News and announcements

Ares 0.Cp1 has been released

Written for Ares by AlexB on 2016-12-19

As a service release, Ares 0.Cp1 does not add new features. Instead, it focuses on stability by fixing nine issues that could not wait for a next proper version. These are issues like a memory leak, using stale pointers, and some logic bugs. Seven of these could cause crashes, so it is recommended to update Ares.

Most notably, this fixes a crash on some machines when starting a single player mission that was due to some very hacky code, even by Ares's standards. Other fixes apply to Temporal weapons and Gunner logic, as well as Abductor weapons.

A not as important fix is for rectangular SW.Ranges which were one cell too wide in each dimension, thus affecting more cells than intended. Essentially, that's it for now.

Download: https://launchpad.net/ares/+download
Documentation: http://ares-developers.github.io/Ares-docs/

Ares 0.C is ready for download

Written for Ares by AlexB on 2016-06-18

Like its predecessor, Ares 0.C is yet another smaller release, not as feature-laden as the earlier releases. But it comes with a long-awaited feature.

Bounty finally has been added, in a simplified form. It allows units to get money for killing enemy units, either by shooting at them or crushing them. The value is customizable per veterancy level, so destroying an elite tank could give more money than a rookie fresh from the factory.

Particles have been optimized heavily: railgun and spark particle systems will no longer cause the dreaded lag known from the original games for almost two decades. The graphical particles -- gas, smoke, and fire -- now support custom palettes, supporting more detailled graphics, and gas particles can now damage an area, not just the very cell the particle is resides.

The effect of Factory Plant buildings like the Industrial Plant can be changed per TechnoType, allowing to modify the cost bonus for specific units and structures, or completely exempt them from getting a bonus.

Several existing features have been revisited also. For example, NodAdvancedPower is now again considered as default power plant for the soviets, while previously only the regular power plant was used. Spotlights and alpha lights have been reworked to support units cloaking, burrowing or being deactivated. Ivan Bombs can now be detonated even if a unit is deactivated or berzerking.

There's a handful of other new assorted features, like NoAmmoWeapon, which makes units switch to a less powerful weapon that might not need ammunition to fire while the primary weapon reloads. Warheads can be made to suppress the Unit Lost EVA message, which could be useful for silent killers and mutating weapons that don't really kill a unit. The sounds and EVA messages when a unit is promoted can be customized fully, as well as the number of frames the unit is flashing -- now even for the veteran level.

That's about it for this release. There's still a bit more to be discovered, and also a lot of internal changes as always.

Download: https://launchpad.net/ares/+download
Documentation: http://ares-developers.github.io/Ares-docs/

Ares 0.B is finally here

Written for Ares by AlexB on 2016-03-29

Back to the normal three month release cycle, Ares 0.B has been released today. This is again a smaller release compared to the last one, and it focuses on prerquisites and ammo.

Yuri's Revenge had a special logic to handle the Slave Miner, so the undeployed vehicle version also satisfied the refinery prerequisite. This logic has been extended to all Generic Prerequisite Groups and extended to not only support more than one item but also support infantry and aircraft.

Weapons may now require more than one round of ammunition to be fired, or none at all, and units can reload custom amounts of ammunition when reloading, also depending on whether they still have ammo left. The reload rates can now be customized for each individual aircraft, allowing for easier balancing of aircraft armed with few powerful missiles and aircraft armed with weaker machine guns with plenty of ammo.

Spies can now steal the plans for super weapons, which then will become available either permanently or for single use. Also spies can reveal how much power or money a player currently has. As a classic defense, Ares also now allows to recreate building fakes known from Red Alert, which is a purely cosmetic feature.

A few minor features and bug fixes complete the release. For instance, self healing is now customizable to recreate Mammoth Tanks from Tiberian Dawn, warheads can now be made to damage units in the air even if detonating on the ground, and waves will now get interrupted if the target moves out of firing range.

Download: https://launchpad.net/ares/+download
Documentation: http://ares-developers.github.io/Ares-docs/

Updated on 2016-03-29.

Ares 0.A available

Written for Ares by AlexB on 2016-01-01

It is the beginning of a new year, and it also starts with the release of Ares 0.A, the first new version of Ares since almost a year. Ares 0.A does not only add new features and bugfixes, it also improves performance of older features.

The Firestorm Walls have been reworked and expanded. All animations have been made customizable and active Firestorm Wall sections can now be damaged and will reduce the Firestorm Defense System's charge. Most importantly, the performance has been greatly improved: not only when a Firestorm is active, but also when not even using the Firestorm Wall in the game.

Likewise, Solid Buildings have been recoded to support invisible projectiles and different levels of solidness. Units will see Solid Buildings as obstacles they have to go around for firing, though they can be made to ignore them and just tear them down trying to shoot at objects behind.

The new super weapon targeting in Ares 0.9 also made the game slower, but also some earlier features like EMP and Radar Jammers were not as efficient as they could have been. These issues have been addressed. Common functions have been unified, which got rid of a lot of needless code while making Ares run faster, and by removing overhead, Ares' memory footprint has been reduced by a fair amount, too. Another focus was on eliminating memory allocations where possible. There's more to be done in the future, though.

Ares 0.A improves audio support: Loose wave files can be in any supported format, not just the one PCM format that didn't compress well. Mod creators will now also have the option to deliver new sound effects in additional bag files, thus the need to distribute the original sound files together with the new pieces in a huge single bag is gone. This means that mod download packages can now be much smaller.

New features include the Troop Crawler logic known from Generals, Saboteurs and Crush Damage from Dune 2000, buildings degrading while a player is low on power, Stealth Tanks holding fire unless in area guard mode, and several more. Some more enhancements focus on passengers, like transports accepting only certain infantry units to enter.

Several bugs were fixed, like the exploits regarding selling Construction Yards that would give free crew or make a player undefeatable when the MCV couldn't be placed. Players can again select the airport aircraft will dock at. The graphical glitch on large shp graphics using compression 1 is fixed, too.

Even with all the new features added, thanks to all these optimizations, Ares 0.A is still the most compact and most efficient version yet.

Download: https://launchpad.net/ares/+download
Documentation: http://ares-developers.github.io/Ares-docs/

Here comes Ares 0.9

Written for Ares by AlexB on 2015-02-14

About six weeks later than planned, Ares 0.9 finally makes an entrance. And half of the audience appears to have gone already. Tada!

There are no groundbreaking new features, but hopefully some long-awaited extensions like the option to not only add more than two super weapons to a building, but also to make them available depending on the owning player's country. Also, there are some new AI targeting types that allow super weapons to find targets like the Multi Missile from Tiberian Sun, or the Hunter Seeker.

The targeting modes themselves became more customizable, and it is now possible to change their behavior to some degree. For example, Nukes can be made to automatically target buildings or units only.

Most importantly, the AI is now also bound to the firing rules like human players. In other words: it respects ranges, designators and the new inhibitors. The latter are in a sense negative designators: enemy units and structures can prevent super weapons from firing at locations close nearby, effectively shielding off the area around them.

Vehicle units using shape (.shp) instead of voxel images are now allowed to have more than eight facings, which allows for smoother turning even for larger units. Weapon muzzle flashes also allow more than just eight firing directions, and a projectile that Rotates can now also be animated, which was not possible previously.

But there are also less apparent changes: the handling of detonating bullets has been changed, an the new Ares weapon effects are not applied to the target coordinates any more. Instead they take effect where the bullet actually detonated. This means, EMP and other effects do not affect the intended target if the bullet really hit a wall on its way.

A few bugs were fixed, most notably the broken force move command that prevented tanks from crushing infantry. Text messages now respect the MessageDelay setting and paradropping units are not cloaked any more, just as they weren't in vanilla Yuri's Revenge. But that's not all: a handful more features were fixed or improved.

Original game bugs that have been fixed are a crash because of an array access out of bounds that might happen randomly and infantry in occupiable structures being promoted even if untrainable.

Do not be fooled by the smaller file size of the dll, it's not because lots of features have been removed, but because some unnecessary code has been stripped away. This makes Ares more compact than ever.

Download: https://launchpad.net/ares/+download
Documentation: http://ares-developers.github.io/Ares-docs/

Updated on 2015-02-14.

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