It's been a long time.

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It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Sat Jan 17, 2015 7:54 pm

I'm thinking of finishing my old Starcraft mod I started back in 2006, or at least getting it to a point where a match can be run between the three factions, but on looking at it, I'm looking at some of the limitations that contributed towards me originally shelving the project:

-Not enough weapons for my units to have multiple attacks* like I want. I could overcome this by making generic capital weapons that are called in iscripts instead of as its normal attack. This brings the issue that you won't get to see tooltips for these generic capital weapons.
-The Zerg's larva system creates a complication as far as unit construction since it doesn't fit thematically with my universe I'm building this mod on.
-I might not have enough buildings with rally point support.

For the three factions, I want them to have a cheap expansion and expensive expansion option:
-First faction (former Terran) has a cheaper command center it can build that has extremely limited upgrade capabilities compared to its more expensive counterpart.
-Second faction (former Zerg) will have a cheap expansion building that upgrades into the main one (much like the Zerg Hatchery > Lair > Hive)
-Third faction (former Protoss) will probably have a resource processing facility that can not produce workers. (They are taking ownership of the Nydus Canal which will become a Jumpgate.)


I have a few questions I was hoping to have answered:
-What Zerg buildings support rally points? I recall early alpha and beta screenshots of SC1 showing Spires and Spawning Pools having their own larva, but I don't know if those buildings currently support rally points.

-Can the Hatchery, Lair and Hive build units normally like Protoss and Terrain buildings?

-Is there a way for SC1 to let you build Protoss buildings outside of power source, but still need them to function. (building it first, then giving it power or having both build at the same time.)

-Is there a way for a Nydus Canal exit to use a different sprite? It wouldn't make much sense for a jumpgate to materialize out of thin air, but if it just opens a jump portal on the other side, that might look more realistic. Alternatively, I could work around this by making the jump gates a very minimalistic design, one that can be moved easily. And say in-universe, a second jump gate is sent through to stabilize the other end.

-I know the death of one end of the Nydus canal is hardcoded to kill the other end, but is it possible to make an event in the .trg files that will respawn a new entrance over the end that wasn't attacked? If not, I'll fudge up some in-universe stuff about how disrupting one end detonates the other end (maybe even cause it to deal splash damage around it.)

I have more things I am not sure about, but those are ones I can resolve if things look optimistic enough for me to get all of my old mod tools working again.

I'm trying to think of a way both the owner and enemy players can see tooltips for generic capital weapons, as well. For a temporary solution, I can set up a "menu" in its command box that goes to a page with tooltips for its weapons for the owner to view, but allies and enemies won't see its weapon stats if I do that.

*One of the capital ships have three different attacks it needs to call.

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Re: It's been a long dong.

Postby NigelTittysh » Sat Jan 17, 2015 10:48 pm

Ardis wrote:-Not enough weapons for my units to have multiple attacks like I want. I could overcome this by making generic capital weapons that are called in iscripts instead of as its normal attack. This brings the issue that you won't get to see tooltips for these generic capital weapons.

You can put an unused button on the unit's command card in FireGraft (where you can create as many new command cards as you wish, AFAIK) and recycle a string in TBLPad to have the tooltip explain any and all additional weaponry you add to the unit with iscripting. Makes for a tooltip that's just as intuitive as mousing over the central stat box.

Ardis wrote:-The Zerg's larva system creates a complication as far as unit construction since it doesn't fit thematically with my universe I'm building this mod on.

Just remove the capacity to spawn Larva. Go to Dat Requirements -> Orders -> [78] Spawning Larva and remove all entries there. Then use the same programme to give the main structure(s) the buttons to train units just like a Barracks or Gateway. You can even copy an existing building's command card and paste it over the Hatchery/Lair/Hive command cards if you want to save yourself some time, and just swap out the buttons, strings, and opcodes.

Ardis wrote:-I might not have enough buildings with rally point support.

Just add the rally point command. I don't think you actually need to do anything but put the button on the unit's command card, but if you do, it's as simple as investigating the differences between the two structure's AI entries in DatEdit. You probably don't even need to go there, though. Experiment.

Ardis wrote:-First faction (former Terran) has a cheaper command center it can build that has extremely limited upgrade capabilities compared to its more expensive counterpart.

You can create a new command card for this unit and give it whatever buttons/tech/whatever you want to give it. Probably the simplest out of all three races, excluding the Protoss resource processing facility (which is literally just ticking 'Resource Depot' in DatEdit -> Units -> Advanced - note, only works on buildings; not units or subunits).

Ardis wrote:-Second faction (former Zerg) will have a cheap expansion building that upgrades into the main one (much like the Zerg Hatchery > Lair > Hive)

You can have the player start with a Lair instead of a Hatchery by way of EXE edits in FireGraft. You can also remove the Overlord if you wanted to turn it into a supply structure like the Supply Depot or Pylon, and remove the starting Larvae. This way, the player starts with the more expensive alternative, but must build the smaller one (old Hatchery) if they want a second upgraded base.

Ardis wrote:-Third faction (former Protoss) will probably have a resource processing facility that can not produce workers. (They are taking ownership of the Nydus Canal which will become a Jumpgate.)

Replace the sound\misc\intonydus.wav with a custom sound and it'll work just the same. You'll have to give the Jumpgate some kind of static animation (like the Nydus Canal) if you want it to look the part, though, and you can't call a specific animation when the Transport (Nydus) order is used unless you do some serious reverse engineering (and I wouldn't know where to start).

Ardis wrote:-What Zerg buildings support rally points?

See above. All units (structures and ground/air units included) can support rally points (i.e. a Command Center in transit can be programmed to have the functionality to build fighter jets or repair bots or something and you can put the rally point on it, though if you change its AI orders it'll conflict with traditional left-click moving).

Ardis wrote:-Can the Hatchery, Lair and Hive build units normally like Protoss and Terrain buildings?

Much like rally points, you can just FireGraft it up - buttons and tech dependencies, both in the same programme, can make what you're looking for possible with a little know-how and some testing.

Ardis wrote:-Is there a way for SC1 to let you build Protoss buildings outside of power source, but still need them to function. (building it first, then giving it power or having both build at the same time.)

Not unless you somehow managed to use plugins to spawn a second copy of the structure that has the 'requires power' option ticked (which would eat up a LOT of DatEdit unit entries to accomplish). I can get in contact with Biophysicist about this but he's the only person who (maybe?) knows how to do this. I'd recommend not doing it, though, for the sake of your DatEdit entries and any potential campaign you might want to accomplish with this mod.

Ardis wrote:-Is there a way for a Nydus Canal exit to use a different sprite? It wouldn't make much sense for a jumpgate to materialize out of thin air, but if it just opens a jump portal on the other side, that might look more realistic.

Not to my knowledge, but if you make the building construction similar (or the same) to the Protoss building animation (and it would be exactly like that by default anyways if you did your iscripting correctly), it'll just look like a warp matrix is being opened as if a Probe had started construction of the building anyways, and it'd finish after its designated build time and look the part just the same.

Ardis wrote:-I know the death of one end of the Nydus canal is hardcoded to kill the other end, but is it possible to make an event in the .trg files that will respawn a new entrance over the end that wasn't attacked?

Not speaking from personal experience but you might be able to find something in EXE edits, or plugins. I have no knowledge of .trg files but unless you had locations available to center on every Jumpgate or some other way of detecting them there's probably not a way to accomplish that. If you can't find anything in FireGraft and you can't find an easy way of managing it with your knowledge of .trg files then I'd suggest just having the lore state that the two structures are linked in some manner (not implausible) so that the destruction of one equates to the detonation of them both.

Ardis wrote:I'm trying to think of a way both the owner and enemy players can see tooltips for generic capital weapons, as well. For a temporary solution, I can set up a "menu" in its command box that goes to a page with tooltips for its weapons for the owner to view, but allies and enemies won't see its weapon stats if I do that.

This is the only caveat to the solution I posited, but unless you want to cannibalise every spare weapon entry, it's your best bet.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Sun Jan 18, 2015 1:10 am

Regarding rally points, that's not entirely true. I've tried making Terran addons and buildings that don't normally produce units have rally point buttons and I can't remember what it was, but rally points behaved very awkwardly or didn't work at all.

EDITING...

I'm a veteran (sort of) modder, I know how to use most of the tools. Most of the issues I run across in modding SC come from hardcoding and animation scriping errors.

This was going to be a total conversion, using my own sprites (see display image for example), everything down to weapon effects, thrusters and build progress are going to be replaced by visual assets made by my own hands. I've even replaced the console for one of the factions. I have a thread on my last attempt at it buried somewhere here (assuming threads don't automatically get deleted after a certain amount of time.) I even gave away two of my old scripts to the community when I gave up on it.

I already had the idea of using extra Tbl strings for tooltips for generic weapons, but I'm not sure if they'll properly display upgrades. What I need to figure out is if I can make something like that visible to ALL players or not.

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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby NigelTittysh » Sun Jan 18, 2015 3:25 am

I've never personally experienced a problem with rally points when the orders requirements and command cards in FireGraft are modified.

As I illustrated in my response, you can't make them visible to all players without using a weapon that's on the stats box in the center of the screen. However, a potential workaround would be listing all weapons for each unit on that unit's display weapon (i.e. if the Marine had 2 attacks, list them both on the Gauss Rifle string), and then just calling the stuff via iscript.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby IskatuMesk » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:25 am

I wouldn't bother with sc1 at this stage in time. Not when there's Unreal, or, if you like pain but want your ideas to not require programming skills, sc2.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Sun Jan 18, 2015 11:43 am

Unfortunately, my modeling skills are... Well, crap. I can't make anything detailed enough that it would look good in a non-sprite based game, which is why I was sticking to SC1. Since then, I've gotten better over the years, but not by much. (three links; early 2008, late 2009 and 2011)

If I were to implement these models in a 3d system, I would also have to spend hours repairing them (normals on my models tend to get messed up if I don't pay attention to them) then more hours preparing them for UV maps, then try to make textures for them. This is the reason I didn't go with SC2 in the first place.

The other alternative would be to implement them in a game where the game's limitations discourage high detail models. Star Wars: Empire at War was a consideration, but I don't know enough people who play that game to help me with testing AND I can't get EAW's expansion to run on Windows 7 for some reason.

I could just say "f*** making an RTS," and try to implement them in another game, maybe an X-wing Alliance mod or use another easy to mod space sim. My models might be a bit too detailed for XWA, though... If you look at the polycount of each model in that game, it makes my models look like they were pulled from a modern game. The Selveris Dreadnaught (pictured above), probably has a higher polycount than an Imperial-II Star Destroyer and its ENTIRE fighter complement.

Fitting multiple weapon tooltips into the capital weapons would work, actually. It would present a wall of text, though, but it would work.

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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby IskatuMesk » Sun Jan 18, 2015 4:27 pm

Your models are fine for a 3d game. Sc2 discourages high detail models, as evident by the default assets. Most of the details would be in the textures. If you're trying to compare your models to mine, don't. My models turn into a moire mess at sc2's camera distance (and the game has no "real" anti-aliasing so that doesn't help). There are only some critical things to make note of. Firstly, edgeflow and tricount. If you are using 3ds max or maya I guess that's easy to keep track of (and you need max for the art tools to begin with). Sc2 can handle 3-4 million polygons of units onscreen with about 1-2 fps loss on dated hardware. Just don't be using nurbs and you should be fine. The thing about mechanical units is you can kind of cheat with UV's. I managed to make a UV one time, and I'm a total moron. I can make a short video to show you how to optimize for 3ds max if you want. Lavarinth recommended Roadkill for UV'ing, which is what I used the one time for the Onslaught Juggernaut, but be fucked if I remember how to do that.

I'd just stay away from modding in general at this stage unless you're super comfortable in a game (super comfortable for sc1 being, "I can reverse engineer this game and get exactly what I want out of it), because Unreal 3-4 offer basically anything you want with the right skills and are way more pleasant to work with. If I knew organic modeling or had even a rudimentary understanding of C++, I'd probably ditch sc2 and go into Unreal 4. But I also wouldn't make an RTS in Unreal, because to be honest, I can't best Brood War, and my game ideas are better shown in other genres.

At this stage, if you are asking "is it worth it to try this project?" my gut reflex is always to say "if you're questioning it this early in, then no". I modded bw for over 10 years and I would never touch it again because I don't know ASM. I modded Sins for over 5 years and I wouldn't touch it again either, no one sane would. Same with wc3, homeworld 2, whatever. The reasons are all the same - it's too much work to do something worth doing and they are all limited. Working in a limited engine sucks. In sc1 you can't even add .dat entries. I can't even fathom going back to that.

Now the same can be said for sc2. Sc2 is kind of like an inverse of BW. In BW, all of the tools are relatively user friendly (I helped BK with Datedit layout design to ensure this) and functional. In sc2, the editor is an intern weekend project and is extremely slow and about as unintuitive as you can get with software. So, simple things like changing health values and names and stuff in BW are super simple, while in sc2 even the most mundane tasks are rendered colossal in time investment. No one in their right mind chooses Starcraft 2 for any kind of actual project. A few people have cobbled together fairly rudimentary campaigns, but otherwise the most you ever see is brogrammers trying to pass off kitbashes as custom models and castlefight 2.2 as something new. That's why the arcade is hyper stagnant. All the people looking to make mods took one look at sc2 on release, puked, and jumped ship.

On the flip side, however, sc2 can do basically anything you wanted to do in BW that required exe edits - EXCEPT for things like good performance, a huge chunk of valuable triggers, and a lot of AI-related things. That's still hardcoded and untouchable. For now. (I'm tempted to get it reversed if my campaign goes places). If you are patient, yes. You can make something in sc2 literally no one has even dreamed of doing. Hks cobbled together a much more functional B&D AI in like two week's time with zero previous experience - something even the "masters" of sc2 mapping couldn't even attempt. They all thought it was either impossible or too much work to invest in. Hell, people at mapster still think you can't put custom AI into a dependency for some reason!

I've done basically all that can be done in sc1 without knowing how to reverse engineer. So maybe I am a bit biased. But I think if you're going to spend a ton of time on something - and make no mistake, even small projects in sc1 are a ton of time - it should be done to the full extent of your abilities and made all it can be. That's why I stuck to campaigns/TC's, and not little dota/castlefight clones like what sc2 is nearly exclusively comprised of at the moment. So, refuse to confine to the limits and learn exe editing, or dive into something that will last you a lifetime, like Unreal.

But I won't fault you for sticking to sc1 either. You can fault me for sticking to sc2. It really is a stupid, untested pile of junk. But I think that, all the same, I can do more with it than was possible in sc1. It's all about dat commitment. But if you're serious. Like, really serious. Ditch modding and never look back. Take a look at Unreal 4. If the sub fee is too much, go for the UDK. There's no reason to mod in this day and age if you really want to get into major work. If you can learn UV'ing and texturing there is very little you cannot make, and that kind of freedom would be very liberating.

Whatever you choose to do, good luck. It's great to see some people still want to make actual projects. If you get it completed, send me a saucy PM and I might be able to help you with voice acting.

/e typos. don't post and edit videos at once.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Sun Jan 18, 2015 7:13 pm

I'd rather record myself eating broken glass and upload it to Youtube than touch SC2's map editor again. It was a headache figuring out how to even add a new unit and every time I tried to modify certain entry types, it seemed to hang for a few seconds, sometimes a whole minute (and potentially crash after that,) before I could do anything else. I'd be better off learning to use UDK or Cryengine than considering SC2 a viable platform to make anything on.

I'm not really starting a new project, but finishing an old one. Most of the units already have sprites or will have one soon enough, from there I need to scripts a lot of them. I'm disappointed with myself for not finishing this when I started it back in 2009 and lack a better medium to present my universe in.

I am finally kicking my ass into gear and trying to get back on track to getting into video game development since my retail and food delivery jobs seem to have a habit of making me hate my own existence and those are the only things I'm qualified for at this point in life. The mod is more of a hobby at this point, something to tinker with in my spare time when I need to take a break from the larger project and none of my friends are online to game with.

I'm in planning stages for a standalone game which I was planning to make a proof of concept demo of in Unity to present to a small developer or indie game company, maybe even a Kickstarter project if the other options don't prove fruitful. That project has been the focus of my time lately. I just want to make sure I have all of the ideas and have everything ready to make before I reinstall Unity and take time to learn it.

The biggest issue is, from the very beginning, my models were not originally intended to be game assets beyond the Starcraft mod, they were more along the lines of 3D concept art. Also, I don't use 3ds Max or Maya, I use an older version of Blender, which makes working with most engines a little frustrating. I couldn't adjust to the post 2.49b era for Blender, which is supposed to make it function more like Maya and 3ds Max, so I doubt I could make the switch over to either of those without ripping hair out.

I feel like I would be wasting your time asking for your help with voice acting, but I will keep your offer in mind. (I'm a subscriber to your Youtube channel and love your voice demos.)

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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby IskatuMesk » Sun Jan 18, 2015 9:34 pm

Try not to get too disappointed about not finishing things. I get hung up way too much on that myself and it only slows you down.

If stand-alone games and such are your goal, your time is best invested into an actual SDK. Sc1 only teaches you bad habits and how to hack your way around bad design that shouldn't ever exist to begin with in an engine. Virtually nothing I learned in my years of modding is at all useful for a game project, except for QA.

I have a tutorial video for breaking into max somewhere if you ever want to get into it. Granted, I'm not a good modeler, so the explanations may be kind of lame. But it helped some people.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Mon Jan 19, 2015 4:50 am

It's more that I was trying to prove to myself that I could actually finish a project if I was determined enough and failed.

I agree with what you're saying about SC1 modding not teaching you much in terms of skills usable in game development. You could argue that it's practice at modeling, voice acting and other asset creation skills, but that's about it.

For now, I'm looking at Unity instead of UDK, it's easier to get into for a solo person like myself, it seems to be fully compatible with Blender models and there is an asset store on the website with engine-ready goodies, some of which are completely free (which saves a lot of time in getting that proof of concept demo going!) I just have a scripting language to learn and I should be good to go on that once I have everything fully planned out.

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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby UntamedLoli » Mon Jan 19, 2015 10:21 am

I personally wouldn't touch Unity with an 80ft pole even if someone was paying me.

I've been learning UE4 myself the last while and its way easier to learn than anything else I've used. Zak Parrish and his amazing tutorial videos alone would make it worth it. Epic is also really involved with their community to help out and get things fixed. It also comes with a fair bit of free content.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby mark_009_vn » Mon Jan 19, 2015 6:29 pm

Ardis wrote:Blender models


You don't really wanna be using Blender to make 3d assets for games. It has really limited exporting potential and most of the plugin and stuff are for the internal rendered, and not useful for any games so to speak.

:P

If you are serious in wanting to improve in 3d modelling, try learning how to draw the design in mind in a sheet of paper then figure out how you gonna achieve it in 3d, that way you can separate the artistic part of the creation process from the more technical aspect of 3d modelling.

It doesn't need to be a high class illustration, sketchy ones are fine, it just need to roughly translate your vision into a tangible form (in a sheet of paper) for future reference.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby IskatuMesk » Mon Jan 19, 2015 7:10 pm

Unity is like using GNU/HURD because the stallman uses it. Unreal has basically everything you described and is an actual engine and the SDK isn't infested with malware.
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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby Ardis » Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:57 pm

mark_009_vn wrote:Pirate 3DMax


Nope. My pirating days are behind me. I'd sooner deal with Blender's exporting issues than pirate 3DMax.

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Re: It's been a long time.

Postby NigelTittysh » Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:16 pm

Aren't you the same person who released that campaign that mesk made fun of a while back? I think you said the same thing about chewing broken glass then as you did now.
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