Tag Archives: Rise of Nations

Rise of Nations Script Maker 2.0 Preview

Rise of Nations Script Maker 2.0

Rise of Nations Script Maker 2.0

I’ve been working on a new version of my Script Maker for Rise of Nations since the release of the Extended Edition a few months ago.  I naively thought it just was going to be a matter of converting the code to .Net and updating a few routines to support EE.  However, once I saw the state of the code, I decided it was going to have to be completely rewritten.  After all, it was ten year old code written in VB6.  And I was really appalled by the “hackiness” of so much of the code—mostly because VB6 had so few built-in functions and relied on the Windows API so much.

So since I was rewriting the whole program anyways, I took the opportunity to make numerous improvements.  I won’t post the whole changelog, but here are some of the highlights:

  • Streamlined the interface significantly
  • Stat tables now support filtering, sorting, and better change highlighting
  • Broke the stat tables up by units, buildings, and techs while combining disabling and researching with stats
  • Scripts can now have descriptions
  • All data is loaded from the games now
  • Changed the script save format to XML
  • Dropped the use of the MSXML library in favor of .Net’s XML library

At this point, I’m mainly just doing testing and documentation. So, expect release within the next couple of weeks.  I may put a call out for beta testers before then, but I haven’t decided yet.

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Things and Stuff

This is going to be a rather random post–just a list of some of the cooler things I’ve been up to. I’ve been noticing how this feels more and more like a blog, but I do try to keep the personal details out of it. I don’t think anyone (maybe Kaylen) cares what I had for dinner last night (Pork Lo Mein), what I last watched on TV (CNN), or when I stumbled out of bed today (3PM).

Since the spring semester of college was over a couple weeks ago (one A, two B’s, and a C), Kaylen and I finally got a chance to go camping. Her school, UVA, is only 30 minutes from the lovely Shenandoah National Park, so we went there and stayed at a centrally-located campground called Lewis Mountain. It was a decent campground (well-maintained), albeit pricey (want a 10 minute shower? 2 bucks). It was surprisingly popular, too; most days there were almost no free spots by the evening. I enjoyed making fires and gathering firewood so we could cook the food, but the low abundance of good wood meant short-lived fires. The second day, we went hiking on a trail called White Oak Canyon, but alas we turned around not far from the actual falls and only saw cascades; we’ll be sure to carry trail maps in the future. I’ve uploaded most of the pictures we took (including some impressive panoramas) to the photo album in this directory.


I said "Don't you like popsicles?"

When we got back home, I uncovered a set of popsicle makers in the basement. Kaylen and I had much fun trying out different frozen snacks such as Dr. Pepper, Code Red, apple juice, orange juice, pudding, and raspberry snowcone syrup. The only problem is the amount of water in the substances. Many of the drinks just have too much water; causing mostly ice crystals and little flavor. So we tried experimenting with reducing the water by heating the beverage on the stove; it works perfectly for sodas. About half syrup and half water is the best blend. Delicious.

With my new time off, I’ve been back to work on several things, of course. I dabbled with the code to my as-of-yet-unreleased alarm program some a few days ago, mainly touching on a few bugs and missing features (buttons that go to nowhere). It’s been a little hard going back to it since I haven’t really looked at the code much since last summer (it’s a shame); I’m wishing now that I had commented the code more. But with any luck, I might be able to finally get the few kinks out of it and release it publicly, maybe even to some download sites. The reason I only gave it out to a select few beta testers previously is that it was proving to be unreliable in a few rare instances, and an alarm that’s unreliable is no good.

But for the last few days, I’ve been putting together a new column on PC air cooling. I took some logs from MBM and turned the data into some pretty graphs in Excel and then analyzed the results. It’s mostly just neat to see how the temperatures interact to certain events, as my conclusions are pretty obvious for any computer professional. You can find it here.

As for entertainment, I’ve been getting back into Rise of Nations after being disappointed with Stalker’s linear, buggy gameplay. I finally finished Alexander the Great’s campaign for the first time and now I’ve moved on to a mod version of the Entire World (Baryonyx’s Extended mod). This could be good news for anyone still playing RoN as I may get into making some more scripts and improvements to my ScriptMaker, as well as finally releasing my map pack mod.

I’ve also been having some fun with the new Sam & Max season. I tried playing some adventure games before, but just couldn’t get into all the walking around and trying every combination of things to progress the story. With Sam & Max, either the puzzles are easier than they used to be or I’m just more intelligent enough to figure them out now. Either way, it’s an amusing little game that I can’t get enough of.

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New apps and RoL beta

Website Fonts Finder

Website Fonts Finder

I’ve done a couple new apps recently. They’ve both been in the new-to-me .NET environment. The first one I made just to do it. It searches for instances of fonts in HTML code (either HTML, CSS, or script) using regular expressions and reports the findings through three lists.

Multimonitor Cursor Lock

Multimonitor Cursor Lock

The second app was born from necessity. I was tired of games not locking the mouse cursor into the current monitor, so I made a program to watch the selected app for focus and lock the cursor accordingly. This is obviously for multiple-monitor setups. It took about a week to code altogether but functions perfectly. It even has hotkeys to get you out of sticky situations. UltraMon can lock the mouse cursor to a certain monitor on hotkey press, but I knew I could do it better. My app locks the mouse cursor to whatever monitor the selected app is on automatically. It also locks it more efficiently by using the ClipCursor API function and checking to see if the app has focus or not. You can download both of these apps from my Apps page.

Also of interest is a recent Email that I received from Joe Pishgar, PR guy at Big Huge Games. He said that “several of [our programming team] outright insisted I do my best to get you into the Rise of Legends beta!”. Of course, it’s not like I’d say no to beta testing the “sequel” to Rise of Nations. I’m not sure when to expect my beta copy, but I suppose it should be within the next month by the way they’re hyping it now. Joe also mentioned that some of the programming team were quite impressed by my Script Maker for RoN.

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shits they are a happenin

There’s a few things that have gone on lately that I shall point out.

First, I released the next major version of my Rise of Nations Script Maker last week. It adds a lot of cool shit and fixes a few bugs like: scrippet options; maximizing/resizing the window; preresearching techs, units, and buildings; update checks; message log; max craft in object stats; and new scrippet editor. So, pick this shit up.
RoN Script Maker Full Version
RoN Script Maker Lite Version

I also recently uploaded my incomplete Uber Resources T&P v2 to RoNH. It adds the T&P campaign rares like gold, rum, and cattle. Snatch that here.

The next item has to do with the website. I recently asked my host about upgrading my site to a new package and here’s the answer I got back:

I’ve upgraded your account to the GigaDeal X5 package and the monthly price is the same as your previous package. If you need further assistance, please let us know. Thank you.

Check this page to see what the package offers. You’ll obviously notice that it upgrades my space from a measly 200MB to 5GB. Given the copious space, I’ve decided to upload a bunch of my music (original, unfinished, and remixes) and videos. You can get to it by clicking the Downloads button on the nav or here.

And boom. I guess that’s it. I’ll probably be playing Dungeon Siege all week, so yeh…won’t be very productive.

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More RoN modding.

I’m frequently amazed at how half-assed the modability of RoN is. Nevertheless, I’ve been continuing to work on the new mapstyles. The count so far is 5, but I’m not totally in love with the Wasteland style. I changed it a bit and added Wasteland2, though, which is totally bitchin. I’m not out of ideas yet, just don’t have the time to test and build all the styles. But here is a collage of the 3 newest styles I’ve done: The aforementioned Wasteland2 (each player is surrounded by mountains and the only trees are inside of this wall of mountians), Sea Wall (just about the best you can do with cliffs and water, based on “East meets West”), and Black Forest (based on the AoK style by the same name; besides player and random clearings, there are only trees with very tight, maze-like paths). Anyways, check out the screenshot for a better idea.

I’ve also been working on my Uber Resources mod again. Following a tip from someone in the community, I’ve begun perfecting methods to include the T&P CTW rares in games. The part that sucks is that the rares have to be included in every mapstyle 😕 . Although I was told they could be added to the default style, I found this to not work. The only thing that really sucks ass is making graphics for the new rares. As far as I know, there’s no way to include animated models for the animal resources (huskies, cattle), so they’ll have to be static. I was almost done with an olive orchard the other day for olive oil but then fucking psp crashed 😡 😡 😡 and I didn’t have the autosave option on. I was so fucking pissed. There were a dozen layers of work that I totally lost. GRRR. I’ll redo the entire thing some other time. Here’s a screenshot of the gold rare, though.

And Marcus and I blogged. Enjoy.

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Demo Review and RoN

There’s right, after at least a year of no new demo reviews, I have finally added a review for Act of War. If you like commando games and C&C, you’ll have to check this one out here. Also, anyone that’s interested in demo reviewing can email me about it. It’s a shame that my demoboard system doesn’t see much use.

I released a minor bug-fix version of RoN Script Maker the other day. I fucked up royally with the Object Stats saving and loading 😕 , but it’s fixed here. I don’t think I’ll post on the RoN Heaven forum about RSM anymore, so I’ll just stick the last changelog additions below. I’m already working on another minor release that will have a few fixes, hopefully (finally) resizing of the app, and add craft max to the Object Stats (for generals, scouts, etc).

Changed in 0.9.27:
-fixed a little annoyance when setting up the script list after a save causing the loaded script to be unselected
-fixed a bug where the object stats in the RSM save file were not cleared before saving again. this caused changes to be appended and unremovable.
-email links in the about tab now get my current email address from s–l.com. should still open your default email app (tested with outlook), but also leaves a blank browser window open (tested with ie).

In other RoN news, I’m working on a new area of mod development: Map Styles. As far as I know, nobody has really touched on this in the community. I’ve been getting tired of the old styles, so I plan on modifying all the originals and releasing a pack that will install and swap in and out the mod with the originals. There are 4 main drawbacks to developing map styles, though. One is they can’t be loaded like a mod (they must be loaded on game opening, when it reads the internal_strings.xml file). Second is they can’t be added to the list of styles (making the swapping necessary). Third is the lack of documentation on map styles (except for a few xml comments). Finally, the game retains some elements of map generation (mainly water placement), however trees, rivers, tileset, mountains, rocks, fish, ruins, and rares are all fully editable. It’s a pain, but it’ll be worth it :) . As you can see from the following screenshot, I’ve already composed two new styles: Island of Eden and Wasteland.

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