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Author Topic: A "byproduct" of my current (not-yet-started) modding interest  (Read 844 times)

sphr

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A "byproduct" of my current (not-yet-started) modding interest
« on: January 09, 2022, 09:22:46 AM »

A little preamble. feel free to skip.
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As opposed to the vanilla freedom of attaching any weapons to compatible turrets/hardpoints on ships, I am personally more interested in complex ships with has special animation/behavior. ;)  There are several very good mods already available to that ends.

But such mods are usually very delicately constructed, and more often than not, the sophistication with a price of limited customization which must be baked into the mod (by the author, usually growing increasingly expensive as more options are added), and thus it is usually not possible/feasible for 3rd party mods to add extensions without having to override/change/modify the core content.  Even simple ones that doesn't add new behavior, for example. a mod that just add colored versions of existing parts(weapons). (Note: NOT reskin which basically replaces the gfx resources for the whole game, but actual per-ship-in-fleet customizable styles/looks etc).

Originally wanted to see if there can be some guidelines/frameworks possible to make such mods "extensible" by 3rd party mods, which required that the inner workings be refactored in a way that is not hardcoded or limited to a known number of resources, or have some behavior that is too ... entangled. 
Spent some time fiddling with bits of existing mods in my own game, but kinda lack a "testing ground" to try to study the problem in-depth.

So, on a whim, I started creating a so-so complicated "test-subject" from ground up (well, almost, I copied the data for Wolf hull from base game) to explore system designs/refactoring that might make it easier to manage/extend.

In the end (at least at this point), I've not really made progress on the original main subject I wanted... kinda got distracted...

Spoiler
DISCLAIMER:
The following is NOT from a mod meant for release.

The following is just an over-simplified rendition of the referenced "source materials", so inaccuracies, lack of polish etc should be assumed..  I basically just started with one hi-res image found randomly on the web and cut/paste/manipulate it with the grace of an orc (compared to the fine work some modders do here).  So, just watch for fun if you are interested, and forget about it afterwards. No complaints will be entertained.

https://youtu.be/5pVYoJxOtKc
[close]
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Deageon

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Re: A "byproduct" of my current (not-yet-started) modding interest
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2022, 09:58:39 PM »

I gotta say, that VF-25 looks cool as ***, even if you say it's slapdash and cobbled together, man.
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Tartiflette

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Re: A "byproduct" of my current (not-yet-started) modding interest
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2022, 11:36:02 PM »

Now you feel my pain. It's not that hard to make transforming ships, but it requires an inordinate amount of polish, and there are a lot of constraints that only become obvious after implementation (the issue with engines being a good example).

Still, to answer your initial question, it would be fairly easy to implement a "loadout rotation" like Diable's Virtuous that uses some external file to list the available weapons and hullmods. There are some MagicLib functionalities to easily read and merge files.
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sphr

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Re: A "byproduct" of my current (not-yet-started) modding interest
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2022, 05:58:15 AM »

I gotta say, that VF-25 looks cool as ***, even if you say it's slapdash and cobbled together, man.

only when looked from afar and in low res.

For me though, the main goal isn't that animation thing at all, as I am more into coding than artist.
I mostly use the following brute force:

1. initial state/sprite (cobbled version from web)
2. final state/sprite (another cobbled version or just anyhow scale/transform in Paint.net using only the most basic tools I actually know how to use)
3. "animation" = start with initial sprite and just anyhow figure out a dumb-linear way to scale/crush it to roughly the same size/position as final sprite, then just hotswap the final state sprite in :p

sometimes, there isn't even a final stage sprite (so just leave the scaled/crushed version of initial sprite).
This contrasts greatly with the pixel-perfect dedication I've seen in several mods here. 
My "test subject" cannot stand up to close scrutiny..

Now you feel my pain. It's not that hard to make transforming ships, but it requires an inordinate amount of polish, and there are a lot of constraints that only become obvious after implementation (the issue with engines being a good example).

Still, to answer your initial question, it would be fairly easy to implement a "loadout rotation" like Diable's Virtuous that uses some external file to list the available weapons and hullmods. There are some MagicLib functionalities to easily read and merge files.


yeah.. initially, the code for the so called animation part I was making got so messy that I used a very simple and dumb method: ALL the parts are centered at the same spot using image files of same size (with a lot of waste).  Effectively, if all the image files I used for the parts are merged, it became the original downsized image of the fighter I used to cut out for the parts.  This makes it surprisingly easy to make "reskins" though, just apply the mask over another top down fighter image and chop it up.... 

I don't think I can ever muster the patience and dedication to do the animation/artwork showcased in mods.  My main goal is to try to see if modding can be made easier, so that more people can make mods/mod extensions (so that I don't have to...).

I actually have an initial working version of the idea I was talking about though, and is making up a little video to present the idea more intuitively (than a wall of text that is)... maybe update in a few days.
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