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Subject - Reworking Mod Method for 1.5
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Posted By: Tully (2004-03-10 22:53:32)

I have decided that the only way to move forward is to rip out pretty much all the mod code and replace it. For those of you writing mods this is what that means...

The "load into other script" ability will be removed from the script language and instead of having methods that you overload (getType, createUnit, etc.) your script will register callbacks with Pocket War. There will be new methods like registerUnitType which will take both the type and a javascript method for creating the type. The guts of the mod will stay the same (register a type and when called build the unit and return it) but the framework will change. None of the existing mods will work after this change.

Once I do this I will have more control over the mods. I will add a new methods like unregisterUnitType call that can be used to removes a unit type from the game. Also all mod scripts will now have startScript called them when the mod should become active and stopScript called on it when the mod should remove itself. This will also let you remove all global variables from your scripts (always a good thing.)

Since the scripts don't load into other scripts any more you will also be able to put an entire mod into one file, the new unit, the changes to cities to build the new unit, and the AI for that unit. For that matter you could also put multiple mods into one script file. If you do that though all mods will turn on and off at the same time. A place where that would be useful is the engineer. It and all the units it can build could be placed into a single file. That way when you turn off the engineer file it and all the things it can build would be removed from the game.

The changes are being made so the game engine will be able to turn on and off mods. At new game time there will be an advanced page where you can pick the mods you want to use for that game. In the case of a multi-player game the person that creates the game can pick from the mods they have. As long as the other player has those mods loaded the right ones will be switched on when it is their turn. Basically, just install all the mods and they will only be used if the person that creates the game chooses to use them.

It will also become possible to create an auto-download that will go to the metalshard website and try and fetch a mod if you don't already have it installed (but that will prob get postponed until 2.0)

All regular units, cities, land types and AIs will now be regular mods (not built in.) So you can turn them all off. Don't want tanks, switch them off. Want to have an ocean only battle turn off all land types except water. There will be a default set that is on, but once you change what is on, and what is off it will remember for the next time, so it will be easy to play with the set of mods you like.

I will also let me ship fixes / upgrades for the base units without having to ship out an entirely new pocket war.

The real reason for doing all this (not to say the above changes wont be nice) is to fix scenarios. You will be able to ship a scenario with other mod files in the same directory. Then create the map with the map maker and choose the mod files it will use. When the scenario starts up and loads the map file it will automatically turn on the mods you picked with the map maker. If you leave the scenario (for example start a new game) the mods will be turned off. The scenario mods will not show up on the advanced new game tab, so they will only be accessible if you run the scenario.

Finally, I think I have a way to save the option->messages page. I will have to gut the message system and make the page only available when a game is loaded (because the units for each game could be different), but it should work. This might get postponed and message control will be bad for 1.5 and fixed for 1.6. Depends on how things go.

So, why tell you all this...

1.5 is going to be delayed again. The rework is prob going to push things back until late May early June, but I think it is worth it and it should speed up other changes I want to make for 2.0.
Posted By: Tully (2004-03-10 22:53:45)

Posted By: DWS (2004-03-11 16:21:53)

sounds good to me.
just being able to turn mods on and off would be very nice.
v1.5 will be worth the wait.
Posted By: Tully (2004-03-11 23:03:26)

I think I have found a shortcut. Everything will be the same except you will still have to have seperate scripts for the unit, city, ai, etc. When I have a time estimate I'll let everyone know. The new beta group is really going to have to commit some playing time before the game goes gold (read that as there will prob be a lot of bugs because I am making major changes to really low level stuff.)
Posted By: Compusmurf (2004-03-12 14:54:50)

Oh, geez. I don't know. MORE PLAYING TIME? Tully, I'm already playing, uh, let's see, 23 hours a day. I can't give you much more!!!! Well, you'll tell us what we need to do to rebuild the mods, right? It'll give me a chance to update the A-10 mod again. Besides, there was someone in another posting that cleaned up my graphics some. Maybe he'll email me the new pic and I'll build it with that one. I still can't get my missle sub working....
Posted By: Ken Pierce (2004-03-12 16:15:00)

Here is the cleaned up png for you A-10 mod ;-)
Posted By: Anonymous (2004-03-14 21:13:45)

You, by any chance, don't have any WAV clips that you may have captured while working on them, do you? I distinctively remember the sound of that cannon makes from hearing it all the time at Ft. Leonardwood. They had an A-10 range there at one time. Don't know if they still do.... I haven't found any really good sound effects for it...
Posted By: Compusmurf (2004-03-14 21:15:02)

Darn it. That was me....
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