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Scrapper_511

Wondering about a few things regarding the update

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I've been holding back on asking these questions about the upcoming update (been waiting instead for the update to arrive), but it turns out I couldn't bite my tongue beyond Q3 2019 😋 !

 

1. How will the new terrain affect hardware requirements?

 

2. How did the bridges, on-ramps, and adjustable height features turn out?

 

3. Any new 3D objects for the map editor?

 

4, Has the map-editor changed in functionality whatsoever?

 

5. Any new vehicles included?

 

6. How much for the new printed manual? What's the new content?

 

I hope these questions are harmless enough. Thanks in advance 👍...

 

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5 hours ago, Scrapper_511 said:

1. How will the new terrain affect hardware requirements?

Not at all, as far as we can say at this point. Performance seems to increase over 4.0 actually, although these are preliminary results. I will post the hardware recommendations in this forum, as soon as the beta testers have completed a broader survey of CPU and GPU combinations.

 

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2. How did the bridges, on-ramps, and adjustable height features turn out?

There will be features to build ramps (including curved ones), to raise or depress roads and streams. There's a leveling and smoothing tool for roads, and under buildings. To that extent the initial capability is there. It's the details that make things more defficult. If, say, you build a straight ramp with a continuous slope and the road for which you do this has a number of T-intersections along that ramp, chances are that each T-intersection will end up with a steep bump simply because roads going uphill are usually with variable slopes. So you'd need to build the ramps only from one intersection to the next. Which makes the tool difficult to use, as long as we don't complement it with additional functionality and automation functions.

We wanted to develop a new map editor, but ran into scheduling conflicts. So, that part of the job will need to be addressed in a future version.

 

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3. Any new 3D objects for the map editor?

Yes.

 

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4, Has the map-editor changed in functionality whatsoever?

Yes, see #2.

 

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5. Any new vehicles included?

Yes!

 

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6. How much for the new printed manual? What's the new content?

The manual is now 221 pages without cover (so, about 10% longer). We went through every chapter and tried to cross-check if what's written there is still accurate. Large parts of the Map Editor chapter and the file structure of map files had to be rewritten. So it's mostly about what's new in version 4.1 compared to previous versions (since our customers will continue to use older and the latest version for a while). The price will be comparable to previous printed manuals, but is not yet determined. We will offer preorders for manuals and bundles with other items that we'll offer with a substantial discount. But we still need to figure out the details.

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Exciting stuff! I'm eager to get at the released product, but I understand that quality takes time. 🙂

 

Thanks for the explanations. 

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2 hours ago, Ssnake said:

There will be features to build ramps (including curved ones), to raise or depress roads and streams. There's a leveling and smoothing tool for roads, and under buildings. To that extent the initial capability is there. It's the details that make things more defficult. If, say, you build a straight ramp with a continuous slope and the road for which you do this has a number of T-intersections along that ramp, chances are that each T-intersection will end up with a steep bump simply because roads going uphill are usually with variable slopes. So you'd need to build the ramps only from one intersection to the next. Which makes the tool difficult to use, as long as we don't complement it with additional functionality and automation functions.

We wanted to develop a new map editor, but ran into scheduling conflicts. So, that part of the job will need to be addressed in a future version.

 

Does this mean that we'll be able to modify, or perhaps even import our own heightmaps?

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In that respect, nothing has changes compare to previous versions. (IOW, you can import digital terrain data with the classroom version.)

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Posted (edited)

Does that means that we (Pro Pe) still won't be able to create our own maps by ourselves? :(

Edited by stormrider_sp

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47 minutes ago, stormrider_sp said:

Does that means that we (Pro Pe) still won't be able to create our own maps by ourselves? :(

 

13 hours ago, Ssnake said:

In that respect, nothing has changes compare to previous versions.

...

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5 hours ago, stormrider_sp said:

Does that means that we (Pro Pe) still won't be able to create our own maps by ourselves? :(

I'm confident you can find an existing height map that would suit your needs. You can then erase it of all terrain features, buildings, roads, etc. and build it from scratch. If you're interested in a particular real world location, you can try your luck requesting for it in the map request thread.

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18 hours ago, Scrapper_511 said:

I'm confident you can find an existing height map that would suit your needs. You can then erase it of all terrain features, buildings, roads, etc. and build it from scratch. If you're interested in a particular real world location, you can try your luck requesting for it in the map request thread.

You need to supply Dark, with the Data though.

Not sure where you get that though.

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Posted (edited)
37 minutes ago, Hedgehog said:

You need to supply Dark, with the Data though.

Not sure where you get that though.

 

I've already worked with stormrider_sp to create a map and he is aware of the current options (1. Post information in the thread for Dark, or 2. Find someone with the Mil Spec version).

 

He just wanted to know if he could do it himself in the new version - and it appears the answer is "no".

 

Edited by Gibsonm

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9 hours ago, Gibsonm said:

 

I've already worked with stormrider_sp to create a map and he is aware of the current options (1. Post information in the thread for Dark, or 2. Find someone with the Mil Spec version).

 

👍

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Posted (edited)
On 4/16/2019 at 5:30 AM, Ssnake said:

I will post the hardware recommendations in this forum, as soon as the beta testers have completed a broader survey of CPU and GPU combinations.

Thanks Ssnake. In the 'patch ETA' thread, you reiterated the difficulties involved in reprogramming legacy code. Out of curiosity, how much of the legacy code has been reworked up to this point? I mean, if there's such a thing as completion, how close are you folks to it? Do you see a day where the needs of an entirely new program/engine will supersede the need for backwards compatibility? It would suck to lose maps and scenarios but it sounds like a new program/engine would make updates easier?

 

Edit: Also, thanks for adding a new comment in the 'hardware requirement' thread. Great news there.

Edited by Scrapper_511

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I don't have a percentage for you.

What I can tell is that we would never release something that would invalidate maps and scenarios. Even a completely new engine would at least have to be able to import legacy scenarios and maps, and save them in the new format. You created all that content. We won't throw away what's not ours.

 

We have, indeed, discussed whether we should better start from scratch, or make a more "gradual transition". I think we have now a better understanding of the implications of a gradual transition. But even then, from scratch is a high risk development strategy. Say, we'd need two years to create some prototype that could then begun to be tested, and then another three years to add all the content and functionality that's in SB Pro as we know it. Five years later we end with a product that may be easier to maintain, but it's representative of the state of Steel Beasts five years before, just with new bugs that are, allegedly, easier and faster to fix. Where's the benefit for the customer? Why should anyone pay for this? You already have a version that works, and our promise would be to charge full price for something that is defined as "all new, and just as good" with, probably, the sole additional benefit of higher frame rates. That doesn't make sense, even if the most devoted Steel Beasts fans might actually be willing to pay, just to support our work. Thanks for that, but we also need to convince the average user.

 

The reality is, Steel Beasts isn't one computer game among many others that you play. If you want to master it, it's an entire hobby. Which is probably the hardest sell. And with a decision for development from scratch we'd just have doubled the price, and added five years of product stagnation. I may not be the world's greatest entrepreneur, but this doesn't sound exactly like a winning strategy to me. Maybe I'm just lacking the vision. ;)

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3 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I may not be the world's greatest entrepreneur, but this doesn't sound exactly like a winning strategy to me. Maybe I'm just lacking the vision. ;)

 

No, I think since you are carrying almost 100% of the risk, it seems prudent.

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11 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I may not be the world's greatest entrepreneur, but this doesn't sound exactly like a winning strategy to me. Maybe I'm just lacking the vision. ;)

Thanks for the feedback. I like your strategy of constantly polishing the legacy stuff and I think it's kept SBProPE reliable as a product and reassuring to its fans.

 

With the upcoming update, you are addressing some things I think were becoming graphically dated, and also addressing some badly needed functionality in the map editor. With these items fixed, and a few more Cold-War era vehicles 🤞, personally I could accept SB as a "finished" product.

 

Keep up the good work! 👍

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Make no mistake, "polishing the legacy" is pretty painful for the team as well. If we didn't have a customer base to maintain, starting from scratch would make a lot of things a lot easier. The problem is, when you start developing an entirely new product category for a market that doesn't exist yet, you can't know where you'll eventually end up, so you can't know which mistakes to avoid. In a way that's a luxury problem in that you have to be successful in the first place to face the consequences of a legacy design that isn't so easy to adapt as if you had implemented a more flexible, easier to maintain code base from the start. But what's easy to maintain is something that you usually identify only in hindsight. And if you create "the perfect software architecture" first, you may run out of money before you have a marketable product, or you might come too late. Luxury problem or not, it's still a problem, even if it beats the alternative. :o

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Big thanks to the team.

Really looking forward to the finished product.

 

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Have you made the concertina deployable in the same fashion as roads??? Will we be getting mortar pits,berms,and smaller bunker emplacements???

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Posted (edited)

Ssnake, do you now have a good estimate of how big the installation file will be? In an older thread you mentioned possibly 20GB. Has it increased well beyond that size? I'm curious since my primary drive is an 80GB SSD which SB resides on (for speed) along with Win7.

Edited by Scrapper_511

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The program installation itself will not grow substantially. Sure, it's bigger - new artwork comes with new textures, so there's a bit there.

  • Version 2.656: 0.99 GByte
  • Version 3.027: 2.37 GByte
  • Version 4.023: 2.45 GByte
  • Current 4.1 beta: 2.77 GByte

This can be approximately doubled as far as the disk space requirement after installation is concerned.

Map data, on the other hand, will come separately, and can be installed in any other directory (including different disk drives). This is one of the major deviations from traditional file path conventions (which was largely dictated by Microsoft recommendations for Windows application in multi-user environments; we try to stick to the rules). Instead, Steel Beasts 4.1 will store the path to the map files in a registry key so that subsequent installations will still recognize the directory even after a complete reinstallation. So, if your C drive is pressed for disk space, that's the way out for you.

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Thanks to the Team Ssnake, eagerly awaiting the release, sounds pretty good.  🙂 👍

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On 4/24/2019 at 7:56 AM, Ssnake said:

For one of these, the answer is Yes. :)

Actually, make that two, I just noticed.

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