I used to leave some enemy structures so that I could build a pretty base and prepare squads in interseting formations to make cool screenshots. Skirmish, to me, is like a sandbox to play around once you wipe out the enemy, or to witness cool battles without having to build an army.
@antrad You are right! I think that that texture does not look like rocks only: rather than a pure surface, I visualized roots, dirt, dead moss, etc. (like the image below).
Something similar like in the game Hunt: Showdown, where there are huge piles of dead organic material, such as the base of a tree long fallen, with all its roots exposed still clenching dry soil and little rocks (can't look for an example right now).
That would be a design choice only if we were to define how a satisfactory output should look like, but your example provides what should become marks on the rocks, and your video shows clear improvements which are almost magical (like putting on my glasses!).
I think that a good way to see how to improve this specific texture would be to take a look at its adjacent ones during gameplay, but to give you a better response, I should learn more about this technology.
The one with the yellow flowers is truly impressive!
Also, making that surface look like more than just rocks could change the game's visual languaje, which is intended to be bit cartoony, so that kind of upgrade could go against how the whole composition should look, which reminds me of games' concept art: the results in the video are so good that it looks as if the game became more "itself", as if it where turned into an even more "original" version, closer to concept art, rather than merely being upgraded.
So it would be interesting to see the result you are looking for and compare the scene where it is being applied, just like you did in the video.
I currently don't have time, but it would also be interesting if I modify with Photoshop this texture to make it look like what I think you want.
I'll see your blog's content in more detail after the exams; it looks very interesting! And I loved this title:
Fixing a GPU by baking it in an oven - It actually works !
About your last post, I was thinking about a situation where there are few exceptions given a good overall performance. My ignorance about that technology is almost absolute, but given that the results are promising, maybe some textures could be fixed manually (not necessarily by you, but by me):
The one you posted
The lack of Ion Cannon attacks is due to, if I'm not mistaken, the fact that you took out satelllite support on the previous mission.
Also, the fact that Midian prefers ballistic instead of plasma weaponry is justified by the fact that the "tech tree" gives the player, in the campaign, long-range weapons first, which is then compensated later, as if each race had taken different developmental or evolutionary paths.
This mission was very difficult for me, and had to recur to drastic measures.
Your commentary about the lack of Ion strikes on the surface of Midian reminds me of this:
@antrad You are not alone! Those levels are very hard indeed.
I would add the one where you are in outer space and have to take the station while mining asteroids.
Also, cometimes the key to success is to get creative: I accomplished Behing the Enemy Lines by going through the bottleneck with an aerial APC twice; instead of destroying the enemy, I rescued the commander by flying in first person mode and dodging some fireworks. And on the surface of Midian, I used a Judas Warlord to infect enemy construction units to capture their infrastructure, while distracting military units by converting units close to them, also in first person mode.
@antrad I searched his name and I think I found him. I'll try to contact him whenever I can. His name is Josh Taylor.
The orignial concepts look quite unique indeed; those designs are truly original.
In his blog he did two paintings years after the game's release, so he would probably be happy to help us!
THIS SECTION IS CURRENTLY UNDER DEVELOPMENT
Official websites of the game:
Interview with the game producer:
Website of an animator of the game; it contains animated gifs and videos (scroll down a bit to see them):
Blog of one of the artists that made concept art for the game:
Official review with a different backstory (interestingly, the timeline changed only for human history, but not for the events directly related with the Machine War; however it is relevant for the period of time in which the machines awaited mankind's arrival, since in the final version it was 400 years):
Screenshots found on the box and more:
The storyline changed throughout development prior to the final release of the game: humanity's fate seems to be unknown in the final version of the storyline, whereas in the game's box it is stated that mankind is extinct by the year 2545. However, a booklet that came with the game states that in the year 2109 humanity began the manufacture of the machines, and that contact with Earth was severed, after which four races of machines were developed. Yet, an official review from the publisher differs. This other version sets the beginning of humanity's colonisation programme in the year 2545, with the launch of "probes" (later described as seeding ships carrying seeding pods in the final version); later, in the year 3297, the last World War destroys man, which leaves machines without regular direction and, hence, makes them switch to default software instructions (to continue their work and self-replicate), eventually causing the Machine War due to the Darwinian principles of their algorithm after encountering each other following the expansion of their domains (since the colonisation aimed at many worlds).
Yet again, however, an interview with the game's producer (who replaced another one) reveals another version, which sets the launch of "machine probes" in the year 2171 and our demise in 2173 because of a World War. Also, it is mentioned that machines become self-aware after years of autonomous evolution.
Another version released with the game's earliest demos tells an even more divergent story. The document states that there were different races since the beginning, that the Eden 4 controller "suffered severe damage due to electrical storms", that most of its memory was damaged and that it continued to function until depleting its world's resources, which led to an expansionary quest and its encounter with another race's colony, commencing "a fierce battle for the planet’s resources".
In the end, the instruction manual and the game's official website state that by the year 3297 the Machine War started almost five hundred years ago, and that the machines were instructed to await mankind's arrival "for a further one hundred years" after the "the projected first landing". Prior to all of this, the colonisation programme started in the year 2136, but not the launch of the ships (though that occurred "soon" after that). Also, the uninterrupted spread of the Eden 4 controller's empire lasted for five hundred and sixty years after the first successful landing on its homeworld.
It must be noted that the final version wrote the verb "colonize" with a Z, while the booklet included in the box presents the word "colonise", with an S. This might suggest that the different versions were written by different people, but that is mere speculation.
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 believe that it would be cool to release stuff publicly, but since @martin was the one who proposed the use of Discord, then some of us moved over there, not replacing this forum, but accompanying him since he showed us promising results. I like to think of Discord as a development site, and this forum as a publication platform. For instance, I am developing lore stuff there, and as soon as I finish, that could be published with the game in the same package, and shared with all the information about the game, and its community.
We tried to do that with Trello a few years ago with @bilal.
So far, we are looking for bugs, doing the lore, and also, someone (I don't remember the username right now) published original images of the old demos.
I published here in the forum the lore development done so far.
It is quite interesting the fact that the storyline changed at least 4 times!
@antrad Nice idea!
In my case, not being English my native language, and having many difficulties compared with my peers, I had a hard time understanding what I was supposed to do, or how to play properly. The box was translated, but not the game. This meant that I only played skirmish missions, especially the ones were mining, researching or building are not reqired.
I moved several times, and the game stopped working on newer operative systems; since I was not tech-savvy to know that that could be solved, I discarded it, with sorrow, partly because I was never able to really enjoy it.
Several years later, after becoming the best student of my English class, I was able to navigate the Internet without my long-lasting language barrier. I could learn faster about things that are unavailable in Spanish even today. Hence, out of curiosity, I looked for it, and found the old forum. I downloaded the demo, and finished it, but was unable to make the full game work. Time passed by, and the forum died and resurged from the ashes. This time, however, things turned out differently... not only I managed to download it and make it work with the help of this forum, I finished it.
It was a delightful, yet challenging experience. Nostalgia was replaced by fulfillment. But now, longing seems to strike back. Will MACHINES 2 come to life? I think that it can occur sometime in the future, but first, we have to learn a certain set of skills.
I believe that this game was not only a pioneering product, too advanced for its time, but also an excellent example of how good design can convey a backstory beyond the explicit one. There are some clues throughout the game that could explain why the machines' designs or architecture look like that, how were they programmed, and why there is not a single trace of humanity.
Also, the game presents some elements that, to me, are references to previous science fiction works, making the game more interesting.