Waiting For the Show
By Dwip July 22, 2004, 4:22 pm Comments Off on Waiting For the Show RSS Feed for this post

With a nod towards Megatokyo, as usual.

So I’m sitting here trying to get bots to work on maps in BFV. To borrow a phrase from Penny Arcade, this is akin to attempting to bend spoons with your mind or something.

It’s like this. There’s pretty much two things you need to make map AI work. Three, if you count a map, but let us assume we’ve got a map that works (which is a little bit further out there than you might think, with a nod to my friend Cambodian Waterways). You need an AI that actually knows how to do stuff, and you need a path map so that the AI knows where it’s going.

But, before we get to that point, we have to do preliminary stuff. Like extracting our map to some working directory somewhere. Kind of like unzipping it, except more can potentially go wrong. Such as, for instance, if you make your working dir a subfolder of the BFV levels dir, in which case you’ll crash on loading the game, because BFV doesn’t like subfolders in the levels dir. Even more can go wrong when you go to test things and repack the map. Frex, if you pack at the wrong base dir, which is pretty counterintuitive in that it’s not the [map_name] dir, it’s the BfVietnam/Levels/[map_name] dir, you’ll crash on start. Or if you rename the map on saving, it’ll crash on loading the game. Hell, if you rename a map in the map dir, it’ll crash on game load. Figure that out.

But we’ve got this AI editing to do. In and of itself, this isn’t hard, except that it has its own scripting language. But once you figure that out, it’s not so hard, except for the random persistnant bug I’ve got in mine where my bots do the wrong strategies at a certain point. But whatever. Edit your choice of five or so text files, and that’s done. Repack, hopefully correctly, and off you go.

Path maps, though. God IV, path maps are a mess. I don’t even fully understand how I’m supposed to edit them yet, and it’s even more fun because the tutorial I’m using, which is the only one I’ve found, was written for Battlefield 1942 and its set of tools, which are subtly different from BFV’s tools. But, as I understand it, the general procedure is to take the .raw files generated by the game, run them through a third party tool which converts them to .dds texture files, copy those files into the map dir, repack, open the editor which by the way is the BF1942 editor not the BFV editor, and then you can see where the path maps are. Editing them involves a certain amount of other things, such as directly communing with the forementioned God IV himself, plus solving world hunger and solving the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Apparently it involves a couple more third party tools, painting in the editor, and a decent amount of Photoshopping. Be sure you’ve got what you edited down the first time, or spend twenty minutes doing crap to make it work again. And then of course you repack and hope it doesn’t blow up.

And you gotta wonder, here. I mean, the stock maps in BFV have bot support, and it’s pretty good. And the path maps are pretty good. But, yknow, what sane developer makes you do all that horror, as opposed to, say, sticking a paint path map function in the editor? I mean, really. This is the twenty-first century, here.

What. The. Hell.

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