ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post here about the Z remake "Zed Online" by DaMarkov

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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by DaMarkov » 2019-02-14, 14:36

APC wrote:
2019-02-14, 06:59
DaMarkov, if you wish to implement some difficulty levels for novices, the easiest way is to multiply the global production factor (calculated from percentage of map territories in ownership of a player) by e.g. 1.3 for opponents. Please don't influence hitpoints of units and damage stats. The battle between two brand new heavy tanks on equal surface should result in two destroyed heavy tanks. It is better also for novice to learn common results of battles between units as to get used to false expectations.
Yeah, that might be the easiest way.
Since you have a lot of experience with the AI and played Zod as well as ZED. Did you notice any difference?
I am using the old AI code of freaknigh and freaknigh rewrote the AI at the end of 2017 I think.
Is the Zod (2018) AI better/harder that the AI that is currently contained in ZED or is there no noticeable difference?
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by APC » 2019-02-14, 20:49

I will play few singleplayer missions in ZED Online v.0.1.3 during weekend and later. I need working minimap to gameplay and in v.0.1.2 there was bug. During previous test I didn't notice obvious difference in behaviour of AI.
Also I don't remember the AI of Z_DOS good enough, so I am not able to say differences to freaknigh's ZOD Engine AI. In code I have seen every unit just evaluates the nearest targets and choose some worthy of it. None complex coordinated offensive. Every unit alone on his mission. They also don't care about danger to their fort (major threat).
For human player against AI there are some essential differences in Z_DOS and ZOD Engine. As Ballwin correctly said, in Z_DOS the medium tank would be often destroyed during attack of lone howitzer. In ZOD Engine units stats are different and also armor system left out. Units in ZOD Engine are more specialized for some tasks. I prefer it. In Z_DOS unit was approximately worth of it's production time and suffered expected amount of damage from opposing unit compared to production time of opposing unit.

In ZOD Engine (major differences to Z_DOS):
MLR overranges missile gun and is smart enough to use it. You kill missile gun using MLR unscratched.
Missile's gun fire-rate is tripled. Expect to MLR it is lethal to every other unit. It can wipe out 2 heavy tanks for the price of one missile gun.
Tough's are overstrenghed and too universal - the same as in Z_DOS and Z_Expansion. You can ignore other types of robots. Toughs are avaliable in all >2 stars factories. I would decrease damage factor of tough's missiles. But at first you should clone the unit's stats from ZOD Engine. Pyros are stronger in ZOD Engine, but only as toughs and more expensive. In APC effecient according to their higher price. Lasers are comparable to toughs = too expensive to be used. Maybe for special tasks to retake lone howitzer operated by AI (=undefended).
Medium tank and manned APC is now lethal to lone howitzer. Often the medium win just third-damaged (especially when attacking via road). On the other hand howitzers projectiles are now faster, so light tanks, heavy tanks and MRLs suffer always a lot of damage.
Normal gun is too expensive compared to it's effeciency. Toughs, medium tanks and everything more expensive will destroy it. Light tank vs gun 1:1. Not worth to build. Production time should be shorter of HP higher.
Snipers and lasers are now smart enough to use range of their weapons during attack against gun (difference to Z_DOS).
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by BallWin » 2019-02-14, 21:26

DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-13, 22:10
Do you mean the texture blocks of the video decoder or are you referring the grid view in the map editor?
Requires a good terrain tool to automate the placement of transition sheets. The position of some transition blocks is difficult to determine. These blocks are rarely used on the map. It's mostly for decoration. In a ZEditor apply only simple blocks. This is the reason why user cards are ugly.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by DaMarkov » 2019-02-15, 18:40

BallWin wrote:
2019-02-14, 21:26
DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-13, 22:10
Do you mean the texture blocks of the video decoder or are you referring the grid view in the map editor?
Requires a good terrain tool to automate the placement of transition sheets. The position of some transition blocks is difficult to determine. These blocks are rarely used on the map. It's mostly for decoration. In a ZEditor apply only simple blocks. This is the reason why user cards are ugly.
What do you mean by transition blocks??

ZED Online 0.1.3 is out now via auto-updater (also in a few minutes on the SourceForge page).

Complete change log is here: https://sourceforge.net/p/zedonline/wiki/changelog/

Image

Major changes are:
- Default units which will be set on game start and when conquering a neutral flag
- New screen mode "direct copy" (as requested by APC)
- New game mode "Quick Start" (as request by KISSMAD)
- F10 takes screenshots now
- Thumbnails for all maps
- 4 (new i.e. from Z DOS) 2 player multiplayer maps
- Preview version of the map editor

IMPORTANT: On the first startup the game generates a bunch of files in the cache folder. This might take 1 or 2 minutes and utilizes a lot of RAM and CPU time.
This only happens once per installation.

@APC: To get the same performance as with Zod engine in SDL mode. Set renderer to SDL, screen mode to direct copy (this copies the frame buffer directly into the window without any further operation). Set the resolution (might have to open options.ini for that) and make sure that the window has exactly the size of the resolution you specified in options.ini
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by APC » 2019-02-15, 23:20

Bravo DaMarkov - first really playeble version of ZED Online. The feature about default preselect units is perfect and also the initial owned factories are included!


Gameplay:
Main bug remained - minimap reacts to the mouse in the grey area below minimap.
Default units selection - for one-star factory there is light tank in selection menu. During gameplay it works correct = only jeep.
Statistics about units - number of destroyed enemy units makes sense, but I don't see number of my casualties. Number of produced units is useless, because in the end of level you produce a lot of units which will never fight.
By 100% zoom in Win10 the F5 renderer switching from OpenGL to Software always needs ALT+TAB. Also for transitions MainMenu/Video/BattleScreen/MainMenu.
In singleplayer mode the player should have opportunity to pause the game. You can forbid commands to units if you wish. Also for multiplayer mode where only one human player is present I would appreciate it. You know - phone call, some short duty, WC - in the middle of the orig_level19... )
Fading the screen to black in the end of game makes some diagonal stripes on half of my screen (minor bug).


Editor:
On 1920x1080 working window too small (only quarter of screen)
After placing objects switch to "Edit tiles" doesn't bring options of tiles, but roll-menus for units remain always there
A was not able to set stars of fort/factory
Cursor keys could move working screen
Only 6 tiles selection is visible and the creator of map needs to see whole tileset (but for editing existing map it is good enough)
In Tools the Move/Paint/FixTool checkbox works strange and each of it different during selection. The FixTool is unavaliable anymore since first use. The Move is possible to toggle it and consequntialy be without selection altogether or Move+Paint in the same moment. The meaning of Paint selection is riddle for my. Placing/moddifing of units worked in Move mode.
Open new map, Tools/FixTool, click on object or map -> all textures below mouse-click dissapear and blank space is there.
The during DnD of object cursor is in another position as dragged object (distance varies)


Proposals to v.0.1.4

During gameplay and SHIFT ordering waypoints the units should start their journey just in moment when the first waypoint is known.

To reduce micromanagement about APC, there could be an option "APCs with built-in driver". The initial grunt would be always in APC without possibility to leave it; similar as in crane. Imagine in neutral APC this grunt as deactivated. The pyros boarded to neutral APC would just activate him. The driver would be without weapon, as in crane. The player can unload pyros from damaged APC and order that APC into repair facility. There wouldn't be this useless single grunts from APCs anymore. The APC with built-in armless driver should be a bit (8 - 10s) cheaper. The players without this checkbox selected in options would produce original APCs with detachable grunt during whole match.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by BallWin » 2019-02-16, 13:13

DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-15, 18:40
ZED Online 0.1.3 is out now via auto-updater (also in a few minutes on the SourceForge page).
Oh, congratulations.
DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-15, 18:40
What do you mean by transition blocks??
Book: Strategy Game Programming with DirectX 9.0 [Todd Barron ]
http://dl114.zlibcdn.com/download/book/ ... 8916770a43
Chapter 5, Tile-based Graphics
How to Add Transition Tiles page 109
Besides the wonderful world of rocks and sand, there are other important tiles to a tile map. The first ones that come to mind are edge tiles, also
referred to as transition tiles. Transition tiles are used to transition from one tile texture to another. Remember in the previous section how I used
sand and grass as basic ground textures? If you take those two tiles and make a tile map out of them, you end up with something like what is
shown in Figure 5.17.
Image
The first thing you should notice about the map is that it looks horrible! The grass and sand tiles stand out more than a 100-year-old finalist at
QuakeCon. The reason they look so bad is that there are no tiles to make the grass or sand smoothly blend together. Enter stage right, transition
tiles. By adding a few detail tiles to the map in Figure 5.17, you can achieve a nice blended result, as shown in Figure 5.18.
Image
I know the picture in Figure 5.18 doesn’t explain the transition tiles used, but doesn’t it look a lot better than Figure 5.17? Don’t fret too much
though, as it only uses relatively few tiles to accomplish the feat. First off, you need tiles to transition the grass into the sand from
north to south. These tiles allow a nicely transitioned horizontal line of tiles, as shown in Figure 5.19.
Image
In Figure 5.19 the tile on the left has grass on top (north) and a transparent area on the bottom (south). When the grass is applied to the sand
texture in the figure, it blends nicely. The same holds true for the tile on the right. It has grass on the bottom (south) and a transparent area on the
top (north). These two tiles cover the first couple of transition scenarios. Now that you have tiles smoothly going from north to south, you
need tiles that blend from east to west. The tiles in Figure 5.20 accomplish this.
Image
The first tile on the left in Figure 5.20 has grass on the left (west) and a transparent area on the right (east). It blends well when applied to the
sand tile below it. As usual, this works for the tile on the right side of the picture. Once again, there’s nothing new here, just another couple of
transition scenarios covered. Maybe you are thinking the work is over at this point. Well, what about corners? That’s right, you still need corners to transition the north
to south tiles with the ones that run from east to west. Notice the four corners shown in Figure 5.21.
Image
The tiles in Figure 5.21 are used to connect the previously created tiles when necessary. This is a needed feature considering you have patches
of ground textures and not horizontal or vertical lines of textures running across your tile maps. The map in Figure 5.21 illustrates this well, as the
corner tiles form a rounded square on the tile map. These can be expanded with the other transition tiles to form large squares, such as
those in Figure 5.22.
Image
... And so forth.
in General, these blocks are used to smoothly transition from one texture to another.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by DaMarkov » 2019-02-16, 18:28

APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
Main bug remained - minimap reacts to the mouse in the grey area below minimap.
Ah, shit I have missed that.
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
Default units selection - for one-star factory there is light tank in selection menu. During gameplay it works correct = only jeep.
Oh you are right. 1 star vehilce factories are really rare. I didn't notice that. Consider it fixed.
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
Statistics about units - number of destroyed enemy units makes sense, but I don't see number of my casualties. Number of produced units is useless, because in the end of level you produce a lot of units which will never fight.
I only wanted to include "positive" statistics like matches won instead of matches lost and unit destroyed instead of units lost. That was the reason.
It still think it gives a nice overview. For example after playing a lot of matches I noticed I never really produced Lasers.
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
By 100% zoom in Win10 the F5 renderer switching from OpenGL to Software always needs ALT+TAB. Also for transitions MainMenu/Video/BattleScreen/MainMenu.
Yeah ... I did't expect this to work. I will try to make the application DPI-aware maybe that will convince the OpenGL driver to work properly. I that doens't work I am going to just reset the resolution when going fullscreen.
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
In singleplayer mode the player should have opportunity to pause the game. You can forbid commands to units if you wish. Also for multiplayer mode where only one human player is present I would appreciate it. You know - phone call, some short duty, WC - in the middle of the orig_level19... )
Great point! For multiplayer I would need something more complicated, but for single player and quick match I can make a hotkey to pause the game quite simply.
I goes right on the list for this to do for 0.1.4
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
Fading the screen to black in the end of game makes some diagonal stripes on half of my screen (minor bug).
diagonal?? Interesting ... I have absolutely no idea what happened there ^^


About the editor:
Setting factory levels, editing zones and bridges (apart from moving them) is no possible right now.
I will redo the paint tool. That was the earliest I developed and it doesn't make much sense with the tile selection thingy.
Thanks for the bug report, I will fix them all one by one.

APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
During gameplay and SHIFT ordering waypoints the units should start their journey just in moment when the first waypoint is known.
I though this happened in classic and starcraft controls. But I am not sure. Anyway, I have to make a wiki page explaining all controls and maybe also a video.

By the way, when holding CTRL and pressing a number 1 to 9 or 0 you can save a selection to a group. Pressing the number again you can load that group.
APC wrote:
2019-02-15, 23:20
To reduce micromanagement about APC, there could be an option "APCs with built-in driver". The initial grunt would be always in APC without possibility to leave it; similar as in crane. Imagine in neutral APC this grunt as deactivated. The pyros boarded to neutral APC would just activate him. The driver would be without weapon, as in crane. The player can unload pyros from damaged APC and order that APC into repair facility. There wouldn't be this useless single grunts from APCs anymore. The APC with built-in armless driver should be a bit (8 - 10s) cheaper. The players without this checkbox selected in options would produce original APCs with detachable grunt during whole match.
Ah ok, so bascally you would have a grunt that is the driver and can't leave. And the Pyro would do all the shooting.
You said that is to avoid micromanagement. Is it currently to cumbersome to switch between the Grunts and Pyros a drivers?
Maybe something easier can be achieved, I have to play around with APCs and test things.

@BallWin Ahh that what transition tile are ^^
I wasn't aware of that expression, sorry, for misunderstanding.
By the way, is there a chance your decoder could be completed in a week? That last image you showed looked very promising!

A bit off-topic:
I remember there was a version of Z DOS which was I think a preview build with slightly different maps. I think two maps in the arctic world where swapped and the starting units where a bit different.
Does anyone still have that version??
Also I have read that there were alternative rude English sound files. I would also be interested in that, if someone has the files.

@SteelGhost I have done most of the work for the jeep to have different sprites depending on the planet.
I can't say for sure if I can manage to have all sprites for all vehicles ready in two weeks, but in 0.1.4 I will definitely include all proper terrain sprites at least for the jeep.
And I think the jeep is the most noticeable, so that should be fine.

EDIT:

@APC: Open the level editor and then change the size of the window. It will resize then properly ^^
Will fix this right now.

EDIT 2:

@APC: I found a workaround. When switching to fullscreen I will leave a small border then the OpenGL driver doesn't have a problem.
That of course looks terrible, so will paint the border in black. You might lose one or two pixel on each side but that should be OK.
I will try to keep the sideeffects of this hack under control (currently I paint the whole desktop black).
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by BallWin » 2019-02-16, 20:00

DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-16, 18:28
@BallWin Ahh that what transition tile are ^^
I wasn't aware of that expression, sorry, for misunderstanding.
By the way, is there a chance your decoder could be completed in a week? That last image you showed looked very promising!
Usually I have on this there is one hour free time in day. I'll try to find the time and finish the work by the end of the week. At the moment with video there is one problem. There are no black pixels on the frames. I'll try right now to record a decoded video and put it on YouTube. You can see for yourself. After that, I'd like to talk to you about the editor.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by BallWin » 2019-02-16, 20:42

The decoded test video to here.
http://generalzod.narod.ru/OpenSource/I ... ecoder.avi
To see the defects better look at the full screen. And in slow motion mode. The original size of the defects are hardly noticeable.

Here are two consecutive frames. On the second frame there is a problem with the disappearance of color.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by SteelGhost » 2019-02-16, 20:45

ZED Online looking great so far. I'll have to give it a go myself when I get to it.

For now, I present a little project of my own. I sort of recreated Z in a well-known sandbox game, using a mod that lets you add custom entities in the game.

It's too limited control-wise to make a proper strategy game, but fun for simulating battles between the miniature units.
Image
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[SteelGhost - Z DOS fan]

Z Wiki - Contribute now!
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by DaMarkov » 2019-02-16, 20:55

@BallWin: No pressure, take your time.

@SteelGhost: Looks cool! And of course you included the infamous firetruck ^^
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by KISSMAD » 2019-02-17, 14:53

When selecting the quick play option and choosing the custom maps. The playing field is messed up. I tried to take a screenshot but all I get is a black image.
When I changed the renderer from software to opengl. Choosing the custom maps made the game not responding.

There should be an option to turn the music off for the menus.

- edit -
It's now working fine for some reason.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by DaMarkov » 2019-02-17, 17:01

KISSMAD wrote:
2019-02-17, 14:53
When selecting the quick play option and choosing the custom maps. The playing field is messed up. I tried to take a screenshot but all I get is a black image.
When I changed the renderer from software to opengl. Choosing the custom maps made the game not responding.

There should be an option to turn the music off for the menus.

- edit -
It's now working fine for some reason.
Where you playing in fullscreen mode? This might be the same bug APC encountered. Apparently, ALT+TAB fixes that.
Good idea, I will have two options one for menu music and another for in-game music. For the cinemas I will use the in-game music.

EDIT: I was quite frustrated yesterday when I learned that the Zod engine doesn't use the animations when units enter or leave an APC.
Was there any reason why freaknigh didn't implement this? The sprites are in the assets folder and are loaded but are just never used.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by KISSMAD » 2019-02-18, 07:06

DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-17, 17:01
KISSMAD wrote:
2019-02-17, 14:53
When selecting the quick play option and choosing the custom maps. The playing field is messed up. I tried to take a screenshot but all I get is a black image.
When I changed the renderer from software to opengl. Choosing the custom maps made the game not responding.

There should be an option to turn the music off for the menus.

- edit -
It's now working fine for some reason.
Where you playing in fullscreen mode? This might be the same bug APC encountered. Apparently, ALT+TAB fixes that.
Good idea, I will have two options one for menu music and another for in-game music. For the cinemas I will use the in-game music.

EDIT: I was quite frustrated yesterday when I learned that the Zod engine doesn't use the animations when units enter or leave an APC.
Was there any reason why freaknigh didn't implement this? The sprites are in the assets folder and are loaded but are just never used.
No I wasn't in full screen mode.
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Re: ZED Online - a fork of the Zod Engine

Post by APC » 2019-02-18, 17:05

Yes, in the assets there are animations for robots loading/unloading APC but not used in Zod Engine. I consider it only minor issue. I am happy the freaknigh created in a year game without major bugs which would devastate gameplay.
DaMarkov wrote:
2019-02-16, 18:28
Ah ok, so bascally you would have a grunt that is the driver and can't leave. And the Pyro would do all the shooting.
You said that is to avoid micromanagement. Is it currently to cumbersome to switch between the Grunts and Pyros a drivers?
Maybe something easier can be achieved, I have to play around with APCs and test things.
Yes in battle it is cumbersome to unload useless single grunt from APC, then load there toughs/pyros/lasers and then use it. Also put to damaged APC the useless grunt back and send it to repair facility, and pyros continue fight on frontline.
Compare it to micromanagement about medium tank, which via factory waypoint arrives to frontline and damaged is ordered by one mouse-click to repair facility. Nowadays you can manage maximum one APC factory during gameplay to not neglect other issues completely.

If you wish easier solution of this task, let allow to load pyros/toughs/lasers also to APC where one grunt is present. And he will go outside of APC during their load into APC. As for me it will be good enough improvement and zero change to original balance.


DaMarkov I have also proposal for some very late version of ZED Online (v2.6.8). The graphics assets should be rather hundred of 50kB PNG files as thousands of 2kB PNG files. A lot of games read sprites from one larger picture instead of hundred seperated tiny files.
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