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OpenRA Playtest 20170722
July 22, 2017 - 05:09

The OpenRA developers are pleased to finally announce playtest-20170722, the first release candidate for what will be the biggest OpenRA release in many years. Core development has focused on three areas, and they have included many other great improvements contributed by our open source community.

You'll notice the first major change before you even start the playtest: the "OpenRA" launcher is no more, and has been replaced with individual launchers for Red Alert, Tiberian Dawn, and Dune 2000. This is part of a major reorganisation of the project structure to improve backwards compatibility and modding support.

Individual mods are now launched directly from your Desktop / Application Launcher.

The in-game mod chooser has been removed, but it is still possible to switch mods when joining a server from the Multiplayer list. Even better, if you have multiple versions installed (e.g. Playtest and Release, which now install to different locations on Windows) the server list will show games from all versions, and will switch to the correct version when you try to connect.

The second focus area relates to how you control your units on the battlefield. For many years OpenRA has supported features like Attack Move, unit stances and queuing orders using hotkeys, but these have not always been obvious or intuitive to use. They have added a long-planned command bar interface for these, and made some adjustments and bug fixes to make them better and behave more like the original games.

A new bottom command bar is now available for issuing common orders and changing unit stances.

The final focus area fundamentally changes the way that buildings occupy space and receive damage, taking inspiration from the original Dune 2000, which was more advanced than the earlier (and some later!) games.

New building physics improves the way that structures are targeted and take damage.

Some of the smaller but still important new features include:

- Automatic discovery of LAN games in the Multiplayer browser.
- Improvements to the Global Chat UI.
- New search and filtering options in the Map editor.
- Another 9 campaign missions for D2K, which is now half way complete!
- Missing maps can now be installed directly from the Replay browser.
- Significant performance and memory improvements when playing music.

Please see the full changelog for information on many more improvements that we have not mentioned here.

It is now possible to search and filter actors and tiles in the map editor.

This playtest includes big changes which may have broken your favourite feature, and which have definitely affected the game balance in all three mods. This makes it more important than ever to play games on this and future playtests and let us know of any issues via our forum, our GitHub issue tracker, or in the comments below.

Don't forget, if you're on Windows or macOS you can have playtest-20170722 and release-20170527 installed at the same time, and switch between the two when joining servers with other players. So head over to our download page and give it a try!

And now for a special note to our modding community:

As OpenRA modding grew in popularity it became clear that requiring players to manually install mods on top of our OpenRA releases, with the in-game mod chooser to switch between mods, was more of a burden than a benefit. The OpenRA developers have listened to the feedback from both players and modders, and have spent the last few months working on a comprehensive solution.

They have done this by decoupling the game engine (OpenRA.Game.exe and support files) from our default mods, and have put the mod in charge. Mods now manage their own engine files, which means that they can exist alongside our official mods with no dependencies between them.

The new mod SDK provides a development environment that simplifies the engine and dependency management, and allows you to generate proper installers for players to install your game. Games built with the mod SDK will not be affected when the player upgrades or even uninstalls other OpenRA-based games.

The mod SDK is still a new project, and our documentation is still rough. They encourage modders who want to port their projects over to the SDK to file issues if you have any problems, or visit the development IRC channel (webchat) if you have any questions during european-timezone evenings.

Posted by xanax
Comments (2)

Requesting reinforcements...
July 19, 2017 - 20:30

Hello everyone! You may have notice my silence in the news for a couple of... errr.. months, perhaps. But I think that most of you know the reason: my bloody doctorate, where my situation only gets worse in terms of the schedule. Regardless of that, I am very motivated to keep this site running and increase the activity a lot once my doctorate is over. But for now, I need help to keep the news flowing.

Posting news takes a while, in order to find news to post, analyze it, figure out the most fun way to express it here, etc. Sometimes I take half an hour, sometimes I take a couple of hours. And, in my current situation, it is being hard to dedicate so much time with it.

But, of course that this place can survive without my news. Any of you (registered and non-banned members in the forum) can post a news at the Community News Forum. And if it is written in a proper way, it takes less than 30 seconds for me to promote it to a proper news post.

The forums are still quite active with development on Ares, Thyme, some hosted mods like Colony Wars, The Dawn of the Tiberium Age, Twisted Insurrection, some non-hosted projects like Arrakis Reborn, YR: WIP, RA2: New World Order, etc... There are also a couple of interesting voxels and SHPs being posted. And once in a while, OpenRA's dev blog gets some interesting updates related to the upcoming Tiberian Sun mod for it.

Outside this place, I've also heard news of a new patch for Mental Omega, a new patch for C&C Ultimate Collection from Bibber fixing another one of Origin's  nasty collateral damages, a new C&C Legos movie at (which is now under the supervision of Zee Hypnotist), new patches for A Path Beyond at W3D Hub, a revamped CnC-Communications Center and a couple of updates on Contra. And that of course means that I must be missing a lot of stuff, I am pretty sure of it.

The problem is that even the task of writing this news took much more than 30 minutes, but I hope it helps us to get more support in the news front.

The first 17 seconds of the randomly selected video below shows our feelings about it. Spare us a couple of minutes to share interesting C&C and modding news by posting a topic about it at our Community News Forum. And that's it, brotherhood, unity, peace.

Posted by Banshee
Comments (6)

Ares 0.D is available
June 11, 2017 - 20:25

Here's the official Ares 0.D, which adds some big features like support to change mouse cursors, mechanics and ambulance vehicles, or to make the AI build more than one building of a type. Ivan death bombs are now included, after being cut from the original game, and multiplayer matches can now start with a deployed Construction Yard instead of an MCV.

There are many more minor features like Temporal weapons considering the victim's health, customizable fall rates, digging animations and so on. I think it goes without saying now that several bugs have been fixed also, and many old pieces of code have been modernized and previous features have been reworked.

Thanks once more to all testers involved!

Happy Modding, and see you very soon!


Posted by AlexB
Comments (7)

OpenRA Release 20170421
April 21, 2017 - 21:06

Almost to the day half a year after our last stable release, the OpenRA dev team is proud to finally present to you their latest work - OpenRA Release 20170421!

With 43 developers producing just shy of 800 commits and touching almost 1800 files, this has very likely been one of our slowest release cycles ever. As such, the list of user-visible changes is not as long as you've come to expect in earlier years. However, behind the scenes, preparations for a fundamental transformation of the OpenRA engine are in the works. But more on that later.

As usual, this new release brings with it changes to the balance of both the Red Alert and Tiberian Dawn mods, as well as a huge number of new and overhauled multiplayer maps. In addition, it contains the following major fixes and features:
  • HiDPI font rendering for players with high resolution displays.
  • Fixes for several multiplayer bugs that could stall or crash games when a player disconnects.
  • The Red Alert "shell map" background is now muted.
  • New behaviour for the Red Alert Gap Generator and Tiberian Dawn Obelisk.
  • Fixes for asset installation on 32 bit operating systems and from the original RA95 CDs.
The Dune 2000 mod in particular has many changes to make it better match the gameplay and graphical polish of the original game, plus seven(!) new campaign missions.

Comparing regular and high resolution UI rendering in the Tiberian Dawn map browser.

Dune 2000 now comes with 13 campaign missions.

The re-written shroud-generating behaviour of the gap generator in action.

The biggest changes in this release are behind the scenes; technical improvements that are not visible to players, but important for our development and modding community:
  • A new trait conditions system provides much better control over trait interactions.
  • Actor vision has been overhauled, adding support for features like the RA active gap generators, D2K actors revealing themselves when attacking, and cliffs blocking vision in heightmap-enabled mods.
  • Simplified weapon definitions using inherited yaml templates.
  • Some initial steps towards removing code patterns that are not compatible with save game support.
OpenRA grew out of the C&C modding community, and one of our major goals is to provide a flexible game engine that the community can use for their own projects.  Unfortunately, this goal has been hurt by OpenRA's single-engine approach, meaning that every new release would unavoidably break community mods.

After many discussions, we have developed a new mod support strategy that we will implement over the next two OpenRA releases.  This release starts by adding support for parallel OpenRA installs, and we have started developing a mod template that includes instructions and scripts to simplify mod development and packaging.  Mods built using this template will be self contained games that function independently from our official mod installs.

The in-game multiplayer server list will now list games for all the mods that a player has installed (even across multiple installations), and will allow players to directly switch to another mod when joining one.  This applies across versions as well as mods, meaning that future OpenRA releases will be able to coexist, and switching between release and playtest servers will be just as easy as switching between RA and TD servers today.

The multiplayer server list is now smarter about multiple OpenRA installations.

The next release (later this year) will complete the mod-support transition by removing the in-game mod chooser and support for manually installed mod packages: all mods (both official and community) will be listed individually with their own names and icons in your Start Menu / Dock / Launcher.

We hope these measures will give more visibility to third-party mods, and establish OpenRA as a viable and stable real-time strategy platform even for games not connected to the Command & Conquer universe.

For the complete list of changes please see the full changelog. You can find installers for all our supported operating systems on our download page.

We hope you'll enjoy this newest installment of OpenRA!

Posted by pchote
Comments (2)

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