A really useful engine


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#41 Gimli

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 03:31 PM

You may also want to check out Irrlicht (or is it Irllicht) and Nebula. I know next to nothing about those engines though.

#42 dteviot

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Posted 23 November 2009 - 07:29 PM

Greetings gents.   FWIW, I'm the guy who wrote most of the code for the XNA version of  Xenocide.  Veteran, I got your e-mail and  relied, but I never heard anything back, did you actually get it?

    Some quick comments.

    

View PostJman4117, on 23rd November 2009, 11:03am, said:

Quick questions: are the geoscape and battlescape going to be  seperate programs like in UFO or all in one? and if they are going to be  seperate, can the battlescape be made playable like a deathmatch game?
Well, for development testing and debugging there will need to be a way  to go straight to a preconfigured battlescape (and probably a way to specify  the configuration, probably via command line and config files.) Providing  access to this via the main menu shouldn't be a lot of work (maybe 20 to 40  hours for someone, depending on how slick an interface is required.)  That said, as I think development should  probably START with the battlescape, you might just get this anyway as part of  the project.

    

View PostThe Veteran, on 19th November 2009, 10:21pm, said:

So if there's anyone out there who knows about engines please feel  free to throw in your 2cents! Hopefully Andy will drop by at some point too as  our newest team member! Remember to check our forums often and give us your  feedback whenever you can spare it!
This site gives an evaluation of 3D engines.

    http://www.devmaster...5142a63be9b2c5c

    

View Postmichal, on 20th November 2009, 5:35am, said:

Hello,
  Could you answer those question first?
  1) What language do you want to use?
  2) Do you want to create open source software or closed source?
  3) What platform do you want support?
Absolutely correct.  These are almost the first questions you need  to ask.  However, they do impact on the  question of which framework/engine to choose.

    So, my thoughts on framework/engine.

  • You really need two engines, a good 3D one for the battlescape,  and another one for everything else.   (Everything else includes the "globe", ufopedia, base layout, shopping, equipping  soldiers, research, monthly stats etc.)   The globe screen you can roll yourself, it's not hard, but you will really want a framework that supports windows (both full screen and dialogs) and a selection of GUI controls.  Especially, you want table (or grid) layouts, list box (or better tree control) for Ufopedia and the ability to display large quantities of text.
  • Yes you can use an existing FPS 3D engine for the  battlescape.  (This is what UFO/AI did with the Quake2 engine.) However, if you want fully destructible terrain, the Quake and Unreal engines are not going to be satisfactory.  Cube2/Sauerbraten will do destructible, but I'm not yet sure how much work would be required to get it to do night missions/hide undiscovered terrain. (I suspect not that much.) (Having looked at the "Capture the Flag" mission "Core_Transfer", I think that would make a really cool battlescape.
  • The problem with using the Cube2 engine (or Quake) as your starting point is that while it would give you a big start on the battlescape engine, you'd have to write all the geoscape code from scratch.
  • That said, I'd pick Cube2 over Quake, as Cube2 is C++,  Quake is C.  C++ assuming you're using Boost, is a lot easier to program in than C (although it still requires considerable skill to do well.) If possible, I would use C# as the programming language, as it IS more productive than C++, at minimum 2 to 3 times as productive.
  • My recommended approach would be to use the C# programming language, use Axiom , RelmForge, ForgeRelm or one of the other C# ports of Ogre as your framework, and port octree/voxel engine/file importer from Cube2 as your battlescape rendering engine.  (I think that's about a dozen files.) Note, I'm  currently working on a port of this part of Cube2 to C# myself.
  • A second option, assuming you're going to be windows only. Use XNA as your main framework, use Silverlight as your GUI system, and port the Cube2  voxel engine.
  • A third possibility, Use the Ogre framework, port the  Cube2 engine to it  as another scene  type, and then build the game using Ogre.
  • To get a cube2 engine going as quickly as possible, use  the existing levels as battlescapes.   Then, at a later stage, have a level builder engine that creates Cube2 levels by putting together 10 x 10 x 4 and 20 x 20 x 4 blocks as the UFO:Enemy Unknown engine did. (The Cube2 developers might even be willing to help with that, assuming you got a POC working.)
Lastly, if you could send me a copy of your developers discussions,  I'd be happy to chip in with my advice.

#43 The Veteran

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 10:19 AM

Firstly Gimli thanks for the feedback, we were actually using Irrlicht to program in last time but dropped it when we lost our lead dev. A position which is still open by the way!!!

And DT I'm sorry I haven't got back to you but I certainly would have done if I got the message! Not sure what happened there but will check the email addy I gave you as that's what I use for a lot of project correspondence so would be good to give people the right one!!! Thanks for your post though and I'm reading it as I go so bear with me ;)

    

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Well, for development testing and debugging there will need to be a way  to go straight to a preconfigured battlescape. That said, as I think development should  probably START with the battlescape, you might just get this anyway as part of  the project.

I remember last time the project was approached our demo launched directly into a battlescape starting with the equip screen as in the originals but that's all old code now so not much good to us now! I see what you mean though for testing and debugging purposes. Regarding where to start I was thinking there may be quicker results if we started with the Geoscape and related programming than if we went from the battlescape initially. The reason for this is that after last time it became very apparent that the battlescape entails a LOT more work to polish into a goodlooking demo or even for the sake of screen-shots. I'm sure everyone would understand it was in early stages but I was of the impression that starting with the Geoscape and such could give us some nice screenshots in a much shorter timespan than the battlescape portion of the game. That said it all needs doing in time!

    

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This site gives an evaluation of 3D engines.

Thanks for the link will pass it on in our next discussion this afternoon!

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[*]You really need two engines, a good 3D one for the battlescape,  and another one for everything else.
  

Now while I can only comment so much on the ins and outs of languages and GUIs and such I know we discussed yesterday how the two portions of the game would relate so this is the sort of information I could really do with my devs having so they have a better idea of how the overall framework will go together and such. If you have any time to discuss any of this with us at some point I'd really appreciate any advice you can give to the team, my msn is linked in my profile here!

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[*]Yes you can use an existing FPS 3D engine for the  battlescape. However, if you want fully destructible terrain, the Quake and Unreal engines are not going to be satisfactory.


Thanks that answers one of my original questions! But yes we would be wanting destructible terrain so those first two wouldn't really fit the bill! Advice on those that will however is duly noted!

Just read ahead through all of your more engine specific advice and there's plenty of it so a big thankyou for all of that but I won't respond to each point individually! Instead I'll just say you've hit on a majority of what was discussed yesterday though the devs I was discussing this with were more fans of C++ than C# and the impression I got from them was that it would give us less than C++ not more but then that's just me not knowing code!!!
Also you mentioned both XNA and OGRE which have been discussed but didn't mention our front runner from yesterday's discussion which was the SOURCE engine from valve. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that one and how it compares to your other suggestions, most notably XNA and OGRE but CUBED 2 as well as you've given a lot of information about that engine.

Of course at the end of the day what will make the final decision for me as a leader will be the guys I have working on the code as I won't pick an engine that noone knows because it can do a better job of it in theory. So long as there are no significant compromises then I'd much rather stick with a code and engine that the devs we have are familiar with but I think all of those I just mentioned could probably be used based on team experience.

I have an msn chat log from yesterday's meeting which I'd be happy for you to go through if you'd like to but it's rather long and the timing was unfortunate in that I had to keep leaving but there was a lot of good discussion there. Further to the fact I never got your email I'd be interested to hear your current status on Xenocide as I recently downloaded the old demo client and was very impressed at the amount of features that were already in place at least to some extent! feel free to pm me here, email me at my yahoo account (also here I think) or add me to msn if you have the time but I'd love to hear more from you.

Thanks for taking the time to post here and I hope to speak with you soon!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#44 dteviot

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Posted 24 November 2009 - 07:24 PM

View PostThe Veteran, on 24th November 2009, 10:19pm, said:

We were actually using Irrlicht to program in last time but dropped it when we lost our lead dev. A position which is still open by the way!!!
I'll comment that Irrlicht and Orge are roughly equivelent, and C++ based. So if you're going to use C++, then there may be no need to discard the work that's already been done.

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Just read ahead through all of your more engine specific advice and there's plenty of it so a big thankyou for all of that but I won't respond to each point individually! Instead I'll just say you've hit on a majority of what was discussed yesterday though the devs I was discussing this with were more fans of C++ than C# and the impression I got from them was that it would give us less than C++ not more but then that's just me not knowing code!!!
Now I definitely want to see the transcript of the discussion, to see just why they think C++ is better.

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Also you mentioned both XNA and OGRE which have been discussed but didn't mention our front runner from yesterday's discussion which was the SOURCE engine from valve. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on that one and how it compares to your other suggestions, most notably XNA and OGRE but CUBED 2 as well as you've given a lot of information about that engine.
I'm not familiar with the SOURCE engine.  However, having a quick look at it (assuming it's the valve Source engine) it appears to be derived from the Quake engine.  And it's definitely BSP based, with a maps that require extensive compilation before they can be played (they boast of having a tool that can spread the compiling of a level across multiple PCs to speed up the compile!)  This suggests to me that fully destructible terrain is not going to be possible. Also, the set of GUI controls appears small, but might just be sufficient.

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I have an msn chat log from yesterday's meeting which I'd be happy for you to go through if you'd like
Yes please.

#45 The Veteran

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Posted 25 November 2009 - 10:41 AM

Hey dt I finally go your email last night and the projecltcol one I sent you is definitely working so not sure what happened there! Will send you the chat log today and respond to your other points in the email! Thansk again for all your feedback though, I'll catch up with you shortly!
Welcome back to the wonderful world of Fan-fiction! (it's short for fantastic!)
Go check em out, UFO TFTD and Apocalypse all under one roof!!!

Also why not check out XCom : Colonisation over in the special projects forum. Won't kill you if you do, might kill you if you don't!

#46 dteviot

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Posted 26 November 2009 - 06:50 PM

One other possibility that occurs to me, use the UFO:AI code as a starting point and modify it.
Some additional points.
  • This gives you the advantage of starting from a working engine, and if you're lucky, 90% of the grunt work has already been done for you.
  • A question is how close is UFO:AI to Colonization?  That is, what are the things in UFO:AI that you'd want to change? (You've probably listed them elsewhere on the forum, but I don't have time to hunt them down at the moment.)
  • Fully destructible terrain/environment.  While UFO:AI doesn't support this (or at least didn't last time I looked), a quick Google for "dynamic BSP" reveals there's been quite a bit of research into this topic. Therefore, it may well be possible to adapt the Quake 2 engine used in UFO:AI to support dynamic BSP.  (This would benefit both the UFO:AI, and Colonisation.)
  • Additionally, if the changes to UFO:AI to create colonisation are of the form of creating interfaces and plug-in points into the UFO:AI engine to change the behaviour, this would also benefit the UFO:AI project, as it would allow others to more easily modify it as well.
  • The biggest downside I see to using UFO:AI is that it's all C code, which requires a great deal of skill to code in well.


#47 michal

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Posted 11 December 2009 - 07:58 PM

Hello,

What's up? Any decision has been made? Any progress to report?

#48 BadgerBadger

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 07:11 AM

Greetings, Guv'na...

  Let me quickly introduce myself:
I'm just some random hooligan that happened to be browsing Abandonware - love me some Wizard's Crown and Knights of Legend (which i playtesteed a bit way back when at origins when it was still in Austin)...
...and came across some game called X-com Apocalypse (which is no longer abandonware, btw: relevent later)...
  As you can imagine; I was floored - how did i miss out on the X-series?

This led to me finding this site, and my current love; Aftershock ( any game that starts as Fallout Tactics and turns into X-com, had me from Hello).

In any case; unaware that anyone else knew or cared about such old games; and saddened that; other than graphically, games have gone backwards rather than progresing after  X-Com, I began scheming how to make a modern x-com - especially while playing 40K; thinking how X-com would play with that engine... (not possible but; oh so pretty a dream).
  I almost cried when i found out - and correct me if I'm wrong -
    HASBRO, for crying out loud, Hasbro? owns the rights the franchise?
Isn't that going to be an issue if it is indeed the case?

  SO, I just stumbled across your thread here; and you have me looking at OGRE's site now...

All I can say; is I'm delighted to hear others are interested in such a project, and I'd like to put myself at your disposal, for all that my talents are a bit limited at this point.

I am however going back to a college gaming program ( I had to drop out due to a personal tragedy I simply couldn't concentrate around); so i hope i might be increasingly useful.

Salutations.

#49 Zombie

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Posted 13 December 2009 - 09:33 PM

View PostBadgerBadger, on 13th December 2009, 1:11am, said:

I'm just some random hooligan that happened to be browsing Abandonware - love me some Wizard's Crown and Knights of Legend (which i playtesteed a bit way back when at origins when it was still in Austin)...
...and came across some game called X-com Apocalypse (which is no longer abandonware, btw: relevent later)...
  As you can imagine; I was floored - how did i miss out on the X-series?
X-COM was never abandonware. As long as the rights are owned and held by someone, the games are still under license and people can be prosecuted for up/downloading the games. While it's true that the right holders never did anything with the series or provided support for them, that still doesn't make the game abandoned. ;)

View PostBadgerBadger, on 13th December 2009, 1:11am, said:

In any case; unaware that anyone else knew or cared about such old games; and saddened that; other than graphically, games have gone backwards rather than progresing after  X-Com, I began scheming how to make a modern x-com - especially while playing 40K; thinking how X-com would play with that engine... (not possible but; oh so pretty a dream).
I've yet to play Warhammer, but I think if the game would be converted to run on the Silent Storm engine we'd have one amazing game. :)

View PostBadgerBadger, on 13th December 2009, 1:11am, said:

I almost cried when i found out - and correct me if I'm wrong -
    HASBRO, for crying out loud, Hasbro? owns the rights the franchise?
Isn't that going to be an issue if it is indeed the case?
Take-Two Interactive Software owns the rights these days. I doubt this poses any problems in the long term. I mean, just look at UFO Extraterrestrials (a commercially produced game). It's basically a X-COM rip-off and they haven't been shut down. In fact, they are currently producing the second game in the series. As long as the game doesn't use X-COM material directly it should be fine. :)

- Zombie

My X-COM Patch Kit For UFO Defense | Emergency XCOM Meeting spoof on YouTube




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A soldier's death is never in vain if it makes the formula more plain.
A few dozen make a better case for refining that third decimal place.
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#50 Grognard

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Posted 19 February 2012 - 04:30 AM

I've been using C4 for a similar game for over 4 years now and couldn't be happier. It's 350 bucks but it gives lifetime updates and has superb graphics.

Untity is not going to cut it for a game like X-Com because it has bad GUI system, can't draw in 2D directly, doesn't have full source code and a variety of other issues. The editor is nice and there's a free version but all pay versions are a bit expensive for hobbies.

Ogre is free but it's not even a game engine, just renderer. I looked at it a while but you'd have to know it so inside and out and make so many tools that I'd say just write your own game engine.

There's other stuff too and it's been a few years but for a complicated game like X-Com you wouldn't want to try most of them, or else they are very expensive or dn't give source code.

#51 Azrael Strife

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Posted 21 April 2012 - 12:48 AM

You just replied to an almost 3 year old post!
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