Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sundays post on Saturday? Weird.....

Yea, last weeks update was late, this weeks early, don't you love it?

I posted earlier this week the new GDI tech tree and the response has been more positive than negative, but I was surprised by the number of emails I received from friends worried about us working on this aspect of the mod. Let me tell you, just from the 3 new units/new balancing that has been done to GDI they are a lot more fun to play with. I find myself now when I'm playing GDI vrs GDI looking at my units and building 3 or 4 war factories so I can pump out many different units at the same time. Each unit has a unique advantage that makes you go "I need a few of these, a couple of those, maybe 2 of those...", you get the picture.

Take it from this point of view. The Pitbull 5 can turn it's turret 360" and will fire at any enemy unit near it making it an excellent choice for quick hit and run attacks on an enemys base, especially if they drive by enemy infantry. I find myself making attack runs like this, quick in and out shots, to keep the enemy on it's toes. APC's filled with RPG's make great all around units, Pitbull 6's are great early anti-air and anti-vehicles, Defender APC's are great anti-heavy armor but lack air defenses, Preditors are great cheap front line tanks and once upgraded are a match for Titan tanks, Titans are great defensive tanks that work well protecting Juggernaughts and MRLS's, MRLS's are great for dealing with large swarms of light vehicles/buildings, and Mammoths while expensive and time consuming can deal with almost anything out there, they really are Mammoths on the battlefield.

So to all of you out there worried that we are wasting time doing something that isn't needed, don't worry this really does give GDI what they were missing. They now feel like a true army.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

GDI Vehicle and Structure Tree

Thought I would post up the current tree for people to get a feel for the new GDI tech tree.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

GDI, taking the long road.

Right now I'm working on making GDI feel more like a real military power in the game.  My biggest issue with CNC3 from the beginning wasn't the graphics or the fact most multiplayer games lasted at most 15 minutes (ok, that did seem odd to me actually).  In the end it was the simplistic, cookie cutter game design that bothered me the most.  Its not that GDI and NOD had the same units, far from it, but they did always have a like class system in place.  Scout vehicle? Buggy vrs Pitbull. Tank?  Preditor vrs Scorpion.  Heavier tank?  Mammoth vrs Avatar.  You get the picture.  In fact, the only real difference to me was that GDI had APC's and true artillery and NOD had suicidal infantry (ooooh, so scarry) that you saw comming a mile away and the beam tank (laser artillery?  Who's idea was that?).  

So what I'm doing now is adding new units in to GDI's side, but it's not more stuff for the sake of more stuff.  These units actually are needed from a story side of view.  GDI is supposed to have been the defacto military/government force for the last 30 or 40 years and they have shit to show for it.  No variance, no choices, just the same basic force over and over.  That doesn't sit well for me.  So the updated GDI that I'm working on will have that.  Do you really need a GDI pitbull with a machine gun on it when you can use an APC?  They both kill infantry, both cost almost the same, Pitbull can detect stealth and APC can add more troops for more firepower.  So why the choice?  Because the choice IS the point.  Some players will choose to go the cheaper machine gun pitbulls and APC's with TOW Rocket troops for air defense where others may go TOW pitbulls  with APC's with basic rifle infantry.  Or they may ignore the APC all together and mix the two pitbull types together.

The point isn't that one can fufill the roll of another, the point is that a player needs to have the feeling that he has a vast arsenal to pull from.  NOD doesn't have the resources to match GDI on a unit - to - unit variance, so it only makes since that GDI has more to use right?   NOD's true power lies in their ability to hide with stealth generators.  They don't need 3 different Pitbull types to win, but they need to keep their troops alive long enough until they are ready to strike.  

So thats what I've been working on these last few days.  I'm working on the new Titan Tank for GDI, it's a mixture between a Preditor and Mammoth.  It will give that needed middle ground so that a player isn't forced to spam preditors if they don't want to until they can get Mammoths in the field.  I should be posting a new "Tech Tree" soon for GDI to let people see just how many new units are being added in and where.  Keep your eyes open and as always, let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sundays post will be late

sorry, todays post will be done monday or tuseday at the latest, family stuff popped up.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Sundays update, a change of topic.

I was going to post todays topic with a decision about the original 3 armies and some pics of GDI's tech tree and how it's changing, but someone posted a comment on last weeks topic today that I have to address.

Anonymous Said :

"guys, i feel like being honest right now,

im telling you that, i wont come here anymore, the reason is, you guys are almost dead,

the mod was quite good when it started, and as far as i know, the most fun i had with xenoforce reborn was with one of the first release, i think its the 8.0a or something,

it had all 3 factions, and was just fun.
but now that you guys took 2 of those out, ...its been like a hell,

even if 8.0 was full of bugs and all, WTH, it was still WAAAAAY better than what i've experienced on 9.0c, d or something.

anyway, thanks allot for making xenoforce reborn, i had really good times with it.

i hope you guys can come up with a better version next time. "

Ok, while I am sorry that you feel this way it doesn't change the fact that I think you missed something. We're not dead, we are far from it. Right now I'm working on adding AW (along with some other things) back into the mod, then after that SEED is going back in. These forces were removed for a very real reason, that is they were only there to show people a glimer of what we were going to try to do but people took it as these armies were ready for prime time which they were not. We were getting so much flack from people saying that this stuff was overpowered/unbalanced/didn't work right/buggy that we just took it out until we could get the AI working and get the base design down for EF. Now that thats done we're putting them back in.

I'm sorry you don't find UC compelling, or all the changes to GDI, NOD, Scrin, but I'm not going to say that your right and that we should have kept the other 2 in until we could get back to working on them. Remember this mod is really only being activly worked on by 2 people, Doug and I. We do have our own issues to deal with in real life and can only do so much at once.

Finally, like I said, I've been working on things a lot latly. But it has been on the coding side of things so that there isn't any screen shots to show the progress. If you don't wish to stick around to see what's going to happen that is fine, it's your right. However, progress is going forward and like I said a few weeks ago, I make this mod for myself first and share it with others who I think would enjoy it. Good luck.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Design Ideas, what stays and what go's?

When working on a project one of the biggest mistakes that I know that I am always making is coming up with a design and then not sticking with it long enough to see how well it works. We've done this a couple of times with our releases and are working on fixing this as we speak.

What this means for you, the end user, is every time you get a new version of the mod it's like relearning the game. This leads to a fractured design where some people want this, others want that back, some like the changes others don't, and by trying to make everyone happy what we get isn't what the original design called for.

Take AW for example. Our original goal was for them to be a very easy and straight forward army to use compaired to SEED and UC. Our current design is not hard to use, but it's got a few things going on in it that scream to me "complicated" and "hard to use". Is this a real problem? Not if we handle it correctly, but at the moment I am worried.

Another example would be our current ideas on rebalancing the entire game. The comes a point where adding new things in only make the game more complicated, and more complicated does not always mean more user friendly or fun. I'm currently working on making each side unique in one of 3 possible ways. Weapon Tech, Economy, and Deployment.

Some forces will have very unique weapons in the next release, the Scrin for example are going to focus on Plasma Technology and Lance Technology for their weapons and will be unique in that they are the only ones on the battlefield that have these kinds of weapons. EF will have a unique economy design, with many different ways to earn income to produce what they need to build the great wall of EF. Finally, GDI has unique deployment, and is able to get most if not all of their ground forces air-dropped in for free after a certain point.

The major issue I'm facing right now is change. What I mean is I feel that we're not giving certain ideas enough time to truly see if they can stand on their own before saying "we need to change it, it doesn't work." Another issue is chaning things that are already in the game, that I feel are fine, but I'm hearing "we need to change this" or "you should fix this, its not supposed to be that way" when it's the way that we wanted it.

Take the White Base for example. Does it work? Well, yea, it does. It drops off units and lays down cover fire for your units as it moves. Does it work right? Not really, the way I have it firing doesn't look right, and I am still exploring ways to fix this. However, people need to realize that not every idea is going to be possible. We will do our best to make this game live up to its potential but some things simply won't work. Someone wanted us to keep the Whitebase as a mobile fortress like we used to have. The reason we took it out was it simply was too big to be a viable unit in the game, and if we make it much smaller we hear "it's not sized right" (not that we don't hear that at least once a week when it comes to the sizes on our mobile suits).

Just a final thought. I was asked recently why I spend so much time working on something that I'm not getting paid to do. My response was simple. "I make this game for myself, because I'm trying to make something that I want to play. The only reason I'm offering it up to others to play is because I really think there are others out there who feel like I do and would want to play this kind of game."