MekArcade Update

MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 22 Oct 2012, 22:05

Hi everyone,

A quick update on MekArcade. It's an exciting time as we get toward a release. Firstly, thanks to all those who have offered to help, as often happens, we are changing plans a bit, so you are going to have to be a bit patient.

We have had a stormy course over the last 3 years, as some of you who may have read in various forums. Finally we are getting close to a release, and one which will be significantly better than the demo I imagined 3 years ago. There are a few things delaying the release.

The first is to do with the organisation of the project, Quin is changing the way RE/Mekarcade repository works, in essence they will be more intertwined, and it should be much easier to develop for and to maintain the code of multiple projects.

The second major delay is we have decided to use the dynamic lighting system from Tesseract. Being outdoors Mek games are very suitable for a dynamic lighting model and destructible models should so it off nicely. I can't say how long it will take, Quin is starting the merge of the Tesserect code, but there could be a few little problems on the way.

Once this is stable we will do a special release for the Cube community, which will look like:

Red Eclipse + Player Classes + Mek/vehicle Content + Tesserect + extra NPC + health/armor power ups + different weapons

Ticketed for subsequent releases are destructibles (mapmodel you can blow up), salvage after death, multiple tags for weapons, defensive weapons and a few other things.

The first release will be very much about balancing the weapons/meks, essentially making the game work. The devil, as they say, is in the details. We will need some brave souls to help us with this, I will talk more about this later. After this is balanced and sorted I would like to do a more public release of a working and resonably polished game. It wouldn't be complete, more of a base, for taking it further. Some of the further development will be game specific, including the ticketed items that haven't been implemented. I think this part could be a lot of fun.

One specific area to development is enhancing SP mode and perhaps even adding RPG elements, though how this works out depends on what talent we can attract to the project. Quin took so much time taking out all the sauer RPG elements, and now he imight have put them back in again!

To go along with the release, the project will be opened up, starting with simple things like like a forum. Perhaps a 'MekArcade developers' subforum to RE would be a good start. We need to expand the team, both with experts and novices. I am working up some roles that the project needs filled. I want to have some fun with this. So.....

Quin clearly is the Lead Technomage, and anyone on the code team will become a Technomage. A few roles come easily to mind, The Holy Scriptor (lead script development), and a Chief Cartographer, to lead map development and manage to the unruly Cartographers (map team), and the Master of Arms to lead weapons development.

Give me a few days to think of some name for artists, testers and other roles. Perhaps there is a role for you!
Last edited by cdxbow on 24 Oct 2012, 01:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby Ulukai » 23 Oct 2012, 09:23

Hey cdxbow, what a great news that there finally is a release in sight. It will be a huge payoff for your hard work and we have something to look forward to again. And it even will feature Tesseract, that's really amazing and I'm very much looking forward to trying that out.

Of course a first release will not be perfect, but it's a good place to start gathering feedback to improve the quality of every aspect of the game. Personally I hope there won't be too much RPG elements in it, I'm more a guy who goes for the kills and doesn't want to worry about points / levels / degrees etc.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby charlie » 23 Oct 2012, 14:31

Great news.

Can't wait to test it.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby quintux_v » 24 Oct 2012, 03:41

I might be unable to test MekArcade now, as my desktop doesn't seem to support Tesseract (or at least it didn't the last time I tried), but I'll see if my laptop can.

Also, I was wandering around deviantart and found these. I really doubt you need the inspiration, but hey, anything could help. http://www.deviantart.com/morelikethis/333953606
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby raiden » 24 Oct 2012, 13:50

That are nice news, mechs can be fun :).

Another spring of inspiration: http://www.playhawken.com/#media/screenshots. The artworks are great here. I don't know exactly but I think they use a version of the unreal engine.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby ballist1c » 24 Oct 2012, 18:49

raiden {l Wrote}: I don't know exactly but I think they use a version of the unreal engine.


yea, hawken uses the UT3 engine.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 25 Oct 2012, 12:58

Ah, don't mention Hawken.
Don't mention Mechwarrior Online, or Mechwarrior Living Legends, or even Return of Thunder.
Or the OS projects, like Mekteks impending Assault tech1 release, or Dark horizons or.....

After a long drought there are so many mek games coming out. So much competition. Most of them look pretty good, I even got to be a beta tester for one, but it was too time consuming. Unfortunately it has really raised the bar and we are going to need a lot of help to produce a competitive product. And I do want to produce a competive product, one that looks good, works properly and provides the best Meka action in the Galaxy! (small fanfare, please)

Using Tesserect has added some risk and I don't know how many problems we may have, nor how long it will take to sort it out and get it stable. I'm sure the Mighty Quin will sort it out, but it is uncharted waters and it may take some time to get it stable enough for a release. So when we do our first limited release it will be largely without maps. I don't know if any parts of maps made with the old RE lighting will be usable, such as the geometry. I am assuming the worst and that we will have to start from scratch.

So we will be depending greatly on this community to come to our rescue and produce some quality maps, in a timely fashion. I'm sure you are up to it, because if you're not, we are going to be screwed! There are some very clever mappers here and I hope when the time comes we can tap in to your skills.

There will be a little bit of testing and balancing to be done, too.

Another large task is modelling, which I might leave for another day.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby raiden » 25 Oct 2012, 18:23

Yes, right cdxbow, on the long run I would be interested, to develop open maps for a game like this. I can imagine an open, wide citymap or desert, mountains, military complexes, arenas ... whatever. I'd be interessted in this, but I can't decide or promise anything at the moment, because I don't know how much time I'll left for this. So I have to give later a concrete feedback, whether or not.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby raiden » 07 Nov 2012, 15:22

What do you think cdxbow, with the nessecary changes (more separated playerspawns, bigger portals maybe or no portals, ...), could this map be a candidate ?

http://forum.freegamedev.net/viewtopic.php?f=73&t=3723&p=37270#p37270

Maybe it is too small for a good gameplay with meks, I don't know. Also the two levels could be a problem. A kind of lift would be better than a jumper. Do the mechs have jumpdashes ?
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby Ulukai » 07 Nov 2012, 15:43

Tbh I think we need bigger maps for a game with mechs, and prefereably outdoor areas.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby raiden » 07 Nov 2012, 17:07

You may be right Ulukai, outdoor maps would be the first choice.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 08 Nov 2012, 04:35

Good to see you thinking about meka maps!

Maps don't have have to be larger, but they usually are outdoors. Not many rooms fit 20+m high robots, a very large warehous/factory, caves maybe, perhaps a huge alien spaceship.

The same things that make a good MP map for a mek game are the same as for any fps. At the SF wiki there is a page on mek maps http://sourceforge.net/p/mekarcade/wiki/MekMaps/ Many of issues are the same. How do I draw the oppenents together? How do I design it so it doesn't becoming to snipey? How do I give all the classes/weapons a role on this map? There are a few specific difference, as a rule in a meka game you don't have weapon pickups, but you have health and armor salvage or weapon upgrades.

The biggest change and the hardest to get your head around is scale. In a mek game you are a big stompy robot, bit like the guy in the Godzilla suit who mashes Tokyo. I have been trying to finish off the MekArcade vehicle set over a couple of days, one of the reasons I have been trying to get them finished is they come on a map and they are mostly scaled for RE, but in one area they are scaled for a meka game. It's a good illustration of the difference.

In the images below the same player model is used, with the models scaled for a human scale FPS and then for a Meka game.

Image

Image

While on the subject of maps, I think we will start a MekArcade Map Concept topic (it would be best in a MekArcade subforum of RE. Hint, hint.) where people can post map concepts. They can be maps they have already made, modded or something new.

If you do something new I don't want you spending too much time on the fiddly bits, leave them, for the moment to Slartibartfast. The reason is because we will probably be using tesseract for lighting and at this stage I am in the dark about how much, if at all, maps with old lighting system will work.

There are a few concepts for maps that I would like you to start thinking about.

1. Believable Alien environments - I put this first because very few games implement alien worlds that are much different to earth, often they have trivial changes like purple sky and blue leaves. Nearly all use earth derived texture/models/forms. It would be fun to build a convincing, truly alien world. Meka are space rated and can operate in the cold vacuum of space and other hostle environments so just about anywhere is OK. If someone did come up with a fantastic concept map for an alien environment that needed some matching models or a skyboxes etc, we would be happy to have a go at it.

2. Earth like Environment Templates - a series of templates of common earth like planetery environments. Deserts, artic, fertile valley, alpine, beaches, swamps, savannah etc. A little sample terrain, the correct textures, approriate models and lighting. Again, if someone comes up with a killer looking map that needed some artwork to take it further, we could provide that. In the long term I want to develop templates with some sample map geometry, matching models and any scripted bits.

3. Beautiful maps. Beauty is it's own justification. Painting is dead, digital arts rule and there is no better tool than the cube2 engine. Some of you may be a digital Degas, a Pablo Picasso of the pixel. Make some art for us!
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby Evropi » 08 Nov 2012, 16:08

Image

On the subject of 'believable maps', I think all artists should watch Code Geass R1 and R2. It has some of the coolest meks ever and a very original setting aside from that. With all due respect, the current graphics are a tad too generic. Add a bit of colour! Grey tanks looks way cooler than brown tanks for instance.

Also, there are a lot of vehicles there... will this be exclusively a mek game or will it have other vehicles too?

Also, y'all should play [url=Bootfighter Windom XP SP-2]http://mirrormoon.org/projects/complete/bootfighter-windom-xp-sp-2/[/url]. It runs on all recent versions of Windows, don't worry :) just sucks there's no Linux version. :) Great game though, I imagine MekArcade will be a bit like that? After all, it does seem to emphasise the 'Arcade' part in the title so I guess it won't be a MechWarrior rehash. :D (which is great, as I find that game reallllyyyy boring)
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 13 Nov 2012, 23:44

Thanks for the links Evropi, I am downloading Bootfighter now. MekArcade will be action orientated rather than the more simulation style of MW. I used to play and enjoy the MW series, but I am afraid when I went back to them I found them too boring and slow. I recently got a chance to play Steel Batallions, the mek game with the big dual stick cockpit style controller. Guess what, it was boring, too.

In terms of look of the models, I am the only one working on them at the moment (the modelling team), so I really have to cut corners to get something out, and the two main things are quality texture work and fantastic designs! Originally many of the model slots have been filled with models form W. Sitters collection, the problem with these are they are very 20C. I have made some attempts to make more futuristic vehicles, better suited for MekArcade and RE.

Image


In style MekArcade won't quite be the japanese 'fighter jets with leg', more the american 'tanks with legs', but it will be fast, especially the little meks. If meka ever to make it in the real world, they won't be slow and cubersome.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby wowie » 14 Nov 2012, 00:49

cdxbow {l Wrote}:In style MekArcade won't quite be the Japanese 'fighter jets with legs', more the american 'tanks with legs', but it will be fast, especially the little meks. If meka ever to make it in the real world, they won't be slow and cumbersome.


Actually the newest human-sized bipedal robot designs can run a little faster than a human can but I still have to think that they would be slow and easy to trip over if scaled up to large sizes. For those who don't know already there's this little thing called the square-cube law that causes things to act differently when scaled up. The main use for having legs is the ability to navigate environments even treads can't handle well. Everything I wrote is pretty much completely irrelevant because it's going to be arcade style rather than sim style, so ignore it! :lol:

On a totally irrelevant note:
I think it would be cool to have some sort of power harpoon useable as a weapon eventually because war has no rules and I like to fight dirty when given the chance to do so.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby raiden » 14 Nov 2012, 00:54

cdxbow {l Wrote}:
... and the two main things are quality texture work and fantastic designs! ...

I have made some attempts to make more futuristic vehicles, better suited for MekArcade and RE. ....


That are great news cdxbow and I'm really with you in that points. As a kid I red 2 or 3 books from the battletech universe, which played in the 3rd millenium. So how about energetic hovertanks armored with plasma/tachyon/or whatever weaponsystems. The same for the cars, they shouldn't look like out of our time but more futuristic, indeed. 1+

Possibly usefull models: spining turrets, moving spaceships in the background ? - Maybe.

I also know bootfighter from the past, which is really a fast, straight forward arcade game, interesting in multiplayer also. Interesting for study, nice animations, a lot of action in japanese style. For me personally it had a lack of motivation over a longer time (maybe additional elements of roleplay games had been improved this *), but thats ok it's a freegame :).
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 14 Nov 2012, 04:23

Wowie:
Actually the newest human-sized bipedal robot designs can run a little faster than a human can but I still have to think that they would be slow and easy to trip over if scaled up to large sizes. For those who don't know already there's this little thing called the square-cube law that causes things to act differently when scaled up. The main use for having legs is the ability to navigate environments even treads can't handle well. Everything I wrote is pretty much completely irrelevant because it's going to be arcade style rather than sim style, so ignore it!

Despite it being mekArcade I am trying to keep it as close to science as possibe. The legs speed issue is interesting, bigger legs (assuming enough power) go faster than small legs, but you are right, at some point the square cube law that affects the forces in the leg sets an upper limit depending on what material the leg is made of. The closest (ex)working analogy to a small mek is a 7 ton T-rex that does somewhere between 40-70 kph. But nanosteel is harder than bone so I am happy my 20 ton mek can manage 50-70 kph, while an 80 ton heavy mek only does 25-30 kph. We built a Heavy Engineer, a 500 ton monster, which we made a quadraped, and slow, about 10 kph. See below.
Image
It such a big target, and so slow, even with 3-4 times more health it is non competitive. It could maybe form the basis of some sort of base protect game ('Save the Pig' or perhaps 'Kill the Pig' would be better) but I would like to try to balance it so it can have a role in general play. It has a few other problems, I haven't work out how the legs should turn and because it is big and long it tends to highlight problems with Cube2 collision model. We will probably have to drop it, at least at first. btw would the harpoon enable you to pull the victim back to you, and then you would apply the plasma lance/fusion cutter etc
raiden:
So how about energetic hovertanks armored with plasma/tachyon/or whatever weaponsystems. The same for the cars, they shouldn't look like out of our time but more futuristic, indeed. 1+ Possibly usefull models: spining turrets, moving spaceships in the background ? - Maybe.

Hovertanks - we have a hovertank but I haven't yet made an npc out of it. Undecided. As for a player model, probably not. Chromehounds had a hovertank, which was quite hard to pilot, possibly realistically, because it was 'slippery'. You would need to tweak the physics of the Cube2 engine a bit a similar effect.
Weapons - these are up for grabs, so ideas, or even better mods, would be most welcome
Spaceships - we've got spaceships! Dropships. Shuttles, spacestations and even jumpships. I haven't worked on them for awhile, but here are a few
Image
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby wowie » 14 Nov 2012, 16:26

Hmm. So the big mek has a few big problems? I think that sucker is awful heavy, and I wouldn't mind seeing that mass used as a weapon. Perhaps a melee weapon, even. If I can crash straight through the building that you are using as cover you can bet I will. An "overdrive" of sorts could allow a running tackle, even, which would be hard to control, and be a high-risk, high-reward maneuver (let's say it causes lots of self damage if you actually hit something, but causes even more damage to whatever you hit). Make the mass and inertia work for you instead of against you... As long as I'm dreaming I also noticed that it's big enough that it could probably carry a "light" mek without too much issues, or packs of drones, or possibly even a whole mini factory (automatic self-repair? mobile spawnpoint in team games? ability to build destructibles such as walls and towers? Always be followed by a small pack of attack/defense/repair drones?). Superheavy mek types should have superheavy abilities. I wonder if that big guy could carry a directed energy shield (big shield generator required, so smaller meks can't use it because the generator won't fit in the chassis) that could completely protect from damage in one direction, thus requiring at least two other meks (to flank it), or one mek with specialized equipment (EMP), in order to take it down. Or in place of said shield generator it could be carrying a large hovercraft engine to gain extra mobility by effectively reducing the mek's weight (also could be temporarily disabled by EMP). Or maybe have a shield generator that provides total invulnerability (from all directions) on itself and/or a friendly mek , but only for a short time (think TF2 medigun). Also, there's always the fact that it can hold tons of ammunition (literally) for missile spam and other absurd burst attacks that are only useable once every X seconds (rearming period/cooldown). I'm out of ideas for now.

To use a quote: "Size. Always. Matters." Think big.

As for movement: Maybe add a maximum turning rate somehow. I have no clue how that would work, though.
Or maybe study the way animals run around and copy it. There's lots of designs that are ripped off from nature.

As for collision issues: I'm not a programmer so you'd have to tell me what aforementioned collision issues are first.
Plus I haven't been able to sit down at a computer for an extended period of time and actually play anything for awhile now.
I have plenty of ideas and all of them are probably useless since I have no idea how anything works "behind the scenes" and I don't know what is and isn't possible because of that.

Edit:
Also the harpoon thing I misread your post thinking you understood it. I'll look for something to describe it better.

Edit again:
A picture is worth a thousand words. The intent is to slow down or trip a mek by tying the legs up with strong cable. The reason a fusion disk was mentioned in the link I used in the other post was because the "hook" part on the end of the cable simply welds itself to the legs upon contact. Something like that would be a far-fetched idea without a lot of coding (I don't know anything on this subject) but if implemented could be a useful weapon for small meks to do hit and run attacks against large meks with (run up, run a few circles around larger mek, then run away from temporarily immobilized opponent [instakilling with a trip would be overpowered in a game like this but slowed/nonexistent movement is good for a temporary debuff]). The style of harpoon you mentioned, simply spearing an enemy then dragging them towards you (or merely preventing them from running away from you) would be a useful way for large meks to prevent small meks from easily escaping their effective range.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby cdxbow » 15 Nov 2012, 01:21

You got it with the big pig!
Conceived intially as being able to generate health, which the light engineer could transport or another meka could pick up. It would be a mobile base, and the various use/gameplay you describe are all possible. Shields, maybe. I don't think they would be too hard to code, by a brief, but large increase in the players armour, and the model work could be pretty easy, too - glowey, transperent sphere around the model. The technical problems probably mean the big pig won't get into the first public release, but I will leave it in the developers releases to experiment with. Theres got to be a role for it. To me it is the only thing we have done that has struck me as a potential icon.
The tripwire would be difficult, a lasso might be possible. The original MechAssault had knockover, with a heavy ballistic weapon you could knock over small/medium meks sometimes, leaving them helpless on the ground. We have done some knockover animations so for a lasso you would use the knockover animations when the lasso hit, then leave it helpless for a while.
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Re: MekArcade Update

Postby wowie » 15 Nov 2012, 02:49

Whenever I think big and heavy I think of something that excels at holding an area but is not necessarily as good at taking it simply because it's too slow to move unless a special ability is used. Not necessarily the first thing you'd send in to take ground, except in certain special circumstances, but definitely the thing you send in to hold ground that's already been taken. I think with larger, slower things in all games that the main gameplay problem/challenge should be positioning, as in, a good position will see it wrecking everything but a bad position will leave it mostly useless. The challenge/problem for others generally should be preventing it from bunkering down in positions that give it an advantage, or (in the case of a mek game or other games with destructible/modifiable terrain and/or objects) modify the surrounding terrain so that it becomes disadvantageous to said unit. When two opposing units of this general type happen to enter the same area the results should be either explosive and spectacular as the two clash, or quiet and tense as one or both withdraw from the area(usually the former, because the latter only really happens when both run into each other while already crippled). This is all just ramblings, really, based on what I've come to expect of heavy-utility units in most games. Pick out the parts you find useful, although none of it really is useful because there's a 95% chance it was probably what you were already thinking anyways.
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