I have received some feedback from a user who downloaded and tried S44 after reading my post about it on a Russian forum. The guy is a Blitzkrieg 2 modder, so he has experience with WW2 RTS, but not with Spring.
Questions he asked as a modder (before trying the game) about things he finds lacking in Blitzkrieg engine:
- does our armor-piercing system consider distance to target?
- Do our weapons have different types of ammunition?
- Does accuracy depend on weapon range?
- Does the engine support bump maps and specular maps?
- Do our units use HP or critical hits system?
- Can the units get non-HP damage like broken tracks, stuck turrets and destroyed weapons?
- Can we have vehicle crews which can be killed and the vehicle abandoned/captured?
- Can we implement fuel for ground vehicles?
I said all of that is possible, with engine support or with lua scripting, some things are really simple, others will take work.
Installation went more or less good, he was surprised that the whole package is quite small compared to BK2 mod for example. We were using the Lyuban installer as that one has maps and both S44 and spring engine can be updated afterwards.
Launching the game - first thing he did was of course to run spring.exe directly . He complained that it did not like alt-tab much (as in spring failed to react to it in any way at all, wtf), I explained where to turn off fullscreen setting. He liked springsettings, saying that supplying a ‘tweaker tool’ with a game is a good idea (amount of settings is just order of magnitude greater that what commercial games have w/o third-party tools, experienced gamers like such freedom). Then he asked how to add a bot (which is of course quite hard if using spring.exe directly), I pointed him to springlobby (single player tab) and CRAIG.
Then comes actual game. First impression (added 1 bot, all settings on default, default sides aka Germany for both bot and him): what do I do with those units? Where has all that inf assaulting my base came from? (that’s normal imo, I gave him a replay to watch to learn how stuff is used).
Ok, now for the criticism part. He didn’t like the UI, saying that surely drawing some icons for order buttons (he literally said “some arrows and circles and crosses”) won’t be such a big work and will make it all look much better. Then he noticed ugly arty towing (we need to do something about that btw, my attempts failed to produce good-looking anims, but it can’t be that hard, can it? I just need to understand HOW that gun is supposed to behave when the truck turns). General impression: at first glance at game start it doesn’t look nice.
(note from me: the guy is used to Blitzkrieg 2 UI, which looks like this. You can see that it gives mostly the same info that ours does, but looks way different)
At this point we had to interrupt testing as he had work to do. Maybe I’ll get some more info from him.