Author Topic: 3D BattleTech project  (Read 4831 times)

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Offline Cherno

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3D BattleTech project
« on: June 16, 2014, 12:45:32 PM »
Let me ask you one simple question: Why is there no faithful BattleTech game that utilizes modern 3D graphics? Instead we get Mechwarrior Tactics with it's trading cards and tiny maps without any vehicles, infantry, or even buildings. MegaMek is nice but the graphics are so simple it becomes hard to see what's going on if everything is shown from a top-down perspective.

Since my motto is "if you want something done, do it yourself (cuz no one else is gonna do it!)", I fired up Unity3D and dabbled in some procedural hexmap generation. So far I have what could be called an extremely simple map editor, with the user being able to change height levels, textures, and add or remove light and heavy woods. The map is generated by an algorithm that gives me control over every single vertex of the terrain mesh while also having a fairly low vertex count overall. I experimented with the "hard topography" look that has no sloped and basically looks like what a tabletop BattleTech player would cut out of Styrofoam blocks, and while it is much easier to differentiate height levels, it would look strange if vehicles of even mechs have to walk up or down hills. So, I implemented a basic smoothing system so we get those nice rolling hills. A projector is bound to the maps so the hex tiles appear, but this can of course be turned off.

At the moment, I have hit a roadblock because I want to utilize many different ground textures, but all free shaders only support up to about five, with only Unity's own terrain system being able to handle an arbitrary amount of textures, but this shader is bound to the terrain object and it has to be specially set up for other meshes. Since I don't know anything about shaders, I'm not sure if I can achieve this. If anyone has any experience with this, please drop me a line. The only other way to have many different terrain textures is without the smooth gradients between vertices, which would look much worse.

Anyway, here's a screenshot.


Offline Stahlseele

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2014, 12:55:58 PM »
Looks promising.
Do you have a Mech-Model you could put into one of the hexes for scale comparision?
'any kind of discussion of randomness ALWAYS WILL EQUATE to being able to critically hit a mech's reactor by firing a micro beam laser while facing 80 degrees to the side, shooting the ground, which would cause a random explosion which would randomly crit his entire team's reactors which would randomly cause the server itself to explode which would randomly generate a strange quark which would randomly hit the earth and randomly randomness randomfapp the shit fapp random!'
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Offline Cherno

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2014, 01:07:10 PM »
No. The inner hexes (those that are shown by the projector overlay) will correspond to a normal miniature hex base (slightly larger), so the in-game horizontal scale will be between the boardgame's ~8 meters between hex corners and the real scale of 30 meters. I'm actually not sure if that makes any sense. The problem comes with BT's horizontal scale compression. Without it, mechs would look tinty inside a large hex tile, and height levels would be very, very gentle compared to the horizontal scale. I opted for an in-between solution.

Offline [CW] CyclonerM

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2014, 02:03:00 PM »
Wow! Looks very itneresting, could be right time to finish learning the TT rules!

Offline Stahlseele

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014, 03:05:38 PM »
Yes, well, Mechs SHOULD look tiny in the 30m Hexes . .
Battletech Mechs are between 10 and 15 Meters in Size for the most part, so they are a third to half as tall as a hex is wide.
This would also make the height level stuff a it closer to realistic, because then a level 1 hill will actually cover a Mech up to half or more.
If Mechs WERE as tall as the miniatures are in comparison to the Hex-fields on the maps, then they could step OVER buildings and level 1 Stuff would go up to ankle height or something silly like that <.<
'any kind of discussion of randomness ALWAYS WILL EQUATE to being able to critically hit a mech's reactor by firing a micro beam laser while facing 80 degrees to the side, shooting the ground, which would cause a random explosion which would randomly crit his entire team's reactors which would randomly cause the server itself to explode which would randomly generate a strange quark which would randomly hit the earth and randomly randomness randomfapp the shit fapp random!'
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Offline Cherno

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014, 03:10:44 PM »
I agree, but the 30-meter.to-the.hex-scale brings some problems with it.

First of all, to have any reasonable overview of the battlefield, you have to zoom out to a certain extend so medium to long ranged weapons can be targeted effectively. This however means that the mechs become very, very small, not much more than a bunch of pixels depending on resolution. It just wouldn't look right.

Second, how is melee combat supposed to happen? Should the attacker move into the defender's hex like in BattleChess and trade some punches, then move back to his hex? Should both move to the edges of their hex tiles and fight there? Should no movement occur at all, so the attacker just does some shadow boxing in his otherwise empty hex? :) Getting rid of the hex tiles altogether would solve these problems but then it wouldn't be BattleTech now would it? ;)

Offline Stahlseele

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014, 05:27:10 PM »
Yes, close combat has always been a problem for exactly that reason.
And i don't think there ever has been any satisfactory solution to this.
Aside from changing things up a bit to make the mech melee more anime like with mechs bullrushing opponents and the opponents getting pushed back a hex by the attack <.<

as for the needed zoomy outy bit . . top down is nice and all, but if you are going with 3d anyway, fapp top down and go for isometric with 45 or so camera level instead of 90 top down.
This will make you see things farther away with less problem and also actually show of the fact that the terrain is actually three dimensional and not just a flat plane of existence.
'any kind of discussion of randomness ALWAYS WILL EQUATE to being able to critically hit a mech's reactor by firing a micro beam laser while facing 80 degrees to the side, shooting the ground, which would cause a random explosion which would randomly crit his entire team's reactors which would randomly cause the server itself to explode which would randomly generate a strange quark which would randomly hit the earth and randomly randomness randomfapp the shit fapp random!'
------------------------------
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Monitor: 2x24" Widescreen 16:9 1920x1080 native resolution
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Offline ELH_Imp

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2014, 05:41:59 PM »
Think about Front Mission game series (console tactics not shitty PC shooter). Just add combat cutscenes, to hide scale discrepancy. Two mech standing on their hexes, you press "hit 'em" button and boom, you see from close distance how your atlas smashed masakari cockpit, then camera perspective changes another time and you see two mech standing on their hexes again.
It's not only help to fool players, but bring some nice wow-moment to the game.

Offline Cherno

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2014, 10:00:14 PM »
Quote
as for the needed zoomy outy bit . . top down is nice and all, but if you are going with 3d anyway, fapp top down and go for isometric with 45 or so camera level instead of 90 top down.
This will make you see things farther away with less problem and also actually show of the fact that the terrain is actually three dimensional and not just a flat plane of existence.

As evident in the screenshot I posted, the camera is already at a 60 degree angle, so no straight top-down perspective. I will try to get some mech models to show how large or smal they are compared to the hexes.



Think about Front Mission game series (console tactics not shitty PC shooter). Just add combat cutscenes, to hide scale discrepancy. Two mech standing on their hexes, you press "hit 'em" button and boom, you see from close distance how your atlas smashed masakari cockpit, then camera perspective changes another time and you see two mech standing on their hexes again.
It's not only help to fool players, but bring some nice wow-moment to the game.

Good idea. The new X-Com game has shown that cinematic action cutscenes can enhance the game if done right. They were also a staple of the old The Crescent Hawks' Inception game :)

Offline Askis

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2014, 10:28:56 AM »
Since Mechwarrior Tactics exists, you'd probably be better off not using the Battletech IP.
Just use the same basic rules, but don't use actual BT Mechs, Vehicles or Lore to prevent being shutdown over it.

Offline ELH_Imp

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2014, 10:52:04 AM »
We have potential sim and now potential turn-based tactics. Any thoughts about new multi-game IP? And if any, do we have lawyer who knows how to write up licensing which cannot be used to sit down on publishing rights and attack anyone who try to use IP?
Oh, sorry, think it's object of other discussion.

Offline [CW] CyclonerM

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2014, 11:26:57 AM »
Well i am quite sure that non-commercial use of the IP should be safe enough. Oh, how much i would like to get to argue in a court with HG, IGP or anyone else that might prevent us from creating our own games.. I would tell the judge "I challenge HG to a Trial of Refusal over their lawsuit for the Unseen 'Mechs!" and then, when he, startled, asks me to explain, i would tell him "You dare to refuse my batchall?!" . Trust me, i am so crazy i would actually do it.

I have always imagined that someone would probably bring me by force out of the hall.

But i am going OT.

I would absolutely respect your work but to be honest if you choose to not make it Battletech i would not be interested in playing it, the same reply i give to everyone suggesting to continue developement of MWLL with another IP  ;)

Offline Jodix

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2014, 05:30:39 PM »
I would absolutely respect your work but to be honest if you choose to not make it Battletech i would not be interested in playing it, the same reply i give to everyone suggesting to continue developement of MWLL with another IP  ;)
I have similar feelings, those MechWarrior games would not be as good without the Battletech-IP, but I just have to say Living Legends struck right into my gamers hearth, providing us with the best combined-arms-mech experience I ever had the honour to play. So for me LL has really grownmuch bigger than Battletech, it is just a darn too good game to depend on any IP.

back ontopic: to avoid IP issues you may try to divide your game and its units, so provide a framework with BT rules and give the possibility to add units on your own. Then you could release the Mechs and other units as a big pack, but if problems with IP-holders arise you could still work and publish your game and leave it to others to distribute Mechs or design even their own units.

Offline death_grin

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #13 on: June 17, 2014, 07:50:59 PM »
I wonder if The Topps Company, Inc. even makes enough from the board game to warrant them not wanting a 3d version of battletech that is faithful to the rules.  Heck, if anything it might promote the board game more.
Assuming a licensing deal of course where everyone could profit.

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Offline Cherno

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Re: 3D BattleTech project
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 08:05:57 PM »
I believe that since companies are interested in profit first and foremost (which is not a bad thing per se), any IP holder would only make their IP available for a certain amount of money, based on what they think is it's market value. This means that the licensee pretty much HAS to adopt a model like Mechwarrior Tactics, with micro-transactions and whatnot, in order to recoup the licensing costs.