Three questions

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Buddenbrook
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Three questions

Postby Buddenbrook » Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:10 am

1. Impossible task to mod the techs?

How difficult would it be to locate and alter the colony bonuses that e.g. Holo Simulator, Automated Factory and Soil enrichment give? Or the ship attack/defense bonuses gained from different ship specials? Nullifier +150 beam defense? Advanced City planning +8 pop.?

Anyone had any success in trying this?


2. Does anyone know the offsets within the orion2.exe for the combat values (more specifically space allocation) of planetary missile base, ground batteries and fighter garrison?

in the orion95.exe at hex
address C558 & C559 you could alter the space units for planetary missile base, if you wanted stronger colony defenses. Anyone know of these values for the DOS 1.40 version?

3. Has anyone had any luck in contacting the people who made this game to get hints on locating the different variables in the .exe file?

It would be fantastic to have an easy-to-use complete MOO2 editor one day, to alter everything that can be altered within the game.

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siron
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Postby siron » Sat Jul 07, 2007 5:03 pm

1. Of course not impossible. But probably small tables and therefore difficult to find. Actually I don't know any player who complained about these techs. So it is unlikely someone found them by accident.

2. I don't know them. Also difficult to find. Some finnish player had luck to find them in the orion95.exe since they are almost at top there. That's not the case in the DOS version.

3. Firstly, it would be illegal since they don't own the rights any longer so I won't ask them for source. I had contact to several devs but 10 years are a very long time. Only Ken Burd could have some notes...but wasn't able to contact him.

Buddenbrook
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Postby Buddenbrook » Sat Jul 07, 2007 8:06 pm

1. Well it's not a major problem, but in my experience it would improve gameplay to have a steeper technology curve, and more late game super techs to desperately go after. e.g. spying +30 90,000RP
Balancing the ship specials would be another point, but it's not that important.

2. I wonder if it would be possible to locate the missile base hex address in orion2.exe by copying a longer sequence from the orion95.exe file, hoping the surrounding values would be similar.
This one is not an unsignificant variable in my experience. The gameplay benefits greatly from stronger home defenses. The same for ground batteries and fighter garrison would be an added plus.

3. OK, I understand. It's a real pity, because from thousands of video/computer games and 20+ years of gaming, this is potentially the best game ever. A complete editor would give the game endless re-playability and so much more depth. I hope we will have it one day. What have they got to gain from keeping the source code private? What's their motive? I'm sure people have asked them to release it, but in any case who should one contact to ask them nicely? Command and Conquer (released in 1995) is one of the best selling games of all time, and we had a complete editor a few years after it's release.


One more question, the hex addresses given to the different variables, that the Orion Nebula posters have researched, they are given for v1.31, are the addresses the same for 1.40?

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siron
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Postby siron » Sun Jul 08, 2007 6:25 pm

1. Well tastes are different. 90k RP looks like an extremely long game. I can't imagine how that can be interesting against an AI (I seriously doubt even an tuned AI can't compete that long). Looks to me that someone is just too lazy to attack. ;)

2. Just adding space wouldn't prevent the hit and run tactic. There is a simple alternative by improving planetary shields (see DCmod for example). GrigdeGriz provided the addresses. So I stopped to search.

The sequence wasn't similar to the orion95.exe IIRC. I tested that years ago. Though I might now have a better idea where I have to search.

3. 8040 difference generally. LB added that info in most of his threads.

Buddenbrook
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Postby Buddenbrook » Sun Jul 08, 2007 10:52 pm

1. It's usually only human players left at that stage, if games drag out that long. I have tried to mod the game to have many technological phases, giving signifigance to early game fleets, weapon techs and so on e.g. by making blitzing more difficult and early game ship building very cheap and easy (there's the command point restriction anyway at that stage). Home worlds will remain too strong to attack (strong star bases etc.), but there will be fighting over the scarce resources (i.e. other planets) around (improved planetary defenses, like Starbase very costly to build). In the original game did you ever have meaningful battles with fusion beams, anti-matter torpedoes etc.?

In the end, if it goes that far, it would be nice to have a bit more variability to the usual automaton in which half the colonies are building doom stars and the other half are on trade goods to sustain the fleet. You might want to divert attention to research a bit and then have your superior spies go on a relentless sabotage campaign, or get that 90krp advanced evolutionary mutation, which gives you HG and attack +50 bonuses, and then we talk. Currently the late game 90k rp techs are limited to the likes of Death Ray and ATU because it's hard to find many others that would be worth the resources at that stage.

But I understand that it is not a top priority and there are many things folks would like to fix before this one (if it even is a problem generally). Still something that would be fun to mod.

1&2. I noticed the post on planetary shields and will try that one out, how it affects the game play. Generally I have modded it this way:
Planetary structure points 10x stronger, bombs stronger, bombers and assault shuttles now almighty, reflected in the space units they require, and point defense lasers taking less space than originally.

If I expand on this, I have tried to mod the different weapon systems in a way, that they will all have a meaning. In the original version, ship defenses aside, there were only two cumulative paths to go for really: 1. Marine Combat and 2. Beam bonuses, with emphasis usually on the former one. I have modded missiles, torpedoes and some of the specials to be stronger. Did anyone ever e.g. place a wide area jammer to your ships in the original version? I have tried to mod it so, that these would be some of the things to seriously consider.

Still it would be nice to get to mod the ship specials to further balance it. If ship special bonuses and AI preferences were to be found in the same sequence, then even better.

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siron
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Postby siron » Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:49 pm

I used jammers before. When you know your maths you know when they could be a surprise.

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Time
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Postby Time » Tue Jul 10, 2007 5:58 pm

Boosting Advanced City Planning up, sounds like an interesting mod. Maybe, Evolutionary Mutation too.
I'd like to choose Both Stealthy Ships and Warlord at the end.
MOO1 Fan, MOO2 Fan, MOO3 needed too many changes = hopeless, getting older waiting for a MOO4 (still).

marhawkman
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Postby marhawkman » Fri Jul 13, 2007 4:55 pm

Boosting Advanced City Planning up, sounds like an interesting mod. Maybe, Evolutionary Mutation too.
I'd like to choose Both Stealthy Ships and Warlord at the end.
I did some testing and found that giving a leader Evolutionary mutation as a free tech does weird things to the game. Not permanent weird thing but the window for race picks looks weird.

Buddenbrook
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Postby Buddenbrook » Fri Jul 13, 2007 5:40 pm


The sequence wasn't similar to the orion95.exe IIRC. I tested that years ago. Though I might now have a better idea where I have to search.
Search no more :wink:

Missile Base in 1.31 D053A and D053B

Ground Batteries Hv D02BB and D02BC (and possibly D and E!?)

Ground Batteries pd D0381 and D0382

Artemis System Net to Hit % 1F751C and so forth (14001E00 etc.)

It took me only a couple of minutes, because I had an idea what to look at, even if the sequence wasn't entirely similar, which brings me to another point.

It would be nice to have in one text-file all the currently known variables in the .exe file. Because some of these were so easy to find (like Robotic Factory at 162B30) I suspect that many posters here have come across variables they haven't felt were worth reporting, but some other people might consider them important. What's more, by knowing more sequences you start to get a better feel to how the logic of the .exe file functions and finding further variables becomes easier. For an example, I understand that Phasing Cloak for the 1.40 version was altered to make the ships invisible on the mainscreen. I think more important would be to know the address where to locate this variable, and how it functions.

For me personally this is interesting, because it might get me closer to modding the ship specials (and the AI preferences) which I think is the biggest thing wrong with the game currently. It also affects all multiplayer games heavily, when people for various reasons (family, friends, sudden appointments etc.) have to leave a game, and AI takes over.

All little bits would help you to understand the exe better. So if you can ask for something, all known hex addresses and what they alter in one text file, if someone who knows them all has the time to put it together.

There's an additional point to it, not just to do with further modding, but personal preferences and the option of choice. I for an example would like to retain housing (because often it's the only thing worth building) in the game, but make the multiplier considerably smaller. Is this flag known? Another is about Phasing Cloaks, if the sequence for making it invisible on the main screen is known, I would think other variables are known too / or are possibly nearby, and would like to take away the full cloaking, because it presents insolvable problems. Cloaking device could be 50%, and Phasing Cloak 80% if possible.

Here's how not to win friends in multiplayer:

Doomstar1, No Computer, No Shield

Battle Pods
Phasing Cloak
"normal" bombs x for the rest of the space units

Doomstar2, No Computer, No Shield

Battle Pods
Phasing Cloak
594x Death Spores
188x Bio Terminators

Hehehe... ok I Know you probably now have modded planetary shields and structure points to make it more difficult, but against planets with no barrier shield (only the rad. or flux variety) you wouldn't even need the first ship no matter how the game was modded, the second one would destroy any colony with less than 22 population, even if the player had universal antidote researched, and such a doom star is relatively cheap to build too. A colony is a worth a bit more. Also phasing cloak gives strong marine combatants a near faultless strategy. You get near the opposite ships, only then become active and capture them. You don't have to pay attention to anything else (especially if you know others won't have cloaks yet), using all your space units for this cause only. Also in such situations with both players having phasing cloaks it often happens that it will be undesireable for either player to move first, so we will go through ten rounds of clickety click. Then there's the well known phasing c. + TWF cheat. And all of these are possible because it's a full cloak. It's impossible to fix them all, so I would want to fix the cloak and make it like cloaking device and then cloaking device e.g. 50% and both then taking relatively less space units.


Yeah... I had to mention about the Ground Batteries that's what I had in mind earlier. With all three (PMB, GBHv, GBpd) it's important to keep in mind, that: "Modded space units / space requirements of your best weapons < 128" otherwise you will get minus xx weapons, and although it won't crash the game, the weapons simply won't function. But there's a way to getting more than 127 beams! It doesn't seem to work with missile b. or GB pd. but I haven't noticed any bugs or crashes with the GB Hv. You can additionally mod the 0000 at D02BD and D02BE! While with one numeric value you can't go over 127 with two you can! It sums the two together and you can have a ground battery with:

Death Ray Hv 254 (I usually stop it at 233 or so just to be sure of no overflow!)

...coupled with as many missiles as you like it's getting closer to making planets very formidable, and I mean planets, not ships or star bases.

It always bugged me about the original game, how weak planets were which was so illogical. If the ships having come out of the hyperspace, can attack your planet, then your planet can attack them. And a planet that builds all the doomstars and star fortresses should store a bit more weapons than an individual ship or a fortress.

Further planet modding:

Planet ship specials: Currently only Battle Scanner, god knows where to locate these flags, but they must exist. I would e.g. like the idea of lightning field, if it won't crash the game. And of course other beam bonuses. The other defense specials on the other hand won't make much sense.

Fighters, Bombers and Heavy Fighters increased in number. The difficult thing is that it's not a space allocation, but number of units. If you make heavy fighter take only 1 unit of space, it will still be

2x1
2x1

Marines and Armors increased in number over the current 100% and 50% population limits. It's stupid that you can from your planet build a conquering force in couple of turns but not have them defending the said planet! 100 marines and 50 armors would be closer to my idea.

Artemis System net damage points. The value seems to be 8-28 multiplied by 20. Where to locate it is the question... I would like artemis to have a small 1-2% chance of taking down a doom star and generally to inflict a bit more damage, if it's a late game tech.


Won't this then make the gameplay drag on for eons? Not necessarily. My idea is to make the planetary defenses also to take considerably longer to build, so arming new colonies won't be that easy or straightforward (but as these are modded to be starting techs, you will have them on your home planet). By reducing the general amount of planets in the game, resources will become more scarce, and fleets will battle each other for the control of these resources (and blocking home worlds) from very early game to later phases, so that first meaningful fights could occur in 3503.5 and not in 3517.x or whatever.
And taking over someone's home world will be a real coup. I also like to make the ship building a lot quicker, so that if you lose your whole fleet, it's not necessarily the end of the world. Your home world is still perhaps strong enough to keep you in the game (but just perhaps), because relatively quickly you build new ships.
With less colonies there will be less micro management (a good dose of it is fun, but a heavy dose can become frustrating if not for you, then the other players) and less command points will make it more difficult to build those late game 200 doom star fleets, that take hours to battle each other and have a habit of crashing the game. To compensate for this, planets can house much higher populations.


To add to this, and to keep the antarans in the game, I mod their ships to attack with bio weapons.

There are so many ideas, if you only knew where to look at. Usually the sequences for similar things are similar. The sequences for ground batteries were similar to missile base, so it was no task finding the hex address. There is some planetary defense logic to that, perhaps many other variables also have sequences that help to locate them.

Perhaps the sequences for other ship specials are similar to phasing cloak? Then perhaps there's some little piece of code that always goes with the specials, and before you know it, you are modding Star Base/Station/Fortress special preferences and AI ship special preferences for all 13 races. AI Ships with Damper, ATU and Troop pods. And perhaps less bombs if someone can locate the piece of code for the 6 1 3 ratio. I touched the subject of AI preferences in the other thread, so I won't go back to that, but looking at the Star base special preferences (which directly affects human players), it seems that, when all techs are available, the star base has:

HS, HA, MPS, RH, SS, SC, WD, (WA)J (what's the AI fixation with SS and shields anyway?)

Jammer will be replaced with another jammer, but if you take away one of the specials and then another the rest (based on inadequate testing) will follow in the following order: BS, HEF, SA, ATU, RM, TP'ers(!). And that's that. No reflection field although Antaran home world has it, so it's not like you couldn't have it on the star base. No stabilizer/nullifier. I can understand the logic of no displacement device, because it's not a moving object in the same way as a ship, and I'm not sure whether the graphs for EAer would work, but if possible lightning field, damper field (like on antaran home world)..

I doubt these are race specific like ship preferences (although I'm not totally convinced about that either, most of the races seem to follow a general pattern), but(!) if they were, then you could design your own star bases.

Buddenbrook
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Postby Buddenbrook » Fri Jul 13, 2007 7:14 pm

By the way, Siron, how did you do this http://static.flickr.com/69/197334512_7ccd20eb02_o.jpg ? Increase the total pick points. Pickhack I'm familiar with, is that some later version (I haven't downloaded any editors since ca 2003), or did you hexedit it manually?

And I notice you were asking LB about the evolutionary mutation +points, is that still unknown? I like the idea that leaving 2 points for telepathic or always picking the same attack bonuses would face a bit of variability.

EDIT: How much do you know about the different parameters for strategic combat and how often are they different to the parameters for tactical combat? It could have a huge bearing on heavily modded AI-involved games, if there were two paths going on, e.g. re: planetary defense.

I did notice sequences identical to the tactical combat Planetary missile base and Ground Batteries in the .exe. Perhaps I should test them! Also space ship armor strenght seems to have an independent value for strategic combat, no? But weapons are the same I'm positive.

Any hints or experiences on this? Something more I should know about this when modding the AI?


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