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APB Dev. Blog :: March 7th, 2011


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#1 Chronojam

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:41 AM

As you might expect, we've been continuing our heavy testing after nabbing up so many new testers. Unfortunately, MartinMB from the French APB clan (APB-FR) is going to retire from his position, so we bid him good luck with his crew over at CnC Saga. He's been a great guy and he was a great example of what we want in a tester.

The new resource downloader magic that TT cooked up seems to be working great. Over the weekend, we used it to push a semi-surprise new build of the map RA_Bonsai to testers. Upon connecting to the server, a dialog pops up to show you the download source and progress, before joining the game. It's pretty handy, reasonbly easy to configure, and looks to support differing versions of the same map. Server owners could each set up their own independent map respositories, or share one; the download source does not need to be identical to the server.

Speaking of Bonsai (formerly Bonzai), it's been restructured somewhat heavily by ChopBam. There are more interesting terrain elements, better cover for infantry and light vehicles, and more personality in general. Recently, a few collectable weapons were added for players to fight over at the start of a match. This is not as unbalancing as it might initially sound, given that Gamma's gameplay scheme of early game infantry combat... no more waiting for the Ore Truck to get some cash either. Here's an older shot to give you a feel for the general layout; you might notice that the Construction Yards are gone, and in their place you will find a Missile Silo in each base.

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Edit by PointlessAmbler: here are a few more images


Up next, some good news about some of the framerate issues we've been seeing. It turns out there are some issues with nearly all of our geometry files; basically, all of our most interesting 3D meshes are somewhat broken. This has been forcing the game to perform a lot of recalculation on all of those poor polygons. Everything from tanks to trees to terrain itself was affected by this issue. Saberhawk's come up with a tool that will suck up a folder full of broken junk and spit out some repaired files. Plus, some extra logic in the engine to help sidestep the issue.

Some of the shader effects that were previously marked as dead may be returning as well. A few issues were at work there. Bits of code that had to do with lighting have now been wrangled under control, but there is still a matter of doing a lot of the actual source textures to make things nice and shiny again. The fancy stealth effects currently have a bug that's going to be too time consuming to be out the door day one, but perhaps you'd be willing to live with it... right now, under some circumstances, parts of the stealthy warbles are replaced with a flat blue. The water probably won't be there day one either for Gamma; it seems that it's causing animations to run double speed. There's a potential fix, but probably not for our planned release.

That planned release grows ever closer, as Scripts 4 work wraps up. As I write this of course, a new build full of optimizations is getting put together for the testers.

Our own list of tasks that we'd like to see done before release is really small right now. It's not even important to get them all done, as we'd be comfortable with releasing Gamma right the hell now. Our goal with Gamma is going to be far-more-frequent updates, and hopefully we can wrangle the TT guys into such a schedule. What we'd like to do, and we've said it before, is have perhaps a monthly update that will contain bug fixes, balance adjustments, and new maps, sometimes updating an asset here or there. Certain things make this easier, such as the map download system mentioned earlier. Other things will be handled by the launcher/frontend, and possibly by a third party platform.

So the list of things we'd like to get done:
1. Get the Pillbox finished and put in game
2. Fix bugs and plug in content we've not yet done
3. Updated launcher finished for autoupdates
4. Scripts 4 finished enough for our release

If there's a miracle, we might see the new Heavy and Light tanks go in as well. But that might just as easily be included in a first update, along with some extra voice work.

That third party platform for updates would probably be Desura, by the way. It's essentially Steam for retail games, plus an emphasis on mods or free indie games. It would enable us to give solid mirrors that would always work, and automatic updates. People are generally not interested in running more software all the time in the background, but it's actually not too bad at all.

So, that's a whole bunch of words that translate out to "we're pretty much wrapping things up." Gamma won't be the end either; 2.0.0 won't be the final release at all. However, we do have some interesting things on the back burner for future development, which you'll hear about in time. :D

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#2 KOMMUNIST

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 06:13 AM

So...WHAT IS IT??? :D
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#3 Deadpikle

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:13 AM

Server owners, I'll be cooking up some tutorial-y or documentation stuff for you so you can make the awesome map downloader work. Expect it to roll out around release time. It is pretty easy. If I was a more skilled programmer, I'd whip up a quick GUI wraparound, but I am not :p
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#4 Generalcamo

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:16 AM

That picture of Bonsai links to A PONY BEYOND, not a larger picture. Is that on purpose? (Westy...)


ANYWAY. Bonsai looks great, much better then now. Although, I might not get used to the idea of flares on that map, it will be different. Glad to hear the front-end is working.

Edited by Generalcamo, 08 March 2011 - 07:21 AM.

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#5 triattack

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:18 AM

all this stuff sounds great :)
but to bad you have to leave :D

Edited by triattack, 08 March 2011 - 07:27 AM.

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#6 Glaed

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:33 AM

So, is bonsai still low-tech or did it get the tech levels as well?

As much as I hate bonzai it is one of only two of its kind.

Edited by Glaed, 08 March 2011 - 07:34 AM.

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#7 Deadpikle

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 07:45 AM

So, is bonsai still low-tech or did it get the tech levels as well?

As much as I hate bonzai it is one of only two of its kind.


1) You won't hate THIS bonzai bonsai!
2) I think plans are for it to remain low tech. Don't quote me on that cause I could have read wrong.

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#8 EVA-251

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 09:55 AM

Bonsai looks MUCH improved over its predecessor. I like the interpretation of the cliff areas in the RA map to be well, cliffs instead of ridges.

Hopefully it remains low-tech. Low-tech maps are absolutely timeless in APB, with no Meds, TTs or Shocks mucking up balance. Just tank on tank and man on man with no crude advantages. (now you guys just need a sniperless map, gogogo)
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#9 ma1kel

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:20 AM


The new resource downloader magic that TT cooked up seems to be working great. Over the weekend, we used it to push a semi-surprise new build of the map RA_Bonsai to testers. Upon connecting to the server, a dialog pops up to show you the download source and progress, before joining the game. It's pretty handy, reasonbly easy to configure, and looks to support differing versions of the same map. Server owners could each set up their own independent map respositories, or share one; the download source does not need to be identical to the server.

Could you guys make a quick video of how this looks like to someone connecting to a server? That would be cool to see.
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#10 PointlessAmbler

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 01:18 PM

Bonsai looks MUCH improved over its predecessor. I like the interpretation of the cliff areas in the RA map to be well, cliffs instead of ridges.

Hopefully it remains low-tech. Low-tech maps are absolutely timeless in APB, with no Meds, TTs or Shocks mucking up balance. Just tank on tank and man on man with no crude advantages. (now you guys just need a sniperless map, gogogo)


It's currently one of our only Tech Level 4 maps, which is roughly equivalent to what is available on Metro or Canyon River in Beta. Medium Tanks, Mechanics, Shock Troopers, and Tesla Tanks all play off each other a lot better this time around, though. (Mostly due to Mechanic nerfs, though we've currently got a little bug where he gets STUPID amounts of credits for repairing his vehicle and nearby friendly ones.) We MIGHT downgrade the tech level to 3 (which removes the above, and has tested extremely well on other maps) but we have a few of those already. It is nice to not have 80 Tanyas fighting 80 Volkovs sometimes, that's for sure.
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#11 U927

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 01:35 PM

Fuck you guys and your MLP easter eggs.
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#12 PointlessAmbler

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 03:18 PM

I fixed the link that I guess is some vague reference to Westy's bizarre obsession with My Little Pony (seriously dude, aren't you like a grown man?) and added a few additional images for your trouble.
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#13 Chronojam

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:47 PM

So, is bonsai still low-tech or did it get the tech levels as well?

As much as I hate bonzai it is one of only two of its kind.

To clarify a bit beyond what has been said, most maps will feature tech levels unless the scenario calls for something different. Just because a map is "low tech" does not mean it lacks tech level progression, it simply means the progression does not go all the way to level five. As PointlessAmbler mentioned, Bonsai will stop at four, which means the most powerful units are not included.
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#14 Westy543

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 04:58 PM

That picture of Bonsai links to A PONY BEYOND, not a larger picture. Is that on purpose? (Westy...)

Yeah from what I heard there was never a full size around (looks like PA found one). I didn't get the chance to do it, unfortuantely. :P

I fixed the link that I guess is some vague reference to Westy's bizarre obsession with My Little Pony (seriously dude, aren't you like a grown man?)

Actually drunkill put them in. And yes, since the series is aimed at little girls and their families. He grabbed my A Pony Beyond image I use on the goon MLP forums to advertise APB. :D If you liked Powerpuff Girls, or Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, give Friendship is Magic a look-see, it's very well done... and funny. It's done by the same crew that did the other two.

Oh I guess I should say something relevant here; the new Bonsai should play interesting considering the tech level is still pretty low, but now there are silos, as you can see. Maybe we'll see more infantry covering flares?

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#15 Elsa

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:23 PM

So the list of things we'd like to get done:
1. Get the Pillbox finished and put in game
2. Fix bugs and plug in content we've not yet done
3. Updated launcher finished for autoupdates
4. Scripts 4 finished enough for our release


No Heavy Tank?

Server owners, I'll be cooking up some tutorial-y or documentation stuff for you so you can make the awesome map downloader work. Expect it to roll out around release time. It is pretty easy. If I was a more skilled programmer, I'd whip up a quick GUI wraparound, but I am not :p


wanna PM me a quick bullshit to make sure i get it right?
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#16 Westy543

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:34 PM

No Heavy Tank?

If there's a miracle, we might see the new Heavy and Light tanks go in as well. But that might just as easily be included in a first update, along with some extra voice work.

If TheBeerinator & MightyBOB finish their works, then yes they go in, otherwise you'll see them in the first patch. But we are not delaying the entire Gamma release because of them. L2Read :D
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#17 MartinMb

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 05:36 PM

Thank you Chronojam for your mention, it has been an honor to test for BHP !

The new Bonsai WILL be awesome.
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#18 Elsa

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Posted 08 March 2011 - 11:12 PM

If TheBeerinator & MightyBOB finish their works, then yes they go in, otherwise you'll see them in the first patch. But we are not delaying the entire Gamma release because of them. L2Read :D


it was a go at thebeerinator, i read it :P
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#19 APB_ICE

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:32 AM

The new Bonzai (It will always be BonZai to me) looks awesome! I really like the Autumn setting, and the cliffs look great! :D

If there's a miracle, we might see the new Heavy and Light tanks go in as well. But that might just as easily be included in a first update, along with some extra voice work.

That reminds me of something I wanted to bring up: The new tanks.
I hate to nitpick and/or criticise, but in the WIP images of the new tanks, some things didn't seem quite right, specifically:
Light Tank:
-The cannon could be slightly longer (It looks like it'd barely scratch a Heavy Tank.) http://www.moddb.com...nk-wip#imagebox If the cannon length was increased by 20%, it'd be perfect.
-The hull and turret look great, but maybe the turret could use a rack on the back, similar to the Medium Tank, but smaller?

Medium Tank:
-Looks like the M1A1 instead of the original M1. http://www.moddb.com...nk-wip#imagebox
The ammo rack looks good, but the armour skirts should look like those of the original M1 (with the back wheel covered), since that's how they were in RA1 and APB Beta.

Heavy Tank:
-Only one problem here: The cannon barrels look a little too long http://www.moddb.com...k-wip#imagebox; They were not that long in RA1. If they were shortened by 20%, with the bulge part moved back, they'd be perfect. Reference image: http://images.wikia..../Heavy_Tank.JPG And the rest of the tank is perfect.

Again, I don't want to sound like a nitpicker, and the new tank models are beautiful; I just noticed these few details which didn't quite look like RA1.

Also, is there any chance we might ever see the single-barrelled Heavy Tank, maybe as a pre-placed vehicle? They were visible in some cutscenes, and a render.

Edited by APB_ICE, 09 March 2011 - 12:52 AM.

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#20 APB_ICE

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:55 AM

Sorry for double-posting, but here is that render: http://cncguild.net/...enders/tank.jpg
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#21 Chronojam

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 12:46 PM

We likely won't end up going with a single-gun heavy tank.
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#22 Glaed

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:53 PM

To clarify a bit beyond what has been said, most maps will feature tech levels unless the scenario calls for something different. Just because a map is "low tech" does not mean it lacks tech level progression, it simply means the progression does not go all the way to level five. As PointlessAmbler mentioned, Bonsai will stop at four, which means the most powerful units are not included.

I guess I should have been more clear with how I asked it then, I was assuming that at whatever tech level it got it would still progress to it. And I'm glad to hear there are multiple TL3 maps.

Will the A-Bombs still be set up the way they are, now? Or is there any kind of tech level limit to when they appear?
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#23 APB_ICE

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 01:56 PM

We likely won't end up going with a single-gun heavy tank.

That's ok, I know it doesn't really have much of a place in APB.
But what about my other suggestions? (Light tank cannon and rack, Medium tank armour skirts, and Heavy tank cannons)

Edited by APB_ICE, 09 March 2011 - 01:57 PM.

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#24 Deadpikle

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 06:54 PM

wanna PM me a quick bullshit to make sure i get it right?


Remind me to do this cause I already have something quick typed up~

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#25 PointlessAmbler

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:01 PM

I guess I should have been more clear with how I asked it then, I was assuming that at whatever tech level it got it would still progress to it. And I'm glad to hear there are multiple TL3 maps.

Will the A-Bombs still be set up the way they are, now? Or is there any kind of tech level limit to when they appear?


That's exactly what it does. It just stops at a lower level. A "Tech Level 3" map will still have TL1 and 2 phases, it just won't progress past 3.
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#26 AdrwIvrsn

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:18 PM

Sorry for double-posting, but here is that render: http://cncguild.net/...enders/tank.jpg

I love how tiny the cannon looks on that render. It's certainly not a 125mm caliber if they were going for a more realistic T-80. :D
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#27 ChopBam

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:18 PM

Will the A-Bombs still be set up the way they are, now? Or is there any kind of tech level limit to when they appear?

I'm pretty sure nuke flares are not tied to tech levels at the moment.
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#28 APB_ICE

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Posted 09 March 2011 - 07:30 PM

I love how tiny the cannon looks on that render. It's certainly not a 125mm caliber if they were going for a more realistic T-80. :D

Yes, but keep in mind that the tanks' armanents are scaled down (probably due to the time period) from their RL counterparts; The Medium Tank (M1 Abrams)'s cannon was a 105mm IRL, but in RA1 it's a 90mm, while the Heavy Tank (T-80)'s cannon is a 125mm IRL, but in RA1 it's a 105mm.

Although, in the render it DOES look kinda small (thickness-wise) even after this consideration, more like a 75mm. :)
Still, APB's Heavy Tank cannon's should be the same length as in the render, but not as thin as in the render.

Edited by APB_ICE, 09 March 2011 - 07:33 PM.

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#29 C0de_man

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 04:19 PM

The tank calibers in WW2 were smaller that today and also remains the fact that in WW2 there were different battletank classes, these days there are only MBTs.
Consider in RA this is WW2.

Also damn nice waterfalls.
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#30 APB_ICE

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Posted 10 March 2011 - 06:06 PM

The tank calibers in WW2 were smaller that today and also remains the fact that in WW2 there were different battletank classes, these days there are only MBTs.
Consider in RA this is WW2.

Also damn nice waterfalls.

Exactly. RA1 is an alternate WWII, except this time it's in the 1950's, with 1960's to early-80's technology, and Germany and Soviet Russia's roles are reversed (Now Russia is the aggressor, and Germany has a leading role in the defending Allies).

That's presumably why Westwood downscaled the armaments of the tanks.

Oh, and yes, those waterfalls (and everything else) are very nice :D Gamma is going to be awesome! (I just hope that Scripts 4 will be released by the end of March)
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