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Dead? Please no!

Posted: Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:23 pm
by Darklight
Phantom, MrVulcan, please give us an update on the progress?

This mod is like the most anticipated of the century and it can't die!!!

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 1:49 pm
by MrVulcan
Hi Darklight,

FT is not dead. We've been doing a lot of balancing work and just fixing game mechanics. To make things sane, we wrote a new Excel Macro to export excel data directly into ODFs. :) Sure beats having to edit a thousand weapon odfs one by one just to change some hitchance parameter.

This macro also happens to support importing of existing ODF data to populate/update the excel sheet. At the moment, we have excel data for ships, stations, standard weapons and physics files. Definately looking at releasing these tools for the community as they're flexible enough to be adapted to any mod (even FleetOps potentially... but shhh, I didn't say that)

Can't do much in the way of screenies at the moment. Should I post the excel sheets for everyone to dissect? Maybe we should crowdsource the specs debugging.. hmmmm

Don't worry, we're still working, despite real life getting in the way occasionally.

Cheers

Posted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:02 pm
by pepperman
What a clever idea Mr. V! Those Excel spreadsheets could be very valuable aid in game balancing to be sure. I'd release them. At this point anything that might help keep a few modders interested in the game is goodness.

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 3:51 am
by Darklight
Thank my spirits the FT team lives!

Pure genius Mr. V, genius.

I would love those tools!

Don't forget to have a mod filter for FT as people will want to make their own adjustments to FT like adding stuff or changing things, so have some way of making those thing happen without breaking the original FT install?

But if you would be so kind as to send out an update to all the sites you have FT on would be awesome when you can.

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 2:33 pm
by MrVulcan
Heheh, well, as always, the original purpose was for personal reasons, lol ;) The tools have been "released" via a 3rd part file host. I think I'll have them sent over to A2files shortly.

Here's the forum thread.

There will most certainly be a FT version of the spreadsheets with the release. At the moment, the balancing isn't exactly complete...

I will try to make a gameplay video for everyone in the near future. My old laptop wouldn't be able to record the game at a decent framerate, but I should have access to a mean gaming machine soonish. Might even do an HD version with the 1.3 Patch, heheh.

Right now we're polishing up the complex unit specialization/matching that is somewhat inspired by rock-paper-scissors style unit matching in other RTS games. So, destroyers and assault class vessels will outmatch large battleships, but may do poorly against cruisers, and so on. But extra depth to unit specialization comes in weaponary. Some weapons are better suited for tracking down fast destroyers, others deliver a punch to battleships. Between vessel class and its armaments, you can have highly specialized ships that can perform one task really well.

Of course, there are also all-round ships that should handle their own in unpredictable situations. This is especially true with the diverse Federation fleet. The good news is that understanding the balancing should be fairly intuitive. You don't need to know the history and the design philosophy of a ship to know what it will be used for; instead, you just see the ship's class and type of weapons, and you should have a good idea of what this ship can do (although each ship does indeed have a history to it that will be revealed later ;) )

Also, we wanted to give each race a unique feel, so you may notice that some races will prefer certain ship classes and weapon types. This is done largely to reflect the canon, but also to encourage different strategies. We're hoping that we can maintain game balance by providing more options and strategies for people to pursue. For example, Sernaix have very strong shields, but almost no hull strength. Ships of other races can still take a beating due to their "real matter" ship construction. Shield disabling weapons become really valuable to races facing the Sernaix, just as torpedo tracking weapons become really valuable for Sernaix. Also, the large burst of firepower at the initial attack give Sernaix the ability to take down almost any ship of their choosing.

Right now, I am trying to figure out a way to semi-algorithmically figure out the resource costs. Still a big challenge ahead. Right now I have the costs set up to use a "points allowance", which is split up between dilithium, crew and officer costs. Things that are automatically calculated for a ship that affect dilithium cost are:

shields
system hit points
repair rate
damage inflict rate
ship specialization (all round is more expensive).

In other news, we now have neater way of using the "warp" speed in A1. Not decided yet whether to perhaps rename it to "plasma overdrive" or some such. Either way, it gives ships a boost in speed at the expense of special energy.

Not using the "overdrive", ships can still have two "speeds"; maneuvering speed when traveling over short distances or in combat, and faster "impulse speed" when traveling over larger distances. The main reason for the two speeds is to separate the fast destroyers from the less maneuverable battleships.

Anyhow, I apologize for the large wall of text. Promise to make a fancy update for everyone very soon.

Mr. V

Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:13 pm
by Darklight
Don't apologise mate, I enjoyed reading that. I just wish I could help but my lacking experience and knowledge in modding fails me.

However, I am going to be creating my own mod by merging existing ones together. Hopefully that will give me the experience I need to better understand the mechanics of the game and I hope I can get to that stage quickly enough to help you with FT.

===

Wouldn't a formula do the work for you on costs for units, stations and special energy?
You could have a separate one for special energy since it is energy.

I think each of the things affecting dilithium cost you have listed could be a trait of each race and so is more important in the formula.

Oh and specialisation component would depend on type: Offensive or Defensive. I'm sure there are subcategories to each of those.

===

Would the speeds have a button so you can activate it or simply be automatic when using the minimap to deploy the ships like in armada 2? Not sure how that can happen in armada 1 but FT is something of legend so I don't know what to expect in terms of features.

Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 5:46 pm
by MrVulcan
Don't worry about helping out. Just give your own modding a try and see how it goes. You're guaranteed to have a bit of fun with it when everything works out :)

The balancing is all done using formulas and macros. But setting up the correct logic for the formulas does not always have an obvious solution. To be honest, I'm learning VBA for my own purposes, so being able to make it useful for FT is an added benefit. Also trying to write everything neatly so that others can go in and figure out what's what later.

You are correct about those things that affect dilithium costs being different between the races. However, the goal here is to have as few "tunable" parameters as possible in the final unit balance. Adjusting 10 different parameters for each ship just can't be done objectively and consistently. The few tunable parameters are meant to affect the overall "feel" of the ship rather than just specific stats (ei, size, technology level and class rather than hitpoints and shield rates)

The different speeds exist in stock A1, but go mostly unnoticed. We're just trying to make the best use of what's already possible in the game :)

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:02 pm
by Darklight
I was wondering if you could put up some Screenies real soon here and tell us about something you haven't before about the mod?

I can copy and paste it to the other forums so everyone will know that FT is not dead.

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2012 12:14 am
by MrVulcan
Ok, will try to do that. heheh, I've been saying that for months now.

I haven't had a chance to run Armada on that gaming laptop I was talking about before, but when I will, you should be seeing some gameplay videos popping up :)

Posted: Sat Dec 15, 2012 4:53 am
by Dell
Can we expect a christmas miracle?

Posted: Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:55 am
by Darklight
I doubt it Dell. Though it could not be out of the realm of possibility for a new years or an easter gift.

Right FT team?

Posted: Sun May 26, 2013 11:30 am
by Dell
Maybe a summer release?

Posted: Mon May 27, 2013 11:17 am
by MrVulcan
There's development happening behind the scenes :) We have been working on a lot of tools to help with the final stages. I suppose these are the kinds of things that are normally developed before the bulk of the artwork is done for any game, but I guess we learn as we go for FT.

At the time of the last update, we were working on weapon and stats balancing for the ships. That's working well now :)

Since then, we wrote a SOD importer to update some of the older artwork. This is also working well for internal use. This SOD importer will be released at some point as well.

Another development that is still in progress is the creation of scripts for 3dsMax to generate wireframes/thumbnails automatically. There are simply too many models in FT overall to make the wireframes by hand, something that we realized after a lot of manual wireframing has already been done. Still, this should make things much more consistent and neater :) Working on getting the scripts into a form that may be released for general use also.

Lastly, we spent perhaps a little too much time writing a debugger to check all assets (not just ODFs). This checks nearly everything that can cause problems, and found heaps of bugs that we may have never been able to discover through gameplay testing. So, very happy about this, and also getting the debugger ready for general release.

Can't promise too much in terms of release dates. It is a little hard to plan for when to have lunch sometimes, never mind when I can have another update for everyone. Rest assured, we're committed to getting this done.

Cheers,
Mr. V