Amazon released a game engine

Pedro

Admiral
Hey you modders. What is the ideal game engine for making Wing Commander mods? I always see the Freespace open engine being used but wouldn't something like unreal 4 be better? Just curious. I don't have any skills in this department.

Depends on your programming skills. Freespace is already open source, but for my money WCSaga still doesn't *feel* like Wing Commander, but rather Freespace with a Wing Commander skin.

Prophecy has limitations, and isn't much to look at it - but it is authentic.

I've not gone hands on with amazons new engine. Discussing it as I was told about it (can anyone confirm) whilst it's largely CryEngine under the hood the gameplay side of code is a component based system (increasingly the standard). Without playing around with it it's difficult to estimate the overheads.

Unity is absurdly and unforgivably slow, but less so on PC and not so much that you can't recreate a 20 year old experience (they just remade Homeworld in it). It uses the same geomerics graphics tech as Unreal, the same physics engine, but is generally quicker to prototype in. The personal edition is free.

As AD says, the advantage of the third party engines is their ability to be turned to almost any genre, so if not a space combat game that's the obvious choice.

For space combat - knocking out a proof of concept is easy in any engine, but the time you'll spend recreating fundamental wing commander requirements, mission flow, AI - I'm not sure it's worth it.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
For space combat - knocking out a proof of concept is easy in any engine, but the time you'll spend recreating fundamental wing commander requirements, mission flow, AI - I'm not sure it's worth it.
Exactly this. Adopting a new engine, like Unity or Unreal is great in terms of bringing the WC experience up to date. But the time investment needed to make a raw engine into an actual WC game - well, that's a whole different story. Probably the AI is the most daunting element by far - amateur AI programmers don't exactly grow on trees.

Regarding engines that have already been tried and tested for WC, I'm very much torn between Prophecy and Freespace. Clearly, Freespace's opensourciness is a big advantage, and provides so many possibilities for the future. But even there, a lot of work would be needed to make it feel like Wing Commander. Plus, there's also a bit of an irrational "ick" factor to using Freespace. It just feels a bit adulterous to re-create Wing Commander in a rival engine :).
 

Pedro

Admiral
Exactly this. Adopting a new engine, like Unity or Unreal is great in terms of bringing the WC experience up to date. But the time investment needed to make a raw engine into an actual WC game - well, that's a whole different story. Probably the AI is the most daunting element by far - amateur AI programmers don't exactly grow on trees.

*insert AI behavior tree joke here*
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Unity is absurdly and unforgivably slow, but less so on PC and not so much that you can't recreate a 20 year old experience (they just remade Homeworld in it). It uses the same geomerics graphics tech as Unreal, the same physics engine, but is generally quicker to prototype in. The personal edition is free.

Results I have seen from Unity 5 are much better. Take a look at Cities Skylines. Kerbal Space Program too is getting a major update to the new engine in the near future, It will be nice to see how much performance is improved. Apparently it must be fast enough for them to be working on a console PS4 release.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Results I have seen from Unity 5 are much better. Take a look at Cities Skylines. Kerbal Space Program too is getting a major update to the new engine in the near future, It will be nice to see how much performance is improved. Apparently it must be fast enough for them to be working on a console PS4 release.

Kerbal Space Program is not a game where there should ever have even been any in doubt as to whether a PS4 version was possible. That said performance on that system is particularly poor and I think you'll see developers pulling away from Unity for PS4 releases. PC and XBox one are another story - I can assure you Cities Skylines heading to XBox one first is no accident, it may never head to PS4. Again as impressive as the draw distances are though, it's not a title that should be pushing the CPU - I think the poor multi-core utilization is not an issue they're not going to solve soon.

Incidentally I've only just noticed EA has been releasing some source code of late, including the EA STL
http://gpl.ea.com/
Any chance this may get extended to Wing Commander? That would certainly put to bed the question of the best option for modders.
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
Hey you modders. What is the ideal game engine for making Wing Commander mods? I always see the Freespace open engine being used but wouldn't something like unreal 4 be better? Just curious. I don't have any skills in this department.

Not sure there is such a beast, and I'm sure we all have differing opinions. But I will go out on a limb and say that for a tactical fleet sim, its hard to beat Home World .
For a space sim, I think its best to stay as true to the source as you can; so for me this means using an original engine warts and all. I loved Saga, so don't misconstrue what I'm about to say as a knock on their work which is outstanding, but the thing that got me about it was that it was on rails. FS2 was designed to tell a sweeping space opera and as such it didn't need a mechanic for branching mission trees. Its actually oddly common for its contemporaries, the Xwing series and the Star Trek Academy series were also on rails. Wing Commander grew up as a choose-your-own-adventure, and while it gives you a narrow box to play in, the player literally determines the fate of the game. So when you remove that element you rob the game of something fundamental and largely unique to the franchise IMO. Plus, the more I tinker with Vision, the more I see there's a bunch of untapped potential. Further, building a tool like FRED isn't beyond this community's abilities based on what I see here; so I choose to believe there's life in the old girl yet.
 
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wcnut

Rear Admiral
Kerbal Space Program is not a game where there should ever have even been any in doubt as to whether a PS4 version was possible.
I don't know, the physics simulations are rather cpu intensive. I have a 6 year old intel core i7 duo. I wouldn't say it runs all that fantastically, especially when there are a lot of parts floating around. Of course this is Unity4.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I don't know, the physics simulations are rather cpu intensive. I have a 6 year old intel core i7 duo. I wouldn't say it runs all that fantastically, especially when there are a lot of parts floating around. Of course this is Unity4.

I never claimed it ran well on PC, it's a matter of degree. Those physics simulations *shouldn't* be intensive, not when you compare what is being achieved with other engines.
Systems like the PS4 suffer from poor C# performance, this is on top of the poor physics with strange explained gaps in a given profile, and the poor multi-threading.

When I ask myself if something is acceptable for the current generation of hardware I do not compare against Unity titles, and unless I become an indie developer I won't any time soon either.

It's also worth noting that the physics engine and graphics technology are the same as used by competitors like Unreal, and also available as middleware for developers to use in custom engines.
 
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Mancubus

Rear Admiral
[QUOTE FS2 was designed to tell a sweeping space opera and as such it didn't need a mechanic for branching mission trees. Its actually oddly common for its contemporaries, the Xwing series and the Star Trek Academy series were also on rails. Wing Commander grew up as a choose-your-own-adventure, and while it gives you a narrow box to play in, the player literally determines the fate of the game. So when you remove that element you rob the game of something fundamental and largely unique to the franchise IMO. Plus, the more I tinker with Vision, the more I see there's a bunch of untapped potential. Further, building a tool like FRED isn't beyond this community's abilities based on what I see here; so I choose to believe there's life in the old girl yet.[/QUOTE]

The truth is that Saga went on rails as a design choice, not engine limitation. Freespace 2 engine had from the beginning a built in branching system (that sadly was never used in the game itself), And FSO project actually expanded on it. There were some projects that used it, but the Saga team chose not to for whatever reason
 

Mindcrime

Commodore
A remake of WC1 with everything copied over and intact minus the in flight mission parts(to be remade in vision engine) would be a dream come true for me.
 

DefianceIndustries

Rear Admiral
[QUOTE FS2 was designed to tell a sweeping space opera and as such it didn't need a mechanic for branching mission trees. Its actually oddly common for its contemporaries, the Xwing series and the Star Trek Academy series were also on rails. Wing Commander grew up as a choose-your-own-adventure, and while it gives you a narrow box to play in, the player literally determines the fate of the game. So when you remove that element you rob the game of something fundamental and largely unique to the franchise IMO. Plus, the more I tinker with Vision, the more I see there's a bunch of untapped potential. Further, building a tool like FRED isn't beyond this community's abilities based on what I see here; so I choose to believe there's life in the old girl yet.

The truth is that Saga went on rails as a design choice, not engine limitation. Freespace 2 engine had from the beginning a built in branching system (that sadly was never used in the game itself), And FSO project actually expanded on it. There were some projects that used it, but the Saga team chose not to for whatever reason[/QUOTE]

Interesting - I recall spending a great deal of time reading the hardlight forums and there were several questions about implementing it, but nobody had ever tried at the time. Certainly none of the mods I played utilized it (Diaspora/Saga).
 

Pedro

Admiral
A remake of WC1 with everything copied over and intact minus the in flight mission parts(to be remade in vision engine) would be a dream come true for me.

Oddly my dream would be the reverse; for someone to update the visuals to 3D, including the gameflow, conversations at the bar, etc, but loaded the original mission files into another engine.
 

Mindcrime

Commodore
Oddly my dream would be the reverse; for someone to update the visuals to 3D, including the gameflow, conversations at the bar, etc, but loaded the original mission files into another engine.
Thats funny lol. Yeah all the cut scenes and conversations still hold up for me. Its just the choppy gameplay that I can't handle anymore.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I'd rather love to see WC1 remade with those old 2d sprites re-created (with models resembling the originals as closely as possible) at a substantially higher resolution, to have sprite-based gameplay that holds up at high resolution without huge pixels all over the place. And maybe using invisible 3d models for collision trees, though I'm not sure if there's any chance that could work with capships. I do think, though, that the sprite-based gameflow is also a vital part of the charm. With 3D gameflow, it would be incredibly beautiful, but it would not be WC1.

In short: you're both wrong :D.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I'd rather love to see WC1 remade with those old 2d sprites re-created (with models resembling the originals as closely as possible) at a substantially higher resolution, to have sprite-based gameplay that holds up at high resolution without huge pixels all over the place. And maybe using invisible 3d models for collision trees, though I'm not sure if there's any chance that could work with capships. I do think, though, that the sprite-based gameflow is also a vital part of the charm. With 3D gameflow, it would be incredibly beautiful, but it would not be WC1.

In short: you're both wrong :D.

And this is why remakes so rarely work
 

Mancubus

Rear Admiral
Interesting - I recall spending a great deal of time reading the hardlight forums and there were several questions about implementing it, but nobody had ever tried at the time. Certainly none of the mods I played utilized it (Diaspora/Saga).
The last part of Blue Planet went on and used the system in a crazy way, Basically it would,nt allow for a classical loosing path with bad ending, but along the flow of campaign it allows for mission branching, as long as they finally connect to a single specific misson. FS2 Campaign used it to very limited extent in the skippable "secret ops" missions. Basically Standart Campaign editor allows for brancing to different missions depending on conditions during previous mission. FSO added campaign-presistent variables that could be modified in one mission and affect triggers in missons fruther down the line
 

Pedro

Admiral
Worked well for the Star Control II remake, (forget the 3d models, a proper 2D artist can do so much more for 2d sprites)


That is all Daemon Czanic's work, he posted here not too long ago with a bit of wing commander concept art
https://www.wcnews.com/chatzone/threads/wing-commander-re-imagined.26977/

My point is everyone has different ideals. As someone who joined the Wing Commander franchise late on I'd be more interested in remakes that bridged that visual gap rather than ones that attempted to conjure up nostalgic feelings of the 320*240 limited color palette originals.
Whilst I love the art style of those re-imagined fighters, I'd be more keen on something I could visual Mark Hamill climbing into on the hanger deck.

By far my favourite remake remains the Resident Evil Gamecube re-imaging, which maintained the gameplay (additions but not alterations) but when it came to the visuals the team forwent nostalgia and focused on creating a game that looked like it was made that year.
 
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wcnut

Rear Admiral
My concern would be it has all been done before, many times over, by people with a lot more money and ability then anything I could ever hope to achieve. We are already getting that with Star Citizen. However there isn't a single HD sprite based space sim (Wings of St Nazire aside which looks to me fairly dead :( ). It would be a great way to make something unique, visually distinctive, and with possibilities for quirky but lovable gameplay, which is all something you must have as a small party working on a project these days. In fact, anything that can make you stand out from the rest. Not to mention the smaller scope might be a more realistic goal for a small team to achieve and do well.
 
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Pedro

Admiral
My concern would be it has all been done before, many times over, by people with a lot more money and ability then anything I could ever hope to achieve. We are already getting that with Star Citizen. However there isn't a single HD sprite based space sim (Wings of St Nazire aside which looks to me fairly dead :( ). It would be a great way to make something unique, visually distinctive, and with possibilities for quirky but lovable gameplay, which is all something you must have as a small party working on a project these days. In fact, anything that can make you stand out from the rest. Not to mention the smaller scope might be a more realistic goal for a small team to achieve and do well.

Hadn't realised we were talking about a fan mod. If that's the dream you want to bring to life don't let me take the wind out of your sails. Whole point of a fan mod is to make what *you* want to see brought to life.
 
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