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Here you can see the first mission in Dark Forces in full 4K resolution with modern graphics, visual and audio effects and new architectural layout.
Check out the video below of the team's current progress.
Interview with the Shadow Art Games team.
And as a bonus, we were able to (virtually) sit-down with the team's Ryan and Lewis to discuss the project.
DF-21: What got you started on this project? Just fans of Dark Forces?
Ryan: So to begin with my friend Lewis was working on creating Dark Forces a while back and started talking to me about it, with us both being fans of star wars I decided to ask if he wanted help as I have a background in 3D art. Several months later it became this full-level project that we both love.
Lewis: Yeah big time fan! Dark Forces was pretty much the first game I played as a kid when my Dad brought home a PS1 back around 1997.
Even though I was super young when I first played, it left a lasting impression on me and I fell in love with the Dark ambience and complex levels. And ever since then I kind of had a Dark forces hole which has not been filled by the later games, I WANT BLASTERS ONLY!
I started thinking about doing a Dark Forces remake back in 2017. I have a good knowledge in various coding languages and I wanted to
try my hand at developing. I have played around in unity many years ago but once I tried my hand with the Unreal engine, I was hooked.
So yeah, I wanted a project to develop my skills, especially with AI so I thought I'm gonna do Dark forces lol.
Around this time Jason Lewis's project had not been announced (which is awesome) so it looked like I would of been the first one to develop one. However after a month or so I got caught up in life, and it got shelved. However, during lockdown and the pandemic, I decided to dig it back up and revive it!
DF-21: Is this just a single-map remake right? You don't have plans to do other missions?
Ryan: Currently yes, but we have talked that if people on our YouTube page and Discord all ask for another level then we might look to do another
but at current times we are mainly now focused on starting our own project.
Lewis: I would love to do detention centre, maybe as a bonus some day !
Df-21: Hah that's my favorite map :slight_smile: I had to call Lucasarts phone hint line to finish it in the 90s.
Lewis: I was always stuck on the Anoat sewers back in the day, still have nightmares!
DF-21: Did you guys look at the original sector layout and INF scripting through Dark Forces editors such as WDFUSE or Dark Forge? Or did you come up with an entirely new design from scratch?
Ryan: So originally I just was creating the wall panels as that's all I thought I was going to help with at the time. We were originally going to try stick to 1:1 with the original but after seeing JL version with adjustments in certain areas we thought It would be a nice change to just make it our own and add In what we felt worked.
Looking back now I wish I kept a bit more originality to it but could be something to look into if we decide to make one of the other levels.
Lewis: You know, I personally was inspired by the layout of the Jedi Academy mod, which was super impressive. I guess it was a mix between the original, that mod and Jason Lewis's project
DF-21: Were you guys ever part of the Dark Forces modding community, did you play any of the custom maps?
Ryan: Thank you, I myself wasn't but I think my friend might have been and again I didn't but Lewis might have haha.
Lewis: Unfortunately we were not, I think maybe I was a bit young at the time to discover modding for the original Dark forces, but I am a fan of the custom maps and campaigns,
I believe the Dark Tide series I have played a few years back.
DF-21: Are you familiar with The Force Engine?
Ryan: I have heard of it but not actually got around to checking it out.
Lewis: Oh wow, yeah very enjoyable! I am looking forward to trying The Force Engine. Recently did a playthrough with Dark XL.
DF-21: Did you create all the assets yourself or did you take them from other star wars games or websites? The textures, models and sound effects are straight from the Star Wars universe.
Ryan: Rocks were megascan assets as I'm still not fully comfortable with sculpting high detailed rocks, but 95% of the assets I created and some Lewis sourced :slight_smile:
DF-21: Do you have a background in Game Design? Is this project a test of how well you can work on a team for a future commercial venture?
Lewis: Not in a professional sense, but I do believe after many years of making hobby projects that I would say now I am somewhat competent? Haha.
And definitely, the dream would be to make games with great people. It can be stressful but also so rewarding when you see everything come together just like any creative project. If it wasn't for Ryan's art skills, it would be nowhere near where it is today!
DF-21: Thank you and do you have background in game art design? You can do both 3D modeling and animations?
Ryan: I studied game art at university but left the animation side of it to Lewis as he decided to animate the simple doors straight in UE4
which allowed me to just focus on getting the environment and asset done.
DF-21: When do you expect to complete the project and release it to the public ?
Ryan: Tough but simple question, If it was me It would never be complete ( the curse of being an artist) as I nit pick a lot
but I know this project does need to come to an end, I think Lewis just wants to tweak and add a few more little audio sections
but apart from that, it is playable now and near ready whenever Lewis wants to finalize it.
Lewis: The project pretty much started end of May 2020, so as a fan project goes, I would say we have made decent progress and it is only going to get better.
It has been a learning experience and If we ever did later levels I we would approach a few things differently. At the moment it's hard to say, is anything really completed? haha, no but I would like people to play at some point. Definitely needs a few bits of polish here and there, I was also working on a multiplayer mode as well, which works!.
Type of capture the flag type game mode. I.E rebels capture the plans Imperials stop them. I don't want to promise a date, But start of June sounds good for me.
DF-21: Wow, fully playable game with possible multiplayer. That's amazing work ethic.
Ryan: Fully playable level, yeah.
Lewis: You know plans change could come earlier. The level is fully playable such as is shown on the video. I do need a nice HUD to display (I disabled it in the vid as I am not happy with the current look I have) it just needs a few things to make it really stand out.
DF-21: Thank you so much for your time!
Lewis: Thanks for taking interest in the project and giving coverage, also thanks for keeping the Dark Forces community alive in the 21st century :smile: