Children of the Void: Project Update January 2nd, 2013

The role-playing games (I-X) that started it all and the various spin-offs (including Dark Messiah).

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Children of the Void: Project Update January 2nd, 2013

Postby MMXAlamar » Jan 2 2013, 19:30

Children of the Void
Press Release: January 2nd, 2013

Children of the Void: An Unofficial Sequel to Might and Magic

Project Update: January 2nd, 2013

Happy New Year folks, and thank you for a wonderful year of supporting Children of the Void. Over the course of the year 2012, this project has evolved from a disorganized group of fans with the sole desire to revive one of our favorite games–the Might and Magic RPG series–to a functional volunteer network with a shared common goal: to make this game, Children of the Void, a reality, as best as we can make it.

RPGs are said to be the hardest game to make, and we have certainly bit off more than we can chew. Out of the five departments that make up the structure of Children of the Void (Art, 3d, Programming, Audio, and Writing) we are still imbalanced, but nevertheless, going somewhere spectacular. Great people have come into this project, and great people have left this project. Great people have expressed an explicit desire to lend their talents to joining our group of dedicated, kind-spirited people. If only more of these kind people had the time to commit to this non for profit venture.

Each month our vision is coming together more, and more work is being done little by little. The setbacks are brutal. Losing key developers, losing engines, losing work, scrapping work, people going on vacation, disagreements and sometimes arguments between developers–this is all what we have been facing throughout the year. At some time it hasn’t been pretty, but other times, it’s been remarkable and almost otherworldly, for instance the day when Ubisoft replied to us with their blessing.

Yes it’s been quite a year, and we’ve made it through with a stronger vision of precisely how to develop this game and get ourselves organized and on the right track to meeting our production goals. We need all the help we can get and are always looking for new faces. Whether you’re a 3d modeler or animator who wants to have a great development experience, or a programmer who is tired of working with databases and would rather do games instead, maybe you’re an artist or musician who is searching for the right niche to create masterpieces, or you could be a writer with a desire to tell stories. Whatever your passion is, if you’re skilled and dedicated, we would love the chance to work with you on a professional level, and join our development family with your ideas and talents.

Engine Migration (PixelLight)

PixelLight Engine: http://pixellight.sourceforge.net/

For the past few months we have been using a new startup engine called V Engine, until about a month ago when they stopped communicating with us, and we heard they were having financial difficulties. Unfortunately V Engine went bankrupt not long ago, and we have spent most of the past month determining which new engine we would use and preparing an engine migration so that we could keep most of our preexisting code. The new engine we have chosen is called PixelLight, and it’s an open source 3d framework with many features implemented, though still in development. The 3d and programming departments have both extensively reviewed and experimented with the PixelLight engine and have come to the conclusion that PL is our best option. In the month of January 2013, the programming department is scheduled to finish migrating all of our code from V Engine to PixelLight and then begin where they left of designing the basic framework for Children of the Void. This has unfortunately set us back several months, but it’s been fully taken care of so that we cannot see the possibility of anything like this happening again.

Children of the Void’s New Year’s Resolution

This year, we promise to do our best to bring you a functional demo. There’s no release date yet, but we’ll give you a relative idea of what this demo will include and how far we’ve come:

Level Design

• Town (Area 1)
• Town (Area 2)
• Town (Area 3)
• Wilderness/Landmass
• Dungeon
• NPCs

We are currently in progress with Town (Area 1), which should be 100% finished by the end of February. The Dungeon is about 25% finished, and the Town (Area 2), (Area 3), the Wilderness/Landmass, and the NPCs have not yet been started. This will take a lot of time and more 3d modelers, texture artists, and 3d animators.

Programming

• Basic Gameplay
• Basic GUI
• Player-to-World Interactions
• Simple AI
• Simple Combat

These are but some of the functions proposed for the tutorial demo, and the Basic Gameplay, Basic GUI, and Player-to-World Interactions are already in progress. We plan to provide you with feature updates from the programming department once we have reestablished a programming pipeline following the engine migration. We’ll present you with the new features implemented every month.

GUI

• Main Menu
• Character Creation (Game Mechanics)
• HUD
• Character/Party Menus

We have just begun to work on these menus and are going to start out with the HUD and some of the character menus. The plan is to take this in small chunks and work on the UI design and the player character design separately, and then to put everything together once the characters and the interfaces are designed. We only have a limited amount of artists so the graphics are coming along quite slowly.

Audio

• Several town soundtracks
• Several dungeon soundtracks
• Main game theme
• Basic UI sound effects
• Basic game sound effects

Most of the soundtracks are well in progress and undergoing a specific departmental process of composing, reviewing, and revising. We aim to provide you with the highest quality in fantasy music which may even stand in the shadows of the MM greats, Paul Romero, Rob King, and Steve Baca.

Writing

• Tutorial Storyline (Revision)
• Main Storyline (Revision)
• Atlas of Regions
• Lore Bible
• Character and NPC Dialogues

Most of the writing we have done for the tutorial demo is fully finished, however, we have plenty of time to revise things and improve the plot. The story will be revamped and perfected so that it will be as epic and engaging as possible. The current writing projects for the month of January 2013 are to make drastic progress on the Atlas of Regions using the texts from the Heroes of Might and Magic IV campaigns, to revamp the tutorial storyline, and the main storyline as well.

Completed Projects, December 2012

• Migrate to OpenProject
• Rough Draft of New Logo
• Begin Atlas of Regions
• Begin Story Rewrite

Current Projects, January 2013

Programming

• Continue engine migration from V Engine to PixelLight
• Continue implementation of game features (movement, UI, combat, etc.)

Level Design

• Finalize the specifications and features for the tutorial level design
• Continue designing artwork for the tutorial town level
• Polished 3d Models for Town (Area 1)
• Asset Inventory of Models Needed for Town (Areas 1,2,3)
• Final Draft Detailed Map of Entire Tutorial Region
• Second Draft of World Map *TBD

Game Design

• Player Character Systems (RP & Art)
• Rough Drafts of HUD
• Rough Drafts of GUI
• Atlas of Regions
• Rewrite of Main Storyline

Audio

• Continue Tutorial Soundtracks
• Continue Spell Sound Effects
• Asset Inventory of Sound Effects Needed

PR & Publicity

• DeviantArt Campaign
• New CotV Logo
• 3d Ad
• Programming Ad
• New Website *TBD

As you can tell, there’s a lot on our plate for this year. If you think you could help in any of these areas please let us know and maybe we can offer you a position working with us. Children of the Void is nonprofit forever, and we promise to release the game for free once it’s finished! You should be seeing signs of progress in the upcoming months and we’ll be sure to maintain constant communication with all of you people eagerly awaiting updates on this game.

Thanks so much and have a great 2013 everyone!

Sincerely,

MMXAlamar

Project Leader
Children of the Void
mmxalamar@gmail.com

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vladimir-maestro
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Postby vladimir-maestro » Jan 2 2013, 21:23

another engine change?
maybe it is time to stop jumping between engines? :|
You can contact me here:
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if you wish to upload some materials for this site - let me know.

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Postby MMXAlamar » Jan 3 2013, 1:01

vladimir-maestro wrote:another engine change?
maybe it is time to stop jumping between engines? :|

No choice, our previous engine went bankrupt and took down their website. PixelLight is open source and very much alive so we don't have to worry about that.

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Postby unknownone » Jan 3 2013, 11:24

MMXAlamar wrote:
vladimir-maestro wrote:another engine change?
maybe it is time to stop jumping between engines? :|

No choice, our previous engine went bankrupt and took down their website. PixelLight is open source and very much alive so we don't have to worry about that.


Why didn't you choose a more widespread engine which is already used for other games? Like Irrlicht, Unity, UDK 3 or Source?
I'm not criticizing, I'm just interested in knowing the reasons of your choice.
I've played and enjoyed many RPGs:
MM6,MM7,MM8,MM9, Fallout 1&2, Planescape Torment, Torment: ToN, TES3, TES4

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Postby GreatEmerald » Jan 3 2013, 14:09

Yea, you're really unlucky with all the engine changes. But hey, PixelLight works natively on Linux, so I can't complain :D

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Postby MMXAlamar » Jan 3 2013, 19:45

unknownone wrote:
MMXAlamar wrote:
vladimir-maestro wrote:another engine change?
maybe it is time to stop jumping between engines? :|

No choice, our previous engine went bankrupt and took down their website. PixelLight is open source and very much alive so we don't have to worry about that.


Why didn't you choose a more widespread engine which is already used for other games? Like Irrlicht, Unity, UDK 3 or Source?
I'm not criticizing, I'm just interested in knowing the reasons of your choice.


Thanks for bringing this up unknownone! We actually covered all of those engines as possibilities during our brainstorming process.

The main problem with Unity, UDK, and Source are either a) the limitations with those engines in graphics quality and/or design and programming based on the nature of the engine (in some cases with or without paying for the full license), which brings me to b) to purchase the full version of some of these commercial engines can be quite expensive and we don't operate with a budget, so pricing plays a huge factor as well. I mean, if we had a million dollars sure we'd go with something like CryEngine 3 or 4, but unfortunately that's too far out of the project's scope.

We did go over Ogre3D and Irrlicht quite extensively, but found them to be quite outdated graphics-wise. The tradeoffs if we wanted to improve the graphics would entail hours upon hours of programming things like shaders, on top of the extensive programming that an RPG entails.

Eventually we decided to go with PixelLight, because it's very balanced in the sense that the graphics are very nice and the engineering of the game build is not too complicated. It's a compromise but we've had nothing but good news in the staff evaluations of PL so far. It seems like the best choice our there for our particular needs.

This choice is also aligned with one of our core goals that the Lead Programmer has discussed with me:

To be rewarded by actually being part of a team making an awesome game and a framework that will - hopefully - redefine the way open source games are created.

Just some food for thought on our decision-making process. We are fully confident that we have made the right choice in going with PixelLight and I'll provide everyone with updates on the engine-related programming side of things as soon as we're done with the engine migration.

Thanks again for your questions! :)

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Postby GreatEmerald » Jan 3 2013, 22:12

Yea, a way to easily interact with upstream is always a good bonus, too.

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Postby Ribannah » Jan 4 2013, 10:37

Yes, the engine.

We have struggled with it with MMTribute from day 1. What is out there is unfinished, too limited, buggy, or a combination of these.

I have come to the conclusion that the only reliable way to proceed is to develop one's own engine.


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