It has.. err, been a little while. Potentially it has been a month rather than a week. Mea Culpa. The potent cocktail of real life, laziness, and working on the mod has left me little time or inclination to put together a weekly update. I hope to resume these bulletins now though, and what better way to start than with a recap of some of the stuff we've failed to update you on. Onwards!
On the graphical side I've mostly been tidying up existing assets, working on a slightly better set of shore tiles, and fiddling about with a few other minor doodads. Between Morpher and I we have four or five maps in the works, and Morpher has been hard at work implementing the logic, triggers, and hacks required to get drastically different gamemodes to work. So far there are two that look particularly promising, but I'll get to the specifics later on in this post.
I've put together a couple of Cyrillic props to try and give some maps a different feel. I think this is a worthwhile way of adding some 'local' detail to maps which purport to be set in places which use the Cyrillic alphabet, and I may do a similar set for use in maps which set themselves in China, and perhaps the same for Arabic and other non-latin character sets.
Advertising for YEO-CA Cola, a brand which is apparently quite popular in the post-apocalyptic wastes.
Of course this is quite low on the todo list, and most of what I've been doing is more directly related to my main ongoing task, the campaign. I've been replacing some of the shore tiles with better looking alternatives. Partly because the old ones look lousy but mostly because I have a bunch of ideas for water-centric maps and I don't feel all that happy screenshotting said lousy shores.
This is actually based on a set of shores started by one of TO's old-time 3D artists, Gangster, who some of you may know from his RA2 remake of TS, called "Rewire". It's been fun matching and carrying on from his style and I'm reasonably happy with the results so far. It's also good psychological preparation for one of the next big terrain projects - the snow theatre's ice and iced over shores.
The map I'm most pleased with at the moment is a work in progress deathmatch map called "Erosion". It will be a five player map once it's finished. The central concept is that the whole map is pockmarked by deep and impassable pools of water, creating a flat but still maze-like layout. It manages to be simple but also complex both at once since the pools limit movement but not firing.
Capturable Powerstations make for focal points in the middle of the map.
I'm also working on "Garden State", a deathmatch map with a utopian aesthetic. Full of lush green trees and crisscrossed with paths, the park at the centre of the map is a huge contrast against the encroaching tiberium at the edge.
Garden State was initially just a test of the pavement transition tiles.
It is still a testing ground for urban assets.
I've also been continuing to work on single-player missions. The goal is to keep players on nominally the same path through the story, but present enough choice throughout to allow for a branching narrative. The missions I'm working on right now all start from the same parent mission but then split off in multiple possible directions before all coming back together in a later scenario. The one I've been working on in the past few weeks is the parent mission from which the singleplayer mission I introduced here is only one of at least three alternatives.
Your forces rush to secure the area and rescue the civilian prisoners before they can be executed.
This mission introduces another in the long line of splinters of the Brotherhood. Around one of Cabal's ruined cores, these people have formed something of a cult. Aiming to bring Cabal back to life and allow him to conquer the globe, they believe that they are bringing about Kane's final wishes. Depending on your actions here you may find yourself allying with this cult or eradicating them entirely. Whichever you choose, it may impact your standing within the Brotherhood for a long time to come. So that's what I'm willing to show of the singleplayer component.
Multiplayer has seen some interesting developments these last few weeks with Morpher's tireless work on proper gamemodes. Right now the three we've been brainstorming the most heavily are Capture the Flag, Zone, and Spygames.
Capture the Flag is pretty self explanatory. There is a flag which you need to capture from your opponent and bring to your base to win. Zone is a sort of King of the Hill mode, where there's a structure at the centre of the map which is tied to a timer. When the timer reaches zero the player who holds the structure wins. Spygames is still in really early days but will hopefully be a much less symmetrical game with one player acting against all the others, trying to infiltrate objectives as everyone else tries to hunt them.
The capture point is a large satellite dish, used by GDI to communicate with their orbital network.
There are two things that make this amazing and really cool. First is that it is all handled by the game, something that hasn't really been possible before. There's no need to outline what each player has to do, and what faction they have to be, and who needs to ally with who beforehand. Morpher has it running so that that's all sorted out behind the scenes. The game can detect what faction each player is and pre-place a base accordingly, opening up dozens of doors for radically different styles of game. We'll be testing and iterating and trying to find solid, different modes for some time to come, and hopefully the three we're playing with at the moment will all add something new and different beside the standby of deathmatch.
The second thing is that the AI works with it fine. They'll happily fight over the capture point, theyll send in their own engineers to grab it, they'll station heavy weapons nearby to hold it. It's amazing what you can get to work if you're really clever about it.
Two AI's fight for control of the capture point.
That's probably only half of what we did these past few weeks. There may be a few addendums tacked on next time.
Until then, auf wiedersehen!