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Discuss: November Patch 2020

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JWBullfrog
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Discuss: November Patch 2020

read the original post here: https://cityoftitans.com/content/november-patch2020

As always, Comments welcome below.

All Purpose Frog

Wait until you see the... nope, that would ruin the surprise.

Huckleberry
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Nice informative patch.

Nice informative patch. Thank you.

I'm assuming that the pink tint is just to grandfather in any existing characters and will eventually be phased out? Also I support making all neutral skins and materials to be as light (close to pure white?) as possible to allow the most color options.


I like to take your ideas and supersize them. This isn't criticism, it is flattery. I come with nothing but good will and a spirit of team-building. If you take what I write any other way, that is probably just because I wasn't very clear.
JWBullfrog
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Generally right on the pink

Generally right on the pink tint. it is there mainly for older saved characters. Once we do a bit of test and adjust on the new colors, we'll revisit the pink tint versions. The new skin tints are going to probably get a revision or two before we settle on a good balance.

All Purpose Frog

Wait until you see the... nope, that would ruin the surprise.

Mordheim13
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Does this mean the game is

Does this mean the game is Live, now? Where and how can I purchase it? Unfortunately, I didn't get to claim my free month because I had moved since 2013 (a few times, now) so that was an issue. Anyway, if the game is out, I'd love to play it.

Shocking Blu

Foradain
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The game is in playtest, and

The game is in playtest, and in an early alpha state. If you contributed to the Kickstarter, contact a dev like JWBullfrog above to see if they can help you recover credit for what you contributed. But all that is available to test so far is the Avatar Builder and an off-line island (about twice the size of Oak Island in Nova Scotia) to run and super-jump around on to see your character in various lighting environments and double-checking scale.

Foradain, Mage of Phoenix Rising.
Foradain's Character Conclave
Millennium City Refugee.
Avatar courtesy of Satellite9

Cinnder
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MWM wrote:
MWM wrote:

Along with the environmental improvements, one of our player requests has been added to the movement controls on the island. You now have the option to use either the WASD keys or the arrow keys to move through the new landscape..

Something to be thankful for! Much appreciated. :-)

Spurn all ye kindle.

Cobalt Azurean
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Good stuff, always nice to

Good stuff, always nice to see progress.

Cinnder
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Is this download taking so

Is this download taking so long because it's a graphics update? Been running for 6.5 hours at an avg of 300Mbps and it's reached only 44%. And I had it up-to-date at Halloween.

Spurn all ye kindle.

Iathor
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Cinnder wrote:
Cinnder wrote:

Is this download taking so long because it's a graphics update? Been running for 6.5 hours at an avg of 300Mbps and it's reached only 44%. And I had it up-to-date at Halloween.

The total size is a bit over 8GB, as I recall, so it shouldn't be taking that long, even if it downloaded everything at that rate. Certainly at 300Mb/s, it should finish fairly quickly, certainly well under an hour.

If it's not making progress, I note that there have been rare cases reported of the patcher hanging up, and restarting it tends to fix that. You shouldn't lose any progress when restarting the patcher (or maybe just a small amount, I'm not sure what size chunks the patcher tracks as it progresses).

Unfortunately, the actual amount of data change doesn't necessarily match to what the patcher has to deal with, since the files are compressed, and a small change near the start can make a lot of the compressed file change.

There's been a moderate amount of graphics assets added, which probably accounts for the increase from 6+GB to 8+GB. We may also have some obsolete stuff in there that needs to be cleaned out. I didn't try to purge any stuff, since I'm not always sure what's currently in use and checking that isn't very easy (or maybe I don't know the right trick). There will be a cleanup pass at some point, but priorities are on getting stuff working right now.

Tech Team

Iathor
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Huckleberry wrote:
Huckleberry wrote:

Nice informative patch. Thank you.

I'm assuming that the pink tint is just to grandfather in any existing characters and will eventually be phased out? Also I support making all neutral skins and materials to be as light (close to pure white?) as possible to allow the most color options.

The pink tint versions might be removed from the menus at some point, though I don't know if we'll actually delete the underlying texture; it doesn't take up that much space. Basically it would stay in the dresser tables, but would get flagged not to show in the menus. As long as you didn't try to change the skin base and re-save the character, it would continue to work. But you wouldn't be able to use it in new designs. But that probably won't happen for a while.

Another thing to keep in mind is that some of the old skin colors were designed to be used with the pink tinted base, so some of them don't work very well with the neutral base. I moved those to the end of the skin palette, to make it less likely people would use them by accident with the new base and be annoyed by the results. Those have a fair chance to be removed from the palette in the future, especially if they're very close to one of the other colors. Again, there's a good chance they'd continue to work for older characters employing them, they just wouldn't be usable on new characters.

There are also still questions about whether we've got quite the right combination of the new base and new skin colors in the palette. The lightest colors don't always look good, and they're very sensitive to lighting conditions, so it's tricky to get them right. I wound up lightening the neutral base just before the release, which improved things a bit, but I'm still not entirely happy with the results. I'm not an artist, and my color sense is sometimes questionable. We've got some better people than I looking at the light tones, so you can look forward to improvements there.

My general principle on things like this is to try to design things so as not to invalidate older characters unless there's a compelling reason. But some deprecated choices might not be usable on future characters. All items used on characters now use a unique internal ID, so it's possible to "replace" an item and still leave the old one working by giving the new version a different ID.

However, some of the new skin tints might actually change a bit, since there are a lot of them and keeping two sets would make a mess of the palette.

Tech Team

Cinnder
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Iathor wrote:
Iathor wrote:

The total size is a bit over 8GB, as I recall, so it shouldn't be taking that long, even if it downloaded everything at that rate. Certainly at 300Mb/s, it should finish fairly quickly, certainly well under an hour.

If it's not making progress, I note that there have been rare cases reported of the patcher hanging up, and restarting it tends to fix that. You shouldn't lose any progress when restarting the patcher (or maybe just a small amount, I'm not sure what size chunks the patcher tracks as it progresses).

Unfortunately, the actual amount of data change doesn't necessarily match to what the patcher has to deal with, since the files are compressed, and a small change near the start can make a lot of the compressed file change.

There's been a moderate amount of graphics assets added, which probably accounts for the increase from 6+GB to 8+GB. We may also have some obsolete stuff in there that needs to be cleaned out. I didn't try to purge any stuff, since I'm not always sure what's currently in use and checking that isn't very easy (or maybe I don't know the right trick). There will be a cleanup pass at some point, but priorities are on getting stuff working right now.

Huh, weird. It's not getting stuck. Happily chugging along, just more tortoise than hare. I'll let it continue just to see what happens.

I hear ya re not knowing what's safe to delete on a group programming project. Been there many times!

Spurn all ye kindle.

Cinnder
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OK it finally finished. The

OK it finally finished. The island is really looking nice. Everything was very smooth for me, but I didn't have any problems with it before.

Most of the time when I'm playing The Game That Shall Not Be Named, I'm ok with the graphics, but when I create a hero and run about in an environment that's this much more realistic, I think how nice it's gonna be to have modern graphics. Though I think it puts a bigger burden on you devs, cuz animations and effects will have to look that much more realistic.

Not to look a gift horse etc, but now that we have arrows for movement (yay!) any chance we could have Right Shift as a run key in addition to Left Shift?

Spurn all ye kindle.

avelworldcreator
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I was just thinking about

I was just thinking about another game I play that only uses the left-shift key for running and how much of a pain that was for some activities (Conan Exiles and riding a horse). We may be facing the same issue so the timing was perfect for both of us realizing the problem. Thanks for the unexpected backup.

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Iathor
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Turns out that the shift key

Turns out that the shift key movement modifier isn't a key bind, but actually wired into the player character. I added in the right shift key to do the same thing, at least for the time being. Should show up in the next release. Longer term, this probably isn't the right way to do it; it really should be a bindable key action.

There's a bunch of stuff going on in the UI area right now, trying to move to the "real" version of the UI infrastructure, and all the game option setting stuff is part of that. That includes all the typical keybinding options.

Right now, the options package I'm trying to work with only allows one key binding, plus a gamepad binding, for each action. The underlying binding stuff in Unreal allows multiple keys to bind to an action, so I'm hoping I can fix that at some point. Most of the games I play allow two key binds per action, and I often find that useful, so I'm looking at that as our goal.

Amusingly, Unreal actually only has forward and rightward movements; back and left are actually forward/right with a negative speed. Since each key bind can have a different speed value, most likely any fast movement will be done that way at some point, rather than as a hack on the character movement function using the shift modifier. I'd like us to have an auto-run action, too. Right now, the character actions are pretty much default things from the basic Unreal character behavior, and we'll have to build on that for travel powers.

So all the movement stuff is all pretty temporary, though I expect the typical WASD and maybe the arrow default bindings we have will be part of the final movement setup. I don't know what the eventual base set of movements will be, since different movement speeds generally need different animations. Obviously super-runspeed will need to be in there, though, for those with that power.

Tech Team

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All this talk about key

All this talk about key bindings and default key assignments has me wondering whether MWM is going to be offering an equivalent to the key binding system found in CoSNBN. I realize the Unreal engine is a completely new beast compared to the old game's engine but the old game's key binding system allowed for pretty much any key to be assigned any function and/or multiple functions.

I know you Rednames love to pretend to not pay attention to anything the old game did code wise but have you guys at least reviewed the Paragon wiki write-ups for how the old binding system worked? Obviously you wouldn't want to copy it 100% syntax-wise but you guys ought to pay attention to the features it offered at least as a template for what CoT should offer in this area.

Why recreate the proverbial "wheel" when you can just tweak/adapt a new bind system from what worked in the last game?

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Iathor
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Yes, I remember using that

Yes, I remember using that system in CoX. However, there are two things being conflated there: the binding of keys to actions, and the fact that actions can be sequences of a scripting language used in the chat system. I suspect that all the key binding in CoX was done via that scripting language, much like it was back in the days of EQ. And WoW’s entire UI is written in a scripting language, Lua.

However, Unreal binding actions don’t go through a scripting intermediary stage, they couple directly into events in the code, similar to all the other things that happen in the game world, like a target being hit, colliding with an object, or clicking the mouse on something

So incorporating something like other games key-to-chatstring bindings would require the creation of a scripting language we don’t currently have. That isn’t to say it’s not feasible, or not desirable. But it’s a whole additional set of features that would have to be added. The good news is that it wouldn’t disrupt the current more-direct key-to-event model, since it’s perfectly possible that chat commands and/or a scripting language can also trigger events in the code, and that could be done in parallel with the existing Unreal key-binding mechanism we get for free. That does mean the key-binding option editor would need to be extended to include command strings as a possible action, or it would have to be done via the command line like the /bind command, which requires the chat system to support a command language

Right now, I’d be happy to just have basic key binding to basic in-game actions and powers, and basic chat working. Once we get that, then we can get more elaborate for power users. And I don’t think architecturally that we’re painting ourselves into a corner where that would be more difficult to add later.

I think the tricky design issue with keybinds to command strings or scripts is the problem WoW ran into with people trying to automate their characters too much. Basically I think that boils down to limiting a single key press to a single *significant* action that affects the game world. Of course, you also need to prevent the spammers from automating too much in chat channels. So this has to be thought out a bit. None of those issues come up with basic keybinds to basic actions, fortunately.

Tech Team

avelworldcreator
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Key binds and scripting have

Key binds and scripting have been talked about but no details have emerged as far as to how to implement this or what features will be available. Iathor has the right of it. He's been doing stellar work on helping with the UI coding, as well as a lot of other bug fixes. We remember other games and the value of scripting and biding so it's not being ignored - we want it too - unfortunately it's just not a priority at the moment. I can't speak of other surprises that DO have priority but you are seeing hints of it in this post. The performance fixes have something to do with one of those surprises. :) JW Bullfrog's tagline applies!

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Yeah I'm pretty sure CoH

Yeah I'm pretty sure CoH relied directly on its scripting language for everything keybind related regardless if it was "chat" oriented or if it defined basic game controls. Below is the default bindfile that everyone used whether they realized it or not. You'll see all the basic "WASD" movement keys and other traditional commands:

' "quickchat"
- "prev_tray"
ALT+- "prev_tray_alt"
/ "show chat$$slashchat"
0 "powexec_slot 10"
CTRL+0 "powexec_alt2slot 10"
ALT+0 "powexec_altslot 10"
1 "powexec_slot 1"
CTRL+1 "powexec_alt2slot 1"
SHIFT+1 "team_select 1"
ALT+1 "powexec_altslot 1"
2 "powexec_slot 2"
CTRL+2 "powexec_alt2slot 2"
SHIFT+2 "team_select 2"
ALT+2 "powexec_altslot 2"
3 "powexec_slot 3"
CTRL+3 "powexec_alt2slot 3"
SHIFT+3 "team_select 3"
ALT+3 "powexec_altslot 3"
4 "powexec_slot 4"
CTRL+4 "powexec_alt2slot 4"
SHIFT+4 "team_select 4"
ALT+4 "powexec_altslot 4"
5 "powexec_slot 5"
CTRL+5 "powexec_alt2slot 5"
SHIFT+5 "team_select 5"
ALT+5 "powexec_altslot 5"
6 "powexec_slot 6"
CTRL+6 "powexec_alt2slot 6"
SHIFT+6 "team_select 6"
ALT+6 "powexec_altslot 6"
7 "powexec_slot 7"
CTRL+7 "powexec_alt2slot 7"
SHIFT+7 "team_select 7"
ALT+7 "powexec_altslot 7"
8 "powexec_slot 8"
CTRL+8 "powexec_alt2slot 8"
SHIFT+8 "team_select 8"
ALT+8 "powexec_altslot 8"
9 "powexec_slot 9"
CTRL+9 "powexec_alt2slot 9"
ALT+9 "powexec_altslot 9"
; "show chat$$slashchat"
\ "menu"
A "+left"
B "++first"
BACKSPACE "autoreply"
C "chat"
COMMA "show chat$$beginchat /tell $target, "
D "+right"
DELETE "+lookdown"
DOWN "+backward"
DOWNARROW "+backward"
E "+turnright"
END "+zoomout"
ENTER "show chat$$startchat"
EQUALS "next_tray"
ALT+EQUALS "next_tray_alt"
ESC "unselect"
F "follow"
F1 "inspexec_slot 1"
F10 "say $battlecry $$ emote attack"
F2 "inspexec_slot 2"
F3 "inspexec_slot 3"
F4 "inspexec_slot 4"
F5 "inspexec_slot 5"
F6 "local RUN!"
F7 "say Ready! $$ emote thumbsup"
F8 "local HELP! $$ emote whistle"
F9 "local level $level $archetype$$local Looking for team"
HOME "+zoomin"
INSERT "+lookup"
LALT "+alttray"
LCONTROL "+alt2tray"
LCTRL "+alt2tray"
LEFT "+turnleft"
LEFTARROW "+turnleft"
M "map"
MBUTTON "+camrotate"
MouseChord "+forward_mouse"
MOUSEWHEEL "+camdistadjust"
N "nav"
P "powers"
PAGEDOWN "camreset"
PAGEUP "+camrotate"
Q "+turnleft"
R "++autorun"
RALT "alttraysticky"
RBUTTON "+mouse_look"
RIGHT "+turnright"
RIGHTARROW "+turnright"
S "+backward"
SPACE "+up"
SYSRQ "screenshot"
T "target"
TAB "target_enemy_next"
CTRL+TAB "target_enemy_near"
SHIFT+TAB "target_enemy_prev"
UP "+forward"
UPARROW "+forward"
V "+ctm_invert"
W "+forward"
X "+down"
Z "powexec_abort"

I get that Unreal will allow you to add a third-party scripting language capability but it seems a shame that it doesn't already offer a basic scripting language feature bulit-in.

Iathor wrote:

And I don’t think architecturally that we’re painting ourselves into a corner where that would be more difficult to add later.

I suppose as long as this is true then it'll be OK to wait for this. Otherwise I'd think you'd want to have this scripting capability working as a fundamental feature of the game.

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012

Iathor
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Lothic wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I get that Unreal will allow you to add a third-party scripting language capability but it seems a shame that it doesn't already offer a basic scripting language feature bulit-in.

Iathor wrote:

And I don’t think architecturally that we’re painting ourselves into a corner where that would be more difficult to add later.

I suppose as long as this is true then it'll be OK to wait for this. Otherwise I'd think you'd want to have this scripting capability working as a fundamental feature of the game.

Basically, every game has to have a defined interface between input actions and the code implanting the UI and game world. For most of the early games, it seems to have been a command-line model; certainly that was true for EQ, which often felt like a text MUD with graphics and combat grafted on. I suspect one major reason for this is that it facilitated testing and QA. You didn’t need a working UI to test stuff if you could just type stuff at a command line and watch the results in the graphics model.

Unreal’s boundary between input actions and code is their event system, and instead of a text scripting language, it has a graphical coding language (which is basically a cosmetic layer over C++). Since you can define arbitrary new events, and they can be triggered by code as well as inputs, it’s pretty straightforward to have multiple paths to triggering a given chunk of code. Unreal supports basic input events directly for keyboard actions and game pads, and also has a built in configuration/keybind mechanism for those to actions in the code.

That doesn’t preclude other ways of triggering the same blocks of code; that’s pretty easy, in fact. But Unreal doesn’t have any sort of predefined script language, and it doesn’t really need one unless you want to support some degree of end-user programmability. (The graphical language is compiled, not interpreted, so I don’t think it can be exposed to the player, which is probably just as well in an industry with a customer base that includes gold farmers and spammers.)

Incidentally, all the documentation for Unreal is public, so if you want to see what’s in there, you have that option. Unfortunately, it’s a massive system, with a lot of moving parts, so sometimes it’s hard to find stuff in there.

Tech Team

Lothic
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Iathor wrote:
Iathor wrote:
Lothic wrote:

I get that Unreal will allow you to add a third-party scripting language capability but it seems a shame that it doesn't already offer a basic scripting language feature bulit-in.

Iathor wrote:

And I don’t think architecturally that we’re painting ourselves into a corner where that would be more difficult to add later.

I suppose as long as this is true then it'll be OK to wait for this. Otherwise I'd think you'd want to have this scripting capability working as a fundamental feature of the game.

Basically, every game has to have a defined interface between input actions and the code implanting the UI and game world. For most of the early games, it seems to have been a command-line model; certainly that was true for EQ, which often felt like a text MUD with graphics and combat grafted on. I suspect one major reason for this is that it facilitated testing and QA. You didn’t need a working UI to test stuff if you could just type stuff at a command line and watch the results in the graphics model.

Unreal’s boundary between input actions and code is their event system, and instead of a text scripting language, it has a graphical coding language (which is basically a cosmetic layer over C++). Since you can define arbitrary new events, and they can be triggered by code as well as inputs, it’s pretty straightforward to have multiple paths to triggering a given chunk of code. Unreal supports basic input events directly for keyboard actions and game pads, and also has a built in configuration/keybind mechanism for those to actions in the code.

That doesn’t preclude other ways of triggering the same blocks of code; that’s pretty easy, in fact. But Unreal doesn’t have any sort of predefined script language, and it doesn’t really need one unless you want to support some degree of end-user programmability. (The graphical language is compiled, not interpreted, so I don’t think it can be exposed to the player, which is probably just as well in an industry with a customer base that includes gold farmers and spammers.)

Incidentally, all the documentation for Unreal is public, so if you want to see what’s in there, you have that option. Unfortunately, it’s a massive system, with a lot of moving parts, so sometimes it’s hard to find stuff in there.

Thanks for the additional info. As far as looking up the details for myself I'm already typing this post instead of studying for a CompTIA Security+ certification so I'll worry about the technical nitty-gritty when the game actually launches. ;)

CoH player from April 25, 2004 to November 30, 2012