Newsflash


JOIN BASHandSlash.com's STEAM GROUP.

STEAM GROUP: bashandslash

 
BASH 56: Frontlines
Written by jockyitch   
Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Just the other day, German BASHandSlash.com reader hope74, alerted me to an interesting CoD4 multiplayer mod called Frontlines and he told me he was recommending it to our readers. Frontlines can best be described as a Campaign mod with two to three interesting new gametypes mixed in with the overall objective being to kill the commander of the other team. The mod plays like a full blown campaign mod and besides the usual CoD4 bloodbaths, to get to your final objective you need to gain and hold territory which is won through individual map battles.

While hope74 loved the mod, all he knew about its author was that, "the author´s name is Hajas" and his website is found at "mods.hajas.org/".

 

bash56.jpg

 

I quickly found out that the Frontlines mod was featured on callofduty.filefront.com and it was the download of the week back in early February.

Well, soon after we start searching for "Hajas"...we found him. His name is Freddy Hajas and he's a Carioca (a name that means 'someone living in beautiful Rio de Janeiro, Brazil')! He is a systems analyst in real-life and an ace-modder in the online FPS world. Even more intriguing, it is obvious from Hajas' website, mods.hajas.org,  the author is not just a modder - he is an avid FPS gamer.

Freddy mods so that he and his friends can enjoy the game the way they like it - it is not all about "the coding" for this guy - he's got game. It was this reason that made me want to interview him and find out what made him tick. So without further ado...

BASHandSlash.com is very proud to present our interview with Seu Freddy!
 

 
 
Now for those of you who are BASH-webcast-impaired, Freddy was also nice enough to respond to our questions in writing - so here he is answering our written questions:
 
BS: Bom dia Freddy! Could you introduce yourself to BASHandSlash.com readers? Where are you from? How long have you been playing FPS and when did you start playing CoD?

FH: I'm Freddy Hajas from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil... I've played FPS's since the first Wolfenstein 3D and I've been gaming since the Atari 2600 days. :P
 
I really loved the FPS genre since I first tried it. I've played almost all of them: Doom (all of them), Duke Nukem 3D,  Quake (all of them), Unreal (all of them), AVP (all of them), Medal of Honor (all of them) and of course all the Call of Duty series. I can write a book listing only the  names of FPS games that I played...

I started to play CoD as soon as the game was released over here, a few months after the global release... I really loved the SP, but I didn't like much the MP because CoD didn't have an objective gametype and this kills the MP for me. Besides, their CTF was one of better CTF's ever made, but I'm already a little tired of these old gametypes and I like more realism... it's great that objective gametypes  in MP were introduced in the last versions and I can say that COD4 MP is the best ever made in FPS.

If CoD4 had a COOP mode, the game will be eternal for sure! :P


BS: I know you are a big MoH: Airborne gamer/modder...in fact, you have a great mod for MoH called Hajas Extreme Realism (HER). You explained why you created HER in your interview on TGN...is it gaining acceptance in the MoH community?

FH: Hmmm... which community? Unfortunately, MOH:Airborne really killed all the hopes of the last survivors of that great community - which had built-up since the first MoH was released.

I'm still sad about it... but life goes on and we now have other great games like COD4 or GRAW2, for example, to play.

But as for my mod, I saw the other day a server online with HER in the UK.  I think it was from NuT-ClanUK if my memory is not failing, but I can't see any success for my mod if the game itself is a complete failure... like I said in the TGN interview, who will use a mod if no one even liked the game? it's a dead end unfortunately, and it's too late...


BS: How do you compare CoD4 to MoH: Airborne?

FH: I can write a book on this subject... :D

But I'll summarize in one phrase:  COD4 gave us everything that we want/need, while MOHA gave us everything that we said for more than 5 years that we don't want.

BS: You have a new MP mod for CoD4 called Frontlines. Why did you decide to write this mod? Were you dissatisfied with CoD4 in some way?

FH: The only thing that I didn't like in COD4 MP (the SP was really perfect) was that rain of nades, rockets, grenade launchers and air strikes in the beginning of the round, killing half of the team without giving any chance to protect yourself after spawn... this was caused by the small maps, which aside are really cool, aren't big enough to make spawn points far enough away from the enemy, so this problem was happening in every round and in every server around the world, which was killing the gameplay of this great game...

So at first I tryed to fix this very small but annoying problem, then Hajas Spawn Protection was made... looking the code I started to have more ideas and decided to move forward with them and to finally convert my "Blood Wars" idea that I did in Quake II into a fully integrated version for COD4. I called this "War Server" and I made the release public, in contrast to Blood Wars, which was a private work.

This was how i started...
BS: Your Frontlines mod can best be described as a "Campaign" mod. Very much in-line with the type of mod that groups like Battle-For-Europe (BFE) are running...which is really cool...now anyone can run your mod and have the ability to operate a campaign mod. What are the other main features in the mod?
 

FH:

Hajas Spawn Protection

With this on, you set how many seconds the players will be protected after they have spawned, but they will only be protected against explosions, nades, rockets and air strikes. So if you run up against the enemy, you can kill him.


Battlefront (a new gametype)

I played Rocket Arena for MANY years in Quake, which is a Round Based Match... I love this gametype. But, there are some problems with it because sometimes no one attacks, especially when players are hurt. They stay hidden waiting to ambush each other. When both teams (try this tactic) it is hell on everyone...

When you play this gametype in more realistic games like we had in Medal Of Honor or even in COD series, it's really bad... because those who stay back and defend (camp) will have a lot more chances to kill than the players doing the attacking. In Quake you can be shot many times and you will not die so easily, so still can win attacking even if it is more difficult. So in the end we would get both entire teams hiding and defending. Those who try to attack will die really fast and will become spectators of a very very boring game.... and this is was the main problem for any Round Based Match with realistic FPS games.

So, the idea was to fix this: it was very simple and never done before (I don't know why)... so I did it in Frontlines.

I put one team as the Attackers like in a Search & Destroy (objective) gametype, and the other as Defenders, so now both teams have their own objectives. The Defenders must to keep the territory at all costs while the Attackers must kill all resistance before the timelimit to dominate the map, or the Defenders will win the round. So now the attacking team is forced to attack or will lose the round...

Aside from that, Battlefront brings a completely new feel to the game like RBM games had, giving huge freedom to the players during the match, because now they are not always playing over and over at the same spots around the objectives. Also I need this gametype finished to start to work in the next one, and need both to make War Server works.

Commander/VIP ( 2 in 1 New Gametype) 

In Commander, the "commander" may have an MP5, a silenced pistol and a knife only... no perks, no nades, no nightvision... just that. In VIP, the  "VIP" has only a small pistol and a knife. But both are able to pick up weapons on the floor from dead soldiers.

 

 


Playing as a commander is more easy than playing as VIP for sure, but both have good points. In Commander the Soldiers rarely keep back to protect you as your scout. In VIP you will probably have at least 1 or 2 guys on your side to protect you. Commanders have camo that is closer to their respective teams, so it is more difficult to find them... while the VIP's camo is very different, and thus easily identfied.

BS: Which is more popular Commander or VIP?

FH: More popular? I can say that VIP is more popular right now, mainly because the Commander gets killed so fast (ed: noob players try to attack as Commander), the VIP player stays back with more fear of death and the gameplay is more realistic... with time more people will know more about the Commander gametype and play it better and better, specially in clan wars.

Then both will have his unique gameplay, and both will have important jobs in War Server.

BS: Hajas Invert Sides ( With automatic change )

FH: With this var on or set, you can change automatically from round to round, and it makes you look at the map from a different point of view, making the defenders defend the side of the map where usually the attackers are spawned, and make the attackers strike in a different direction. With this simple change you practically double the maps on your server and it changes the gameplay on the maps...

This will also be used by War Server, in fact it is needed to add realism.

BS: Continue with your description of Frontlines:

FH:

Custom Message Of The Day (MOTD)

This is a well known feature that almost mods also do, and the default COD4 already had this var to you setup in your server, but the MOTD only appears as another info of the server. What I did was simple. I print the message on the screen to each player in the beginning of each round.


Spam Messages Loop (up to 10)

This is another well know feature that few mods also do, to print messages to his players about many things, like rules, other servers info, TS info, etc. I simply did a very small, fast and easy to use spam messages on your server, just setting the messages on the cfg and choose the delay between each one.


BS: Were you inspired by any of the existing MP mods out there?

FH: Hmmm... not really... I think the SP missions of the games and movies are my main inspiration to create all this...the basis to create my Blood Wars (ed: which is where Frontlines pedigree is from) was Rocket Arena 2 by David 'crt' Wright and is the basis of Battlefront.

But I'm also trying to bring REALLY something new to COD4 with Frontlines... all the gametypes that I'm doing are really brand new and aren't converted from any other game. And another thing which is the main theme of Frontlines is realism, all the gametypes are realistic gametypes... so a CTF gametype isn't for Frontlines for example.

So all of this are all my own ideas that I had in the last days, or many many years ago playing FPS games or watching movies accross the last 25 years.

And I'm also a server admin since the DOOM days, so I know what a server admin needs to avoid problems in the servers and what COD4 and all the games need in this subject... so I'm adding all this to Frontlines too... to make Frontlines a really great tools to the server admins...


BS: So in a nutshell...how is your mod different from all the other CoD4 mods?

FH: Well, first my mod is based on realism, so is more oriented to people that like to play in that way, because all my gametypes are realistic, but you of course will be able to play ALL default gametypes too as you wish... with or without hardcore... no problem about that.

Frontlines will bring to the player aside the fix of the only COD4 problem related before, 5 brand new gametypes, yeah... I created more 2 in this meantime. All realistic! Also will give to the server admins great tools to administrate the server, like the brand new Hajas Rotation which I finished the tests in the last weekend and will change the map rotation of your server relative with the number of players connected, all 100% configured... so no more huge maps to 4 players, or 40 players in a very small map... and many new important features that any mod or server ever had.

BS: One of the interesting things you have planned is the "WarServer", what is that? What features will a server admin have at his disposal?

The War Server is a full conversion of Blood Wars that I created to my own Quake II clan (Blood Culture) many years ago, but of course adapted to a realistic modern war and this time 100% fully automatic, to be able to run at any server or to create wars between clans, I mean really a WAR, not just battles...

The main idea came from the fact that we always play isolated battles in the FPS servers, when the map changes you go to different teams, to different wars and to different objectives.

The WarServer lets you choose a team and you can defend the Commander, just as if your own country came under attack...so you must do your part in the battles that you are fighting. So even if you left the game for an hour, others will still be there defending your team... you can even comeback later and rejoin with another squad in the same war, which can have duration of hours or even years... this will always depend on the size of the war, as pre-configured by the server admin.

The main objective for each team is to reach the HQ of the enemy and kill his Commander, who does this first wins the war.

There are many options and different tasks for each team to complete prior to getting at the Commander and all this is configurable.

For example, here's a basic WarServer.

Teams : Marines vs. OpFor
Territories for each side (maps) : 10 in Frontlines, 3 more to reach the Commander.

If Marines win, for example 2 territories, you now have:

OpFor : 8 in the Frontlines, more 3 to reach the Commander.
Marines : 12 in the Frontlines, more 3 to reach the Commander.

If the Marines conquer 3 territories in a streak, they find the VIP, who has info about the location of the Commander.

So they jump to the last map from the enemies Frontlines to get the chance to kill the VIP to get this information. Of course, if they don't get a 3-win streak and reach the 10th map, they will have the same result, but will be the longest way to do it)

If they lose, OpFor will launch a counter-strike against their recently lost territory... but if they succeed they get into the Commander's vicinity, while the OpFor team doesn't have their Frontline forces anymore... all the first 10 territories will be Marines now, so the Marines will be in range to get the OpFor Commander's head.

OpFor will need to do the same to have the same conditions in the war, and will be many other stuff to reverse this situation, like Assassination missions and Nuke strikes against the territories, etc, etc, etc... all configurable at the size and with the complexity that the server admin want or can handle.

You can also simply set only few maps, like 6 maps for example, 3 for each side, the first one with Battlefront gametype, the second with Search & Destroy gametype, and the 3rd with the Commander. You can set also neutral maps, and many other options...

Well, this is really free and up to configuration.... this is all that I'm already making in War Server...

BUT I'm afraid that will not be possible to make this all configurable like I did in Q2... :(

Simply because IW locked the vars that send text to the console which will be used to read the files, save them and load the configs, also all the FILE commands...they only works in development mode unfortunately, which is useless to a mod since in that mode you can setup servers or play multiplayer.

This made me very sad this weekend when I found this BIG problem in the way to complete my mod as I designed, but I have hopes to this become open one day, maybe in next patch.... who knows?

Well, with this issue I'll not be able to make the config easily as I wish, and not so complex...

I had change the focus of the development all to the War Server in the last weeks, and I was planning to release the next version with him, but because that will not be possible, I'll need to figure out how can I make this configurable (at least something more than the maps), what is more important to do and what will not be possible, and this will give me a lot work because these very small vars are locked.

So I decided right now go back to focus on the 24 server side with his new features and also the new gametypes while we are waiting for the next path, which I hope will be followed by another SDK update and maybe they unlock this vars to us, since this part of code isn't available at mod tools unfortunately.

 

That's a lot of work for one guy to do I am sure you will agree.

You can download the Frontlines mod here from Freddy's site and please consider supporting Freddy by donating to him (Paypal link is at the bottom right of his homepage).

 

 

 
< Prev   Next >

BASHandSlash Network

 
monkeybiz_icon.jpg
 

BASH on YouTube

bashyoutube1.jpg

The BASHandSlash Forums

bsboards_v2.jpg
original solarflare design by rhuk
lunarized by joomlashack