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Zero Hour Enhanced 1.0.0 Release Details: General Game Mechanics & Improvement
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Supreme Banshee

Also Known As: banshee_revora (Steam)
Joined: 15 Aug 2002
Location: Brazil

PostPosted: Mon Dec 18, 2023 2:10 pm    Post subject:  Zero Hour Enhanced 1.0.0 Release Details: General Game Mechanics & Improvement
Subject description: 2027 is arriving soon enough!
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Hi everyone! A few days ago, we mistakenly announced the release of version 1.0.0 of Zero Hour Enhanced. It was not released yet, but its release is very close, according to VectorIV, the leader of Zero Hour Enhanced. For your information, Zero Hour Enhanced is a modification for Command & Conquer Generals: Zero Hour that enhances the gameplay experience of the game according to VectorIV's visions. Here is VecotrIV's post about the upcoming release of this mod. Note that the personal opinions exposed in this post should be seen as fiction, and it does not represent the opinions of this community.

Aannnndddddd, we're finally here; with an TRAILER and RELEASE DETAILS!!! :3

I originally thought it was going to take me to 2027 or even a lifetime to even pull this kind of release but I was wrong. I even planned to release it earlier in a more sorry state two years ago before all the vehicle and building stuff but later decided against it since COVID isn't going anywhere soon (well, technically, it's going everywhere, but whatever, lol.)

Plus, they all go together very well, and having just the infantry stuff and those low-ass poly vehicles would ruin the whole thing, so I just delayed it for two whole years.

As fun as it would be to joke about myself not seeing sunlight and feeling the touch of grass, that's not really the case for me, actually. I do feel sunlight and touch grass every day, thank you very much. Not only that but Bangkok's heat and smog are slowly killing me every single day despite the weatherman forecasting a cold, cold winter. On a Mixue ice cream melting scale, 5 minutes of fresh serve in an aircon-installed local mall will melt the ice cream into a puddle.

It's typical Thailand for you, I guess. It's been like this for years but somehow worse with time, lol. Damn you, climate change.

Now for the highlight of today's blog: what are we here for?

Today, we're talking about general game mechanic changes that apply to all factions. Now, if you've recalled me mentioning HOI4 clueless treatment, you're about to find out all the nonsensical stuff I've added over these past few years.

So, without further ado, I've conveniently listed those features down below so they're easy to read without me blabbing on them. Otherwise, this blog will probably reach a 3000-word essay level of pure text wall. We do have a lot to go through, and this is just the first part, so don't give up just yet.

Reworked General Game Balances:
General combat can also be tweaked to be more forgiving but not as comedically forgiving as vZH.
Infantry don't go down as easy as before, and so do vehicles and tanks as you can see in the trailer.
Depending on the caliber, ammunition type, or weapon used, units are relatively more or less resistant to it in more ways than vZH and even ZHE.

The general rule of thumb is:

  • Machine guns are effective against infantry and unarmoured vehicles.
  • Heavy machine guns are effective against infantry, unarmoured vehicles, and attack helicopters.
  • Auto-cannons are effective against infantry and light vehicles. When mounted on aircraft, they're also effective against vehicles and tanks.
  • Rifled guns and smoothbore guns are effective against infantry when using HE rounds. Also, it is effective against vehicles and tanks when using HEAT rounds.
  • Light anti-tank weapons are effective against light vehicles, while dedicated anti-tank weapons are effective against vehicles and tanks.
  • Anti-air weapons are effective against light vehicles, attack helicopters, and low-flying aircraft.
  • Fragmentation grenades and mines are effective against infantry and unarmoured vehicles.
  • Anti-tank grenades are effective against vehicles and not so much tanks, while anti-tank mines are effective against both.
  • Incendiary weapons are effective against infantry, light vehicles, and base defenses. It is not particularly effective against buildings but will slowly destroy them.
  • Explosives are effective against pretty much most things, given they hit their targets. Often more expensive and limited to deploy. This ranged from sachel charges high explosive rounds to artillery and tactical long-range missiles to close air support missiles and bombs to nuclear bombs.
  • Toxins and radiations are pretty much the same as the previous ZHE version.
  • ECMs, when deployed, are effective against guided munitions. ECM rays are pretty much the same as the previous ZHE version.
  • Microwaves, when deployed and in ray form, are effective against infantry in different ways. When deployed, microwaves will deter infantry from advancing, and in rays form, microwaves will slowly cook infantry until they catch fire.

Friendly fire will not be tolerated (in most cases.)

Friendly fire feature has been toned down quite considerably, particularly in infantry, vehicles and some base defenses. However, some vehicles, artillery, and aircraft will still have the classic ZHE collision. Sorry I made friendly fire wayyy too brutal in 0.9.x days. I wasn't aware everybody isn't a masochist.

Parachutes can now also be attacked mid-air, and their content will fall to the ground at their peril.

CIWs can now counter fire at artillery shells and artillery rockets but not against fast-moving tactical long-range missiles.

Reworked Smoke Screens:
As opposed to the previous ZHE version, units covered in smoke will no longer be stealthy. They will instead become untargetable and unable to fire weapons, which, in my opinion, makes more sense than before, when covered units fire their weapons and then get shot to death undramatically.

The aim is to make smoke be used more defensively to mask the unit's presence to advance to position or retreat from the battlefield rather than making them invisible entirely.

This also conflicts way less with other codes, making my life a lot easier. It works most of the time, I think. This is largely due to how SAGE handles STATUS code, mainly allowing one at a time per frame when applied from external factors, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Now, it also comes in a variety of calibers ranging from grenades, mortar shells, launcher shells, generator produced, and artillery shells so it could realistically be deployed anywhere in any situation.

Strategic Points:
Perhaps a throwback to 2018, these points essentially grant the player a wide surrounding area of vision and a constant stream of supplies once it's secured through an upgrade on each of these points.

But wait! There's more. Don't get too comfortable yet, as the enemy can still capture your points. Once a secured point is captured by the enemy, you can no longer see the once-revealed surrounding area, and the supply stream is cut off from your main supply line. The enemy can then do as you, the player, have done: secure the point and reap the benefits for themselves!

These come in 2 variations, functionally speaking, one that's captured by the default capture-building ability and one that has to be held by garrisoning troops in it. The points themselves are indestructible, so there's no use launching Tomahawk missiles at them.

Revamped Bullet System:
Adopting Operation Firestorm's drawable tracer logic, actual bullets are now invisible while tracer visuals are preserved. This should greatly help with the bullets hitting the bridge issue that prevents them from damaging the actual target while they're on the bridge.

Not only that, but this also enabled me to create specific firing modes for infantry small arms.
Yes, you've read that right! Shotguns will fire functional shotgun pellets, and rifles in burst mode will fire functional burst shots.

Sniper rifles, machine guns, and autocannon shots are also longer in length, making them appear to be faster and more impactful.

Revamped Propaganda and Chinese Troops Cohesion System:
Propaganda through speaker towers or commanders now provides increased firing speed without passive healing, while Demoralisation now causes a decreased rate of fire and firing speed.

Chinese Troops Cohesion bonuses provide minimal increased firing speed, while Frenzy General's Power bonuses provide maximal increased firing speed.

While this primarily affects the Chinese faction respective to their war doctrine, other factions are also slightly affected through their commander units.

Destructible and Repairable Bridges:
Yes, you've read that right! Bridges, once thought non-functional and abandoned by the devs, are actually functional.

Bridge towers are now considered tech buildings. Capturing one provides the player with the ability to either repair damaged or destroyed bridges or sabotage the bridge that the tower controls. Each bridge has at least one tower on either side.

Bridges without these towers are either indestructible, unrepairable, or both.

Battles on the bridge are now even more deadly!

Crossable River:
A crossable body of water provides an indestructible path in maps previously filled with bridges. Any unit could cross the river path regardless of whether they're amphibious or not!

Depending on the volume of the body of water, it could result in a no mans land situation or a bottleneck that's easily defensible.

Structures cannot be constructed on the path itself but can be constructed on either piece of land at the end of the river.

It doesn't really serve any other significant purposes. It just looks cool!

Revamped Stealth Detection:
Infiltration and guerilla warfare just got a lot more deadly!

Satellites and radars now won't detect mines, booby traps and demo traps. The player either has to commit to sending the Engineers or just bomb the hell out of the area. The latter, however, only works in the game and not in real life (don't try it.)

So no, when the US bombed Laos and Cambodia to the stone age, they weren't there to demine the country out of charity. They bombed grandpa, grandma, and children to own the commies, and no, they weren't even in the ztyping war. Truly the shit the so-called good guys do.

Camouflaged units are now only detectible at close range or through thorough reconnaissance efforts at ground level. A well-planned and executed ambush will deal a fatal blow to the enemy no matter how advanced their technologies are!

Stealthed aircraft are now detectible by ground units at their respective vision range while other aircraft are completely blind to them.

So the next time you see a walking bush, it might be the enemy disguising as such!

Tiered Combat Phase:
Like CoH, the game will now be divided using tier upgrades that provide substantial bonuses depending on your faction.

This will give the player and the enemy an opportunity to utilize units in each tier to their fullest potential.
• 0th (Early): infantry and light vehicles
• 1st (Mid): heavy infantry, IFVs, APCs, light tanks, and light aircraft
• 2nd (Late): MBTs, artillery, aircraft, and super heavy tanks

The idea is based on tensions and escalations where it starts off in small skirmishes, then an Abrams tank just parked outside your house and you make eye contact with the driver who came out to pee in your yard. And then, before you know it, Tomahawk missiles just flew over your house and hit your distant neighbor's home to bits.

vZH kinda had this but only structure requirements. This one is that plus science and upgrade requirements, so it's played out longer and is much closer to CoH.

War Doctrines:
Like the CoH tactics system with a twist, at the beginning of each GP branch, the player unlocks respective faction doctrines.

War Doctrine unlocks special units, upgrades, abilities, bonuses, and subsequent powerful GPs in accordance with the respective theme at hand.

They are not mutually exclusive to one another, but depending on how you, the player, and the enemy choose what to unlock first will determine how the game is played sequentially.

More details will be revealed when we get into specific factions.

Reworked General Power:
Every vZH GP has been reworked both visually and mechanically to make it more impactful than ever in addition to new GPs.

Using GP will also trigger various VO commentary taken from the game itself on GP initiation, nearing target location, leaving target location, or confirmation of kill.

The location in which GPs are called from is now more scattered across multiple buildings as opposed to the vZH Command Center centric, making tech buildings a lot more important to defend.

More details will be revealed when we get into specific factions.

FPS graph of a 2v2 Hard AI game at 60 FPS limit

Frame time graph

Performance & AI Improvements:
Well, not sure what to really tell you here. All of this just works. I'm not kidding. Have you SEEN the TRAILER yet? And again, it just works.

But honestly, it's still kind of a miracle that it runs THIS well. I've always been too used to slideshow Generals.

"But how did V manage to get it to run so smoothly to begin with?" You may ask.

There's no one short answer, really, so here comes the word salad of things that may or may not mean anything to you at all.

It's most likely the combination of these factors that have been implemented that contributes to the improvement of FPS:


• Getting rid of the old bloom map. The legacy lighting relies on ENB and the bloom map. The bloom map is just a gigantic plane that shades the game world differently. It looks great, but it lagged the hell out of SAGE.
• Prioritised particle FX. Arguably, it is one of the most common causes of performance hits among many mods that change a lot of stuff. By assigning proper priorities to particles, the game can hide smaller minute details when a lot is going on to save performance. 0.9.x didn't do it, so it lagged like shit.
• Smol bean SFXs. Yes, you've read that right. SAGE (and probably most programs in general) hates large sound bites. Segmenting SFXs into smaller, shorter bites helps the engine fire them more efficiently and manage when or when not to fire unimportant sounds.
• Stupid AI. Thanks to our resident AI scripter DARKozDARKA; AI now doesn't clog your PC to a halt while still pretty much flushing your base with units with their magically summoned pile of money. The AI's still kinda of dumb, though not gonna lie. I mean, it's Generals we're talking about, after all, a game from 2003. I mean, have you ever seen Oblivion's radiant AI?
• INI codes. I'm not 100% sure about this one because the rule of thumb when programming is that the smaller the O is, the better it runs, but there's no looping in INI codes. Maybe removing vZH duplicates, streamlining a bunch of objects in generics, and primarily using reskins could improve performance??? One thing I know for sure is that it helps me to code in future stuff tremendously.
• Minimal generic debris. As you may or may not know, 0.9.x ZHE creates a shit ton of debris, and that probably hits the performance considerably. By utilizing debris in moderation, performance should improve.
• Drawable trackers. In a typical game of ZHE, bullets are everywhere, and when they're made to run easier on the engine, the game performance probably generally improves.
• elishacloud's DxWrapper. "DxWrapper is a .dll file designed to wrap DirectX files to fix compatibility issues in older games. This project is primarily targeted at fixing issues with running games on Windows 10 by simply dropping .dll and .ini files into the game folder. Its secondary purpose is to offer a single tool combining several projects into one", according to the author.
I am not so sure how well it'll perform on other devices, but at least for me, it helps my Generals pretty significantly.
It also helps me avoid most crashes during matches entirely, as I assume that a lot of them are from DirectX-related crashes (the game is old.) The catch is I sometimes crash at exiting from the score screen after big matches.

And that's all of it, I think. Don't think I forgot anything important. I guess I will see you in the next part sometime soon.

Take care comrades!

You can learn more about Zero Hour Enhanced by visiting the ModDB Profile, and Discord Channel. And that's all for now!

Key Words: #News #ZeroHourEnhanced #Generals #ZeroHour 


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