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Author Topic:   What's up at LDA?
Kaeto
Member
posted June 28, 2000 02:05 PM            
So what are you guys up to? Ain't heard a peep from you in quite a while...

IP:

LDA
Administrator
posted June 28, 2000 05:13 PM            
Quite a bit actually....

We've written a D3D version of the engine for a port to Dreamcast...we're now licensed Sega developers....just waiting for a publisher to swing behind the port.

We've enhanced the menues with a "field manual" and added three "training maps"...

1. "Driver Training"

2. "Weapon Training"

3. "Missile Training"

...the idea is to help newbies get into the game and give veterans a comfortable/predictable place to practice skills.

We're also experimenting with new camera and control options, and I've redesigned many of the weapons characteristics.

At the moment we have a standard "turret cam" controlled by the mouse, with a "quick look"...holding the Right Mouse Button down frees the camera...releasing the RMB snaps the camera back to the turret. The trick is to keep the camera functional without letting it dip into the terrain or into the tank...comments and suggestions welcome.

...It seems that we need to make game entry a little easier to please the marketing departments of major publishers.

Master server options and enhancements are done and the game/server now gives the player a toggle to lock out others from joining a single player game.

A couple other projects are also on the go TBA...

Jim

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 28, 2000 05:55 PM            
Suhweet! Too bad I don't have a DC And too bad I have no plan to get one... Will the DC version run multiplayer with the PC one? And will you put in a button that makes me invincible?

Oh, and about the camera? Just keep it on the correct line to the tank without letting it dip into the ground, and stopping it just short of the tank sounds fine...

[This message has been edited by Kaeto (edited June 28, 2000).]

IP:

swisher
Member
posted June 28, 2000 05:58 PM            
I have about a four page enhancement request/bugs document. Should I e-mail it to LDA or post it here for others to comment on?

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 28, 2000 06:00 PM            
POST IT!!! Maybe it has some of the stuff I forget

IP:

Dreamer
Member
posted June 29, 2000 07:18 PM         
Would you consider native PROXY support?

------------------
Hail and kill.


IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 29, 2000 10:06 PM            
A coupla things :
RC's AltMesh and AltTexture idea. This is good
Configure mouse speed and music volume in-game.
Turn off the freaking "joystick turret"

IP:

swisher
Member
posted June 30, 2000 12:14 AM            
This document outlines the bugs I've found and the enhancements I'd like to see in Tread Marks.

Many of these I wrote when fairly new to the game. This is good, because new players are the people LDA needs to impress the most (a first impression is everything).

Bugs:
These bugs are shown in order of importance (i.e., the first one is the most important, and the last one is the least important).


  1. Problem with scoring. If player AA has 10 frags, and player BB has 9 frags, player AA is in the lead. This makes sense. If player BB gets a frag, he is now in the lead (even though the score is still tied); since player AA got to10 first, he should still be in the lead. This is particularly import at game's end. So, basically, when there is a tie, the player who gets the last frag should not be in the lead, as it took him longer to get the same number of frags, as the player he is tied with.

  2. Problem with single-player. If I'm connected to the internet (simply have an active session, not a TM server running), if someone knows my IP address, he can join my single-player game. This is wrong. It makes me feel that my PC is vulnerable and that I have no real privacy. If I want to run a PRIVATE TM game with internet friends, I should have to launch a dedicated server that does not speak to the master server; this way, it is not public, but if a person knows my IP:port, they can join.

  3. When online and someone joins a team, the server seems to be a lag consistently. Perhaps program path length too long for this function. Possible shorten path length by breaking up the connecting/join team logic?

  4. Cure the wobbling turret syndrome. A lot of online players complain that their turret waves back and forth, out of control.

  5. When I press F8 in chat mode to make TM a window (i.e., not full screen), it blows up.

  6. Icon is not TM when minimized. Icon is not TM when Alt-Tabbing.

  7. Says TM test Alt+Tab to return when minimized. This is probably a carry-over from BETA testing. This should probably simple read Tread Marks.

Enhancements:
These enhancements are shown in order of importance (i.e., the first one is the most important, and the last one is the least important).


  1. People have been complaining about unfair teams on Internet play. I believe that most
    people let the system default them to a team, and to that end, Tread Marks could be made
    intelligent enough to assign teams more accurately. Tread Marks could keep track of a person's frag count (either locally [and upload to server during the "player xxx is
    connecting" dialog] or on the server) and then assign teams as follows: Highest frag count Gold, next highest Blue, Next highest Gold, etc. This would at least keep the top players from automatically being assigned to the same team. A person could still change teams, of course. Perhaps some of the program logic from your single-player ladder play could be reused.

  2. Have PUSH technology in multi-player to auto-download textures, maps, etc. Many mods are made now, but their custom look-and-feel cannot be used due to this restriction. Several options exist here: Perhaps have a queue of persons wanting to play the server, and feed data to one player at a time as the server has available bandwidth? Perhaps delay the start of a new game while all new players receive all of the files needed to play the server. Perhaps delay the start of a new game while one new player receives all of the files needed to play the server; this option is bad because a game lasts 20 minutes, so you could only have a new player join once every 20 minutes.

  3. Elevation like big bang demo from www.3dfiles.com. Have elevation printed out in feet (or meters?) and have elongated red/green dots. An ice-cream cone elongated (i.e., point on bottom and same round dot on top), would indicate the tank is at an elevation higher than mine; the longer the cone, the higher it is in relation to my current elevation. An upside-down ice-cream cone (i.e., the point on the top and the same round dot on the bottom), would indicate the tank is at an elevation lower than mine; the longer the elongation, the lower it is in relation to my current elevation. Show elevation in feet or meters; user customizable (feet by default).

  4. Need more views.

  5. Have a small arrow pointing to the next nearest tank. Right now, you have the large floating arrow. Create a smaller one, too. This would let advanced users skip over less advanced users (cut them some slack). Sometimes, there's only one red dot on the map, and it's a less advanced user who you would like to show mercy on, but you have to frag him to learn where the next nearest tank is.

  6. Auto-center of turret command/PF key. This might be a nice compromise to the up/down turret movement request you're probably inundated with. Turret view is great, but I become disoriented easily when using it (i.e., I'll be going forward, looking backward, or vice-versa, and the red dots will be going the opposite direction that I'm looking or that I think I'm going?#!). Well, you get the point. If I could simply reset the turret to the front of the tank, my view would be restored and could continue playing without fear of orientation.

  7. Set the Internet connect speed in game options to 5k by default; it's at 2k now, and it's so slow that it's not even worth trying.

  8. MP3 music support can't find music in 8-bit, 14xx khz, WAV, mono, etc. Can convert, but sounds terrible.

  9. Show number of non-AI's (i.e., real humans) logged into a server. I think it shows nn/xx , where nn is number logged on, and xx is maximum allowed, but a lot of times the nn consists of all AI's. I know I can compute the number of humans by subtracting the AI's from the total online, but I have to click on each server and do it. The reason for online play is to play other humans.

  10. Steering wheel support. Since Tread Marks is sold as a racing game, it seems logical for it to support steering wheels. I have an Act Labs ForceRS, but it doesn't work. I've talked to LDA about it, but even having it as the first (primary) joystick, it still failed. I've found that there are third party products that will allow you to configure the steering wheel to send keystrokes to games, but I've had only moderate success with this. Joy Centre (shareware) and RB-Joy (freeware) are the two I know of. DirectX 8.0 is coming out soon and support for gaming devices is said to be simplified and more standardized for developers; perhaps you could improve your wheel support without too much difficulty.

  11. Have an option to allow the "Turret View" (key press 'm') to be on always.

  12. Ability to show MPH instead of KPH (make MPH default). There are a lot of USA players
    out there, too.

  13. Add a bench-marking facility (similar to Viper Racing's). This would essentially be an easy way to check FPS (Frames Per Second) using different video settings. Since Tread Marks is so graphic intensive, it is possible that some of the major hardware review sites would use it in lieu of or in addition to Quake 3 as an OpenGL benchmark. Possibility for high public visibility. The rolling demo could do this perhaps.

  14. No menu fire by default too hard to read. I'm guessing this was your first big seller, and has special meaning to you, but it doesn't fit in menu background very well. Perhaps add it to one or more of the startup screens.

  15. Tank friction option on configuration menu.

  16. Force feedback for weapons perhaps an exit and a way to control which forces are used for each weapon right inside that weapon's .ent file(s). This is a BUZZ word enhancement if you say you got it, you may be able to sell more software. DirectX 8.0 is coming out soon and support for gaming devices is said to be simplified and more standardized for developers; perhaps you could pull it off without too much difficulty.

  17. Right now, when I make a frag, it prints in yellow text that "you fragged so-and-so with a whatever weapon. When someone frags me, it says, also in yellow, that so-and-so frag me with a whatever weapon. It would be nice if the message informing me that I was fragged was in a different color (perhaps red); this would let me distinguish the difference between being fragged and getting a frag at a glance.

  18. Ability to leave the server operator a message. Chat is supported (team and global), but it would be nice to leave a message directly to the server owner. Obviously, the server operator is not necessarily always logged on and playing, chat is not an option. This may be
    used mainly by other server operators to share tips and tricks for tweaking servers. Some servers seem to have much less lag than others, and this may be a way for server operators to trade configuration tips and tricks. Perhaps send as email or when server operator exits the dedicated server, ask if he would like to view messages, or add a button to the dedicted server window labeled: "View server operator messages". Never delete the file always append to the end of it. Require the server operator to delete them when viewing.

  19. Water in Tread Marks is quite opaque. Difficult to navigate/aim, etc. See Jet Boat
    Superchamp from www.3dfiles.com for a look at some really nice water.

Recommendations:
These recommendations are in no particular order.


  1. Submit your game to TuCows games over 2,500 affiliated sites and mirrors world-wide!

  2. No vertical aiming. This would wreck the game. See survey on Random Chaos' site.

  3. I am a Christian. The only reason I tried Tread Marks is because of it's silly story and no living thing is killed -- simply machine against machine. In this day of Q3 and Unreal Tournaments, (which I will not play), it was refreshing to see a game without the blood stuff. To this end, please remove the God reference at start up; it offends me, and it would be more descriptive if it said "my PC is quite powerful" or "set all video/audio options to max".

  4. Possibly filter out swearing on chats. Have an ancillary file that server operators can update with words they don't want displayed on their servers. Remember to edit user names, too. A few good servers have been shut down due to language, even though the only request on the server menu was "No foul language".

[This message has been edited by swisher (edited June 30, 2000).]

IP:

Rex R
Member
posted June 30, 2000 02:05 AM            
turret veiw fine so long as there is a toggle in case user wants a fast way of seeing where their going
benchmark option (cmd line?) prog launcher?
training courses complete with shooting range good idea, perhaps a no ai option from the launcher for a practice mode.
kinda like the elevation bit for the map/arrow thingy.

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 09:41 AM            
Here's my take on swisher's ideas.
Like all the bug fixes.
Think Enhancement C is a bad idea. TM's level of complication should be kept to a minimum.
Enhancement F : Just turn turret view off for a sec to tell where you are.
Enhancement K : DO IT!
Enhancement O : NONONONONONONONONO!!!! Bad people will play TM with high friction, then complain when they join multiplayer servers. Maybe a button that multiplies friction * 1.5 or something, but no slider allowing them to make their tank glued to the ground

But the # 1 thing is *Drum roll*
FIX THE NETCODE! *Trumpets*
When people with DSL say it's laggy, ya know something's wrong. I can play 4 player games in most games without lag, but in TM that's pushing it (not that many people have my connection speed, but it SHOULD run good on a 56k with like 12 tanks)

IP:

Dudymas
Member
posted June 30, 2000 12:18 PM            
Enhancement N: NOOOOOOO... i like it. You must keep the menu fire for all of us insiders who know their meaning... :P

You must make some editability, and try to get the game on other systems. Don't forget, when you run the game, i don't care what those people with the consoles think, remember to tell the fact that TM is better on a good highend cpu... especially with all the editability.

I would like it if you made it possible to wear all sorts of things to tell team, like pink tinted glasses of dunce hats...

Enhancement N: in know way do i permit any hindering of the menu fire, you must make it color editable with all of those different effects, then we could have a little screensaver on the game if we go away for too long or something to entertain while we connect to the internet...

Enhancement N: You TM heretic!!! No we must keep!

Enhancement N: Ditto

i'd love it if you were to give Noper some smackeroos, becasue he isn't a menu fire hating heretic (*Ahem!!!!*) and he made sooo much new stuff for TM and kept your 'stuff' secret. Try to make Noper take the responsibility for the new tanks because he'll have more to do on TM and will be online fragging more so i can tease him when he kills himself.

The meaning of TM life here is to have fun, not frag the most, keep that in mind...

You should consider some added editables to the weapons, not to forget make some serious weapon making menus, along wit summ tank makers.....

I'm not sure i'm offended by the God thing like swisher, knowing that it is completely unintentional, i know you guys wouldn't be one of those kinda people who are into PC worship... in case you didn't guess already, I'm Christian too... but remember, a cookie dough Christian, God made cookie dough and coffee numero uno before the world cause he needed a lot of energy to stay up for 7 days... i too can do that with enough cookie dough and prayer... :P (would kaeto or hawk like to add something here, probably not, but anyhoo i ask)

Also, we must have some sort of a tree mine layer, wooooo

>>>Cookie dough power-up<<<
!!No game is complete without it!!
(honestly i would like something to that effect, like in a cheat menu or something if you don't want it to be a standard thingy.

heyeee, i can burn my own cd's, could you make tm editable in that it will take cd's on the DC? it can be possible that we could add readme's...

I must confess that i have started my appetite for TM again, ahhhhhhhh, must play must play must play must play must play must play.... must.... play.....

You have to do one more thing though, get a picture of kaeto sticking his tongue out and paste it on the page that tells people about the PC game, bwahahhaahahhahahahahahahahahahah..... gasp gasp..... hahahahahahhahahayhahahahahahahahahahaha...... gasp...... hahahahahahahah!!!!

IP:

peeeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 12:52 PM         
cool! LDA has been REALLY busy! and the DC port - what a great idea!

since i don't know anything about DC, i'll ask:
-does DC allow playing online? and if so, will those players be able to play against players using PC's?
-can DC users edit the entities?
-will the PC version be re-released same as DC version?

this is exciting new, LDA - glad to see you're going strong!

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 01:06 PM            
I agree with Dudy

IP:

swisher
Member
posted June 30, 2000 02:55 PM            
I apoliize for the menu fire thing -- I wrote that enhancement request a long tome ago (before I knew anything about LDA, Seamus, etc.). I didn't proof read the entire post before posting it, so I didn't even notice it was still there.

IP:

NOPeR
Member
posted June 30, 2000 06:14 PM            
Kill myself! Ah Dudymas why'd you have to go tell people how bad I really am at TreadMarks Well, back to killing 0% skill bots for me :P

A few things to add/fix in TM:
1. Like Kaeto says, attempt to steamline the network code or something...Bad lag even on DSL. I'd play online a lot more if I didn't have to deal with the snapback and delay effects.

2. Support for MOD files (all of them), but also a server indicator that the server is either MODed or Pure. Sometimes I just want to play some good ol' original TM!

3. Lets get those new modes of play...I mean, I like deathmatch but I would like to see CTS, King of the hill, or other variations of play - expecially modes where you get to team up with other players.
You know, since I suck at TM and all!

4. Size of tank = weight = Armor
Something along this line of thought:
Bigger tanks weigh more and have more armor, but are easier to hit.
Smaller tanks fly when hit and are weaker, but they are hard to hit.

Comments on swishers list:
- Good bug list!
- I like most of the ideas, but agree that the elevation thing would unnecessarily complicate the game.
- I'd say "No" on the second arrow thing...If you see an enemy, they must die. No mercy. End of story.
- God reference? Gee...I can't believe that such a trivial thing would offend anyone. I myself got a good chuckle outta being able to pick the "Godly" option for my PC (Which I later lowered!! Of course.) It adds character and personalism to the game - Keep it.
- However, I am not a heathen! language filter is a good idea...

NOPeR

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 08:33 PM            
Actually, I've hacked TM so that I have HIGHER than "My PC is Godly" detail levels. I have run TM at 20k triangles 8)
Anyone else here play TM as a MBOAG?
(Massively Botted Offline Action Game)
I play race mode with 50+tanks regularly, and I highly reccomend it for anyone who wants to see some REAL terrain deformation. It's mostly about racing skill, because only 1 in 5 or so of the tanks have any weapon at any given time...

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 08:40 PM            
Oh, and the language filter would be a good option. Lotsa kids play TM, and even though kids ain't innocent no more, it's STILL a good idea...

IP:

Hawk
Member
posted June 30, 2000 09:22 PM            
A F***ing language filter? What the f***k do we need a g** d***ed language filter for? Nobody f***ing swears while they play the d*** game!!! What the f**k is your problem!?!??!?!?!

(Hey, where'd all the bleeps come from?)

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Hawk Presents
A Hawk Designed Message
In Association With Hawk
A Division Of Hawk Incorporated

IP:

peeeto
Member
posted June 30, 2000 09:59 PM         
BAD hawk! BAD!

you made dudy cry! - you're grounded.

IP:

swisher
Member
posted July 02, 2000 08:53 PM            
I've thought of a solution for the master server being down. Probably not that easy code, but I'll throw it out there.

Basically, every user of Tread Marks would have the copy of the last successful "Refresh Internet" attempt. When that same user now goes to play multi-player and the master server is down, TM would simply display his last good copy. Now, when the user tries to connect to a game server, it may time out, but it is because the dedicated game server is down, not the master server. Certain sites, like NGI and Sheldon's, would almost always be alive.

Frankly, the master server isn't down that much, but when it is, it's a pain.

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted July 02, 2000 09:49 PM            
Maybe someone with DSL can run a backup server. I would HAVE DSL, but I live to far from my CO

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted July 02, 2000 09:57 PM            
Peeto, to answer your question, the DC has a 56k modem built in to it, and lotsa people who have 'em are on the 'net with 'em, even though a 640x480 TV screen is horrible for surfing. I hope the Dolphin has HDTV support. Really, I think that would be another thing nintendo could do to lay waste to the competition. I'm honestly not impressed by the PS2, and the DC is OK, but PCs are still ahead of it... Nintendo has always had the best hardware, and I hope they do the same as always with the DC, but they should have support for OpenGL, and some other standard APIs, to ease porting of games. Support for broadband is a must, too.
Whew! How did I get on this rant? What do ya'll other people see happening? I think the DC and PS2 will both sell well, and nintendo needs kick-butt hardware to sell, but that's something they've always had. And they have the BEST developers firmly dedicated to them (Rare. Does anyone question that those people rule?(except LDA of course ))

IP:

Kaeto
Member
posted July 03, 2000 08:51 AM            
l33t! I just noticed that /.'s logo for amiga topics is the DX-Ball!

IP:

peeeto
Member
posted July 03, 2000 10:08 AM         
tanks, kaeto

so if only positional info. needs to be passed between the server and the clients, i would assume that DC and PC players would be able to play against one another.
the more the merrier!

uh, but do you think that the DC would take the server-side mods? i guess only LDA would know as of now...

IP:

Hawk
Member
posted July 03, 2000 11:23 AM            
The one reason that console systems like the Dreamcast, the PlayStation 2, Microsoft's X-Box, etc will never outdo computers is...drumroll please...You can upgrade a PC. Try taking the back panel off a Dreamcast and putting in more memory. All you'll succeed in doing is A) breaking the damn thing and B) voiding the warranty so you can't get it fixed free. Now the PC, you just rip the back panel off (real l33t computer hax0rs like me and Kaeto never put the screws in the panel, so we can just yank it off any time we need to put a new card in) (We LAN so often there's no point in bothering, ethernet card in, ethernet card out..)

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A Division Of Hawk Incorporated

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