Hello everybody, and welcome back to the increasingly unwisely named weekly bulletin. Between attending a funeral in another city and a bunch of work related stuff, I haven't been able to write up a news post since about this time last month. On the bright side, we've got a bunch of work to show off. Morpher and I have both been making maps and we've had a bunch of multiplayer playtests. I've reworked the art assets for the Nod Obelisk of Light and the GDI Autocannon, and added a bunch of extra remap to some of our voxels, based on feedback from these tests. Morpher has been tracking down bugs and working on balance and I've continued to work on finalising a large number of terrain tiles. Morpher also uncovered some unfinished music files while going through our FTP, and has been working on finalising the AI. So far I believe the easy and medium GDI AIs have been completed.
We have four finished maps to show: Pit Stop, Island of Insanity, Murderous Atoll, and Woodlands. Pit Stop is a small 2 player map which is being used to test two cool bits of scripting. The centre of the map contains four geysers which seed Tiberium around them. This effect currently lacks dedicated graphics, but it works fine even without them and provides the central pit with large volumes of Tiberium reasonably frequently. The second thing which currently makes this map unique is the occasional localised ion storm over the pit. Aircraft entering the area fall out of the sky and ion bolts can strike any harvesters and hapless troops. Pit Stop is mostly a test map, but it's still kinda cool.
Island of Insanity is an 8 player map which gives each player a small section of beach around the edge of the island. The raised area in the centre of the island is impassable, leading to brutal skirmishes in the tiny areas between bases. Played as a free-for-all the map is totally bonkers, and even with teammates it still remains moderately insane. When playing it in multiplayer with Morpher it reminded me a lot of the tempo of the original Red Alert.
Murderous Atoll is built on the same formula as Island of Insanity, and was directly inspired by it. The circle allows for naval warfare in the middle though, and forces players to remain on their toes about cross-map APC attacks. Each player has access to two blue Tiberium fields, ensuring enough funds to respond to the frequent and urgent threats upon their base. Much like Island of Insanity it is a mess of a free-for-all and can punish even a momentary slip in concentration.
Woodlands is a more subdued map. the 4 players sit in a wooded and watery area with yellow and red Tiberium. The lower funds make for slightly slower play and make harvester harrassment a more important tactic. The rough, but nominally flat layout gives Nod player plenty of places to put strategic artillery and the numerous lakes compound GDI's hover-vehicle advantages.
That's it for maps. The multiplayer tests have been uncovering a few issues with the way some units are designed. The biggest offender was the GDI autocannon. Despite being the lowest tier defence structure and having a pretty small damage output it was one of the largest in the game. So I reworked the turret entirely and shortened the base to bring it more into line with the rest of the GDI buildings. Hopefully this art change will help to better represent the building's role.
While I was at it, I also remade the Nod Obelisk. This was one of the first models I ever made, so it wasn't actually very good. The remake has added detail where there wasn't any and has better defined the building's shape and scale. I also finally got around to a good construction animation, damage state, and charging/firing animation; all of which were sorely needed.
I've also been adding extra remap to a few voxels. In our playtests we noticed a distinct lack of remap on a bunch of the GDI voxels, so I've gone and added a bit of extra to some of them. It was a big issue because when there are 8 players all vying for control of the map it becomes pretty dificult to tell who is who without some nice, quickly recogniseable remap. A good example of this is the original Tiberian Sun's harvesters. The whole cab was brightly teamcoloured, so you could immediately tell who was harvesting from which field.
I've added remap to the GDI harvester's cab, the Orca Fighter's missile pods, and the Orca Bomber's fuselage. It's a mixed bag in some ways, because some of these units looked better with minimal remap. But in Morpher's words "I'll take that over not being able to tell what the hell is going on", and I suppose I have to agree.
And that's what we did this week/fortnight/month!
Take care everybody!