Author Topic: Things that Tidalis has that AI War Does Not (Yet) -- Updated 5/26/2010  (Read 39189 times)

Offline quickstix

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Very interesting read. Unity brings a lot of great stuff to the table and cutting stuff like .NET and GDI can only mean good things.

What especially interests me is that Unity seems to work well in WINE. :)

Offline keith.lamothe

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Very interesting read. Unity brings a lot of great stuff to the table and cutting stuff like .NET and GDI can only mean good things.
Yea, though one of the major selling points for us is that it allows us to keep using C# (via the version of Mono that's quasi-static-linked into Unity, instead of .NET) :)
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Offline x4000

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Yeah, our view is that C# is the best language ever -- it's just hobbled by a poor installer for its giant runtime.  Fortunately, Mono does not have that issue (well, not when it's embedded in unity).
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Offline keith.lamothe

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Yea, we actually looked at just doing mono for AI War and it would be doable but to really gain much deployment wise we'd have to static-link which means a special license agreement (and significant fee) with Novell, and even there the only publicly available terms include a limit on how much revenue the project is allowed to generate, etc.  I imagine they would have been reasonable about it and we could have worked out an agreement, but Unity makes a lot more sense in general.
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Offline x4000

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Yep, and then there's the whole thing of finding a rendering engine, and I was not happy with any of the native-.NET ones other than SlimDX, honestly.
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Offline RogueThunder

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... Well, hidden options and enabled-through-a-bug.  Little surprise I haven't run into that, then I suppose. ;)
Its pretty commonly known for TF2/L4D/L4D2/DOD:S, but yeah the AC bug-instigated one is really obscure XD...

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Really I feel like that is going to be out of scope, there just is no incentive for us to build in VOIP stuff because there are so many external clients that people already prefer.  With the Unity version, AI War will be better compatible with the overlays from stuff like Steam and XFire than it already is, so for those that have voice chat those are then right there in the game already so far as I know.  I suspect there are other such solutions, too.  But I'm not aware of any free, just-drop-this-into-your-code VOIP solutions aimed at developers.  There are a ton with in-game overlays or similar, though.  And ventrilo, teamspeak, etc, are all built around use for games.  Personally I just use skype at the moment, though I used teamspeak for years and roger wilco before that.
Only problem I have with that. Is for instance we use skype atm. Skype unfortunately deals with a minor network blip by dropping the call outright. And for some strange reason, skype is the only VOIP I can find that allows constant-on talk without holding down a button--or hoping that the code recognizes when you start talking. The latter of which doesn't work for one of my friends, the software just doesn't like his voice. And especially with AI wars hotkey saturation, a hold to talk key is a bit unreasonable. Not to mention ackward while trying to actually do something.
XD I do suppose its a bit of a request though.

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Many thanks for the support.  And the nobordered full screen might see a return, you never know.  Either through something unity does, or through some clever windows-specific P/Invoke calls or something like that.  Unity code written on mono is just as capable of PInvoke as our current native .NET stuff is, so we should be able to get the window handle for the game, and potentially even then give it some commands such as losing the border.  But that would really remain to be seen, and certainly no promises at this point.  This might all turn out to be a lot of worry over nothing, regarding this specific feature, either because of windows API call availability or Unity 3 making that a feature, but at the moment this post is detailing what I know.
Hmmm. I'll do some poking around when I get home, someone might have worked something out. Programmings not my thing--but finding things on the internet? That is a whole 'nother matter. XD Am using a netbook on hotel internet atm... Less than pleasant.
Might be something, since M$ at-least now wants programs to draw into the titlebar with the newer ribbon interfaces. (Which are imo, terrible. But oh well.) It means some workaround could close or at-least should be more common than it used to be.
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Offline Mánagarmr

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You could always run Teamspeak, Mumble or Ventrilo with voice-activation. Everytime you say something, it literally "pushes" the push to talk button.
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Offline keith.lamothe

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I think he's saying one of the problems is that voice-activation feature doesn't work for everyone, notably one of the people in their gaming group.
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rubikscube

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valve games seem pretty popular

Offline eRe4s3r

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Well, if AI-War really goes fully Unity then that would be awesome, 1 we could blend 3d-objects and 2d-objects easy as pie (fully lit and shaded planets/objects on map!)

We could create 3D-Backgrounds instead of the backdrops we have now, animated , asteroid belts, nebula and swirls/blackholes and stuff.

We could have actual shader based effects (explosion distortion, ripple, desaturation, oversaturation, smoke and explosion blend properly without performance loss.

So yeah, the amount of stuff change to Unity COULD bring to AI-War is staggering. But i think this is going to be a huge undertaking, and if done should focus on bringing mod-ability to the game. Simply because if its not done at that point, it will never be done ;p

So i hope this change comes.  :o ;D

Even if no modding comes, if my "mockups" in the gfx section of this forum become reality then that would already immensely increase the range for AI-War. Nicer graphics are the prime requirement to make nice gameplay videos after all ;p

And if shader effects come the scope of additional eye-candy is massive  ;)
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Offline x4000

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1 we could blend 3d-objects and 2d-objects easy as pie (fully lit and shaded planets/objects on map!)

We could create 3D-Backgrounds instead of the backdrops we have now, animated , asteroid belts, nebula and swirls/blackholes and stuff.

Nope, none of that.  AI War has always been based in a 3D engine, but we use a 2D plane in order to achieve that.  In the case of Unity, we're using an orthographic camera, which rules out any possibility of 3D models.  I don't want to get into the 3D models thing, anyway, despite my past experience with that (outside of games).  I just don't have any interest in going that direction, for a lot of reasons, and it's fundamentally incompatible without current rendering methods in Unity, anyway.

We could have actual shader based effects (explosion distortion, ripple, desaturation, oversaturation, smoke and explosion blend properly without performance loss.

But yes, all of that stuff would be possible.  However, pixel shaders do come with a performance hit, especially depending on the graphics card.  The main thing is that it would not be as large a hit as it otherwise would be, and it could be easily turned off on lower machines, etc.

So yeah, the amount of stuff change to Unity COULD bring to AI-War is staggering. But i think this is going to be a huge undertaking, and if done should focus on bringing mod-ability to the game. Simply because if its not done at that point, it will never be done ;p

As I noted before, it will probably never be done, we aren't interested in having a lot of mods.  Until such time as we (in the distant future, when we've lost interest in maintaining the game) open source the game, we won't be emphasizing mod-ability any more than we are now.

Even if no modding comes, if my "mockups" in the gfx section of this forum become reality then that would already immensely increase the range for AI-War.

We definitely do appreciate community submissions of stuff, and build that into the official game where we can, though.  Certainly a ton of your stuff has been implemented in the past.  There's definitely going to be some nice new eye candy with the 4.0 version, but it may not be staggering overall, as we're going to be primarily focused on getting it running and efficient, etc.  A lot of the key improvements I have already mentioned, like the GUI and the tractor beams (and other colored lines), but there will be some other things, too.  I think that we could actually cut down on RAM use some by removing animation frames that are just "engine effects" and converting those into engine bloom effects that could be configured via dat files.  So that way players could contribute to the engine bloom work, if they are inclined.

Having community participation, and having mod-ability, are two totally different things in my mind.  We always lean toward the former, at the moment. ;)

And if shader effects come the scope of additional eye-candy is massive  ;)

Yeah, that is really true.  We've done a bit of simple experimentation with Tidalis on that (nothing in the final game), and it's really powerful.  But of course Unity has its own shader language (since it works with OpenGL, DirectX, and other platforms), so that's something new that we'd have to learn (and shaders are new to me in general).  I expect we'll do an increasing amount with that over time, but right at the 4.0 launch I doubt there will be much.  It's definitely great to have the capability, though, and I think it's something we'll grow into increasingly over time, partly through our work on Alden Ridge and other games, and then wrapping that back into AI War like what we've done with what we've learned through Tidalis.  Exciting stuff. :)
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Offline Doddler

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I'm really excited to see what can be done in unity.  At what I've seen of unity syncronizing a multiplayer simulation would be rather difficult (ie: I haven't a clue where one would start), but I haven't dedicated a huge amount of time ot the problem.  :P

Offline x4000

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At what I've seen of unity syncronizing a multiplayer simulation would be rather difficult (ie: I haven't a clue where one would start), but I haven't dedicated a huge amount of time ot the problem.  :P

We don't actually use... much of unity except for the rendering engine, sound, etc.  We use GameObjects only for display, we don't use their networking, none of their collision stuff or any of that, we just have one scene that runs everything in custom scripts in front of the orthographic camera, etc.  So, that issue is neatly bypassed because we're essentially running our engine inside the minimum of theirs.  Ours is about to be synchronous, and is more efficient due to doing a lot less floating point math and so forth, so it's the best of both worlds.  Tidalis multiplayer is synchronous in a similar manner to AI War (but "multi host" so there is never any command lag on your own machine).  So if it works for Tidalis (which I'll know for sure soon), it will work for AI War as well. :)
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Offline danando

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look everybody.. x4000 wants to move to unity because it will make more enhancements, etc and his reasons too. i dont know what will come of ai war when turning to unity but i think they will do a pretty good job, plus it means 2 indie company rather than one ;) , i think  :-\ however youve got the other side, things could go wrong, not much progress than usual but i have hope n arcen games and I'm sure that whatever they will do is going to be perfect for ai-war. look at it this way, arcen games will progress on ai-war bcause it is a successful game and my pov is that i think this gme coud be major within years to come :) 

sure moving to unity will lose some features but who says they wont come back again ? i dont know if multiscreen will be lost forever but the arcen developers have done a f****** damn good job they deserve credit.  :)

ps (sorry for swearing)

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Offline Buttons840

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And what of the possibility of AI War becoming open source in the distant future?  If it is a cult classic then surely it will still be loved after Arcen has closed it's doors.  I suppose replacing unity with another 2d rendering engine wouldn't be extremely difficulty?

 

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