Engine development

The aim of my project is to learn about programming. I have chosen to recreate my favourite game, Escape Velocity, by designing and building a game engine in Unity(http://unity3d.com/) and using assets from the original games(creating replicas where necessary).

I'm currently:
- fixing the converted, original EVO models(can any 3D modellers help me, please?)
- getting as many 'sprites' on screen as possible.

I'd like to hear suggestions on how to modernise the engine as well. I would like in game scripting and possibly editing as well.

Thanks

This post has been edited by nil0bject : 24 October 2012 - 08:08 AM

This is roughly 2500 ships(credits to the naev development and graphic team) flying in a single direction at random rotations. My machine does not lag, although the video is low quality and it appears to be jerky.(mute the sound, just my microphone).

Recreated the original video at 720p

This post has been edited by nil0bject : 24 October 2012 - 08:14 AM

Importing EVO into Unity
1. Use Carrara 8 to open infini-d files
2. Export to 3DS (tell me if you'd like the 3DS files)
3. Import to Unity

Result:
Initial EVO model import 1080p

Any suggestions are welcome. I tried to show most of the ships.

Know Issues:
- Some objects are not 'closed' and appear like their is a hole in them. ie UE Cruiser, UE Cruiser 2, turncoat and helian fins
- Some textures completely missing(white/pink texture)
- Models are not pointing forward, hence they move sideways. Only exception is the UE Cruiser 2

Camera/Perspective:
All models remain on a 2D plane. This is because I cannot play Descent, EVE, most flight sims etc. Also, I wish to stay as true to the original game play as possible, but modifying the visuals.

I have a few choices for the players camera.
1. World of Warcraft style. Look anywhere. Change character direction with mouse drag.
2. Minecraft style. Fixed at a certain angle in either first or third person.
3. EV style. Orthographic, top down.

This post has been edited by nil0bject : 24 October 2012 - 08:54 AM

@nil0bject, on 24 October 2012 - 08:19 AM, said in Engine development:

Know Issues:
- Some objects are not 'closed' and appear like their is a hole in them. ie UE Cruiser, UE Cruiser 2, turncoat and helian fins

This might be a backwards-face issue. 3d faces have a front and a back, and some rendering engines can't use the back face. Flipping the faces on the actual 3d model would fix this.

@nil0bject, on 24 October 2012 - 08:19 AM, said in Engine development:

Camera/Perspective:
All models remain on a 2D plane. This is because I cannot play Descent, EVE, most flight sims etc.

May I ask why you can't play Descent/eve/etc? Is it a hardware issue or ...?

@meaker-vi, on 24 October 2012 - 10:14 AM, said in Engine development:

May I ask why you can't play Descent/eve/etc? Is it a hardware issue or ...?

It seems like just a distaste for flight in three dimensions. EV's been based in two dimensions all this time, so it's the preference for a lot of people.

Seems like a cool project, with EV's great background with modding, it should be a good exercise in coding. Just trying to implement the various resource types (misn, outf, syst, dude, etc) would have your work cut out for you. Imagine if you could make it so that the engine could parse some of the less physical resources, straight from the original files. Just plug-n-play EVO's galaxy and mission strings!

@meaker-vi, on 24 October 2012 - 10:14 AM, said in Engine development:

This might be a backwards-face issue. 3d faces have a front and a back, and some rendering engines can't use the back face. Flipping the faces on the actual 3d model would fix this.

Ah ok. I will try that out. Sounds right, because carrara will render the models correctly.

@meaker-vi, on 24 October 2012 - 10:14 AM, said in Engine development:

May I ask why you can't play Descent/eve/etc? Is it a hardware issue or ...?

@terin, on 24 October 2012 - 10:41 AM, said in Engine development:

It seems like just a distaste for flight in three dimensions. EV's been based in two dimensions all this time, so it's the preference for a lot of people.

Yep, Terin hit the nail. I'm even having trouble flying the camera around the ships on a 2D plane. Joysticks help, but they are so antiquated(not a real excuse :)).

@terin, on 24 October 2012 - 10:41 AM, said in Engine development:

Seems like a cool project, with EV's great background with modding, it should be a good exercise in coding. Just trying to implement the various resource types (misn, outf, syst, dude, etc) would have your work cut out for you. Imagine if you could make it so that the engine could parse some of the less physical resources, straight from the original files. Just plug-n-play EVO's galaxy and mission strings!

That would be interesting, but I would have to code a separate utility, outside of unity, to export the original data to a new format. The complexity of the resource and data forks would not be fun to code in javascript.

Descent is impossible to play correctly without a joystick or a gamepad with at least 3 control surfaces. A pretty bad example of a 3D FPS if you ask me, Descent is less of a game and more of a proof of concept. Playing Descent is more of an artform than actual play, considering all the crazy stuff you can pull if you have 100% mastery of all 6 degrees of freedom.

Hope you can make something cool! If it turns out cool, I'd love to play 🙂

I think it'd be cool to play as well, but are you allowed to use EVO graphics in your own game? ( I don't know )

I just want to make clear that this is more of an exercise in programming and less of a game.
If you don't know what this means, that's ok, just lower your expectations.

Can I use the EVO graphics? Yes. The files are publicly available.

@nil0bject, on 24 October 2012 - 01:41 PM, said in Engine development:

Yep, Terin hit the nail. I'm even having trouble flying the camera around the ships on a 2D plane. Joysticks help, but they are so antiquated(not a real excuse :)).

Camera mechanics being difficult makes sense; I also understand that EV is/has always been 2d plane movement, I was mostly curious because...:

@jacabyte, on 24 October 2012 - 02:42 PM, said in Engine development:

Descent is impossible to play correctly without a joystick or a gamepad with at least 3 control surfaces. A pretty bad example of a 3D FPS if you ask me, Descent is less of a game and more of a proof of concept. Playing Descent is more of an artform than actual play, considering all the crazy stuff you can pull if you have 100% mastery of all 6 degrees of freedom.

... I was playing descent - sans joystick - in what? Like, 3rd grade? 5th? Shortly after it came out, whenever that was. I just used my keyboard (I don't think mouse-look was frequent back then) to control everything. Now, I wasn't the best at it, but I didn't find it impossible. It's all about using your keys logically - I think I used the number pad for movement, and the key-part for weapons/special functions and maybe thrust. Was it my favorite game? Not really, but that's likely because I was more interested in Marathon, EV, and Warcraft/2. Was it playable? Definitely.

@nil0bject, on 24 October 2012 - 07:53 PM, said in Engine development:

Can I use the EVO graphics? Yes. The files are publicly available.

Files being publicly available =/= being freely available to use. Obviously, you can use them for a tech-demo or experiment like you are doing now with no consequence. If you tried to sell whatever you are making, you probably are supposed to get permission first. Even if you released it open-source, you'd probably be expected to get permission; though with all things EV, releasing it to the Ambrosia community probably wouldn't draw any fire at all.

I don't know the specifics on the EVO files though, they might have been released open-license, which would make them available for anyone to use for anything.

@meaker-vi, on 25 October 2012 - 10:31 AM, said in Engine development:

Files being publicly available =/= being freely available to use. Obviously, you can use them for a tech-demo or experiment like you are doing now with no consequence. If you tried to sell whatever you are making, you probably are supposed to get permission first.

Here’s how Peter Cartwright puts it:

I believe that myself, Chris and James hold copyright (since these models are not used directly in EVO, just images taken of them), although I haven't looked into it in detail so it might be AmbrosiaSW. It's not all that important though: either way, what you are allowed to do anything you like with them, as long as you don't make a profit out of designs made using these ones or based on these (all sounds rather hard to prove to me - I shouldn't worry too much).

Cheers David.
I read that, and that is why I've tried to make clear this is an exercise in coding. If something comes of it, I will distribute it to this community at no cost, and if there is interest, I will open source it.

Re: controllers
I played all 3 Marathon's by Bungie with only a keyboard and always lead in multiplayer. I think each game is controlled differently and if your brain works that way, you will own. My brother had no problem playing Descent with a keyboard. I can barely play it with a joystick.

Re: camera
I'm going to try out a few different camera angles and make some videos. I'd like some sort of consensus, even if it is just a few core players.

thanks

This post has been edited by nil0bject : 27 October 2012 - 12:46 AM

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