Aleph One 1.3a1: testers wanted

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Re: Aleph One 1.3a1: testers wanted

Post Jan 16th '16, 20:39

3371-Alpha wrote:So Hopper, do you think you can find it in your heart to reimplement legacy OS X support by the time of the final release?

No.
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Hopper

Post Jan 17th '16, 22:06

Please get an old computer.
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Jan 24th '16, 21:12

I want Aleph One to survive, meaning that people continue to play and enjoy the Marathon games and third-party scenarios. (Content creation is important too, but that's a job for tools like Weland and ShapeFusion.) With that goal in mind, I set three development priorities, in order:

  1. Aleph One needs to run properly on the latest hardware and software. The Brightness preference is an example of something broken or poorly implemented on newer systems.
  2. The presentation needs to be "modern enough" for new users to give the games a chance. This means adding things 1995 players didn't miss, but modern players expect. Floating HUD and quick saves are examples we've made progress on; multiplayer hosting and mouse support are examples where we're currently lacking.
  3. Aleph One should be playable for as many people as possible.
If we had a larger development team, I'd happily spend all my time on 2 because that's the most fun for me. But for now, I'm doing the lion's share of all of those. For the 1.2 release, I spent an inordinate amount of time on 3 to include all 1.1-supported systems, to the extent that 1 and 2 suffered.

The next release will be all about priority 1, and to make that happen without losing my sanity, Aleph One will have higher minimum system requirements. Those aren't defined yet, but likely to include 10.7+ for Macs, and GLSL shader support for any OpenGL functionality. My plan is to pick the most forward-compatible solutions, and then see what systems get left out, rather than choosing a "minimum spec" to work from. I will run betas where you can give feedback, but some people will inevitably be disappointed.

I have no objection to anyone porting future Aleph One versions to PowerPC or other unsupported systems, similar to the TenFourFox project. In fact, I find it cool whenever someone ports Aleph One to some obscure mobile device, even though that work isn't my cup of tea. However, I will not accept patches from porting projects which make it harder to maintain and improve Aleph One for supported systems.
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Hopper

Post Jan 25th '16, 00:10

Regardless of the supported platforms, I do have advice for items (plugins specifically) you could include with the final release to make it appeal to newer users. First there's an HD infinity monsters plugin (found here: http://simplici7y.com/items/infinity-mo ... d-plugin-2 ) By herecomethej2000. It's said to have a few glitches on M2 according to some reviews (never tried it on M2 so I don't know) but from experience works just fine on infinity. There's also my plugin (Alpha's Redux) that's based on tim4i's old M1redux-wepons plugin modified to work on the official Marathon. As a beginner I can say it's not the most amazing plugin, but it dose give the first Marathon's weapons a cleaner more modern feel.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Jan 25th '16, 03:06

We didn't use the XBLA monsters for Infinity because not all of them are covered. Better to have all low res than a mix of hi res and low res. Including the XBLA monsters even in M2 was a controversial choice--but we had our reasons.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 25th '16, 03:56

treellama wrote:we had our reasons.

I hope you reported all the money you received to the IRS.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Jan 25th '16, 23:50

treellama wrote:We didn't use the XBLA monsters for Infinity because not all of them are covered. Better to have all low res than a mix of hi res and low res.

Understandable. If someone were to (hypothetically speaking) finish this plugin or even make a version for Marathon 1 would you accept it?
There's also a fork of the Freeverse HD weapons plugin (found here: http://simplici7y.com/items/hd-weaps-plugin-for-minf ) also made by herecomethej2000. The only real difference vs. the original is that it's of higher resolution & has bloom effects. The only real disadvantage I see is that the textures are png instead of dds. Also it seems to crash when used in M2. In the end it's up to you, these are just helpful things I've found.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Jan 26th '16, 05:07

First off, we're not in any particular rush to add graphic enhancements. Given the number of deliberately pixelated indie games, I wouldn't be surprised if more players prefer the original shapes to ones which still can't compare to AAA studio talent.

In my opinion, the best argument for adding the XBLA plugins was historical significance. Freeverse's assets were approved by Bungie and the console release exposed a new audience to Marathon. By bundling them, Aleph One can appeal to the nostalgia of those who found the game on Xbox, not just those who played on Mac or PC in the '90s.

Regardless of quality, no community mod has that historical context. We kept the bar extremely high to avoid fights about which mods are better. Goran's Infinity textures received universal praise, and the Marathon TTEP textures were the result of multiple years of collaboration and refinement. No weapon or sprite enhancement has reached that level of community agreement, so we only added the SMG and Marathon HUD done by the original Freeverse team to match the XBLA style.

I'd be open to including Infinity monsters if the plugin only added Infinity-specific sprites and did not include bloom effects or other changes. Art is extremely subjective, and we can't include every mod out there, so it's better to be conservative than to invite arguments about "why is X bundled but not Y".
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Hopper

Post Jan 26th '16, 18:20

Even I wouldn't advocate putting those forked plugins in the main release. They are just a mod, things that I thought were interesting. I really wanted to see just how far we could get with what we had, and for the most part I feel was fairly successful. That said there are a lot of rough edges and a few of the infinity only objects/monsters are quite absent. If I had to do it again, I would redo those blooms. For me the low res vac bobs wasn't as grating, as they were clearly not hand drawn, like the other sprites, and so I feel somewhat match the aesthetic of the freeverse sprites. Not to mention the HD sprites aren't actually that much larger then the original sprites. Professional looking hand drawn sprites for fan projects really are a rare thing. Of all the open source projects I know, there is only one fan project that did it well, and that is the Star Control 2 remake Ur-Quan Masters HD.
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herecomethej2000
Ledyard, CT

Post Jan 27th '16, 02:28

I asked treellama about 300 years ago (c. 2007) if he'd consider including the CTF script with Aleph One, even going so far as asking him to replace the actual CTF functionality with it. Although I understand why he rejected this proposal, I honestly think my reasoning was more sound than including a graphical enhancement. I think Marathon's textures and sprites look better than the replacements.

Why? You might think I'm averse to change, which I suppose I am, but it's in line with that old saying about polishing a turd. A repeating "rock" or "natural" pattern over a 4x5 WU wall that can only be perpendicular to the floor still looks pretty bad regardless of the resolution. Sprites are even worse, because they are much crisper but can still only have so many frames of animation and can only be viewed from eight directions. It's similar to the problem with having large sprites in marathon. A juggernaut that is easily 15 feet to a side appears to turn 45 degrees instantaneously. A sprite that's not fuzzy has the same kind of problem.

CTF, unlike those sprites, was not present in the original Marathon engines, and the implementation in Aleph One is really bad. I played one or two games of the original CTF before I decided it was total garbage; if not for W'rk, a more experienced FPS gamer, I would have assumed the game type sucked everywhere. I'm glad he went ahead and redesigned the whole thing. From my point of view in 2007, there was no reason not to include the CTF script. Lua scripts are small and are opt-in features rather than opt-out. Textures, like the ones regrettably bundled with the de facto data files, are opt-out. It irritates me quite a bit, actually. I'd rather not have to disable yet another high-resolution plugin.

Aside from all of this, assuming ego isn't the real reason you want the Aleph One developers to bundle something of yours with the engine, there's the issue of updates. What do you do when Aleph One is released with Arms Race v1.1 and a week later a game-breaking bug forces me to release v1.2? Hopper's a busy guy, and I don't want him to stop fixing boost problems.

I think simplici7y is just fine for all of this stuff. I mentioned to treellama the other night some kind of Lua script DB by which a host may browse a list of scripts online and choose one to host with. That seems like a good way to keep up with the latest version of some script, and it hits lazy people where they live. It might be worthwhile for netmaps as well. But there are a lot of things to consider with such a thing, and I don't flatter myself anymore that my dumb ideas will make it into the engine through someone else's effort. I already used up my three Aleph One wishes with embedded shapes patches, embedded Lua, and the ill-fated .falg command.
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Jan 27th '16, 23:55

I understand Hopper, but is it just me or does the SD monsters & scenery with HD texture feel a little out of place. I understand that it's a bad idea to include incomplete plugins but just to make the game uniform it might be a good idea to add some eventually.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Jan 28th '16, 05:31

irons wrote:I mentioned to treellama the other night some kind of Lua script DB by which a host may browse a list of scripts online and choose one to host with. That seems like a good way to keep up with the latest version of some script, and it hits lazy people where they live. It might be worthwhile for netmaps as well.

+1

On the subject of CTF, one of my long-term goals is to kick as much as possible out of the engine core into Lua. For net scripts, that means turning the built-in set of game types to a set of Lua scripts, and separating "game type" from "enhancement" scripts so that Lua game types don't preclude other netscripts (Red Light forever). If we extricated the current CTF from its hardcoded place in the engine, it's a much easier sell to replace it with a better one, or at least make CTFalg less of a second-class citizen.
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Hopper

Post Jan 28th '16, 05:35

3371-Alpha wrote:I understand that it's a bad idea to include incomplete plugins but just to make the game uniform it might be a good idea to add some eventually.

I did not rule it out at all. In my last paragraph, I even described an HD monster plugin I would add, if it existed.
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Hopper

Post Jan 28th '16, 07:05

Hopper wrote:On the subject of CTF, one of my long-term goals is to kick as much as possible out of the engine core into Lua.


As someone who's more interested in scripting than coding, +1 to that. It would be nice if, at some point, a gatherer could simply enable all the stuff he likes - an arbitrary number of scripts - and not worry about net scripts vs. game type scripts vs. HUD scripts etc.

The discussion of what plugins/extras are or aren't included in the download doesn't seem important, though. So long as it's made very obvious to the downloader that modifications and places like Simplici7y exist, people can customize the experience to their liking.
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Crater Creator

Post Jan 28th '16, 19:58

Crater Creator wrote:The discussion of what plugins/extras are or aren't included in the download doesn't seem important, though. So long as it's made very obvious to the downloader that modifications and places like Simplici7y exist, people can customize the experience to their liking.

At one point we intended to reach an audience that wouldn't be able to easily install plugins. So we included the floating HUDs, hi-res textures, etc. And so as not to make our download system extra confusing, we made all the releases work like that.

::shrug:: not great but at least you can still get them to work like the originals.
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treellama
Pittsburgh

Post Jan 29th '16, 02:50

Crater Creator wrote:It would be nice if, at some point, a gatherer could simply enable all the stuff he likes - an arbitrary number of scripts - and not worry about net scripts vs. game type scripts vs. HUD scripts etc.

I'd hate to join a game where the gatherer tries to enable an arbitrary number of game types!

I agree one shouldn't have to worry about Lua vs. built-in types, or about choosing between modifiers. Simplici7y shouldn't need umpteen variations of "no friendly fire + stop camping + frisbee golf" combo scripts.
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Hopper

Post Jan 29th '16, 06:23

But... you haven't really played Marathon until you've played a match of Hill the Every Man with the Rugby Flag! [spnkr]
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Crater Creator

Post Feb 1st '16, 17:16

I have one final proposition. You could include the M2 HD scenery plugin (http://simplici7y.com/items/hd-scenery) with infinity. I've used it before I found the Infinity monsters plugin. According to it's description, it works with infinity but doesn't modify Jjaro scenery.
PowerMac G5 Dual 2.0GHz 2003 (Model: 7,2)
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (Leopard)
7GB RAM (OWC PC-3200U-30330 DDR SDRAM 400MHz)
ATi Radeon X800 XT (GPU overclocked to 500MHz, VRAM to 550MHz)
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3371-Alpha
Veldin Orbit

Post Feb 13th '16, 14:47

for some reason I can't delete this post, but I can delete others? ... anyhow, see below
Last edited by Zetren on Feb 15th '16, 18:24, edited 2 times in total.
Zetren
Ireland

Post Feb 15th '16, 17:52

~
Last edited by Zetren on Feb 15th '16, 18:23, edited 2 times in total.
Zetren
Ireland

Post Feb 15th '16, 18:21

(Placed into one post for clarity)

A few issue which I found while playing Marathon on this engine version:

1. ----- I noticed that after playing this alpha, trying to launch Marathon 1.2.1 became impossible. Double clicking it did nothing, and no processes relating to it were present in the task manager. I'm on Windows 10 x64.

UPDATE: removing the 1.3a1 files and putting the 1.2.1 files in their place made launching the 1.2.1 exe work, which suggests to me a registry issue.

2. ----- Full screen antialiasing and vsync are not working on my Intel HD 5500 integrated graphics chip on Windows 10 x64 with driver version 15.40.18.4380 and 15.40.12.4326 whether set to OpenGl (Shader) or OpenGL (Classic).

I'm on an ASUS x555LAB, this issue applies to this version and 1.2.1.

And yes, my control panel is set to application controlled.

UPDATE: applying 4x antialiasing forces vsync, regardless of whether the vysnc box is ticked, but It only forces it if I turn off AA and turn it back on before playing each time. But AA never works under any combination, unless forced from the control panel (in Intel's CMAA fashion, as FSAA cannot be forced in my control panel). Bizarre.

3. ----- Disabling auto-switch weapons doesn't work in singleplayer. When the rounds of my pistol or AR deplete, I still fall back on another weapon
Last edited by Zetren on Mar 8th '16, 21:51, edited 1 time in total.
Zetren
Ireland

Post Feb 15th '16, 19:26

Zetren wrote:3. ----- Disabling auto-switch weapons doesn't work in singleplayer. When the rounds of my pistol or AR deplete, I still fall back on another weapon


I thought that setting just meant that when you pick up a new weapon, the game doesn't automatically switch you to holding that weapon against your will.
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PerseusSpartacus
Somewhere in the 19th Century...

Post Feb 15th '16, 23:56

PerseusSpartacus wrote:
Zetren wrote:3. ----- Disabling auto-switch weapons doesn't work in singleplayer. When the rounds of my pistol or AR deplete, I still fall back on another weapon


I thought that setting just meant that when you pick up a new weapon, the game doesn't automatically switch you to holding that weapon against your will.

You are correct.
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irons
(.Y.)

Post Feb 16th '16, 00:49

Does vsync really make a difference for a game that can't exceed 30 fps?
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Crater Creator

Post Feb 16th '16, 10:56

irons wrote:
PerseusSpartacus wrote:
Zetren wrote:3. ----- Disabling auto-switch weapons doesn't work in singleplayer. When the rounds of my pistol or AR deplete, I still fall back on another weapon


I thought that setting just meant that when you pick up a new weapon, the game doesn't automatically switch you to holding that weapon against your will.

You are correct.


Thanks for the clarification.

Crater Creator wrote:Does vsync really make a difference for a game that can't exceed 30 fps?


Seemingly. Vsync forced -- game doesn't tear. Vsync disabled -- massive tearing.
Zetren
Ireland

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