Blog 1 - RaW 2.6 what? Where? When?

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Seek n Destroy

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From RaW 2.5 release in April 2015 to October 2016

Most people that still bother checking the board for any signs of life probably wondered why we are taking so long or at least longer than usual. Our usual workflow consists in us working on the mod until we have something we deem worth showing and 95% of the time it's when Rgcotl finishes a neat model, we post it on moddb with a short description if any. Some people go to the extent of dedicating whole paragraphs worth of description, background explanation, historical context, etc... for their creation while on a lucky day we'll spend two lines of text. We probably could do a bit better on presentation and hopefully this will be the point of the blogs. I already had something similar in mind a long time ago but I had decided I'd do it once the mod would be near completion but in hindsight that's probably not going to happen since our definition of finished is different from Creative Assembly  :fruity:
I had in mind to do some faction presentations inspired by the Europa Barbarorum ones but probably not as expansive and detailed but never got to do it for two reasons, one being, if you couldn't tell, that my writing is bland and the other reason is that we don't really have anything complete enough.

On to the subject of the blog itself:
A few weeks after RaW 2.5 release Gothic Knight finished a new gladius model, updated some old ones and made some new kopis swords for the Etruscans and Rgcotl followed with new models so we could finally overhaul the Celtic faction(s). Simultaneously he started working on a new world map for RaW 2.6 starting nearly from scratch to replace the old OSP one, the objective was to do a reduced area of the world and make it more focused. While he worked on the map I was doing research on factions and locations with the invaluable help of EFREM to attain better historical accuracy and relevance to the 3rd century B.C. political situation.
If you are having trouble telling them apart, the top one is the work in progress island of Sicily for 2.6 which still needs some tweaks and bits and to be properly textured, the bottom image is Sicily from the current map. All taken from Thorgrim's editor so not as pretty as ingame.
It was a lot of fun finally working on a map that is geographically accurate (It even includes the now drained lake Kopais!) and could be molded to our desire (more or less) and I was already positioning locations and factions on the map even though Rgcotl ended up moving Italy a wee bit because it was slightly out of proportion. Some 19 factions already planned for 2.6 and I started remaking them all from scratch, lots of work went into it for all of us until February of this year. We were getting kinda burned out from it and still far away from finished and still had the plan to release in April, two months weren't going to cut it so we put all of that on hold and started planning a small-ish patch for 2.5 like kind of an in-between release.
Not too certain of what to do I started to check some old codes I never finished and some long time suggestions like Admin tools (Needs testing!) but if I remember correctly I started by taking a look a some newly added Warband operations (as a result of Viking Conquest releases and updates) just so Rgcotl could stop telling me to do that  :lol: After some inquiring at the forge board I was pointed at the right direction on how to use a new operation that allowed through some scripting to merge models and swap some textures around. So came the boring task of re-organizing the resources for the 3rd time I think but I believe it's for the best, easier to explain with images:
Old way using multimesh, for all armors there's 3 meshes:
Mesh 1 -> Body
Mesh 2 -> Mail
Mesh 3 -> Shirt
All are combined into a set of armor, the mail and the body model are the same for all sets, only the shirts are swaped for a total of 30 models for 10 sets of armor 20 of which are being repeated.
Using the new operations with these models I have 33 sets of armor using 24 models and in this case I'm using more than usual since most of the shirts here are using vertex painting as in painting directly the model but it's still less models for more sets. Using this method I can have models that are "universal" which means I just need to invoke them through scripts instead of endlessly copying and merging them with other sets, one of the best examples of this is the body mesh. Before this method I had to copy if for every single set and now I have one model that I just need to call in the item script when needed.
Here's one of the best examples:
With 10 models ( + body model) and swapping materials through script I can recreate the whole Samnite armor sets (about ~100 items) which in 2.5 consisted of ~200 models. I spent a lot of time on this and in the end I hope it pays off, way less clutter and it ought to be fun for people looking to steal our resources, either they spend a huge amount of time re-assembling everything or coding the whole thing in. A few files still need to be sorted but I had reached a point I got a bit sick of it.
After that I worked on the javelin wielding script and finally got it to work, tested it with Joub on the server just to make sure and all seems well. Only thing left to do is to position all the javelin models properly and adjust some of the animations, I hoped Rgcotl would do both but at this point I'd be lucky if he did the animation fixes. Can't blame him, adjusting model positions is tedious and boring, most of modding is until the fun parts when it's complete and it works though it's never really finished...
Following on this I reworked the old multiplayer armor encumbrance script which it's one of the instances of gameplay over realism that I let slide in, the idea was to make the heavily armored troops slower than the light troops in a more drastic manner than the one included in Warband that you can't really fiddle with. That script was disgustingly made I admit, replaced it with something much better thanks to the newly added VC operations with the small hiccup that the server files for Warband are not updated to take these into account, hopefully we can use the executable from VC to host the server.
At some point I also replaced the MP weather script, which due to limitations defaulted to night time and only started working after a map change, to a static one. Meaning that each map will have it's own time of day and weather by default and for all players. Probably better this way. With the help of Joub we started reorganizing the MP scenes and adding AI mesh to them since there always seems to be random people that do enjoy playing MP with bots even though the scenes were not designed that way. Now they are, have fun!

Scroll back to the past few weeks and you see me saying to myself "****, it's been almost a year and a half since 2.5, looks like the new inbetween update doesn't add much to justify waiting all that time. At last not much that will be noticed so better write a huge rant, call it a blog and pretend I've been busy. I'll almost feel smart one day.".
So what's really in the works?
Since I did a few touches on MP it wouldn't feel right to leave SP like it was so based on part of the research done for 2.6 I did a poor job of updating that mess. I also note that I hated it, the map has so much geographical mistakes and shortcuts it makes it hard to do anything but that would be unfair since it was never the objective of the author who tried to achieve large scale while maintaining the map well optimized which in these regards is correct.
The camera is locked so you don't wander around too far just to comment on how empty and desolate the map is, I've doubled the amount of villages and towns and it still feels empty. Next fun part was manually overwriting the village to town assignment script because the distribution was far from optimal. Cases in which towns had 5 villages while others had one or none at all. Now working on trade routes  :neutral:

Plan for the near future:
- Finish trade routes # Done
- Update SP scenes
- Rework AoR recruitment script
- Rework starting options
- Rework some units
- Paint dozens of shield blazons
- Finish sorting MP scenes
- Learn how to make proper blogs.

Sorry for making it more of a huge rant than a proper blog, not really well versed on these things since my communication skills are null but it should recap a good part of what's been going on mostly on my side of things. Believe me when I say that I still omitted a good chunk of stuff. If there's a next blog or something, I, or someone else from the team will do justice to speak on their side of things. For sure Rgcotl got some interesting things to say in relation to modeling, texturing and animating but most of the time he gets me lost on the technical terms. Joub has been scening stuff when I ask something specific, if I say I need a bit of everything he'll just tell me everything ain't a scene he can do and probably flips me off. Fair enough. EFREM pops up now and then to give some advice but unfortunately with 2.6 in hiatus there's not much I can ask from him. Theretor is busy with other projects I believe and so should be Gothic Knight if I had to take a guess. That's not all folks but enough for now.
 

Seek n Destroy

Marquis
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Intro finished, I'll start working on the main part of the blog later since I only have the first five chapters finished. You won't believe who shows up on chapter 4!
 

KickingJoub

Grandmaster Knight
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Seek n Destroy said:
Joub has been scening stuff when I ask something specific, if I say I need a bit of everything he'll just tell me everything ain't a scene he can do and probably flips me off. Fair enough.
Entirely accurate :ohdear: Also to make something clear: future blogs (and mine for sure) will be shorter, as they won't need to recap a year and a half!
 

Eoforhild

Knight at Arms
WBNWVCM&BWF&S
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Words cannot describe my amazement! Nice work guys, looking forward to the next dev blog!
 

BonerLord

Squire
WBNWVC
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COOL! :cool: nice to see that you are still doing much for this mod, dream :wink:
Excuse me but i could not find or understand when do you think to release 2.6, this year?  :shock:
i am just a bit hyped sry ^^ it looks so good
 

Seek n Destroy

Marquis
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As mentioned in the blog 2.6 is on hold and we are working on releasing a version before 2.6. Maybe we'll do another blog with our plans for 2.6 but as mentioned in this one it proved to be much more work than anticipated.
 

BonerLord

Squire
WBNWVC
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Seek n Destroy said:
As mentioned in the blog 2.6 is on hold and we are working on releasing a version before 2.6. Maybe we'll do another blog with our plans for 2.6 but as mentioned in this one it proved to be much more work than anticipated.
Ok Thx, makes it more clear. :smile:
Yes, it looks like a lot of good work.
Do you need help, i could do some PolishedLandscaping for you. I made a SubMod for PoP, wich looks good!
PM me if you want
 

Seek n Destroy

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Thanks for the offer but we're already working on changing the flora for the mod.

Next blog should be about scenes and made by Joub, possibly shorter too  :fruity:
If you have ideas/suggestions about the content of a future blog just shoot.
 

SixRibbons

Knight
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What changes are being made to current scenes? I guess the current ones were mainly designed for mp.
 

KickingJoub

Grandmaster Knight
WB
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SixRibbons said:
What changes are being made to current scenes? I guess the current ones were mainly designed for mp.
You'll have to wait for the scening blog for that info :wink:
 

Seek n Destroy

Marquis
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A bit of both, some SP scenes were converted to MP. We'll address the rest in the next blog.

#Edit: Ninjoub'd again.