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bmoeller

What do you think about openra

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I really thought i found a gem here http://www.openra.net/

I guess they rebuilt the game using a entirely new engine. The UI is better than the default games and they added some great new features like waypoints for your units to go to after they are built along with being able to q up to 10 units in the building process. But i immediately uninstalled the game when i realized they changed the building structure. Doing this imo completely screwed up everything they was working for. 

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When I first heard about OpenRA I was just hoping for the ability to just play the classic C&C games remade 100% faithfully on a open source engine with all the technical possibilities this would allow. Like, you shouldn't even be able to tell visually or feel that the classic C&C games were running on another engine. After they had achieved this then they could have gone crazy by making alternative versions, new interfaces, new feature, new units and so on. I guess they just didn't see a point is remaking the classics faithfully, but I disagree.

 

Personally, I would just like to see FoW working in Tiberian Sun, bigger maps for Tiberian Dawn and better performance for Red Alert 2 with many units. Purely technical then I like to see vsync and borderness windowed fullscreen working. But that's about it. Maybe not worth rewriting a whole new engine for, but otherwise the point would just be to do what they have already done or are correctly during.

 

Anyhow, OpenRA is open source and so maybe we'll live to see successful ports of the classic C&C games made 100% faithfully (as close as you can come). Yes, CnCNet5 is strong and playing the classic has never been has good as now, so I'm very happy. CnCNet5 is the flavour I like.

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Its a good engine for making different mods and other stuff. Still need to be optimized for better work on low-end computers.

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Its a good engine for making different mods and other stuff. Still need to be optimized for better work on low-end computers.

As well as high-end GPUs... I still haven't played this and it's 2015 QQ

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I never understood that they used complete different file formats for the game, e.g. a code based scripting instead of .ini files for maps and rules. So you can't import files from the original games to openra and vice versa.

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OpenRA's divergence from the original games comes down to two points:

 

[*]A "100% faithful recreation" of the original games is impossible without having a detailed understanding of how they worked.  Nyerguds summarized this nicely in an earlier thread about OpenRA:

 

A lot of the feel of the game comes from the handling of random values' date=' used for things like projectile inaccuracy, and speeds; not only units, but also harvesting speed, build speeds, etc. OpenRA simply doesn't feel like C&C1, and just modding the unit stats won't change that.[/quote']

followed later by

 

Eh' date=' problem is... we don't have those details for the original games. :-\[/quote']

We would need a team of dedicated people working to disassemble and document the inner working of the games if we wanted to make a faithful recreation.  We're (hobbyist) game developers, not reverse-engineers, and so that is not something that we have the interests or skills to follow.  I'm convinced that OpenRA would have died just like freecnc/freera/open red alert/etc did if we had gone down that path.  If someone (or more realistically a team of someones) wanted to put in this effort, then they could easily write their own traits that implemented the original behaviour and package them up with their own game rules in a classic-recreation mod.

 

The first couple of paragraphs of https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/wiki/Development-Goals summarize the project goals, so I won't repeat them again here.

 

 

[*]

OpenRA has evolved based on player and developer feedback.  If you go back to early versions of OpenRA you'll find that it did (try to) recreate the original balance and gameplay as much as was possible at the time.  If you go back even further, you'll find that it even used the original ini and map files.  The gameplay and file formats of the original games show their age, and given the point above we did not feel beholden to keep them that way.

 

Certain things were changed because we felt that we could do them better (production queues and fog of war are the most obvious examples).  Other things changed on the feedback of our players, or to address issues in the overall 'meta balance' of the online community.  Some changes were made on a whim, and then kept because our player community liked them (and others were reverted because players hated them).  This has been a natural evolution by an active project: it's not like somebody woke up yesterday and decided that they would change everything just to piss off all the nostalgia buffs.

 

 

OpenRA is different from the original games, but we don't see any need to apologize for that.  Some people don't like the changes, and make a point of telling us that we are horrible people who desecrated their childhood.  Other people find that they prefer our versions over the originals.  There have even been a few people who thought they could do better, and become valued contributors to the project (either as developers, or by creating their own mods, maps, or mod-maps).

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Honestly, though... OpenRA never even TRIED to get close to the original game feel.

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I never understood that they used complete different file formats for the game, e.g. a code based scripting instead of .ini files for maps and rules. So you can't import files from the original games to openra and vice versa.

 

A group at our development team started to write small tools to automatize the legacy rules import as it would have been a lot of manual work for all the Tiberian Sun assets. You can give https://github.com/Phrohdoh/ini2ora a try. It is in early experimental stages, but already asks for testers and feedback.

 

Legacy tileset and map importers have already been integrated into the development branch.

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I never understood that they used complete different file formats for the game, e.g. a code based scripting instead of .ini files for maps and rules. So you can't import files from the original games to openra and vice versa.

 

A group at our development team started to write small tools to automatize the legacy rules import as it would have been a lot of manual work for all the Tiberian Sun assets. You can give https://github.com/Phrohdoh/ini2ora a try. It is in early experimental stages, but already asks for testers and feedback.

 

Legacy tileset and map importers have already been integrated into the development branch.

 

Automating conversion is not the same as a drop in replacement for the binary where you just install the original assets and go ala scummvm. pchote summed it up, the team is hobbyist game developers who started out thinking they could write a C&C clone just be observing the game behaviour and knowing a few of the file formats. When it became clear they would have to do some proper reverse engineering of the game to get close to its behaviour, they decided that they would have more fun writing things however they wanted rather than learning to read assembly and decompiling the code. That is fair enough, but I still think personally that they should have implemented parsers and functions for the existing game scripts though if they insist on calling it openRA rather than having to convert stuff.

 

As an aside, there is a comment in the openRA mix handling code complaining how ugly and unfathomable the code to recover the blowfish key is. I can explain what it does if any openRA dev wants to rewrite it.

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I still think personally that they should have implemented parsers and functions for the existing game scripts though if they insist on calling it openRA rather than having to convert stuff.

 

We did, and the OpenRA name was originally coined back in those days.  We then later found that they were too limiting for what we wanted to do, and replaced them with a more-expressive rules format (modelled after C&C Generals) and general Lua scripting.  It would not possible to effectively support drop-in rules/assets/scripting simultaneously for the four game-reimplementations that we currently support.

 

Expecting us to rename our established project because our goals changed would be like me insisting that you guys rename CnCNet to WWNet because you now also support D2K.  This is silly.

 

pchote summed it up, the team is hobbyist game developers who started out thinking they could write a C&C clone just be observing the game behaviour and knowing a few of the file formats. When it became clear they would have to do some proper reverse engineering of the game to get close to its behaviour, they decided that they would have more fun writing things however they wanted rather than learning to read assembly and decompiling the code.

 

This doesn't reflect the early history, and the tone comes across as arrogant and dismissive.  OpenRA started off as a fun project (the last of several) for some IRL friends to hack on over pizza and beer after university classes.  There were no serious or lofty goals, as we expected that we would eventually lose interest and shelve it like the earlier ones.

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As an aside, there is a comment in the openRA mix handling code complaining how ugly and unfathomable the code to recover the blowfish key is. I can explain what it does if any openRA dev wants to rewrite it.

 

I recently cleaned up all the swearing in the source code comments, but yes https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/blob/bleed/OpenRA.Game/FileFormats/BlowfishKeyProvider.cs#L16 is still standing. My hope is that making the code readable and maintainable will help us to resolve long-standing bugs such as https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRA/issues/2441.

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I still think personally that they should have implemented parsers and functions for the existing game scripts though if they insist on calling it openRA rather than having to convert stuff.

 

We did, and the OpenRA name was originally coined back in those days.  We then later found that they were too limiting for what we wanted to do, and replaced them with a more-expressive rules format (modelled after C&C Generals) and general Lua scripting.  It would not possible to effectively support drop-in rules/assets/scripting simultaneously for the four game-reimplementations that we currently support.

 

Expecting us to rename our established project because our goals changed would be like me insisting that you guys rename CnCNet to WWNet because you now also support D2K.  This is silly.

 

Why replace them rather than just leave them in place and have them parse in as overrides to your preferred configs and data formats? As Matt says, there is now a group writing automated tools to convert the original stuff into openra formats and that can't be too different from parsing them into the data structures used within the game itself, so why not just skip the middle step and have openra be able to load them in the first place, perhaps backed by you standard config format to set defaults and variables that are hard coded in the original?

 

Plenty of projects rename when their focus changes and the original name doesn't reflect the project anymore, and there are plenty of others that don't, its not just a case of the name, its how some people involved with the project discuss it as though it was a recreation of the original WW games when it isn't, even if that was the unspoken intent when the project began. The website even states "OpenRA is a Libre/Free Real Time Strategy project that recreates the classic Command & Conquer titles." when it blatantly doesn't. It should say something along the lines of "OpenRA is a Libre/Free Real Time Strategy project that uses the graphical style of the old Command & Conquer titles." if who ever wrote it was being honest. OpenDune is an engine recreation, as are the many engines of ScummVM and for those of us who would like to see a real open source C&C recreation, seeing the OpenRA project proclaiming it already is is bit like a slap in the face.

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The project naming is pretty much in line with other popular recreations such as http://www.openttd.org/ that also implement new file formats to overcome limitations of the original. In OpenRA's case INI was abandoned, because it did not feature nesting. http://wiki.openra.net/FAQ#this-is-not-true-to-the-original explains it and even links here to CnCNet for everyone who expected a clone, simple fan-patch or a conservative source port.

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Can't openttd still use the original data files? OpenTTD was also originally a reverse engineered engine like opendune and behaved almost exactly like the original. The original was also only single player so people didn't have expectations of how it would play in a competitive setting so for multiplayer, the openttd team didn't have to worry about splitting opinion on its behaviour when implementing new features. Heck, OpenTTD is even more modest in its claims, saying its modelled after the original rather than a reimplementation which it actually is. The FAQ for OpenRA claims its a clean room implementation of the original WW engine, but it isn't because no one looked at how the original engine actually worked and documented it for the coders writing the reimplementation (which is what clean room reverse engineering actually means).

 

I don't understand why the OpenRA project is marketed and branded like this at all, what is to be gained from mis-representing the project in what is essentially its marketing material?

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With clean room implementation I mean that is based on (reverse engineered) specifications not disassembled or modified binaries. The source code has been created from scratch, not automatically generated. The BlowfishKeyProvider may be a notable exception which is yet another reason to replace the very raw source code.

 

I think you are misguided by the FUD that is spread in this community and repeated mindlessly. What I mean is that OpenTTD has also been extended with file formats like http://wiki.openttd.org/NewGRF that make it incompatible with the original, but also improve it's modding capabilities.

 

If you believe "marketing" claims on the OpenRA website are not precise, you can send a patch towards https://github.com/OpenRA/OpenRAWeb to change it.

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Why replace them rather than just leave them in place and have them parse in as overrides to your preferred configs and data formats? As Matt says, there is now a group writing automated tools to convert the original stuff into openra formats and that can't be too different from parsing them into the data structures used within the game itself, so why not just skip the middle step and have openra be able to load them in the first place, perhaps backed by you standard config format to set defaults and variables that are hard coded in the original?

 

Because this would come at a significant cost in terms of code complexity and maintainability.  Why would we want to do this?  This would require a huge pile of work, without a comparable return.

 

The website even states "OpenRA is a Libre/Free Real Time Strategy project that recreates the classic Command & Conquer titles." when it blatantly doesn't.

And right below that it states "These are not intended to be perfect copies, but instead combine the classic gameplay of the originals with modern improvements such as unit veterancy and the fog of war.".

 

It should say something along the lines of "OpenRA is a Libre/Free Real Time Strategy project that uses the graphical style of the old Command & Conquer titles." if who ever wrote it was being honest. OpenDune is an engine recreation, as are the many engines of ScummVM and for those of us who would like to see a real open source C&C recreation, seeing the OpenRA project proclaiming it already is is bit like a slap in the face.

 

This is the real core of the issue.  OpenRA is a *game* recreation, not an *engine* recreation.  By that I mean the overall (and largely subjective) feel — including the production, harvesting, unit mechanics, etc as well as just the graphics — and not the specific details of your favorite tank-rush strategy or the outcomes of the random number generator in a specific situation.  The vast majority of the feedback that we receive is that we have done a very good job at this.  I find it more than just a bit of a slap in the face for you to call me (the person who wrote the website blurb) dishonest for writing that.

 

I get that there is a group of people who would like to see a true open source C&C *engine* recreation, but it is unfair for you to project those desires on to OpenRA and then get angry when it doesn't meet your expectations.

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Because this would come at a significant cost in terms of code complexity and maintainability.  Why would we want to do this?  This would require a huge pile of work, without a comparable return.

 

 

To make it simple for the end user to just use the game data that they currently have, to support the swath of existing custom content for the originals? Two good reasons right there.

 

The website even states "OpenRA is a Libre/Free Real Time Strategy project that recreates the classic Command & Conquer titles." when it blatantly doesn't.

And right below that it states "These are not intended to be perfect copies, but instead combine the classic gameplay of the originals with modern improvements such as unit veterancy and the fog of war.".

 

Then it isn't a recreation, its a re-imagining or imitation.

 

 

This is the real core of the issue.  OpenRA is a *game* recreation, not an *engine* recreation.  By that I mean the overall (and largely subjective) feel — including the production, harvesting, unit mechanics, etc as well as just the graphics — and not the specific details of your favorite tank-rush strategy or the outcomes of the random number generator in a specific situation.  The vast majority of the feedback that we receive is that we have done a very good job at this.  I find it more than just a bit of a slap in the face for you to call me (the person who wrote the website blurb) dishonest for writing that.

 

I get that there is a group of people who would like to see a true open source C&C *engine* recreation, but it is unfair for you to project those desires on to OpenRA and then get angry when it doesn't meet your expectations.

 

You imply a disparity between recreating a "game" and an "engine", but I debate that this exists. The engine is the rules of the game and if you change the rules, you change the game. If you haven't recreated the rules accurately, you can't recreate the game. You can imitate it to some degree and my suggested rewording of the blurb IMO more accurately reflects that this is what OpenRA does. OpenRA does a good job of imitating the look where it tries to (unit and map graphics) and a reasonable attempt to capture the feel (which is far more subjective), but to say its a recreation is an exageration.

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There is also a simple strategical reason. Why should we recreate the classics 1:1 which is very hard and can never be achieved with 100% accuracy when there is CnCNet which keeps the originals alive and does a pretty good job at herding the community.

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Gawd. I've just read through this thread and the phrase "nit picking" doesn't even come close. I've not had the chance to play open RA yet but I've read a lot about it, had a look at the code, reviews & screenshots. My general impression is that's it is an ambitious fan project by people who clearly love the games (why would they do it otherwise?) It wasn't made 100% faithful to the original and therefore the game play doesn't feel exactly the same as it does on the originals. My initial thought is who cares? People play the game, and people like it. I seriously do not understand why some of you are getting butt hurt about them calling it open RA? when you decide to design your own open source engine for command and conquer games that are 100% faithful, you might have something of a point but i'm pretty sure that's not the case.

 

Long and short of it is this: Open Ra team, you've done an amazing job. and not only that, you've given us hobbyist coders an idea of what the internals of our favorite RTS might've looked like, which i think is awesome. Anyone who is butthurt for you calling it openRA is obviously a fanboy and should spend less time fapping over Tanya. "Shake it baby"!

 

Thank you for helping keep the spirit of C&C alive. The more people involved with projects like this the better!

 

 

 

 

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You must be new to the internet, so I'll clue you in... if the internet were a country, the national passtimes would be nit picking (or pedantry to be pedantic) and fapping to porn (not specifically tanya related, but I'm sure that makes up a part of it). If you aren't spending a good amount of your time on the internet doing these things you are doing it wrong  :P

 

For the record, I don't think the OpenRA guys have done a bad job at an RTS and I don't have anything against them or the project and any concerns I may have as to the accuracy of some of the claims on the website are minor in the grand scheme of things. However the thread was opened to get opinions and I gave them.

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Thank you for welcoming me to the internet. Although i appreciate the sentiment, i'm actually a veteran. I understand that this thread is for providing opinions on OpenRa. I welcome peoples opinions, positive and negative - it's what makes the internet great... that and the fapping.  :laugh:

 

I think a few debatable claims on their website can be overlooked in light of the actual finished product. I'd say that it's actually a testament to what theyv'e done that the only thing you can find wrong with it is the blurb and the name  :roll:

 

What it boils down to is; who wants to sit looking through thousands of lines of assembly just to make sure the random numbers that control weapon accuracy are correct by an unnoticeable difference. Who has the time and patience for that??

 

 

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There is also a simple strategical reason. Why should we recreate the classics 1:1 which is very hard and can never be achieved with 100% accuracy

OpenDune begs to differ...

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