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Want to start a project? Here is where you need to start.

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 06:23
by smoth
Here is a generalized guide to starting a project.

High death rate:
Many projects never get passed the test phase, some fail before they ever get started. A lot of projects get halfway done before they are dropped as a project due to real life(TM), inexperience or even loss of interest. Some projects die in the planning phase because as a concept they simply do not work in their respective game. This happens more often than people realize.

Projects can take years to finish if you are lucky, this is a large endeavor and will become very demanding. You will need to be designer, programmer and artist because there will be times where people said they will help, will not. You cannot be a mere "idea guy" you need to have some skills to accomplish this task.

It is entirely likely that as the lead of the project one may need to be able to perform several tasks. These tasks are:
  • Unit Scripter
Write all the scripts that control the way your unit moves and reacts
  • Animation Scripter
Write all scripts that control walking, shooting or any other motions carried out by your units. All fire points, explosions on death and even units smoking when a damage level is reach are controlled here in a script file.
  • Modeler
Be familiar with modeling and creating models will be a lot of work. They will need to maintain a uniform scale and theme for the entire mod.
  • Sound artist
The project will need new sounds, many of them, otherwise it will feel stale. It is can likely that online several open source sounds can be found but eventually one will need familiarity with this aspect.
  • Texture artist
Many textures and/or to be able to uvmap and skin for the models. Uvmapping for some comes easily and for others can be a massive task so be sure to look into this.
  • Game designer
This is last but only because it is the most important. There must be a master plan written somewhere of EVERYTHING that the project will include. Even if it is scrawled on a napkin it needs to be planned out and follow a schedule. Otherwise the project will have issues with things like feature creep and sides that are terribly imbalanced due to poor initial design. Mistakes have a way of stacking onto one another to create larger issues. There is an old adage that goes like "do it right the first time so you don't have to do it over again." This is true of gamedesign, you do not want to revisit old work.

As a Project Lead these skills will be needed because many of the capable personalities here are likely working on their own projects already. It is important to have something to show before anyone worth recruitment will get on board with the project anyway.

Bear in mind that once the project is complete one will need to completely revisit all of this for quality control and design modification. No one person is perfect and at the end of the project many issues that were not apparent will need correction.

Getting help:

Well, if the project is in need of people to help out directly then it is not a bad idea to post a request for help. However as I say above, unless one has something to show it is most likely the project will not recruit many members on a team. One needs to show personal initiative.

Even if the project is something completely made up. It will need to research several aspects.
  • Factional differentiation
Compile this list as sides where necessary. Note any sub-versions of a unit that may be found although many might not make it in it is good to think about all aspects. Print 2 copies; place the first on one├óÔé¼Ôäós desk and the other in one├óÔé¼Ôäós wallet. At any point in the day one may remember something that was forgotten and needs to be added.
  • Style
Look around at military weapons, movies, anime, comic books or even your local wargame store. Inspiration can be drawn from everything, many elements of real life and fiction. Then do some rough sketches, this will give a start point as far as conceptual work. Even designing faction logos can be a great tool to figure out styles.
  • Can this idea even work?
Many things work in spring, many do not! Experimentation with other projects will be need take care to look at what they have done. See what is out there, what can├óÔé¼Ôäót be implemented, what has been implemented. Then after having looked through many other project sone should then look in the wiki and search the project forum for answers.

If the wiki and forum searches prove to be of no use on this issue then one should compile a single list and post the questions in a clear and easy to read format. Many of the project developers around here will help when asked nicely.

---stuff below is outdated/wrong---


What are some features other RTS games have but spring does not yet support?
Food count: USE LUA
Bunkers: USE LUA
Unit upgrades/research items: USE LUA
Unit metamorphosis: USE LUA
Selling a buildng: USE LUA
Melee weapons: There are some hackish(read not worth doing) ways of having this but they are not in the game.
translucencies: it is complicated, just know that you cannot have them... yet.

So, how does one get started?
in the wiki of course! :P
This is a good article on starting the base of your project files.

What tools might I need?

Wings 3D
I prefer wings because it does everything you need to do and it really good for this sort of thing. It can uvmap and export to any format needed.
Manual available here

Blender 3d
Blender is preferred by many people and has some great features if you intend on doing more then just eling for spring.
the best manual/tutorials for blender


3do editing:
3dobuilder 2.21 (broken link) is a good utility for assembling your 3DO files (3dobuilder 2.02 available here)

(or you can can get the above two here: ta format utilities pack (broken link)

S3O editing:
Upspring 1.54

A nice freeware sound editor.
A good shareware editor.

I use them both, I like editing in audacity and saving in goldwave because goldwave does better with sound files.

texture work:

The gimp
Free, and some people like it.

this is an expensive option but a good one if one desires a professional career in image editing..

Servo (broken link)
While it is a bit rough at first once it is understood it can easily handle more complicated animations in it.
(alternative to Servo)

I need some script examples!
The scripts in Gundam are safe to copy.

What is a FBI,BOS,3DO,S3O,GAF,TDF file?
FBI A text document storing units stats like, name, cost buildtime etc.
BOS An Uncompiled script written in Pseudo-C
COB A compiled .BOS file
3DO A el format used by ota it is supported by spring
S3O Spring's own el format.
HPI A compressed format used by OTA and 3DO builder. GAF files need to be stored here for 3DO builder to read them.
GP3 Just a renamed .HPI
GAF 3DO textures are stored within these files
TDF Used as a generic information file, merely a text
SDZ Spring files are stored in this format, This is a zip file with zip renamed to .sdz, this will load faster but has low compression.
SD7 Spring files are also stored in this format, This is a 7 zip file with 7z renamed to .sd7, these are good for compression but can cause slower load times.

How can I make my project show up in multiplayer?
You will need a .tdf

Here is the one:
Description=Short Description;
URL=Full url;



Some freebies for my project please?
Shot models (broken link) This pack includes: tracer rounds, plasma shots and missiles!

Still a work in progress I am sure but I am done for now feel free to post about anything I may have left out.

7/16/06- added failure discussion as per Zsinj's request

11/7/07- added a bit and corrected some links, still need to get a corrected servo link

7/4/2010 - (aegis) fixed some links

26 may 2011 (knorke) outdated warning

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 07:24
by Felix the Cat
Balancing... but that's a whole 'nother ball game.

Finding people to help you.

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 07:26
by Snipawolf
Texture work, could be GIMP?

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 07:26
by Zoombie
Thank you Smoth!

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 09:15
by SwiftSpear
Felix the Cat wrote:Balancing... but that's a whole 'nother ball game.

Finding people to help you.
Yes and no. Theoretical balance should not have to be done after the fact, that should all be well constructed and thought out before hand by the developer. That being said, logical balance, the stuff that comes down to nitty gritty, like how fast should a peewee kill a rocko and soforth, the acctual tweaking of the numbers so they work the way you wanted them to in theory, that has to be done with testing and testing obviously needs to be done in large part with a finished product.
Snipawolf wrote:Texture work, could be GIMP?
Of course, GIMP is a perfectly functional image editor, and that's all you really need for texture work. The biggest trick is getting your images in a good texture format, since GIMP doesn't naitively support DDS you have to workaround a little bit if you want to use those.

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 09:24
by smoth
swift, is my effort here sticky-worthy?

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 10:30
by unpossible
that's a good guide, thanks

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 11:25
by Comp1337

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 11:42
by NOiZE
put this on the wiki?

Edit: Made it sticky

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 12:31
by Warlord Zsinj
This will be helpful for newcomers, Smoth.

Might be worth mentioning (in an encouraging but straight-forward way) that the vast majority of mods that are started will fail before they get to alpha, and even fewer will see beta releases, and you can count final releases on a single hand. For this reason, I think it might be worth encouraging newcomers to give things a go, but look to see if they can perhaps offer their skills at another mod which can take them aboard and teach them what they need to know...

Also, I'm unfamiliar with this tag:


Can you please explain it?

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 12:42
by mualjtaulur

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 15:11
by unpossible
Warlord Zsinj wrote: Also, I'm unfamiliar with this tag:


Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 16:44
by smoth
that covers the mechanics. this is more theory, tools and thought behind moding. I will put a link in the post though.
unpossible wrote:
Warlord Zsinj wrote: Also, I'm unfamiliar with this tag:

yes, NTAI anti-stall algorithm.

NOIZE wrote:put this on the wiki?

Where would it go in the wiki?

Posted: 16 Jul 2006, 18:21
by NOiZE
smoth wrote:
NOIZE wrote:put this on the wiki?

Where would it go in the wiki?
Put a link to this article (on the wiki) somewhere on this page ... evlopement ?

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 04:10
by Snipawolf
Servo only works with 3do....

That sux...

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 04:27
by Gnomre
It's a piece of crap anyway. It's about as intuitive as ripping out your own small intestine.

Here's a tip: In Upspring 1.3, pose the unit how you want the next frame of animation. Take note of all the movements and rotations you do. Then write them all down in the script, except multiply all turns on the z-axis by -1 and divide all moves on every axis by 3. The moves may need further tweaked but this will give you the pose you need, basically. It's up to you to implement timing and speeds, however. Honestly, with servo's asstastic GUI, that's about all you could accomplish anyway...

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 04:28
by Snipawolf
hehe, great, doesn't sound too hard :P

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 04:35
by smoth
snipa, upspring can save a s30 as a 3d0o for you to load in servo.

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 04:36
by Snipawolf
o.0 hmm, interesting :p

Posted: 18 Jul 2006, 21:33
by hawkki
Could anyone tell me a page that defines all the syntaxes used in weapons.tdf, explosions.tdf and similar ?