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Things that need immediate fixing: let's try this again.


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#1 rossmum

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 07:30 AM

None of the following is intended as a put-down. I'm simply pointing out some pretty serious flaws as someone who handles the weapons in question frequently and who also has a strong interest in game art and improving an enjoyable mod. Please hear me out and don't take any of this personally, as happened last time.

I’ll try and keep to the point as much as possible; forgive me for being blunt but my last attempt at honest criticism was poorly-received even though I tried not to be too harsh.

Darkest Hour itself is quite a good mod and very enjoyable when playing with a good team. Several of the maps are excellently made, perhaps better than many of the stock RO maps (Foy, Stavelot, La Gleize and Stoumont in particular, along with some of the better-made custom maps), and the core gameplay is quite good. However, there is a big issue with consistency in the mod. For every good map, there are several which are poorly thought out and poorly implemented. Brecourt and Carentan turn into stalemates; there is very little usable cover, little opportunity to flank enemy positions, and both descend very rapidly into a test of patience. Almost none of the other maps have the same level of polish as the aforementioned Ardennes maps. The infantry and armour art assets are very good while the weapons are atrocious and the voice acting the same. I realise you guys work with what you can get, but if Mare Nostrum can find volunteers to record relatively clear, high-quality voice samples in their natural voice (the bulk of DH voice samples sound like teenagers trying to sound like B-grade war movie heroes, quite frankly), I don’t see why you guys can’t. However, the biggest concern is the weapons. Bad maps can be skipped or removed from cycles. Bad voice commands can be disabled or just not used. The weapons are seen at all times, on all maps. They need to be dealt with as soon as possible.

Last time I brought up the issue of consistency, it was with regards to weapon textures. Since then, I’ve noticed a lot of fundamental problems with the models, let alone the textures; there’s no point fixing the latter until the models they will be applied to are fixed. Following is a list of some of the worst offenders. There are likely many more issues I am forgetting, and I invite anyone else to add in those they have discovered.

The animations are robotic and poorly thought out. During several reload animations, the player’s wrists flex in all manners of impossible or extremely awkward ways; there is no excuse for this. If the rig doesn't like the animation, then figure out a different animation sequence. They are too smooth and most are either too fast or too slow; the player is a soldier, not a robot. Even the most technically proficient soldier’s weapons drills will appear more natural than the animations used, and weapons have specific handling peculiarities owing to weight and its distribution (balance, basically). This is reflected in few (if any) of the animations ingame, and it contributes greatly to the unnatural/robotic ‘feel’. If you move a weapon or any part of it, the whole thing will react accordingly. You can't move that much weight around and expect nothing to happen. I have considerable handling (and firing) experience with both previous and current military weapons (what with volunteering at a major small arms museum and also being in the infantry), and I would be glad to go into more detail when these are being looked at.

The way the weapons themselves are animated is also quite poor. The M1 rifle’s bolt reciprocates so slowly upon firing that I honestly have to wonder if the animator responsible has even studied the way it functions in other games or movies, let alone real life. Many of the other weapons suffer from the same problem. You barely need any more than 2-6 frames. Bolt forwards, bolt back. They move extremely rapidly and you can't track the actual movement with your eyes, just the fact that it does move. I STRONGLY suggest studying footage of the real-world counterparts firing live rounds and then redoing each animation from scratch. While this will take considerable time and effort I have always been under the impression that correcting core and persistent issues should take priority over adding in anything new and it is where a great many mod teams come unstuck. Rather than plan any new features at all, the team should focus on correcting the painfully apparent shortfalls that have been in the mod from the start.

Several of the weapon models are sloppily made, unfinished, or simply do not look good ingame. The BAR rear sight (as addressed in a separate thread) is just the ladder – the entire sight assembly and its adjusting screw is missing entirely. I seem to recall the same problem existing with the M1919 but I can’t remember for sure. The M1 Carbine is missing some pretty important details on the action (the op rod doesn't even visibly contact it in any way on the current model) and so is the Garand – it’s even missing the clip release button on the left side of the receiver [EDIT: I just double-checked the renders. It's there but it's far too small and ingame it's indistinguishable from the groove in the receiver wall, so it still needs work]. The M1911 lacks an extractor and is out of proportion. The Bazooka has several smoothing errors on the model. Nearly every weapon model bar the FG42 is, in some way, incorrect. This is a pretty worrying state of affairs and I am both surprised and perplexed that nobody has actually bothered to fix any of them yet.

The textures applied to the weapons are not much better, with the exception of the FG42’s (which was made long before DH anyway). Most lack proper material definition, nearly all lack proper lighting, and the vast majority look chalky. The M1 stock looks like garnet paper and the action looks like concrete, a problem shared by nearly every other weapon. Even if the models were perfect, the current textures would still look bad on them. They need to be restarted from scratch. I know time and effort went into them, but come on, guys. If you aren't willing to improve upon your work, then I don't know how you expect to get anywhere in the developing world.

Frankly I don’t expect much heed to be taken of my advice (it certainly wasn’t last time), but should the team have even the faintest hope of rivalling the other mods (let alone commercial games) in terms of quality, some serious work needs to be undertaken immediately. I strongly suggest shelving any upcoming features or content until the issues addressed here are brought up to a decent standard. Should you decide to do this, I would be glad to help with research, reference material, and possibly limited modelling work. I sincerely hope you do make the right choice and get to work fixing what’s always been broken, because it is desperately needed. It might be enough to fool players coming across from DoD, MoH, CoD and whatever, but it’s not enough for the people RO was intended for in the first place.

#2 ROMMEL 34

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:27 AM

Nearly every weapon model bar the FG42 is, in some way, incorrect.




FG42 is incorrect as well. Look here:

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Several of the maps are excellently made (Foy, Stavelot, La Gleize and Stoumont in particular, along with some of the better-made custom maps)

These maps were made by SchutzeSepp. He also made Cheneux, Raids, Targnon, and Maupertus. On the other hand Carentan was made by one of the devs kids if I recall correctly. I have no idea who made Brecourt.
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#3 TWB*CurleyGrimes

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:33 AM

Nearly every weapon model bar the FG42 is, in some way, incorrect.




FG42 is incorrect as well. Look here:

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Thats because its a type 1 FG42 :wink:

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#4 ROMMEL 34

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:38 AM

That is exactly the point :!: Wrong model for DH's time period. Lets re add in the P IV F2 :cry: while we are at it...
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#5 Wuk

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:04 AM

so you think its completely impossbile that someone had a mod. 1 Fg42 ?

I agree its quite a strech to assume that. But I mean com on ... now thats really nitpicking.

#6 TT33

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 04:32 AM

There would be a mix of both models really however the first type was produced in significantly smaller numbers. I believe the main reason we went with the type 1 was because someone donated us that particular FG model if I remember correctly it was modeled for DOD:S originally.

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#7 rossmum

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 07:26 AM

Yeah, it was for DoD:S and CS:S (which I think it was in first, actually).

#8 Alvin Fuchs

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 08:35 PM

Type 1s were around in 44, so I don't mind.

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#9 Paladin

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:33 PM

Absolutely amazing !!!! :roll:

#10 Pr0Life

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 07:43 AM

Is this graphics fixes or all?

Fix the random arty for doggreen, it's unfair to allies.

Maybe more Axis arty and some of those Omaha mortars placed close enough where you can see the rounds fall...and the bodies fly.

Also, hill 108 has axis reinforcement problems.

.30 cal MG has no muzzle flash anymore on hill 108 nor tracers.

#11 Zookawarrior

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 01:51 PM

Is this graphics fixes or all?

Fix the random arty for doggreen, it's unfair to allies.

Maybe more Axis arty and some of those Omaha mortars placed close enough where you can see the rounds fall...and the bodies fly.

Also, hill 108 has axis reinforcement problems.

.30 cal MG has no muzzle flash anymore on hill 108 nor tracers.


I'm sure your post could suit better on several other topics:

DogGreen Improvement Ideas

Hill108 Reinforcements

And your .30 BUG could be posted also under bug reports for hill108 OR for allied weapons.

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#12 Dr. Maxis

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 05:28 PM

The Thompson reload and the Enfield reload cycle need a little fixing. Currently all you do is pull out the magazine on the Thompson, when in reality, you had to use the thumbcatch behind the trigger to unload. The catch IS modeled, but no animation of pushing the switch is shown. The Enfield No 2 had a similar catch, but it isn't even modeled. Also, the Enfield, when emptied, should auto eject its rounds and should be reloaded with half-moon clips if I recall.

Thompson: couldn't find one
Enfieldhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=- ... re=related (Towards the end)

#13 Pr0Life

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:14 AM

One thing I noticed also felt missing is that the Garand should eject a live round when doing an reload by ejecting the partial clip. Once the op rod/bolt is pulled back an empty round should fly clear before the manual clip eject button is hit.

Also, it would be neat if the partial clip model could show the actual number of rounds left in the clip.

Or better yet, show the unchambered rounds left in the mag fly out at random. That would totally feel real for Garand shooters (like myself).

Speaking of chambered rounds, when doing an "adminstrative" reloading of bolt guns, shouldn't a live round come out when the bolt is pulled back. I am not sure how you do the reloading process tactically on a bolt gun if there's still a new round in the chamber.

A person doing an administrative reload would probably catch the round and put it back in.
A person under stress would have shot the gun dry so no change necessary.

#14 Hans Ludwig

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 06:32 AM

That would totally feel real for Garand shooters (like myself).


I assume from that statement you're telling us that you shoot a Garanad in real life?

One thing I noticed also felt missing is that the Garand should eject a live round when doing an reload by ejecting the partial clip. Once the op rod/bolt is pulled back an empty round should fly clear before the manual clip eject button is hit.

Also, it would be neat if the partial clip model could show the actual number of rounds left in the clip.

Or better yet, show the unchambered rounds left in the mag fly out at random. That would totally feel real for Garand shooters (like myself).

Speaking of chambered rounds, when doing an "adminstrative" reloading of bolt guns, shouldn't a live round come out when the bolt is pulled back. I am not sure how you do the reloading process tactically on a bolt gun if there's still a new round in the chamber.

A person doing an administrative reload would probably catch the round and put it back in.
A person under stress would have shot the gun dry so no change necessary.


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#15 Schneller

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 12:04 AM

A lot of the inconsistencies come from inconsistencies in WHO did the weapons/vehicles. We've had many different artists (of varying skill) do the work over a long period of time. A single team (with little turnover) is a sure thing to be more consistent. But, this is a true community effort since no one is paid anything. Remember this when judging us against the efforts of groups that have spend millions on a game's development. This is not whining, it is simply the way it is.

Being short-handed, we are costantly faced with the challenge of producing more varied content VS more perfect content. This is the classic quantity vs quality argument. Reaonable people can differ on handling this...our balance is our decision and we stand behind it completely.

The good news is that the next engine we use for DH may be quite a bit easier to get better results with. There is also the chance that we can keep an expanded team at work on producing the content. So, more artists, working more efficiently (and less turnover) = Better results overall. That is our goal.

So, we are going to have another release for this version where we try to do as much as we can....not only to fix certain things but also EXPERIMENT with new concepts. In other words, the last release of this version will almost certainly be the high point of Darkest Hour as a MOD of RO.
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#16 sez_slothrop

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 06:35 AM

Of all the things the devs could work on, first person textures, models, and animations are the least important. Whether or not a gun appears to be held correctly has no impact on the gameplay, which is what we are all here for. If you want to see a rifle fired correctly, go fire it correctly or something--the guns in game will fire their bullets regardless of their animations. Demanding that devs concentrate on superficial details at the expense of working on the guts of the game can only end in disaster.

#17 Pr0Life

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:26 AM

Of all the things the devs could work on, first person textures, models, and animations are the least important. Whether or not a gun appears to be held correctly has no impact on the gameplay, which is what we are all here for. If you want to see a rifle fired correctly, go fire it correctly or something--the guns in game will fire their bullets regardless of their animations. Demanding that devs concentrate on superficial details at the expense of working on the guts of the game can only end in disaster.


The authenticity of the Darkest Hour and Red Orchestra is what gives it its appeal. I can't play DoD, too fake.

And I have a Garand as do some other DH players. Other gun-owners with bolt-action rifles might also find it odd that a bolt can be closed with a round still in the chamber.

When reloading guns that reload by opening the bolt, a chambered round will come out when pulling back the bolt. In the current DH, this only affects Lee-Enfield, the Garand, but I think this is true of all rifles that are not reloaded by detachable magazine.

If administrative reloads are going to be added for the Mauser and G41, this would be an issue too.

Gun handling details make DH the unique game it is.

This thread asked for input on gun animations and handling, so I gave it.

#18 Mikeedude

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 12:09 PM

I think considering the next update is the last for the present engine,adding new ideas and weapons/tanks would be best .Things that could help towards next version if they decide to do it.

However prolife is right in one way,because on one of the RO forum threads discussing DH, a lot mentioned animations looking bad,skins not quite right and soldiers not seeming to hold weapons.
So some people obviously think theses are things that put them off!
They should remember it is a mod and that it has no budget to pay the devs into giving up the day job

Personally as long as it looks ok im not bothered,the main draw for people is the maps and that is not a problem for just the devs, we seem to have inherited some great maps that werent quite finished, and that is what seems to put off people the most.

#19 Doggzillen

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 06:37 PM

If the next update will be the last, it would benefit DH5 the most if additional content was added, and perfected at the launch of DH5. It would be better to understand the bugs with DH4 than introduce content in DH5 which makes it look bad. If you introduce many new features, youll get feedback on what is wanted most badly, which is better now than later. If something waits to be introduced, it will obviously be more refined, but DH5 will have to have a maturing period, and we all know stuff like that scares off players in huge numbers.

#20 rossmum

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 05:10 PM

Of all the things the devs could work on, first person textures, models, and animations are the least important. Whether or not a gun appears to be held correctly has no impact on the gameplay, which is what we are all here for. If you want to see a rifle fired correctly, go fire it correctly or something--the guns in game will fire their bullets regardless of their animations. Demanding that devs concentrate on superficial details at the expense of working on the guts of the game can only end in disaster.

Those 'superficial details' are the first thing anyone looking at the game is going to notice. I'm also going to say right here and now that I think adding anything more to the mod at this point would be a colossal mistake. The problems are only going to pile up and in the end, how many more gameplay features does the mod need? It has mantling, it has scores of new weapons, vehicles, and characters, and it has a few good new maps (and a few not so good).

Art consistency is of immense importance because having some really nice art assets and then a whole lot of terrible ones does not give a good impression. Some of these things (in fact many of them) have been issues since the first release and are still unresolved. One of the devs actually replied to my initial post via PM and addressed why this has been the case, but I feel far too many mod teams have lost sight of what's actually important - quality should always be the biggest concern, no matter how many shiny new toys the fanbase may be demanding. Pandering to the latter is in large part to blame for a lot of promising mods ending badly and even for substandard games being churned out by previously respectable developers. DH really does not need to be one of those mods and I was reassured to see that the team are aware of the problems and feel similarly about the need for them to be fixed as soon as practical.




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