Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

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Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby cajunwolf » Tue Jul 10, 2012 4:06 am

Howdy fellow modders.

I see a few names here I recognize and some of the older modders probably remember me from way back in all the old forums. I now run Battlefieldsingleplayer since July 2009 when Game-spew sold out and the new owner decided to dump all the free subdomains Game-spew had provided to the BF community. Everybody (members) was in a tail spin and were moving to a free forum deal and griping about loosing years of accumulated bf/bfv/bf2 modding data. I noticed (being an observant type of fellow) no one had the domain name. Well I snagged that puppy up and managed to get a backup of the sight and database, which was like pulling teeth from a rooster I will tell you! It seems Game-spew had locked down their db admin link in the cpanel as they had been hacked to many times and were considered a risk. Add to this no one had been or knew how to bkup the db so had relied on Game-Spew's backups when they did them. I got a older backup from GS and took down the db as it was on forum closure table by table (I am shocked here by GS's lack of server security, as it let me install a copy of phpmyadmin and access the db ;) , you know I could have been a bad boy :twisted: ) and, with the aid of FourCentsShy we managed to merge the two and get everything back up with minimal loss of post data. We have not been hacked since, crossing my fingers. Just good security. We have a copy of IPBoard (older copy, but good forum software btw) so they are a bit different in some stuff. Anyhow many members pitched in and we rebuilt the old site even better than before. I will keep her going as long as there are Battlefield fans and modders out there and perhaps even longer as I already host 27 domains so cost is not an issue. After all almost every BF AI coder worth his salt started and learned his trade at BFSP so in a way I am preserving a legend not just a site. LoL, I don't even remember anymore how many different mods I did AI for now-day's, there were so many back in then. I did a lot for DC, DCX, FH, 1918, BG42 and GC just to name a few. I lost count on how many maps I added ai to but it is 200+.

That's why I am glad to see this site still up and running too as I do still love this old game. I see from reading the post y'all faced kind of the same situation and were on top of things by getting the domain and backups. Good job and I still find some of the older sites up and running as well as new ones. Long live Battlefield 1942 and BFV! I like BF2, don't get me wrong but it's just such a pain in the but to map and mod. Besides they pretty much automated the AI to a point you were limited with modifications. Oh and a navmesh is such a PAIN! With BF42 the AI is totally manual and on a modern machine with a lot of horsepower the bots can be over powering. I started mapping right after getting the game when it came out as mapping is my first love. I rarely finish maps but, hey the fun is in the creation (my ADHD could have something to do with it). I met Arc D Wrath on the old FPS forums back in the days and discovered the bf ai gave me a warm fuzzy feeling. Coin Coin was well along with ED42 and Rex had made some scripts to where we could convert the pathmaps to terrain and hand paint them in ED42. Our conversions were crude in the days because no one understood the pathmapping system fully until FourCentsShy and Arcing Lazer both discovered the secrets to the "smallones" files about the same time. Both created tools and FourCentsShy's genpathmaps owns the show. He also has a work in progress called the "Battlefield Swiss Army Knife" or "bfsak" for short that combines genpathmaps with other features such as a smallones editor. I have a copy and will upload it with a tutorial on it's use, just remember it is a beta. I chat with FourCentsShy often. I also worked with Benji on the development of the "Botinator" and Hellisher on BattlefieldSingleplayer Creator at BFSP.

As to real life, I try to avoid it. :D I am a small business owner (small is the key word here) and do computers (repairs and sales of used high end workstations and laptops), websites and management of same (latter being preferred), databases, CMS back-ends, and inventory systems to name a few. Actually anything I can make a buck at now-day's that keeps a roof over the families head and food on the table. The small business environment is TUFF right now. How did I get into gaming one might ask? Well I raised a bunch of boys and that should explain it. Looking back on all the money I have spent over the years on custom gaming machines and video cards I could be driving a nice BMW. As noted I am an old fart and will be 59 going on 16 come this December. I don't bite and y'all better pick my brains before the buzzards pick my bones!

Sincerely,
cajunwolf
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby fo0k » Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:24 pm

heheh, another familiar face registers.. Very good to see you here Cajun.. I'm sure many would agree that your tut's played a big part in getting the masses into modding :)

I was on the Interstate 82 team with Letranger as a lead mapper. Have had bfmods for some time now and then saved the serversidemodding domain and db a couple of years back. (I have been promising to merge the 2 db's.. will happen one day when the moment looks good)

All getting older.. 30's have nearly gone here.

Has gotten a little quieter of late but I was just playing with Max today and tempted to drag a few objects into a map :) Checked on the site in fact to get a bit of info and noticed you had signed up! It's a sign.. I'd better make a little mod.

Certainly have noticed a rise in hits from Asia on the site and youtube etc for 1942 mods. My theory is a mass of lower grade pc equipment becoming available to these countries and 1942 has become a bit of a game to mod where their hardware is not (even) to BF2 spec.. just a theory though!

Glad to see BFSP up n running! Welcome!
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby freddy » Sat Jul 21, 2012 3:38 pm

Hi and welcome cajunwolf. Ill post a AI related question right away ;)
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby Grabbi » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:10 pm

the source of ai coding is back !
nice to see you are still around!

Great tutorials you made !
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby cajunwolf » Fri Aug 03, 2012 4:11 am

Howdy folks,

Sorry for my delay in responding but it has been busy. We had a persistent hack bot trying to breach our forum ACP and wanted to pass a heads up on this one.

Anyhow thanks for the greeting and I have some interesting stuff to post and contribute that I hope will be of some help to some aspiring bf coder, mapper, or ai guy.

fo0k, yea databases, what a pain and I need to do some merging and upgrading but you well know the routines. I often spend more time backing up and creating CMA procedures just in case than it takes to do the actual work. My db is so darn big that it's a chore to backup and work with being we have be up and running since late 03. I guess what I am beating around the bush about is "if it ain't broke, I don't really want to fart with it". LoL

I spend spare time mapping and creating interesting and realistic AI. A lot of these maps never get finished, but they are usually created to solve a particular AI dilemma or work as a test bed to try different ideas. I think I enjoy most helping new mapper’s learn the bf AI so they can design their maps from the onset to play how they envision they should. This in turn gives the community as a whole better quality maps to play and most pass their knowledge on. I only take on serious mapper’s, the ones who spend the time to create not only nice looking maps but well thought out battles and placement of statics that fit within the time and place of the map. I think I feed on the excitement in their post when they get bots running in their map for the first time. I remember my first time and it was a thrill. All that time and work finally pays off. Anyhow I digress.

fo0t, I noticed your tutorials on ED42, good stuff. That's something I have been doing lately is learning the texture tool and writing up a good tutorial besides finishing others. I have learned to create amazing and complex textures, but as you well know it's hard at first for one to get their head around how the tool works, so a tutorial would need to be a series I think. I love your video tutorials and need to learn to do that, anyhow I will post in the appropriate threads on these topics. You have to be proficient in both ED42 and Battlecraft to create a good BF map. Both have unique features that properly used can produce amazing results.

Being you like to model and ole Apache is hanging around here I could use some instruction - help in this area esp. for my "Exploding static spawner’s" I am using in my "Coop Objective Mode" concept. What I have been doing so far is use the models of damaged buildings scaled smaller to fit inside of their undamaged counterparts as a replacement for when the main structure is blown by the bots. It is, well crappy looking, but better than nothing. Add a few chunks of concrete flying around and a lot of smoke and the transition isn't all that bad, LoL.

Two of my main clients are in the computer and IT asset recovery for major fortune 5 companies in the oil and gas sector. I do their CMS, inventory, and database systems and we sell a lot of this stuff to Asian and Middle Eastern markets, but its Africa that is buying a lot of it right now. Lets just say it's a great benefit for me as I get top of the line professional equipment for little to nothing. For instance right now I am surrounded by six 20" high end LCD displays driven by three extremely powerful HP and Dell workstations (each with dual high end Quadro's). Let’s just say this stuff came from the largest engineering company in the world and they have the bucks for the really good stuff ;) . So if any of you might be interested send me a pm.

Freddy, please do as long as it is an interesting one ;) . You might need to hit me with a PM so I will look for it. If y'all don't mind post some questions over at BFSP. Lord knows I could use the BF\BFV traffic. I get a lot of BF2, FH2 and especially AIX post. Kind of like what I am doing here, getting out there and waking bf fans up. I have had several new mapper’s recently and one has hung in there. Heheh, he is fixing to learn the hard lesson of the "smallone’s" pathfinding files. If there is a problem with the pathfinding system the AI will not work right, and it can take longer to do your pathmaps on some maps than it does to make it, but the rewards are totally worth the effort.

Thanks Grabbi, It's really nice to hear my tutorials have been helpful. I have several I never finished, but would like to. Mr. fo0t here seems to like to do tutorials too so perhaps somewhere along the line we can all combine our talents and get a few written before any more of the knowledge is lost. To be honest I am a bit rusty but have taken more interest lately hence my participation here. Like BFSP y'all run a productive site and have archived some wonderful stuff.
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby Apache Thunder » Fri Aug 03, 2012 8:56 pm

Nice to see another big time modder around here. Your stuff on AI coding has helped me a lot. Though I could never figure out the landing crafts and boat related stuff. My BFH mod now has boats, but had to take them out of the singleplayer version of Wicked Wake since I couldn't get them to work with bots. :(

As for your exploding statics, I believe I worked on destructible bunkers in my "DC Unauthorized" mod. I recall spawning the wreck as a PCO to get around network issues and collision bugs. (since wreck lods can't have their own collision mesh in this old game engine.

You can find the object coding I used to make them work by digging through my dev files:

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1330

I pretty much uploaded everything I did including my unfinished WIPs and many 3DS Max files which may be useful for those like you. :D

You can also try animated wreck meshes. They seem to work great for vehicles: (the falling mast is emitted via an effect. but the flags falling is the animated part)



How it appears on the finished vehicle:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NewcJ95G_9Q
(you may need to fullscreen and use HD to see the flags)

Animation only plays when the lod activates the wreck mesh, so it starts the animation where it's supposed to every time.

Perhaps something like that could be done for a large building? Have the wreck mesh play an animation (so that the timetoliveafterdeath setting is at least as long as the animation, then have it spawn the "finished" wreck static afterwords. ) ;)

Something like the radio tower collapse in BF3 could be doable in BF1942. Would need some good coding to get the timing right. (for example, getting death bubbles to spawn and vanish at the right time in the areas where the tower lands.)
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby Senshi » Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:50 am

Hey Cajun,

awesome to see you here! We really are starting to slowly but surely gathering all the great minds and legends of BF Modding here :) . Back in the days a lot of your tutorials/posts/explanations helped me a lot once I hit the "advanced" mapping/coding levels. They were wonderful incentives to push the engine limitations.

Regarding your damaged static problem: viewtopic.php?f=43&t=49
Whily my tut refers to PCOs and the use of Armor Effects, I think this might be the most viable solution to your issue as well: Transform the static into a PCO, disable all the physics of it, but make use of the DamageStates to launch whatever effects you want. However, this really works only for while the PCO is alive, once it reaches "wreck" state, you'd have to follow up with Apache's idea of using an animated wreck combined with a wreck object spawner attached.

Apache, you could just make the radiotower with proper collision materials and let it fall as a tumbling mobile object, letting it crush whatever is beyond it manually. Of course you wouldn't have a fixed "deathzone" that way, true.
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby cajunwolf » Mon Aug 06, 2012 4:08 am

Mr Apache Thunder, how you are?

Not only am I glad to see your devious and creative mind is still at work, but that you have found a home that can put up with you, LoL, jokin of course. ;)

Seriously though you present the start of a good solution to the problem along with Senshi's suggestions. What the final result needs to be is a replacement static that is the same size as the original because of the pathmap foot print. First and foremost consideration is "does it work for the bots?". These items will need aitemplates for this reason. Now this would only be necessary for the structures that have interiors the bots can use, some of these wrecked structures can be used in whole or destroyed states, some cannot. I really like the animation idea as it adds the effects and realism I am looking for. First off as your running through the city streets and a bomb hits one of these structures I want one hell of an explosion with crap flying everywhere that will do damage. Lots of flame and smoke. When the dust settles there is the wrecked structure in place. The animation idea makes me imagine a "crumbling structure" billowing smoke, flame, and debris. To get the bombers and planes to bomb you have to set them up like the BoB factory and radar towers. They don't have to be a spawner per say, but the spawners are necessary to drive the AI Objective mode to where as spawners are destroyed you lose spawns of replacements and equipment. Extra exploding stuff adds to the excitement of the map. I have this mode somewhat working on bf42 test beds and worked with DACV on it some years back in his bfv mod where it did pretty well. But then again DACV's bf ai is excellent to say the least. I first met him back in late 03 in the old FPS forums. I remember it well because we had a thread going on about how to get the PT boats to fire the torpedo's and he popped in wondering what our problem was as he had had them working for awhile and proceeded to explain. You could have heard a feather drop in that thread. Anyhow I need to work out the differences in the bfv ai and his modifications compared to bf42 in my test beds, but it works ok and appears to be totally possible. The mode really adds more excitement to your run of the mill coop games. One scenario I tried that works well is where the Allies had only bombers and the Axis had only fighters. The axis fighters would tend to try and shoot down the allied bombers as well as bomb static spawners as they fell into enemy hands. I do this with in map aitweak.con files and the effect is not real consistent yet.

Now all the above would more or less point to a "re-spawn of the object after destruction versus the time to re spawn adjustment, while changing what re spawns thing" and not so much as the spawn of a persistent wreck. Does that make sense? Hard to get my head around what I am trying to explain here, but perhaps you get my point.

An after thought to the damaged structures idea above as the idea came to me while writing ..

You know how say a tank for instance takes damage in increments of hits prior to exploding? It would add a nice realistic effect with the structures too if you think about it. Hit one say from a fighter - bomber, roof and upper floor damage. Hit two from same plane (bomb type) group and the building goes to it's final destroyed state. Now if say it is hit by a B-17 or Ju-88, then perhaps the structure goes to final state. There could be many variations on this theme and thoughts and ideas are welcome.

Another kewl map - object idea is one Natty Wallo did in a map for his Forgotten Honor 42 map pack. I discovered it while adding AI to these maps for his and the FH42 crew. It was the use of mine fields and not only the way he did it but the ai solution I came up with. Now I never got the ai to fully work in that map in away where it played how we wanted from the shear complexity of the map and it's slant toward competitive human play. As mentioned I have added ai to countless maps by some of the best mapper's out there and I have to give kudos where due. Natty Wallo was one of the most creative and imaginative mappers I have known. Man he was always coming up with exotic ideas from his twisted mind, he would fit in well here, LoL. ;)

Apache - As to your LandingZone issues, I am the LZ master and have a proper tutorial in the works. It works very easy in bfv, shoot they will hop out and head to shore but a tad tricky in bf 42 where the ai is totally manual. The first thing to understand is this, the bot's have to have a reason to use a LZ or they will not. Battlefield ai is reactive and the individual bot has the final say due to conditions he faces at that moment. If there are more acceptable and closer land based spawn points and no strategic value to the sea based spawn - attack spawns, then the bots take the path of least resistance, like use humans they are lazy sots too. A work around is to make the sea spawns and connected LZ - CP's closer to the first enemy CP(s) points than the land based options and you get you sea attack along with land based. The less land based options you have combined with distance differences, the greater number of sea based you get. The second thing is this, a bot has only two purposes to exist, one being to kill other bots, and the second is to take CP's, remember this. You will note in the solution above I didn't waste my time trying to force the bot's to do what I wanted, but rather "suggested it" if you will ;) . If you design map with AI in mind from the onset, the final results will be fantastic! I digress and have a bad habit of that, get me going and I can't stop. Anyhow the common problems I see people having with LZ's in bf42 are the break in "go - no go or blk & wt areas (determines when doors open and troops deploy along with water depth), proper direction of the LZ, and the LZ properly attached to a PROPERLY CODED CP (the one they are going to). Now give them a reason to go there and they will.

Another short "back on the pulpit" and digression moment .. (sorry I am a poster child for ADHD and I see bunnies everywhere)

Anyhow someone mentioned bf bots being dumb in reference to the Coral Sea map and I am in no way speaking in a derogatory manner of the gentleman please as I know him well and respect his work. Rather think of it as me coming to the defense of bf42 bots or there lawyer if you will ( not in a million yrs, a joke of course on the lawyer thing). The bots are not dumb by any stretch of the imagination in fact quite the opposite, they are repressed by lack of resources, lack of consideration in map design objective, and bad commanders (people thinking they can tell bots what to do). Hey they deserve minority status and civil rights! Bots unite for the cause and unionize against our oppressors in a common collective! We must tell the humans that oppress us that resistance is futile, you will be assimilated!

Seriously though if you plan for AI in your map creation process and especially consider static placements, take the painstaking time to do your pathmaps right, and add ai tweak files on the map level that adjust such things as min and max ranges, vehicle target order preferences (infantry, naval, air, etc), and code you ai con files right, you will have some great ai to start with. Write a good set of strategies and it gets even better. One little thing you can do to wake up the bf42 ai and make it more responsive like bfv is to add a setting to the very first line of the AIbehaviours.con file right above "aiSettings.setNBehaviuors" line. Add this "aiSettings.setBotSkill 1" and this gives 100% resources to the ai instead of the default coded .6 or .7 it was. Now when you select a coop game and set ai to full skill level you get it. This feature was set as default for bfv. It's Argument is float so you can try any setting from 0.1 to 1.0. Also in the hq.con file in the ai.rfa you can adjust the "ai.aiSystemQuotient settings, default is 0.5 and be careful here as you hit diminishing returns quickly, 0.7 works ok.

By the way the Coral Sea map is the most difficult of maps to get ai to work well in and not one for a first time try. You can make it work several ways but you have to chose one. If all you want is an air battle, the solution is simple, add a couple CP's (flags) up in the air over the islands and give them each 100 points, add all vehicles except air as disallowed in the StrategicAreas. In an aitweak file shorten the max range on the aircraft until they engage properly. Build one attack strategy for both sides, full aggression and 3 attacks. Now you have a great air battle. You can add 1 CP to the islands as land base, but only spawn AA with the bots spawns set to enter on spawn only, all other types disallowed. This way the SAI will only spawn enough bots to fill the AA guns and you don't have a bunch of extra bots running around with nothing to do sucking resources. The AA guns add an extra level of excitement to your dog fights with flak all over the place.

One final and important ai tip is this. Never spawn more bots needed in a particular map. I see very often people setting up a map for 64 or 32 players and the map can effectively only support half that many given it's size, distance between CP's and number of available vehicles or weapons. This is a recipe for a stall as you now have a bunch of bots with nothing to do standing around sucking resources once again.

In closing and before I see more bunnies let me ask why a administrator or moderator hasn't torn out butts up for getting so off topic in this thread? LMAO! :D I guess I should start a thread or two huh?

More to follow ...
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby Apache Thunder » Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:35 pm

Haha bunnies! :P

As for damage states for buildings, you could have a static object die at a certain damage state and it gets replaced with a different static that is not a wreck, but more damaged then the previous. Since my system spawns the wrecks as PCOs, you could instead make the wreck a damaged static and you can make that destructible and have it then spawn another object when it dies thus creating a chain to the end result of the final wreck.

Also I discovered that destructible child objects is possible in BF1942. The main requirement is that the host object must be a PCO. Then you can add armor coding like you would a normal PCO.

Only drawbacks is that it doesn't work in multiplayer and if one tries to make wheels on a jeep destructible, then if anyone is in the vehicle when a tire/wheel is destroyed (as in seated and occupying the PCO, not standing on it or just touching it or something) then the game gets confused and kills anyone occupying the vehicle despite the main vehicle still being alive. The game can't seem to tell if the person is supposed to be linked to any child objects that are destructible so if a child pco gets destroyed it ends up just klling anyone in the vehicle along with it.

But for client side gaming in singleplayer it works. Provided you don't make things like plane wings that have player controlled surfaces like wing objects/firearms. Since if someone gets in a vehicle that had a wing blown off and it had a fire arm on it or wing object (the physics object for it, not the visible rotational bundle) then the game CTDs. But one could make engines destructible though but as before with wheels if an engine is destroyed in this manner the game gets confused and kills the player driving the vehicle. :P

But this could be used to make entire buildings destructible without all the PCO coding. You can use an invisible PCO object that is buried in the ground and make the actual buildings child objects. Thus they could be destructible and still be SimpleObject or Bundles. This also clears up clutter on plane radars. But I don't remember if child objects would display wreck meshes correctly. I do remember armor effects working. (though armor effects for child objects don't work at all in multiplayer)

I discovered this while messing around with a BF2142 titan vehicle that I had ported to BF1942. Mainly just playing around with things. I was able to make the "forcefield" doors on the vehicle destructible but still keep them as child objects on the main vehicle. It may work fine so long as no one is allowed to actually "occupy" the vehicle. So for statics and buildings it could be used for something.
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Re: Howdy, it's cajunwolf from over at BFSP.

Postby Swaffy » Fri Oct 05, 2012 6:42 am

CajunWolf? Wow, I'm surprised (and happy) to see you here. You don't know me (I think), but I've seen your outstanding work, especially your AI work.

I'm thrilled to see that you're still doing some BF modding, I love meeting the old modders. I began in December 2008, I'm still (somewhat) a noob.

I'm about to start asking about smallones, perhaps they are complicated but at least I am not a slow learner.
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