antrad

@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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

@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:
https://github.com/antrad

posted in Downloads read more
antrad

So... is there any blog or something to follow the development or we will have to wait for the 40th anniversary ?

posted in Downloads read more
antrad

@martin The example I posted is IMO the worst case scenario, the tutorial map, where the whole map terrain is covered with just 4 256x256 textures and looks terrible. This is probably the only map that would really benefit from 1024x1024 textures, while other maps would probably be good enough with 512x512 since they are more... eh, dense, more textures cover the same surface area, I hope you understand.

As for LOD, is that option already available in this version, I would like to try it ? I think it is best to give an option and let people go crazy if they wish, since it doesn't influence gameplay.

posted in Downloads read more
antrad

This is a big surprise ! Where did you get the source code from, are you one of the original developers ?

I really like how you increased the LOD distance, machines used to be just a bunch of triangles most of the time. But can you completely disable LOD switching and let the game render the highest quality models all the time ? Modern computers should be able to handle it, maybe add an option or some multiplier in the config file.

Texture resolution has also been increased to 512x512, is there any reason why there is still a limit ?

https://i.imgur.com/Dgov3ad.png - original 256x256
https://i.imgur.com/XHQ7kEu.png - ESRGAN 512x512

With AI image upscaling algorithms improving, this could get better if even higher resolutions were supported.

I noticed the health and shield icons at bottom-left are now displayed. There used to be question marks there for me.

posted in Downloads read more
antrad

@yash Explain what version have you installed and have you applied the XP patch, dgVoodoo (what version) and other fixes people have mentioned here ? It is hard to help if you don't give any useful information yourself.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

@TotalDemise You say there isn't anything, but the picture tells otherwise. In your photo we can see early designs for the machines and the tall one is probably a Gorilla. I never saw that before, so it is very interesting. Thanks for sharing.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

Thanks for sharing. Is there something interesting in "Acclaim The State Of Play" ?

posted in Machines read more
antrad

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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

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:

http://alphagarg.blogspot.com/2019/01/esrgan-neural-network-ai-for-upscaling.html

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...

https://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=59&t=66553

posted in Modding read more
antrad

...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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

@sd70mac If you install the game using the CD, you need to use both the "Machines XP Patch" and the d3drm.dll to run the game.

http://wiredforwar.org/topic/14/machines-the-game

posted in Support read more
antrad

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.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Vslhbrn9-yFmbUfYJL-BYlgSy5LNh13Q

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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

Looks pretty cool, like scenes from a comic book story. Do you have more ?

posted in Blogs read more
antrad

@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.

posted in Machines read more
antrad

@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.
https://i.imgur.com/JSwXS7l.png

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 :(

posted in Modding read more
antrad

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.
https://imgur.com/a/cFpXlDl

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.

posted in Modding read more
antrad

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.

posted in Downloads read more