Like everything else the ingame shit looks TOTALLY different. Personally when I'm done the campaign I'm cracking open the mpq and searching for every ship model I can find and seeing what they look like in 3ds max. Yes, I plan to bring the hi poly stuff into ingame. I'm not too worried about performance unless their bc exceeds 200k polies for some silly reason, which I doubt. Failing that I will kitbash the existing bc into spec. I can't stand how they look ingame.
I've given a lot of thought to what I'd make in sc2 if I was to try something. I briefly tried to just make a simple missile cruiser and failed horribly after 3 hours of trying. That is insane. Now, I'm used to learning veeery slowly and doing stupid shit (I spent an entire day fucking with a custom hydra in ICE back in 2000-2001 trying to get it to not crash only to discover it was the underlay not having the correct frames...) but this editor's layout is what makes it a mess. Even the most basic of tasks are rendered ridiculously complex.
Actor and Modeldata are best compared to iscript but you can't do anything in them NEARLY as fast. No, it's not because iscript is text and they are ui, it's not because I'm not a programmer, it's exclusively because of the way the editor is laid out and how vague everything is. Maybe if I throw myself at it I'll get the hang of it, but the learning curve is by FAR the steepest I have ever seen in a game thus far. And I have modded many games. I'd compare it to FX editing in Homeworld 2 - only one or two people ever really got the hang of that, and they weren't good enough to make high-quality shit like what we saw at the end of BW's modding lifespan.
But what makes it worse than the complexity is the layout. A complex subject can be easy to break into if the layout is coherent, organized, and user-friendly. Which this editor is the exact opposite of.
You know The Great Destroyer? I hammered out that unit in two hours tops minus rendering. I hammered out the particles, I got the graphic rigged and sent it to HKS to recolor, I did all the weapons and explosions and sounds. It took me a year to get the voice to sound exactly like how I wanted, and I spent weeks trying to fix a hardcoded bug associated with how SC handles flying units and move commands. But the unit itself was fully functional within a few hours tops, scratch to ingame.
There is a billion things at work when I set to do something as big and complicated as TGD. I attempted a scripting technique I had NEVER attempted before - obsessive use of calls and returns to trigger his taunts and conserve as much script space as possible (I was balls-deep in the iscript.bin size limit and was shaving off every bit of unnecessary code I could to fit in my last few units).
Yeah, I'm experienced. Yeah, I worked my pipeline down to perfection in terms of efficiency. But you know what? TGD is NOT complicated. He employs a few key concepts and a bit of creativity, but the mechanics are very simple, very easy to create. The only time investment to get that far in BW modding is to read a bit of my bible at most.
Remember Laconius? HKS and I tutored him off-handedly very briefly for a short time. Now look at his campaign and his footage for VE II. He did that all himself and within very short time and only a little bit of hand holding. With sc2 I've been long waiting for someone to come out with something ultra flashy and awesome. I see some neat trigger systems but nothing making use of them. I see some very cheap "boss battle" type maps with the bosses having a single ability and some very generic mechanics.
The most BASIC boss battle I planned for AO was a guy who blinked around a room and shot Hunting Souls at you, that you had to smash into pillars to avoid. Smashing the pillars killed the missile but also the pillar, so you had a finite amount of times to do that. Then you have to smash them into him. Or you could smash them into the shadows he summons. The shadows don't enter light, they hide in the darkness. Light generated by projectiles, some torches, and exploding pillars. So they stay away from this stuff, but as the fight goes on it becomes darker and you get raped if you go into the darkness.
That's just phase 1. His fight has like 3 phases. And he's a mini-boss. The concept is based on little to no "trash" mobs and more boss battles, more interesting fights.
This phase 1 would be totally undoable in SC1 and require a shitton of work in wc3. I know it can be done in wc3 though. You'd need a physics engine for the projectile and auras for the lights and Shadows. Doing stuff like the Boss himself, his basic non-physics based abilities, his minions, his transitions, ect. are all easy and I can do those in like 5 minutes tops.
In sc2 I imagine you can do that no problem I imagine. You can even have LOS-based detection. But the basic stuff, like making the boss, his basic spells, and the Shadows, takes freaking forever and I have no idea how to even create custom projectiles without them appearing miles underneath the unit. HKS had that issue when he was XML modding in early beta and he STILL doesn't know how the fuck that happens despite having worked with the game way more than I have.
Sc2's engine and editor are both immensely powerful and I have no doubt that given the same quantity of time I had with sc1 (ten years) I could make AO2 in sc2. But I don't want to spend ten years to make in sc2 what I made in sc1 within three months tops. That includes all of the insane out of bounds experimenting I was doing in AO - I tried EVERYTHING I had wanted to try and ideas people threw me. Almost all of them were impossible due to the game's limitations but I tried them.
Thing is, Armageddon Onslaught is impossible inside Starcraft 2. Why? It's a mod. Starcraft 2 does not (currently) support mods. If it did, I'd get banned for posting it. Why? It has demons and violence in it. It has religious and moral ethics. That's just the gametype conversion. The actual campaign, which if I made I'd do from the start (I was even contemplating going to the extreme and making a campaign out of the battle for Olympus, but I'd be setting myself up for a workload twice as large as Oracle's easily, I'd need custom graphics for every. single. thing.), would be such a monumental amount of work just
because of how inefficient the editor is.
The reason SC1 campaigns were made in such numbers and so quickly is not because you were young. It was because everything in the editor was simple and streamlined because of that simplicity. SC2's editor could
be that fast. The complexity and learning curve would remain but they would be rendered much more malleable by the introduction of an efficient and well-designed interface.
I've worked with a lot of games, a lot of teams, people, concepts and ideas. I've modded terrible games like Homeworld 2 and Dawn of War, I've modded difficult and unpredictable games with no information but great editors like Brood War, and I've been dragged into disasters like Warcraft 3. I can tell you that the single biggest factor for a modding community is facilitating growth. A complicated subject that basically drums down to,
- Is it easy to get into? Most people who make campaigns or mods will NEVER finish them. But if you cut the pool of people who try
it to 1/32, that's also 1/32 the people who will ever succeed. Only dedicated people of the utmost mental fortitude will see a campaign in Brood War to the end. It's still a monumental undertaking. If you take away the editor and ingame stuff, you've still got writing and voice acting at the very least
to work out. Oracle will tell you that's a hell of a challenge. I know, because I voice acted dialogue for many concepts just to get a feel for characters and settings. And doing proper dialogue? It's not going to go by fast. And a campaign has a shitton of dialogue, even a simple one. This workload alone causes teams to crumble.
- Is the game open? Starcraft 2 is fucking open dude. AFAIk the AI is almost totally softcoded. This is the shit of dreams, you don't get this with games outside of UT and Source. But this capability is suffocated by needless overcomplication and arbitrary restrictions which would not have been necessary if Blizzard wasn't trying to re-invent the wheel with Battle.net. I've been told that Activision has nothing to do with this, but I find it impossible to believe that B.net 2.0 is Blizzard's exclusive work. At least the decisions behind it. They make no fucking sense at all. The game itself is open but the platform you are required to put maps on is FATAL to custom content in every possible way. This is a worst case scenario for people like me.
To make a campaign you can do what Ricky told me to do. Make a very basic map that acts as a menu to load the Campaign missions. The missions themselves and their content are not published on B.net. You dodge every single one of their rules and restrictions. That is the only redeeming thing about this game that will let projects like Oracle's live. I really feel bad for the guy. He's put so much work into the game before it's even out and I can't imagine what it must feel like to be staring down a barrel like that.
I can't make multiplayer projects anymore, period. Not for sc2. Modding is dead, and mapping has yet to truly get off the ground. I've seen a handful of neat projects but 90% of what I see are proof of concepts. There's still two expansions to go and I'm sure a couple of great maps will show up. But you know what I see a lot more? People getting fed up with the editor and with Blizzard's restrictions.
Fuck, I needed a good rant.
Some things about sc2's editor I just don't get, like water placement. Why not do it the right way from the start? Water placement is so unbelievably clunky. And cliff levels... only 2 cliffs and 1 unpathable sublevel? Who the fuck thought these were improvements over wc3? These are the boneheaded decisions that get at me the most with this game.
But word's getting out. http://arstechnica.com/gaming/news/2010 ... ontent.ars