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Metal Marines
A remake of an old classic




General Description:
Metal Marines is a remake of a clasic Windows 3.1 game. Wait you say... how is that possible? A game for Windows 3.1? Tis true. Metal Marines was published by Mindscape in 1994 and was one of the few games (Baring minesweeper and solitaire) that truly worked on Windows 3.1. Actually not only did it work, it thrived. The main premise of the game is to destroy your opponent's islands by firing missiles at them and launching invasions of metal marines. You build up your island with one of a dozen or so buildings that can increase your defenses and income rate. The original game made full use of the Windows 3.1 environment such that when you fired missiles at your opponents, accomplished by drag-and-drop functionality, the missile would arc between the windows that contains the islands. This was an extremely inovative use of windows at the time, and is still fairly unique. Here are some external references to this unarguably awsome game.

http://www.gamefaqs.com/computer/doswin/review/R24438 .html - Rates it 5/10
http://www. goodolddays.net/index.php?args=0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;0;en;0;0;list;1;metal%20marines; - Rates it 4/6
http://www.mobygames.com/game/metal-marines - Rates it 3.8/5

What am I doing?
I'm rewritting it of course! The whole sha-bang. My original plan was to make a new version of the game that was identicle in every way except for the network capability. However I quickly realized that there were short-cuts I could take by deviating slightly from the original. The main thing i'm not deviating from is the graphics... by keeping the graphics the same I can avoid the timly and boring process of drawing my own cruddy tiles. And really, the Metal Marines graphics have held up suprisingly well over the years.

Why am I doing it?
Metal Marines was a smoking game man, but as you can see from the downloads section it is still playable in Windows XP. So why rewrite it you ask? Simple, network. The original game truely does work perfectly in Windows XP (actually all of the flavors of Windows) however it can only be played human to human between two people, and only over a modem or
serial cable. In the new world of the internet this basically means it cannot be played agasint anything but an AI, and not a very good one at that. So the conclusion is simple... I must rewrite it! Actually there is a second reason, but I don't like to admit it. The DSGameEngine is maturing nicely but it is not yet complete. In the projects section under Legacy Realm you will see the next project I hope to accomplish. After reading through that project you should quickly realize that it is, very agressive. To say the least. Metal Marines is allowing me to put my DSGameEngine to the test and finish some of the peripherary projects that will be needed (See Gob Files and Forms and Menus as examples).


Graphics Processing (i.e. Stealing):
In this case i choose to keep all of the old graphics from the original game for Windows 3.1. While this could never be done for a professional project it allows us to take some short cuts in thsi learning project. You must always do careful research before deciding to infringe on someone else's copyright. In this case the game has been out of production in all forms for many many years, and the final project will not be distributed.
In order to pull the graphics out of the original game I am using a utility called Wink. This handy !free! utility allows you to easily record a game of Metal Marines and save the results as BMP files. (This is also the utility I use to make all my web page screen captures). Here is an example graphic file created for Metal Marines. It contains all of the different graphics needed to display a metal marine in its various poses. Color replacement is used to make other player's metal marines from this graphic.




Features:
  • Fully functional network capability
  • No limits to the number of players that can join a game
  • The ability to launch missiles at your opponents
  • Buildings that increase your income, fuel production and reduce production time
  • The ability to launch metal marines at your opponents
  • Defending metal marines will fight off invaders
  • New snazzy borders and backgrounds
  • Ability to upgrade things like single missles to double
  • Team and in game allegiance system
  • An enhanced the menu system
  • The ugliest missle trails you'll likely ever see
  • Fully working sound
  • Options menu for things like muting and such
  • Cheat Codes! See if you can beat me NOW.
  • A full campaign system
  • Direction based attacks for more intricate defensive structures
  • Stabalized the code
  • Multi-select and Groups
  • Mass upgrades and bulldozing
  • Building decay (to avoid having to bulldoze all the time)
  • An alert system so you don't miss critical messages
  • Balanced units and damage
  • A radius on build to show how far a building will affect
  • Snazy graphics upgrades
  • Campaign maps
  • Ability to save a game








Reported Bugs:
Problem: After building a Fuel Station, my counter still only goes up by 1 per second, not 2 per second, and so on if you build more that 1 extra.
Notes: This is actually by design. You gain fuel/money faster than once a second. So if you have a +2, you'll gain one fuel every .5 seconds.
Status: Closed. For now, till I find a clearer way to do it.

Problem: Some islands seem to start with battle damage from a previous battle.
Notes: There are several islands in the campaign that for plot reasons maintained the original battle damage. Since the plot was never ported over this can be confusing for players.
Status: Closed. I have no plans at this point to add the plot, i'm moving onto other projects. I know its confusing, sorry.

Problem: After closing Metal Marines, it does not always shut down.
Notes: This is a known issue with my game engine, all my games have this problem from time to time, it is very sparatic from machine to machine.
Status: Open. Actively being researched.

Problem: Metal Marines uses over 200 megs of memory when its running!
Notes: This is partially due to the .NET Framework. When you have one .NET framework application all the overhead is shown in that one application. As more .NET framework applications open this memory gets distributed. That said, Metal Marines itself has a footprint of almost 100 meg.
Status: Closed. I've learned some things that reduce this kind of a problem, but it takes allot to retrofit them into Metal Marines. So my next project will benefit from them.

Problem: The mouse cursor's hot spot is approxamitly half the cursor off. This makes it look like I grabed another building, one that was either below or off to the side of the one I intended to grab.
Notes: This appears to happen on some machines only. For the moment, all the machines I have access to do not have the problem so I have no way to investigate it further.
Status: Open. I hope to research it soon.

Problem: When I'm grabbing an item, it will grab and move the item to float in limbo.
Notes: I have not been able to reproduce this yet.
Status: Open. Actively being researched.

Problem: When attempting to move around the window to view the total island, sometimes when using the scroll bars it moves the whole island box around the screen instead of scrolling.
Notes: This happens because the scroll bars fall inside the "Move hot spot" of the window.
Status: Open. To be fixed in the next patch.

Problem: Occasionally when I'm attempting to drag and drop missiles to the next screen, it thinks that I'm clicking on the enemies screen, and brings it to the foreground and does not drop the missiles.
Notes: I have not been able to reproduce this yet.
Status: Open. Actively being researched.

Problem: The screen size seems to correspond with how much memory the game takes up. At an almost full screen size with the screen resolution is set to 1280x1024, it was taking up the nearly 200 Meg of ram. When playing in a smaller window, a smaller amount of memory is consumed.
Notes: DirectX 9.0c should only use local machine memory to store pre-rendering when an insufficient video card is found. However this appears to happen even if the video card is fairly nice.
Status: Open. Actively being researched.









Warstrider (03/09/2007)

Copyright © by DarkStride All Right Reserved.

Published on: 2005-07-27 (17030 reads)

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