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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 previous 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?




 
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