Version 3.99 is downloadable - let me know what you think!

Real time World War II combat simulation
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Sean OConnor
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Version 3.99 is downloadable - let me know what you think!

Post by Sean OConnor » Wed Sep 21, 2005 11:40 am

I've uploaded a demo version that I've called version 3.99 which you can get from:

http://www.windowsgames.co.uk/download/ ... tSetup.exe - if you install it make sure you put it in a different folder to any full version you have though!

This has all the new features that I've added to the game but I'm still working on the final graphics and sound files before I'll call it version 4.0.

I don't want to offer upgrades to everyone who has bought the full version just yet or I'll spend hours sending out emails only to do it all over again in a couple of weeks when 4.0 version is ready, so please don't ask for the full version of 3.99! This version is just so that I can get feedback and get any final bugs ironed out. Also, if you know lots about WWII technical data please feel free to look at the data files and offer corrections.
Last edited by Sean OConnor on Fri Sep 30, 2005 9:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Quitch
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Post by Quitch » Wed Sep 21, 2005 8:52 pm

Twas much fun... I kicked their butts :)

I noticed tanks don't tell you what they're doing.

Tanks also run through buildings and collapse them. Did they use to do this? Nifty, but they don't take any care and I wonder sometimes if I'll need that building :)

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Post by crash_sc » Wed Sep 21, 2005 10:35 pm

The new sounds and graphics are awesome. I also like how buildings collapse when tanks roll through them and the new person info, timer, distance/height counter and all that.

Was I not paying attention or do the artillery strikes come in quicker now?

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sid6.7
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Post by sid6.7 » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:28 am

looks well made sean...so far its playing smoothly
i like the new wealth of info screens and such it
makes it interesting reading while weaiting for my troops
to get to there points...

i really like the move my troops around before i start thing...

the background artillery firing is cool too gives you
a "keep your head down" and the war is "everywhere" feeling...
if you run..you'll only die tired

Luca Morandini

Post by Luca Morandini » Thu Sep 22, 2005 5:26 pm

My son noticed that, when choosing a team by clicking on the right-hand side list, the information screen on the top-right of the map is not refreshed: bug or feature ?

Luca Morandini

Post by Luca Morandini » Thu Sep 22, 2005 8:24 pm

Is it only me, or infantry is more aggressive in 4.0 ? I

Quitch
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Post by Quitch » Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:11 pm

The Churchill has one LMG while the Sherman has two, but the Churchill has two lots of 2000 MG rounds listed while the Shermans only have one lot of 2000 rounds.

Every house is listed as 0m. Don't these houses have more than one floor?

Troops often take cover behind a wall when a house is there was well. Surely the house should be the preference every time??

zon

some comments

Post by zon » Fri Sep 23, 2005 2:55 am

Been a big CC fan/modder in the past and see a lot or potential in Firefight, but there has got to be some changes in my view if it's ever going to get taken seriously.

The engine needs to be updated for transparencies to allow for better looking shadows, explosions, etc., but this could be asking too much, so here are more modest suggestions.

- building and soldier graphics are still too cartoon-like and need changing
- make the tank/gun graphics bigger so more detail can be added (they look like blobs and that has to to with the scale, not the artists). The vehicles could stand to be larger against the infantry anyway.
- pathfinding needs tweaking. I sent a Sherman along a roadway but it veered into two buildings before getting to the destination. Not an efficient use of the crew's time to be smashing down buildings at random.
- enemy teams remain invisible even though your teams are firing at them at short range. Player can't ID the troops.

I do like the new terrain graphics. Much better than before.

Anyway, I don't want to sound too critical. I'd like to see this game succeed.

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Sean OConnor
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Post by Sean OConnor » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:13 am

Quitch wrote:The Churchill has one LMG while the Sherman has two, but the Churchill has two lots of 2000 MG rounds listed while the Shermans only have one lot of 2000 rounds.
The Sherman that is in the demo is actually a Sherman Firefly which had a British 17pdr gun but the hull mounted MG was removed. As far as my research goes the Churchill Mk IV had a coax and a hull mounted MG.
Quitch wrote:Every house is listed as 0m. Don't these houses have more than one floor?
OK, I've modified the game so it adds the house height if you move the mouse over a house.
Quitch wrote:Troops often take cover behind a wall when a house is there was well. Surely the house should be the preference every time??
Yes, good point that and it's fixed now. The problem was that I made members of a squad try and space out too much and now I allow them to bunch up a bit more when the house is obviously the best place to be.

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Re: some comments

Post by Sean OConnor » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:22 am

zon wrote:Been a big CC fan/modder in the past and see a lot or potential in Firefight, but there has got to be some changes in my view if it's ever going to get taken seriously.
Great! You're just the sort of person I want to win over.
zon wrote:The engine needs to be updated for transparencies to allow for better looking shadows, explosions, etc., but this could be asking too much, so here are more modest suggestions.
I'm not sure what you mean by transparencies and shadows? You can use the mask bitmap to make anything transparent in the sprite. Use the Rotate.exe program that gets installed in the Start Menu entry to create tank and infantry graphics and masks automatically.

If you've got a nice explosion sequence of graphics please send it to me and I'll add it as I know the current ones aren't good.
zon wrote:- building and soldier graphics are still too cartoon-like and need changing
- make the tank/gun graphics bigger so more detail can be added (they look like blobs and that has to to with the scale, not the artists). The vehicles could stand to be larger against the infantry anyway.
- pathfinding needs tweaking. I sent a Sherman along a roadway but it veered into two buildings before getting to the destination. Not an efficient use of the crew's time to be smashing down buildings at random.
- enemy teams remain invisible even though your teams are firing at them at short range. Player can't ID the troops.
- Modders can change any of the graphics as they are all .bmp files stored in the "Graphics" folder. Please send me anything you've got!
- I'm not too keen to make the tanks and infantry any bigger as that would make the game map effectively smaller and I think it needs to be large to make a better game.
- At the moment there is no pathfinidng! That is something I'll add soon as I've written some very good pathfinding routines to a new game I was working on.
- The enemy is invisible as they are still hidden. Your troops are just firing roughly at where they think the incoming fire is coming from. I wasn't sure what you meant by IDing the enemy? Do you mean a pop-up that appears when you move the mouse over them letting you know their weapon?

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Post by Sean OConnor » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:33 am

Luca Morandini wrote:My son noticed that, when choosing a team by clicking on the right-hand side list, the information screen on the top-right of the map is not refreshed: bug or feature ?
That box shows details of the last man you hovered over so in a way it's a feature. I could make the box disappear whenever you click on a unit on the control panel. That might make more sense but you wouldn't gain anything from it and it might be useful to see the last hovered man's details still.

Quitch
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Post by Quitch » Fri Sep 23, 2005 10:56 am

In that case the Firefly and Churchill descriptions are off. I'm no tank buff, just going by what the demo descriptions say (Sherman two MGs and Churchill one).

There's no weapon load out difference between paras and rifles (in the description anyway, as I recall didn't paras carry more SMGs in the old version?), but there is a hell of a credit difference. I'd like to see some explanation for that, be it in the help file or in the description.

Objectives are almost always in woods and hills, yet the places that are tricky to take are buildings (one German squad in the farmhouse and three buildings held up a Firefly and three rifle squads). I'd like to see more town and farm house objectives. In fact, I'd also like to see some maps with greater concentration of buildings than we have now.

New graphics are good (I can see why some people would want more, but graphics are hard :) I agree on the tanks though, I'd like to be able to identify them better.). I think you need an overall artillery strike sound that sounds like multiple strikes rather than multiple playings of the same sound, it just ends up sounding distorted.

Does anyone else find a single barrage of smoke useless? I always need at least two, and that takes a lot of time.

We need a "strike same target" button to get repeat artillery strikes without them re-cordinating the area.

Better pathfinding would be good, especially if troops are more likley to puruse a safe route to a location, like moving up the hedge and then along the hedge rather than in a bee-line across the field.

Troops often sit too far back on hills. You position the movement cursor at roughly the edge of where you perceive the level to be, but they often sit half-way back on the slope, which is fine for long distance shooting, but it means they can't see down the slope and are defenceless against closer targets. Sometimes this is better, but I'd like more control over where squads are positioning their men in general to correct for the ocassional AI mistake (half the squad has lines of fire through the trees, the other half doesn't consider this important, etc.)

Could tanks really drive through all this terrain? Part of the problem as I see it is that you can use tanks anywhere you want as they'll drive through anything and go anywhere just as effectively as on a road. This often makes you wonder why you should want any infantry in your force. If tanks were prone to getting stuck in rough terrain (or even introduce a setting for rain, and when it rains tanks get stuck in rough terrain) which they should have to extract themselves from. That in itself would cut down on tank blitz.

I'd like a way to view the terrain at my leisure before the select units screen appears, or better yet, a way to hide that screen so I can browse the terrain in full.

In some missions you could hide the terrain from me to represent a last minute attack or defence where I can't perfectly optimise my force for the terrain.

Do infantry position themselves on the top floor of a house or at 0m? Just a warning in case you replicate a Close Combat 2 bug: field guns in a house should always be at 0m :)

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Post by Quitch » Fri Sep 23, 2005 3:29 pm

Playing again just now I demonstrated the biggest flaw in Firefight. Winning in 4 and a half minutes (losing 5 men, four of whom were from a tank that was destroyed) all I did was tell everyone to charge the objective. I didn't need the infantry (and in the full game I'd have had more tanks since I could sell them) as the tanks detroyed the anti-tank defence themselves, and then there was nothing left that could stop them. If the first tank there had been smart enough to turn its front to the gun that had fired on it earlier (not spotted, but location known) then it might have survived as well and I'd have won even faster.

Didn't men who got up close to a tank destroy or disable them using grenades and the like?

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Re: some comments

Post by Guest » Sat Sep 24, 2005 2:52 am

Sean O'Connor wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by transparencies and shadows? You can use the mask bitmap to make anything transparent in the sprite. Use the Rotate.exe program that gets installed in the Start Menu entry to create tank and infantry graphics and masks automatically
What I mean is that shadows are achieved in FF through a serious of dots, like below...


Image

But many other games have solid shadows that allow some of the scene below it to show through...

Image

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Post by Sean OConnor » Sat Sep 24, 2005 9:12 am

What I mean is that shadows are achieved in FF through a serious of dots, like below...
Ahhh, I see what you mean. Unfortunately there is no Windows GDI function to do the nice shadows you have shown quickly and that's why I do the quicker checker board black pixel method.

In the new version that you can download now (3.99) I do the shadows properly for trees and houses but I achieve this by going through individual pixels, reading their colour then halving the brightness and then drawing a darker pixel on the screen. This is quite slow and is why the game pauses on "Drawing Objects" while it draws the background world.

Blame Bill Gates for not giving us a nice easy function to use!

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