Post feature RSS What is the LOUD Project ?

A summary of the purpose and features of the LOUD Project for Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance.

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"What is the LOUD Project ?"

Here are the most important points;

  • - significant performance improvement at all stages of the game
  • - superior AI that responds dynamically to situational changes and uses ALL units intelligently
  • - a shift in game mechanics that not only narrows tier gaps, but encourages operational thinking, supports longer conflicts on the largest of maps, and encourages team play for success
  • - extensive addition of unit based enhancements that increase the versatility of many standard units
  • - includes specifically tailored versions of many popular mods (Black Ops, Total Mayhem, etc.) optimized for use with the LOUD Project
  • - not a MOD but a complete replacement/re-write of the core code

More than 5 years ago, I had grown tired of Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance. While I loved the concept, and much of the execution, the game had serious shortcomings. While it offered grand scale and massive battles, the reality was that the performance just wasn't there to really enjoy those kind of games. The AI was weak, and didn't offer much of a challenge, even with huge bonuses. Certain design choices were questionable, often resulting in 'sure-win' tactics, and while it was clear that there was enormous vision on the part of the developers, there were unfinished and barely implemented ideas all around.

The strength of the modding community has kept this title vibrant since then, but a good number of the issues I've mentioned were never addressed and it was clear that there was an opportunity to do something about those problems and benefit the community while doing it.

Originally started as an exploration of making the AI better, it soon became clear that many of the above problems were interconnected. And while fixing one issue, the AI for instance, it wouldn't be enough on it's own without addressing the others. The unit database, for example, was filled with a great deal of redundant, often unused, or incorrectly categorized data. Some of which prevented the AI from ever behaving in a logical and decisive manner. In order to tackle the AI, you have to tackle the entire unit database, and that IS a big job.

While tackling that - you start discovering that the relationships between the units don't always make sense - most specifically the relationships between air vs. land vs. naval and then between the tiers themselves leads to units that are either 'go-to' units, and units that really don't have much value at all. The AI has to use this data to make intelligent choices - and that means finding a way for the AI to make 'apples to apples' choices. The short of it is, without dealing with the units, you really can't have a 'better' AI.

Once you've got the AI organized, you're at the mercy of the maps. The AI in Forged Alliance relies heavily upon the markers on any given map, and that really was a freeform world. As we started to understand the mechanics of how the AI moves it's units around a map you begin to see that there are do's and don'ts that could improve almost every map. The net result in the LOUD project is a set of custom maps that take advantage of all those lessons, not only to improve the behavior of the AI, but significantly reduce the performance impact of playing games with AI. LOUD has a full set of included maps specifically tailored for the LOUD world. Please note - most of our maps are 20k and larger - which is what LOUD is built for. While you can install your own maps - and LOUD will likely work with them - the experience may not be optimal.

So, in short, the LOUD Project is a revamp/optimization/cleansing of much of the core user-modifiable code for Forged Alliance. We've greatly trimmed memory usage, optimized a lot functions, removed redundant code, and brought about a lot of other enhancements that have dramatically improved the performance of the entire game. It is now possible to enjoy the vast scale of the game without being held back by the performance. We've tried to make it as complete a package as we can - including many popular mods that have been tailored to fit the LOUD world.

It's not a miracle - or magic. Yes - there are still limitations that we cannot address, but, that bar has been moved upwards greatly. We know it's a big project - for sure - but we think you'll find the results to be worth it - in many areas. You don't have to take if from us, you can try it for yourself without putting your existing installation of Forged Alliance at risk. Our installer will make a parallel set of files for LOUD so you can try it without risk - and allow you to use both as you see fit. And, since we never sleep, the updater will keep your LOUD installation current with our frequent updates. Join us on the LOUD Discord server, the link can be found in the help section of the launcher.

So - are you ready to get LOUD ?


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