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PR:BF2 General Discussion General discussion of the Project Reality: BF2 modification.

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Old 05-07-2017, 07:05 AM   #11
Rico
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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Eggman came into PR end of 2005 after bf2 was already released in June of that year. Requeim and the mod were already well under way before the game was even released back in mid 2004. I did some interviews with Req back in early 2005 for Totalbf2.com and he was the main man at the time. Bare in mind PR was mostly a concept at that point but he had a clear vision for it.
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:06 AM   #12
DogACTUAL

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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

So he decided to do the mod way before the games was even released? That's ambitious.

Can you tell me what his vision for PR was and how it is different from the current PR?
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:12 AM   #13
[R-DEV]camo
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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogACTUAL View Post
So he decided to do the mod way before the games was even released? That's ambitious.

Can you tell me what his vision for PR was and how it is different from the current PR?
History | Project Reality

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Old 05-07-2017, 08:13 AM   #14
Rico
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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DogACTUAL View Post
So he decided to do the mod way before the games was even released? That's ambitious.

Can you tell me what his vision for PR was and how it is different from the current PR?
It was always to "provide a realistic combat experience to players of BF2 while at the same time, adding in new factions, with all of the well known weapons, vehicles which that faction is known to possess". I think that goal has remained as best as can be represented in a game. Here is a list of proposed features he sent me in Feb 2005, 4 months before the game even released.

Individually and Crew Served/Operated Weapons

U.S. Marine Corps (USMC)

M9 Pistol
Suppressed M9 Pistol
H&K MP5N
M4A1 Carbine (With M68 CCO)
M16A2 Rifle
M16A2/M203
M249 SAW
Remington 11-87/870 Shotgun
M24
M2HB .50 Cal HMG
M134 "Minigun"
Predator SRAW

Middle-East Coalition (MEC)

"Bagheera" Pistol
PP-19 Bizon-2 SMG
AKS-74U (With Kobra EKP-1S-03M Red-dot Optic Sight)
AK-101
AK-101/GP-30
RPK-74
Saiga-12K Shotgun
SVD
NSVT 12.7mm
Eryx SRAAW(H)

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)

QSZ-92 Pistol (-9/-5.8mm)
Type 85 SMG
Type-56 Assault Rifle
Type-56/GP-25
Type-95 Assault Rifle and Squad Machine-gun
Norinco M98 Shotgun
Type-88 Marksman's Rifle
Eryx SRAAW(H)

Non-Team Specific, "Special" Weapons

SA-80A1 (Possibly the A2 variant)
H&K G36C
H&K G3A3
PKM GPMG
M82A1A SASR
Pancor "Jackhammer" Shotgun
Striker-12 "Street Sweeper" Shotgun (Not Confirmed)

Emplaced Weapons

Tripod-mounted M220 TOW
Dual Mounted SA-7 Grail (Possibly an HN-5)

Vehicles/Land Warfare Systems

U.S. Marine Corps (USMC)

M1A2 Abrams MBT
LAV-25
M6 Bradley Linebacker
M998 HMMWV
Chenowth DPV

Middle-East Coalition (MEC)

T-90S MBT
BTR-90 APC
GAZ-39371 'Vodnik' APC
2S6M 'Tunguska' AAA
Civilian Vehicles/Technicals

Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA)

WZ-551 / WZ-523 (Type 90/92) Wheeled APC

Aircraft - Fixed and Rotary Winged

U.S. Marine Corps

F-35 JSF (Joint Strike Fighter)
F-15E "Strike Eagle"
F/A-18C/D/E/F "Hornet/Super Hornet"
UH-60L w/ ESSS - armed with dual M261 LWLs and window-mounted M134s
AH-1Z (BF2's Version is a Hybrid of the AH-1W and AH-1Z)

Middle-East Coalition (MEC)

Su-34 (Su-27IB)
MiG-29 "Fulcrum"
Mi-28A "Havoc"
Mi-8T HIP C

Sea Based Warfare Systems (U.S. Only)

LHD-1 Wasp Class Carrier
LHA-1 Tarawa Class (Not Confirmed)
LCAC (Landing Craft, Air Cushion)
RHIB (w/ Emplaced M249 SAW)

Note: China may use the same vehicles and aircraft as the MEC
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Old 05-07-2017, 07:07 PM   #15
eggman
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Talking Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Hey Folks,

Someone pointed me to this thread, I never noticed the misrepresentation in the Squad dev post. Apologies for any misunderstandings. Will attempt to clear things up.

I am not the founder of the mod project. That was a gentleman named Noel Tock aka Requiem. Noel did an amazing job to have a vision for modding BF2 and built some early enthusiasm amongst a talented but small team of people.

At that time, mods were a key part of the marketing of many games. BF2 was actually inspired by the Desert Combat mod for BF 1942. So much so that DICE acquired that mod studio and used them to prototype much of what became BF2. While that story went on to have it's ups and downs, that's a different thread of gaming history.

I stumbled across what was called "Project Reality Mini Mod" v0.1 as a BF2 gamer looking for something more tactical. The weight and clunkiness of Arma never really worked for me; the gheymeyness of BF2 was too far to the other extreme. I was intrigued by the possibilities of a tactically enriched version of BF2.

Aside from my interests as a gamer, I harbored a long-held desire to work in the gaming industry. In the 2005 era, I was working in the "corporate world". I had been doing so for quite a while and my salary and lifestyle were pretty well established. The idea of "starting over" to switch to the gaming industry was not really viable.

I had always wanted to make a video game. Instead of incessant wanking as a child, I incessantly played Pong on the original Coleco Telstar console, got addicted to the Atari 2600, and programmed the "cheating" out of the chess game on the original Macintosh platform. Making a game I wanted to play was always a dream.

So I said to myself "I'm going to take this project over, make it the best BF2 mod that I would still enjoy playing, the mod studio will get acquired, and that will be how I get into the gaming industry".

If you keep reading you will realize that nothing goes according to plan, but if you be good and work hard... dreams can come true

I joined the team as an "R-CON" around the time the v0.2 PRMM mini mod was released. Up to that point, some cool but minor changes had been made to the "Vanilla" BF2 game. If you look at the original list of features in Requiem's vision, while very cool and ambitious, it was unclear about how that content plan would fundamentally change vBF2 into a tactical shooter.

I wanted to radically alter the gameplay. I realized that we could never simulate actual combat in a "realistic" way, so my focus was on modeling the "human dynamics" of combat. Specifically a focus on amplifying the reliance on the "band of brothers" around you as a critical aspect of survival in a combat situation. That drove the design focus to make teamwork a critical element required for success in the mod.

I became an "R-DEV" just after v0.2 was released. The first major contributions I made to the mod came out in v0.25. I had no talent as a mapper, so I curated maps from the modding community (with the creator's permission) and radically altered them to require a teamwork centric approach to gaming. I made the capture areas extremely large. I made them require more than 1 person to capture a flag. I made them take an extremely long time (compared to vBF2) to capture. The intent with this was that your "unit" had to secure and hold that area in order to capture it - the idea of one guy taking an objective was ludicrous to me in a tactical shooter context.

Along with that, I hacked my way through some Python coding and integrated the AAS game mode into the mod. This was also something that I found in the BF2 mod community; I used and modified that with permission of the creator. The AAS game mode forces the combat into specific and directed objectives. I hate the "whack-a-mole" that the vanilla Conquest mode plays like in the BF series. Taking an objective should be extremely hard. The dynamics of most of a team bumping into most of the enemy that AAS introduced was very appealing - there's no way you can take an objective without getting your entire team working toward the common goal. I liked that this forced teamplay across squads (and not just within a single squad).

Leading up to the release of v0.25 there was a discussion amongst the mod leads, Requiem included, that they felt as though the mod project was dying and they did not see how it could continue. The original content plan was so daunting and the progress against it so slow that they were considering shuttering the project. Around this time I proposed that they let me take over as the project lead for 6 months to see if I could turn it around. I took the role of project lead sometime around v0.3.

Much of my focus was on experimentation. We had an "escort the vip" game mode. We had a "destroy an objective" game mode. While those things came and went, the focus was on experimenting to find "sweet spots" in how the game played. I never delayed a gameplay change because an asset was not ready. So if we felt that we needed a sniper class, instead of waiting for 3 factions of sniper rifles to be modelled, textured, coded, animated, integrated, etc... instead I hacked in the same asset for each faction and modified the behaviour of the asset to resemble the weapon it represented, but used placeholder visuals within the game.

I advocated very heavily for frequent releases. Other mod teams were taking a "we'll launch when it's perfect" approach. I was monitoring the "health" of the BF2 modding scene. It was evident that very few players were actively playing mods. The "ranked server" concept that came with BF2 was not conducive to the discovery and play of mods. The idea that we would co-develop the mod with the gaming community that played it was facilitated by an aggressive approach to frequent releases (comparatively speaking). The hope was that in doing so we would build a dedicated community of players, building enough momentum that the mod would survive.

This release approach was facilitated by an "unsung hero" in the PR community: R-DEV TheRealFritz. Like me, he was a professional working in the corporate world of software development. He was an extremely capable server admin. He and I set up the tools and processes to make developing, building, testing and releasing PR extremely easy through mostly automated processes. For those that can remember, we had the ability for testers to run the live copy of PR alongside a work in progress copy of the game. While the downloads were always hefty (I never figured out how to easily do "diff" releases) the releases of test builds was constant.

Aside from the build processes, Fritz set up some data tracking capabilities. Things like # concurrent players, # players 30 days, # players per map, etc. This enabled us to pay close attention to quantitative data as well as the qualitative feedback from the community. People would say "you've ruined the mod" with changes we made. I could look at the data and know that more people were playing, for longer, than ever before. Along with asking myself "Do I still liked playing this?", we could make data-informed decisions on what was working and not working.

The first release of "Project Reality" (and not Project Reality Mini-Mod) was v0.4. Changing the name to just "PR" was an important change. Prior to that, every release followed a naming convention that made BF2 think each release was a different mod. The mod was called "prmm-02" and "prmm-025" etc. So in a BF2 server browser, those looked like completely different mods. That made it extremely difficult to track the history of player data across releases and created a lot of challenges for people to find servers to play on.

By the time we changed it to just /pr/ we were in decent shape with our build, test and deploy processes. Although it was never frequent enough for me, we had done half a dozen public releases and dozens of test releases at a time when most other mods had not yet released anything. I was entrenched as the mod lead, having earned the trust of the team - well.. most of them except for Rhino - the mod was fun to play, more people were playing PR than all other BF2 mods combined, and the community was growing - we were on a roll.

However, the ability for any player to pick any class was unacceptable. The release of the kit limiting system in v0.4 was a major milestone. The capability for this was discovered by another "unsung hero": R-DEV KingOfCamelot. He and I were messing about on the test server one day and he showed me something he discovered. He showed me some rcon commands that allowed him to spawn anything into the game world by typing into the console. So he could spawn a vehicle, just by typing a "spawn vehicle foo" command into the console. More interestingly, he could spawn a static asset - such as what would become the FOBs in the future - into the game world.

My imagination ran wild thinking about the possibilities. It occurred to me we could use Python code to interface to the rcon console and manipulate the game world in ways we had not previously thought possible. None of this is exposed in the "conventional" means of modding BF2. The manipulation of the game world through the rcon console via Python code is what enabled us to create the "quartermaster" system (kit limiting), the FOBs and player construction systems, the rally points, etc. It was at this time during the development of v0.4 that I developed a much more clear vision of where we could go with the mod - we were going to more radically alter the base BF2 gameplay than I had envisioned possible.

Around this time one of the gamers from the community joined the team and became a major force in shaping Project Reality: R-DEV dbzao. Up until he joined the team the "statistics" in our code repository (where we store all the game files and code) was that I contributed about 80% of the check-ins and everybody else on the team combined contributed about 20%. That is a bit misleading - it takes a lot longer to create a map (and that comes across as one contribution) than it does to hack some Python code iteratively (resuting in multiple contributions). However, the sentiment that data point represents was accurate: I was in beast mode developing the mod and needed help for the pace to be sustainable.

While some of you may know him from his epic volumes of YouTube videos of PR gameplay, dbzao is a brilliant coder. He basically took over all the server side development for PR. While I could hack stuff in, he was able to get it to work elegantly. Any crazy idea I had he could make work. And then he started to come up with his own crazy ideas. I ran into him playing some Squad the other day

As an outcome of these newly discovered capabilities, combined with the talents of folks to make them happen, we redefined the spawn mechanics entirely. The idea for Rally Points came to me after I did a training course with my Airsoft team (and the idea of playing mil-sim Airsoft was, in part, so I could learn more about combat dynamics). We had our team do a weekend long training course, lead by Canadian Armed Forces combat veterans. They introduced us to the concept that when on a patrol, you set a "rally point" so that if it all goes to shit in the upcoming combat, you know where to regroup with your unit. While you set an RP every few hundred meters on a patrol, typically, if the unit is knowingly transitioning to a combat situation, you would dump your encumbrances (such as knapsacks) and lighten up to prepare for a firefight. This became Python code to issue an rcon command to the server, to enable a guy with the right role permissions to shit out a squad specific spawn point represented by a clump of knapsacks.

The development of PR was very much steered by the community. One community member in particular had a huge impact on the game design and eventually joined the team as a designer: R-DEV Fuzzhead. Fuzz played the game "the way it was meant to be played". He also had a tremendous notion of leveling other players up. It may have been magnanimity, but I think he was motivated to have more players playing a game he liked in the manner he felt it should be played because that was going to make his gaming sessions more enjoyable.

We were messing about with the idea of completely organic gameplay, things like having no spawn points aside from the single main base spawn point. Taking the Rally Point concept to the extreme, we wanted an entirely player made spawn network. I discovered that we could spawn an object into the game world that was at "partial health". We could associate functionality to that object - such as the ability to spawn players, the ability to resupply, the ability to repair - and that functionality could be "postponed" until the object was repaired to full health. vBF2 had the concept of repairing with a wrench and we found that we could apply a "repairable" attribute to just about anything. So we made a shovel that was a repair tool and the concept of player made spawn points and the related logistics system was born.

One amazing mapper on the team has seen their legacy live on: R-DEV Duckhunt created the first 4km map for PR called "Kashan Desert". His Al Basrah map was recently re-created for Squad. Duck was working on the 4km map at my request - we needed yuge maps for the kind of engagement range realism we were going for. However, during the development of Kashan Desert he kinda lost interest in the daunting task of finishing off 16 sq km of terrain. He had started the Al Basrah map and the "Kashan Dream" was dying out. Duckhunt and I collaborated on the Kashan map to finish it off. He would work on the detailing of the map and I would work on the gameplay elements and layout. We created a map that had two distinct play dynamics intentionally - long range engagements in a wide open desert, and infantry-centric combat over the military complex. We did this because with a huge engagement range it would be no fun for Infantry. But we wanted the idea that boots on the ground is what wins battles. Hence the very distinct combat dynamics and the need to safely get your infantry into the fight. This one map spawned off several 4km maps now that we had proven both technically and gameplay wise that such large maps could be done with the vBF2 engine. This was also a major milestone in the evolution of the mod.

Around December of 2007 I encountered a "catastrophic event" in my personal life. While we had just completed development on v0.7, fulfilling most of what had become my "vision" for Project Reality, and my enthusiasm for working on the project was at an all time high, I had to focus my priorities on my personal life. This was extremely abrupt and disruptive to the PR team - it created the longest gap in between major releases in the history of the mod up to that point - I have a "family first" ethos in life and that was where my priorities needed to be for the foreseeable future.

Thankfully another hero stepped up and took over: R-DEV UK_Force. He did a tremendous job of creating time from his busy real world life of serving his country in the military to make time to take over leadership of the mod. My personal life situation normalized and I got back involved later. That created some friction, including me being a bit of a cunt to UK_Force about a couple of things (which I deeply regretted and later apologized for, UK_Force is a 110% stand-up guy). It became clear that the team had found it's new leader and direction. My re-joining was becoming as disruptive as my leaving abruptly. I chose to step aside and put some limited energy into the PR 2 stand-alone game project. However, it was clear that I didn't have the time to devote to this in the same way I did when I joined prmm years earlier. While the PR2 project never went anywhere, the dream lived on in what became Squad.

Several years after I worked on Project Reality, I found myself in a situation where I had an opportunity to move into the gaming industry without having to "start over". I joined Electronic Arts and the work I did on Project Reality was part of what got me the gig. When I started at EA I was working on the Battlefield franchise because they knew I was a passionate BF gamer.

One of my proudest moments in life was related to Project Reality. I was on a conference call with a bunch of senior leaders from the DICE studio. I introduced myself, including saying that I love their games and that I was the mod lead for a BF2 mod called Project Reality. I expected that none of them would know what I was referring to. There was a bunch of weird noise from across the Atlantic ocean via the conference call. It went on for about 30 seconds. I asked what happened and they told me that when I said I was the mod lead for PR, the room broke out into a spontaneous and unanimous standing ovation. This was a room full of the most senior DICE studio leadership. I was, in all honesty, verklempt at that reaction; I was so proud to be recognized so sincerely by the studio that created the game we modded.

That moment created a bridge with the DICE studio folks. I went on to work directly with DICE and I was a catalyst in changing the relationship that DICE has with EA.I spent a lot of time in Sweden working directly with them on many projects. On one trip there, I asked one of them how they felt about PR's blatant piracy of EA assets. When the Special Forces, Armoured Fury and Euro Force expansion packs came out, with some trepidation from the rest of the team, I stuck all of it into the base PR game and crossed my fingers that EA would not pursue action against us.

This was a clear violation of the licensing agreement for these expansion packs. But it enabled us to add asymmetrical gameplay with an Insurgent faction (from the Special Forces expansion pack). There was no viable "placeholder" for character models representing an Insurgency. The PR team agreed under the proviso that we replace them with our own models later (I knew that if EA didn't do anything about this, the swapping of models was unlikely). This type of unconventional gameplay was something I was deeply interested in experimenting with. I recall proposing the Civilian class to the PR team who were mostly like "wtf, you want to create a character class in a first-person-shooter that can only throw rocks?". I was like "YES. And when you take them down with non-lethal weapons, they will tell you things that enable you to find the secret hide-outs of the insurgents operating in the area". This was what became the Insurgency game mode - capturing civilians gave you "intel points" and when you achieved enough intel, probable locations of weapon caches were revealed to your faction.

Anyways, back to the question about how DICE felt about a mod using their commercial assets in violation of their licensing terms... they told me that many of them were playing PR at the time and wanted to avoid any disruption to what had become one of the studio's favorite games. More feel good vibes

Ultimately PR was a big part of me fulfilling my dream of working in the gaming industry. I'm still there and I am "living the dream".

So.... I am not the founder of PR - that was Requiem. I drove the vision, designed most of the systems, helped grow the team from a few to a few dozen, and defined the approach for what became the Project Reality mod that went on to be regarded as one of the 10 "Hall of Fame" mods. I collaborated with several key people to make that happen. Some are still around, a few are mentioned in this post, and some went on to form Offworld Industries and develop an amazing spiritual successor to PR called Squad.

Cheers!
egg



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Last edited by eggman; 05-07-2017 at 07:28 PM..
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:23 PM   #16
obpmgmua
Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Eggman a couple of questions.

What projects did you work on at Dice?

What is your favorite version of PR?

How did you make .5 so great?

If you want Spawnable RPGs and SVDs for Insurgent team

Sign Here ______________________
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Old 05-07-2017, 08:54 PM   #17
eggman
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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Quote:
Originally Posted by obpmgmua View Post
Eggman a couple of questions.

What projects did you work on at Dice?
I have been involved in everything the DICE Studio has made since I joined EA ~4 years ago.

Quote:
Originally Posted by obpmgmua View Post
What is your favorite version of PR?
Huh. Never thought about it as a gamer and it's been too long since I actively played to answer. When I was working on it, the answer would always be "the next one".


Quote:
Originally Posted by obpmgmua View Post
How did you make .5 so great?
This was the last release before vehicles and large maps became a major focus. The game was more Infantry centric and that is inherently easier to achieve than a combined arms model. Perhaps a "high point" in the evolution of the game, but was not representative of the end state we envisioned.

Cheers!
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:27 PM   #18
[R-CON]UTurista
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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

With so many connections with EA and DICE, can't PR get some love and obtain more documentation regarding battlefield 2?!

(the source would also be appreciated)


Dont question the wikipedia! Just because it reports different things on different languages does not make it unreliable source!
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:52 PM   #19
Allahu Akbar

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Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Like when LoL advertises as having been created by the creator of DOTA, even though Guinsoo wasn't the creator of DOTA.

Quote:
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I have been involved in everything the DICE Studio has made since I joined EA ~4 years ago.
So do you have any idea why EA made Starwars:Battlefront utter shit?
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Old 05-07-2017, 09:58 PM   #20
Wing Walker
Default Re: Is this really the man that started it all?

Thanks for all the hard work!
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