and I have zero experience with Lightwave or its format.
Nope. The game is hard coded at two playable factions, without the source code (which has never been released) and a good programmer its unfortunately stuck that way. If you want the technical details check the FAQ section of the readme file.
You can, however, set the skirmish AI to be any of the three factions (due to some clever tricks with the AI), just not players.
Click on the "Downloads" button at the top of this page and get the Repack!
Thanks for reminding me I need to edit the link in that old news post though, I thought I had made it point to the general downloads page and not to the mod file specifically. Fixed now.
The .juice files with the unit data are in plain text, so Notepad works fine for those. The SDK includes the original (text) files so you can edit them. You will also need to use some of the programs in the SDK to convert them after you're done though, JuiceMaker for example turns the .juice data into binary .ice files which are what the game reads.
Short answer: Creating a new faction would require you to replace one of the existing ones, besides that its just creating the entries in the unit files, new models and maybe particle effects with Lightwave (or in something that can convert to that format) and maybe some new sounds.
If you don't have it yet, grab the GC2 SDK here and see what you can do with it: Moddb.com
I finally got rid of that horrible launcher I made and went back to putting the mod in a .zip file. The new download should be up soon and I'd be happy if everyone deleted the launcher and forgot it ever existed, but truthfully if you already have the mod working you don't need to download it again.
Also, thanks again to everyone who has played, commented and even voted! You guys make all the effort worthwhile.
Nice to hear I'm not alone. I wrote & posted that rant after days of frustration. Afterwards I regretted it because a lot more people read it than I had expected! Looking back now, it doesn't seem quite so badly written after all.
Although it speaks volumes that I haven't written a single line of code since, even months later. :P
Glad to hear it! I'm ashamed that I even made that launcher in the first place, its atrocious. I've been meaning to give it the axe for a while now, and go back to just packing stuff in a .zip file as with the previous versions. Going to go do that now; I guess late is better than never!
That's been in the Reversal mod since the very beginning; Check out the Vindicator Centruroid in the final Viron missions or Skirmish mode. ;)
Ignore the launcher and use the .bat files in the game directory instead. The launcher should work for most people, but the batch files are there as a backup for the few that it doesn't.
I had to look up the dates on some of my old files to answer this one; Turns out its been 8 years for me, or 12 if I count some of the things I did with Operation Flashpoint. Wow. That takes me back.
For all of you looking to get into modding, its like many forms of art: You can't learn to paint masterpieces overnight or from reading a book. Modding is something you have to work your way into and that you have to develop a passion for.
My advice is to pick a game that you really enjoy and see what kind of a modding community and tools exist for it. You will find that many older, more obscure games lack any kind of modding support, but in general for anything good enough to still be getting played months or even years after it came out there will be some form of tools available to work on it. Sometimes these tools come from the game's developers, but often they are made from scratch by the community.
As MagnumPI mentioned in the comments above, the how-to of modding is different for every game, and they all have different limitations depending on how they were designed. Start with small changes and work your way up. Many of you will find that over time, your skill set becomes much broader. You might start with programming or modeling and work your way up to texturing, level design or game balance. Trying to learn everything all at once can be a steep hill to climb, so instead work on what you're familiar with and branch out from there. Never be afraid to experiment.
In the end it really comes down to motivation. Once you have the drive to find the tools and make your first change, the second one follows and before you know it you've created a small mod. Having a clear vision for the finished product is always good, but to get started sometimes all you need is to be sitting there thinking "This thing should really be changed. I bet I could do it better." You're probably more correct than you think. :)
Not a bug: Support powers and unit restrictions are decided by the map instead of the unit files. Since Tranquility Base is a community-made map that means whoever created it decided to disable support and helidynes. You'd see that with or without the mod active.
I'm aware that NSA in the mod can still use Recon Helidynes on that map though; Its because there's no restriction for them. It looks slightly out of place, but I don't consider it a problem.
Glad to hear it. :)
Hopefully the launcher is working for most people though. The .bat files were included as a backup and its the same method used to start the game as in previous versions of the mod.
Short of including the entire system32 folder along with the mod (and there's no way I could/would do that), there's no good way for me to make the launcher completely failure proof.
I was afraid that would happen for some people. Honestly the easiest thing you can do is open up Explorer, go to your game directory and use the batch (.bat) files instead. There are three batch files, one for each faction combination. Pick which mode you want to play in and then double click on the .bat file for it. Example if you want to play NSA vs Terran, use the "GC2 Reviron 3 - NSA v Terran.bat" file. The GC2 Reversal 3 batch file is the one that includes the Terran campaign.
I recommend making shortcuts to these in your GC2 start menu folder for convenience; Just drag & drop the .bat files from explorer into the menu.
Sorry for the inconvenience!
Its a testament to this mod that people are still downloading and playing it! Probably has a lot to do with internet search results for GC2 and Terran pointing here. Still, while its a classic its also a little out of date. If anyone wants to try Terrans in the campaign or just something a bit newer (2014), check out another mod here: Moddb.com
Everything game-wise is done, I'm just finishing up work on the launcher and setup. Version 2 is definitely playable, but its nowhere near as polished as the new one. I'm hoping to have everything done and out the door sometime next week, but if you want to sate your Terran appetite I'd say go ahead and try out V2 in skirmish mode, and leave the campaign for V3. Either way, thanks for the kind words!
The changes have been finalized for version 3. Here are the big differences between when it was first posted two weeks ago and now:
-Super-heavy tanks and the Recon Helidyne are available in the campaign again with the intended mission restrictions.
-New visual effects for some Terran weapons and support powers.
-Improved custom map support: Will no longer show campaign units on custom maps that use the wrong file.
-Better localization: The game menu and campaign screen should now work properly in other languages.
-The UI got overhauled again. I think this was the fourth time I've started over from scratch, but the issues with it have finally been resolved.
Massive released a SDK (Software Development Kit) for the game after it came out, in there are a whole host of tools for editing the game data. A few unfortunate items (like factions) are still locked away in the source code though. Making new weapon effects like this was actually pretty simple once I figured out how the code for them worked. The SDK does come with some pretty good documentation, but particle values is not included in it.
I've uploaded the SDK here on moddb because finding it through search engines has become something of a pain: Moddb.com
Its too bad I didn't have the water effects turned up for this picture. The game's graphics have aged very well considering its ten years old now, and cranking everything up to maximum and putting the camera in the thick of things is still a visual treat.
I wasn't going to make it available in the campaign anymore because it was an all or nothing deal: Either the tank was always available in all missions or it wasn't. I felt this made the early missions too easy so when I started work on version 3 I removed it.
I've since come up with a few ideas on how to keep the super tanks in the last few missions only, so I'm probably going to do exactly what you asked!
There is some documentation included with the SDK that should get you started on the basics. I found that pretty much all of the .juice data (unit stats and the like) is intuitive to mod and easy to work with. I didn't get model editing to work right but that is admittedly outside of my expertise and I didn't spend much time trying either. Your mileage may vary.
There isn't an active modding community as far as I know. The Massgate forums had a board (now archived) for modding GC2 but I've never looked in there myself and couldn't tell you how useful it would be. There are references in some custom maps* to websites for GC2 gaming clans, not sure if any of those are still around but they might have had some additional info as well.
As for this mod, its not perfectly balanced but I like to think it does a good job of it. The maintenance overhaul in version 2 made the stronger units appropriately expensive but it could still use some tweaking. I don't have any plans for a version 3 right now but I could well end up making it next time I go back and play GC2 again.
I dare say you would at least enjoy playing the campaign with Terran units when you try it. :)
*One of these days I should upload the custom skirmish/multiplayer map pack that I put together.
Its on the features list here on Moddb. In hindsight I should have shuffled around the AI profile order in the skirmish screen. For reference: When you go to create a computer player in skirmish / MP you should be able to scroll down and pick the "Terran Commander" (if you were playing on NSA vs Viron) for example which will deploy Terran units even though its own faction is set to NSA or Viron. Each version has a different profile that fills in the missing faction.
In regards to infantry no longer being useful with less HP: What you don't see on the surface from clicking on a unit is all the little tweaks I made to the code, such as cover providing a bigger damage reduction than it did before. Infantry are still dirt cheap for their damage output, but they have to actually make use of cover now to survive the kind of punishment they could before.
Thanks for the response!
The Legionnaire vs. LAI concept is something I spent a good chunk of time working on. I settled on the idea that being part of the Terran Empire, the Legionnaires had better equipment (hence their higher damage output) but weren't as tough or well trained as their NSA counterparts. I tried originally to keep their cost at 100 AP and their health and damage reflecting it, but from a campaign and game mechanics standpoint it just didn't work. You needed mass waves of them to be as effective as NSA and with such low individual HP they were too easily wiped out by artillery and hard to manage with the 16 member squad cap. The current rendition feels right to me - they're still weaker but the cost, damage and health differences are spot on for the gameplay and story.
The other infantry units reflect a similar philosophy and have a good mix of ups and downs. I aimed to keep the same weapons and roles they had in the original game while at the same time making sure they were useful and balanced.
Thanks. I'm glad you like it. :)
Yes I did, and I was even more impressed afterwards. I look forward to seeing more!
I had to do a double-take when I saw one of your pictures elsewhere on moddb. My train of thought went something like "Heh, that pic looks like the whirlibase out of...wait, it IS the whirlibase!".
After looking at some more pictures I think you guys have really captured the feel of the original game in your artwork. Keep it up!