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Work in Progress / Herzog Zwei revamp project

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Quel
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Posted: 28th Feb 2012 15:01
I love the good old Sega Mega Drive, and especially love the awesome Herzog Zwei for it.

But as someone who has been playing it for almost 20 years now, i see quite a lot of areas where it could be so much better / more.

My main goals with this project:
- To have a perfect pathfinding system for the units
- Have a bit more units, and some more levels
- Additions to the original game modes
- Better AI
- Better graphics, of course, unavoidable...
- ...And still retain the original design and feel


What i have so far is a nice Alpha stage skeleton of the game, with a nice almost fully functioninal HUD system, an okay working but still heavily in development terrain system, and an overall okay player/camera movement.

Units can be ordered, though they are nothing more so far other than boxes, and acting very simple.

I leave the game mechanics as they were, which means no C&C likeness whatsoever, only the original "player picks up a unit, gives command, puts it down". Though you can finally pick up a range of units at once, manage their commands at once, and then put them exactly where you want them one by one. The player unit can be upgraded, so it carries more, and also faster.

In a nutshell, i intend to make this way of RTS gameplay a different experience, and not an inferior one to some of the most recent titles.

I'm recreating the original levels, with small additions to their design to make them more... strategic. And plan to add at least 4 more, to the original 8.

Experimenting with the remixing of the awesome old tunes for the game, but if i don't succeed with that i'm going to hire someone for this task.

Well for opening this thread this may be just fine, some links on stuff, so it's not just boring text:

The Players' main base:
http://trisplay.atw.hu/mainbase.jpg

The explosion engine's demo (originally built for Mental Hybrid, an other, shoot'em project of mine)
http://trisplay.atw.hu/bigboom.jpg


Expect more renders about the units, and demonstration videos about the actual game running in the following days.

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%
Matty H
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Location: England
Posted: 28th Feb 2012 15:18 Edited at: 28th Feb 2012 15:18
I loved Herzog Zwei, me and my friends used to play it constantly.



I really hope you finish this, Herzog Zwei had the perfect mix of rts and action.

I'm also looking forward to Starhawk which has some similarities to Herzog Zwei but a completely different genre of course

TheComet
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Location: I`m under ur bridge eating ur goatz.
Posted: 28th Feb 2012 15:30
Explosion and base look fantastic. Good luck with this

TheComet

Fallout
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Posted: 1st Mar 2012 10:48
The explosion does look very good indeed. Looking forward to seeing what it looks like animated.

Quel
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Posted: 2nd Mar 2012 10:06 Edited at: 2nd Mar 2012 14:59
I want to implement some nice shadowing system to the game before a video, but here is a little picture to keep this WIP alive.

http://trisplay.atw.hu/alphapic.jpg

The game is currently under construction in this split screen mode for 2 player, so me and my dad can try it out the soonest.

Not so visible, the video will showcase this much better, but the crosshair on the ground which indicates both the 'unit pick up', and 'put down' range of the player, actually follows the ground's surface.

This technique will be used more later as decals on the ground in a wide range, from explosions, to roads and everything that can breath life into this terrain.

The game is being developed on the many-times-referred-to so called crappy laptop of mine, some of you may remember, and runs at a steady 30fps, which becomes hundreds on a friend's PC, so i'm fairly confident this baby can look quite nice at the end.

I'm very happy i immediately got these nice comments, thank you guys!

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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Quel
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Posted: 4th Mar 2012 20:11
The terrain elements that are ready so far.

Lava level elements, plus some all purpose low and medium cliffs and ramps.

The level management system works with these, reading what to put where from an array according to the camera's position.

http://trisplay.atw.hu/elements.jpg

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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baxslash
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Posted: 4th Mar 2012 23:26
This is looking really great Quel

Can't wait to see the finished job. Looks like a really fun game to play

Dimis
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Posted: 5th Mar 2012 18:52
Very good work with the graphics Quel. Looks very good!!
I've never played the original game. I hope we can have a playable demo soon.
Quel
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Posted: 6th Mar 2012 23:09
Today i got away from programming to finish the sub-base model, and also did its UVs, so tomorrow hopefully comes a fully textured picture! Right now it's just the baked ambient occlusion.

http://trisplay.atw.hu/subbase.jpg


Thank you all for every word, means a lot for me to keep working!

I don't want to disappoint, so i'm gonna think twice before releasing a demo. But i would like to wrap this up in ~2 months, so be patient

(about 3 weeks into development by the way)

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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Agent Dink
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Posted: 7th Mar 2012 00:01
I'm not familiar with the original game, but this looks (so far) like an awesome remake!

http://lossofanonymity.wordpress.com
Quel
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Posted: 12th Mar 2012 04:13
Started feeling bad for not releasing new stuff, so i can't help myself but upload the almost fully textured main base model in action. Standard DBPro rendering mode, no shaders, neither real time shadowing.

So i hope it's gonna look even more sexy soon.

http://trisplay.atw.hu/maintextured.jpg

Also almost complete is the sub-base model's texturing, going to closely follow this picture...

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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Quel
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Posted: 12th Mar 2012 14:04
The finished sub-base:

http://trisplay.atw.hu/subtextured.jpg

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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baxslash
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Posted: 12th Mar 2012 14:07
Looking great Quel! Excellent work

Quel
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Posted: 13th Mar 2012 14:14 Edited at: 13th Mar 2012 14:15
Thank you!

The unit pathfinding in action:

http://trisplay.atw.hu/pathfinding.jpg

This is the raw path the engine calculates, which is then being refined into a more natural curve as the unit moves forward.

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%

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baxslash
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Posted: 13th Mar 2012 14:17
Awesome How long did the calculation take? I never finished my pathfinding algorithm because I moved onto another project but mine would have taken a good fraction of a second (or two) to work that one out...

Quel
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Posted: 13th Mar 2012 15:26
Ranging from 4 to 7 milliseconds.

Measured both mazes i shown in my previous post.

I didn't expect these results, i just saw during the development of this little routine that the path appears immediately after execution so i didn't bother to check. Still i'm going to implement this with some sort of optimisation so it is absolutely sure the gameplay won't wobble even a tiny bit.

Also it is highly improbable that there is gonna be anything like those mazes as actual levels , i just used them for testing the code in wild scenarios.

Testing is practically doing everything to the program it wouldn't normally expect, and if it won't get confused from that, it's gonna be okay in any ordinary situation.

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%
TheComet
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Posted: 13th Mar 2012 19:54
Is that A* in action? Looking awesome BTW, keep it up!

TheComet

Quel
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Posted: 13th Mar 2012 20:59
I'm gonna be honest, after some experimenting on my own i kinda gave it up, and because i heard that there is this thing called A* pathfinding i was just gonna implement that and there, done!

But i couldn't really understand that after all... so i tried again, and came up with a pretty simple and fast method, which does nothing more than giving the passable array slots increasing numbers going from the current position (this is the mapping process), and when this process reaches the target slot, the second half of the code actually makes the path by going backwards from the target, back to the current position simply by stepping on neighbouring slots which are lower exactly by 1.

This "going backwards" thingy was a critical element i figured out after quite a few hours of staring at my code thinking "tha hell i'm doing wrong?!". Following the mapped array slots from the target to the current position gives 100% correct path every time, while doing it in the "obvious" way from start to finish tends to do it right only in half the cases.

I was doing the mapping stage with a big FOR-NEXT loop pair for looking through the level array, but i now measured that previous method too, and it gave 1600-3200 milliseconds for solving the maze... uh... fortunately i came up with a trick a while ago to make it speedy, about 300 times faster to be exact. This trick does the mapping process by only looping through those array slots that were given values during the mapping process in the previous loop.

(i realize this is quite heavy without any diagrams or something...)

For the very first step, we give values to the surrounding 8 slots around the current position (the ninth slot is the center one where our unit is standing, that one gets a value of 1). The four slots on the left/right/above/under get the value of 2, and the corner four slots get 3. These eight slots which we freshly gave values to (if they all were passable of course) become what i call the current "spread-slots". Calling them that because the mapping spreads out from those all over the passable array slots.

From there begins a loop, which checks through these spread-slots, if they have any passable neighbours. If yes, those neighbours are going to become the new spread-slots, and the previous ones will be forgotten. This loop is about a dozen, or couple dozens of spread-slots, while the dual for-next method consumed 16384 loops with even a tiny 128*128 level for checking out each every slot. Which was quite inefficient, especially when there is one single spread-slot, with only one neighbour... let's say it is a very tight maze.

Repeating this process as long as one of the neighbours is the target slot.

Incredibly fast, small piece of code, plus always finds, and gives the shortest path possible.

-Mental Hybrid: A unique heavy story based shoot'em ~40% (primary project)
-CoreFleet: An underground commander unit based RTS (canned) ~15%
zeroSlave
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Posted: 20th Mar 2012 23:53
I must say, I've never played Herzog Zwei, but what you've got here is just the kind of game I love to play. Love your 3D work!

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