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Hey everyone! First of all, I'd like to publicize my apologies for the recent silence in the site news. I'm looking for a new job, again. And I have been trying to use this opportunity to speed up my DSc thesis development. Finally, but not least, the PPM forums were critically slow a couple of days ago. I've managed to fix that as well. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Anyway, back to what matters here: news, modding, etc. We have a 'radar' in the background of this place that tracks news about C&C mods being development externally. I've just found one that seems to have good potential. Of course, it has a lot of room for improvements; after all, it is a work in progress.

The name of the project is Star Wars Supreme Battlegrounds and it is a total conversion for Generals: Zero Hour that brings the Star Wars universe into the game. Here's a video recently posted by them showing the Tattoine Assault Map:





Stimpy045 at ModDB wrote:
The idea right now is adding 3 new maps to play on skirmish or LAN/multiplayer. then make the super-weapon for the Rebels witch would be the ION CANNON, Then it's time for some general powers and after that I gonna start my work on the AI. so the computer can fight you with the Rebels side. When I've got this all done it's time to release a new installer!



The ModDB profile of the project can be visited at this link. You can play the version 1.0.1 by downloading it from here. Enjoy it!

OpenRA Playtest 20190825
August 25, 2019 - 20:53
We are thrilled and relieved to finally announce the first public playtest for OpenRA’s second 2019 release. This playtest brings significant technical changes, so we felt it important to delay the “summer” release until we could be confident that the worst bugs and gameplay regressions had been fixed. With some help from our Forum and Discord community, we are now ready to release playtest-20190825 for wider testing and feedback.

The Summer Release Preview article outlined several of the new UI features, including savegame support, a new spectator UI, and a long planned Tiberian Dawn interface overhaul. This playtest adds a much improved hotkey configuration UI and many smaller UI fixes and polish improvements.



The Tiberian Dawn in-game interface has received a long-awaited redesign.



Missions and skirmish games can be saved and restarted later.

On the gameplay front, the main focus for this release was to rewrite the logic that controls how units behave and respond to orders. This was a major task that spanned several months, more than 90 Pull Requests, and more than one debate about bug vs “accidental feature”.

Many of the changes will not be immediately obvious, but on closer inspection you should find that many long-standing quirks and annoyances in unit behaviour no longer occur.

The ability to queue commands using the Shift key has always been an important part of OpenRA’s gameplay, and this has received a major overhaul with this release. Part of the overhaul has moved the familiar targeting lines that display when you command units into the “Waypoint Mode” (Shift) overlay by default. The previous behaviour can be restored through the Settings menu (Target Lines: Automatic) if you prefer.



The improved waypoint mode allows you to plan your attack strategies.

Other noteable changes to watch out for include:

- Force Move (Alt) can be used to undeploy Construction Yards and land helicopters
- Aircraft respond to Scatter orders from the Command Bar (Ctrl + X)
- Significantly improved behaviour for harvesters, aircraft, attack-move, and unit repair
- Aircraft-based support powers can be given an attack direction
- The controversial Allied Hind helicopter in RA has been replaced with the Black Hawk
- Two new-to-OpenRA missions from the RA Counterstrike expansion
- The D2k Death Hand missile now works like the original game
- A collection of Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn balance changes

As always, the full changelog is available with more information on the changes and fixes.



Aircraft-based support powers can be given a direction by dragging the mouse while targeting.

As a .NET application, OpenRA relies on the Mono runtime for our Linux and macOS players. Unfortunately, the Mono packages provided by some major LTS distros are several years out of date and incompatible with the modern .NET standard. Worse, the new Debian Buster and Ubuntu 19.04 releases shipped with a serious Mono bug that causes unavoidable crashes OpenRA and other .NET applications.

Our solution for these issues is to package the parts of Mono that OpenRA requires inside the AppImage and macOS app releases. This means that you can finally play OpenRA without having to install any system-level dependencies. For players or packagers who prefer to compile OpenRA from source, Mono 5.4 or later and msbuild are now required.

Updating our base requirements has allowed several further improvements:

- Windows releases are now 64 bit by default (32 bit releases remain available)
- A fix for the macOS black-screen startup freeze after Mono or macOS upgrades
- Future support for the .NET Core runtime (this work is still in progress)
- Improved development tooling and IDE support for OpenRA and the Mod SDK

Playtest releases do not overwrite the OpenRA release version, and you can automatically switch between the two versions when joining a multiplayer server. Head over to our download page and give it a try! This is your time to get involved, play games, and let us know what you think! If you discover a bug or have any other feedback, please let us know in the comments below, on our forum, Discord, or GitHub.

Gamescom 2019 is happening, and EA has no Command and Conquer team in that event. Ok, but on the internet, they are active. Jim Vessella, EA producer who is being responsible for all communications regarding the Command & Conquer Remaster and Red Alert 1 Remaster has posted a new progress report about the first project.

The games are not just being remastered, but they are also adding some quality of life features. In this specific progress report, Jim talks about the Mission Selection screen, which should allow you to choose the missions you want to play and play the paths that you did not select in your first try. Perhaps, it should even let you play the dinosaur missions straight from it. Here's his original post on reddit about it:

Quote:
Fellow Command & Conquer fans,

We’re nearing the completion of our second production milestone, and significant progress has been made over the past several weeks. The entire GDI Campaign is getting close to Alpha quality, including the ability to play through the campaign in succession with all the proper transitions. Items like the European Mission Map are currently getting remastered in 4k, which is giving the campaign a truly rich high definition experience. With the topic of campaign progression in mind, we wanted to share a preview of a new screen we’re introducing into the remasters - the Mission Selection screen.

The Mission Selection screen is a quality-of-life feature we wanted to add to the remasters, allowing players to more easily track their campaign progression and access all the remastered mission content. The screen serves as a hub for the progress you’ve made across both campaigns, highlighting which missions you’ve completed and the ones you still have yet to tackle. This is especially valuable for missions with alternate paths, such as GDI Mission 4 where there are three possible map variants. The screen will enable players to replay missions at ease, compared to the legacy titles which required players to remember manually saving their game during each mission. When campaign mission entries are selected, the screen will reinforce the world map progression, showcase the mission briefing, and provide an opportunity to watch the cinematics. In addition to campaign missions, the screen will also provide quick access to any expansion missions, and perhaps a few bonus missions players may be familiar with Smile

In terms of cosmetic design, the visual style is inspired by the classic Main Menu from the Gold edition, and shares similar elements as our remastered Sidebar. As with all the remastered content, our goal is to maintain an authentic approach to the menus, while of course enhancing them to take full advantage of higher resolution displays. You can expect this style to permeate throughout all the menu screens in Tiberian Dawn.

We’re eager to hear your feedback on both the functionality and cosmetic design of this screen, and thanks for your ongoing support and participation.

Cheers,

Jim Vessella

Jimtern






Quality of life features like this is always welcomed. Let's be honest here, this is a good looking Mission Selection menu. It looks modern. Perhaps the map size could be increased, but even if it isn't, it still looks nice. I hope they also add in-game auto-saving features, not just for checkpoints but also to allow users to return on time up to at least 5 minutes when they fail, but that might be asking too much.

Share your opinions about it here.

W3D Tools and SHP Palette Analyzer
August 20, 2019 - 07:20
Hello again! I know this week many of you might be paying more attention to Gamescom rather than modding. I was personally interested on Age of Empires Definitive Edition for Steam, although the closest thing that resembles modding in this version of the game should be its scenario editor. For the Command & Conquer fans out there, there is no Command & Conquer in this edition of Gamescom, at least nothing that matters.

Anyway, in regards to modding, we had two tools that deserve attention:

1) W3D Tools, which includes a W3D Exporter for 3DS Max 2017, has received an update a couple of days ago, from the W3D Hub crew. Version 1.30 comes with the following changelog:


Quote:

   Fix so that the material properly defaults to "opaque"
   Add new surface types for Blue Tiberium, Red Tiberium and Tiberium Veins. Only available for Renegade-based mods on recent builds of Scripts 5.0.
   Fix an issue where certain meshes containing multiple passes were having their materials exported incorrectly.
   Fix an issue where the code was incorrectly handling bone weights of 0 in some cases



If you have 3Ds Max 2017 and mods Renegade, Generals or Lord of the Rings: Battle For Middle Earth I or II, head to W3DHub to download it.


2) SHP Palette Analyzer is a tool that was recently conceived by Lin Kuei Ominae. Don't let its rushed name deceive you since SHP files doesn't include palettes. It is a tool that counts how many times a specific "color" (pixel value, actually) is used by a group of SHP (TS) files in a directory. The picture below has a good sample:



Visit this topic at the Editing Tools Forum at PPM to download it.

Mammoth MK2... Reborn!
August 11, 2019 - 00:16
Hello everyone! Last Thursday, the crew from Tiberian Sun: Reborn posted a new update of their Mammoth MK2, which took into consideration the massive feedback it has received, including our own. The final result is displayed in the video below. Fear it!






For more information, check W3DHub and the original news post.

Hello everyone... again. During the last week, we've seen more updates on our home promoted tools for Command & Conquer modders. So, here is the news:


- Open Source SHP Builder support for SHP (TD) files has been improved. The version 3.38 Beta 24 opens any of them, even if its original compression is so bad that it would smaller if it is not compressed. This weird situation seems to happen with some of the original SHP files from Westwood Studios. XCC Mixer, OS SHP Builder and, especially the Engie File Converter generated SHP (TD) files do not seem to suffer from this problem.

- CnC Maps Renderer received several patches recently from E1 Elite. The lastest one is from August 1st, 2019. Here's a merged changelog of them:

Quote:
- Sequence entries are now read from Art.ini for infantries and its Ready values are used for facing calculation.
- Added parameter for modconfig.xml to enable infantry facing randomization.
- Fixed: Crash caused by SHP addons like bibs in the infantry facings code.
- Added parameter for modconfig.xml to crop the map bottom during the image rendering for local size option. Values can be in a range of 0 to 16.
- Added parameter for modconfig.xml to adjust map lighting with comma-separated values for ambient, red, green and blue. This delta value is added to the values obtained from the map's lighting section. Decimal values can be in the range of -1 to 1.

Note: The cropping of bottom rows is applicable for image rendering (JPEG/PNG) only with local size option. It does not affect the preview window or preview map pack generation or when used with full-size option. When the bottom rows of the map have some height, it shows a vacant portion. To avoid that, there is a cutoff logic which will override the modconfig parameter for cropping the bottom rows when its number of rows to crop is higher.



- Image Shaper was also updated recently by Lin Kuei ominae. Version 01.01.00.18 has the following changelog:

Quote:
-(update) support for RGBA JASC palettes
-(update) Euclidean color conversion with Alpha-channel support
-(update) [Options] menu added
-(update) "#Worker Threads" setting moved into [Options]
-(update) "Output Folder" setting added to [Options] to define output folder for SHPs
-(update) support to save/load a palette setup. Select "ImageShaper Palette Setup" as fileformat in the Load/Save Palette Dialog.
-(update) Console command line functionality added. Run ImageShaper.exe ? for help.


The crew over Tiberian Sun: Reborn have recently posted an update with the new look of their Mammoth Mark II and some other bots as well. As a first-person shooter game, bringing the Tiberian Sun atmosphere to the Renegade engine, you'll be able to drive these beasts. And that must be fun, isn't it?

Here's a family photo:



And a solo one, showing the beast moving in 3Ds Max:




Their whole news post, showing up more goodies than the ones above is available at their forums on W3D Hub. I don't know if we will be able to drive this little guy in a low term since it is a very complex project to develop. Anyway, if you've got interested in this project, head to their Official Forums for more information.

We had a couple of interesting updates for two of the tools we promote here.

Starting with CnC Maps Renderer, E1 Elite has posted two patches in this month. These versions come with a generic TS Client version of the tool and its source code. Here's a merged changelog of them:

Quote:
- Editable dropdown of the start location marker size can now draw the markers with decimal value sizes except for the Tiled marker type.
- Fixed: Cases where the renderer button won't work for more than once without restarting the application.
- Fixed: Facings corrected for SHP vehicles where its ART.ini section won't have WalkFrames=1 specified.
- Fixed: Shadow problem(s) fix for rendering the first instance of a 32-facing SHP vehicle placed on its first or last 8 directions.

- Walls placed as buildings in maps, now connect with its adjacent walls of its type (building/overlay), gates and walltower.

Note: TSClient version now comes with an extra mix file which contains the tunnel top graphics added to the tunnel floor tiles.



The other tool that has surprisingly received an update recently is the OS SHP Builder. The version 3.38 Beta 23 brings a fix for the SHP (TD) saving feature, especially for OpenRA users. So, you don't need to convert your sprites using XCC Mixer anymore. However, we need someone to test it and provide feedback to confirm that this fix is not an accident or a fraud. If you already have OS SHP Builder, use the Update OS SHP Builder option at the Help menu to get this version or you can just download the latest version here. Post your feedback at this topic at OS SHP Builder support forums.


And one very last tidbit is that our friend Kerbiter is working on a feature for Voxel Section Editor III to import models from Magicka Voxels, as he requested before and I am too much overloaded with my Thesis to focus on it right now.