Improve modmaking and mapmaking stuff, integrate them into game.
OK, guys and girls. I think, that most of you will agree with me. What increases RTS' popularity? Modability and map-making-ability.
First, about Worldbuilder. One thing, which is mystery to me, why it is still not integrated into game?
Let's look, what happens. You're making a map, and when you want to test it, you got to close wolrdbuilder, then run the game - it is 20-30 seconds wasted, plus game loads into memory SAME STUFF: models, sounds, etc. Some time used for in-game testing, e.g. 1 min. After this again run worldbuilder - 30 seconds more wasted. You loose 1,5 minute in average just to test map. And guess what happens if map has complex scripts and they don't work properly? Thousands times run worldbuilder, run game... In total, you waste 15-20 minutes in average only to debug scripts. You could use this time to drink coffee and rest, not for waiting. It's a bit annoying. Even if you got enough memory and PC power to run both game and worldbuilder in background, here comes this question - why loading same stuff twice??? Hmmm...
My solution: Integrate worldbuilder into game engine. You run the game, press cute button "Worldbuilder" and start working. You don't waste time to switch between worldbuider and game, you use your memory better (nearly 1 GB saved). Mapmaking speed increased.
Next, Modmaking stuff. Same situation. When time comes for coding, then error-finding and bug-fixing... Ah, speechless...
If I was VG's main engine designer, I'd implement this system for modding:
1. As usual, you run the game.
2. Select "MOD SDK" menu.
3. Load your work, or create new.
OK, time to compile... I'd add two versions of compiling: compile to hard disk and compile to memory. When you compile to memory, modding program applies changes only to game's memory and doesn't touch hard disk version. Hard disk compile works vice versa: applies changes only to hard disk and doesn't touch memory. This gives you very useful advantages. You compile to memory last changes, if they work properly, you compile to hard disk and always have WORKING BACK-UP. Let's look at very familiar situation. You made some changes to code, unfortunately, it doesn't work. Usually, finding errors is very long and tiring process. If you didn't fix error in 5 minutes it means that you will look for it very long time. You compiled to memory, and have working back-up on hard disk (why would you compile to HDD not working one?), so you can use handy function called "Reload MOD from hard disk". In ~70% it is faster to remake than search error. Sometimes changes to code cause crashes, in this case game should have back-up mechanism, it should compile mod to HDD to another directory, called like mod's directory but with "_CRASHED" added to the end. If you know, what caused crash, you can reload "_CRASHED" version and fix the problem. You still got your working version on HDD.
I didn't write about misc improvements, too much text...
Thank you for reading!
- game becomes all-in;
- to install Worldbuilder or MOD SDK, download it and copy to game directory (or run install, which makes this instead of you, doesn't matter);
- decreased percent of routine in mapmaking and modding, hence, increased speed of these processes.
It's pretty hard to implement and code... BUT! It's done only once. We, programmers, make life easier through hard work. Command and Conquer deserves this!