This is going to sound like a rant, and it is to be honest. I'd make separate threads for each sub-topic but I don't have the patience or the time. So prepare for a dump. I logged in today to chat with extrems, and I played a little bit, literally 10 minutes. What I saw and heard was fucking appalling. The current dev team should really take a moment to reconsider what the fuck they're doing. It's one thing to have no idea how to do your job, but it's another entirely to completely trash a fine piece of work with your ignorance and incapability. I'm going to sound very harsh towards certain developers (and honestly I don't even know who did what) and I'd like to give feedback in a civil and reasonable manner, but honestly I'm fucking seething so don't expect me to hold back. There's been a trend of late, for unpolished and frankly poorly done work to be published into the game. My first warning was the new NF barracks and radar. While serving gameplay well, these models are frankly significantly less good looking than the original models, I let it slide because they served their function and our buildings on the whole aren't that nice, but it seems that it opened the door for a cascade of shit, the final product of which is now live on the steam servers somehow. But if the buildings were a poor but acceptable change for practical reasons, the UI changes are anything but. I know the phrase 'anything is better than the current hud' was thrown around a lot before this change, but for the love of god have you people heard of hyperbole? We've had multiple contenders for an improved hud, but we moved to this atrocity? What the fuck am I looking at? The hud is an ugly mess of oversized fonts, horrific icons and all around ugly design. It looks as though it was designed by a 15 year old for a class assignment, instead of a clean, consistent (but definitely dated) UI, we have this abomination with ugly outlines, terrible sprite choices and incredibly strange design choices. Why do UI elements terminate before the edge of the screen? Why does the concussion grenade have the most generic lens flare visual on top of it? Why why why WHY!? Now I don't blame whoever made it, it could definitely be worse but it's a significant downgrade to the original UI. The blame doesn't lie in the artists (shoddy) work, it lies in whoever the fuck decided this was good enough to make official. There is a term called quality control, something that's clearly been completely thrown out here. But the shitshow doesn't end at that point, next up is the audio experience. My lord. What the fuck happened. Whoever signed off on these ought to be shot. Empires had a good soundscape. If anything, one of the best parts of Empires WAS the sounds. Our game had a polished set of foley, more than passable infantry weapon sounds, and some really really great sound work put in for the tank engines. And now it sounds horrendous. Absolutely unbearable. I drove an NF Heavy and the engine sounded somewhere between a 50cc moped and a guy making engine sounds with his mouth. What the fuck have you done to the tanks? On top of that the infantry weapons are just anemic, to say the least. Every gun I heard sounded cringeworthy or just inappropriate. None of the weapons felt good to use and some felt horrendous (what the fuck is the shotgun firing sound? jesus christ) But on top of destroying the firing noises, whoever did these sounds thought it wise to redo the weapon foley. I'll admit our weapons weren't great on the foley side, but at least the sounds matched the animations and weren't too bad, now all of the foley sounds have been replaced by short, poorly done clips that don't sync properly, and don't even have their volumes equalized properly. I'd love to say that's where it ends, but I also noticed infantry damage and death sounds. These are cheesy as fuck and sound terrible, where have you played an FPS where characters make stock sound library death screams? I swear some of these sounds came from command and conquer 95. I'd comment on scripts and gameplay too but the visceral experience of the game was so appalling I literally had to stop, so sadly I don't have any feedback for those, but if every other part of the game is a litmus I'd say they're likely garbage too. The level of quality control shown by the developers is frankly nonexistent. When you rip out someone else's hard work, make sure your work is an improvement and for gods sake make some kind of attempt to be consistent, the entire game now feels unprofessional, unpolished and all over the place. If I came fresh into empires now I'd walk straight back out. When I installed empires all those years ago I was impressed not just by the scale and depth, but the consistency of art, sound and design. Empires used to be a mod with an incredible quality standard. Yes, it looked like 2005 source engine but it also looked and felt like a nearly professional piece of work. The next time you work on a piece of art, take a step back. Show some humility. Put it next to what you're replacing and look into yourself and ask yourself 'is this what the game needs?', 'is this the best I can do?', 'is this going to make the game better?'. Because I think for the grand majority of changes the answer to all 3 is a definitive 'no'. This isn't your hobby, this isn't your personal project, this is a longstanding piece of art and honestly history you're working on, treat it as such.. The current situation of the mod is an insult the the days, weeks and months of effort previous developers and artists have poured into it. To take their impressive works and replace them with this crap is honestly offensive. And I'm personally insulted that you've disgraced something I hold so dear. You have taken one of my fondest memories and tarnished it.