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Beta Update and Christmas Bonus December 22, 2010

Posted by luciusdxl in Uncategorized.
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Beta Update

I’m currently working on finishing the sound system as I’ve stated last update. This means fixing the iMuse playback issues (hung notes, volume, speed), properly supporting switching tracks and transitions, fixing the sound attenuation to match Dark Forces better and adding proper volume controls to the configuration menu. Next up is fixing any remaining progression or level interaction bugs, including making the ending work properly. After that I will work on tweaking and finishing the AI. Finally I’ll go through a final polish and optimization pass for the Beta – fixing the occasional VUE issue, making sure music plays in cutscenes, a better way a setting the Dark Forces data plus better validation before the program even starts and more.

I’m planning on releasing the DarkXL Beta around New Years, so not a very long wait remaining.

Christmas Bonus

You may have read that I plan on adding DarkXL support for Outlaws and a mysterious “third game.” On the side I’ve been working on loading the different file formats for these games in the DarkXL editor in preparation for the work I’d be doing after the Beta is released. Below you will see screenshots of levels rendering both games in the DarkXL editor, please note that they are very early and represent only a few hours of work. But I can actually run around the levels in the DarkXL editor and expect to get real interaction and functionality soon after the Beta. The plan is to work on these games pretty much simultaneously rather than one and then the other. So without further ado:

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*This is the “official” DarkXL support announcement for the following games*

Images are thumbnails, click on them for a larger view. Images are taken from within the in-engine DarkXL editor, which is why there is no game UI and a small toolbar at the bottom of the screenshots. Also the top 3 screenshots of each set are taken with texture filtering disabled, the bottom 3 with filtering enabled. This is done so it is clear that texture filtering is optional, since it seems to be a controversial and important issue to some players.

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Outlaws

A first-person shooter released by LucasArts in 1997 using an enhanced version of the “Jedi (engine)” – the same engine as Dark Forces. It is one of the very few FPS games with a Wild West setting. CG animation sequences, with special filters to look hand drawn, play between each mission and set up the action in the next area. It’s the first video game to feature sniper zoom. Source: Wikipedia Article

This is a natural extension of DarkXL since it basically means expanding the engine to support features that I wanted to support anyway. One key new element is multiplayer, which will be added to Dark Forces as well. This game becomes more and more difficult to run with every version of Windows and is a game that really deserves to be preserved and enhanced.

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Blood

A first-person shooter game developed by 3D Realms and Monolith Productions and distributed by GT Interactive. Released on May 31, 1997, it utilized an enhanced version of the Build engine from Ken Silverman which featured the addition of voxels. A first-person shooter in the spirit of schlock horror/slasher flicks, the gameplay of Blood is witnessed through the eyes of the player controlled character and consists of fighting with all the means available, firearms or magical weapons, the different enemies which populate the levels of the game. Source: Wikipedia Article

The Blood community has long yearned for a good port which has been made difficult due to the lack of a source code release. The enhanced Build engine uses features that are already required by Outlaws or were already planned – such as hardware accelerated voxel objects (which will be supported in the upcoming Beta release) – and supports gameplay mechanics similar to those already supported by DarkXL. With the lack of source code, the desire for a good port, the game’s excellent atmosphere and gameplay and the similar engine – this game is a natural fit for the DarkXL project.

Merry Christmas!

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Comments»

1. Adamant Consternation - December 24, 2010

Support for Blood? Oh snap! Your a freakin’ saint!

Also will we see options for brightness/contrast/gamma come beta?

2. StingingVelvet - December 24, 2010

You are my God.

3. Christmouse - December 24, 2010

not a god, but definitely deserving of some virtual egg nog at least… cheers!

4. Nomad - December 25, 2010

This is amazing news. I’m very excited.

Lennas - December 25, 2010

YES! My dreams have come true!
Thank you LuciusDXL Clause! You’re the best!

5. Daedolon - December 25, 2010

I just want to check — are you saying that Outlaws runs on the BUILD engine or did I just read you wrong?

Recreating Blood is no easy task since it hides more than meets the eye. Everything in the gameplay is affected by very precise physics code, there is a lot of interactions between everything in the targeting code and most of everything is very hard to recreate in detail.

Still, you have chosen two such great games that have not received the love they they deserve for so long.

Good luck and Bloody christmas!

luciusdxl - December 25, 2010

No it clearly says the Jedi Engine in the description – the same engine as Dark Forces.

Otherwise thanks for the comments.

6. Ravo - December 25, 2010

Sweet! Outlaws! I’ll always wanted to finish that game, I only played the demo.

Dark forces is the biggest treat for me still though. You’ve gotta be one of the few editors that sticks to his dates 🙂

7. Harisson - December 25, 2010

I love you 😀 . Blood is my best old fps game 🙂

8. Alec - December 25, 2010

Thank you for the update. I can’t wait to play Dark Forces and Outlaws with friends in a cooperative/multiplayer mode! Merry Christmas and thanks again.

9. anonymous - December 25, 2010

What’s interesting is that Outlaws had multiplayer and then 3d accelerator support and finally XP and modern acceleration support added to it with official patches. still, the possibilities are endless…

luciusdxl - December 25, 2010

Unfortunately the accelerator support is glitchy, compatibility gets worse with every new version of Windows among other issues.

10. Anon - December 26, 2010

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE BLOOD SUPPORT

11. ann oni mousse - December 26, 2010

@luciusdxl

You can find an alpha version of Blood from january
1996 online.It contains build tools, a lot of map 500kb of the game source and the setup source.

luciusdxl - December 26, 2010

Thanks for the information.

SwissCM - December 26, 2010

It’s pretty useless. The game code has almost nothing in common with the final build since it went through a total rewrite.

12. SwissCM - December 26, 2010

Are you sure you could pull off a Blood port without using Build as a base? Build has a rather large number of quirks and unique features that a lot of maps, both official and unofficial rely on.

Does your engine support two sectors occupying the same space? Does it support the free movement of any vertex in a map? Can you create one-way walls? How are you planning to handle corrupted maps? Build is a bit of a clusterfuck really, but in order to make a source port of build, those clusterfucky aspects have to be implemented properly.

luciusdxl - December 26, 2010

*Does your engine support two sectors occupying the same space?
-Yes. The implementation required for Dark Forces and Outlaws is even more robust then Build’s.
*Can you create one-way walls?
-Yes.

But simply put, I’m converting the Blood/Build structures to DarkXL structures on load and have made no changes to the engine yet – and I can load every single Blood map that comes with the game and they almost work. Yes some additions will have to be made to the engine, such as the Build style flat oriented sprites, but I expected that.

13. SwissCM - December 26, 2010

I probably should have been more clear about what I said about one way walls. Essentially 3 sectors or more can share the same wall and movement through the wall is generally one way. If you want I can put together a map showing some build quirks and upload it somewhere (it’ll be based duke3d).

luciusdxl - December 26, 2010

Sure, that could be helpful – thanks. 🙂

SwissCM - December 26, 2010

http://swisscm.duke4.net/quirk.zip

It’s pretty basic, showing 2 ways one can exploit corrupted open walls and a sloped surface extending into a sky texture. Note that even Polymer, the modern 3D renderer for eduke32 doesn’t implement a lot of build’s quirks and bugs correctly. Use software mode.

One may question why it is necessary to support corrupted maps, the answer is that even some of the official Duke3D maps are technically corrupt. Not too sure about blood, but there are certainly some corrupt user maps out there.

luciusdxl - December 26, 2010

I understand. Obviously the initial goal is to get the vanilla Blood maps fully working, including any multi-player levels. Then to get the expansions working (assuming they don’t work “out of the box”) and finally to handle the user mod content.

This means, that for the time being, I’ll be worrying about those Build features and quirks that are needed for Blood functionality but will later be expanding to include features that user maps may have.

The vanilla level support doesn’t look that bad, as far as new features and “quirks”, which is my first goal. But nevertheless, thanks for the example – I’m sure it’ll be handy down the road. 🙂

14. Klasodeth - December 26, 2010

@SwissCM

Keep in mind that Lucius has made an engine that supports Dark Forces without having access to any source code at all. Every single feature that DarkXL supports is a feature he had to implement himself. And the same applies to DaggerXL. While DaggerXL is far from complete, it is already capable of rendering Daggerfall dungeons and cities. Lucius seems to specialize in games that don’t have the source-code shortcut. Considering his accomplishments so far regarding DarkXL and DaggerXL, I have no doubt whatsoever that Lucius is equally capable of properly supporting Blood. He’ll just do what he’s been doing the whole time: Identify what the engine needs to be able to do, and code the necessary functionality.

15. Zarkiel - December 28, 2010

Lucius! You are the code GOD for all FPS oldfags out there! If you manage to bring any of theese 3 games to a 100% working state, ill start a cult that will worship you!

All hail The One That is Bringing Back the Old Happiness!

16. Sam - February 9, 2011

Blood had some complex but awesome multiplayer. If you can recreate that, then you are forever a god.

17. Robert - March 14, 2011

This is a dream come true. I can’t wait till DarkXL is released in Beta. I’ll be able to play my Dark Forces game the way it was meant to be played!

Thank you so much!

18. WARSORE - April 12, 2011

Thanks 4 this!!


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