Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Avatar - A change in the game?

The Avatar has always been Nods end game unit. In fact even it's name suggests that it is going to be of a higher level of power than the Scorpion or Stealth Tank. But with all the changes going on in the mod the question of "what happens to the Avatar?" has come up a few times.

And since I'm so close to being done with my changes I though I would jump ahead and do the Legion Avatar before getting to the Operations Stealth Tank or the Homeland Scorpion Tank. Boy was that a mistake.

First we will go over the design. There are going to be two versions of the Legion Avatar, an Assault Avatar and a Heavy Avatar. The names are still a work in progress, but basically the Assault version will have more weapons and speed where the Heavy will have much more armor.

Another nice thing about the Avatar will be it's bonus's. While looking at it the other day Doug pointed out that we should look at what Nod will be lacking in by the time the player gets access to the Avatar and basing it's equipment off of that need. That was a very insightful comment and what path it lead me to was cost. By the time Nod gets to the Avatar the major thing that should be holding it back is a go-to unit that is going to be cost effective as most of your cash will be going to cybernetic squads and heavy tanks. He also questioned the roll of the Avatar in our story. So what I came up with was this.

The Avatars will be limited to 1 out at a time.
The Avatars will be free to build (no cost) but take 2 minutes to build.
The Avatars will be incredibly powerful. These are the units that cause the other world powers to be afraid of Nod the most. If Nod was ever able to come up with a way to mass-produce these incredibly powerful machines then none of the other world powers would stand a chance. It is this reason that the Earth Federation continues to advance it's mecha technology at the break-neck speed that it does and why GDI continues to advance and invest in Rail Cannon Technology (one of the few weapons that have had an incredibly high success rate against the Avatars).
The Assault Avatar will be equipped with 3 weapons, 1 of which will always be an EMP cannon. The other 2 weapons will vary based on the Doctrine.
The Heavy Avatar will be equipped with 2 weapons that will vary based on the Doctrine.

So on paper the Avatar looks great. So I sat down and started to work on it. And got my ass kicked.

The Avatar code is one of the most complicated coding jobs done for all the models in CNC3 mostly based around it's "commender" ability. I honestly think this is causing me most of my problems. I do what I have done a dozen of times so far, take the unit, add a new model into the code attached to one of the bones on the original unit, tell the weapon code to use the new model's launch points for firing, and be happy. The problem is the model go's on great but when it's time to use the new models launch points for some reason the game simply won't do it, instead all shots come from the base of the Avatar as if the launch point was under ground.

So what I think I'm going to do here is something that I've not attempted to do before. EA has released a decent mix of existing units in 3DS format for players to look at and learn from, one of which being the Avatar. What I'm going to try to do is open of the Avatar's file and modify the model then re-introduce my modified model into the game using the existing animations. If that doesn't work I will try to make the Avatar from scratch coding wise and only use the existing model as my basis, replacing all of the logic code. Finally, if that doesn't work, well, I'm not sure what will happen. We may not have the Avatar in the way that we want and have to go back to the drawing board again.

Sigh. And I was so excited to show you guys some new pics. :p


Alan said...

So does the Avatar look like the ones you posted to moddb awhile back?

Azuza K said...

Ok, here's a new idea that just came to me. It would be the easiest of the choices to implement.

There are 4 Avatars that can be built. These Avatars each represent the different Doctrines that Nod uses. These avatars would not be modified by the doctrines at all, they simply would be what they are. This would on the one hand give the player more Avatars on the field at once (4 instead of 2) but less choices (only 4 designs instead of 8).

Azuza K said...

And as for your question about the earlier avatars, the "extra armored" version would be like the one I showed awhile ago. I'm not going to use the "madcat" version, it just doesn't look right or fit.

Alan said...

Okay, I like the new idea for the for the Avatar.

Alan said...

I was kinda looking forward to the madcat though

Azuza K said...

Lol. I'm sorry about that. It just never looked right in motion. A real Mad Cat would look better than a hacked together "Ava Cat".