Arcanum 2 Total Conversion?

Discussion in 'Arcanum 2 Suggestion Forum' started by Gforce4999, Aug 21, 2007.

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  1. Dark Elf

    Dark Elf Administrator Staff Member

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  2. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    IMO a good start for a serious fanmade project would be to reverse-engineer the arcanum
    map, script, art and proto formats. AFAIK the proro and art formats are known already so
    that makes it easier, we just need to find the specs for these two. The maps would be the
    biggest problem.

    Reading the original campaign and converting it to a more readable format is a lot better
    then rewriting it all from scratch. Also writing an engine capable of running a game of such
    complexity might be easier if we could see exactly what needs to be done (read).

    Of course getting sierra to release the source code would be an even better solution, but I
    don't think anyone counts on that anymore. Still, if someone is willing to send (another)
    group petition aobut that, I'm in.

    On the original total-conversion note - maybe it would be possible to write a shooter in the
    arcanum setting, since then we could get away with quite simple magick/tech mechanics,
    also the wierd stat system wouldn't be much of an obstacle. Mage/Neutral/Tech classes to
    pick at the start and a generic steampunk setting. Could take place during the age of
    legends, there are enough stories outlined in he game to make decent games. Dwarven clan
    wars, destruction of vendigroth, tarant/cumbria war, the story of Torian Kel.

    The question is what would this have to do with arcanum, other then the name and setting -
    maybe just stick to short 1-3 mission episodes telling stories of the battles introduced in the
    main game. Not really the second Arcanum, but should be fine too.
     
  3. Gforce4999

    Gforce4999 New Member

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    I suppose that wouldn't kill it.

    If we decide to do a shooter then I have two ideas for it just to get the ball rolling.

    If we were to do so we could call it journey to the center of arcanum.

    We could also make 3D versions of the underground tunnels scattered around the Arcanum universe.
     
  4. rroyo

    rroyo Active Member

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    Here's another example of my ignorance - Wouldn't the source code be contained in the Arcanum.exe?
     
  5. Gforce4999

    Gforce4999 New Member

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    Yes however my guess is that its either illegal to modify or is encrypted.
     
  6. rroyo

    rroyo Active Member

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    The exe has been modified at least once - to reset the number of levels from 50 to 127 and no one complained.

    I haven't a clue on how to read the codes so I can't tell if there's an encryption.
     
  7. Hans Maulwurf

    Hans Maulwurf New Member

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    Yes should be in there, but you can't really get at it.
    If you're lucky you'll be able to convert it to assembler, but that's still pretty useless :thumbdown:
     
  8. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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    Thanks dark elf ^_^. Getting back to possibly using UT3, just so everone knows some things that can be done with it, the following is a direct quote from page 38 of the manual:

    "You can create characters, weapons, vehicles, pickups, full conversion mods, customisable items, or just about anything in the game. You get the full toolkit necessary to modify the game how you want. If you want to get more advanced, you can use popular 3D editing or Audio suite programs and import that content into the editor"

    Oh, and one other thing, the tutorials are only in the collector's edition of the game (Which i believe was $119 AUS when I bought it).

    Update:
    I reckon Gforce4999's ideas on a journey into the center of arcanum sound good. If we go for modifying the exe, you guys will have to show me how to do it as that is way beyond me at the moment.
     
  9. HL1ownsHL2

    HL1ownsHL2 New Member

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    yea but that would make it very complicated....hh.... and i doubt that would take less than a year to finish...hhhh....remember people, fallout 2 was done on the same engine as fallout 1....hhh..... i say you guys use RPG maker, thats my opinion

    wasn't journey to the center of arcanum the idea for the sequel by troika? ...hhh... would someone be allowed to make a game with the same ideas, now that the company is defunct...hhh...remember how bungie stopped that mod team from making a game on C&C that resembled halo wars? ..hh.. i can imagine something similar happening...
     
  10. GrimmHatter

    GrimmHatter Active Member

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    RPGMaker would be your best bet. You'd have the most control over graphics and stats since you could script them from scratch. Though animations in that program typically look crap, you could easily still keep it top-down, isometric, and turn-based.
     
  11. HL1ownsHL2

    HL1ownsHL2 New Member

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    :throwup: :smash:

    :rifle: :rofl:

    :dead: :boxing:

    :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:

    i hate turn-based :/ so fucking boring.
     
  12. mathboy

    mathboy New Member

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    I hate you, and that, and the fact that your early posts were made from the IP of a guy who pretended to be making an Arcanum mod, and then disappeared (whose username also is about Half Life) tells me that you should be banned. Bye.
     
  13. Wolfsbane

    Wolfsbane Well-Known Member

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    It's been a long time since our last smiley abuse. Good riddance.
     
  14. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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    Getting back on track, I don't have rpg maker and I haven't seen it in stores, so if we go with that then I won't be able to do any level design or similar things. I could still give ideas though.
     
  15. Grossenschwamm

    Grossenschwamm Well-Known Member

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    He wasn't posting like that up until a few days ago. The "h" thing pissed me off, though.

    I just don't think RPG maker would have the right feel to it. Yeah, it could be modified to kindof resemble an Arcanum game, but the battle system is such a stretch.
     
  16. The Pigeon

    The Pigeon Member

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    Fair enough, so long as we keep arcanum's turnbased/real time mode. I personally didn't use turnbased much, but there were times I wanted to think things through in combat and I liked having it then.

    On a completely unrelated note, that is the wierdest bible quote ever.
     
  17. GrimmHatter

    GrimmHatter Active Member

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    With a some extra scripting, a custom battle system in RPGMaker is completely workable. The trickiest part would be making palette after palette of sprites for the isometric view with the limitation of only N, E, S, W directions of movement. I also don't like the default battle system, but overall, I think the program is pretty flexible except for, and I said this earlier, the animations. I don't know about RPGM2003, but everyone before it only gave you 3 or 4 looping frames for all sprite animations on the overhead map, which is where all your custom systems would be running from.

    Aside, are there really that many people on these boards that prefer realtime Arcanum to turnbased Arcanum?
     
  18. The_Bob

    The_Bob Administrator Staff Member

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    for the sake of clarification, what's in arcanum.exe, and most exes for that matter, is known as machine code - not really human readable, especially not in large quantities. It can be relatively easily translated to assembler using some programs, but computers aren't really good at translating things. While it might even compile after that, it would take great skill and experience with assembler to make sense of a translated exe. Small modifications may be possible, as max levels or other numerical constants. Adding support for 3D models or 3-element schematics would likely be harder then rewriting the whole game from scratch.

    A source code is the collection of high-level language files that the game was originally written in - probably C or C++, with some M$ Visual studio quirks. The main reason for which I believe Sierra is reluctant to release this are some restricted codecs or technologies that were used in the game - like the .bik codec or maybe the mp3 decoder they used- to release the source they'd have to pay someone to look through the code and remove fragments related to payed technologies, whatever they may be - codecs, multiplayer components, script interpreters etc.

    Still, even a crippled source code would allow us to improve on the original engine and make the fan made Arcanum 2 feel pretty much like the original - also possibly allowing people to play the original campaign in the improved engine. By improving I generally mean not making the compromises the original programmers had to make due to performance limitations - we could have more open tech/magick system, 3D animated characters and structured, human readable scripts. Oh, and by 3D I don't mean FPP, might be just the fixed isometric view like the original, but 3D animations - with visible weapons/armour pieces and more complex animations.

    And, yeah, whenever a discussion about Arcanum 2 / serious Arcanum project pops up, I think about the source code. A best way to get at this IMO.

    As for Unreal 3 engine - It sure would be possible to make an Arcanum-like game in that, back in the day, people made a strategy game based on the Quake2 engine, and it was a lot more restrictive then that of U3.

    It's just the sheer amount of work it would take to make the project anything like Arcanum - which is what makes me dismiss the idea. The user interface, point and click path-finding, world building blocks, models, textures, sounds, turn-based mechanics, a base for some scripting environment used to control a specific game. Simply a lot of work before it even starts to look like anything other then some messed up project aspiring to do something. Once we get past that point it should be easier, mostly adding in content and features - simply a lot of work, but it would be a lot easier to find help at that point.

    If it's going to happen, it should be made in a community project fashion, so that it can withstand the loss of interest of key project members. When the current team gets bored, at some point someone else will get the determination to make Arcanum 2 and hopefully will pick up where the previous team left - possibly getting some of them involved as well. This way, it might eventually get off the ground - be that now or in 3 takes.

    Games are made during 2-4 years, generally, by teams of professional programmers payed to do that - the lifespan of a typical fan made project is much shorter then that, and if the goals are set too high, the project has really small chance of getting off the ground before everyone on the team gets bored/a life/a girlfriend/a job.

    Having a giant TO-DO list online, attached to some working base (with traces of someone taking on some of the simpler tasks) makes it a lot easier to get people involved, also the effort is not lost when there's no one interested for 6 months.

    Being here for a while, and browsing through the arcanum 2 section, I can easily tell there have been, and will be, enough people interested in doing this to eventually get somewhere. But it lacks guidence, with some people starting little projects of their own, others stating they want to help but don't even know where to start, the wasted effort and potetial will eventually exceed that needed to actually make a fully functional Arcanum 2.

    Damn that's a long rant.
     
  19. GrimmHatter

    GrimmHatter Active Member

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    That part about assembler and translations was a fun read. I wish I had the time to go back to school. I'd get a degree in some kind of computer programming format. But I completely agree with you on the bottom half of your post, where you point out the dedication required for lengthy projects from fan communities. I've tried making mods for several games over the years and I have probably only released about 5% of everything I've ever worked on to the public. I'll only work solo, so that hinders me even more, but what I have gotten "out there" is usually just retextures, small model collections, or XP recalculations....very simple stuff. Anything that involves more than a moderate amount of detail, like full quests and dialogue options or models with animations, I've completely scrapped because time restrictions, work, or just faded interest. So I really respect the effort when I see a group of people, or even just one lonely guy at home by himself, crank out something really crazy like a another chapter full of quests or a total conversion with nothing urging them on but a love of the game.
     
  20. Hans Maulwurf

    Hans Maulwurf New Member

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