Hi. I had basically the same experience. I had the demo which I played quite a lot which came on Turok 2 CD. I liked the machine designs, their voices and colorful graphics. It is one of the first games I installed myself and first RTS game I ever played. I downloaded the full version from the old forums in 2008, but I actually have not finished it until 2 years ago. It is a very hard game and I probably would not be able to finish it if I played when I was a kid.
There is not much activity here, but you can check out the discord community. I'm not a fan of it, but unfortunately forums are not popular these days.
Allow me to be off topic once again and show you my finished Dungeon Siege texture project. It took more than 4 months and 3929 textures have been updated. The texture pack is 5.97 GB !
@wildh0rse It seems I was partially wrong about Yellows and Greens. They sometimes do not attack each other, but today they did. It probably depends on the map, or maybe the position on the map, or maybe it is just random. The Blues always end up destroyed first when I play, they are the worst.
And something interesting happened today. The Yellows attacked my pod with three nuclear rockets at the same time, I never saw something like that. Luckily it was the one I captured from the Blues. They ended up being stuck because of resources and I destroyed the launchers with only one unit, then finished them off with 4 nuclear rockets at one.
We will have to tell they guy who made the 1.5 patch to maybe enable unlimited resources, it would be interesting to see how they would behave, since they always get stuck.
@wildh0rse The reason I hit the limit is because I tend to play these games slowly, build a base, build an army, then do one final attack. I don't attack constantly or try to win as fast as possible, it is more like a relaxation when I don't know what else to play.
Another thing I noticed is that Yellow and Green machines don't attack each other at all, Also Green like to use ion cannon and nukes, Yellow don't seem to use them at all. I guess if you want at least some challenge, you could do the things above, then destroy the Blue machines as fast as possible, so they don't damage Yellow and Green, and then continue to play against the Yellow and Green Alliance that will only focus on you.
Skirmish against the AI in this game is terrible.
First you have the unit/building limit, so you can easily get stuck and not be allowed to build more. But you can use the Loader program to fix this.
Then when you do this the AI builds like crazy and easily runs out of resources, without even building an army. You can help them a bit by selecting starting resources to 10000, but then they end up just focusing on nukes.
It's like they put no thought in it and after some very challenging campaign missions skirmish is very disappointing to play against the poor AI.
If there ever is going to be version 1.6, here are my wishes:
- support for 1024x1024 textures
- option to further increase draw distance (LOD)
- if anyhow possible I would like an option to disable ion cannon and nuclear silos in skirmish modes, make them unavailable to build
- add an option for more resources, like 100 000, because AI is very poor at resource management and eventually gets stuck, so to give them a chance in skirmish. It would be interesting to see what would happen.
I never like these weapons of mass destructions. I guess it is fine for ccampaign missions to spice things up a bit, but in skirmish mode it basically boils down to who builds the these weapons first. I wish there was an option to disable ion cannon and nuclear weapons in skirmishes. It was good that the last mission was underground so they couldn't be used.
@martin I am doing all this upscaling on my CPU, because I don't have a Nvidia GPU, so it is a very slow process. I do run out of memory if I try to upscale anything larger, I am limited to upscaling just 256x256 textures and smaller. Also I can not train my own models, even though I have some interesting ideas I would try to do. If you do end up doing some upscaling yourself, have a look at my topic about removing dithering and color banding, which should be applied BEFORE you do any actual upscaling.
@Pisarz The reason I think that part of texture should be just rock is because in The Finger Of God level it covers the mountain and cliffs, and that dark green "line" around is like a border between ground with vegetation and mountain rocks. As for retaining cartoony look, I think the machines and buildings are colorful, but not much cartoony, and terrain looks very realistic. The multiplyer desert map is probably the best looking map and you can see it looks very realistic, probably the most realistic it could look using technology from 1999. I mentioned some new textures are 1024x1024 in size, so I can not use them in the game, because original game has a 256x256 texture limit and Martin's version has a 512x512 limit.
Using the same ESRGAN program that I was testing to upscale the textures it is possible to remove dithering and color banding in original textures and artwork, without changing resolution or changing the image in some more aggressive way. Using the "DeDither" model It gives the images it's original "uncompressed" look.
In this artwork it removed the pixelisation:
Here you can see on the right the transition between areas of different color is much smoother. Even though it is same resolution, the image is much higher quality:
Here you can see both:
Yeah, in the first part you need to use the tank in first person mode, position yourself carefully, take advantage of its high range and do as much damage as possible.
In second part with Gorillas and eradicators constantly attacking it is extremely difficult to build and hold a defense perimeter. What I did (after a lot of trial and error) was quickly build 3 or 4 military factories and build a group of plasma knights and made a suicide attack from north-west. If you can get even one unit alive past their defenses, position it behind a factory, so the enemy can't get you and destroy it. Like you said, enemies don't rebuild their factories, so even taking down one factory is huge success and simplifies the rest of the mission.
This mission was extremely hard, but that is why I like it, it forces you to try different things and when you win you have a sense of accomplishment.
This is a bit off-topic, but I want to show you what I did with Dungeon Siege using ESRGAN. I have made a comparison video, please watch in fullscreen and at 1080p to see the difference more clearly. I think the results are amazing, though I must admit there are many things that give very poor results, so I only worked on things that gave good results.
I also must show you this example in the link below. Look at the original texture in top-left corner and look at the result. It is mindblowing ! You can see individual leaves of grass, there are larger leaves around the tree stump, there are like yellow squished flowers. I just couldn't believe it when I saw it, it was just a pixelated mess.
This one is actually not used in this video, it is upscaled twice, so it would take too much time to do for every texture and my computer wouldn't be able to handle it.
If you are are interested you can check out my blog where I wrote more about the whole process:
@Pisarz I think we have different opinion what is not good about that texture. For me personally there should be nothing that resembles grass on those rocks. I marked some of it in red.
The whole blue-ish area for me just doesn't look like rocks. For comparison here is one texture upscaled from Dungeon Siege. Here the algorithm worked well and it looks like a surface of a rock:
At 128x128 resolution there is very little info for the algorithm to recognize stuff. The reason desert texture worked very well is because it is 256x256 and algorithm has enough information to recognize things more clearly and enhance them.
@Pisarz Well, an artist can do whatever he wants, but I am not one, I can't fix things manually. My only hope is finding a better upscaling model, or one that at least recognizes the rocks, so I can mix the two textures; take the ground from this model and copy the rocks from the other.
All this is really a waiting game now, results are very promising, but someone still needs to make good upscaling algorithms and models that recognize different types of terrain. It would be a waste to go through all the trouble fixing things manually, just for a better solution to pop up after a few months that does it automagically. I will try more tests with different types of terrain.
I have been messing around with a new model for ESGRAN. I have been upscaling some textures for Dungeon Siege with it, with great results for ground and wood textures, so I wanted to give it a try with Machines.
First I tried the multiplayer desert level and results were very impressive. I used a "debanding" model to fix color banding in textures, then applied a "misc" model that works great for ground textures:
This produces a 1024x1024 texture and unfortunately since the original version has a 256x256 texture resolution limit, and the 1.5 version also has a limit of 512x512, I can't even use it in the actual map and need to downsize it which defeats the whole purpose. In my opinion the limit should be further increased to at least 1024x1024 in the next update.
Then this new "misc" model failed where I had the highest hopes. The "Finger Of God" level has a mixture of rock with ground and grass textures. If you look the top brown and green part of the texture you can see what used to be a pixelated mess, now resembles ground with grass, if you use a little imagination. But the problem is the lower part where there should be mountain rocks the algorithm also creates what resembles blue grass:
@Pisarz The mission in space was very memorable, because it was so different, with being in space, building on the ship and asteroids and having to use flying units. I forgot to mention I also did use an APC in the Behind Enemy Lines. While the main force was in the canyon I flew in to release a small group inside the base. It was a fun mission.
I have completed Machines without cheating and I must say it was extremely difficult at times. I only played it last year, if I tried to complete the full game when I originally fooled around with the demo when I was a kid there is no way I could finish it then.
The levels that stick out as being very hard to me;
Military Research Fortress where you constantly get attacked by Gorillas and Eradicators from two direction and it is extremely hard to build a base and start a counter attack. The beginning in the woods is also very hard, because strong enemies immediately attack you and you only have a handful of units.
Talonthia was also very hard, because you get attacked by Gorillas and other strong enemies all the time from different directions and all mining locations have very few BMUs, so you need to constantly expand and build new mines. Then at the end enemy starts attacking you with Ion Canon that can easily mess you up.
Mission where you are rescuing the commander in the desert is also very hard. I couldn't pass the guarded canyon north-east to get to the enemy base. Gorillas and Eradicators always cause problems. Then I realized I should actually use the Commander himself to do some damage to the enemy base from the back first and slow down their production. Destroying the enemy mine or a smelter at the beginning is vital.
Final Assault is also very tricky because you have very limited resources. This is the mission which forced me to capture enemy base to south, instead of building my own to save resources.
The final mission took me whole day to finally finish it. This mission was interesting, because it also forced me to use new tactics and use Judas with treachery, which I never used before, and also showed how the first person view is not just a gimmick, but a has a high strategic value. The AI can not do fast sneak attacks and capture enemies as efficiently as you can do when you take control. In this mission the importance of Scavangers also comes to light and they are more important here than actually building mines.
One big flaw of this mission is that when you destroy some enemy buildings, the enemy does not move production to new locations even though there is plenty of space. So, if you survive the initial attacks and destroy the buildings on the East the enemy will never recover even though it has unlimited resources. There is a lot of space for improvements in individual unit AI and global AI.
As I said in the beginning this game is very challenging at times and I like that in games, because it forces me to become a better player; learn how the game works, how to best use various units and develop new strategies. After I finish a mission there is a sense of accomplishment. Major drawback is that it requires a lot of time and sometimes you don't have enough time to spend with a game like this.
Shame that concept artist didn't share more stuff. With mothern technology they could easily realize the original concepts and it would look very unique.
@martin I can't do proper upscaling at this point. First, one needs a good trained AI upscaling model, and the one I used in the example is not really good, because it was trained on JPEG compressed images with artifacts, so you get those JPEG squares and noise when you upscale with it, the higher the resolution the worse it is. To train a new model I need thousands of images and a NVidia GPU (which I don't have), because the algorithms are based on CUDA. I need a good model trained with ground textures with rocks, sand and grass. Even if I did find a good model again I would be limited by doing the upscaling on the CPU which is very slow. And then a day later someone could release a new model that would give better results. It is best to wait until this tech matures and people make better AI models.
Btw, I don't want to rush anything, I was just curios, because these few posts are all public info I know about and it came out of nowhere. I don't use discord, because I don't like the closed nature of it, I am more old-school and hang around public forums like this.
I used to work on a "20th anniversary" update myself, but for Abuse from 1996. Haven't touched it since I released it: