Original X-Wing engine rebuilt project

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Original X-Wing engine rebuilt project

azrapse
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Post by azrapse » Wed Jul 13, 2016 4:59 pm

Greetings, gentlemen.

I have been encouraged to share here the existence and progress of this little project that I started one and a half years ago in the GOG forums.
The original thread started asking around for the interest on developing a particular kind of mod to the original X-Wing.
The idea was not to replace the resource files (mission, ships, etc) as so many mods before have done, but to instead replace the executable itself with a rebuilt version made from scratch, by reengineering all the different systems and features based on plain observation of the game, technical references, contributions of many during the years about the different file formats, etc.

The main motivation of this was that it is practically harder to hack the official executable to allow for nowadays standard resolutions, hardware and game inputs, than is to remake it withing a modern framework that already supports all those features.

Also, while the rebuilding of X-Wing might sound unnecessary, especially when there is X-Wing 98, and countless ports and total conversions to later versions of the engine, or to other game engines, it is usually agreed that none of these ports and remakes feel totally right, because some signature features of the original X-Wing are "lost in translation", like the functional cockpits, the iMuse system, the cutscenes, the roster pilot management before missions, and many others.

Finally, it is developed as a mod, and not as an independent game or a remake. The main reason of this is to stay away from copyright or trademark infringements with the IP owners. The user, owning a license of the original game got from the original releases, from Steam, or from GOG, will just run an alternative executable that will make use of the original resources in the original game's directory.
Where the original resource files weren't appropriate, they would be replaced with community made content.
Of course, the project has zero intention to have any commercial aspirations.

The roadmap was kept simple, as the main goal of the project was to be feasible. Unlike the opinion of many, the X-Wing games aren't that simple in their mechanics. So instead of starting from the latest game in the series, and also the most complex XWA, the idea was to rebuild the X-Wing engine as well as possible without access to the source code, then possibly evolve it with the features added during the years to the series.

So the main stop in the roadmap was to get a "minimum viable product" that showcases the traditional X-Wing mechanics. That is, above anything else, the flight engine, a medium complex mission (parsed from the original mission files), and some 3D placeholders to represent the ships, weapons and cockpit instruments.
(Due to their enthusiasm, some clever members have totally found out the iMuse system, and it is totally implemented and complete in the current build, with nicely re-synthesized tracks. So that is a bonus on top of the initial idea of a "minimum viable product".) :)

The real long term goals are that the new engine parses the OPT files from the Win98 version of the game (or whatever the user decides to download, perhaps XWAU models) and uses them as 3D models. However, an on-the-fly OPT importer is a project itself in complexity, so instead we opted for handpicked placeholders and leave the OPT import module for later on.

What couldn't be reused from the game itself, we have temporarily proxied with "developer art". As you can see in the screenshot that opens this text, the cockpit was made by me (a programmer, not a 3D artist) and it shows. :/
Only for internal development builds, and I repeat, only for internal non public, not to be distributed builds, we went to use 4 XWAU models that pose as placeholders for the ships that are involved in our testbed mission, Y-Wing Historical Mission 6, Rescue Ackbar.
The reason of this was to test how well the Unity engine deals with higher polycount models, rather than the 2000s era models of the game.
We humbly feel that we haven't broken the terms of use from XWAU, as we have not manipulated them, made derived works of them, neither published or distributed them without permission (since the developer build is nowhere to be downloaded and they are just placeholders). In any case, the dev build has had, at all times, a big label crediting the origin of the models.
We have, however, some talented members working on making totally new models for this project (so far, of only the 4 ships involved in the testbed mission) in case the XWAU team considers that we have misused their work. In such case we deeply apologize and commit to remove them for all future releases.
These other models have the purpose to allow the game to load different possible model sets to the user's preference. While one user might like to have models as close to the flat untextures models of the original X-Wing; another user might want to have highly detailed, high polycount models for all ships; another could want to have the beloved XWAU models; and another could stick to the X-Wing 98 models. All of this with just the ease of a selection in the customization screen.
We couldn't feel more honored if the XWAU team would give us permission to implement such a feature in the future, where the game would download the files form the XWAU site and install them on the fly, hopefully keeping up to date with the latest versions.
If the XWAU team isn't happy about this idea, there is nothing else to say about it.


Much of the technical discussion can be found in the original GOG thread. Most of it has been documented on this online document, giving credit to the source of the information whenever it has been known.
The source code of the project is hosted in BitBucket for public reviewal, and will be open to external collaboration once the foundations of the flight engine are stable and the first tesbed mission is completed armed and operational to be played.

I am looking forward to reading the opinions of the members of this community about this project.
We are always welcoming suggestions, feedback, and concerns. And I couldn't think on a better place than this from where to get all of that.
Thanks for your time.

Azrapse,
Main developer of the XWVM project. :)
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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Fri Jul 15, 2016 9:16 am

Nice to have you here, Azrapse. :)

I've been following this promising project for quite some time now and even made some contributions myself.
As a matter of fact, this project inspired me to build the retro models in the first place. :)

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Post by Tony Knightcrawler » Thu Jul 21, 2016 4:36 am

I kept trying to remember to reply to this, but not having the time. And now I am late for bed, so I can't type much. :(

I can't speak for the XWAU authors, but I think you should ask them individually. It looks like a great project; I think remaking the original game and building out form there is a good way to go.

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Post by MajorParts » Fri Jul 22, 2016 7:04 pm

I had been meaning to get back to some proper modelling for some time and have offered to supply some models for this. So far, I have made some good progress on the Y-Wing. Here are some 3dmax renders (no textures & temporary textures) and a screen from within the Unity engine....
YWwipNoTex.jpg
YWwipTempTex.jpg
unitygamescreen1.jpg
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Post by Vince T » Sat Jul 23, 2016 10:46 pm

Those look pretty damn nice! I love the cockpit view reflecting the old 2D cockpit :)
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Post by azrapse » Wed Jul 27, 2016 6:31 am

Last night I recorded a bit of the debugging of the program. As usual, I am running Y-wing historical mission 6.
Many features are missing (sound effects, flying debris, torpedo launcher, throttle instrument, free look around, ship capture, capital ship guns, ...), and many that are there are just placeholders (models, explosions).
Also, please ignore the flickering shadows. It's something I have not yet paid attention to and will be fixed when the polish starts.

Video

Because I recorded directly from Unity's debug view, it would be better if you play the video fullscreen to even out the loss of screen realstate taken by the IDE.

I hope you like it.

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Post by Ender910 » Wed Aug 03, 2016 5:10 am

Very impressive, and I'm extremely happy to see someone actually taking up this kind of a task, it's been long overdue I think. I'll probably have to read through the thread you linked a bit more, but it looks like your team has got almost every major/desirable improvement on the project's objective list.

How well has the Unity Engine been working out so far? Well enough that the Unreal 4 engine wouldn't offer much of a useful benefit I imagine?

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Post by azrapse » Wed Aug 03, 2016 7:30 am

Ender910 wrote:Very impressive, and I'm extremely happy to see someone actually taking up this kind of a task, it's been long overdue I think. I'll probably have to read through the thread you linked a bit more, but it looks like your team has got almost every major/desirable improvement on the project's objective list.

How well has the Unity Engine been working out so far? Well enough that the Unreal 4 engine wouldn't offer much of a useful benefit I imagine?
Thanks.
One of the main goals of this project is to be completed.
Yes. I know it sounds ridiculous as a goal, but I have had my share of projects that have been too far fetched and ambitious to lead anywhere. This time we want to have a "minimum viable product" as soon as possible. Otherwise enthusiasm and energy start leaking everywhere, and projects get abandoned when that happens. Probably you have seen that happening elsewhere also.

As a consequence of that, I wanted to come out with a design of the original game that is implemented in whatever framework that allows for the highest productivity. Some in the team suggested to start developing a customized 3D engine, but that would take years to start with, and involve much more effort and maintenance, that takes time from developing the actual game. That increases the risk of abandoning the project, it is discarded for now.
Anyway, I still think the most remarkable "product" of this project is the Google Document that we are filling up with details about how the flight engine works and how the AI thinks, and all those details about the gameplay itself, the resources, the iMuse system, etc.
With that at hand, you can code something that mimics an X-Wing game in whatever framework you choose. Writing code is straight forward if you know what you want to do and how to do it.
Once the game prototype is completed and most game systems are firmly established and working, we can think on moving to a custom engine, or to another commercial engine. The game logic has been properly decoupled from the details of whatever game engine it runs on.

Why Unity for the prototype?
Well, the main reason is productivity. I have 14 years experience working with the .NET framework and C# for my daily work, in different projects and companies. Since Unity uses C# as scripting language, it felt natural to me to choose it so that I could go full speed on it from the beginning; and it integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio, the tool I have most expertise with.
Also, in the time I started with the project, UE development tools were slightly inferior to those available for Unity. In particular real-time debugging. Since one of the requirements was high productivity, Unity immediately scored high.
Soon after I started with this project, the free version of Unity unlocked all features available only to the Pro version, and they started precompiling all C# scripting code to C++ for extra portability and performance. So as time passed, I felt more and more comfortable with the decision.
Finally, this is supposed to be a mod for X-Wing. I am not sure how that would work with UE license. It's not one of my biggest concerns, though. But still.

EDIT: I forgot to mention the particularities of Unity against UE. Other than at development level, I don't care much for the individual extra features these engines have. X-Wing is a quite oldschool game, and a space game on top of that. So I am not using any of the fancy pathfinding systems, not skeleton animations, ...
Really just the simplest shaders for having the ships around, and the 3D interface for the cockpit panels is the most advanced features of Unity I get to use. Initially I used the nVidia physX system for the explosions and the collisions. But X-Wing doesn't just work well with those, so I am in the way to remove them, and will simulate them in a non-physics accurate way.

About the features, we are adding more every day. I am the only coder so far (I want to leave the codebase in good condition to have a strong foundationg, before opening it up for several people to work on it), but all suggestions, ideas, bugs and improvements posted in the forum are discussed, and added whenever they are feasible.
MajorParts has been building models for a more realistic look, while Fek'LeyrTarg is creating the DOS models look. Tarvis singlehandedly figured out the whole iMuse system from studying the patent documentation, while Laserschwert created synthesized digital audio files from the game iMuse tracks. Sekir_Delyn contributed a lot of knowledge about how the weapon systems work and other internal game units.
In general, lots of people have provided, and are providing, insight, knowledge and game pieces to make it possible. I am mainly putting it all together and building something that makes use of all of that.
All help is welcome. ;)

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Post by Ender910 » Fri Aug 05, 2016 1:21 am

azrapse wrote:Thanks.
One of the main goals of this project is to be completed.
Yes. I know it sounds ridiculous as a goal, but I have had my share of projects that have been too far fetched and ambitious to lead anywhere. This time we want to have a "minimum viable product" as soon as possible. Otherwise enthusiasm and energy start leaking everywhere, and projects get abandoned when that happens. Probably you have seen that happening elsewhere also.

As a consequence of that, I wanted to come out with a design of the original game that is implemented in whatever framework that allows for the highest productivity. Some in the team suggested to start developing a customized 3D engine, but that would take years to start with, and involve much more effort and maintenance, that takes time from developing the actual game. That increases the risk of abandoning the project, it is discarded for now.
Aye, I know where you're coming from. Both as an amateur modder and having had some history with working on a major modding team (Movie Battles II for Jedi Academy). The project scope you seem to be aiming for sounds like the perfect fit though. While yes, having a newer fancier overhaul or a complete "sequel" might be nice, what fans have really been wanting more than anything is to just be able to play something close to the original without the many issues that comes with trying to set up and run an older game on 20-ish-year old engine.
azrapse wrote:Finally, this is supposed to be a mod for X-Wing. I am not sure how that would work with UE license. It's not one of my biggest concerns, though. But still.
Aye, I think creating this as something of an installer, launcher, or utility as it were for anyone who already owns a copy of the basegames sounds like a safe approach. Obviously it would be nice if you could go further, but given the recent events with the indie Battlefront project, it sounds like EA's contract with Lucasfilm/Disney is a little too stringent for something that extensive right now.
azrapse wrote:Anyway, I still think the most remarkable "product" of this project is the Google Document that we are filling up with details about how the flight engine works and how the AI thinks, and all those details about the gameplay itself, the resources, the iMuse system, etc.
With that at hand, you can code something that mimics an X-Wing game in whatever framework you choose. Writing code is straight forward if you know what you want to do and how to do it.
Yeah I glanced through some of that. I was surprised at some of the findings listed. Some things like the limited number of AI actively targeting the player is something I'd noticed in the back of my mind, but I had no idea that there was a damage multiplier for weapon velocity. Kind of curious though, are some of those details listed in that document only specific to certain titles in the series?
azrapse wrote:Why Unity for the prototype?
Well, the main reason is productivity. I have 14 years experience working with the .NET framework and C# for my daily work, in different projects and companies. Since Unity uses C# as scripting language, it felt natural to me to choose it so that I could go full speed on it from the beginning; and it integrates seamlessly with Visual Studio, the tool I have most expertise with.
Also, in the time I started with the project, UE development tools were slightly inferior to those available for Unity. In particular real-time debugging. Since one of the requirements was high productivity, Unity immediately scored high.
Soon after I started with this project, the free version of Unity unlocked all features available only to the Pro version, and they started precompiling all C# scripting code to C++ for extra portability and performance. So as time passed, I felt more and more comfortable with the decision.
EDIT: I forgot to mention the particularities of Unity against UE. Other than at development level, I don't care much for the individual extra features these engines have. X-Wing is a quite oldschool game, and a space game on top of that. So I am not using any of the fancy pathfinding systems, not skeleton animations, ...
Really just the simplest shaders for having the ships around, and the 3D interface for the cockpit panels is the most advanced features of Unity I get to use. Initially I used the nVidia physX system for the explosions and the collisions. But X-Wing doesn't just work well with those, so I am in the way to remove them, and will simulate them in a non-physics accurate way.
That makes perfect sense. I think quite a few other Unity games/projects ended up in the same boat for similar reasons. I'll admit I too find the Unity engine a little easier to work with as well, at least for modding, as I've not really dabbled much with programming or actual game development. I probably would've asked the same question if the project was on the Unreal 4 engine, since I'm genuinely curious how easy the transition's been from the X-Wing engine, plus I know that the Unity engine sometimes has a few weird quirks and wasn't sure if you'd have likely run into those or not (such as how Unity handles FOV).
azrapse wrote:About the features, we are adding more every day. I am the only coder so far (I want to leave the codebase in good condition to have a strong foundationg, before opening it up for several people to work on it), but all suggestions, ideas, bugs and improvements posted in the forum are discussed, and added whenever they are feasible.
MajorParts has been building models for a more realistic look, while Fek'LeyrTarg is creating the DOS models look. Tarvis singlehandedly figured out the whole iMuse system from studying the patent documentation, while Laserschwert created synthesized digital audio files from the game iMuse tracks. Sekir_Delyn contributed a lot of knowledge about how the weapon systems work and other internal game units.
In general, lots of people have provided, and are providing, insight, knowledge and game pieces to make it possible. I am mainly putting it all together and building something that makes use of all of that.
All help is welcome. ;)
I'll have to hop on over there and see if there's anything I can contribute. I'd be especially eager to see more modding options than the original engine supports (particularly if some modding options were more available via XML or LUA or other less internalized modding options). One of the things I particularly loved in the X-Wing series was just how challenging the mission design was, so I think it would be fun to see how the difficulty might be racked up a little more, or expanding on some of the already existing mechanics (such as XWA's region/hyperjump system).

I'm assuming you're planning on trying to set up support for missions/campaigns in the other games in the series as well? And are you planning on having the engine import them or are you/the community going to have to redo the missions from scratch?
(Edit: I actually felt a little guilty about not checking the GOG thread before asking this, and I can see it's a rather loaded question, and... you're still working on how to tackle it. After this post I'll focus redirect any dialogue onto that thread.)

Also, thanks again, and thanks for the surprisingly speedy and thorough response. Learning about this whole thing has just made me absolutely ecstatic. I only hope my friends will be as eager to play this in coop as I am. :)

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Post by azrapse » Fri Aug 05, 2016 5:58 am

Ender910 wrote:I'd be especially eager to see more modding options than the original engine supports (particularly if some modding options were more available via XML or LUA or other less internalized modding options). One of the things I particularly loved in the X-Wing series was just how challenging the mission design was, so I think it would be fun to see how the difficulty might be racked up a little more, like by making it so more AI could focus on a single target, and other kinds of things along those lines.

I'm assuming you're planning on trying to set up support for missions/campaigns in the other games in the series as well? And are you planning on having the engine import them or are you/the community going to have to redo the missions from scratch? (Beyond that I can't think of any other questions I had that haven't already been answered here or in the thread)
Well, the project focuses, right now, on remaking the original X-Wing engine. Later games' missions and campaigns are not compatible with that engine because later games introduced new features and behaviors that weren't in the original.
If the project was to be finished, and then extended with TIE Fighter, XvT and XWA features (that is a long long term goal), then of course original and custom campaigns made for those games would be usable.
The program imports the original Tours of Duty and missions from the game files, so if you have a collection of custom missions made back in the 90s, there is an almost 100% chance that they will work.

Adding campaigns to the original games was a pain because these games weren't really mod friendly (even when expertise has given us enough knowledge to learn how to mod these games in the past 20 years), and they involved replacing other missions or hacking some binary file somewhere.
Instead of that, new custom missions and campaigns will be supported in some kind of human-readable data file. If not XML, perhaps JSON or something else.
This being a project that basically will grow in scope by design, extensibility is something taken into account during its development, as much as possible.
There will not be a fixed amount of ships in the game, and they will not be identified by a number save for when importing from an original mission file. Instead, ships will have an unique string identifier that will be referenced in the new custom mission files. This will allow for adding extra ships without having to replace older ships first. No need of hacks like that anymore.
The same will happen with basically everything else. Orders, colors, statuses, formations, etc (In 2016 there is no point on saving 10 bytes of RAM by storing an order as a bye instead of as a text, when a the high resolution target reticule is several hundred kilobytes).
Custom mission files will have an requirement list section stating which other mods they need in order to work. That will allow us to implement a dependency system that will make it transparent for the user the installation of custom campaigns that make use of custom ships or assets.

About the AI, recently we found out how "dumb" AI needs to be so that the gameplay remains close to that of the original X-Wing. For example, AI starfighters aren't supposed to aim at the target lead, even when that functionality I had programmed already. Aiming at the target lead makes them exceptionally competent, and totally breaks the original missions' balance.
Target lead aiming was added in XvT, though. So I am going to have several "environmental" settings for different aspects of the game. One of them will be that when playing an original X-Wing mission, by default the AI disables some features, unless the mission is played in a custom difficulty mode, where the player can choose and enable some things that didn't exist back in X-Wing, like the previously mentioned AI target lead, but also other features like non-lethal ship collisions, Shift-R reinforcements (A-Wings perhaps), weapon convergence and multi-linked weapons, BTL-S3 Y-Wings instead of BTL-A4 Y-Wings...

I am not sure if I have answered your questions.

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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Fri Aug 05, 2016 8:21 am

Hmmm.... I don't recall hacking the binaries in order to add custom missions.
X-Wing does have the issue that you have to replace the original missions in order to use custom ones or use XCDR if you use the CD-ROM Edition.
In TIE Fighter, you can add custom missions and up to 7 custom battles (there's space for 20 battles) without replacing anything.
X-Wing vs TIE Fighter is probably the most flexible games regarding custom missions since you can simply add new lists with missions.
In X-Wing Alliance, you can add custom missions and battles without replacing anything, but it isn't as flexible as XvT.

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Post by Ender910 » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:06 am

azrapse wrote:I am not sure if I have answered your questions.
Mostly yes. I was probably being a little obtuse with how I worded it, but I was kind of trying to get a better idea of the planned campaign/game "conversion" (With regards to X-wing, Tie Fighter, XWvsTIE, XWA, etc) and also what level of "tweakability" you were aiming for, which you more or less answered.

I also skimmed the GOG thread more thoroughly so I also see what you guys are trying to tackle (such as attempting to get the AI as close to native X-Wing behavior as possible). Without knowing the differences between X-Wing and Tie Fighter, there's probably not much technical information I'll be able to add seeing as how Tie Fighter Collector's CD is the earliest in the series I really spent much time on :P

Definitely going to hover around on the GOG forums and offer input or feedback when applicable. And while you didn't mention it here I did notice people on the GOG thread were wondering why there was a severe lack of response here. Besides how infrequently these forums see regular activity, I dunno. I guess the regulars kind of went a little inactive again after some of the excitement over the Directx wrapper from 3-5 years ago and the GOG release from last year. One thing to note however is this thread has received 500 views, so at least a few people are paying attention to this thread. ;)

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Post by MajorParts » Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:30 pm

70%-ish completed Shuttle with 2 99% complete TIEs...
2tieshuttle.jpg
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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Fri Aug 26, 2016 11:26 am

Yesterday I drew two sketches of how the briefing room could look like.
The DOS-version looks quite claustrophobic and the Windows-version too blue and its map feels tagged on.

So I came up with these, borrowing elements from X-Wing DOS, X-Wing Windows and X-Wing Alliance.
I think the color scheme of either X-Wing DOS or X-Wing Alliance would fit nicely since the interiors of X-Wing Windows look too oppressing.

Keep in mind that these are rough ideas, so the elements aren't really scaled correctly.

https://abload.de/img/briefingconceptbirdvi8oov9.jpg

https://abload.de/img/briefingconceptfirstpbioq2.jpg

(Recently I've also brought up the idea of handling interiors und cutscenes like in "Wing Commander: Flat Universe", another Unity based game)

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Post by Marcos_Edson » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:23 am

Looks a good concept. :)
And while at that, I never heard of WC: Flat Universe before, downloaded and played it a bit before leaving for work, the "cutscenes" of the fighter departing for training has a great X-Wing feel... :D
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Post by K-j » Sat Aug 27, 2016 12:54 pm

These games are so great and definitely deserve a modern treatment. I think what you have done so far is absolutely amazing! I'm so glad someone is actually doing this.

Your sketches for the briefing room are feasible, though claustrophobic conditions are not uncommon, one must make use of what is available (cramped room in Yavin IV base in ANH, compared to spacious Calamrai Cruisser briefing in ROTJ). It could depend on how much of the story you want to get into, and what ship/base the player is based at the time.

I also saw you questioned whether General Dodonna or Admiral Ackbar were actually at the briefing rooms in person in the original game, or holograms. It never occurred to me otherwise, they're physically there. As in STAR WARS holograms were always blue tinted, scan lined and flickered occasionally.

As you're smartly sticking to needing the original game executable and modding, although I can understand your caution, you may still want to consider either using or at least learning and working from the new Battlefront assets, as well as SW Kinect and Galaxies models (which still has the best SD). Others have already ripped and shared models, and converted them to other games (older Battlefronts, Gary's Mod etc). If you still don't want to use them directly as others have, fans have reverse engineered and made all sorts over the years without any legal hassles. I'm sure there are talented people who given the assets and the opportunity would gladly help make this look the absolute best it can right now.

http://i.imgur.com/StR0uiP.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/5Gkol3f.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/V5EQa6H.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/LOEEj4a.jpg

My only discrepancies at the moment is your addition of that large screen on the right of the cockpit just to display the game commentary, which used to be displayed 'off screen.' Modern first person shooters and multiplayer games still have such game commentary without having an inbuilt screen to display the game commentary in universe. Plus maybe the targeted craft icon could be smaller or thinner in some way, less obtrusive? (Though I do like the design).

Overall this is incredible.

There is someone else who is doing something similar with TIE Fighter in the Unreal Engine 4 game engine. But sadly they've decided not to make it STAR WARS and redesign the ships and stuff, which makes it a lot less appealing. The dynamic lighting in cockpit and everything is great:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdplWltkwXU

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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Sat Aug 27, 2016 3:10 pm

Good point about the claustrophobic briefing room. CountBuggula of the "Fate of the Galaxy" team has brought it up as well by showing photos of the USS Midway's briefing room.

So I've made something differently: Using the DOS-version's briefing room, tweaking and expanding it.
Once change is the lectern. Another one is the added back part with pilot seats.
https://abload.de/img/briefingconcept2birdvkjs2y.jpg

Also, the UE4 game based on TIE Fighter looks very promising.
(Maybe a Star Wars-mod could be made for it once released) :)

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Post by Bman » Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:26 am

Looks great, but I'm not too confident about people using 3rd party engines that use L.A./Disney's I.P. or similarities to it's I.P.
Modding existing games to prolong it's life cycle is one thing, since it falls under their licensing jurisdiction, but using another game engine cannibalizing works of Star Wars I.P. is close to pushing the envelope. That video of "Star Force" that K-J posted for example, is most likely using L.A.'s sound effects, and it's not their game engine. Models looks very cool though.

On a positive note regarding that YT video, I've recently achieved a breakthrough in creating enhanced turbolasers very similar in appearance, but for the "XWA" game engine (plus new ones) and submitted it to XWAUPG team. Not sure the status of this project or if it's being reworked etc. (Please don't bother asking them... if it comes to fruition they will post it). It's the standard 8-bit color format, but 32-bit is possible too using Jermey's patches minus the light maps issue. Also, I'm thinking those realistic engine glows seen on freighters in that video might be possible too with XWA engine. But again, washed down to 8-bit format. :-) Haven't looked into that part yet.
W-I-P: ISD-II, (Imp) Escort Carrier, NL-1 Platform, Misc, & TFTC.

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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:01 am

@Bman:
That's probably the most important reason why XWVM requires the original game (no matter which version) to be installed, just like TFTC needs either the DOS- or the Windows-CD of TIE Fighter in order to be installed.
But I understand your concern.

Also, I'm looking forward to see those turbolasers in action. :)

@MajorParts:
Have you considered rigging your great Lambda Shuttle's wings to fold when it approaches a hangar, like in XWA?
(I've done so on my retro one)

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Post by MajorParts » Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:43 am

With Unity Mecanim, it doesn't need rigging, but yes, the pivot points are set so they will animate properly.

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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 11:24 am

Cool, I haven't known that. I gave my models bones for this. :)

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Post by K-j » Sun Aug 28, 2016 12:28 pm

Yes the author of that impressive TIE Fighter like game in the Unreal 4 engine has said that some properties of LucasFilm are used, but he does state things are just place holders and the final game will not be STAR WARS.

It's a shame though, as Disney have released a legal statement that they're allowing STAR WARS fans the continued freedom of using their IP properties for non commercial fan projects, as long as they acknowledge the copyright holders own it and are free to do with it as they wish. As long as you're not claiming copyright for anything they own, and are not charging for it, you're legally good to go.

Just don't go full out bragging about it without having anything near finished, releasing an official press statement saying it will be available free from Valve through Steam and have a game in direct competition with something EA and DICE are making, or it will get shut down before anything has actually happened.

I like the new briefing room sketch, and how it could be adaptable. The inclusion of other pilots there will certainly add to the atmosphere and immersion (obviously not if it's a solo mission, perhaps just have other officer(s)/attendee(s) at the edge of the room or whatever).

I wondered to myself if anyone remade it, whether the player should walk in between locations fully, or partially like just out of that room and end up where you wanted to go much like the original game's point and click (a good timely compromise), or is it all too much for a flight based game?

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Post by Fek'LeyrTarg » Sun Aug 28, 2016 6:57 pm

When I drew the first concept, I also had the idea of having registered pilots sitting randomly in the briefing room.

Regarding walking between rooms, I'd spontaneously say that your second idea would work best.
"WC: Flat Universe" does something similar.

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Post by azrapse » Mon Aug 29, 2016 8:12 am

K-j wrote:Yes the author of that impressive TIE Fighter like game in the Unreal 4 engine has said that some properties of LucasFilm are used, but he does state things are just place holders and the final game will not be STAR WARS.

It's a shame though, as Disney have released a legal statement that they're allowing STAR WARS fans the continued freedom of using their IP properties for non commercial fan projects, as long as they acknowledge the copyright holders own it and are free to do with it as they wish. As long as you're not claiming copyright for anything they own, and are not charging for it, you're legally good to go.

Just don't go full out bragging about it without having anything near finished, releasing an official press statement saying it will be available free from Valve through Steam and have a game in direct competition with something EA and DICE are making, or it will get shut down before anything has actually happened.

I like the new briefing room sketch, and how it could be adaptable. The inclusion of other pilots there will certainly add to the atmosphere and immersion (obviously not if it's a solo mission, perhaps just have other officer(s)/attendee(s) at the edge of the room or whatever).

I wondered to myself if anyone remade it, whether the player should walk in between locations fully, or partially like just out of that room and end up where you wanted to go much like the original game's point and click (a good timely compromise), or is it all too much for a flight based game?
XWVM will never be an independent game, but a mod to an original installation of the game (DOS or Windows). You will be able to play it if you have a copy of your X-Wing installation media, or you bought it digitally from Steam or GOG.
We will not rip any copyrighted content, but use it directly from the original resource files. Where the original resource files are considered outdated (graphics, models, music) new original media files will be created by the team from scratch and be used as replacements.
I don't feel comfortable with the idea of ripping models, sounds and any other media from copyrighted games. Not even in the X-Wing series. We don't have permission to do that. We have informal permission to create original content that uses Disney's IPs (as long as we don't use it commercially), but not to copy or alter their copyrighted assets. I will not take any risk in this sense.


Regarding the transitioning between game locations, I think the original design will work best, perhaps with some panning or quick camera animation to move between rooms. Even when the WC:FU 3D environments look cool and immersive, I think after a while the player will feel tired of having to rotate around looking for the hotspot piece of furniture that takes him or her to the next room or option.
A little bit like what happened in the Myst game when they made locations fully 3D. At the beginning it was cool to smoothly move between locations, but after 5 minutes, everyone disabled the transitions because they were tiresome.

I think the locations in XWVM should replicate the "stage" look of those in the original game. The player watches the location thru the 4th wall, and interacts with the elements in a single "screen", rather than having to pan or rotate around looking for interactable elements in the scene. I am totally cool with the idea of refurbishing these locations to give them different shape or contents, but we should keep it simple in order to streamline the user experience.

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Post by K-j » Mon Aug 29, 2016 11:27 am

I figured you'd be taking that cautious step of not including ripped models, and understandably.

But there's no harm in learning from and rebuilding those models, keeping proof that a rebuild was done and it's not just a rip or a clone. They did issue a formal legal statement about free non commercial use in general, though with a project this size I think you'd be right not to directly re-use a commercial game's assets (though others are, on a more individual basis). For example, X-Wing cockpit interior from Battlefront (2015), could be downloaded, examined for accuracy, rebuilt as a fresh model from scratch, incorporating changes for the instrument indications to work like or similar to the old games, with new textures to boot. Distributing an accurate but practical fan scratch made rebuild would be perfectly legal.

http://i.imgur.com/NkH9IG8.jpg

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