Thanks for sharing. Is there something interesting in "Acclaim The State Of Play" ?
Thanks everybody for you stories. I would say we all had a similar experience; being new to RTS games, having language barriers or quitting the game and then going back to it few years later.
I also like the visual design of the game, the machines are very colorful, you could say the game looks cartoony. Even though it has old graphics, it is nice to switch to first person or third person mode and look at colorful sky with planets, I bet it looked amazing in 1999 compared to the usual 2D strategy games back then. I also like the voices of various machines, it is one of my favorite parts of RTS games when units have unique voices.
I agree with TMG HK the game is very hard and I also got stuck on the Fortress and Controller mission, took me a whole day to beat each of those. I highly doubt I would be able to finish those missions if I played the game as a kid.
Ever since I made this thread I have a "Machines" folder on my desktop to remind me that I should give this texture upscaling another shot. Few weeks ago I even managed to install ESRGAN like M123 suggested. I used this tutorial to install it properly, if anyone is interested:
Now I finally gave up on this idea, I think it is not worth it at current state. 256x256 is very limiting to make much of a difference and let's be honest, there is too much work and who would even care in the end.
I asked the maker of dgVoodoo about the possibility of injecting higher resolution textures using his wrapper and he said it might be possible some day in the future, so maybe then it would make more sense to work on this...
...and we all missed it. According to Moby Games, Machines was released on April 14th 1999. According to Wikipedia it is one of the first 3D RTS games. I think it would be nice the few people that still remember this game to go down memory lane and write down something. When did you first play it, how did a 3D RTS feel back in 1999, what are some good memories you have...
Machines is the first RTS game I ever played and it might also be the first thing I ever installed on my computer by myself. I think it was the year 2000 or 2001 when I messed around my Turok 2 CD and found the Machines demo on it. I barely had any games to play, so finding a new game was really exiting. I was such a noob back then, I had no idea what I was supposed to do, so I started shooting at my own units and buildings. When I destroyed everything, new units started appearing with different colors, so logically I concluded that is how you play it; like some kind of shooter with new enemies spawning at the edges of screen. I don't remember how I figured I can build stuff. I remember my neighbor also installed it on his computer, so we slowly explored this new game type. The next breakthrough was discovering that sending a technician to research center gives you ability to make new units, then discovering the one included campaign mission and the shock of being attacked by a gorilla. I remember being in first person mode when I saw it on the horizon, slowly approaching...
Funnily enough I have never finished the full game until November last year. I did join the old forums in 2008 to download the full version, but when I started playing it I got bored. Recently I found new interest in slower games like RTS, so I finally decided to finish what I started 18 years ago. Objectively I think the game could have been better in many ways, with more engaging story, better pathfinding, more missions, but I had a ton of fun with it. There are not many missions, but many of them are really difficult and I had to learn each units strengths and weaknesses and develop new strategies, which I found interesting. Even the first person mode turned out to be much more than just a gimmick, there is a lot you can do if you use it cleverly, to distract larger units or to hunt down large enemy units with Judas Warlord. Too bad there was never a sequel, they had a solid base they could build on.
I didn't know about that whole setup process, I only had the winmm dll files from another game (extreme g 2 Steam release), so what I did is I lowered the volume of the music tracks when I was ripping the music from CD. If you don't figure it out, I have uploaded the files, I have tracks down to 12.5% and 25% of original volume.
Just extract the files to the installation directory, it will add 4 dll files and a music folder. Default is 12.5% volume, you can overwrite the files in music folder with the ones with 25% volume folder. If you want to disable music completely, rename or remove the music folder, but leave the dll files which will block the CD music. The music folder has 3 extra tracks(just copies of menu music track), because otherwise it wouldn't play correctly, maybe because the dll files were originally configured for a different game, I don't know.
As for music not looping in the game, in my case it would loop, but not right away, it would take about a minute to start playing again.
Looks pretty cool, like scenes from a comic book story. Do you have more ?
@bilal I didn't even realize how useful Judas Warlords (with treachery) were until this mission. And to be really effective you must use them in first person view, make a suicide charge and dodge attacks until you get to strong enemy units and capture them. It really makes you appreciate the first person view. I would always keep few scavengers around to pick up the debris after the resulting chaos and few medics to heal the captured units if they survive the attack from their group.
The most difficult part is surviving the first 10-15 minutes, until the big attack with the Goliaths, after that the attacks slow down.
@M123 I heard about ESRGAN just two days ago. I must say the skybox texture turned out amazing. Waifu2x is very bad with banding, because it is made to basically sharpen any lines it recognizes, because it was made for cartoons, so the banding gets even worse. That is why I left out the skybox. I think this technique would be especially great for all the skyboxes and planets.
But, I think the sky is supposed to be clear on a moon, so it doesn't need noise, so I used waifu2x to "denoise" your texture.
I also wanted to see how it would work on the terrain texture, and the result is amazing, but only when left at 512x512. Check this out:
Original with linear upscale to 512x512: https://i.imgur.com/STZeKR7.png
ESGRAN + waifu2x at 512x512: https://i.imgur.com/LPI3vdk.png
Such a shame we are limited at 256x256 ! With an increased texture limit, with a disabled LOD system that always uses the highest quality 3D models and dgVodoo wrapper which forces 32 color rendering we would be talking about a real game remaster here. So close and yet so far :(
I was messing around with an upscaling algorithm called waifu2x. I already used it to for a texture pack for Army Men RTS (link here), so I tried to see what I can do for Machines.
Textures for the machines themselves are fine, what sticks out are low resolution terrain textures in some of the maps. Unfortunately I read here that the game has a 256x256 limit for textures, so some maps can not be updated, because textures are already at the maximum size. This is most noticeable in the training levels and Rolling Plains maps that look awful.
I did some tests on Adelphi9 (moon) textures and ice map textures. Since waifu2x algorithm smoothens everything and makes things look like a painting for the moon textures I also applied a HSV filter using Gimp to add some noise, so it has a more "sandy" look. I think it turned out quite well. Since ice is supposed to look smooth, for ice textures I applied some noise only to the parts where there are rocks visible, but it didn't make much of a difference.
You can see some comparison screenshots here. Best is to open the screenshots in a new tab to make it fullscreen, so you can see the difference more clearly.
Download here: Google Drive (the textures go to "texture4" folders of listed planets)
Tell me what you think. Don't expect me to make more of these, the algorithm doesn't work well on everything, some maps can not be updated and the whole process is time consuming.
Some extra information for texture modders:
- Texture limit is 256x256 and textures must be in .bmp format.
- If you are using GIMP when you export the image in the Compatibility Options you need to check "Do not write color space information" and in the Advanced Options select "24 bits", otherwise the game will crash when loading textures.
Thanks for making the CDs available in mds/mdf format with all of their original content, with CD music and everything. I had the "install directory" version from the old WiredForWar forums I got all the way back in 2008, but it didn't have the music and I think the videos were missing. BTW, the music worked fine for me on Windows 7 using Daemon Tools Lite.
This soundtrack RIP is not good, some of the tracks don't start and end where they are supposed to. You will probably not notice it if you play it in order, but if you set one of the tracks to loop you will notice at the end it starts to play the next track for a brief moment.
I have ripped the music myself from the CD, imported it all into Audacity, joined everything, then split the tracks manually at proper locations, and exported it all to MP3 at 320 kbps. I also extracted the music from the intro video using RAD Video Tools and converted it to MP3 as well.
You can download it from my Google Drive if you wish: download link