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Age of Ascension

Discussion in 'Crazy Spatz's Alpha Centauri Mod' started by Spatzimaus, Sep 19, 2011.

  1. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    I have made a splash image for the Merchant Exchange by scaling a shot of it's movie:



    Since it was enlarged, the quality is not top-notch, but it is still decent enough that it is better than no proper splash for the wonder, so this could be useful to you.
     
  2. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    My hope is that in the expansion they'll add the ability to play movies of some kind. If they do, then I'll just import the SMAC movies directly; I've got the original .bik files as well as Planetfall's .mve conversions.
    Also, it'll depend on whether they also add the ability to include new sound files in your mod; currently, you just can't without replacing an existing asset. If they do that, to where I could include an MP3 of the old wonder movie's sound, then a screenshot might still be sufficient even in the absence of actual movies.

    The main reason I hadn't wanted to do all of those yet was because it would kind of bloat up the mod's size, but I might as well just go ahead and do it for now. I just need to figure out the size I'm supposed to be cropping it to.
     
  3. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    The dimensions of wonder splashes are 972x568. My .dds version of that image is 539 KB, so it shouldn't be too large an impact on your mod's size (as it's approximately 38 MB already), specially since you have implemented many of the Alpha Centauri secret projects as national wonders, which don't have splash images. The amount of splashes could be further reduced by implementing some of those secret projects (like The Self-Aware Colony) as projects, since the +1 happiness per city effect can be done by projects through Lua, as discussed in that thread in the SDK/Lua subforum.

    If you are interested, I am also going to do the splashes for the Cyborg Factory, the Living Refinery and the Nano Factory, so I could send them to you.
     
  4. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    539 kB, times 38 wonders (national or world), is not negligible compared to that 38MB size (most of which is from the 2048 icon atlas files or unit model textures). And if they fix it to where we can import sounds, then add 38 wonder audios and 48 tech audios to that number. Like I said, it adds up fast. I'm not going to let the size hold me back, but I'm not sure if I want to blow it up just for placeholders that'd be removed if/when the devs give us the functionality I REALLY want, to show movies.

    That's something I'm going to look into; in terms of the XML, the vanilla game's national wonders just don't set the WonderSplash variables, and presumably the UI doesn't trigger the popup, but there's no reason that it couldn't be told to do so if those variables did exist for a National Wonder. All of the Wonders were drawn from SMAC, so it'd be a shame to import the content for half of them and not for the other half, given that my choices for which were World and which were National Wonders was pretty arbitrary (or at least was heavily based on the type of Civ5 content available in the existing tree).

    I don't really WANT to reduce them, though. What I'm aiming for is the maximum amount of content possible within a reasonable size. I'd rather find a way to make those DDS files smaller, to fit more of them in. Maybe a tighter compression scheme, maybe the game can be convinced to accept a .jpg instead, maybe a smaller size of image can be used. Like I said, the reason I hadn't worked to import screenshots for the wonders was just that I didn't want to overload the mod for what's potentially just a placeholder. But if I'm going to do this, I'm not going to do it halfway.

    Also, Projects have a few other negatives that makes them a poor substitute in most cases. They're not tied to a city, so you can't prevent an opponent from keeping the effect once he has it. The game gives a popup to all players whenever one finishes (although I can override that somewhat). Nearly every effect has to be applied through Lua, which is just not as convenient and is very prone to cache issues; since we don't HAVE Lua triggers for most types of completion, the effects can't begin until the following turn and have to be checked every turn. That sort of thing. So I try to minimize the number of Lua hacks needed, to only use it for things that can't be done any other way in the existing XML.

    In fact, one of the things I'm looking at right now is that with my new method for the Transcendence victory, there's actually no need to award a winner through Lua. If the game is told that it needs 50 copies of that project, it can handle the completion checks itself without needing me to do it (unlike before, when it had a 20-turn timer). So it's likely that in the next couple versions I'll switch that victory back to WinsGame = true and remove a big chunk of that Lua. It'll also require me to adjust things like the Advanced Setup UI, so it's not a trivial change, but it'd be better in the long term.
     
  5. Androrc the Orc

    Androrc the Orc Emperor

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    I don't recall if you already have a similar function to hide the "effect" buildings so they don't appear in the interface, so perhaps this code will be helpful to you:

    First, it would be needed to add this line in a .sql file:

    Code:
    ALTER TABLE BuildingClasses ADD COLUMN 'Hidden' TEXT DEFAULT false;
    
    Then, "<Hidden>true</Hidden>" would have to be added to every building class you wish to hide from the interface; for example:

    Code:
    	<BuildingClasses>
    		<Row>
    			<Type>BUILDINGCLASS_ALCHEMY</Type>
    			<DefaultBuilding>BUILDING_ALCHEMY</DefaultBuilding>
    			<Description>TXT_KEY_TECH_ALCHEMY_TITLE</Description>
    [COLOR="Red"]			<Hidden>true</Hidden>
    [/COLOR]		</Row>
    	</BuildingClasses>
    
    Then in CityView.lua, line 1215 would have to be replaced with this:

    Code:
    			-- Andrettin
    --			if thisBuildingClass.MaxGlobalInstances <= 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxPlayerInstances <= 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxTeamInstances <= 0 then
    			if thisBuildingClass.MaxGlobalInstances <= 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxPlayerInstances <= 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxTeamInstances <= 0 and thisBuildingClass.Hidden == false then
    			-- Andrettin End
    
    And in CivilopediaScreen.lua, line 1032 would have to be replaced with this:

    Code:
    					-- Andrettin
    --					if thisBuildingClass.MaxGlobalInstances < 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxPlayerInstances < 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxTeamInstances < 0 then
    					if thisBuildingClass.MaxGlobalInstances < 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxPlayerInstances < 0 and thisBuildingClass.MaxTeamInstances < 0 and thisBuildingClass.Hidden == false then
    					-- Andrettin End
    
    ...doing such changes will have the result of hiding the buildings you so desire from the city view and the civilopedia screens.
     
  6. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    I do; my mod's hidden any of my effect buildings for the last six months or so. Instead of adding a new flag, I just set it so that CityView (in the Base mod) never shows any building that has the <NoLimit> flag set in its building class entry. I might change that to require both NoLimit and have its Cost be negative, in case I ever want to add a buildable building with the NoLimit flag set. But since I'm sure the AI would never handle that sort of flag well, I've left it as-is for now.
     
  7. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    So this forum has been pretty desolate these last few days. Have you figured out why most of the models haven't been showing up in DX10/11? The Assult Power Armor has been showing up for me. Also, I reuploaded your mods to try and fix the tile replacement issue, the games still been pretty unstable however...
     
  8. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Well, like I said in the Mythology thread, if no one's posting any feedback, there's not a lot of reason for me to keep posting new versions here on a regular basis. The entire reason I post files here, instead of just playing them for myself (like I did with my never-released Civ4 Alpha Centauri mod) is so that I can get the feedback needed to make the mods better. Since the currently posted versions are stable for most folks, I'm going to leave them here until I've got something noticeably better to replace them with.

    The end result of this is that I've just been working on the mods on my own machine, adding stuff as I go without worrying about whether it's stable enough for others to use. Well, I've been modding in between games of The Old Republic, Mass Effect 3, Skyrim, Minecraft, work, socializing, various medical problems, and sleep, so it's not going quickly. And tonight I'm going to a lecture by Steven Hawking, so not much time for modding until tomorrow.

    Because of this lack of feedback, my main emphasis has been on less obvious things. Getting the turn number-to-year number conversion to work correctly for the Mythology mod, making it so that clicking on a Focus on the mandala shows the area covered by that Focus, adding lots of Civilopedia text and updating the Concepts page, that sort of thing. It's slow, low-priority stuff that I normally wouldn't bother with during the balance phase, but at the moment there's very little balancing going on.

    Wait, that one HAS been showing up for you? From what most people have said, absolutely none of the new models were appearing for them in DX10, even the ones that (like that powersuit) were simply straight conversions of functional Civ4 models. I'll admit that I haven't checked those in any detail lately; when I run a test game I'm often testing three or four things at once, and so I tend to stick with DX9, and most of my recent testing has been in the Mythology mod.

    Honestly, what'd really help here is if someone else tried to do a Civ4->Civ5 conversion using the same input files that I did. That way, if their version worked, we'd be able to figure out what I did wrong. But there really haven't been a lot of folks working on unit graphics, and the few that do tend to concentrate on earlier eras (especially WW2). So I've really got no baseline to compare to.

    It's very strange, since it's been completely stable for me (well, barring the few test versions after I overhauled the memory storage mechanisms and UI), at least in the DX9 version. If there's a conflict with DLCs, or some specific setting on your machine, then I could understand the instability, but there'd be no way I could debug anything like that if I can't reproduce it for myself. If it's not giving you an explicit Lua error when it crashes, and if there's nothing suspicious in the database log, then I don't think it's going to get much better any time soon.

    If you're using the DX10 and it's crashing, then it's possible that the crash is because of whatever problem is causing the unit graphics to not work. In other words, fixing one problem should fix the other. But I have no idea when/if that'll get fixed.
     
  9. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Ok, so i keep trying to delete and reinstall your mod to fix the problem with changing improvments, but ive noticed that the game dosen't even need to "reinstall" them in the mod menu after ive copy/pasted the new files into my mods folder. The mods are there, just turned off once i put them back in.

    Could this be the problem? Also, any idea how to stop it from remembering your mod aside from a clean reinstall?
     
  10. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Well, deleting the Cache is supposed to take care of that, but it's possible that there's a list file somewhere else that just remembers the IDs of whatever mods you've had loaded. I'll look into that; it's strange, though, that you'd have problems with that since functionally speaking there's no real difference between you copying new versions into your Mods directory and me rebuilding the mod on my machine.
     
  11. Darsnan

    Darsnan King

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    First off, apologies for not continueing to provide feedback as I had in the past. One of the things I'd mentioned during my playtesting was that I would document the things that caught my attention once, and move on: I think this is the best approach for playtesting someone else's mod, as it gives you the modder insights from other people that you can then consider whether or not it meshes with your overall mod or not. Your mod is simply to the point now that I'm not running into anything I feel that needs to be commented on/ commented on again. Or in other words, no news is good news. :goodjob:

    The other reason I've slacked off on feedback is that I've gotten a promotion at work and am now a test lead (although it seems more like an Administrator position from all the paperwork I do - I'd pay serious money to flog whoever came up with the concept of Earned Value Management!). I still play your mod exclusively (I think I'm over 1k hours into ciV now - almost all using your mod), however its more escapism now where I just want to go and play the game and not have to think about the underlieing dynamics and balance.

    Anyways, I do hope you plan to update you mod against future patches so people like myself can continue to play it.

    D
     
  12. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Wasn't really trying to point fingers or anything. It's just that my internal versions are generally pretty unstable as I throw new mechanics and content into them (especially the Mythology mod at the moment, for obvious reasons). Before posting a version here I have to make sure none of the unstable bits are in the version I post, which often means pulling a few bits out that I hadn't quite perfected yet. This takes time, and with work I haven't had a whole lot of time to spare in the last few weeks.

    If there's not a lot of feedback on balance, then most of the changes I make are internal, and it's just not worth replacing the posted versions (which generally work) with ones that add little or nothing to the player's experience and that might be less stable. And by not having to back out the unstable stuff, I save time for myself, so you can see why I haven't posted anything new in a while.

    I'm trying to have a new version of the Mythology mod out tonight, which'll also involve some changes to the Base mod. As for Ascension, really the only things I'm still planning on doing (besides the patch compatibility changes):
    > Fix the unit models that don't work in DX10, and convert the remaining models. Including animations.
    > Some integration work with other mods, trying to remove some of the incompatibilities I have with other folks' balance mods.
    > A bunch of Civilopedia work. I'm having to overhaul the Civilopedia already, to account for the Mythology content, so I'll probably squeeze in a few new categories for this mod as well.

    Beyond that, there's just the question of possibilities. For instance, now that I've got a better data storage structure, I can change things like the tech-stealing national wonders to be a bit less random (weighting the chances by how recently you've stolen a tech). So the question is whether I should make these sorts of changes; one thing to consider is that when the expansion comes out there'll be all sorts of new systems to co-opt/enhance, which means I'll have the option of changing some of these to use things like the new espionage system, instead of relying solely on my own Lua.
    So most likely, you won't see any major changes to this mod until after the expansion is released.
     
  13. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    So it's been a while since this forum has been active. My guess is that the expansion will bring some life back into it. I still look at the forum every day or so to see if theres an update.

    Was wondering if you've made any progress with the DX10/11 unit models. Any idea why they arn't working?
     
  14. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    Well, like I said before, if there's no feedback on balance in these threads then I just keep editing my own copy internally to add whatever features I come up with. (I have a 3-post rule; unless it's something important, like patch notes, I won't post more than 3 times in a row in a thread without someone else commenting in between.) It's a pain to try to sort out which changes are ready to be posted and which aren't, so by not uploading anything I'm free to experiment a bit more.

    But it's funny you posted this when you did, since I was just about to post a new version of the Mythology mod with a pretty hefty set of updates. (Base mod would be affected too, but nothing for Ascension or Empires in this batch.) I'll probably wait until tomorrow morning since each night I'm under the influence of some pretty strong medications (side effects include mania, psychosis, obsessive behavior, and depression) and there'd be a good chance I'd screw something up and not notice.

    And no, I'm not waiting for the expansion; while I know it'll change my mods quite a bit, I'm not holding back for it. For instance, I'm going to try coding up the persistent Event system for the Empires mod soon; since that doesn't require any of the DLL bits, I can at least get something done there. Likewise, the Policy changes I made in the Ascension mod (changing dependencies and positions in the branches) will probably get moved to the Base mod soon, since I think I want those changes in the Mythology mod as well. But like I said before, most of the major changes won't involve the Ascension mod at this point.

    Now, that being said, there haven't exactly been a large number of downloads in the Files thread. I know this forum's off in the hinterlands, so I'm going to ask for an announcement when my Mythology mod's ready for real play (aiming for next Friday, the 13th, for v.0.13...), but it's likely that after that I'll slip back into offline mode after that point until either the expansion or until I figure out the problem with the unit graphics, whichever comes first. Not much point in constantly updating the files if no one's using them.

    Nope. I'm guessing that it's related to the DDS compression I use, but I've played around with that with no luck so far. At this point I'm thinking of just re-learning the process from scratch to see if I did something stupid along the way; after all, the models I released before have no animations, so there's still quite a bit of work to do before they'd be done anyway. (That's why the ones I did release are mostly animation-free mechanized units.) Since no one else seems to have reported similar problems with custom unit graphics, it's probably something really simple that I set wrong, but who knows how long that'd take to track down.
     
  15. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Yesterday a Spore Tower showed up in my DX11 game
     
  16. ^Renegade

    ^Renegade Chieftain

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    edit posted in the wrong place
     
  17. dinobot386

    dinobot386 Prince

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    Will you be using models from G&K's Empire of Smokey Skies senario? I could see the landship being excellent for the bolo, also those other vehicles could be used for something else

    On another note, how do you intend to deal with the new combat system balance-wise? The spearman is now ten strength so it could be scaled in a simular percenatge based way, where the vanilla strength is 70% of G&K's new strength

    Also are you going to add a new type of sea unit that can capture other sea units like the privateer?
     

    Attached Files:

  18. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    No. It's just not the aesthetic I'm looking for; the Steampunk thing is too distinctive to mix well with the high-tech theme I'm going for.

    I'll need to see a lot more of what they've changed to know that. Chances are I'll just need to scale up everything appropriately; most of my future units' stats were directly based on their predecessors, so it shouldn't be hard to find new values for them. The only question is if they'll be adding any new mechanics to this system, which might allow me to do a few of the things I'd wanted.

    Yes. Quite a few of the existing units were originally intended to do more than what they do in this mod. I was going to add Privateer units, but couldn't get the "hidden nationality" part to work; if they've got that fixed, then all Psi units will gain that ability (and get re-turned in other ways). The Stealth Ship would likely get changed in a similar way, to act as the future-era privateer. And the Doppelganger was originally going to be an espionage unit, so if I can get the Empires mod to include spy units, then I might give espionage abilities to several of the future-era units.

    -----------

    Really, though, it's all going to depend on how many new XML stubs and Lua functions they give us, and how long we'll have to wait for the DLL. I won't be able to give detailed answers to what'll change until I actually have the expansion in hand and have time to go through it with a fine-toothed comb. I'm trying to release one more solid version early next week, something stable to use as a baseline once the expansion is out. But there won't be any more mechanical changes until after the expansion.
     
  19. JanusTalaiini

    JanusTalaiini Prince

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    Encountered a problem with the Ascension victory using the latest build - by the time I got the tech to go for the ascension victory, my cities were gaining population every single turn due to buildings, wonders, and policies (whatever it is that adds food to specialists or unemployed citizens is a serious balance issue - there's really no limit on growth because of that). Since the ascension victory requires you to wait for your population to "ascend," there's really no way to win with this method that I can see.
     
  20. Spatzimaus

    Spatzimaus Mad Scientist

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    It doesn't require anything of the sort. The victory trigger isn't when your population hits 0, it's when you have 50 copies of the Ascent to Transcendence Project. That's it; the population reduction is a side effect, it's not the victory mechanism.

    Note that once you build one copy, you'll get 1 for free each turn, so even if you do nothing else, the game will end 50 turns later. Building more copies of it just speeds the process up, so a typical game should end 20-30 turns after completing the first one.

    I'm looking towards having the Victory Progress screen give a count of the number of Ascended people, so that you can see how close each player is to the threshold, but that won't make it into the next version. So right now you just have to keep track yourself of what turn the process started on and how many copies you've built since then. I may have left a debug print statement in Lua turned on, so that FireTuner would show how close you are, but I'm not sure.
     

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