I don't need to test my programs. I have an error-correcting modem.
The idea behind this mutator is to allow a map to have up to four different appearances depending on the system date set on the server. (maybe even more if the code were to extent to special days [eg. Christmas, Halloween, Easter, St. Patrick's, etc.] but just the four seasons for now.)
Almost like having four maps in one.
For example, we could make one of those giant-room maps with a desk that has a CD jewel case sitting on top. But depending on the season, a different "CDCover" texture would be shown on the CD jewel brush/object/etc (whatever it is ... I'm no mapper ;) ).
Note in the texture set below, each texture begins with "CDCover" as a prefix but has the appropriate seasonal suffix. The mapper would just add the texture to the item as "AryaMusic.CDCover" [without the seasonal suffix] assuming that the UTX package is called AryaMusic.utx.
If the mutator is enabled either by the user or forcely activated by the map, then when the map loads it'll load one of the four textures in that part, depending on the system date (eg. at the time this document was written [12/12/2002], it would load the Charlotte Church CD Cover texture).
However, the mutator shouldn't be limited to just swapping textures, it could be used for swapping static meshes, ambience sounds, etc ...
Kirin: Okay ... I put my idea on the table on the table ... what do you think? :)
EntropicLqd: The idea has a certain appeal. You'd have to have the map built especially for it though - rather than driving it from a mutator. In terms of swapping meshes in and out of the map I'm not sure you could do that as static meshes form part of the BSP tree. You could create some decorations to do it though - and possibly re-skin existing static meshes dynamically. I do like the idea of having lights appear on a Christmas tree for a couple of weeks either side of Christmas.
ZxAnPhOrIaN: Cool aspect... One problem, you may have to make a special map for the mutator, and what if i don't want to play the map with the mutator, will it be playable?? Also, there could be a map that is like RocketArena like a haunted house in Halloween, a stable in Christmas, fireworks park on July 4th, etc. in one map. (thinks about a Map Ideas!)
Kirin: That's what I was thinking ... like Chaos maps could only be played with the Chaos mutator. However, unlike making it a requirement, if the mutator is not loaded, there could be a default texture in place which is the name of the texture prefix (eg. In the example I used above, the name of the texture would have to be "CDCover") ... of course, that could be up to the mapper if he/she wants to make the mutator a requirement for the map to run.
KungFu Hampster: FYI, I'm having a heck of a time figuring out a way to swap textures in realtime with the engine. Swapping them before the level loads should be fairly straightforeward (using the system clock and stuff). However, if you're looking to find a way to swap them during gameplay, there's a suprising lack of info out there on how ta do this...