Would a Wing Commander 1 update appeal?

Pedro

Admiral
We've seen a remake of Privateer appear already. In many ways it plays quite differently to the original privateer.
I was wondering if anyone was interested in a direct recreation of WC1 with no such alterations, just a modern graphics engine.


I only ask because next year I have to create a 4 month project as part of a Games Programming MSc, this will be the entirity of the course for that period and unlike my final year project documentation will not be the primary focus which caused such distraction.
Absolutley no promises but I've put a few wing commander things together in my time and fan interest has be less than inspiring and I wanted to know if this (if it even meets the expected requirements) would appeal any more.
It makes a good choice for project as the tools available in 2005 are so much better than in 1990 and I fully believe I can implement the level of scripting and AI in the timeframe on my own.

I would say access to the universities motion capture facilities would I believe make this a good choice but the chances of completing all the missions and cutscenes in the alloted time frame is ludicrously small.

I'm just spitballing here as I have no ideas for my project currently.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Pedro said:
It makes a good choice for project as the tools available in 2005 are so much better than in 1990 and I fully believe I can implement the level of scripting and AI in the timeframe on my own.

So it would be from scratch? We've done this thread many times I think. The concensus was that starting from scratch would make an an inherently different game. If it somehow managed to just be a graphical upgrade, that's neat enough, but I've played through WC1/SM1/SM2 from start to finish this year already and I had no problems with the original graphics or anything.
 

Pedro

Admiral
Graphical upgrade isn't much use to me under the circumstances (and really not my area).
I do think careful examination of WC1's engine could allow very similar results, but ultimately yes there would be unavoidable differences (I'm one of those who by far preffers the original X-Wing to the later update).

But I'm not here to debate the pros and cons simply ask if there would be any interested as it would be a good project from a technical point of view. I won't have the time to complete the kind of project I would really like to invest time in, such as a replacement to the vision engine for modders but would like to, if possible, find a way of letting work I'm going to be doing anyway to benefit the wing commander community since I feel rather bad being absent from it for so long.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Pedro said:
But I'm not here to debate the pros and cons simply ask if there would be any interested as it would be a good project from a technical point of view. I won't have the time to complete the kind of project I would really like to invest time in, such as a replacement to the vision engine for modders but would like to, if possible, find a way of letting work I'm going to be doing anyway to benefit the wing commander community since I feel rather bad being absent from it for so long.

I don't think the vision engine needs a replacement, but projects like Flight Commander that give fans more options with how to go about fan projects are cool. Creating a mission editor like Academy/Flight Commander with predominantly Wing Commander 1 style ships might be neat.
 

Pedro

Admiral
I think Flight Commander is a good example of why such an undertaking would be a poor choice under the circumstances; the project was several years in the making and in many ways the vision engine is still its superior.
But to address the point you were making it does need a replacement, the time spent working with the vision engine is far greater than it needs to be, every modification needs to be hacked into place and I happen to know a number of people involved in modding at the moment are not prepared to continue in that manner in the long term. I am convinced that modding the vision engine is going to eventually decline and eventually stop.

There are non modding related issues, graphically the vision engine is showing its age, theres the issue with XP, which whilst easily fixed makes one wonder where we'll be when longhorn arrives, 32bit isn't working with ATI cards, video resolution and display is limitedto the original format. Creating a display window of 32bit and playing back full screen video of any resolution with a new engine equates to 3mins work. The best solution for replaying old titles would be to keep around an old 3dfx machine but should we really be so accepting of brand new mods?

Code for a tractor beam would be 5mins of work compared to days of hacking. Ironically it is the things which are already happily in place such as scripting and AI which would pose the biggest problems... rather makes me wish we had access to the source code.

Anyway back to the point, 4 months of time to be filled. I need to demonstrate a variety of skills including graphics programming in direct3d, physics and AI, suggestions accepted.
 

KrisV

Administrator
Do you have to start from scratch, or can you expand on an existing project? If you took something like Flight Commander and put all your time into a limited number of features (you could come up with an improved AI, put in a tractor beam (physics) and add an interface for moving around the ship and talking to people (Direct3D)) you might end up with something that can replace the Vision engine entirely. Otherwise you'll have an engine that does a little of everything -- and most of it would just be duplicating what others have spent years on.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Pedro said:
There are non modding related issues, graphically the vision engine is showing its age, theres the issue with XP, which whilst easily fixed makes one wonder where we'll be when longhorn arrives, 32bit isn't working with ATI cards, video resolution and display is limitedto the original format. Creating a display window of 32bit and playing back full screen video of any resolution with a new engine equates to 3mins work. The best solution for replaying old titles would be to keep around an old 3dfx machine but should we really be so accepting of brand new mods?

Code for a tractor beam would be 5mins of work compared to days of hacking. Ironically it is the things which are already happily in place such as scripting and AI which would pose the biggest problems... rather makes me wish we had access to the source code.

I personally just prefer how the original engines feel. Aside from familiarity, there's also a certain level of polish with modifying them. It might take three times longer for the Standoff team to make their game in the Secret Ops engine than if they started from scratch, but when the project is finally done, I'll certainly appreciate the extra effort that went in.
 

Python

Spaceman
An idea from a newbie.

I unfortunatly dont know as much as I would like about this side of things so ignore my ignorance, but would it be easier to do something like the ur-quan masters project. They have used the 3do version of starcontrol 2, which was superior to the pc version in many respects and ported it to the pc. The 3do version of wing commander has updated graphics and speech already in the game, so maybe a port of that would be easier?

Another idea if a remake went ahead would be to integrate the speech from the sega cd version of the game. Its essetially the same game as the pc version but with speech.

Both version also include the secret missions.

Again I appologise if this is all useless.
 

ChrisReid

Super Soaker Collector / Administrator
Python said:
The 3do version of wing commander has updated graphics and speech already in the game, so maybe a port of that would be easier?

Another idea if a remake went ahead would be to integrate the speech from the sega cd version of the game. Its essetially the same game as the pc version but with speech.

Both version also include the secret missions.

Again I appologise if this is all useless.

It's not a bad suggestion, but there was no 3DO version of Wing Commander, and I'm not sure about the Secret Missions with the Sega CD one. The 3DO has Super Wing Commander (and WC3), but that already exists on the Macintosh.
 

criticalmass

Vice Admiral
I guess Python refers to SWC, as the plot is close to WC1 & SM1. From a gamer's perspective this would really be interesting as many people don't have a 3DO or Mac stored away in their garage somewhere, and the idea of playing part of the known storyline in a different environment would be very attractive.

If you do it right, it will have that mix of nostalgia and novelty without needing to worry that something awful has overtaken the fan designer's mind and you'll suddenly encounter an unemployed Steltek garbage collector squad.

But there's still the risk of botching it in some way - and that would draw charges of blasphemy and besmirching of an official work of art. Risky.

But in any case: I wouldn't recommend to try a WC1 Remake. However you do it, you won't have piece until the end of your days.
 

Python

Spaceman
Yeah I meant super wing commander. I think if you do a straight port you are staying true to the original. Using the Starcon 2 port again as an example I know I prefer to play the port over the original pc version as its been enhanced by the game developers themselves.

Im sure alot of people would like to play super wing commander, but as criticalmass said, dont have a 3do or mac in the garage. A direct port would allow the masses to enjoy another view of wc1 made by the designers themselves.

Ignoring all that though IS it possible to patch in the speech from the sega cd version of wc1 to the pc version? Again I have no technical knowledge im just shooting out ideas, so sorry if this appears stupid.
 

Nomad Terror

Rear Admiral
The Ur-Quan Masters port was possible because Toys For Bob released the source code for Star Control 2 to the public.
 

criticalmass

Vice Admiral
Pedro:
I missed your time constraint when reading the post. Four months isn't really a lot of time when you count in concept creation, structuring of approach, documentation, testing; and just some going to the movies, having fun with people, and the rest of real life as a side order. Try working from your timeline and class requirements - I guess to do a thorough job on that, concentrating on detail work like the Flight Commander AI and physics will be quite a lot of work already.

And, btw:
criticalmass said:
But in any case: I wouldn't recommend to try a WC1 Remake. However you do it, you won't have piece until the end of your days.
Classical freudian slip of pre-lunchbreak posts: It's peace, man. Peace.
 

Pedro

Admiral
criticalmass said:
Pedro:
I missed your time constraint when reading the post. Four months isn't really a lot of time when you count in concept creation, structuring of approach, documentation, testing; and just some going to the movies, having fun with people, and the rest of real life as a side order.

Free time isn't really an issue... I know a few people who did the course and they said just write off what is known as a life for that year, tbh I don't mind that. What is an issue is concept creation, which is one of the reasons I suggested WC1 remake.

In so far as modifying Flight Commander or another project... I'd be too tempted to gut them out completely, the trouble is I look at a title like flight commander and I can instantly see whats been done and how and because of the way I've been taught all I'm thinking is how I'd have done it to the point where I'd only end up starting again. I could and would do a project similar to armada for internet play if I thought we could ever get the number of players together.
A project where the mission designer was an integrated part of the gameplay would make the involved work more apparent so its good from my point of view and I think it would prove to be an enjoyable experience.

Sorry I wasn't at the birthday party people, first one I've missed I think, however BT put a shovel through our phone lines yesterday which left me phone and ADSLless.
 
We have put all the WC1 ships in Vega Strike now, so if you want to build a WC1 remake all it's going to take is learning some Phyton for scripting the missions. :)
 

eddieb

Vice Admiral
Pedro said:
Free time isn't really an issue... I know a few people who did the course and they said just write off what is known as a life for that year, tbh I don't mind that. What is an issue is concept creation, which is one of the reasons I suggested WC1 remake.

In so far as modifying Flight Commander or another project... I'd be too tempted to gut them out completely, the trouble is I look at a title like flight commander and I can instantly see whats been done and how and because of the way I've been taught all I'm thinking is how I'd have done it to the point where I'd only end up starting again. I could and would do a project similar to armada for internet play if I thought we could ever get the number of players together.
A project where the mission designer was an integrated part of the gameplay would make the involved work more apparent so its good from my point of view and I think it would prove to be an enjoyable experience.

Sorry I wasn't at the birthday party people, first one I've missed I think, however BT put a shovel through our phone lines yesterday which left me phone and ADSLless.

I started Flight Commander as a school project, thinking I could do it in 2 months. It's taken 6 years to get this far. So I don't think it's particularly doable in 4 months. Just brainstorming, but here's an idea. Rip out the existing and admittedly stupid Flight Commander AI, and do a complete rewrite. I think this task would fit within your scope of four months.
 

eddieb

Vice Admiral
KrisV said:
Do you have to start from scratch, or can you expand on an existing project? If you took something like Flight Commander and put all your time into a limited number of features (you could come up with an improved AI, put in a tractor beam (physics) and add an interface for moving around the ship and talking to people (Direct3D)) you might end up with something that can replace the Vision engine entirely. Otherwise you'll have an engine that does a little of everything -- and most of it would just be duplicating what others have spent years on.

On the features you suggested adding: you don't need real physics for a tractor beam, but it's probably not too bad to add this feature. And Direct3d is not used or needed for Flight Commander at all, it's OpenGL based.
 

ZOmegaZ

Rear Admiral
I for one would love to see a remake of the original WC1 engine. Something where I really couldn't tell the difference would be perfect. :)
 

Ravenous

Spaceman
A large part of the earlier games charm where the graphics, it would be great to see an update with higher resolution and cleaner graphics to get rid of the terrible bitmapping up close etc. that would run on modern PC but wouldnt want to see it with WC3,4 or Prophecy style graphics, it would lose something.
 
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