Unknown Enemy Upgrade

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
I seriously, really wish I could deliver on both - or at least on the upgrade. I just don't know how that can happen, though. I'm constantly overstretched between numerous different tasks, projects and endeavours. Worst of all, I must be frank and admit that if I had the sort of drive and interest in completing UE as I had for Standoff a decade ago - I'd probably take no more than a few weeks to create a code-complete upgrade of UE, which would then only require someone to go in and swap all those ships for better models. As things stand, I don't even have Secret Ops installed on this machine, let alone a working copy of UE.

I wish I had underlings, darn it. You! Install Secret Ops and get the modding environment set up. And you! Go through UE and identify all the fixes to be made.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Plus, I don't know about you, but I find the idea of going back to my 16 year old selfs work kind of embarrassing. I mean I'm proud of UE having the ambition that other projects may have been inspired by, but I'm not really proud of the end product.
 

Iceblade

Admiral
It was a good end product for its time with the limitations of that era for fan projects. Heck, it was released and pushed WC project boundaries.

For that matter, you kept the Border Worlds in check in terms of war capacity.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Plus, I don't know about you, but I find the idea of going back to my 16 year old selfs work kind of embarrassing. I mean I'm proud of UE having the ambition that other projects may have been inspired by, but I'm not really proud of the end product.
That's a very significant part of the problem, even if my particular self was 20 year old rather than 16. UE was a tremendous achievement given our limitations, but that doesn't make it great. For me, what that means, though, is not so much that I'm embarrassed to go back to it, but rather that I am constantly tempted to start improving on it. There's always that one thing - you know, if only I could change this one thing, the whole mod would be so much better. And if I do decide to change that one thing, next thing you know, there's another one thing.


For that matter, you kept the Border Worlds in check in terms of war capacity.
Uh, yeah... with a strike carrier and a special magic capship killing cannon carried by Scimitars, of all things :D. It's true, we didn't go completely overboard, and the strike carrier was, if not actually justified, at least reasonably handwaved in. The only crazy thing was the viper cannon, and its capship-killing capacity was so out of place, that we actually had to make enemy capships invulnerable in most missions to prevent you from using that capacity - with the implication that it could be removed now, and this removal would improve rather than detriment from the game.

I will say, though, in terms of war capacity, there is one thing I remain completely happy with, and I think actually remains a sort of shining exemplar of how fan projects should go about these things: that's the Rapier IV, and the... uh, other one, that only appears in the ship database. Now, granted, its name and SWC-based appearance have since been kind of spoiled by Arena recycling the SWC Rapier - you really can't justify two ships with the same appearance and utterly different development histories co-existing alongside each other in the same timeframe :). But setting that aside, and, setting aside the viper cannons that it carries, I really like how it was never a super-fighter, and actually in most ways it was inferior to most Confed fighters. The other ship - Dagger, was it? - was a similar story: a generally barely-capable design that was made actually pretty good by the incorporation of a new engine system. It's exactly the kind of aircraft a second-rate power determined to develop its internal aircraft industry would use. At the time, I was reading a lot about the pre-1939 Polish Air Force, which went very much through a similar cycle of being first an amalgamation of equipment abandoned, surrendered, or donated by other powers, to importing second-rate aircraft from allied nations, to developing its own aircraft industry, only to find, when push came to shove, that they just did not have the capacity to keep up with all the technological developments bigger powers like Germany and Britain were going through. Our fighters had infinitely superior manoeuvrability, at a time when nobody cared any more. Our medium bombers were genuinely brilliant and actually superior in many to their German and British equivalents in 1939, but nobody cared since there was like a couple of dozen of them on the front lines, and in any case, lacked proper escort fighters. Like the Border Worlds (well... like the Border Worlds that UE presents!), Poland, ironically, was more evenly matched against her neighbours in terms of technological innovations in 1918, when it was using hand-me-down equipment, than twenty years later when it was fielding her own aircraft and even exporting them to other countries. Perhaps in another twenty years, Poland would have achieved a level of technological almost-parity that Sweden would accomplish many, many decades later, but not at that time. This was very much the feeling I was trying to convey with the Border Worlds - of a nation consciously choosing inferior aircraft of its own internal production over superior imports, with the hope that in the long-term, this will pay off. A nation building its forces to match its situation, where any conflict in the predictable future would not be against Confed, but against pirates, retros, and Kilrathi clans using war-era technology (here, of course, the analogy breaks: Poland knew they wouldn't be facing German militias flying old Albatrosses and Fokker DR.Is - we knew we'd be facing the equivalent of Confed, and simply ran out of time to prepare).

So, yeah, that aspect I remain hugely proud of. If I were to completely remake UE today - you know, not just improve a few bits and pieces, but just start from scratch on a project with a similar "Border Worlds against bugs in the early days of WCP" story - there's a lot of things from UE I'd throw away without a moment's thought, but this one aspect I'd not only stick with, but actually strongly amplify. Though, of course, given the doors Arena opened up, we'd probably see the Border Worlds using Arena's upgraded weirdo Rapiers, Arrows and Broadswords, too.
 
not just improve a few bits and pieces, but just start from scratch on a project with a similar "Border Worlds against bugs in the early days of WCP" story - there's a lot of things from UE I'd throw away without a moment's thought, but this one aspect I'd not only stick with, but actually strongly amplify. Though, of course, given the doors Arena opened up, we'd probably see the Border Worlds using Arena's upgraded weirdo Rapiers, Arrows and Broadswords, too.
This is how bad things happen...:) No seriously, with all the unlimited and Open/GL advances that have been done to Vision of late you could probably revisit that idea and realize it. Plus I bet you could probably get a few wingnuts to help. I know of at least 2.
 

Pedro

Admiral
What I really want is another programmer so I can do something outside of Prophecy, but my first choice would be the WCIV remaster just because Prophecy is now comparatively so spiffy that I don't revisit IV despite it being my favorite title.
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
This is how bad things happen...:) No seriously, with all the unlimited and Open/GL advances that have been done to Vision of late you could probably revisit that idea and realize it. Plus I bet you could probably get a few wingnuts to help. I know of at least 2.
Well, I know there's more than enough talent for the graphical side of things. The big gap is in management and implementation. Find me someone who wants to head such a project, find a couple of others who actually want to handle the mission implementation, so that I can sit back and concentrate only on shaping the overall vision, planning the story, and world-building, and we can talk :). I'm more than happy to guide and mentor. But if anybody wants to wait for me to have time again to lead and coordinate, I can't imagine that happening in the next decade or two.

But of course, such a project would involve much more than game engine improvements. Here's what would happen: someone would have to, in parallel, either create a small Unity/Unreal 4 project that supports scripted characters with animations and lipsync, or at least create a mod for... well, I don't know, maybe Fallout 4, maybe Skyrim (Khajit!), or whatever other game may be appropriate. The purpose of such a project would not be a playable FPS/TPP. It would serve instead as an environment for recording CGI cutscenes with talking, animated characters - you know, like Standoff's talking heads scenes, but infinitely superior. In a complete remake situation, for me, the replacement of the written fiction scenes with actual conversations would be an absolute must.
 

ShadowArm

Ensign
Well, I know there's more than enough talent for the graphical side of things. The big gap is in management and implementation. Find me someone who wants to head such a project, find a couple of others who actually want to handle the mission implementation, so that I can sit back and concentrate only on shaping the overall vision, planning the story, and world-building, and we can talk :). I'm more than happy to guide and mentor. But if anybody wants to wait for me to have time again to lead and coordinate, I can't imagine that happening in the next decade or two.

But of course, such a project would involve much more than game engine improvements. Here's what would happen: someone would have to, in parallel, either create a small Unity/Unreal 4 project that supports scripted characters with animations and lipsync, or at least create a mod for... well, I don't know, maybe Fallout 4, maybe Skyrim (Khajit!), or whatever other game may be appropriate. The purpose of such a project would not be a playable FPS/TPP. It would serve instead as an environment for recording CGI cutscenes with talking, animated characters - you know, like Standoff's talking heads scenes, but infinitely superior. In a complete remake situation, for me, the replacement of the written fiction scenes with actual conversations would be an absolute must.
The best way to do it is with SFM or Blender
 
Indeed, there was a movie on Netflix that the kids liked that was made entirely in Blender, Next Gen I think.
yep - I was thinking of doing movies in sort of a 2D graphic novel style with minimal animation other than things like parallax scrolling, etc. which is pretty easy with Blender
 

Quarto

Unknown Enemy
Ugh, graphic novel style :p. I think precisely the huge advantage of working with a game engine is that you can, with relative ease, produce scenes with reasonably animated 3d people.
 

Iceblade

Admiral
Unity has some good customizazation. Just grab some packages.

Since it is not a game, the focus is only on tying the packages together to allow for script-based sequences of commands. No HP or user inputs or object interactions.

Much quicker to setup.

DK UMA 2 is a good means of creating lots of models quickly. Grab a developed animation suite and have scripts directly call its functions on the simple objects you use for characters and inanimates. Weapons would add a layer of additional complexity as you particle effects along with appropriate gun objects.

Of course you don’t have the time for such a project, but it makes for a fun organizational thought experiment.
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
The inbuilt secretops launcher should just detect it - but if you can't use that for some reason just rename the gl00007.dll (I think off the top of my head) to the name of the gl you are using by default.

EDIT: GLOpenGL.tre, GLOpenGL.cfg, gl_00007.dll
Thanks.
Currently, I've set UE to use 3DFX Glide. Gotta look which DLL is the correct one to replace. :)



While these ideas for improvements sound really awesome, perhabs it may be better to focus on the more important tasks for the UE Upgrade for now.
I think the most important steps are releasing a proper OpenGL Patch and an improved launcher letting the user select OpenGL instead of having to replace any of the Renderer DLLs. Then the next step would be incorporating the new Prophecy Unlimited features as well as building and incorporating new models for the ships and stations.
Afterwards, we can still think about further improvements like having the text fiction in the game like in Standoff or improved cutscenes with talking characters like Standoff and The Darkest Dawn.

Does this sound like a good plan? :)
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
So - you're volunteering to lead this merry effort? :)
If I had the time, I would've loved to do that.
UE deserves to have a proper upgrade like Prophecy and Secret Ops IMO.

Perhabs I didn't formulate my text well enough as I only wanted to recommend a plan for the upgrade of UE.
On XWVM, we've had a whole lot of ideas on how to upgrade X-Wing's core gameplay, like RPG elements and a coop mode.
With so many ideas on our minds, we've had to remind each other from time to time to focus on more important tasks like getting the core gameplay and the needed assets properly implemented before doing any improvements well beyond the original gameplay. However, we never discard these ideas.

And this is what I've been wanting to suggest: Note down any ideas for improvements beyond the original but focus on the more important tasks.
As I said above: If I had more time on my hands and the original creators agreed on it, I would've loved to lead the UE Upgrade Project. :)
 

ShadowArm

Ensign
If I had the time, I would've loved to do that.
UE deserves to have a proper upgrade like Prophecy and Secret Ops IMO.

Perhabs I didn't formulate my text well enough as I only wanted to recommend a plan for the upgrade of UE.
On XWVM, we've had a whole lot of ideas on how to upgrade X-Wing's core gameplay, like RPG elements and a coop mode.
With so many ideas on our minds, we've had to remind each other from time to time to focus on more important tasks like getting the core gameplay and the needed assets properly implemented before doing any improvements well beyond the original gameplay. However, we never discard these ideas.

And this is what I've been wanting to suggest: Note down any ideas for improvements beyond the original but focus on the more important tasks.
As I said above: If I had more time on my hands and the original creators agreed on it, I would've loved to lead the UE Upgrade Project. :)
i see that you guys are also starting to dabble onto Tie FIghter territory too :) i cant wait!
 

FekLeyrTarg

Rear Admiral
Every time I see new posts in this thread I'm like, "Oooh, do they have new screenshots of the upgraded Unknown Enemy yet?"
I know that feeling, too. :)

i see that you guys are also starting to dabble onto Tie FIghter territory too :) i cant wait!
Well, not exactly. We're currently not working on supporting TIE Fighter just yet, but we do prepare the Imperial fighters we have for custom missions and the time we start supporting TIE Fighter. :)
(Sorry for getting offtopic.)
 
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