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[Development] Presenting my project! Engine for making games like WC3 custom maps

Discussion in 'Game Development' started by Ollhax, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Hi there! I'm working on a game engine with the goal of recreating & expanding the WC3 modding scene. I've been working on it for a few years now, and I hope you can have a look and say what you think :)

    Updates:
    Update 1 - Hot-reloading
    Update 2 - UI & starting work on the Level Editor
    Update 3 - Terrain Editor
    Update 4 - Entity Editor
    Update 5 - Script Editor

    I got the idea from having played a countless number of WC3 custom games back in the LAN-party days. I absolutely love the creativity and variation that comes from the old world editor, and I'm not surprised to see that many of them have inspired games of their own (TD’s, MOBA’s, etc). The curious thing to me is that there’s plenty of games that try to recreate specific WC3 maps, but I haven’t really seen an effort into making something that recreates the growing ground for all of those maps. And, *drumrolls* - that’s where my project comes in! :)

    Here's how it looks (WIP):

    [​IMG]

    My project is an engine that lets you make maps similar to WC3 custom games. I will start by making a series of maps myself, probably including a TD and Hero Siege. Just like in WC3, the game will allow any modding of these maps - all maps you play will be downloaded and modifiable. There’ll be the same network play support. However, as opposed to WC3, my engine will be built ground-up with modding in focus. Here's some improvements I plan to bring, when compared to WC3:
    • Online community: Perhaps the most interesting part for prospective players. You and your friends need a way to find new maps to play, and there’ll be a server browser for that. I hope to have a lot more options for discovery than in WC/SC, including ranked lists (ordered by votes/popularity/release date/etc), features like “Map Of The Week”, and a shuffle function that lets you play through a series of maps without having to return to the browser in between.

    • Voxel graphics: I’m not an artist, and I’m guessing most modders aren’t either. Voxel graphics lets you easily create & tweak models and tilemaps. I use MagicaVoxel for creating my models, it’s free and very easy to use.

    • Scripting: Instead of a home-grown scripting language, I’m using C# for scripting. This has a long list of advantages, including better performance, better tool support (Visual Studio), more online tutorials and resources, etc. I’m also planning to create a Trigger Editor that will be fine for most of your scripting needs, but you can use C# for more advanced work.

    • Deeper modding: You can change more than the map rules. For example, if you want to make modifications to the pathfinding algorithms - or even transform the entire game into a FPS - this is possible through normal map scripting. You won’t have to resort to third-party tools.

    • Hot-reloadable assets & scripts: This lets you swap out models and scripts without having to restart the game. When it comes to tweaking & balancing, this makes a world of difference.

    I’ve already come a long way with the technical groundwork needed for the engine, but there’s a lot to do before I can release anything. Most of the tools are yet to be written, and then I need to create some actual games. But, as you can see in the screenshots, there’s at least something to show for from all the work so far :)

    Since I’m making this for people like you, who either like playing or making games like these - what would you like to see in a project like this? Is it something you’d be interested in testing when the first alpha versions come out?

    If you’re interested, you can follow my progress on twitter: @ollhax. I’ll probably get around to create a website etc once I figure out a name for the project :)

    TL; DR
    I’m making a game engine that aims to be a stand-alone version of the WC3 custom map. It will offer better online community support, C# scripting, and a voxel art style. Tell me what you think!
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  2. GhostWolf

    GhostWolf

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    There are two problems:
    1) Voxel graphics. Unless this field advanced a whole lot while I didn't look, this is far less feasible than polygons, both for the engine and the modellers (if you want decent graphics, that is).
    2) TL;DR goes at the beginning, not the end.

    Other than that sounds good.

    Are you using UE4/Unity?
     
  3. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Hey there! Hrm, interesting about the voxel graphics, what makes you say that? I agree that the end results may have less mass appeal than high quality poly models, but the problem is producing those high quality models. This is a trade-off which lets more people in on making art.

    But to it's defense, there's some really nice voxel art out there. I use e.g. this a lot for reference:

    [​IMG]
    (I think credits go to Sir Carma!)

    It works great for static geometry, but less so for characters etc. I have some ideas how to make it work for the latter part :)

    About engines: I'm building it nearly from scratch, using C#. I'm leaning on OpenTK, Lidgren and Skia (and probably a few more libraries I can't remember right now) for some of the heavy lifting, but most of it is custom.
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017
  4. ddengster

    ddengster

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    It looks cool..but what's your focus? "goal of recreating & expanding the WC3 modding scene" with voxel graphics? Show me some gameplay of the rts kind before you can claim that:) All I see right now is a Tower Defense.
     
  5. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Thanks! :) Haha, sorry if it sounded a bit boastful, but it's what I'm aiming for - not saying I'm there now :) Also, to be absolutely clear, I'm not stating that this is a WC3 killer (or even tries to be). I'm simply trying to pick the part I found most interesting (custom maps), apply some spit-shine and make it an experience of its own.

    I'd love to show you more gameplay, but like I said, I don't have much to show yet :/ Most of the work so far has gone into the foundation (most of the features listed above, network support, graphics engine, documentation, etc). I'm hoping to make some editors next, and more gameplay after that. But rest assured, there's more going on here than a voxelized TD, even if it doesn't look like it yet :)
     
  6. robizeratul

    robizeratul

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    I for one would love to test this out. I don't know anything about W3 map making ,so my opinion might be helpful to make a really user friendly map editor.

    I (and many other people) have surely thought of playing a game like this...however making it will not be easy. This would be a long term project, and the key is convincing people to make their maps.

    You could look at this like a hobby, do it when you can without worrying. Or you could try getting a core fanbase so you can work on this properly. Either way, you will need many more years of work and development, slowly adding more and more stuff. You also need to get lucky.

    It is possible, and I hope you succeed ! but this is one of those ambitious dreams...sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't
     
  7. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Awesome, glad to know I'm not the only one who'd like something like this :D Some feedback for the editor would be awesome!

    Yeah, it's a tricky path. And I think you're right on target about the problem of convincing people to make maps, but it's also about convincing people to play. It's a very chicken-and-egg-y kind of problem. I hope that an inviting editor, a solid foundation and good existing maps (the ones I plan to make) will be enough.

    I've started working part-time so I have a few dedicated days a week for this project, which I guess makes it a semi-hobby... so I only have to be semi-worried about cataclysmic failure! ^^
     
  8. Chaosy

    Chaosy

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    Kinda charmy.
     
  9. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Thanks! :)
     
  10. robizeratul

    robizeratul

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    well, the only problem I have is that my PC is kinda old. Other than that if you need some testing or an opinion, feel free to PM. This is something I would gladly do
     
  11. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Awesome! It'll take some time (probably a few months) before I have anything even vaguely testable, but I'll keep your offer in mind.
     
  12. Lord_Earthfire

    Lord_Earthfire

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    Subbed!

    Thats a very interesting project you have running there. I look forward to see where this will go. Building a community will be a hard task, but i think with some dedicated people this could really work out.
     
  13. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Thanks! ^^
     
  14. Arcmage

    Arcmage

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    Sounds like a very neat project. A more open version of wc3 would be great.

    I am curious if you intend this to be an open source project? If not what benefits would this provide to map makers, eg would they retain more rights to their maps, be able to host their own dedicated server, ect. I can see lots of potential advantages to mappers (besides technical ones), but it depends upon what you plan to do with it.
     
  15. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Thank you! I'm open to suggestions about anything here, but basically I need some control to get this to work. It's not intended to be a fully open source project, but most of it probably will be (by it's very nature). I need to explain the structure a bit for that to make more sense:

    The project is divided in these parts:
    • Engine
    • Foundation(s)
    • Mods (aka "maps", "levels")
    My only current foundation is "StrategyGame", which is basically a blank RTS game. When you create a mod, you choose a foundation to build it upon. Without a foundation, your game would start out more like an empty Unity project. Usually though, you'd copy another mod (perhaps one of the standard ones) and just tweak that instead. A mod has full access to the code in the foundations, and can override specific code if needed (see "Deeper modding" in my first post). The plan is to keep my mods and foundations open source, but the engine will be closed source.

    About the map maker's rights: That's a very tricky question. On the one hand, I love the idea of a community of sharing. When something has been uploaded, it would be fair game for anyone to pick it apart, learn from it, and potentially change some things and release their own version. On the other hand, I can see that this might limit some modders from wanting to put in a lot of work in their creations. See The Warcraft 3 modding scene and the power of open source. • r/truegaming for some excellent discussion about this matter. I'm currently leaning towards the OP's view (open maps), but I'm very much open for input here :)

    Dedicated servers: I don't want to monopolize the right to host a game. You'll be able to host a game and have someone connect to you directly.
     
  16. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Update 1

    Just popping in to share some updates :) I've mostly worked with UI the last few weeks, and since that stuff is dry and boring, I'd rather show some gifs of fun stuff :D

    Starting off, here's my old trusty giraffe as it looks in MagicaVoxel:

    [​IMG]
    Left side: MagicaVoxel, right side: model loaded into the engine.

    Sidenote: You can grab MagicaVoxel at MagicaVoxel, it's free and awesome! (I have no ties to the program more than using it for my stuff and being madly in love with it <3)

    I've gone on a bit about hot reloading, so here's some reloading in action:

    [​IMG]
    Again, left side: MagicaVoxel, right side: my engine. It works for tiles and stuff as well, which is very useful for e.g. fixing repeating patterns in the grass.

    The same, but for scripts:

    [​IMG]
    Left side: Script (going over all VoxelModelComponents and setting scale=2), right side: my engine.

    Script reloading is quite more complicated, since it involves recompiling the script (C# code). I do this at run-time, then dynamically load the new assembly. I can't just rewrite the current one, so instead I serialize the game state, then deserialize it in the new version of the program. The new code will continue running after a few seconds.

    That's all for now, hope you like it! :)
     
  17. Daffa the Mage

    Daffa the Mage

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  18. micca

    micca

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    Awesome project!

    You've done a lot of nice work here. Add me to the list, when you need test something. :)

    I love these kind of "revolutionary" stuff, you don't have fear of failure or, at least, you do it anyway. That is something I support with all my heart, because it fills the emptiness of the world. :D

    Looking forward for the 1st alpha. :D
     
  19. Ollhax

    Ollhax

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    Thanks micca, it means a lot to hear that! :D There's always fear of failure, but I'm having too much fun with the project in itself to be very bothered by it :D

    I'll keep you in mind for testing!
     
  20. Daffa the Mage

    Daffa the Mage

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    Gonna wait till it's release. Seems a very potent option for alternatives.