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Dark Forces in Unreal Engine


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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-10 12:44:28 

Hi all, I have been working with Unreal Engine alot lately, and it occurs to me that re-creating Dark Forces levels in that engine would be a fun exercise, and not really that difficult.

The MORE exciting part for me however, is realizing that once that was achieved, it could be greatly enhanced with modern features.

I guess what I am envisioning is a Dark Forces 'retro futurist' version. 'Retro Futurist Forces'?

Imagine if Dark Forces 2 was made using the JEDI engine v2.0 - it would be as if the sprite graphics were upgraded, and more depth to the gameplay was added as well. Its sort of imagining if Dark Forces 2 were made on a 'higher-res' console from 1998 or Win2k PC (Genesis, SNES). So its still sprite based enemies, but double pixel resolution.

Other features COULD be:
- WAX enemies with BEHAVIOR TREES: PATROL, IDLE, CONVERSATION, ATTACK, COVER BEHAVIOR, etc.
- WAX allies (WAX vs. WAX action)
- NPCs with interactive conversation trees
- enhanced, 'semi-modern' inventory, republic credits and economy

I wonder how much interest would be generated by this- not just in the ashes of the Dark Forces community, but by retro gamers in general?

I liked DarkXL's graphics boosting, but I would have been more excited by enhanced gameplay.


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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-21 20:08:42 

I am actually getting this to work, believe it or not. I have gotten as far as setting up the player HUD, and a working blaster pistol. Halfway through a working Stormtrooper enemy. Once I have basic Katarn vs. Storm combat working I will post a video.

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Taton

Post Posted: 2017-04-22 19:07:52 

Hey Patrick, that sounds awesome.

Here's some completely unwarranted feature creep for you:

1. Thermal Detonators hot-keyed to use as grenades.
2. So your gonna use this for Dark Tide V, right?


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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-24 13:22:20 

New key binds are pretty easy.

I am setting up 'starter weapons' now - Punch, Pistol, Blaster Rifle. The guns and fist all are toggleable on screen more or less as it is seen in the original. Swapping can be done on the 1,2,3 keys AND mouse wheel.

The guns fire a red bolt projectile and have the impact fx show on hit, and the HUD tracks the energy unit ammo count.

Next step for the weapons is to set up damage values and sound fx, and then give actual health values to the player and enemy (Stormtrooper).

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Nikumubeki

Post Posted: 2017-04-26 13:14:41 

Awesome!

In fact, one of the first things that came to my mind while playing the UE4 Mos Eisley tech demo ( https://forums.massassi.net/vb3/showthread.php?67790-Mos-Eisley-UE4-Free-Tech-Demo ) and randomly firing around with the blaster for a while was: "Man, if only there was a Dark Forces-like shooter utilizing UE4".

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-26 16:42:26 

Not entirely sure what form this new DF will take, but I picture maybe something a bit 'RPG lite'- like System Shock or Deus Ex? I am just trying to (mostly) clone the game into UE4 first, and then mod it from there.

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jon-t

Post Posted: 2017-04-27 01:31:28 

Actually, I was working on exactly this a couple years ago, and that is what the "Remake Development" section is for. If you would be open to making this a community project, I think it would be neat to see what we could do in terms of a full remake. No pressure though, I eagerly await screenshots/videos!

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-28 14:19:16 

Oh is that why that button exists?

I don't really want to Remake the game, more just remake the 'blueprint code' and content conversion that would allow making new levels. I personally probably wouldn't go farther than re-creating Secret Base.

The project is more a warm-up to develop other games using the same blueprint. Once I reached that stage and put together a Secret Base demo I would consider releasing the thing into the wild.

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-04-28 14:24:38 

Side note: Should remake use sprite renders based on SW Battlefront weapons?

Bryar pistol here:

https://cdnb.artstation.com/p/assets/images/images/003/785/375/large/erik-rading-swbf-erikrading-bryarpistol-resized.jpg?1477475699

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-05-31 00:46:56 

Just to prove I am not crazy, here is a test video:

https://youtu.be/r3PRV6n8sZ8

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jon-t

Post Posted: 2017-05-31 10:57:30 

Oh My Gosh!! That is beautiful! I especially love the shading and ao, it makes it look absolutely amazing. The dark lighting and slight blue cast really adds to the atmosphere. I also noticed the left stormtrooper turns white for a moment when we see his back image at 39 seconds, bad export perhaps? Anyway, really good work, I am very excited to see what this turns into.

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Taton

Post Posted: 2017-05-31 21:03:23 

Looks like a nice start Patrick.

Is it ok for me to post your updates on the main page / twitter account, or do you want to limit the exposure? (DOZENS MIGHT SEE IT!!)

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-05-31 21:57:59 

Yeah go ahead and post. My plan is to make it free to owners of DF. I don't know if Disney would even care about a standalone game that uses content from a 23 year old game but I would like to keep it as legit as necessary. I posted some of the details about future accessibility on YouTube and the Dark Forces Steam forum.

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-06-05 13:24:54 

Started a Steam Group for the project:

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/SWDarkForcesUnreal

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jon-t

Post Posted: 2017-06-05 13:29:02 

hey, did you mean to make the other topic?

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Well, I wouldn't be a very good moderator if I didn't even have a signature, would I?

Burning Gundam

Post Posted: 2017-06-05 21:16:57 

Joined the group; I'm Jimbo Sensei :)

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The East is burning red!

Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-06-05 22:07:57 

Thanks for joining!

...nope, didn't mean to start other topic. It's funny how our BB tools seem as old as DF!

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zedi

Post Posted: 2017-07-03 14:44:56 

Hey Patrick_H this is great stuff. I've also been toying around off and on with this but in Unity: https://github.com/joeriedel/DarkForcesUnity

I've no idea when it'll be done, but it's something I tinker with in between other projects.

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-07-05 11:12:13 

That's cool! I gravitated towards UE4 mostly because I really enjoy Blueprint scripting.

The current stage I am working on is getting the AI behavior merged with the Stormtrooper WAX frames. It seems easier to make a smarter AI than the bizarre (by 2017 standards) shoot/attack behavior in the original game. The original Stormtroopers had 2 behavior states, and the way they reverted to Idle from Aware was stopping in some random place facing some random direction. It's just as easy now to make them go back to a desired location when going Idle.



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FenirStardust

Post Posted: 2017-07-22 02:17:26 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fade_to_Black_(video_game)

I saw this last week, i swear it,s the same engine as DF! There's even a fan made opengl version. I downloaded the game, defiantly similar. Even compiled with watcom C, uses a dos extender just like DF, amd the Pallete files! It's so much the same.
One of you old timers needs to have a look.

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FenirStardust

Post Posted: 2017-07-22 02:24:02 

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=F6lSCQLgWqM

Other than moving the camrea and implementing polygonal animation. Its the same engine it's got tobe!

https://github.com/cyxx/f2bgl

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-07-22 12:26:33 

Doesn't seem that there was any connection between DSI and LEC, so not much chance they share code.

Cool game though, I might check it out in emulation!

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FenirStardust

Post Posted: 2017-07-23 00:06:39 

Pat you seem to be right that there is no evidence that Lucas arts was connect, but the game engine is to much the /exact/ same, compiled the same way, using the same raytrace and pallet file for lighting, same artistry even in the textures and at the same crumy resolutions.

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Barry Brien

Post Posted: 2017-08-16 09:20:35 

Looking good Patrick. The XL Engine looks to have stalled, so this might be our only chance at playing a truly 3d version of the game.

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Patrick_H

Post Posted: 2017-08-21 12:40:53 

Maybe true, but I feel like I am confusing a lot of people behind my motivation on the project. The 'true 3d' or graphical upgrades aren't really the point- I am more interested in changing the game design and programming.

I feel like mods in other engines to graphically modernize games would rely on small teams of game artists. This was tried back with the JK3 mod version of Dark Forces and I am really not trying to go in that direction.

To make it clear, I don't plan on replacing any sprite graphics with 3d models. The most I might do is increase the resolution of sprites and textures and maybe add normal maps to them. Even that is a stretch though.

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