Author Topic: Thanks For Opu!  (Read 2592 times)

Offline Belix

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Thanks For Opu!
« on: April 30, 2012, 12:15:57 PM »
I've been using the community patched version of Outpost 2 from your site for over two years now, and after finishing all the stock Colony missions on Normal a few weeks ago I thought to check here for the latest version and see if I could find any neat extra levels for it.

Just wanted to express my appreciation for all the work the team here put into such an obscure old gem. I have a shelf full of old games here mostly from the late 1990's that are a blast to pull out and play time and time again. They don't make games like they used to.

May your Command Centers never be disabled!

Offline TH300

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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2012, 01:35:44 PM »
Welcome to the Outpost Universe.

Its always nice to see how people appreciate the fan made content.

If you want to play with others, you should come on xmpp

Offline CK9

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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2012, 02:47:30 PM »
Also, you should check out the coding section to learn how to make levels yourself.  You just might find you have ideas that others would enjoy as well.
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Offline Belix

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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2012, 06:16:15 PM »
So far (through use of a second Op2 window open to get a 'fake' player in) I've had fun completing To The Skies Or To The Grave, Forsaken World and Caught in the Crossfire. They're rather like the Spaceship colony missions with less emphasis on combat and more on fending off disasters. Even Dooms Day was amusing, though I wish the disasters ramped up to catastrophic over time instead of near instantly so you have a chance to struggle onwards against increasing chaos until you eventually collapse.

Not that I mind the combat either. The Spaceship colony missions where Plymouth and Eden have an opposing base on the map were quite fun. So, Caught in the Crossfire was extra fun.

Are there any other (mostly finished and uncrashy) maps like that which aren't already included in the OPU package? From a little Googling and poking around the forum I don't see a lot of survival style maps have been made. Or many maps at all. From what I gather the game isn't very approachable from a custom content perspective, so that is understandable. Though I suspect several Outpost 2 related websites have been buried by the sands of time...

Anyway, thanks for the warm welcome. As much as I'd like to play Op2 online, I pretty much spent a lifetime's worth of gaming with StarCraft back in 2000-2004 for hours every day. Thanks to increasing responsibilities and time constraints as I've gotten older, I don't have free time of any practical quantity to invest in that now.

Had I known there was a community for this game playing it online back then I would of joined in, but I sadly didn't come across this site or the updated Outpost 2 engine until a couple years back, long after my thirst for RTS conquest was satisfied. It's a shame, too; reading around I see you guys try to get fair games going and negotiate rules, team up players to try to balance skill levels etc. in advance, which is exactly the type of folks I'd like to play with. Few games enjoy the balance that StarCraft did -- after a few dozen patches -- and while idealistically the developer would take care of it, it's nice to see players that enjoy a game enough to pick up the slack.

Offline Venera

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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2012, 08:10:15 PM »
Welcome!

Offline CK9

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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2012, 09:28:09 PM »
There *might* be something in the File Forum sub-section of General Interest.  I know I personally haven't had as much time as I would like for creating new maps...still need to take some time to learn how to code the map .dll files so I don't have to beg for help with that.
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Offline Hooman

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« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2012, 01:07:23 AM »
Welcome
 

Offline Belix

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Thanks For Opu!
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2012, 01:16:33 PM »
Quote
I know I personally haven't had as much time as I would like for creating new maps...
It could take hours to fashion a really nice melee map for StarCraft, and that's as simple as making the terrain and slapping down some decorations and resources with a fairly user friendly editor. I can only imagine the time and work that was involved to reach a point where Outpost 2 levels could be made without a native editor provided, and even then, having to lay out an AI player's every action one step at a time. Ouch. So, as I said, I really do appreciate the extras some of you made for Op2. Game levels etc. don't seem like much work to the uninitiated, but I know better.

Thank you, subbed74 and Hooman!

Offline CK9

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« Reply #8 on: May 02, 2012, 03:42:21 AM »
Quote
I can only imagine the time and work that was involved to reach a point where Outpost 2 levels could be made without a native editor provided
Aye, there is no native editor (despite the promises made...), but there have been some rather nice editors made.  There was once an online one, and then one that used symbols on a txt editor...the one we have now is great, and allows anyone to make levels despite their individual abilities.  The hardest part is in making everything work well together.  Until I started playing with the editor, I had no idea just how many different tiles there were just for the ground.  If you had the patience to make the starcraft levels, you shouldn't have too much of a hard time working with the editor :D
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srentiln in minecraft (I like legos, and I like computer games...it was only a matter of time...) and youtube...
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yup, I have too many screen names

Offline Belix

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Thanks For Opu!
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2012, 11:09:07 PM »
Out of curiosity I opened up OP2Mapper v2.2.1 and plopped down some terrain, buildings and units.

Is anyone developing it still? It has potential, however, it looks like drawing terrain places an inordinate amount of work on the mapper. Someone might consider making a minor update to the program adding a tile placement mode that draws random passable tiles of a desired terrain type, like dirt or ash. That would allow anyone using it keep their terrain varied with ease and avoid the copy & paste look that could crop up as a result of tile groups. Since the majority of space in a map is (normally) open ground, it may save the mapper a lot of time and energy that would perhaps be better reserved for the code they need to set up later.

Edit: Excuse a silly question, but I wanted to take a glimpse at the coding aspect of Outpost 2 missions by reading the code for a mission such as Plymouth's Population mission (CPP1.dll I think), but I've never run into a situation where I needed to 'read' a dll file before. I assume someone here knows how to generate readable source code from the compiled mission DLLs and could explain briefly or point to a post somewhere? My searches have turned up nothing.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 12:02:16 AM by Belix »

Offline Hooman

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« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2012, 01:45:52 AM »
DLLs are compiled executable code. There isn't really much of a way to "read" them. You can potentially use a debugger/disassembler like OllyDbg to figure out how they work, but that is rather involved. You might also try a decompiler of some sort. The DLLs were compiled with a Microsoft Visual C++ compiler, probably version 5 or so. This probably isn't the way you want to go though.

You can find some example level code in the SVN repository. See the note here about reactivating the SVN repository. It has public read-access. PM me if you want an account with write access.

You'll of course need an SVN client to read from the repository. I'd recommend TortoiseSVN for Windows, which is linked from that post.

If you're mainly interested in the levels, I'd suggest checking out just the LevelsAndMods sub-folder. It will be much faster than downloading everything.
 

Offline Belix

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« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2012, 02:43:54 AM »
Thank you for the explanation. I don't know much about programming and thought in learning to make Outpost 2 DLL files, someone would of started by decompiling the ones that came with it. While it sounds like that could of been the case, it seems I had the wrong idea about where to take a peek at the guts of a mission.

What I was hoping to acquire was an example of a simple playable level for Outpost 2, and readable source code accompanying it, so I could get the jist of how much work is involved in creating an Op2 scenario. Some of the Colony missions are very basic while still exercising some amount of AI code, and since I've recently played those they seemed like a good place to start.

Anyway, after doing some poking around on the SVN and through the source of some Outpost 2 levels to get said jist, the coding side of mission creation is clearly a bit over my head right now. I've tinkered with game and web code before, but I've never used anything like Visual Studio etc. Perhaps some day when I have more free time I'll get into that and make an Outpost 2 mission as a learning exercise. I just hope OPU and the Op2 mission tutorials will still be here by then.

I have a renewed respect for those of you that made missions. You guys were really dedicated! It is a shame Dynamix didn't release proper tools for creating missions and make it more accessible to the average user... Outpost 2 might have enjoyed a considerable boost in longevity had it been fueled by fan content for years.

Offline Spikerocks101

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« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2012, 12:56:22 PM »
I didn't read any of these posts, but HI!
I AM YOUR PET ROCK!!!!!!

Offline Belix

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« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2012, 03:22:18 PM »
Hi, Spikerocks.

Well fellows, it seemed the example I was looking for might be the Hooville compilable example, unfortunately I can't even seem to open it with VC2010EE. When it asks to convert the project, after clicking yes nothing happens. Must be an issue with 2010, so I'm going to grab 2008EE now and report how it went later. I'm too curious to see both sides of the Op2 mission fence, couldn't resist after I found the code for a working example map. :)

EDIT: I got VC2010 to build a working mission DLL that seemed to run fine in Op2. Just had to upgrade the project from the old version first (2006 I think) with 2008, then upgrade from 2008 to 2010. If anyone wanted to know that.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2012, 06:34:28 PM by Belix »

Offline Hooman

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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2012, 06:48:24 PM »
Hmm, thank you, that is good to know. I still use Version 6.0, which is probably from 1998 or so.