Author Topic: Episode 5: Standalone?  (Read 6434 times)

Offline Sslaxx

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Episode 5: Standalone?
« on: November 10, 2011, 11:30:23 AM »
So, I'm fairly sure that I've read around here that Episode 5 is standalone. Is this right?

If so, how does the engine for 5 differ from that used for 1-4? And is it going to be a prototype for Cognition?
Stuart "Sslaxx" Moore.

Offline Petter Holmberg

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2011, 03:23:51 PM »
Yeah, the plan is for Episode 5 to be implemented in the Unity engine. Episodes 1-4 are using a modified version of the now retired Torque Game Engine (TGE) 1.4, which was released way back in 2005.

For more info about features, you can go to http://unity3d.com/ and learn more. You can also download the free version of it and try it out for yourself to get a hands-on feeling for what it has to offer. I think the most noticeable difference will be better-looking graphics, with improved lighting and special effects. At a later time we will be able to go into more technical detail and show you what it will look like.

Episodes 1-4 takes place mainly on the Land of the Green Isles and are highly interconnected, revisiting the same scenes over and over. Episode 5 takes the story to new locations and this makes it technically a lot easier to switch engines. The upgrade is highly overdue and a necessary step for us to take it to the next level with commercial games, but it has not been possible to do so until now without further delaying the releases of TSL episodes.

I wouldn't call Episode 5 just a prototype for Cognition, we are developing both games using the same set of tools and I think they will benefit from each other. While the two will certainly look very different on the surface, beneath the hood there are many things that will be the same. Our new engine is much more versatile and will greatly improve our development pipeline, while allowing us to try out completely new gameplay elements. With each new episode of TSL there have been significant steps of technical improvements, but with episode 5 and Cognition you will see the greatest leap forward yet, and I think it's going to be very exciting!

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2011, 04:26:02 PM »
I'm aware what Unity is. I do hope that - once it is available (should be in 3.5 I believe) - you take advantage of the Linux runner option, because if you do you'll likely have one more customer in me.

How easy has things like porting assets (assuming you're reusing any from the Torque-powered 1-4) been?
Stuart "Sslaxx" Moore.

Offline snabbott

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2011, 05:47:06 PM »
Yeah - Torque has some serious limitations, some of which could probably be eliminated by upgrading to a newer version - but that would mean redoing a whole lot of customization of the engine. Unity is meant to work without the need to customize the engine.

The current version (w/ Ep4) doesn't crash nearly as much as when we released Ep3 - Aaron (Oldbushie) figured out that there was a limit on the number of simObjects (?) that could be created. He increased the limit, which fixed most of the crashing, but there are still huge memory and handle leaks. Hopefully none of that will be an issue with Unity. :)

Steve Abbott | Beta Tester | The Silver Lining

Offline fluxmaster

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2011, 10:37:09 AM »
This is great news!  Not so much because of the newer engine, but because we won't be carrying around all that overhead from the Green Isles.  If it results in fewer crashes or no crashes then I'll be happy.
The Fluxmaster

Offline PapaSmurf

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2012, 02:15:04 PM »
About this Unity engine thing, for Episode 5; are there any, or a lot of, compatibility issues between it and the Torque engine you've been using?  I'm kinda wondering if Episodes 1-4 might have even a small chance of working in Unity, or is that a long shot; with a lot of reprogramming, or whatever, to do?
PapaSmurf

Offline Sslaxx

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2012, 03:33:11 PM »
The assets (models, textures etc) may be compatible, but the code isn't. Phoenix would have to rewrite the whole thing from scratch.
Stuart "Sslaxx" Moore.

Offline wilco64256

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2012, 06:09:33 PM »
Even the models are incompatible, Torque reads a different model file type than Unity does so it'd be even more work to port those so it's extremely unlikely we'll ever do anything else with 1-4.
Weldon Hathaway

Offline fluxmaster

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2012, 09:21:43 PM »
Even the models are incompatible, Torque reads a different model file type than Unity does so it'd be even more work to port those so it's extremely unlikely we'll ever do anything else with 1-4.
Even if the model files are in different formats, they should still contain the same information, shouldn't they?  I mean, don't they both contain vertex coordinates, edge lists, face lists, colors, and textures?  In that case, if you know the exact file format of each, it should be relatively easy to write a small program to read the files in one format and write them in the other.  My own project reads files in various formats, since I haven't decided which format I want to use.  Or is one or both of the file formats proprietary?
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Offline wilco64256

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2012, 11:08:49 PM »
Even if the model files are in different formats, they should still contain the same information, shouldn't they?  I mean, don't they both contain vertex coordinates, edge lists, face lists, colors, and textures?  In that case, if you know the exact file format of each, it should be relatively easy to write a small program to read the files in one format and write them in the other.  My own project reads files in various formats, since I haven't decided which format I want to use.  Or is one or both of the file formats proprietary?

The model rigs have to be setup differently for Unity and have to contain significantly more information for the character animations than we did in Torque.  There wouldn't be any direct conversion possible unfortunately.
Weldon Hathaway

Offline PapaSmurf

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Re: Episode 5: Standalone?
« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2012, 04:26:36 PM »
I was just wondering about that; all the extra work which would be needed.
I remember "back in the day" (a legacy company) decided to rewrite their (entire spreadsheet) program in C++, which was originally written in "assembly" language; and it took awhile for them to do it.  I think their newer version was somewhat compatible with their older version, but both program versions were commercial.
Anyway, I'm waiting, patiently, for Episode 5, and whatever tomorrow brings.  Keep up the fantastic work!  Thanks, and--later!
PapaSmurf
 

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