Tuesday, January 15, 2008

UFO:AI vs Apricot vs Glest vs... crikey

Quite a lot to cover, simply because there's a lot of small items that have backed up in my little "FG updates" list which I've been waiting to pool together.

Firstly, the "big" news in that UFO:AI 2.2 got released. There's plenty to write home about, tons of new features, and it's an awesome game. I'm not a great fan of some of the micro-management although it's part of the original X-COM games so understandably part of UFO:AI - I would like to see some automation aids (auto-assign ammo etc) - but that aside this is a really, really good game. If it was released as a commercial game it'd be respected, and because it's Free Software it's only going to get better. Here's a video:

So, the Apricot project is gaining pace. They have still to decide on what type of game they are making. I hope they make, out of their choices, a platform game. I must say, I really disagree with some of their assertions. If a platform game is "heavy on the engine" then I feel sorry for the engine - platform games have very little landscape on-screen at any one time and a good 3D engine should be able to isolate displayed content from off-screen content in order to retain speed. "Lots of work" to create levels? Out of all genres platform games really lend themselves to tile-based layouts with lots of reusable content, so with a half-assed level editor map creation should be pretty easy even if level design is a fine art (but isn't it with any genre).

Spring 1944

Glest: Domineonic

How cool does that look!?

Spring 1944 is a world war II mod for TA:Spring and it looks F<censored/> ACE! With Spring and Spring mod installation getting easier in recent releases and some mods really coming along with their content, there's a lot to be excited about. :-)

Talking of open source RTS games, Glest and it's mods are moving along nicely too. There's the 2nd SST:LD release (think I covered it a while ago, but no harm repeating it), a Norseman mod (beta), and an upcoming Domineonic mod (alpha). The Domineonic mod especially looks very, very promising.

Too much to go into detail with really... ;-)

Last but not least, Privateer Universe made a release and quickly followed it with developments meaning they no longer are a "mod of a mod", breaking away from the old Privateer Remake and updating to use the latest version of Vega Strike. That's all still in SVN (compilation instructions) but they are making good progress.

Privateer Universe aims to expand upon the original Privateer universe in contrast to the strict canon remake that is Privateer Gemini Gold.


(Think of a dead dial tone)


Anonymous said...

Concerning the micromanagement in UFO:AI ... we are aiming for a "all that can be automated will be automatic" kind of thing, so it's just a matter of time until micromanagement is no longer necessary (but most of the time MM is still possible if wanted).

After all, the original game was good, but there is always room for improvement :D


Vadim Peretokin said...

Yeah, I just found UFO after their latest release, I like the game.

Can't agree with you on Spring more. It really is Fking good. The only problem is that due to a graphics card issue, units aren't colored for me (just shades of white), but the game is still so fun.

Mark C. said...

Why is it that a 1994 4mb game can implement destructable environments but a 300+ mb 2008 game can't ?

That issue of blatant omission kind of destroys the enjoyment of UFO:AI for me, knowing that the fence in front of you and between you and the alien is infinitiely more powerful, immovable and strong than 1 million aliens and 1 million soldiers COMBINED.

Anonymous said...

Mark C.: Some background info on that problem....

The authors of the XCOM games did write the engine for their game from scratch back then and used a fully tile-base structure which makes exchanging the tiles easy (they also didn't really need to care about lighting etc...)

UFO:AI uses a modified Quake 2 engine, see also [1]. Making more than a few crates (think: "game objects", not "map-structure") destructible .. which is possible already ... would need some major rewrite of the engine (and most likely all the maps and some models)

There is no "blatant omission" as you call it, it's an inherited design problem.

A solution to that is most welcome of course. Anything that isn't a complete rewrite or starting from scratch will most likely be implemented.
It's not like we don't search for solutions for simple destroyable stuff (e.g. a fence), so the future may bring some improvements.

The fence is a good point though, but for now you can at least fire trough it if it's thin enough and you use the right weapon ;)

That said .. who said you can't just play the original game? I'm playing it quite often recently by the wonders of DOSbox.
It's a different game, and UFO:AI isn't supposed to be a remake of it, more of a homage. Same goes for any other UFO/XCOM themed game out there. Play what you like to play :)

Happy gaming,

[1] http://ufoai.ninex.info/wiki/index.php/FAQ#Gameplay_for_veterans

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