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Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339776] Sun, 01 March 2015 18:26 Go to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Hi - its me BlueScreen, usually ScreenOfDeath.
Maybe someone known me from the unreleased multiplayer project of JA 2, it was maybe 6 years ago.
But I´m back, hopefully with support of you to reach the goal.

Maybe you found my thread on form the jaggedalliancenflashback site, with /forum/70/7147 as thread.
In that thread I thought it would be great to create a remake of this game with the original sources.
- Somebody posts about that T. Lund just sold the rights and the source to bitComposer which
seems to be also insolvent, so there are maybe never updates for this game.

You know that this game is very incomplete and released in its very first alpha state -
which wasn't the best idea and the reason why this game wasn't sold as aspected.

So whats happened with the poor people who purchased this game? Nothing,
they got the incomplete, with bugs covered game.

Does it bother you like me? Of course it do!

Lets think about a remake where every promised feature is going to implement,
new features are also welcome. The features are decided by the community - so
basically, lets thought about an Jagged Alliance Remake in 3D, completely build by the community.
(Take the Jagged Alliance 2 v 1.13 as example - incredible stuff / improvements to the basic game - it's almost a new game)

The main idea:
Lets create a Jagged Alliance remake with all the features the community wants. The project is generally made by the community for the community,
so there is no commercially aspect here. It's completely open source of course, under a licence where the source is usable in forks or something similar,
with the reference of the origin of it and the condition that the modified sources must be also released under the same licence as before, so if somebody
is going to use the code he must release the source code of it's modification of it back to the community. And of course, it could be good if we doesn't allow
commercially usage of the code. I'm not sure which licence I'm going to pick.

Is your tought: Wow, a good thread about a possible remake which dies in two months:
- You could be right. If nobody wants to help me with this idea, its not reachable. (Especially due to the missing resources)
All we need is much time for it, if more people are helping me with this idea, the goal is reachable. Again, look at JA 2 v 1.13.


Why am I saying this?
I´m a German C/C++/C#/Java developer with much experience with Unity, Blender, Ogre, PhysX - so in the 3D game
development. My skills in Blender are modeling, animating and texturing, so its perfect for here. But I´m going to be (one of) the main developer(s).
This could be a perfect hobby project for anybody how loves this game and want to play a Remake which have all missing features and more.

Lets talk about the core idea:

Jagged Alliance Flashback is coded with Unity - thus - C#.
It's C# and it's compiled to MSIL, there are ways to disassemble this, which is sadly of course prohibited, thus not legally possible.
And I guess not everything is coded in plain C#, parts of C or C++ is maybe used in some DLLs which are almost impossible to disassemble.

So .... that's the point. We can't disassemble the dlls for creating a new game of it. We have to start at almost 0.

The most important part are the resources - extracting them from the JAF files are prohibited. The Unity Store could help here, there could be maybe some parts which are usable (like Shaders or weapons / items / sounds / animals) but of course,
not everything, maybe even the AI (I´m looking at Apex) or the GUI (NGUI, but with Unity 4.6 there are a new GUI System which looks okay) or textures what ever.
The remake should be still coded with C# because Unity use it, and it should be developed with Unity of course.
You get things working pretty fast with Unity, it also is a great editor and the most important part of it is the content pipeline is simply almost perfect.
There are some missing animations of course, like jumping over a fence, climbing to the roof or something like that.
Of course, if the project uses some modules like AI which was bought, these parts (the core) are not able to release, everybody who wants to compile the project needs to buy a licence of it, which complicates the idea and maybe destroys complete the project.

And yes, its possible to extract many of the .assets files to get the resources of it, but ... this is also prohibited.
(BTW: Does anybody know for what the resources.assets.resS file is only for sound effects / music good? If you remove it, the game itself works, but you don't have sounds.
I hope its only the sound files. I don't know ... it's content isn't "view able" - and I removed it from the folder, tested via direct run the game.exe)
I just tested whats "inside" the assets files - and if its usable for a preview - but again, that is prohibited and its not "usable".

Whats going on, how we could reach this goal?
- With the community of course. Everybody could be part of it!
- If enough people are going to help, we are able to reach the goal.
- We need plenty of resources, again, plenty! But only a few coder (including me).

Why don't we use the source code of the dlls or the resources of the original game?
- This is not allowed, if we do this we could get in serious trouble due to reverse engineering or injured copyrights.

Which programming language are we going to use?

- I think its a very good idea to use C# with Unity 4.6+ (soon 5.0) to get things pretty simple
and effective. Just think about the great Content pipeline in Unity - look at the Asset Store.

Why don't we use C++ for performance reasons with renderer like Ogre or Irrlicht?

- I really love C / C++ coding, especially Ogre with PhysX because I worked with it a long while, and I´m really want to code with it the remake.
But there are so many other developers who prefer more simple languages like C# and most of them works maybe with Unity.
And of course, Unity have its incredible great Content pipeline with the Asset Store like I said before.
With Unity, we are able to build our world within the editor and set the values or what ever in the inspector, even live at debugging. We don't need to build a new editor for it -
just use Unity and we are able generate everything we want. Of course, its possible to write an Level editor or whatever.

Why should we use Unity and not another game engine like Unreal and co?
- Do you know that Unity is free? No charges at all in the free edition. And look at the reasons above.

How about scripts like boo / lua / Phyton / whatever
- I don't want to mix C# with scripting languages. Maybe it could be used for a plugin system, but I really prefer C# over it.

Where are sources go?
- On Github of course. We are going to use git for our versionary control system.

How do we store our information's eg. about the weapons / items?
- I like the idea with json, or we could use something similar like xml.

Whats about the path finding?
- I already purchased Apex for it, its doing the job well and have nice features. (But I cant release the core of it, every developer must purchase it if they are building things with it)
Its also possible to code a new AI for it form scratch, but this takes much more time.

Whats about the GUI?

- Unity have a new GUI system shipped with 4.6, its free. NGUI is also a good idea, but everybody need to buy a licence of it.

What tools for modeling should we use?
- Blender would be the best choice. Its opensource, ultra powerful and free.

Which formats should we use?
- We need the original files of eg Blender, and the exported (.fbx) one and of course, the textures in dds or png.

What's about physics?
- Do you love physics like me? Don't we all love to see someones dead body is collapsing real or "reacts" on shooting? You get it... its important. (RigidBody usage)

What's about the aiming?
- I really really really like the way how Fallout handle this: The VATS system. I want a similar way to do the aiming.

What's about the turn based playing?
- Yes, it should be turn based like before with a more sophisticated system.

What's about AI?
- The enemies should be able to do some interesting ways to solve their problem with you.

Destructable environment?
- Sadly not complete destructable, but of course you should find new ways to reach the goal.

Customizing:
- Weapons, items, soldiers, - all of it.

Terrain or flat environment?
- I think both should be insert in the game. In a way where the enemies / player / NPCs are able to climb most of the slope.

Bullets:
- They should fly through environment which are thin enough - like thin wood doors or what ever. And doors are able to swing.

Vehicles:

- I would love to see vehicles which are moving - while you shoot some rounds out the windows. You will love it too.

Story:
- That's not my work here. The community should create the whole story. I don't care if we are the bad or the good ones - all we need to do is to reload our weapons if they are empty.


WOW. Whats about networking playing?
- I really love to see a COOP game, sure why not? Or even PVP or fractions or what ever - we should code it anyway.


What could be YOUR part of it?
- You could create resources like models, textures, animation for the models, level design, story, effects, shader.....
- Collect ideas which should be implemented
- Create sounds / music / find them if the licence is allowed to use in a non commercially open source project

- If you are a programmer:
- Create simple tools for modify the json or xml files (no specification of the files yet)
- Eg. Weapon editor, Quest editor, Text editor for random text from NPCs.... - its maybe a good idea to keep it independent from other tools for simpleness.
- If this project is going to be happen, I´m going to design the main concept of classes, maybe the core and release it. After that, if there is another good
programmer, we could code in a team .... or something like that. I dont know. Lets see how many people are going to help with the project.


OMG. This is so nice, why is this remake not already done since yesterday?

- We need the community and YOU behind this project. I didn't start it yet, I want to ask if somebody is able help me for reaching the goal.



So what do you think about this idea?
Do you think you could help me to reach the goal for a new Jagged Alliance - maybe a remake or even better a new game?




Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339800 is a reply to message #339776] Mon, 02 March 2015 21:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Google Translite:
Let's try

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339801 is a reply to message #339800] Mon, 02 March 2015 22:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Flugente

 
Messages:3170
Registered:April 2009
Location: Germany
Interesting. In my view, if one is interested in JA (which we all are, why would we be here otherwise?), and wants a better JA game, and is willing to actually do something towards getting a shiny new game, there are several possible ways. Which I'm going to list now, because I like lists:

  • 1. Hope that a different developer universally beloved and trusted by all (does that even exist anymore?) decides to develop a new JA game with a near unlimited budget. At this point, I'm to old to wait that long, and to cynical to believe in it.
  • 2. Hope for JA:F getting better.
    2a. Hope for FC finishing the game. Meh. Does not seem likely to me.
    2b. The community hacks the existing game and improves it. It seems those crazy russians cheeky have already started that, but I doubt that will this will improve the game to the point of being good. I'm not doubting their enthusiasm or skill, I'm more aware of the restrictions.
    2c. In a stunning twist of events, the source code is released, allowing any able coder to alter any game aspect, see 1.13. Extremely unlikely.
  • 3. Decide that recent events suck, resort to improving 1.13 like we've done since the beginning of (good) times. My absolute favourite, though I am extremely biased here.
  • 4. Develop an entirely new game from scratch. Which is what you are proposing.
  • 5. Do nothing. Boo!
At this point, I don't believe anymore that a good game will come from 2.. Now, the question is... what will 4. deliver that 3. can't? Believe me, I am more than aware of 1.13's code limitations (I must have spent entire days ranting about how stupid awful code doesn't f***ing work in the IRC happy ) - but we already have that game up and running, are able to do a lot (and could do even more stuff people don't realize at this point). Developing an entirely new game is a gigantic task - and in JA2 1.13 it will already have an established, direct 'competitor' with loads of features. This will only work out if this can, once finished, deliver something 1.13 cannot, gameplaywise - and we are aware of it. Otherwise devs will loose motivation and interest, methinks.

From your post, I assume that this special property will be 3D, with multiple height levels (as in: more than 2) and a rotating camera. Is there something else?

To clarify, I'm not trying to stop you from doing what you plan - on the contrary, more people developing JA are always better. But if you want to go through with this, pointing out why this would be better than what we currently have will be beneficial.

[Updated on: Mon, 02 March 2015 22:38]




Saren threw his head back and screamed in impotent fury, before falling to his throne, head in his claws, trembling in horrified disbelief.

Then he heard a faint chime as Sovereign subscribed to her ECHO channel.

If you want, you can donate to me. This will not affect how and what I code, and I will not code specific features in return. I will be thankful though.


Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339804 is a reply to message #339776] Mon, 02 March 2015 23:42 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Yes this is a new way to handle things hopefully correctly.

At 3: 1.13 was really an incredible master piece. But wouldn't it be nice to see it in 3D or with
a new concept / system?

The specs about what should be possible and what not isn't touched yet - this is here is a call who are
interested in making a remake or a new game of it and who are able to help.

If no one wants to help or they doesn't interested in this topic, it would of course fail.
This here is more like: If you are able to spend your time for a remake which should cover all your dreams,
you are welcome to help. If you find nice resources or created one, or want to write some code / specs / story
or what ever, we could find a way to work together. If there is no need for a 3D remake, why should I spend
so much time to work on it and nobody want to use it? This makes no sense, so I just wanted to know if
there is the need for a 3D remake.

Again - the remake should made from the community and it should be for it.
If you have ideas what should be new / better, please post it.

There are no legal ways to use the old sources or resources - which is maybe a good decision.
I guess there are many bugs inside the code or a questionable design of the whole system.

Are some guys there making a new game or a remake of the game? Where?
- Is this open source or a closed project? - Am people like me able to help?

You know whats great on this idea?
- Everything will be open source - almost everything, except some core libs like Pathfinding (Apex) or something similar
which need a separate licence for it.
- If some devs are saying: Nope, I had enough of this, I don't have time for it anymore. The sources are still
there, some other dev could take them and write new features or improve them.

This is basically just from the community for the community.
It should be only this. So there is no commercially thoughts behind it - just for fun coding and playing.

What could be new in the 3D environment?
- The camera system could be switchable. Lets think of a 3rd person mode or something like that. If you have fun, you could also
add a camera with a first person view, but I don't like this idea. (And it brings other problems too)
- Maybe an VATS system like Fallout
- Climbable multiple layers - reach the top
- Buildings etc which are made for first person view - not for a top down view to get best results in 3rd person mode?
- Rigid bodies, we all like to play with them. Throw a grenade to them and how far they can fly.

Other features which are maybe nice:
- Different Gameplay modes ( multiplayer? )
- Dynamic environment (Moveable boxes, things to destroy, cars, stacking boxes to build cover or more
- Multiplayer: A trade system of loot
- Other things what I don't know yet, just post some ideas
- Big epic battles with many gamers?

So basically it would be great if we are able to code the core of it with some nice resources
to see what the core can do. If we have a small techno demo, maybe there are more devs who likes what they see and join us.

We don't need to get a complete game within 1 year like JAF, so we have time.
And we don't have to spend money for it - just our time.
Isn't this a great idea? Everybody is able to help to get what the community wants?


Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339807 is a reply to message #339804] Tue, 03 March 2015 10:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sidew

 
Messages:50
Registered:June 2012
Just today there this announcement from Unreal regarding Unreal Engine 4, a powerful middleware engine: https://www.unrealengine.com/blog/welcome-to-unreal-engine-4

Quote:

Epic's goal is to put the engine within reach of everyone interested in building games and 3D content, from indies to large triple-A development teams, and Minecraft creators as well. For $19/month you can have access to everything, including the Unreal Editor in ready-to-run form, and the engine's complete C++ source code hosted on GitHub for collaborative development.




Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339814 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 03 March 2015 14:13 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Wow thanks cool from Unreal.

I already took a look into Unreal in the Cry Engine, but I have to say that's much much overpowered for this "simple" project.
And they didn't have the big community and big Asset Store like Unity.

But why should we use an AAAAAAA engine without the right resources?

It doesn't matter if we use Unreal or Unity - if there are no resources we are not able to do anything.
And Unity has its really big community and Asset Store where you could find almost everything you like.

I really love C++ but other devs need to love it like me, and there are some really important differences between C# and C++.
Of course, C++ would be much faster while running the engine, but it takes much more work to code it. And its
a little bit dangerous if somebody forget something - so memory leaks could happen if you don't handle the pointers correctly.
And with Unity, we are able to release it to almost any platform we want so Linux or Mac users or even mobile or web users are able to play the game.
( It's maybe possible with Unreal too - but Unreal is mostly script in their own scripting language - or did they changed it? )

And it's 19$ / month - I guess per person, and I guess no one wants to spend so much money for a free project.
We don't have this problems with Unity, nobody have to pay anything. (But maybe a licence for a library - but this affects only the main developers)


I think a great way to start is to code the core behind everything, so we have a working tech demo which shows the possibilities with maybe debug graphics.
The GUI etc could be made after the tech demo, so maybe more people are ready to help with their resources.





[Updated on: Tue, 03 March 2015 14:17]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339816 is a reply to message #339814] Tue, 03 March 2015 15:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
DepressivesBrot

 
Messages:3788
Registered:July 2009
The one thing that would in my opinion make such an endeavour both worth it and allow it to attract enough interest is having a detailed multi-story destructible environment at least on par with the old Silent Storm games. That'll probably never be hacked into 1.13 and thus having it protects you from being seen as yet another dumbed down 3D JA-Clone trading a million features for blocky 3D graphics.



Chat with us!
#bearpit on IRC
Discord
Get your latest 1.13 Builds
(Pls don't use my forum PMs for general game queries)


Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339817 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 03 March 2015 16:20 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
So in your opinion its very important to have an almost everything is destructible environment. (Apex from PhysX would be here the right decision)
While you having AAA graphics. With lots of features. And a decent framerate. With some crazy stuff where many developers had much time to develope it.

From independent no paid developer(s) without any cent of budget - without any resources.

Interesting.

Maybe you get the point.

Do you know what? I´m just trying to collect some devs or people who want to create a community version of Jagged Alliance (under another name of course).
These people should like the idea to have a new game where almost everybody is able to modify it in any way they want and add new features / stuff to it.

If someday somebody cant help anymore or the whole project is frozen / dead, the sources and resources are still there,
so if there is somebody who is able to revive the project he could use the old resources / sources and doesn't need to write everything from scratch.

And yes - if I didn't have any resources, the game would take place holder graphics or blocky models.
What do expect? A triple A title without any cent - only developed by one single person in its free time?

I don't want to spend my time modeling / animating / texturing the models. I want to spend all my time for programming the core and everything behind it.
My hope is that there are some people willing to help me collecting (free) resources - modify them to get them game ready so all I just need is to use them.
Or collect ideas, maybe possible solutions to problems, writing a possible story or what ever.


And of course, if there some devs who wants to help there are ways they can code something for it.


The most time taken part are collecting and modifying or creating models, textures, sounds, GUI - designs and all kind of stuff.
The collecting is maybe doable within weeks. The problem is the format of files - the scale, rotation or the texture. These things must be modified to get
them ready for Unity - so I can use them. There are great places like the Asset Store or turbo squid or blendswap or something like this. But mostly there
are no animations nor textures. So this has also be done by persons who are able to do it.


So developing is also a big task, of course.
But I don't want to do all jobs - collecting resources, modify them, and programming at the same time.
I just did it in a private project, the resources took almost 75% of the whole developing time of that project.

And here is it again:
This project is only doable with lots of help from the community. Especially to collect and get resources game ready is the big problem in my opinion.

[Updated on: Tue, 03 March 2015 16:32]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339818 is a reply to message #339817] Tue, 03 March 2015 16:48 Go to previous messageGo to next message
edmortimer

 
Messages:894
Registered:January 2015
Location: Home Free
@SceenOfDeath What you want to do is probably on the wishlist of everybody . . . but probably not doable because of many things. I worked with Troika Games on the game Arcanum. Unlimited budget, great and inspired people, experienced developers (Fallout & Fallout 2 to their credit), fantastic working conditions . . . and more than a year into it we still had to cut corners in order to get the game out. While there is no publisher to put time pressure on what you are proposing, it will be no fun for anyone to work on a game for three years and more (a conservative estimate, imo) without being able to play more than a limited scene or three. And really, what you propose wouldn't be "Jagged Alliance", it would be a totally different game.

I agree with Flugente that putting more resources into modding 1.13 is probably the best way to go. There is still a lot that can be done.

Now . . . if you were to say that we could bring JA2 v1.13 whole cloth into a Fallout 2 style game engine . . . well then, you just might have something there.




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Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339819 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 03 March 2015 17:06 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Yes. But why don't we start a new project to see whats happening?
Why should we wait for a remake or sequel - for years - and nothing happens - or a bad remake is released?
-> So hack the .... out of it to see that could be working great, but we cant get new features working because we didnt get the source?


Don't you think its time to start to think in a new direction - for reaching the wishlist of everybody?

Yes its not doable, if there are no resources or other guys who wants to start and help with the project.

I´m not a publisher or something similar - I just want to create a better game for all of us who likes the Jagged Alliance series.
And you are seeing the progress at Github - so if we get new features stable, we would release a compiled version of it and the sources.
So everybody is able to test it and see whats happening.

I don't want to develop for years in the dark - I would push the source at Github for everyone. Its still a community project.

You can see this project like this: We have the core functionality, you can build on top what you want when you fork it - or we can integrate the features.

The ideas I said are really only ideas yet.

You think its the best way to modding 1.13?
I really loved it but I think its time for new things - do you think 3D isn't great?

So to sum everybody's reply at the moment: Nope I don't want to help. That's would definitely a dead project in months. Lets spend our time somewhere else.
Am I right?

[Updated on: Tue, 03 March 2015 17:08]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339820 is a reply to message #339819] Tue, 03 March 2015 17:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!
www.unrealengine.com/blog/ue4-is-free

google translite:
I propose to do on it. because there are already harvesting and presets we need to work on.
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339822 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 03 March 2015 18:14 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
WOW epic did it again. Nice move.

@ sxdemon:
Are you able to write in (broken English like me) instead of using the translate function of google?
What are your skills - what can you do?


WTF look at this:

- I CAN'T POST THIS LINK YET - Just go to the asset store, and look for DestroyIt.

Destruction of almost anything is with this system easy as hell - I guess I´m going to buy it when enough people are helping me.
( Of course, terrain destroyment isn't possible with it - only objects which was prepared for this)
I didn't expected this. This would definitely implemented in the game. But the destruction is precalculated, so things are always destroys in the same way.
(Nvidias Apex have realtime destruction with Vernori or something called like that, incredible results but slow for C# and big environment I guess.)
And if you have many particles / objects / parts of environment flying around or laying around, it all takes much CPU for it... )

[Updated on: Tue, 03 March 2015 18:15]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339823 is a reply to message #339822] Tue, 03 March 2015 18:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Q:What are your skills - what can you do?
A: create, editing, find, models, textures(good skill), animation for the models (low skill), level design (perfect), story, etc.
- Collect ideas which should be implemented
- a little programming
-our team are the second person is also engaged in create, editing, find, models, textures(good skill), animation for the models , level design (very perfect), etc.
his English is better.


Q:Are you able to write in (broken English like me) instead of using the translate function of google?
A:Unfortunately I taught German :)But I don't think this can be a problem. We can find people from Russia who is perfectly able to translate my messages.

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339824 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 03 March 2015 18:51 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Cool thats great news.
I know there are good places to find free resources, like the Unity Asset Store or Blendswap, turbosquid and similar addresses.

What can you program and in which language - what do you think are you able to code or to design?
If you are able to speak german - this could help me, because I´m german. big grin

But I guess its better to keep things in english, so other people can understand what we are talking about.

Do you have a team behind you?
Are you already working on a remake? Or what do you mean with team?

BTW: Unity 5 released big grin

Finally, PhysX 3.3. Server are down and you need to be logged in to download. I try to download it tomorrow.


Yay ! Finally they got a new version of Recast (pathfinding) - called NavMesh in Unity. So maybe there is no need for Apex
I just can't test it - I hope there is a dynamic avoidance like in Apex ( for possible moving objects on the path )
The animation system is also better than before , great.


Update:

I just played with DestroyIt, it's nice but a little bit slow - and you get unexpected results due to the missing realtime destruction.
And there are some bugs with the physics ..

[Updated on: Tue, 03 March 2015 19:37]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339826 is a reply to message #339824] Tue, 03 March 2015 20:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Q:Or what do you mean with team?
A: We worked on JAF modding. mod Revival.

Q:What can you program and in which language - what do you think are you able to code or to design?
A: use blueprint unreal engine 4 ;) design in photoshop, 3d modeling (blender, max) etc


upd: We have already started to learn unreal engine
nickname SxDemon, thewisebelly
add to friends

[Updated on: Wed, 04 March 2015 00:08]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339831 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 04 March 2015 00:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
grim

 
Messages:300
Registered:July 2006
Location: France
Did you have a look at Daniel Rey Vega's job on a JAesque game with Unity?
Here are some youtube videos of it, maybe you can work together :

Daniel Rey Vega videos

Here is the shooting range demo he did :

Shooting range

[Updated on: Wed, 04 March 2015 00:54]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339833 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 04 March 2015 08:49 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
No I didnt know there other remakes.

What he got looks very good, especially the main menu in another video.
Do you know where he get all this good resources?

Of course, maybe I could help him with his project, but I don't know it.
I guess I could write him when I´m alone and nobody want to helo with this project.

But thank you anyway, nice video happy
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339834 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 04 March 2015 10:29 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
I just wrote Unity some questions about the licences.

There is a chance the developers (coder's) need to have Unity 5 Pro, which costs 75$ per month what is unaffordable.

It's maybe even worse with the assets bought from the Asset Store.
If I bought an asset from it, I cant upload it in its delivery from - I need to upload it in an inaccessible way so nobody can use it directly.
This happens when Unity bundle's all assets to a resources.asset file. (Yes there is a decompiler for it....)
But thus there is no easy way to upload bought assets directly.

If I bought a soldier from the Asset Store, they deliver it maybe as an .fbx file which is only openable with Maya / Autodesk. So there is no way
for me to modify it with Blender to add new animations. (Maybe Blender have an importer for it now)


Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339835 is a reply to message #339833] Wed, 04 March 2015 11:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mauser

 
Messages:797
Registered:August 2006
Location: Bavaria - Germany
Well SceenOfDeath, i very much like your idea and your passion for JA.

As one of the initiators of the JA SMP project, which i had hoped largely fulfilled by JA:F, i naturally support every attempt in that direction.
Sadly, JA:F was a dissapointment as a game in itself as well as a modern modding platform to continue the work of the 1.13 project on a new and better engine.
So i really see little reason to wait for another miracle and commercial dev to pick up this seemingly cursed franchise and finally deliver.

I also think the time has come for the fans and community to take matters into their own hands, which have so far shown to be much more passionate, capable and tenacious than any developer studio out there.

The very idea of an "open alliance" game or and "open JA SMP" is the best thing that could happen to the community.
I also concur with your notion to base it on Unity engine, but rather version 5 since it promises to have much enhanced modding support.
With a free engine like this and other free modding tools, we should have all the basics we need to create a JA game of our own.
The only problem would be, that it would mostly be just another turn based squad tactics game without the beloved and unique JA IP. It would have all the flesh and bones of a good game, but none of the skin, hairdo, clothes and personality that makes a JA game what it is.
Not that i wouldn't trust this community to come up with something equally brilliant, very JA-like, given the time and tools.
But it is simply the uniqueness and nostalgia of the JA franchise which simply cannot be copied or recreated, even if all the basic components are in place.
So in order to really get what we all want, we would still need the licenced JA IP for us to work with.

And here is where it gets tricky. Developing an open source game platform on a free engine like Unity is a quite doable task, provided the aptly talented people with enough time come together.
But to make it a true JA game, we somehow need to get access to the JA IP from now insolvent BitComposer, be it as a regular purchase or as a special community permit, which i am not sure we can get from BC.
If we had to purchase a licence or, let's dream a moment here, the complete IP to the JA series, we would have to organize in a different, much more serious way and make a fundraiser to get the money needed for it.
We all discussed this through many times already. The question still being: are we, are there people among us passionate and able enough to step forward and take the chance and responsibility on their own shoulders?

NOW would probably be the best chance to try to get control over the franchise and IP for this grand old community and save a great unique game series from fading into obscurity, because nobody who ever touched it since JA2 could just recreate the magic on a more modern technical base.

That said, i am quite impressed by the work done by that Daniel Ray Vega in Grim's post. And if one single guy can already create something like that, a determined team of potentially unlimited size should have little problems creating an open source JA game base on a powerful engine like Unity. There are also thousands of new potential game developers out there, students of the arts who want to work in game industry one day. I personally know more than a few. If we somehow manage to draw those into the project and commit their time and manpower under a competent and devoted project lead with at least semi-professional skillset, little should be impossible.
Asssets, especially in the graphical department, are available for free or very little money, animations can be done with basic tools or borrowed from other projects. Only the sounds and voice acting assets are problematic, since the original JA ones are just too iconic and hard or impossible to recreate. And they are really what makes and breaks the atmosphere of a JA game, together with the trademark writing and humor.

Another aspect would be, that there are quite a lot of smaller projects out there trying to (re)create some sort of tactical turn based combat and RPG engines very similar to JA or Fallout. Some in 2D, some in 3D.
maybe it would be a worthwhile endeavour to contact all that talent and try to recruit it to a much larger, more sophisticated common project? A common open game base which unites all the basic and advanced features of turn based and real time tactical squad gameplay and RPG/strategy layers in a modular and highly moddable way? You could say the solid modding platform to end all solid modding platforms. This way, a lot of people and projects could probably get working together what they could never achieve on their own.

And i am sure, such an ambitioned project could even find support on Kickstarter, Idiegogo and the likes if presented well.

Another option would be, to just join the development of another similar project and modify it for JA needs.

So maybe it would pay off to check out the potential for something lik this. A man can dream, right?

In the end, all we really want here is a JA 1.13 on a new, modern 3D (or even just a less limited, higher quality 2D engine).
The needed assets we can manage to create or acquire over time, that i am sure of. And seeing how we managed to hack that old turd of a JA2 engine into what 1.13 is today, i am also sure we can manage the same or even more with a proper modern engine with powerful modding tools at our disposal. JA:F could have provided us with exactly the base to work with, but it fell short of exactly that in the end.

The only problem and danger i see in this is, if this project starts off promisingly, but also crashes or stalls in the future, people may alltogether give up hope on JA and ever getting a proper modern reincarnation.
This community effort would truly be the final assault, the last straw for the franchise and the dreams and hopes of this community. So it better be done very right and taken very seriously!

If this project should ever go green, the ones responsible better make sure to do it right and see it through. it is gonna be a BIG challenge for sure, even more so if based on the acquired original JA IP or license.
Probably too much for a single person to pull off, but maybe doable by a small but determined core team and enough serious community support. At least as long as real life doesn't get in the way too much.

So the questions remaining are: if this project is to lift off, on what (legal) base will it stand and what scale is it aiming for? And who is masochistic enough to actually take the full responsibility for it?


☆★GL★☆
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339837 is a reply to message #339835] Wed, 04 March 2015 14:01 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jaanberq
Messages:3
Registered:March 2015
Hello all i was reading this post and couldnt get in with my old forum acc and created a new one to post. ( mostly a reade)

i like the passion to create a new 3d ja game with ja2-1.13 options. i would gladly pay for that kind of effort. Also see the fear of failing because of losing the hype after time.

i think the best option is to create a template game with a small map like ja2 demo. Only sample weapons, animations and ai system. Camera controls and invetory system. Everthing basic. That kind o approach will courage modders to support it.

This can be made in unity or unreal. i would prefer ue4 because of blueprinting which is easier for anyone to create new things without single line of code.

if a basic template game can be made then lots of support will rise. Then you can decide weather to copy ja2 or create new things.

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339844 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 04 March 2015 22:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Yes! You are right. We should start this project and see it as a revive of the Jagged Alliance series -
but with modern graphic and new features. You are right, its nearly impossible to get the real feeling
of a Jagged Alliance, but we can do our best to reach it while realizing out wishlist of features.

Its not possible for us to get a licence or even save all rights to the Jagged Alliance Universe,
we don't have the money nor the company behind it and I really don't know anything about legals in this direction.

I don't want to start a company or get even money by kickstarter for this project. If we do this, we
can get much assets which is really nice and important but we are going to make the same mistake what
happened with Flashback I guess. If we collect money, we have to deliver something for it - if we don't do it,
we get serious problems. So there we have a real timelimit to reach the goals we need - I´m looking at Flashback here too.

So the idea is good, but I guess it should be still a community project without commercially thoughts behind it.
(There could be some other legal problems if we collect money..)

Daniel Ray Vega did a good job, I like it too.
I don't think it's very hard nor take much time to get the state he reach it, even if I code it alone by myself.
But we are not able to see whats under the hood - if he get already lets say serialization done, the core or what ever.
Don't understand me wrong, he did a good job and it took surely much time to get what we see in the videos.

But I think our main problem are the resources - to get them completely game ready with all animation etc.
As I said before, if we are able to spend some money on assets (and if I bought them) I´m not able to release them
in their plain format - or they come in a format which Blender can't import. If we use public models found at
Blendswap or somewhere else with the right licence behind it, we could use the files and modify them as we like.

Sadly at my university there are no people I know who have usable skills for this project, so I can't get support there.
Sounds are not the problem, there is a huge asset with 3000+ sounds for 20$ at the Asset Store, there are surely other ones somewhere.

Voice acting is actual the sound problem - we need to spend money there if there is no other way around it.
But this is one of the tasks which are going after developing the core.

It's maybe a good idea to contact other people, but I don't have the time to do it nor the english skills to convince them.
If they find someday this thread and we are working on it, maybe they got addicted to the idea like ourselves.

I don't know if this project is going to be happen, but if we are working on it, we should do it as best as we can,
even if we need to redesign something which is already done. What I think its important to get the results like we
imagines them, I know everybody how is going to help can help only in their free time, just like me.
And there is always the chance we get to a point where most of the helpers may disappear, because we hadn't enough time
to code, so they didn't get results they wanted.

You have to always remember: This is a community project, created by the community - and its for the community.
So there are no paid developers behind it - just some addicted fans / coders / designers with skills.

[Updated on: Wed, 04 March 2015 22:37]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339845 is a reply to message #339844] Wed, 04 March 2015 23:07 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Quote:
But I think our main problem are the resources - to get them completely game ready with all animation etc.
As I said before, if we are able to spend some money on assets (and if I bought them) I´m not able to release them
in their plain format - or they come in a format which Blender can't import. If we use public models found at
Blendswap or somewhere else with the right licence behind it, we could use the files and modify them as we like.

@SceenOfDeath
UE 4 give starter pack animation 63 contains animations (
standing sitting lying down shooting, reloading, gait with arms , death etc). full free.
example top down game + example 3d Turn based strategy

download UE4 and look ;)
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339853 is a reply to message #339776] Thu, 05 March 2015 09:47 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Cool. I´m downloading it right know, but I guess I can test it tomorrow / at the weekend.

I just found this here for ~ 54€ at the epic store
https://www.unrealengine.com/content/dc74e2a08da6467c91fe705173ee5039
( Everything from Kubold is very very interesting and we really should think about it to buy it - or modify the free resources you told about. But I didn't saw them yet)


- I don't know if animations are generally re useable within unreal with other characters. But I guess if you use the same rig, you can modify the
mesh around it you like so there is no need to change an animation for each model seperately. (Which makes pretty much sense)

But we should decide which engine we should use. Unity 5 or Unreal Engine 4.
( Of course, Source Engine 2 is absolutely free now, Crytek is going to do something similar if they want to survive this great steps of Valve / epic games)

What do we have if we use Unity 5?
- A great big community with lots of solved questions in the forum.
- A great Asset store with almost everything we like, with cheap prices
- Good quality models - assets, shaders and other stuff. I don't know if this is only usable within Unity (sounds, textures, models) because there are some licence
issues
- Maybe some trouble if we need Unity 5 Pro for every developer
- Maybe some other developer have skills with Unity, so they and I don't have to learn Unreal way
- Not a fully game engine, if we need network access, we have to build it by our own or use a library for it
- Great support for releasing it to another platform, like Linux, Mac or even Android or iOS. (But let's concentrate on the main platform - Windows, maybe Linux )
- Maybe some performance issues due to C# and its garbage collector
- But the garbage collector have great advantage about coding: We almost don't have to worry about memory leaks.
- Safer coding, faster coding, (maybe better coding) is possible.
- Maybe some limitation of the free edition of Unity


What do we have if we use Unreal Engine 4?
- AAAAAAAA Engine
- Its also free, I don't know the licence if we need to pay for something
- C++. I love it, but other devs have to code it too, and if they can't handle the pointers correctly we have a lots
of trouble / bugs / crashes / memory leaks. Most of then are avoidable with C# concept of garbage collector, but
I don't know if Unreal use smart pointers or another system to help us to keep it stable.
( In my opinion all devs should absolutely know what they do with the pointers and how to handle them, but we are switching
to a new API and we need time to understand it)
- Yes like I said before, I don't know the API or the engine / editor, so it would take much time to understand how
things are working. Even with the tutorials we need time to understand it.
- Complete Game Engine, everything is included at a perfect state, with regularly bug fixes / updates.
- No big community, the epic marketplace doesn't have much assets.
- Maybe no limitation of the engine
- Performance
- Maybe fewer licence issues
- Source Code of the engine, but common, we don't have the time to edit the engine nor I would touch it anyway.
Just build on top the engine like most people do


Generally I don't want an AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA looking game.
If we want to get this, we need to spend alot of money we don't have, skills we don't have (yet),
time we don't have and never reach the goal because it would take years if we are only a few people.
The game should look good, but not like the pictures we see on the epic site, but as good as we can.
The resources and shader are doing the "hard work of impression" - so they have to be good.

You have to remember we don't have any budget only somebody (which means me?) is maybe going to spend some money on it.
( Which is not much, due to I am a student yet, I going to plan to be done with my thesis at October )
-> After that, I´m maybe doing the master at another university or going to work, I don't know.

But there should be always some free time to spend on this project so it keep growing from my side of view.

Don't understand me wrong - I have much skills and experience with Ogre / PhysX and Unity with C/C++ /C# and Java - I just learned it much
earlier before the college.


Update:

Just did a simple fast run with the top down example:
- Very bad performance on my laptop. Even the editor have ~ 15 fps. (And the scene doesnt have much objects in the Unreal editor...)
- Everything seems to be very slow compared to the Unity editor. - Maybe there is a way to handle this, but I didnt find anything in the settings yet.
With Unity everything (even bigger environments) are showable, I don't know the fps in the editor but they run much better (and more than 30fps).

Do you think I´ve got a crappy laptop?
- No I dont think so. I played Fallout New Vegas with many mods and everything with max details, but lower resulution (1280x768).
- Unreal Tournament 3 is also playable with decent settings, but a lower resulution.
- Yes there are old games, but they are working great even if the resolution is small - it doesn't matter if you play on a TV big grin )

( Nvidia 630m, 1 GB VRam, 8GB Ram, Intel i5 3210m - enough for playing (older) games. And it should be enough for this project I guess)

I don't own a desktop pc, and it I would like to use Unity if there is no way to handle this.

[Updated on: Thu, 05 March 2015 10:35]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339857 is a reply to message #339776] Thu, 05 March 2015 14:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Hm.

The 15 min which I tested the Unreal Engine didn't convice me to use it.
Its absolutley powerfull, but its a way to much for our needs I guess.
For me, its slowly - and the standart example is already 1.1GB of file size.
(It doesn´t matter anyway, but I dont like it to spend so much memory for nothing - I just have a 256GB SSD)

So for me, Unity will be the better choice, maybe some devs think it too. And maybe we have more devs which knows Unity than Unreal.
It´s not so powerful like Unreal, but why should we use an overpowered engine which we can't handle or need much time to get
at the level of skills we already have with Unity.
And think it in this way: That what we got with Unity is not so much, but we can handle it much better than Unreal (I´m speaking for me right now).

What do you think?

I think its better to keep things up with Unity, there is a bigger community and more (and less pricey) assets to buy.
- But we can get maybe some trouble with the licence - but I´m waiting for the response of Unity.


[Updated on: Thu, 05 March 2015 14:36]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339860 is a reply to message #339857] Thu, 05 March 2015 18:15 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mauser

 
Messages:797
Registered:August 2006
Location: Bavaria - Germany
Well ScreenOfDeath, i think that Unity 5 is what fits this project best.

Because as you rightly stated, we couldn't fully utilize the graphics power which UE 4 provides anyways.

What truly speaks for Unity 5 is:

- platform independent, we could even make "Open Alliance" run on tablets.
- adequate tools
- good, active community of developers where almost every solution for any problem can be found.
- massive pool of ready to use cheap or free assets - this is the most crucial, since asset creation is the most labor intense factor.
- more potential graphics quality and power than we could utilize within the confines of this project anyways
- decent performance - with some ample optimizations

The only true advantage i currently see for UE4 over Unity 5 is, that UE4 is fully free unless you actually make money with it, whilst Unity 5 Pro costs money to use, plus fees for commercial use.

As stated for the SMP project, the things we need most to make any project of this scale happen are:
- A proper modern, powerful and flexible, as well as modular engine, which is free or very cheap and works with common programming and scripting languages.
- the appropriate tools and editors to comfortably work with for the modders and devs
- as many freely available assets as possible to minimize the amount we have to create ourselves
- a huge knowledge base and active developing community from which to recruit possible help

And Unity 5 currently simply fits this profile the best in all regards.

The main problem is see is the following: even a professional developer studio like Full Control with quite a few people had troubles creating a decent game within a reasonable timeframe on Unity. And they already had experience with the engine and some assets they could use from previous projects.

So its gonna be quite a daunting task for anyone, even if there are no real time or budget constraints. And a single mad hombre can do only so much damage.

And the main challenge i personally see is, to attract enough help and manpower to the project to get results in a reasonable time, which means we'd have to sell it a lot better than FC did with their Kickstarter campaign.
People need to have confidence for this project to actually succeed in order to contribute and commit their time and manpower to.

The last thing we need is another failed attempt at creating a worthy JA successor doomed from the start. So this has to be THE ONE!


☆★GL★☆
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339862 is a reply to message #339857] Thu, 05 March 2015 18:46 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Hi SceenOfDeath happy

the answer in my opinion (imho)

unity 4-5
- A great big community with lots of solved questions in the forum. (in most mobile games in 2d)
- A great Asset store with almost everything we like, with cheap prices (on the Internet many free resources for the UE)

Unreal Engine 4
- full free! ;)
-blueprint (visual coding)
-ready examples of games, scripts, textures, shaders, effects, etc



Q;Maybe there is a way to handle this, but I didnt find anything in the settings yet.

A: http://i63.fastpic.ru/thumb/2015/0305/d1/0f6d471e6911207ec017e7a458426dd1.jpeg


here for example free resources and extension:

https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?61270-Modular-Construction-Tool-%28Updated-3-5-2015%29 --------Modular-Construction-Tool (open source)
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?12874-VR-Game-Template -----------------------------------------VR Game Template (open source)

games and editor (open source)
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?58602-Map-Editor-using-Blueprints-and-UMG-%28Now-on-GitHub%29
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?59213-3P-stealth-action-MicroWave&p=223971#post223971

free content:
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?59812-Free-Foliage-Starter-Kit
https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?56478-The-Monolith


p.s And this is what we need! )) Do not know he would be paid or not. https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?60108-Advanced-Turn-Based-Tile-Toolkit-Released-Large-Images





upd: Russian development (open source):
Inventory System http://unreal-engine4.ru/forum/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=785



[Updated on: Thu, 05 March 2015 20:44]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339947 is a reply to message #339862] Sun, 08 March 2015 18:50 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Google Translite:
There are news?
Need a website or a separate topic for developers.

Need a plan. How did it all start.

For example
1) Select the engine
2) Make the main menu and the interface and test location
3) Main functions. (saving and loading , the skill system, destructible, pathfinding, AI, system of weapons and armor, the global map and its functions, etc.)
4) Animation and the reference system to the bones.
5) Sounds
etc

Support modding (First make the map editor). You need to create a project so that in the future it easier to modify and change.
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339960 is a reply to message #339776] Mon, 09 March 2015 09:40 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Hi,

sorry I didn't have much time the last 3 days, and I had some trouble with the internet connection.

I think it would be the best to go with Unity 5, for reasons see my other posts.

There are good examples in Unreal, but Unity does have great examples and much more assets as Unreal.


I would prefer Unity 5 for the engine.
I think it's a good idea if we code the basics from the core before anything else -
we need to think about the design from the classes, whats important to have in the core, and other stuff like that, so saving would be after the design of the classes.
(Of course, we would design an interface for it, so all we need is a implementation of it)

Animation is simply done via bones and the rigging before in eg. Blender.
But we need to know if we are using one basic mesh - where we attach equipment or do we change body parts like upper body
to change our visual representation of the equipment. It both have it's benefits - if we change body parts, we reduce
unneeded vertices / faces from the basic mesh, (better for performance) but this could be maybe tricky with the animations.
If we attach equipment like vests or something similar, they can't cover the arms, because they won't get the animations
from the arms right. But its easy to attach / detach things from the body. For t-shirt changes, we could use another texture,
so we get no problems here ( or model a t-shirt as attachment). I don't know whats Unity is going to do with hidden
faces ( think of back culling) under the vest, I hope its removed from the graphic pipeline while rendering. So we don't get
much more to render which is never seeable.

( Just a little tough btw: It would be nice if a grenade explodes if we hit a grenade from a soldier.
-> Let's think about another aiming system. We could use the old one, but if we have a scope ( or both is possible) we
can aim at a hit target in the upper left corner or at the soldier - like this http://i.imgur.com/DhqRiyT.jpg - or at realtime rendering of the soldier.
I would love to see something like that. What do you think? )

The map editor itself is only doable if we get our core done, so there should be no major changes of the map format or what ever.

If we are speaking about the map, we need some ideas how we handle it. (For the possible ways of course)
Let's say we have a grid with squares on it (not visible) these squares covers every ground which identificates if this
square is walkable or not (maybe with other information). What do we do with slopes?
-> Lets casts a ray in the middle of a possible square from the sky to the ground. We get the normal of the face from the mesh.
We set at this position an imaginary square for our paths - and set them walkable (manually or due to the slope). That should work.
After setting the whole map with this information (mostly automatically), we need get our pathfinding done.
How does this work? There are serval ways to handle this.

1. We use our information about the squares - and build from it a nav mesh.
2. We build a navmesh from the basic mesh, build on top our "squares". I don't know if we can access the navmesh directly and get the vertices / faces,
so I started with the other way. ( But I think this is the better one )

There is maybe the need to implement A* for this - if we don't use navmeshs here.
(I don't want to use Apex here because if I use this, all developers need a licence for Apex here)
If we use navmeshs, we need to think about which way we should use, and if its possible.
If we have a dynamic exploadeable environment (which I like to see), we have some troubles. We need to set way information at runtime.
(Recalculating the navmesh would take its time, so maybe there is a way to use a hybrid solution of it)

The map itself would be designed in Unity, we would build some classes to handle events like triggers or doors / etc,
so designers need to attach the script to a switch if its an interactive element.

We would also need a lots of prefabs - completely gameready, just drop it to the ground and its ready.
--- But this isn't the point yet, we need to think about the design, what features/parts we need, how should
they be implemented, - and stuff like that, so after that planing phase, we are ready to code the core.






Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339965 is a reply to message #339960] Mon, 09 March 2015 15:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
translite:

We download unity5 .

That team? There are still people willing to work on the project. Need something to start doing, for Example to prepare a theoretical framework. The action plan. And about to describe some new features that should be added.

For example
-tanks, APCS, in the battle under control of the player. a new type of AIM with the purchase of mercenaries, the whole crew with armored vehicles. (models available)
-fully destructible, with the possibility of repair sector, through the global map
-ability to call on the help of helicopters. You can buy in a captured airfield. (models available)
-etc

p.s.
Why is it dangerous to do on Unity? because if there is no C programmer, project will be stopped .
On UE4 is visually programming (blueprint) that allows you to take more new members for development. As is visually creating artificial intelligence (Behavior_Tree)

In Unity we will have to write in C.
Are you sure you will be able 2 years to write the greater part of the whole code?

My opinion is that the whole community will be better if the project will be created on UE4.
1) it is easier
2) it is optimized
3)there is a visual programming easier in several hundred times than C!
4) creation of AI in UE4 is a thousand times easier than Unity.
And even beginners in the editor can freely edit the AI. Interface and other things.


upd:

little has worked in Unity. first impressions

+
Fast
Optimized for mobile phones
User-friendly menu
a lot of stuff in store (but in the new version they do not work or error)

-
editor animations many times worse UE4
a very small set of tools
No start-up aid
no visual programming
visual effects leave much to be desired
no Git, subversion, preforce etc.
no Profiling
very bad editor material (UE4 many times steeper)
no cutscene editor (as in UE4 matinee)
no AI editor (UE4 behavior tree)
very weak terrain editor
No UMG
No Persona Animation Editor
no editor of physics objects (as in UE PhaT)
no support DirectX 12 (UE4 support)



upd2
To be honest, I didn't like unity. It is empty. Not friendly. If you gather a team and will do in unity. I'll help, but only as 3D objects and materials. Also I will draw a map, if the map editor.

p.s. In UE4, I created a mini toy with the menu for half an hour, without scripts, using blueprint . The lessons made simple AI. Made to test your animation. It is very easy and simple.

In Unity you need to know C#. Animation I downloaded from the asset store. The editing is awful. Do their effects, too, does not bring pleasure. To be honest, unity loses all ue4.

[Updated on: Mon, 09 March 2015 19:35]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339972 is a reply to message #339776] Mon, 09 March 2015 19:43 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Don't understand me wrong, I really love to code with C++ - even in Unreal.

But there have hidden problems - like memory management etc.
If some dev are new with C++ he need to understand how pointers work - and how to use them correctly.
I know C++ have many advantages, but as I said before, many other people may have some trouble to learn the pointer usage.

So lets repeat what I already wrote before:

With C#, you have almost all pointer confusion and dangerous handling handles by the garbage collector,
if I can summon this. Of course, there are differences, and there are smart pointers etc for C++.

You don't know Unity yet, Unity is very very powerful - it may need some addons if you still wanna play deeper with it,
but you can wrote your own editor extension if you need it.

Your argument is like visual coding is so cool - but .. it seems to me its more like prototyping. Fast results, few work.
And of course, this is in a kind of way even possible in Unity.
I can say for me, that I tested Unreal for maybe 15 minutes and I was very disappointed what I saw.
Of course, Unreal is an AAAAAAA engine, so it need time to learn how things works.
So its Unity, maybe not an AAAAAAA engine, but very fast for developing games.
And there are of course many commercially games even on last and next gen consoles. So it should be fast
enough for our goals. Unity is also optimized, but of course, Unreal is way better.

In my opinion, if there are tools for visual programming, it could be nice, but it always remembers me like this:
You don't need anything to understand, just point and click - and viola, your game is ready for publishing.
You know what I mean? Yes, it's also with Unity in a similar way. (I love to code with libraries instead of a game engine)

I understand your view of this parts - but I think it would be better to let the "professional / addicted" developers develop the
core, the other people who wants to help could (if they know how to code) code other modules / extensions / weapon editor or what ever.

And you have to understand we all need to learn Unreal's way to handle the game and who to use it correctly.
This could take a huge time - and nobody see any result of progress, so they disappear.
I was very disappointed at the editor - and the speed of it. Saving with a SSD takes 10 sec, with Unity < 1 sec.
The editor performance is way better in Unity for me, (but I didnt changed the settings).
And why should we use an AAAAAAAAAAAAA engine even you know that assets at the Unreal marketplace is expensive.
The game can't have AAAAA graphics like Unreal Tournament, we don't have the money for it nor the resources.
The community is much smaller (and the marketplace) than Unity.
One argument is that Unreal is a complete game engine, Unity isn't it, only with some libs.
And yes, it's performance would be much better than anything else.

Okay, graphics and the whole engine is way way way better than everything else, but at wich costs?
I don't want a generally AI - it should be absolutely coded at the thing it should do - by our own.
And of course, again, you can find a lot at the marketplace. Even something like this (state machine - or behaviour tree).
You always have to remember - we don't have money. And we code this in our free time, so we don't get a cent for this. Nothing.
( This could be a plus point for Unreal, but again - I want to dig hard in the code )

Unreal have way tooooo much power we can't handle it correctly.
So why should we learn it - if we can handle only some parts of it - and need much time to get the first showable results?
I think Unity is much easier than Unreal. But again, I just tested Unreal only for lets say 15 minutes.

(And one other thing: Unreal's example of the top down view consumes 1.1GB, Unity is way smaller than this,
live debugging - almost no compile time - etc. But it use an garbage collector of course. But this could change
if Unity is going to release ill2cpp for everyone. And yes, there are other reasons for both engines)

I don't have any problems with the animation system in Unity, so I don't know where your problem is.
I don't know what you mean with editing animations - you should do the animation with Blender, not Unity.
In Unity, you are going to blend them together or set triggers or what ever, but you shoudn't do animations there.
(Its possible, but that shouldn't be the way to do it.)

What do you mean no start-up aid? You didn't saw one of the many examples in the Asset store did you?

Do you think you are able to keep your work for 2 years up?

I want to code an remake or a new version of this great series - so if enough people are helping me, sure, why not?
You know how great the series is and what crappy things happened in the past.
And yes, I could say that I want to develop it for the community and for me - and even this could be a possible entry in the game industry for me.

I think you really need to understand whats possible with Unity and how easy it is - if you can't handle it,
you probably should view some videos about it.



Update:

Please look deeper into Unity - and write me if you have enough time to understand how Unity is working.
What you wrote says already much about your experience with Unity.



And of course, there is git. This shows me that you didnt know Unity - and the possibilities.

Profiling is in the Pro Version. (Maybe the framedebugger or other new things are in Unity 5)
What do you mean with very bad editor material? Do you think you get the best resources for free?
Cutscene editor ? - You do it directley in the editor
Terrain editor? - Did you really wrote it? I think you need to know where terrain is going to be modeled ...
Of course, there are a physic editor - just a weak one (Maybe there is one at the store?).
But why do you need complex meshes? Baaad performance. If you think its needed for the rigid body, yes, there is a inbuilt solution for it.
Or you could place your shapes as you like.
Just use simple ones, or even convex if you need it. ( This is common the recommended way to handle physic shapes)
For our needs, we have everything we need.

I think you expect a tripple A game from independent unpaid developers without any budget hows going to spend their free time for this project.
But this is not going to happen. So we need no Direct X 12 for our effects. Why should we use it? What are the benefits of it? We dont have any shader which
could use it. Yees tesselation is possible, but thats with Dx11 or OpenGL 3 or 4. And again - we dont have any budget. So we don't have the next
tripple A game within a few months ready. This should be a longterm project of the community for the community, so everybody have it's benefits of it.

Update 2:

Ahh just googled for it 1 minute, look here for your AI behaviour tree, even with much more features: (Okay, its expensive, and per seat)
But its just for you to get the point - many things are in the store. Just grab what you need.
https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/368 Or generally this: https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/search/behaviour

Or this for editing game data - just for a few bugs today. ( Yes this is easy to code, and I won't spend money for this )
https://www.assetstore.unity3d.com/en/#!/content/18480

[Updated on: Mon, 09 March 2015 20:09]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339974 is a reply to message #339972] Mon, 09 March 2015 20:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Q:Terrain editor? - Did you really wrote it? I think you need to know where terrain is going to be modeled ...
A: If we are going to create a map in 3ds or other editors that will succeed in 7.62 and brigade E5. Will not be easy to edit cards in JAF or ja2 . this is worth remembering. Therefore it is necessary to design future maps and the possibility of their creation on the tools engine.

Q:Of course, there are a physic editor - just a weak one (Maybe there is one at the store?).
A: May be there happy but I'm not sure that it will work in the new version of unity. happy

Q:I think you expect a tripple A game from independent unpaid developers without any budget hows going to spend their free time for this project.
But this is not going to happen. So we need no Direct X 12 for our effects. Why should we use it? What are the benefits of it? We dont have any shader which
could use it. Yees tesselation is possible, but thats with Dx11 or OpenGL 3 or 4. And again - we dont have any budget. So we don't have the next
tripple A game within a few months ready. This should be a longterm project of the community for the community, so everybody have it's benefits of it.

A:If we do for the community, then you need to get ahead. No one will finish low-grade project. We have the opportunity to start on a good engine.
If there are people willing to use the new features in our project, but they will not have the tools, they just pass by. UE4 provides all the tools for both beginners and professionals. If someone would be willing to use the API directX 12 as we will be able to use it in unity? =(

Q:Update 2:
A: in ue4 it's free and immediately. ;)


ps I want someone who will be able to translate my thoughts in English language. I'll try in the near future to find such a person =)
ps2 I think that we need to look at all the pros cons of Unity and UE4 visually. happy write them here


Q:Do you think you are able to keep your work for 2 years up?
A: Yes! happy This is my hobby. I have been working on the modding. I like something new.
I have a job and a decent income. Have a family.

Q:I don't have any problems with the animation system in Unity, so I don't know where your problem is.
I don't know what you mean with editing animations - you should do the animation with Blender, not Unity.
In Unity, you are going to blend them together or set triggers or what ever, but you shoudn't do animations there.
(Its possible, but that shouldn't be the way to do it.)
A: here is a small example


[Updated on: Mon, 09 March 2015 22:45]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339976 is a reply to message #339974] Mon, 09 March 2015 22:55 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jaanberq
Messages:3
Registered:March 2015
hello again,

still you are thinking about big projects ( fully re-making a game etc.) Making a small demonstration can be a small sprite in the bombshell. And my choice would be UE4 as i mentioned before because its free and blueprints.

If this kind of project starts with unity it will force people to go pro license for working together. Not everyone can pay 75$/month. You can achieve a groupwork in github and ue4 for free.

Lots of new modder can support then.


Yes UE4 is heavy but it depends on the the quailty of items u use in the project. For example if you use 2rd person or FPS item models in a top down strategy game then you will have lots of high poly and high res textures on the scene.

Solution is very simple, use low poly models and low res textures. game calculations don't use that much memory.

Also you don't need to code too much in c++. 90% percent of the project can be made in blueprints. For networking or oher deep modifiying stuff may need c++. Other than everyone can add lots of options with blueprints.

Unity have a rich marketplace ofc. But you dont need that much models or animations at start. Even with starter content a prototype game can be prepared. (dummy models, dummy HUD, dummy animations and etc.)
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339988 is a reply to message #339776] Tue, 10 March 2015 13:02 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
First an answer to jaanberg:
I would like to show a demo but we are at the basics - or not even that far. We need to decide which engine we want to use.
For the license issues: I don't know if we get one, or if we need a (or per seat) license of Unity Pro.
If we need it, I would definatley go with Unreal.

Unreal is way to overpowered, and we need much time to control the beast. If only a few people try to do this
(maybe the core developers) it would be nice. I know how to deal with low res and high res models / textures - but
this can handle Unity too. ( And yes, there are LOD , mipmaps, mipmaps bla bla for it, with Unity its almost one click to change
all settings for it)

I would love to code much in C++, C++ this is the main argument for Unreal for me.
If there is only - scripting with the Blueprints - I´ll leave it to someone else.

As I saw it in the documentation of Unreal - the blueprint should be used by designers who doesn't need to know much about coding.
I don't want to spend my time to learn a propertary script language, so I won't help there.
If I need to learn it, I guess there 2 options: 1. learn it. 2. leave this work to another people
But... blueprints is maybe the future of rapid game developing, Crytek uses a node based system (similar to blueprints I guess. )


----------------------------------


Okay - two people (maybe syrop too from the Jagged Alliance Flashback forum) wants to use Unreal.
Lets think about it:

Since I really don't have any worth to say experience with Unreal, lets find someone how have experience with
Unity and Unreal for serval months.... oh look here: (Yes, its maybe 8 months old, but I think you should read it too)

http://forum.unity3d.com/threads/why-unity-5-0-is-still-a-good-deal.235219/page-2#post-1562646
Hm.. it seems Unreal uses a garbage collection too.



And of course, a real comperation of Unity vs Unreal isn't possible.
Unreal is a complete game engine, Unity is a sort of engine. It misses some parts - and it handle things different.
But the fact is that Unity have a big community (maybe the biggest) - an Asset Store where you can find almost everything at a low price.
In the forum of Unity, there are soooo many questions with answers - so the chance to find an answer or get a respond is much higher than in Unreals forum.

But I think I should try Unreal for a week to get to know how things are working.

What are your experience with Unreal ?

I´m just an absolute newbie with it - so it takes time to learn it.
So you don't even used Unity yet? Let's make a deal - we both have to learn both engines, so we can say more about our experiences with it.
( And yes - Unreal have much more settings / powerful tools / whatever, but do we really need them? I'm not convinced yet.
(I don't want to hear something about the blueprints - you already told it))


Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339991 is a reply to message #339988] Tue, 10 March 2015 14:36 Go to previous messageGo to next message
jaanberq
Messages:3
Registered:March 2015
You are right about trying the other option. Will install unity 5 till this weekend. Wanna see how it works.
Btw your answers are mostly personal. i was saying blueprints and ue4 are easier not because of me. it is easier to adapt for a new user.
For example i am not a coder. And making 3d models as hobby. Not an artist and my real job is mechanical engineering. tried ue4 and understood the blueprint sytem very quickly. Right now i have some ideas about a flexible grid based inventory system which can be made in ue4 blueprints. i dont have to code it. There are lots of users like me.

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #339998 is a reply to message #339991] Tue, 10 March 2015 17:56 Go to previous messageGo to next message
sxdemon

 
Messages:22
Registered:January 2015
Location: Russia
Hi ! ))
Q:So you don't even used Unity yet?
A: I started to learn unity , when did the map with the help of, JAF editor. Studied import models in FBX, can show the finished model and prefabs for JAF. Tried to do the animation for JAF, well, a bit of coding, at a basic level, using tutorials happy

Q:What are your experience with Unreal ?
A: Not big. I study it. I like it)) In unity for me a little harder. We do not have in Russia such support unity. But the support is Unreal we are growing very quickly. For the Russians offer to translate all documentation from the developers. here's what they write ))
Quote:
Tim Sweeney
Since we have a lot of Russian-speaking developers in this thread, please tell us: What else (besides fixing our broken web site!) should we doing to make UE4 more accessible for you? Are the English language documentation and videos useful, or should we be localizing them? Should we be localizing the Unreal Editor UI? Should we be setting up more of Russian language forums, or do you already go elsewhere for discussins?


Q:Let's make a deal - we both have to learn both engines, so we can say more about our experiences with it.
A: Good idea. I will try to find people who I can help in Russian. happy

upd: open source
Pipe Generation System
from Russia ;) for UE4 https://forums.unrealengine.com/showthread.php?62187-Pipe-Generation-System

[Updated on: Tue, 10 March 2015 18:01]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #340016 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 11 March 2015 13:08 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
@jaanberg:
"Btw your answers are mostly personal." -> Yes, I see me as one of the main developers.
Visual coding is a good start to help - but you also need the "basic" understanding how things are going to be done.
But it's way easier to learn it as I thought it would be more like scripting (like in the old UDK which I tested a year or two years ago)
So just drag and drop the things you like, and connect them together.

So I just found this incredible video tutorial series for Unreal:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZlv_N0_O1gaCL2XjKluO7N2Pmmw9pvhE

Just watching it right now..

[Updated on: Wed, 11 March 2015 13:09]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #340020 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 11 March 2015 17:11 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
So I just watched 6 hour of tutorial videos about the Unreal Engine.
- And there are many many more hours to watch at youtube from the official channel.

Here are my experience so far:
- Blueprints are very powerful, easy to handle, and almost anybody can handle it if they know how to use them.
( Yes, there are similar system in Unity - called prefabs, and other stuff where you need to spend money for it)
So no real scripting / coding skills needed, just a "deep thought behind edges" - and understanding how things could work.
- Example: The trigger volume - events which was going to send - or something similar.

I don't know if Unreal changed the system while using C++ coding for a project, but in the videos,
they show that you need to compile the whole editor first - after the first complete compile, only the affected classes.
If you change something in a class, you need to quit the editor and recompile the class ( much faster at this time ).

I think they changed it, because this is one of the stupidest thing I´ve ever seen yet.
( I really think its possible (and they changed it to this) to compile only the affected C++ code inside Unreal, so you don't have to restart the whole editor
each time you change a line of code.)

Unity handles it way better, you just need to compile the affected class - and you are able to use edit and continue.
Or even at runtime you are able to change the code - recompile it (on the fly),
and just resume the game and get the results of the new code changes.

Compiling the code is slowly - incredible,incredible,incredible slowly compared to Unity. (Yes, it's C++ and need to be compiled)

In my opinion, some materials looks very ugly and for me even more unrealistic.
Let's look at the chairs, they seem more to be plastic or a kind of cell-shading than normal to me. I think this could be the goal of the chair shaders.
And everything have a strong blooming effect - very annoying for me, unneccessary blur (not due to the bad 720p quality) etc. I think this is easy to disable.

But the editor itself looks pretty good, overpowered of course, but it need some strong man to handle this beast big grin
Unity does offers something like personas btw.

It seems to me, if we code in C++ with Unreal, it takes much more time than coding in C# with Unity.
Not because the pointer (which is actually ref counted - so there is a garbage collector behind it) but because the big overhead of macros needed for the editor.

Saving and compiling takes much time for me - more time I just thought about an AAAA engine.
Unity is way way way way way better and faster here.

But Unreal have it's benefits of course.
I'm just trying to collect them.

But I´m not done with the tutorial videos - this is just my experiences so far.








[Updated on: Wed, 11 March 2015 17:12]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #340021 is a reply to message #339776] Wed, 11 March 2015 18:05 Go to previous messageGo to next message
SceenOfDeath

 
Messages:28
Registered:December 2007
Location: Germany
Ah just found this here:

Turn based Strategy - Template, released yesterday. (Within the epic launcher)

I didn't test it yet, but I think its easy to use it and to modify.

But this remembers me at what point we are: Everybody is able to download it and just say: Hey, look what I´ve done so far. Just drag and drop the files into the editor.
Just everybody can do something like this. No skills needed. It's ridiculous.

[Updated on: Wed, 11 March 2015 18:11]

Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #340038 is a reply to message #340021] Thu, 12 March 2015 16:35 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Mauser

 
Messages:797
Registered:August 2006
Location: Bavaria - Germany
Alright guys, as someone who probably isn't going to be able to contribute that much to this project, i just want to say this:

The keys to success of this project are the long term commitment of the core coders and dev team and the number of the misc contributors and content creators.

There are many factors to consider for the choice of best engine as base of this project. But the most important by far are:
- how easily accessible and learnable the engine and its tools are, especiually for newbies
- how big the worldwide user base of that engine is, which mostly depends on how accessible it is and how much it costs to use
- how many needed assets (graphics, animations) are readily available for free or can be borrowed and adapted from other sources - the more assets are readily avalable for use, the less contributors are needed to create custom assets in the end
- how powerful and easy to use the available editors are or will be for modders in the forseeable future
- how many people or communities are trying to create something similar on that engine or might try so in the near future, possibly sharing experience and assets with this project. The general popularity of the respective engine in the global modding and indie communities is gonna be VERY important in the long run.
- how modular is the engine concerning things like AI creation and similar important components
- how many third party solutions are or gonna be available, how open is the engine in these regards?

I urge you to consider these basic and long term factors and scrutinize the respective engines thoroughly for their potential in these regards.
because if this project is ever to be finsihed, contributions from a rather large number of people are going to be needed over time, which in turn all need to be provided with the tools and means to commit their time and manpower efficiently. As a game developer and producer, one of the main challenges is, to lower or remove the hurdles for the rest of the team and make everyone work together as efficiently as possible, in order to save on time and money. Even if both are not really a factor here - yet. And the right choice of engine will already take care of quite a huge part of that, including future problems.

Also, considering the scope and projected timeframe of this project, testing out every engine thoroughly for a month or two before making the decision may be quite reasonable.

So always consider that it is not only YOU who need to familiarize themselves with a engine and its tools, but also a lot of other people. The lower the hurdles for that are, the easier it will be for others to contribute, especially if they have to learn all from scratch. So the potential power of an engine is really of no concern here, but accessibility and popularity is! Just imagine the Bearspitters here having to learn to use that engine just like you do, or at least parts thereof.

Both engines will be upgraded and expanded in the years to come, both will built a community of users and fans over time. Which one is going to most likely built the bigger following, providing the largest asset pool with possible solutions to the problems this project will likely face? Which one is more likely to provide the needed support free of charge?

There is no perfect engine, that i know. But you'll have to weigh the pros and cons of those two very carefully, as well as the possibility of more alternatives becoming available in the near future.

☆★GL★☆
Re: Open Source - The future of Flashback - or the future of a new game[message #340043 is a reply to message #340038] Fri, 13 March 2015 03:25 Go to previous messageGo to previous message
Unusually Ruthless
Messages:1
Registered:March 2015
I absolutely love this idea and it's been on my mind for a couple of years now. A few thoughts:
-Make basic engine work. I think we have all the design needed in 1.13 mod, so it's just about writing the code for unity
-Design new story and characters and ditch the franchise. I think these poor mercenaries have been sold out already.
-Follow Ja2 mechanics close enough and don't try to invent too much new.
-Decide how to coordinate the project. GitHub is great for version control, but what about the blueprints for story and characters? Someone needs to take the lead on the content development, but most of it can be written as "fan fiction".

Basic sketch on the content:
-Fictional setting inspired by the power struggle in Crimea / Eastern Ukraine. Self proclaimed "National Republic" has taken control, but in fear of larger conflict surrounding countries avoid direct warfare and hire mercenaries instead.
-Sectors with 7-8 towns.
-Your duty is not only to fight the self proclaimed republic, but to win the loyalty of the people by doing some small services and avoiding too much destruction and casualties.
-Money is earned by taking over these towns and keeping people happy. Sometimes you're requested to go on a special mission like a silent assassination to earn a bonus. Taking over factories and harbors will yield a significant increase in income.
-Mercenaries are hired from a pool of say 50 people and can be designed fairly independently. Some should have ties to the conflict area and some should have antipathies with each other. There could be for example some fairly decent fighter with difficult personality causing loss of moral to fellow combatants etc,
-Towns and their npc's could be designed fairly independently once the basic storyline is on the place.

Needless to say, I'm willing to contribute, but I have no experience on how this kind of writing should be coordinated.
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