Draydak Apr 03, 2018 11:32 am
Subject: MAX Hobby project

Thanks for the nice welcome guys, as suggested made a separate thread for this. related thread is the 3D models

I'll try to keep this brief, a video would probably be better to show and tell... maybe one day, WARNING ramblings of a hobbyist incoming... if your not interested skip to the pics below Wink

So I started my project as a hobby some time ago but only really focused on it the last few months. It's very early on in the process but the basics are down. I've chosen Unity as the base engine because it's in my opinion the most user friendly and allows cross platform building. I'm pretty good with C# and have learnt a lot more doing this project Grinning

Started with movement, good old A* this does limit map sizes a little. I've re-written my implementation that many times to improve performance and tried other methods of path-finding. I'm now happy with it's performance at the moment and have some ideas on how I could extend the map to be 2-3 times bigger than original MAX game perhaps more.

Next I went about getting engineers and constructors working, along with basic infrastructure. This means the computer as-well as human players can build their base and imo the AI is not too far off what the original MAX created. I have put into place a basic structure to do "missions" and campaigns.

Light plant, heavy plant are in and working... modular code base means I can add air-plant anytime without much hassle / time for human player. Some time will need to be spent balancing the AI production levels.

My main focus at the moment is Combat A.I. moving from basic, find target and attack to more complex using influence maps to avoid high risk areas and to define defenses. Working on some basic tactics at moment and eventually grouped unit mechanics.

My decision to go 3D was in part because I can't draw worth a damn but I'm not half bad with a 3D model. Hence my GUI is abysmal Laughing

I know there was some mention of "how about make the game 3D" well there are a few con's off the bat. "MAX Connectors" are a great idea and I value the strategy element it adds. But in 3D when you take into account scale of buildings and units you need to consider a) where they get positioned and b) how they are going to connect and look in 3D. I'm tempted to make them ground based in my project.

Then you have "Line of Sight" which would push you into the direction of MAX 2, I've decided against this. But it does cause some issues, if you have a large hill / mountain in your map as a feature. Your units have range to shoot the other side how do you handle projectiles? it's awkward without line of sight.

The same can be said of buildings, you will often find your units look like they are firing through a building. Especially when you have larger bases setup if it's a long match. To that end I have limited how many actual projectiles get seen to travel, at the moment it is literally only missiles which can be seen.

Buildings, placing on a 3D terrain you need to restrict / consider how big your slopes are or it can become problematic. It's still giving me issues, a foundation only gives you so much flexibility. I'm flattening the terrain slightly when I place a building, that may change again in future.

Maps: I have built some basic tools to help my with my map building. At moment it mainly identifies Land or Water, I will extend it to classify big slopes as "no entry" since this is another issues in 3D you need to consider what sort of ground your units can reasonably move over. At moment I'm manually having to define obstacles which is not ideal.

Models: Since there is no commercial value for me in this I tried to limit myself to 1 Day per model. Some took less, others longer and hopefully they got better the more I did. I want to revisit some but my priority is to get the A.I. code working to a certain level first. I also tried to keep a close approximation to the MAX originals, because I always liked the feel and the style.

Sadly the more I examined and probed the original models the more I felt some were flawed designs / concepts for vehicles... even of the future. The constructor was the worst and I could not decipher what it was supposed to be so I just made something industrial looking.

OK enough of my ramblings... I will post a few pics of models below

What models are done, as in made "game ready" with textures:
All Turrets, Radar, Storage Unit, Gold Vault, Fuel Depot, Heavy Plant, LVP, Air Plant, Constructor, Engineer, Scout, Tank, Missile Crawler, Rocket Launcher, Mobile Radar, Bridge, Water Platforms, Mining Station, Assault Gun, Surveyor, Power Generator

To-Do: All Air Units, All Sea Units, Refinery, Barracks, Research, Mine Layer, Supply Truck, Fuel Truck, Repair Unit and probably more

Draydak Apr 03, 2018 11:55 am
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

Here is my attempt at the Gun Turret and yes you can actually zoom in and see this level of detail in-game. Yes there is a nasty face or two I need to fix but I was rushing Shy

Draydak Apr 03, 2018 12:09 pm
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

Heavy Vehicle Plant - bit dark here, better in game with full environment reflections etc.

Draydak Apr 03, 2018 12:42 pm
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

Artillery Turret

Sal Apr 03, 2018 9:03 pm
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

Great post, love every detail of it. A video would be nice, but I can live without one (for now :D)
If you want to use models made by ski or me, you can. The supply truck is a nifty little thing, if the polycount is and other issues don't break it for you.
The rendering look good and I hope to see more. I am little out of time lately, but I appreciate you shared your work.
Not much to add now, maybe soonish.

Draydak Apr 03, 2018 10:16 pm
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

As I mentioned in my first post this I'm just making this as a personal project, maybe I will release for free in distant future. But the way things are going highly unlikely, as it is far from being stable / usable.

To which end I would be happy to donate any assets to the MAXR project. I liked the idea mentioned in the other post of isometric MAX, it might be the best of both bringing more detail to MAX while not having the issues of full 3D. I don't have a great deal of time to donate to such a project but anything I have made I'm willing to pass over if it would help.

I see my time for hobby projects getting shorter soon, but that will not stop me... just slows things down, but that's life

.GodRage Apr 04, 2018 1:10 am
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

Hurra Woahhhh Yes i love this kind of topic! Heart Embarrassing

I thought isometric max could be the most reasonable way to "transform" MAX to 3D.
Once a day i played "Incubation" game (turn based game (but not strategy)), it was an isometric game in which we was able to see from the point of view of a soldier to check if the soldier was able to shoot a specific monster or not. We was also able to rotate the screen. And with theses 2 abilities i never got any trouble with the 3D.

I wish you the best for your hobby project. Grinning
Does your project has a name? A homepage somewhere? Innocent

Draydak Apr 04, 2018 8:43 am
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

It's just a baby project, without a name / homepage Grinning

At some point I am hoping to split off my code and make a commercially viable product which will have a name and all the works. While I make the MAX version work enough for me to play Wink

But this was just something I always wanted was to have a better MAX with working AI that doesn't crash at high turns. Which is also why I limited my time on the models. Because it's just for me and my dad who also became a MAX fan. Since I know the game type so well it seemed an ideal project to start with.

There are times when I regret picking a TBS style strategy game as my project because I didn't realize how complicated it will get. There's many ppl all over the web who say A.I. for such games is certainly not for the beginner. I guess I'm a little crazy Grinning

beko Apr 04, 2018 9:33 am
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

I just love the "Caution - this gun is dangerous - also loud" signs Laughing

xochipilli Apr 09, 2018 11:47 am
Subject: Re: MAX Hobby project

It' s looking superb allready, looking forward to see more.