Post news Report content RSS feed CNC2142 - Our first update in 2012!

Great news! Today we are delighted to give an overview of our mod progress, this is a must read for you fans :P

Posted by on

Hello to our moddb friends and visitors :D

First of all, I hope 2012 has been treating all of you well so far! ^^

On behalf of the entire CNC2142 team, we want to thank you again for all the support! You guys really make this a fantastic community, and your support is vital to our success! :) We have a bunch of exciting updates to share, so let's get started! :D

Firstly, we are very happy to announce that Cerbere Landing, our first official map, is now 100% complete! Based on its original design in BF2142 - we made sure that almost everything, from the placement of every crate, tree, bush and street lamp, to the gradient of cliffs, the orientation of buildings, even the direction of sunlight - have been recreated with pin-point accuracy for CNC2142's SAGE engine. The map runs smoothly, and unlike BF2142's static environments, all of these objects in SAGE are destroyable - but let's leave that topic till next time ;p We hope all of you will like it so far! ^^

Unlike many mods out there, we take community feedbacks seriously :) For those of you who are familiar with CNC2142, you would know many of our design choices (such as the team color layouts) have been made because of you guys ^^ We started focusing on our second map, Sidi Power Plant, a few days ago. It is the winner of our earlier Favourite Map vote, but sadly, CNC's SAGE engine will not be able to handle the entire map in full size. We will try our best to fit everything into the map as they were in BF2142, and if you have any suggestions, do make sure to leave us comments below or on our moddb front page!~

Finally, we are also extremely happy to tell you that after months of hard work behind the scenes, we have successfully optimized CNC2142's performance across the board! Compared to its predecessor, our latest CNC2142 testing-beta version loads maps 80% faster. Performance-hogging draw calls have been reduced to approximately 75%, and CNC2142 textures are now almost twice as efficient overall :D As a result of these optimizations, CNC2142 is now much more stable, and we are still yet to see any crashes even with everything now set at maximum. :D

CNC2142 High Textures (Before)


CNC2142 High Textures (After)
Notice the additional sharpness, highlights and shadows. All this improvement comes without any extra performance costs too :)


Today, we will be posting pictures of our most up-to-date Cerbere Landing map! As always, tell us what you think, we hope you'll like this update as much as we do! :D

Derek

Comments
Foxhounde
Foxhounde

Saw the pictures and had complaint with them. They were way too epic for words!
Keep up the Amazing work!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+13 votes
Glarg
Glarg

I am curious, how do you go about reducing draw calls (and what exactly is one). I think I have a rough idea, but I am not certain.

And how are you making textures more efficient? Clearly you are making them better looking without extra cost, and I'd like to be able to do these better practices as well.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
derek328 Author
derek328

Hey man! ^^ Well, optimization techniques really depend on what you're dealing with to be honest.

For each unit that you train, each structures you build, even the map terrain itself, all of these add "draw calls" to the game. In reality, it is a bit more complicated than that, but this is the simple version :)

Using CNC2142's SAGE engine as an example: it renders 3d objects by giving each object it's own "draw call". Because of this optimization, the SAGE engine can render a 2000-poly model, with the same efficiency as a 100-poly model.

The key to having great in-game performance, is to keep the number of draw calls to a minimum, so even if players mass crazy armies on-screen, lag will be less noticeable. ^^ There are many ways to reduce draw calls, but for the CNC2142 team, we try to merge all 3d models into 1 object as often as possible!

Using our EU tank unit as an example: its design included wheels, tracks, main body, main turrent, main gun barrel, machine-gun turrent and machine-gun barrels. However, as we work on it for the CNC2142 mod, all of these high quality polygons are optimized, then merged into no more than 2-3 parts in total. As a result, each EU tank polygon/model in-game will only take around 2-3 draw calls only, which is even more efficient than many of the original models from EA ;)

Reply Good karma+2 votes
derek328 Author
derek328

As for making textures more efficient and better looking, that is a much more complicated problem.. :/

When EA designed BF2142, they textured all the structures using a "palette system". So, something as simple as a brick house could have wall textures from the file "herp_derp.TGA"; window textures from "blablabla.TGA"; and roof textures from "hahalol.TGA". Each of these texture files could contain some sort of texture for up to 5-6 totally unrelated structures, and that made our job very difficult.

We tried to recreate the structures by hand, but the results were just too different. Finally, we decided to build our own in-house tool, which would automatically read EA's programming and sort out each structure's original textures. We then bake those textures, and optimize them by removing unnecessary spaces, reorganizing sizes, giving larger structures a better focus on graphics quality.

Our goal is to strike the best balance between texture quality, and in-game performance. It was a slow and seriously painful process, but we managed to sort out all of the materials in the end, and the results definitely pay off!

Ultimately, each engine has its own pros and cons. Optimizations largely depend on what kind of final product you're looking for. Larger texture files will always look better, but they also seriously affect performance.

It is almost always a constant battle for balance between game performance, and graphics quality :) Let me know if you have any other questions ^_^

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Glarg
Glarg

Thanks for the excellent response. As it turns out, my hunch was right. I learned to reduce the amounts of objects in a model while modding CnC Generals. That game had an almost criminal amount of parts per unit/building/ect, resulting in sub optimal performance. It was why mods that replaced many of the units could get better performance despite more complicated models and effects.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Glarg
Glarg

Generals also did a lot of texture sharing as well, but not quite to the scale of what you describe. I can see where the optimization is coming from now, you are tailoring things individually.

Again, thanks for taking the time to reply. Actually, you may consider posting this in some sort of how-we-mod/tips/tutorial post, so others can see (since comments on moddb are mostly ignorable).

I look forward to seeing more of the beautiful work you guys do.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
derek328 Author
derek328

Thank you buddy! ^^ Yes, CNC Generals definitely has the potential to perform a lot better with some further optimizations, but considering it was one of the very first full-3D RTS games back in its day, I felt it was a pretty successful attempt by EA :)

The CNC2142 team is definitely planning a how-we-mod tutorial series for the future, including everything that we've learned in terms of game performance optimizations, gameplay coding, realistic heightmap environments in SAGE, etc. New modders should find them super useful in the years to come ^_^ Thanks again for your support!

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Guest
Guest

hey really want to get playing the mod it looks so awesome :D
Is there any release date yet? or a downloadable beta version?
also will this be easy to be installed etc if you are running the game from origin, i don't know much about this kind of thing.
really really cant wait to play it thanks.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Capt_Polak
Capt_Polak

The mod looks interesting, just not alot of updates though :/

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.

News
Browse
News
New
Post news
Share
Related Games
C&C3: Tiberium Wars
C&C3: Tiberium Wars Real Time Strategy
Related Groups
Battlefield Fans
Battlefield Fans Fans & Clans with 1,009 members
C&C Paradise
C&C Paradise Fans & Clans with 1,524 members
C&C Society
C&C Society Web & Community with 222 members