Unknown Enemy Upgrade

Triple-B

Commodore
Hi,

I was just wondering what the progress is, on the UE Graphics Upgrade from the CIC's birthday anouncement.

:)

Thanks
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ummm... well...

Yeah, I've been planning to post something here for a while.

In terms of real progress, there hasn't been enough. That is to say, we have done some work on it, but we're pretty completely sure that we won't make it by UE's tenth anniversary as we wanted to.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
and what is your estimation on time, you still need?
I honestly have no idea.

Let me put it this way. In terms of the work that's needed, I could certainly get my part done in a couple of weeks, working in my spare time. Apart from me, the only one who needs to do anything is Pete, who doesn't need to do too much either (the big task for him is to fix up the launcher), and a couple of our testers will need to play it through.

So, there's not much at all to do. But there's a problem, you see. I'm currently working from home - which is a roundabout way of saying I don't have a full-time job at the moment, and I earn a living (not much of it :p) by doing various consulting jobs as a freelancer. It's not a comfortable situation, and the end result is that I don't have spare time for UE. Work and spare time melt together - I wind up wasting work hours, and then trying to catch up during what should be spare time. I absolutely cannot claim that I do not actually have time. I have plenty of it. But I'm finding it pretty tough adjusting to working at home, with all the distractions that come from that, and given the financial pressures - and consequently, I end up wasting lots of time.
 

capi3101

Rear Admiral
Depending on the work that needs to be done, 20 minutes a day is nothing. 20 minutes is just enough time to begin considering putting a discount brick through your computer after the umpteenth time the damn thing refuses to compile, usually over a missing semicolon. I know; I've done coding work myself...
 

PopsiclePete

Mission programmer
Hi. I've been very busy in the past weeks, I haven't progressed much. On my end I have to make a new launcher and hack the menu files and rooms and stuff to make them work in widescreen mode, package a few things. It shouldn't take too long once I get all the files from Quarto. I am sorry we couldn't make it as quickly as we originally intended, but I still want to do this.
 

Triple-B

Commodore
Hi. I've been very busy in the past weeks, I haven't progressed much. On my end I have to make a new launcher and hack the menu files and rooms and stuff to make them work in widescreen mode, package a few things. It shouldn't take too long once I get all the files from Quarto. I am sorry we couldn't make it as quickly as we originally intended, but I still want to do this.
I can understand that you guys are busy, as a matter of fact, we are all busy (adolescence sucks :D )

Just wanted you to let you know, that I am a fan of UE and appreciate your efforts in the graphical update :)
 

Triple-B

Commodore
can you guys give an approximate estimation time, on when the patch can be released?

Thanks for your efforts :)
 

Aginor

Vice Admiral
Yay, Necrothread!!1!eleven :D

I _think_ with Quarto and Pete being pretty busy guys you shouldn't expect that it will happen soon.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Yeah, look, it's not forgotten. I wish it were, really. It's one of those irritating small things that continues to hide at the back of my mind. There is a lot of those things hiding at the back of my mind, however. So many, in fact, that I fear to go there these days. Any time I'm trying to relax, I get this nervous feeling that I really should be working on something... :p

I really don't know at this point when this might be done. And yeah, it may well be never - or maybe in forty years' time, when I retire or something. I just don't know.

In all honesty, it feels like over the past few years, my time management skills have really gone down the drain - either that, or there's just so much more to do. I am hardly even able to allocate time to play games, let alone to mod. I do stress, however, that it is time allocation that's the issue, not the lack of time itself.
 

wcnut

Rear Admiral
Absolutely understand that, I've had a Brass Quintet that needs a third movement and has been in the back of my mind for years. Being home all day is the worst... Never work where you sleep... or sleep where you work.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Yeah, look, it's not forgotten. I wish it were, really. It's one of those irritating small things that continues to hide at the back of my mind. There is a lot of those things hiding at the back of my mind, however. So many, in fact, that I fear to go there these days. Any time I'm trying to relax, I get this nervous feeling that I really should be working on something... :p

I really don't know at this point when this might be done.
How about the UE 15th anniversary?
 

Triple-B

Commodore
Yeah, look, it's not forgotten. I wish it were, really. It's one of those irritating small things that continues to hide at the back of my mind. There is a lot of those things hiding at the back of my mind, however. So many, in fact, that I fear to go there these days. Any time I'm trying to relax, I get this nervous feeling that I really should be working on something... :p

I really don't know at this point when this might be done. And yeah, it may well be never - or maybe in forty years' time, when I retire or something. I just don't know.

In all honesty, it feels like over the past few years, my time management skills have really gone down the drain - either that, or there's just so much more to do. I am hardly even able to allocate time to play games, let alone to mod. I do stress, however, that it is time allocation that's the issue, not the lack of time itself.
I will remind you in 2055 and no excuses!
 

Iceblade

Admiral
It doesn't sound like there is much left to finish it. What kind of tasks are left? I could certainly help with Pascal stuff.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Some of you guys may be pleased to know that I've taken a very big step this week that has the potential to bring this project to completion... eventually ;).

It's been two years since I last worked on UE, and in the meantime, I not only changed over to a new computer, but also finally made the transition from XP into Windows 8 (yes, I managed to avoid both Vista and Windows 7, only to run afoul of Windows 8's bizarre and infuriating new interface ideology). So, in order to do anything at all, I needed to actually set up a working environment again, with Secret Ops, Standoff, UE, and of course WCPPas. It took a few hours this week, but at last I'm at a stage where I can actually compile code and test things in the game.

While I'm at it, let me also tell you where this UE update stands in general. What we have done at the moment is brought over all the relevant patches from Standoff into UE. All the OpenGL improvements work in UE, and the game definitely looks... well, better than the original to a tremendous degree. So, what else is there to actually do? Well, firstly, I'm going through all the missions and fixing anything I see in the code. A few bugs, a few idiosyncrasies that bother me. Idiosyncrasies? Yes, I had been working on also simply making the code look pretty - it may seem like a weird thing to do given how I keep complaining about the lack of time for this project, but frankly, there's a satisfaction to doing these things, and I need those bits of satisfaction in order to keep going with this, because not all the work required for this upgrade is fun.

What isn't fun, you may ask? Ah! The fiction. Anyone who played UE will surely remember the fiction... what? You don't remember the fiction? Oh. Well, that's probably because you had to quit the game to read it, and nobody ever bothered. But we had over a hundred pages of written fiction - story sequences and news messages, mainly (was there emails as well? Goodness, I don't remember). That's not just a lot of fiction, it's far too much fiction. I think back in the day, I wrote it almost as an apology for UE only having ten missions - so, I tried to make the fiction as long as possible. A lot of it is frankly wasted space. I still wouldn't change it if I didn't have to, but obviously, what we want is to bring the fiction inside the game... and our in-game fiction viewer technology does not support scrolling. I can obviously split individual pieces into screen-sized chunks, but I don't want the player going through ten chunks just to read one fiction piece. Reading on-screen just isn't comfortable enough, and nobody would bother. So, there's need for pretty massive slash-and-burn. Which, again, is not a bad thing. A lot of this stuff is simply unnecessary and doesn't fit the game medium well. But re-writing and truncating fiction is not fun at all, firstly because it's hard, and secondly because it requires you to confront your nineteen-year-old self's writing ability - the stuff better left to rosy memories, seriously.

What else needs to be done? Really, mission bugfixing and the fiction are the main thing. After all, this isn't a new project, it's just fixing up an existing one. The other small task I have is to throw some additional ships into the object viewer - in the couple of years after UE, we developed two more fighters that were supposed to appear in UE2, to show how the Border Worlds are gradually transitioning from a messy collection of mainly ex-Confed junk to their own new ships, technologically modern but seriously underperforming compared to Confed stuff (think Sweden's SAAB jets versus the US Air Force). Obviously, I have no intention of messing with the game deeply enough to actually have these ships even in the simulator, but the object viewer is a nice place for them, and if anybody else wants to do more with them afterwards - hey, they're there. This is not a big job, or even a small job, it's a no-job... just as soon as I find the relevant files! But that last bit... not so easy.

The other thing I find myself wondering, while I'm at it, is this: is it at all worthwhile to bother changing anything in UE to match the new information from Arena? Back in the day, we had no info at all about UBW fighter designations, and I came up with the idea that they would have basically copied Confed's system, but "reset" it, renumbering all their ships from 1 onwards in every category, regardless of the ship's original designation. Well, it may well be that this is still a sensible assumption, but for the three WC4 BW fighters at least, we now have designations, and they're radically different, conforming to the United States' Navy pre-1962 system instead of the post-1962 USN/USAF system that Confed seems to match. Is this worth bothering with, or should I leave the original content? I mean, UE is pretty terribly un-canonical anyway (there's that thing, you know, where Confed has apparently sold a strike carrier to the Border Worlds - kinda hard to overlook, when it's the player's carrier), but it kinda nags me that in this particular case, we've got things that not only couldn't be canon, but actually contradict canon (which we really tried to avoid in UE).

So, that's how things look at the moment. I'm still as busy as ever, and next week starts a new semester, so apart from working on my PhD research, I'll be spending boatloads of time each week preparing lectures as well. That may well mean that apart from getting things running, I won't actually make more progress for months to come. But then again, many times in the past I've found that when I got really busy at work, I actually spent more time on modding in order to blow off steam. So, just maybe, there might be progress in weeks to come. Also...

How about the UE 15th anniversary?
That's next year in October... which actually would work out fairly nicely, wouldn't it? A man can dream... :)
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Yay, it's great to hear there's been progress!

The other thing I find myself wondering, while I'm at it, is this: is it at all worthwhile to bother changing anything in UE to match the new information from Arena? Back in the day, we had no info at all about UBW fighter designations, and I came up with the idea that they would have basically copied Confed's system, but "reset" it, renumbering all their ships from 1 onwards in every category, regardless of the ship's original designation. Well, it may well be that this is still a sensible assumption, but for the three WC4 BW fighters at least, we now have designations, and they're radically different, conforming to the United States' Navy pre-1962 system instead of the post-1962 USN/USAF system that Confed seems to match. Is this worth bothering with, or should I leave the original content? I mean, UE is pretty terribly un-canonical anyway (there's that thing, you know, where Confed has apparently sold a strike carrier to the Border Worlds - kinda hard to overlook, when it's the player's carrier), but it kinda nags me that in this particular case, we've got things that not only couldn't be canon, but actually contradict canon (which we really tried to avoid in UE).
I think if you were to ask someone like me, they'd say it'd be fantastic to add the Arena material in. Now from a slightly more practical perspective, it's not that big a deal. You certainly wouldn't want something like that to hold up the whole project, but it'd be nice icing on the top if it was easy enough to do.
 
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