Early Access Progress Update on Daath Origins – The Long Road Ahead
March 26, 2018
I’m stubborn. It’s a good and bad quality.
My single player space RPG, DAATH ORIGINS, has been in Early Access for 6 months. Why?
Even though the game is basically done, including the full main quest, game mechanics, side content, and more, it also suffers from a rather fatal bug that is talked about in depth here. In that same blog post, I talk about porting the game to another engine as the solution. I was hoping to port the game in a way that would retain all the quest logic, map data, weapons & items. This would mean fixing the bug wouldn’t require massive amounts of redoing work I had already done.
However, those efforts have failed, but like I said, I’m stubborn. I’d really like to focus on my next game, but until DAATH ORIGINS is fun and done, I can’t and I won’t move on. DAATH ORIGINS will leave Early Access as a completed, polished RPG or I’ll die trying. There is no giving up.
So I’ve found a new path towards making this game stable: recoding it from scratch in a better engine. In this case, I’m recreating DAATH ORIGINS in Unity3D, since it’s an engine I am intimately familiar with.
What does this mean for my work load? While I won’t need to recreate a lot of the art/sound resources, nor do I need to write the main story or the quests, it does mean the following rather laborious tasks, which I feel are the “cons”:
- Recreating the game world, almost 1000 different areas.
- Extracting the dialog from the old version of the game, and then entering it into a new dialog system.
- Reprogramming the fundamental RPG systems that powers the game, like items, status effects, combat system, movement, etc.
- Reprogramming all the quests and setting up all the quest triggers.
- Creating some new assets to take advantage of the move from a 2d engine to a 3d engine, such as 3d planets, stars, and starships.
- Redoing the 50 cutscenes in 4K or doing them in game in engine.
That’s a lot of work, at least a year by my reckoning, which is the final con. Now let’s talk about the pros of this news:
- The game will be able to handle 4K resolutions, GPU acceleration, crossfire support, fullscreen shaders and will overall look and perform much better.
- Most of the game resources, like sounds and graphics, will be instantly reusable.
- I have a complete “prototype” version of the game to reference.
- I will now have the ability to easily add shaders and particle effects that up the “game juice.”
- Porting with Unity3d is simple, meaning I can bring this game to virtually any modern console or platform.
- Some of the cut features from the original version of the game can be restored.
- I’ll have another opportunity to make slight adjustments to the entirety of the game.
- Moving to a 3d engine means I can smooth in and out of a 2d top down perspective into a dynamic 3d camera, opening up the possibilities of some breathtaking transitions and scenes.
- I can integrate the player feedback I’ve already received on the game into this new version from day 1.
- The Unity Profiler and the debugging tools available for this workflow will help insure I don’t end up with another killer bug at the end of this development cycle.
So yeah, I’ll be excited to share videos of this work over the next year or so as I work towards finishing DAATH ORIGINS in whatever way I can. To that end, expect some behind the scenes updates later this year as I progress on the definitive edition of this game. I still do have a plan for the old build too.
Thanks for reading and wish me luck!