In this second dev diary we look at adding bigger buildings, Command centers with walls, and lots of other nice decoration trying to push Civ2's terrain limits for the Civilization 2 - Red Alert 2 Siege of New York Scenario!
While working with Metropolis on the Civilization 2 - Heroes of Might and Magic 2 Mod I started thinking about how cool it would be to play a C&C2 style dark and moody scenario along with a city siege Red Alert 2 style Civ2 scenario with towering capturable buildings as I'm a huge Command & Conquer and Red Alert fan (so much that I run a retro C&C tribute website). The Red Alert 2 city idea seemed too hard at the time so I figured I'd continue working on the HoMM2 scenario and start work on a fun Command & Conquer 2 Africa Campaign Scenario as training first. Well now after months working on those projects I feel I have the confidence and experience to try and attempt this rather crazy idea of mine to change Civ2's well known world battle map style into a beautiful sprawling urban metropolis of endless tall buildings and streets for your tanks and bombers to fight over, all somehow within the limitations of the old Civ2 MGE engine of course! It's 20 years too late but I'm doing it anyway haha!
Disclaimer: Hopefully the final product will be waaaaay better than all these test shots but I gotta start somewhere haha.
Figured I should probably post an update on how things are going with Red Alert 2 Siege of New York. Been very busy in real life lately (thanks to the world going to hell lol).. plus as well as ALL the bloody projects I told you guys about above I've also been helping out the FreeCol Project (Opensource Colonization remake) on their public image and presentation (website, moddb page, forums, welcome info, modding info, HD pictures & video etc) as most people think their project is dead due to the remaining team (nearly all programmers) quieting working on the game for the last few years and not updating anything else haha. Also helping a wee bit on the game too (testing, modding, organising maps etc) but not much as my skill set (not a programmer or high res artist) limits how much I can help on that.
So anyway I thought I'd give a progress report and show some more WIP shots where I'm testing a number of things. Once again I must stress that city buildings are not even near finished or properly imported yet, the broken up repetitive half finished buildings here are just placeholders so I can work out positioning of things.
Here's where things are at:
- All 4 3x3 super building templates have been successfully tested and placed (but not graphically finished)
- Roads now have street lights
- Dirt terrain replaced with RA2 style dirt with gold/minerals spread around them
- Mines and diggers added to dirt areas too
- Soviets and USA construction center city graphics imported and downsized to fit
- Base locations worked out & named (sometimes abbreviated or spelt wrong due to annoying Civ2 city name character limit)
- New NYPD 3rd faction added with police style building city graphic. The original RA2 level had police cars driving around so I thought it would be fun to have a NYPD faction that pumps out weak police car units to annoy the Soviet invaders lol.
- Farmland replaced with glowing blue cement (will later have thermal power building put on it) to primitively replicate the cool colour glowing base effects of RA2 (grassland bushes overlapping base cement will be removed).
- Irrigation replaced with glowing red cement (will later have tesla power building put on it) to primitively replicate the cool colour glowing base effects of RA2 (grassland bushes overlapping base cement will be removed).
- The strange yellow and red lines in the base radius's are me mapping out 4 separate cells to place special railroad formations that I'm replacing 4 unique base building decoration for each faction (Radar, Barracks, Factory, Refinery) to really give that C&C/RA base feel. With 8 free railroad cells I was able to get the 4 decoration cells per faction I wanted (meaning each faction will have its own variation of those 4 buildings)! :)
- The equally weird red & yellow dots and crosses you may notice around the place are me mapping out special resource locations to eventually insert more decoration into.
- I've made the coastline guidelines even taller/wider apart so that once I put in a sea wall it's gonna be even bigger and look really cool!
Next I'm going to look at using left over river/forest/hills/mountains not used in the super 3x3 building formations to create 1x3 diagonal buildings or other decoration (eg carparks, resorts, burger joints, hospitals, warehouses, slums etc). After that I'll look at replacing special resources to give even more buildings. Then I'll finish working out what building designs and formations go where and try to pack in as much detail and variety as I can.
So let's get started on a bit of that by doing some of the 1x3 diagonal cell buildings.. these are really tough as I can't really replicate the height so I have to remove heaps of floors and details.
Original RA2 models:
Cutting out floors:
Downsizing to Civ2 resolutions:
Even at the above size they STILL don't fit in a 1x2 or 1x3.
I was facing having to squish and remove even more details which I REALLY didn't want to do as so much had already been lost! So I then decided to use the upper cell areas (as previously talked about upper areas in the cell above the diamond can be used but not lower areas. So I decided that I'd squish the diagonal building into 2 cells and then just stick another 1x1 cell sized building in the 3rd (allowing for even more unique 1x1 buildings in the game) and most importantly I changed my template to highlight these usable upper areas (in red) so I could see just how much I could squeeze the building into those areas.
This left one final problem where the non-usable area cut right into the top roofs of the buildings. I thought "what am I going to do.. every other downsizing option is unacceptable".. and then a solution dawned on me lol.. these damaged buildings are already full of blast holes so why not make big ones right where the unusable areas are. So as you can see I've drawn cracks and debris around the unusable areas. In-game this should create a nice illusion of being 'just another blast hole'. These shots are still WIP as I've got to decide what 1x1 size building I want to put next to them in these 1x3s. Oh and add burning fire of course! Gotta have fires haha!
So why do 1x3 when its obvious the building is more of a 1x2 you may ask? Well if I use the remaining cells (unused by my 4 super 3x3 cell buildings) in the Trees/Rivers/Hill/Mountains I've got a 1x1 and 2 diagonal slots of 1x3s. A Picture MetroPolis (who works with me on the HoMM2 scenario) kindly made for me illustrates this nicely.
I can ignore the cell in the middle of the 1x3 and just have 2 lots of 1x2 diagonal. However that middle cell is completely inaccessible and unusable unless you do a 1x3 so I'd be wasting 2 cells per the 4 special terrains.. wasting 8 lots of 1x1 cells in a scenario where I need to use EVERYTHING? I think not. So like I said above I'll just stick a 1x2 and a 1x1 building combo into the 1x3 and then just create lots of 1x3 formations in various parts of the map.
I've noticed that RA2 car parks go great into a full 1x3.. so I made some! :) If I do diagonal rivers across 2 squares I get the red car and white car combo.. if I use the full 1x3 combo then a nice limousine and green car join the little parking party haha. All cars are taken from the car parks in the original level of course. Those with a keen eye will notice I've also imported in the water fountains seen in the original map so you'll see them pop up here and there in the nice park & trees areas. Naturally in the final product I'll have that funny Monkey Burger place and a Petrol Station next to those car parks too.
Disclaimer: All buildings in this shot are just unfinished WIP placeholders.
And finally I've also made my city wall faction variants for my city bases. I was quite proud of the ones I made for my Command & Conquer 2 Africa Campaign Scenario. They worked well as C&C2 TS has cool laser and firestorm fences plus I was working from lower resolution originals so the conversion was less of a headache.
However with these new RA2 ones its harder work as the Allies & Soviets just have boring walls and the original buildings and walls are at a much higher resolution.
Meaning there's just so much more detail to lose and so much more work to get some of it back into the downsized Civ2 sprites. So I'm still not quite satisfied with the models but here's how they look so far walled and unwalled.
Will keep working on improving my building conversions and try to squeeze as much detail into these little Civ2 cells as possible!