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Making the Dark Mod into a modular game, and adding more mods


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I was wondering whether there would be interest in making the dark mod (which is now a standalone game, based on the id Tech 4 game engine) into a modular game, and have the dark mod made into a mod/plugin that can be added to the game/game engine. The idea is to make a platform for making games -so that people can simply make a game by making a mod and then implement it to the modular game (lets call it the OS FPS for ease of reference). While this is all ready possible (id Tech 4 and some other game engines like id Tech 3 / Enemy Territory engine, Cube, Cube 2, Tesseract, ...), vehicle capability is not yet standardly introduced* to these game engines, not are the ability to use large maps; in some cases, system requirements are also high.

The project outline can be found at http://sourceforge.n...heosfpsproject/

 

Note that, while I envision the system requirements to be lower than what they are with the Dark Mod presently, some mods/plugin content like the Dark Mod can be kept as is (so requiring higher system requirements). The vehicle capability won't be actively used in the Dark Mod plugin content neither, but this extra code won't significantly reduce efficiency neither. The other games/plug-ins I'm focusing can take full advantage of this then, and focus more on the type of games I wish to pursue with this project.

 

I nonetheless think however that the id Tech 4 engine can nonetheless be a good game engine to use as for the OS FPS. This as the system requirements are not all that high (much higher than Battlefield Heroes or AssaultCube but still within a margin as long as a good GPU is used -see http://www.game-deba...9&game=Doom%203 -), and the engine is open-source. Large maps perhaps won't be too much of a problem neither (Enemy Territory uses rather large maps too -smaller than battlefield but still- and despite that, still runs fluid even on relatively slow(er) PC's). I'm also guessing (please confirm this) that for id Tech 4 games, there are also sufficient game development software. I got that impression from the ET Legacy site -see http://www.etlegacy.com/ -

Edited by ThomasSmith
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Your first link is broken.

 

Yes, The Dark Mod could be forked into another project since it's GPLv3. The main restriction's are that you must cite all relevant attributions from both the

mod authors themselves and the any other projects where we acquired assets from... and the assets have a non-commercial clause because most of the assets

that were donated to us also have that clause.

 

Tels is already working on his own branch project here:

 

http://www.swift-mazes.com/

 

As for outdoor maps? We have part of the equation with LOD, procedural content, and 3d portals sky to do distance based performance tricks...

but it's still pretty challenging as we don't have a true terrain system and the vanilla engine doesn't natively support streaming-in parts of maps

and is still pretty prone to overdraw and fillrate. ETQW addresses the terrain problem with megatextures and the fillrate issue via the use of

cubemap based baked ambient lighting for outdoor scenes. There is some old megatexture code in vanilla Doom 3 but it's highly inefficient

and I believe it was stripped out of BFG's source code so that tech is still behind closed doors right now.

 

I think you should also try the Id Tech Forums:

 

http://idtechforums.fuzzylogicinc.com/

 

or even try setting up a little stub project at moddb to gather some interested developers.

 

The crowd here is mostly going to be Thief\Stealth\Hitman fans and RPG\Fantasy fans though there are a few oddball FPS shooter fans

in this mix with even some of our big mission authors like Melan and Sotha in that category of have an affinity for playing good old FPS's.

(Though I've never seen any interest in designing those from the regulars other than Baddcog who makes TF2 maps).

Edited by nbohr1more

Please visit TDM's IndieDB site and help promote the mod:

 

http://www.indiedb.com/mods/the-dark-mod

 

(Yeah, shameless promotion... but traffic is traffic folks...)

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TDM is already a pretty good platform for a fork game in a number of different genres, much better than Doom3 was!

 

There are a ton more systems set up, probably four or five times more than Doom3 if you counted by functions; the AI is already set up with stealth capabilities; etc...

 

I could believe there's not many branch projects because there's not much support or publicity for it, much less a little packaging work to make it fit for branch projects. That and most people that know the engine well are TDM devs that already have their hands full with TDM work. But any work to make it branch-friendly would be very worthwhile. Good luck in your project.

 

I personally would love to see a cyberpunk stealth game on our engine.

 

BTW, the GPL license also means the devs have to release their source along with any releases, and keep the GPL license on it.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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TDM is already a pretty good platform for a fork game in a number of different genres, much better than Doom3 was!

 

Unfortunately, a fork of TDM is almost impossible for most most people, unlike you have a dedicated group with lots of people on it. And we know how often you have these - the successfull mods that get completed can be counted on one hand. Frankly, it is amazing how far TDM has come over the years and that it never got stuck or lost track. :wub:

 

Anyway:

 

The code:

 

Forking the code is easy, it is GPL and open, you even get real-time SVN access to changes. Although you do have the problem to keep up with the TDM development and always adapt to a moving target - my own project is hit by this fairly regulary and it basically doesn't even attempt to for the code, just use it as it is. If you'd need some sort of special support for something in TDM, you have basically two options:

  1. a full fork, which is infeasible
  2. or beg the TDM developers to add your idea into the engine

You can see how much resistance the second options meets when you look at the "save points" change Obsttorte wanted - most people just can't see that TDM should have it, because heh, which FM needs THAT? The same happened with the I18N work - which is almost completely forgotten, because heh, Who needs FMs in SERBIAN? Anything that is not central to the "true TDM" idea is looked at with sceptisicm or pushed aside, not only from the developers but also from the community of mappers and users. It is understandable from a "its my baby" POV, and also from the "we don't have time for that" POV. But it still makes me sad, because I had hopened now that TDM has long surpassed all its major goals, it would become more open and modular.

 

Plus, a fork of TDM, and the various forks of Doom are not really working together, so boring from more than two branches becomes messy very quickly.

 

The assets:

 

But the assets and their unfortunate (I know, I also voted for it. Mea culpa!) non-commercial license are a much bigger problem. It is almost impossible to recreate game assets w/o re-using TDM assets - you can get very far with a few textures, sounds and custom entity defs - and I'm sure the latter wouldn't even cound as derivative works, but I digres.

 

However, you also need animations (the player needs animations to mantle, lean etc.) plus a ton of support assets like scripts and so on. Most of these are not under the GPL.

 

If you want to create a new game, you really have no changce then to make it derivative of TDM. And then your little game becomes non-commercial, and that creates further problems (you cannot put it on a website with bannerads, so you have to pay the bandwidth bill, you can never bundle it in Debian, you can never put it on game-cd like PC gamer did and so on. It's ok if you want exactly that license, but it's a problem if you create all your stuff yourself and want it to be under your own license.

 

 

License issues asside, forking a project is also an infrastructure problem.

 

Where do you host your project? How do you pay for bandwidth and server? Do you create your own forums? Wiki? Write your own manual? How do you build for multiple platforms? Who answers all the support questions of people who can't get it to work on their (special) system)?

 

It is a lot of work, and most people would rather contribute a few small things than fork an entire project.

 

IMO that is why Unity is so popular: You can f.i. just create a few assets and put them in a store, and other wannabe-game-designers can buy them for a few dollars and save them a week of work. That puts the fun back at designing a game - compared to working under the hood on some engine changes. Creating things is fun, re-integrating a few hundred patches after a major TDM release into your own engine for is definitely not. <_<

 

But any work to make it branch-friendly would be very worthwhile.

 

I can only underwrite this :) TDM could be a lot more versatile, esp. from the scripting side, without hurting TDM - instead it would even help mappers.

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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Tels, I think the skepticism of the team is the side product of the thing that allowed TDM to survive. Having a clear vision of the "true TDM" has been vital. It is also a good thing that stuff gets reviewed critically.

 

Many mistakes have been avoided that way.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Tels, I think the skepticism of the team is the side product of the thing that allowed TDM to survive. Having a clear vision of the "true TDM" has been vital. It is also a good thing that stuff gets reviewed critically.

 

Many mistakes have been avoided that way.

 

Yes, I agree with that. If instead of building TDM, we tried to build "the generic engine + TDM on top of that", we probably would have failed. Too little resources and time.

 

But the issue isn't black and white - from my POV the developers mostly tried to add generic things, instead of fixing them to a specific problem. At least my work principle is along these lines.

 

And what I tried to express was that maybe now that the mistakes have been avoided and TDM is "done" (I know, I know, it never is done :) it might be the time to open up more and make it even more generic. Allow more things and give people more freedom to do crazy things. Like re-generating UUW maps in TDM :)

"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

 

"Remember: If the game lets you do it, it's not cheating." -- Xarax

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I see both points. What actually remains to be done, individually (Im thinking Grayman's constant tweaking of AI's, for example), and as a team might still be far from declared over, even if a working, complete game has been reached. However, it could be interesting to see additions that would take TDM to unexpected directions. Things like AI that are neutral to the player were not a design choice and therefore are not supported in the game, so missions where the player isnt the world famous thief that everyone will attack or flee from on sight are not really a possibility (unless you can work with hacks, such as Obs' worked on). New content functionality is also very interesting. Firearms could well be introduced in TDM as opposed to Thief, again like Obs was experimenting on (he has been doing excellent work on new gameplay features), and that would mean a whole different aproach to mapping and setting up the challenges for the player. Those are examples of things that could, in my opinion, theoretically be introduced in the main game without penalty to the whole that is already there. Of course, that is not to say it would be advisable or necessary to bug the team for even more work. It would be perfect to see things like these being done inside the community itself, in a more social way (not solely by individuals alone, or inside single maps).

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Things like AI that are neutral to the player were not a design choice and therefore are not supported in the game

 

Sure it is. Neutral and friendly AI will even greet you.

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Oh, I should have added neutral AI in the sense they will not mind you if your going about your business but will detect and react to the player's infractions in an organic way (if he's found in private space, if hes seen picking a lock or stealing something he shouldnt, that sort of thing). There are hacks in place for most of these now (I used crude ones myself in my map, where a fleeing civilian could turn other neutral AI against you "by word of mouth", or would attack you if you opened a certain door in plain sight), but its not in there by default.

Edited by RPGista
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Neutral AI has been discussed before and it would certainly be quite a feat in itself. I mean, the gradation between friendly to hostile/scared, who witnessed the crime as opposed to those alerted but wont recognize it was the player who did it, how the word spreads... But this was just an example.

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In any event, I think if there's going to be a "generic" fork, or fork game if people have it in mind, it should really be a new team that dedicates itself to the task. That way they really care about it and can give it the attention it deserves. I'm on board with the point made above that teams really need to be focused on their core project.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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Out of interest, is the point about banner ads accurate? Does the non commercial license forbid the game content being hosted (or linked) by a site with ads? I always imagined it meant only that the content and derived works can't be charged for.

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Out of interest, is the point about banner ads accurate? Does the non commercial license forbid the game content being hosted (or linked) by a site with ads? I always imagined it meant only that the content and derived works can't be charged for.

 

I don't think it's been adequately settled in law (and will vary depending on your jurisdiction).

 

The intent of the non-commercial licence applying to TDM assets is so that people can't make and sell a commercial game based on TDM. Nobody is going to get sued for hosting an open-source fork on a free hosting site that uses ads to pay for bandwidth (but does not give ad revenue to the project developers).

 

However, some interpretations suggest that even using a non-commercial CC-licenced image on a Wordpress blog could be an infringement because Wordpress blogs sometimes have ads displayed on them (if you don't pay for the upgrade to remove them). I'm not aware of any actual test cases that have decided the issue either way.

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Hum i don't know if i'm understanding this suggestion well but i think TDM is open enough already, there's nothing preventing people from taking the engine/tools and do what the hell they want with them, for example if you wanted to make a driving game you can, there's already driving code for idtech 4 out there.

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This is the reason why I'm more in favor of a team focusing on a specific fork game than on a generic toolset for yet some other team doing who knows what. IMO it's all about efficient use of your HR and assets.

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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I think a project like this would be the best base for anyone who wants to make a true spiritual successor to System Shock 2.

 

(Remember that SS2 was based on the Thief engine!)

 

Yes the AI code could be useful for a SS2 clone, but other then that no other assets could be used, they are just from totally different ages. The Doom 3 assets on the other end could indeed be a good match for a SS2 look alike but having said that i must also say that SS2 can be done on any engine, theres nothing on it that could only be done on the thief or TDM engine.

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The advantage would be that there's expertise on the TDM engine within the community, and people around here would be very interested in helping with advice. But I think a lot of legacy stuff in the Doom3 base of the engine could be revived too. It's not only assets that the Doom3 part brings with it. (Incidentally, the Doom3 assets are still under a propriatery license, so you couldn't use them anyway for a standalone game, not even on their own engine. You'd have to get indepedent assets anyway.)

What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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