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lucius

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Everything posted by lucius

  1. Thanks for letting me know - fixed.
  2. Introduction Several years ago there was a project called the “XL Engine” which evolved from DarkXL with lofty ambitions. I personally hit some difficult times and never properly canceled the project, even if I couldn’t get back to it for a long time and didn’t really want to for a long time after that. Fast forward to today - time moves on and the XL Engine isn’t really necessary anymore - both Daggerfall and Blood have great projects that fill the niche the XL Engine wanted to fill (or close enough). But the Jedi Engine never had a proper source release or reverse-engineering effort. While many considered DarkXL to be a promising effort, it was incomplete and inaccurate in many ways. Ultimately the methods used to reproduce the game could never be 100% faithful in the ways that matter. And so The Force Engine was conceived as a complete re-write, rebuilt from the ground up with the following tenets: Support all Jedi based games - Dark Forces and Outlaws. Source-level accuracy by reverse-engineering the original executables. Focus on making sure the core games are completely supported before adding effects on top like dynamic lighting, this means starting with the software renderer just like the originals. Open sourcing the project the moment it goes public. Cross-platform support (though admittedly this last area still needs a lot of work before the first release). Multiplayer Support (coming later). I have been working on the project for a while now, planning on announcing it once a proper release was completed. However, I recently reconsidered that position and decided to announce it early in order to get testing and feedback without waiting until November (planned first proper release). What is the Force Engine? The Force Engine is a project to reverse engineer and rebuild the Jedi Engine for modern systems and the games that used that engine - Dark Forces and Outlaws. The project includes modern, built-in tools, such as a level editor and aims to make it easy to play Dark Forces and Outlaws on modern systems as well as the many community mods designed to work with the original games. Playing Dark Forces or Outlaws using the Force Engine adds ease of use and modern features such as higher resolutions and modern control schemes such as mouse-look. Using the built-in tools allows for easier modding with more modern UI, greater flexibility, and the ability to use enhancements made to the Jedi Engine for Outlaws in custom Dark Forces levels - such as slopes, stacked sectors, per-sector color maps and more. Website The main website for the project can be found here: https://theforceengine.github.io/ From there you can check out the GitHub repository, forums, screenshots, and the development blog. There is a test build available, but only for Win64 (Windows 7+), though 32 bit and Linux support are planned for the proper release. What is the current state of the project? The project is in a pre-release state. While it shares a legacy with DarkXL, it is a complete rewrite - rebuilt from the ground up with a much greater focus on accuracy. It is much more focused than the XL Engine, focused on being a Jedi Engine replacement/port only - thus full support for Dark Forces and Outlaws. Please check the Roadmap: https://theforceengine.github.io/Roadmap.html for more information on the release timetable and planned feature-set. It is somewhat conservative - there is a decent chance that the release will be earlier. A lot of the framework for the first release has been implemented but the majority of the focus is currently on the reverse engineering effort. What that means is that this version is incomplete, some elements are still inaccurate and others missing (such as enemy AI). The reason is simple - these elements will be filled in and/or corrected based on the reverse engineering work that is currently underway (and has been for some time). That means that no non-Windows build system is in place (and it is unlikely buildable on anything but Windows at the moment anyway). It also means that high-resolution software rendering is slow but that will be corrected within the next few months. The project will be properly released once Dark Forces support is complete (full INF, iMuse, all cutscenes, full AI, etc.) and Outlaws support is at “tech demo” status - mainly so that the new Jedi Engine features are in-place even if Outlaws gameplay code is not yet ready. Note that pull requests are very unlikely to be accepted until release because the code and even structure will change drastically as the reverse-engineered code is ported from Dark Forces and Outlaws and refactored. Any available builds are for testing only and are not useful as a DosBox/Dark.exe replacement. Current Build (0.01.003) The current build contains a preview of the tools and level editor (though none of these are useful for more than viewing at the moment) and runs Dark Forces in a limited capacity. Here is what is currently working (and not working): All INF is working in the base levels (including areas where DarkXL struggled). All levels are completable, though you will have to crouch jump to grab some items due to a collision bug. AI is not functional, but you can kill enemies. Enemies will drop the required items and killing bosses will have the correct effect. This is why the levels can be completed. Only the Bryar Pistol and Thermal detonator weapons work. There is infinite ammo. But exploding walls work correctly. Basic midi music works - but no dynamic iMuse. Movement, collision, etc. work but are not yet DOS accurate. The ESC menu works but most options do not (Abort/Next mission, Exit). Some sound effects are missing. Controls are not rebindable (the build comes with a readme that lists controls). Screenshots
  3. It's about time to post another update regarding the progress towards the Classic Renderer Release. RE = fully reverse-engineered and ported to the engine. Task List The following task list shows the items required for the release. The biggest remaining items are Object/Sector assignment and RE Object 3D rendering. Once those are complete the remaining tasks will be completed quickly. The release is still on track for this month. Also note that the reverse engineering efforts touch many systems in the DOS exe, so this work is also laying the foundation for the rest of the reverse-engineering effort, accelerating this project towards release. . . . . Read the post here: https://theforceengine.github.io/2020/07/08/ClassicRendererProgress2.html
  4. Just remember that the current release is a "Test Release" - while it is possible to "play" through the game the AI just stands around (killable but no challenge) and the player movement/collision is a placeholder and not correct yet. The next planned build will be the "Classic Renderer" release, which should complete the Classic Renderer (reverse-engineering complete on that portion). And then I can focus on gameplay elements.
  5. I have posted a new blog post which talks about the classic renderer progress. Work on the reverse-engineering effort has been progressing well. The sector rendering portion is almost complete with some more work in the next few weeks on sprites and 3d objects. The goal of this effort is to finish the Classic Renderer (for Dark Forces) and have all levels and mods render correctly - except for issues caused by missing gameplay elements (caused by INF bugs or lack of AI). . . . Read the full post here: Blog Post As you can see from the blog post, I decided to put together a side-by-side image of the Classic Renderer and DosBox in an area that the current test build is least accurate - low light conditions. The views aren't perfectly lined up and there is a slight amount of distortion in The Force Engine version due to Photoshop resizing, but it shows the accuracy well:
  6. Pre-Release Build Version 0.01.006; Win64 has been released. Download https://theforceengine.github.io/downloads.html Changes: Fixes a “freeze” in “Prelude to Harkov’s Defection” when shooting at certain walls. Fixes hardcoded GOG game source data paths for Dark Forces. Fixes Steam game source data paths for Outlaws. Outlaws paths are always filled out now if possible, though only Dark Forces is playable. Now uses the registry to find Steam and GOG game paths, making auto-detecting the game data much more robust - similar to Doom ports like ZDoom and Chocolate Doom. This is another small "quality of life" release that fixes a freeze in at least one mod when shooting and makes auto-detecting source game data much more robust.
  7. I have posted a new blog post regarding the upcoming Upcoming DF Classic Renderer Release and some information about what comes next once that release has been finalized. Let me know if you have any comments or questions. :)
  8. Thanks CyberDreams. :) You can purchase a digital copy of the games on Steam and GOG, which are the easiest and cheapest ways of playing.
  9. Pre-Release Build Version 0.01.005; Win64 has been released. Downloads Changes: PrintScreen will now take screenshots that will be saved in the /Documents/Screenshots/ folder. The “Configure” menu option now opens up configuration menus. Game paths can now be set in the application in the “Game” configuration menu. A few graphics settings such as resolution, Fullscreen/windowed can be set in the Graphics menu. “Custom” is available as a resolution choice, which provides additional UI to manually set the desired resolution. About tells you the Build version and provides useful links. This is a minor "quality of life" update but a much larger update is coming in the next few weeks that will make the game rendering even more accurate, such as better light falloff in some levels. The coming renderer update will make the renderer functionally identical to the Dos version - including bugs (in 320x200 anyway) and add support for widescreen. There may be additional minor updates beforehand however.
  10. The PSX conversion was pretty poor and unlike Doom on PSX, it didn't really add anything. So I'm not currently planning on dealing with the PSX version. However, I am planning on supporting some of the assets from the MAC version (such as higher resolution HUD). But ultimately The Force Engine is based on the DOS version of Dark Forces and Windows version (only version?) of Outlaws - at least for now.
  11. I mentioned this in previous responses but 1) emulator-like "save states" will be available in a future build - allowing for quicksaves while keeping the original system in place and 2) hardware rendering will be supported before the first proper release with all the usual texture filtering options (bilinear, mipmaps, anisotropic, etc. in addition to point sampling).
  12. When you create a new level, you will get to choose which format you want to use. At this point, it will warn you of the consequences. In other words, you won't be able to use new (level) features without using the newer level format. The Force Engine "Classic" mode will give you the "Chocolate Doom" effect - the original software renderer, behaviors, etc.. But from there you can enable features one by one until you get the right mix of "Classic" and modern that you are looking for.
  13. Sort of. The version of the engine used in Dark Forces is similar to Build [ but less janky :)- ] - each sector is distinct and connected through portals to other sectors (called "adjoins"). Because of this, sectors can be layered on top of each other, you can have spiral staircases or different levels. Using INF, adjoins can be changed dynamically, allowing an elevator to go between floors in a multi-level structure, for example. To avoid overlapping sectors from getting too confusing, sectors are assigned a "layer" - and only the current layer is shown on the automap. The level editor uses these same layers to show the current layer and "lower" layers are faded wireframes to avoid getting in the way visually. The second method Dark Forces has of supporting multiple levels, such as bridges you can pass under or walk on top of, is by using two additional features: * 3D models (affine textured, but flat floor-like sections can instead use the same texture technic as the sectors, making them look the same). * Second sector height. The way this works is that the 3D model of a bridge or object is rendered such that the top of the object matches the sector's second height. And then if the player is below the second height, that is treated as the ceiling for collision and if the player is above it is treated as the floor. So these 3D bridges have player collision both from beneath and on top, giving you two levels to work with. The level editor in the current build renders this correctly now. Finally, the Outlaws version of the Jedi Engine added new features (relevant 2 listed): * Vertical Adjoins * Double Adjoins Basically vertical adjoins can connect sectors vertically through the floor/ceiling (but vertices must match XZ positions) - this is how swimmable water is done. However, each sector can only have a single vertical adjoin. Double adjoins allow a single wall to connect to two sectors instead of one allowing for true "room over room" effects. These are also commonly used in Outlaws to build furniture, like tables, shelves, and 3D railings out of sectors. But this is also used for room over room effects as well as you might see in late Build engine games - but it's built into the engine instead of being done through game code or using multiple rendering passes. And it is used all over the place in Outlaws, so it has to be efficient. :) The level editor does not yet support Outlaws features but it will before the proper first release. In addition, I plan on supporting both the Dark Forces and Outlaws level formats for Dark Forces modding - which means (if you use the newer format) that you get the enhanced Jedi features such as slopes, vertical adjoins, double adjoins, per-sector colormap, floor and ceiling overlays, etc. with new Dark Forces mods. Of course, if you do this than the mod will no longer be vanilla compatible.
  14. (Edit: Sorry the Quote started acting really weird so I deleted it). @MikeyScoots I'm not really looking for help at the moment. However I am planning on integrating asset and level editor tools, you can see early versions of them in the build (and screenshots). If you have suggestions for things that can make level editing easier or modding better or just tools you really like, please let me know. :) And of course, testing out the tools when they become more functional would be great. Right now, however, my primary focus is on the reverse-engineering work and getting Dark Forces functionally complete. But I will certainly post about it when there are updates to the tools (and of course other updates as well). Thanks for the kind offer.
  15. I knew someone ask about Jedi Knight eventually. :) The Jedi/Sith engines do share some formats and functionality but are also very different at their core. So, I'm not sure yet - I want to focus on finishing Dark Forces and Outlaws first and avoid feature creep. But I did intentionally pick a project name so that supporting both the Jedi and Sith engines would make sense. :)- It currently doesn't work yet but the plan is to directly load mods from their zip files. The idea is that you will be able to put all your mods in a directory and then load the one you want to play through the in-app menu. So it will be super-easy. :D And finally, save games . . . The original checkpoint/save system will be used as-is. However, I am planning on adding a "save state" system, as you find in a modern emulator, in order to get proper save game functionality if you want to use it while keeping the original system in place. This will also be useful for dealing with bugs since I can have people send me a save state where it happens.
  16. It does not yet support Outlaws, I'm still working through Dark Forces. Some of the Outlaws formats are viewable by the Asset Editor but levels aren't loading yet. The website (https://theforceengine.github.io/) has a conservative Roadmap that outlines when Dark Forces and Outlaws become properly playable (and various other things, like tools, multiplayer, etc.) Oh and I'm doing great now. :D
  17. Great, I'm glad you got it working. If you haven't already, please view the readme for information about what is contained in the build and the controls. The different "profiles" on the Agent screen have different levels open - I think James has all of them if you want to check any out without having to play* through them all first. You can also change the internal resolution in the INI file (/Documents/TheForceEngine/settings.ini) if you want to check out higher resolutions. Also F11 for full-screen and you can drag the window to change its size. * As much as you can "play" when the enemies don't move or fight back. :)-
  18. Yes, rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated. But I did drop out for quite a while due to personal reasons. Ultimately I started this project a few months ago after re-evaluating what I wanted to do with the XL Engine/DarkXL, etc..
  19. Actually basic controller input is already in - though it is currently not used by the game code. That said, proper support and mapping is planned.
  20. The Force Engine uses the original game data files. You should install the games as normal. If it is a Steam installation then it will be automatically detected if Steam is installed at the default location. Either way, run the TFE executable and then hit Start in the menu. If it can't find the game data, it will pop up instructions regarding the INI file to edit. Unfortunately, this is a "pre-release" build, so you will have to go and manually edit the INI file with the game data path and restart the application. In the future, this will be streamlined and all done through the in-app UI. At the moment only Dark Forces is supported. Please see the Readme that comes with the build for more information.
  21. As I mentioned in the reply, I am planning on adding those features - after focusing on the core. Hardware support is coming though. :) Also the current build already supports high-resolution rendering (though you have to change it manually in the ini file).
  22. Currently, the focus is on the "Classic" Software Renderer (aka the renderer based on the DOS code) but there are plans for a "Perspective" software renderer (i.e. look up and down without the shearing effect) and matching "Classic" and "Perspective" hardware renderers with filtering options (mipmaps, anisotropic filtering, etc). The plan is to support proper widescreen and various other enhancements as well as options once the core is more complete.
  23. lucius

    Mocha Doom TrueColor teaser...

    The number of colormaps used will affect the banding. Using 32 light levels with true color colormaps should give you the banding without the color distortion found in 8 bit mode.
  24. lucius

    Programming Project - TurokEX

    I wish you well on this project, it seems very interesting. :) Turok was a good game back in the day, in fact my only real gripe with it was the excessive fog. So a version of the game with less fog (at least in some directions) will be quite nice.
  25. lucius

    Blood - Possibility of a Source Port

    Of course, those plans haven't changed. :) You'll see the first release with Outlaws support in about a month. From there it's not a long stretch to Beta.
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