Troubles with this wonderful game.

Problems with the Mac version of Darwinia

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Ezekiel
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Troubles with this wonderful game.

Postby Ezekiel » Sun May 01, 2005 9:42 pm

This game is driving me nuts. Yes, it's exquisitely designed. Yes, it's great fun. Yes, I could spend hours pontificating about it's philosophical superiority to damn near every other RTS out there. BUT, this mac version is not done. I submit the following issues:
-Game is way too short for $29.
-Consistent issues with frame rate, which makes the game absolutely unplayable at the higher levels
-Inability to use several features (manual control of the battle cannon, for example, cause a superfreakout and eventual crash if I don't give up)
-Erratic, at best, system of saving progress.

It's crazy that such a great game should come preloaded with so many issues. Does anyone know when the Mac patch will be coming along? Any expansion packs? User mods or maps? I'd love to know. The darwinia experience is beautiful but fixably flawed, and I'd like to see when the fixes will be coming along.
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xander
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Re: Troubles with this wonderful game.

Postby xander » Sun May 01, 2005 10:38 pm

Ezekiel wrote:...
-Game is way too short for $29.

Meh... I thought that the length was about right. I think that people have become to used to epics. You are a Mac user... what did you think of the original EV? I can finish that in a couple of hours, but it is still a great game (granted, it is also less than $30, but that is only because ASW sells games for CHEAP). There are a lot of games out there that you can finish in one sitting. Granted, most of them are older console games (i.e. Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Mario Brothers), but they were not 1.024*10^16 hours long. And they were fun. And you could play them again and again. I find Darwinia to be much like that. It is not a game of epic length, but it is fun, and has a great deal of replay value (different avenues of research, different strategies on several levels). I have played it through more times than I care to count (on a G4 laptop, no less), and the length is just right for me.

Ezekiel wrote:-Consistent issues with frame rate, which makes the game absolutely unplayable at the higher levels

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is problem. Hopefully, it will be fixed by the patch, which is out for Windows, in beta for Linux, and on the way for Mac OS. Remember, we are a minority, and are generally given lowest priority. I consider this to be a problem, but it is something that you face when you choose to be in a minority. If you want all of the latest games at the same time that Windows users have them, get a PC.

Ezekiel wrote:-Inability to use several features (manual control of the battle cannon, for example, cause a superfreakout and eventual crash if I don't give up)

Yeah, this drives me nuts, too. I think it happens because of low framerates, so it should clear up with the patch. As a workaround, try locking the camera into debug mode. To do this, hit [F2] until the camera no longer tracks the mouse. A and D scroll the camera left and right, Q and E scroll the camera up and down, and W and S move the camera forward and backward. You can use a right click and drag to rotate the camera. Once you have locked the camera, the spastic cannons and radars should not be a problem. This solution is not ideal, but it should allow you to play the game.

Ezekiel wrote:-Erratic, at best, system of saving progress.

Yeah, I am still trying to figure out how it works. In theory, it should save when you exit a level, and auto-save when you capture a building. In practice, this seems a little dodgy. However, resetting a level is not meant to return building control to its original configuration. As control towers give you research, resetting the levels would require that you also reset the research. However, which research are you supposed to reset.

To IV, how does this algorithm work for you?

In 'game.txt', have a research line for each control tower when it is captured, and remove the pool of research points. Then, allot research points on a tower by tower basis, and keep track of where those points have gone. For instance, I see the lines in 'game.txt' looking something like this:

Code: Select all

LevelName,ControlTowerBuildingID  PointsUnused Research01,PointsAlloted ...


so, if you have captured a control tower in a Garden (for instance), the line might look like this:

Code: Select all

Garden,10  42  Darwinian,20  Squad,38


This would signify that the control tower in Garden with ID 10 has 42 research points yet to be allocated, 20 points spent on upgrading DGs, 38 points spent on upgrading squads, and no points spent upgrading anything else. It could also be done with columns, and zeros placed for any research item that points have not been alloted to.

When the level is reset, any control towers in that level revert, and research is reset. The main problem that I see with this is determining from which building to apply points. It could be done in order, where each tower is tapped until empty, or by taking one point from each building in order, or by some other method. However, each of these leads to this problem:
A person captures several control towers in one level, then goes onto the next. Not all of the research from the first level's control towers has be allocated, so it continues into the next level. The user plays the next level for a while, then decides to reset it. Research from control towers in that level will be reset, but points that were allocated from previous levels will not be reset.

This can either be seen as not a problem, or be taken care of with another line in the redshirted 'mission_LevelName.txt' file that keeps track of where research was when a level started (though this leads to problems if a user plays a level, then goes to play another level, resets it, and comes back to the first level).

I doubt that there is really any interest in the idea, but there it is. Feel free to use it. Consider it public domain ^_^

Ezekiel wrote:...Does anyone know when the Mac patch will be coming along?

No, but hopefully soon.

Ezekiel wrote:Any expansion packs? User mods or maps?...

Yes. http://thenextgame.co.uk is a great source (thanks to Icepick). Also, keep track of what is going on in the Mods section of the forums. The game is still relatively young, so there are not many mods out yet. Give StrickenSouls a try (though it is likely to kill your Mac on a few levels). I also liked Fodder a great deal. There are a couple more, but I have not yet gotten around to playing them yet... I have been rather busy with work and my own mod.

Okay, I am done ranting for a bit. Please return to your regularly scheduled (pronounced /skedjuld/, not /shedjuld/) browsing.

xander

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