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The Dark Mod engine for a stealth/rpg project


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#1 Snehk

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 06:19 AM

Working on my own game was one of my biggest goals since I had started modding. I'd tinkered with many different engines, from id Tech 1 to Unreal Engine 4. About one year ago I wrote a design document for a slasher/rpg game with stealth elements and worked on it off and on since then. At first I wanted to develop it on Darkplaces (fork of id Tech 1), but then I moved to Storm Engine 2 (fork of id Tech 4 BFG). Coming from Half-Life modding and then older engines, working with numerous separate software, building levels with either brushes or models (or both) and having everything easily accessible feels much more natural for me than being able to do things only through an all-in-one editor. Sure it's convenient to have everything available in just one piece of software, but I prefer simpler interfaces designed for specific tasks.

 

Back to the point, a lot of game mechanics suitable for my project is already in the Dark Mod engine:

  • Excellent stealth mechanics.
  • Stim-response system.
  • Greatly improved AI.
  • Climbing.
  • Item manipulation.
  • Readables.
  • Grid based inventory.
  • Interesting combat system.

Porting it all to other forks would take much more time than developing on the engine that is already quite advanced, and which would get a huge boost with release of 2.06 stable version, so it seems to be a great base for my project. There are several things that I'd like to know first:

  1. TDM is mission-based, is level transition functionality still there or does it have to be brought back?
  2. What are the base assets required by the engine to run at all? Are they the same as for GPL id Tech 4?
  3. Would I be allowed to use base entity .defs and scripts from TDM? Not everything, but most of the world building entities.
  4. Would I be allowed to use TDM shaders as well?

The aim is to release a completely free, open-source game. This is a hobbyist, one-man-team non-commercial project, and I'd want to get to working on assets as fast as possible (once I'll finish my FM). All things possibly taken from TDM would be referenced, and any help from the community will be appreciated.


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#2 Destined

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Posted 24 March 2018 - 12:14 PM

TDM offers the possibility to build campaigns. There are a few out there, but most authors prefer to release seperate missions in shorter intervals rather than a bigger campaign that takes much longer until it's released. So, the level transition is there, but only one-way. You can check the Wiki page on campaigns to see how it works and what the limitations are in taht regard.

As far as I know, you can use any assets and code you want, so long as you do not use them commercially. Regarding licencing there was a thread about TDM and Patreon, where the use of various parts of the mod were discussed. I am not 100% sure, if this thread covers your question, but it might be worth checking it out.

To your second question, I have no idea.


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#3 RPGista

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 12:17 AM

You read my mind, man. Always thought TDM would be a wonderful base for a cool action rpg. Like you said, its got a very interesting base - an agile player that can climb and physically interact with things, a deep combat mechanics that is criminally overlooked around here, accurate representation of light and shadow as cover, and AI with complex senses and reactions. With this, you can already go into some great storytelling experiences, as many missions here demonstrate. Add rpg mechanics to expand on that, and you got a cool little game to immerse yourself into.

The thing you will have to consider though is that since tdm specialised itself entirely on thief like gameplay, theres little to no support for other mechanics in game. There is no npc behaviour for example. Npcs are basicly disabled enemies that wont react to the player. There is no conversation system (shadowhide provided some scripted ways to achieve it but they were meant to be very simple). AI combat behaviour is minimalistic, aimed at one on one indoors fights - it struggles with a quick player that wont stand still, doesnt exactly work as a group in melee situations, cant use spears, shields or ride horses like in mount and blade. There are states that are missing too: wounded, limping animations and behaviour (and the dying state from stalker), ability to take cover or block (against the players arrows), ability to climb and go after you in uneven terrain (not saying it should mantle like the player, but at least be able to climb stuff thats 1 meter high, like tables or raised floors), ability to be knocked down and get up again, etc.

Edited by RPGista, 25 March 2018 - 12:49 AM.

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#4 RPGista

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 12:31 AM

Also missing is the inventory system, though Ive read that a point and click system has been implemented. And of course, a hundred things that make npcs and a world come alive, mostly new animations and art assets (theres very little material available for outdoor scenes, or anything in daylight).

But Im sure you are aware of what would be needed to achieve your vision. Its been a while since I played the game regularly, and some of what I mentioned might have changed or improved. Either way, the best would be to play the hell out of the game and really get the feel of it. Making a mission will also make you pretty intimate with what the game offers or lacks. Maybe you already did/is doing that. Anyway, there is a rpg game based on doom3 also, called Arx end of the sun, somwthing like that. You should definitely check it out if you havent already.
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#5 Snehk

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 03:36 AM

Anything that is missing or underdeveloped can be added or improved with enough coding and/or scripting.

I'm not planning to use any art assets from TDM except for those required to run the engine.

Edited by Snehk, 25 March 2018 - 03:37 AM.


#6 freyk

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Posted 25 March 2018 - 08:17 AM

In which we did in cyberpunk projects: the dark mission and dark module?
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#7 Snehk

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 04:57 AM

I've checked the dark module thread, and that was exactly the way I was going to start - make a mod that'd serve as a base for my project and build up from that. Some things will have to be coded sooner or later to make it a proper RPG, but I'm not aiming for a large open world game, rather for something hub based.






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