Making this game has been quite the journey especially because of the fact that the game is open source. There are all sorts of extra challenges in trying to do an open source game which you just don’t have in closed source development with a team.
One of the biggest difficulties in developing Hardwar has been the art pipeline. There are lots of great frameworks out there that simplify the art pipeline however they all either cost a lot of money or have some license restriction which means we can not use them for an open source project.
There really has not been a great way of being able to create art for the game while we are building the game. In the past I tried solving this by building my own editor into the game so that I could build levels while developing but this is way too far out of scope. I don’t want to be building a graphics editor, I want to be making a game! Instead I have decided that the best route of action is to join forces with the Ogitor community and get their editor up to scratch. This way everyone wins.
Right now I have been working tirelessly over the past few weeks to get more features implemented into Ogitor to be usable for making Hardwar and so far it’s going quite well. There are a few issues that I can see currently that I am working on fixing.
Firstly it should be easy for artists to simply drop their files into the editor and have them work regardless of what format they are in. This is the single biggest pain that I have come across in collaboration on any game in any engine and I’m hoping that will be implemented quite soon with the existence of the asset importer library.
The second biggest problem I can see at the moment is that the file format that Ogitor uses doesn’t include all the textures one uses in it’s “OFS” file. So it’s not quite as convenient to share files with others. This is something I’m working on right now and hopefully will have a patch ready for Ogitor soon.
There are a few other small issues however it’s refreshing to be able to see a clear path forward after mucking around in the dark for so long.
There is currently a great writeup by one of the developers of The Hero of Allacrost on one of the subjects that I get all the time as the main developer of Hardwar. I really suggest people go read it because I think it’s very insightful for users that always ask if we’re done yet or near release.
Unlike the HoA that has to develop an engine, editor and a game we have a lot less work to do. The engine we use is Ogre3D and the editor is Ogitor.
Resource wise we could really use more contributors from programmers. That would really push the development speed up. Currently it’s only me on the programming side hence the slow pace of development.
Personally I am fine with this as it’s my hobby. I gain enjoyment from developing this game so lack of progress doesn’t leave me demotivated. I know there are others out there waiting for this to be released. All I can really suggest is getting more involved so that we can speed up the pace and get stuff out the door.
Happy new year!
Here is a quick update on the latest developments.
I’ve been very busy these last few months and now I have finally finished the much needed rewrite of the core game engine. It took a while but I’m happy with the final structure as it has made it much easier to add extra things to the game in a way that doesn’t generate spaghetti code.
As per discussion in the forum I’ve decided to move the editing out of the game. Ogitor, a level editor will be used to modify everything in the game. This should speed up development a bit and move things along a little faster as it means no one has to wait for the game to test their assets.
I also spent a few hours on the main menu scene as a way to test some of the new game engine code I had been writing. I still need to port over some of the other code such as the console and level loading but so far things are going pretty well.
I moved the source code from launchpad’s bazaar over to GitHub as I’m finding it more convenient to use. After using Bazaar for two years I’m starting to see some issues with it that I think Git has it beat.
Branching is much better in Git then it is in Bazaar. In Bazaar you have to make a new folder for every branch whereas git keeps it all self contained and lets you switch between branches in the same working folder. When I first started using Bazaar I hated this concept but after using Git for a month I’m really starting to like it a lot. It keeps everything much neater without having lots of copies all over the place.
The total disk usage is also much smaller with Git (35 MB) then it is with Bazaar (104+MB). The Launchpad website itself is almost always down for stability fixes. These two things are pretty important to me since I live in Thailand the internet isn’t that fast so smaller size wins. Github was a pretty big reason in itself. This website is much better catered to developing code then launchpad is.
So from now on expect all the code updates to be from GitHub rather then Launchpad.
What I’m currently working on is moving over some of the older code that I haven’t ported to the new system such as the debug console. I’m also going to work on things such as a place to store configuration data as well as the main menu when I get the latest designs for it.
Once these small tasks are done I plan to re-work the level loading code to load up the Ogitor exports and get working on the flying physics.
Since the last update we began making progress towards further developing the game. It was decided that rather then wasting time on an in game editor that we should use Ogitor for building the level, at which point we can simply load levels into the game. From my perspective it takes a lot of work off my shoulders and means that world builders can start making the level straight away simply by downloading the editor program.
nirokugraphic posted a great piece of concept art showing the exterior of a communications relay.
Since starting the project I have been experimenting with different libraries and have come to some conclusions. When it comes to user interface libraries I’m coming to the point where I can see a lot of flaws with MyGUI and am considering to switch back to CEGUI. There are a few things that MyGUI can’t do such as correctly aligning base UI elements and although MyGUI is initially easier to use, it has too many limitations to make it practical for everyday use.
A good productive couple of weeks in the forums meant that a lot of planning, artwork and other details got discussed. Everyone got into an interesting discussion about what the main story should involve on the forums.
To me the very core of this game is around ‘greed’, unlike the original where it was merely a tagline which didn’t relate in any real way to the story . “Future is greedy, mission: ESCAPE!” . To me this would have more to do with joining one faction and outright annihilating the others, which might actually be a good way of taking it rather than the objective being to escape Titan.
If we’re going with multiple endings then I think we should encourage different view points of the game as well.
For example the very core of greed could be the theme of the criminal arc where everyone is out to do you over. Where as other story arcs could be about a different side of the game altogether. I really think that the view you get of the different elements should change depending upon what role you play in the game.
A quick example. You play as a criminal you see the world as only greed. Everyone wants your stuff or is trying to kill you for the bounty. Every interaction with the police is viewed as corrupt. However, when you play the police role you see a completely different side, you go on missions with other police units that aren’t corrupt but struggle to to keep justice in an underfunded and understaffed force that has to keep the peace of a huge violent area.
Infrahate on the forums began work on the music score for the game and has taken over creative control of music..
One thing I would like to point out listening to a lot of these tracks from the original; I had forgotten completely about the softer, less aggressive tracks and a a definite theme that comes to mind is ‘driving’ . Driving (or flying in this case) around the moon dealing with the day to day . I think this is an important vibe to maintain and so we don’t have quite as much ‘in your face’ music, which would probably more suited for dynamic mission related stuff ?
Something else I liked too was that the music sounded like it was from the future, especially from my own experience of listening to it for the first time having never really been that introduced to Warp and electronic music . Trying to maintain that never before heard music from the future feel could be tough to achieve but I think would really benefit .