The Dawn of the Tiberium Age is a stand-alone Tiberian Sun to Tiberian Dawn (C&C 95/Gold) total conversion which aims to allow people to both play and mod TD, while having all of the benefits of the TS engine. With version 1.10 of DTA the "enhanced mode" was also introduced; you get to pick whether you want to play the classic or enhanced mode when you start the game. The enhanced mode aims to improve/enhance the gameplay you're used to from TD by adding new features (like the XO Powersuit, the "Spawn visceroids" super weapon and naval battles) and refining the game balance (prices, speeds, damage, range, etc.).
It's been a while since DTA 1.11 has been released since then this site moved from cncxs to PPM after some server issues that couldn't be resolved and 6 updates have been released, including today's (version 1.1117). Here's a global overview of the most important changes that have been made since DTA 1.11:
- Most importantly, two options to improve the performance have been added, of which the most notable one must be AlexB's hack which disables VideoBackBuffer. Without this hack, graphics that are normally allocated in the video RAM first have to be copied to the system RAM before the game is able to use them and this process can slow down the game a little or a lot, depending on your system (for some systems it's even so much that the game becomes unplayable). Of the people who have tested this, the majority was able to notice a significant boost in performance and for a few people the game's performance even went from being so slow it was entirely unplayable, to perfectly playable. There were just a few people who reported that disabling VideoBackBuffer itself made the game unplayable for them however, so for this reason an option to enable VideoBackBuffer again has been added to the launcher (but as mentioned, leaving it disabled is faster for most systems).
- The other option to enhance the performance which was added before that, is a setting to disable the darkening effect on sidebar icons which you see whenever you build a structure. For all systems this slows the game down at least a little bit (for many systems it's barely noticeable however) and for some systems it this was bad enough to almost make the game unplayable. With videoBackBuffer disabled, the slowdown caused by the darkening effect should have become entirely unnoticeable on most systems however, which makes the option to disable the darkening effect unnecessary for most systems, but it's still there for the few very slow systems where lag is still noticeable when building structures and the few systems where disabling VideoBackBuffer caused problems.
Other improvements include that the launcher the now displays how many DTA players are online at CnCNet and will also display this in the bottom right corner of the screen via a text balloon in the bottom right corner of the screen; this way you you'll be able to minimize the game while waiting for other players to come online, while at the same time making other people aware that there's someone waiting to play in the lobby.
The launcher will now also check whether all of the mod's files are present and unmodified (to ensure there won't be any issues when playing online), it'll show the total progress instead of progress per file whenever you install an update (or install DTA from scratch) and it will also tell you the size of the update up front.
The maps that are included with the mod are now located inside of folders instead of in MIX files and although that might seem meaningless to the people to the people who just play the mod, it means that future updates will be much smaller considering only the specific maps that have been added or changed will have to be downloaded then, rather than the whole 20+ MB MIX files that contain the maps. Mind that any custom/downloaded maps still have to be placed in the mod's main folder rather than inside of the Maps folder however.
The map editor now also has an option to disable sounds (although I replaced the map editor's original sounds with something less disturbing, some people were apparently still bothered by them) and there's also 2 new tool scripts; one for disabling building bibs (this is done on some maps where they look bad because of the custom lighting) and one for enabling naval yards for maps.
|Moving onto actual ingame additions,
|Nine new maps have been added: Train-ing Holiday, The Experiment Lab, Frozen Wasteland, Beach, Landing, Field, Dante's Desert, Red Valley, Circle of Death and Hectic Oasis.
You can also choose to disable bases, which basically makes the game mode similar to the Survivor game mode which older versions of DTA used to have.
Have a look at the change log to see all other changes since DTA 1.11.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Fri, 2012-06-15 18:18
It's been nearly 2 years, but DTA 1.11 has finally been released!
View the Change log to see what new features it has to offer or just watch the video below.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Sat, 2011-12-17 18:29
water cliffs, shores,...
rivers, roads, normal bridges, high bridges,...
other ground types that can be placed on top (I already showed the dirt LAT in an earlier news post),...
trees (converted from the temperate theater),...
Just like how the snow theater is actually part of the temperate theater, this new theater is likewise part of the desert theater, which allows mappers to get extra creative by mixing two theaters together.
Since this theater is still brand new, there will only be a few maps that use it included with DTA 1.11's initial release (such as j4m3sb0nd's "The Sandbar", shown in in the image above), but more can of course be made post-release.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Sat, 2011-11-19 23:44
The answer has always been and still is, "possibly when we've got time and interest for it". With the current staff we'd probably have the time for it, but at least I don't find converting missions really interesting. However, not having the original C&C95 campaigns doesn't mean that we wouldn't have made our own singleplayer missions and campaigns.
A Nod base gets lighted up with flames by an Ion Cannon strike.
We actually have a campaign in 1.11. It's not a full-length campaign with twenty missions, nor is it the entire "official story" of DTA, but something a bit different and shorter. Looking at what Westwood did with their New Missions in both TD and RA1, I really liked all their special mission ideas, with planes that suddenly drop nukes into my base, dinosaurs eating my infantry and fun surprises like that. I wanted to make my own campaign, which'd also contain special elements and would fit the C&C95/Westwood style.
After months of working we now have something that I'm hoping to be as fun for you as it has been making it. The Toxic Diversion lasts for 4 missions of varying length and objectives, has multiple choices for the player to make during the missions, and contains 4 drastically different ending missions; the one you'll get depends on the choices that you've done on the previous missions.
Although you might see some new, special weaponry and structures that you haven't seen before, The Toxic Diversion is a Classic mode campaign. It's actually aimed to be between the TD and DTA's Enhanced Mode times, so while it's a Classic mode campaign with Classic mode rules it contains some elements from Enhanced mode, such as veterancy and some new units, aswell as some completely unique things that will never see the light of the day in multiplayer in either Classic or Enhanced mode.
While the campaign is relatively short with one playthrough lasting for 4 missions (even though all the choices give it replay value - with 4 different endings we could say that the campaign containts practically 7 different missions), we've tried to make the missions as fun as possible, and also so challenging that if someone is expecting to run through it quickly, that player's aim is going to fail. I of course make use of the TS engine's 3 different difficulty levels so it'll be well beatable even by inexperienced players; they'll just have to start it on Easy. Medium is recommended for most players and Hard for those who are used to special tactics and want a challenge.
With those words, I'm hoping that you'll have a fun experience with the campaign when DTA 1.11 is released.
The Toxic Diversion isn't all about it though; we also have some other single missions in 1.11 (similar to the "New Missions" in C&C95), like a remake of TD's [NOD] Under Siege. More singleplayer maps will also likely follow with updates that we're giving with the Launcher that I introduced two weeks ago.
In addition to our missions, creating your own missions in 1.11 will be much easier. You no longer need to hunt for files like Battle.ini from your possible Tiberian Sun installation and set them up properly for DTA, but instead we'll include those with 1.11 so you only have to add your campaign to the simple list of the Battle.ini file to make it show up ingame. Map progression is a bit more complex to do (it took me and Bittah multiple days (!) to find out how that works while I was making The Toxic Diversion), but our own campaign contains a good example of how it's done, and if you can't figure it out yourself, we're always here to help.
Posted By Rampastring on Sat, 2011-11-05 16:46
The map editor has an auto-LAT system which automatically places the mentioned transition tiles around ground types you place on the map; this only works when you place the ground type on top of the default temperate or desert clear ground however.
In the image above you can see a dirt LAT placed on top of the lighter sand ground, but since the lighter sand isn't the default desert clear ground, the auto-LAT system won't work for it. This means you'll have to place the transition tiles around this ground type manually.
As you can see in the animation above, I've made marble madness tiles to make it easier to manually place LATs (for when you can't use the auto-LAT system). In case you aren't familiar with what marble madness tiles are, they are what you see when you switch to Framework Mode in the map editor; this is meant to help mappers by switching to graphics with which it's easier to see how to connect certain tiles to one another, meaning it makes it easier to prevent or fix visual map errors.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Sat, 2011-10-29 14:10
Firstly, let me intoduce myself. If you've also followed us at ModDB, you may have noticed DTA 1.11 screenshots coming not only from Bittah but also from someone named Rampastring. I am (obviously) one of the staff members of DTA, and my task has been creating this Launcher (together with Nyerguds) which I'll tell you more about soon, and I'm also a single- and multiplayer mapper (the 1.10 map "Rivers of Refener" is mine for example, as well as the DTA 1.11 map Tunnel Train-ing), and last but not least I'm the one who is making sure that your Skirmish and Comp Stomp matches in 1.11 will be as painful as possible (aka the AI Coder).
Now, to the more relevant (and technical) stuff:
You have more than likely already seen those screenshots of the new GUI (the menus) posted here by Bittah. So what will happen if for example you run a resolution of 800x600, even though a 1024x720 GUI exists? Well, you won't get the high resolution GUI, but instead you'll see a GUI that fits your resolution (in this case a 800x600 GUI). The game obviously doesn't support switching GUI's by itself, so we had to make something that'll switch the GUI automatically depending on the desired resolution. And so we did.
A very old and obsolete development build of the Launcher.
The Launcher didn't last as a simple resolution-switching tool for long though; after a talk with Bittah we came to the conclusion that instead of making you all wait 2 years for a new version after 1.11's release, we should constantly update the game with new content. Since it'd be annoying for you to get new updates manually every once in a while, the Launcher needed an updater which'd do it for you every time you launched DTA, without bothering you much.
And while we created the updater, why not also add some other functionality, like being able to launch the game directly from the program and at the same time fixing some of Tiberian Sun engine's incompatibility problems with modern systems, like multicore processors? So, soon the Launcher really became what it's named; it's used to launch DTA automatically with required compatibility settings (in a user-friendly way; you don't need to do anything yourself) and it keeps your installation up to date all the time.
Later I added the possibility of downloading music and the C&C95 ingame videos (FMVs) using the Launcher, and I also made it possible to install the most recent version of DTA from scratch when you only have the launcher and none of DTA's other files.
The Launcher as it currently exists, running under Windows XP.
Then, to the point that many of you should be very interested about; multiplayer. Maybe you've wondered how to play DTA online with your friends or just against random people, and read that it requires unreliable, hard-to-set-up extra stuff like WOL and Hamachi. Well, that's history with 1.11.
After I considered the Launcher finished, I heard about something that required a bit of extra code; we were supposed to use CnCNet v2 for a very user-friendly multiplayer service in 1.11. However, that version of CnCNet was discontinued in favor of a new version 3, and I had to integrate support for the new version. At first writing extra code to replace something that I had already done seemed annoying, but it proved to be very well worth it; playing DTA 1.11 online is now simpler than playing most large commercial games online.
Well, how will we play DTA 1.11 online?
Currently clicking on the "Play on CncNet" button in the Launcher will take you ingame instantly, where you'll just have to click the CnCNet button after choosing to play in Classic or Enhanced mode. However, this system is just temporary as CnCNet is a quickly developing service, and in the future the Play on CnCNet button will be changed so that it'll instead open your web browser and send you to CnCNet's website which serves as a lobby where you can meet other players and arrange games with them. The in-game part of CnCNet multiplayer will remain similar to how it's currently done though.
What you'll see after launching DTA in CnCNet mode and selecting Enhanced.
The second step is as simple as clicking the CnCNet button.
Let's start playing!
And then you can host games, join to games, and play games like you'd usually do on a LAN party. Except that now you don't need to set up a LAN for that. No registering or any of that stuff is needed, you just need to have DTA 1.11 installed and click on a button on a website.
Compared to previous multiplayer methods CnCnet v3 has only one disadvantage; it's a rather fast developing service, and we have to adapt to its changes (which, with our Launcher system, might make the multiplayer unavailable sometimes if I don't have enough free time for making changes to the Launcher at the time of a new CnCNet release). But those changes shouldn't break anything for the most part.
Depending on how popular CnCNet gets, it might be possible for you to be able to play online with other people than just your friends in DTA 1.11 at any time (that's what we're aiming for at least; a constant multiplayer community). If you don't have any friends interested about DTA, CnCNet happily makes finding other players easier with its chat service. Just go to the CnCNet homepage and click on the "Chat/Player Lobby" button. As CnCNet also supports other C&C games, like Red Alert and Tiberian Sun, most of the players there at the moment are likely not interested about playing DTA, but we are hoping to change that with 1.11's release.
So that's about the end of my way-too-long description about the Launcher. Thanks for reading, assuming you really read that all, and even if you didn't, be prepared for seeing non-technical stuff on the next updates.
Posted By Rampastring on Sun, 2011-10-23 21:38
First of all, Lin Kuei Ominae made a new background for the multiplayer score screen, which he put together with graphics from Tiberian Dawn.
Don't ask me how he managed to end up with such scores in only 12 seconds though
These dialogs obviously won't fit on the screen when using a res of 640x480, but to get around this problem the resolution now has to be selected in the launcher before starting the game and the launcher will then automatically swap the language.dll file (the file that contains the dialogs) with the one that contains the biggest dialogs that fit within the selected resolution. There are 3 different overall dialog sizes; 640x480, 800x600 and 1024x720. So if you select 854x480 for the game resolution, the launcher will swap the language.dll file with one that contains dialogs with a maximum size of 640x480, since those are the biggest available dialogs that fit within 854x480.
Since wide-screen monitors are common nowadays, I made the height is 720 instead of 768 so that it'll also fit when a resolution of 1280x720 is selected.
The launcher that's responsible for swapping the language.dll file was initially made as a setup tool by Nyerguds, but it was later on changed into a launcher with a lot of added functions by Rampastring. Rampastring will tell you more about this himself later on.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Thu, 2011-10-20 11:45
To create trees for the desert theater I simply used the (unused) burned frames of the temperate trees.
I put a bit more work into converting the desert rocks and bushes for the temperate theater however (especially the rocks).
Also a proper airstrike superweapon has finally been added (the airstrike's animations were made and coded by Lin Kuei Ominae), although it will only appear as a crate goodie on multiplayer maps.
You can click the image to view the airstrike in action during a multiplayer match against the AI, but don't mind the seemingly incompetent AI; due to a fluke 2 AIs started on the same spot and since there wasn't enough space this caused them to block the only passage to the base.
Posted By Bittah Commander on Mon, 2011-10-17 09:04
Fortunately this is no longer the case in DTA 1.11 however, thanks to a hack from CCHyper. This hack disables certain properties of the tiberium, thanks to which the tiberium now gets affected by lighting like every other terrain object (overlay).
In this image you can see how the tiberium now looks with different lighting, with the default lighting at the top.
This hack did have a few downsides however; one being that tiberium can no longer be ramapable (meaning you can't configure the color for its crystals to use in rules.ini), but I could easily overcome this problem by replacing the remapable colors and thus making manually making different images for green and blue tiberium. As you can see at the top of the image, the green tiberium now looks exactly as it did in TD and the blue tiberium simply uses what available blue colors I had on the palette.
The other downside is that tiberium will no longer place a random patch when using the "Paint green/blue tiberium" tool, meaning the only way to prevent tiberium fields from looking repetitive is by manually mixing different tiberium patches by selecting them from the overlay list when placing a tiberium field on a map. This indeed gives mappers a little extra work, but the downsides are still heavily outweighed by the advantages.
Another thing that has changed is the roads. Whether you noticed or not, DTA's roads actually looked sort of blurry and the perspective of some of the objects next to the roads seemed a bit off, so I decided to remake both the temperate roads and the desert roads for DTA 1.11 (click the links to see the difference in a gif animation).
Posted By Bittah Commander on Fri, 2011-10-14 11:53