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Accidental 2

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JTippetts

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I've been doing some thinking about some stuff...

So far, this new version of the Accidental Engine is developing quite nicely along the lines of "what Golem should have been in the first place". It's basically a vastly-easier-to-work-with version of the original Golem project (though there is very little code shared between the two projects). In other words, a suitable platform upon which to build the game I started to build with the original Golem, and failed. In that light, I think I'm going to run with it, make another attempt at creating a real (and complete; that's the key objective right there) game on the framework.

Golem3D is a nice framework, don't get me wrong. And I will still probably found a complete game on it someday. But it just doesn't fit what I have in mind right now. I want to capture the "classic" Diablo feel as the original Golem did, and add gameplay elements of old Roguelikes as I did with MazeLands/ShadowLands (my old OpenGL-based roguelike). Some things just don't translate well into a fully 3D world, and full 3D introduces some complications that I really don't want to have to deal with right now. I'm not abandoning Golem3D by any means, but I am putting it into hibernation. I need to stop dividing my time/energy between the two projects.

Golem3D is, however, a nice treasure trove of tested and usable code, so the plundering thereof has commenced.

Plundering of the original Golem is on the todo list, though there will be less usable code there. I am interesting in ripping out and refactoring (slightly) the equipment/inventory management system and user interface code. It was written quite late in Golem 1's development, and was therefore a more well-designed system with a great deal more reusability than much of the rest of the codebase.

Some of the assets from Golem 1 are resurrectable, though not the ground tilesets. The ground sets in Golem 1 were built upon the tile-based philosophy, where each tile in the map holds a randomized tile in the standard diamond isometric configuration. AE2's ground, of course, is based on the philosophy of large terrain textures repeated across the map, and blended at vertices on a layer by layer basis. Totally incompatible.

I could recycle a lot of the props--stairways, signs, torches,trees, etc... Assuming I were to write an extractor, that is. Golem 1 relied heavily on a large number of custom file formats into which assets were packed, and there have been many harddrive formats in the intervening time. I no longer have the original TGA bitmaps for any of the objects. Retrieval would require delving into the old (badly documented, special-cased, and godawful-ugly) specs for the various asset file formats and writing an extractor, not something I am entirely keen on tackling right now, thank you. So I think I will probably just start from scratch. I'll dig through all my old backup disks in the hopes that I can find original Blender files for some of them, but I hold out little hope in that regard.

AE2 does not require many special formats for animation, the sole ones being formats for exporting meshes and animations from Blender. Graphical assets are stored in directory trees that are packed into PAK-style zipfiles, rather than being stuck in special asset files, so the original TGAs will always be available.

None of the character/monster animations from Golem 1 will be reusable. AE2 uses the Golem3D component-based skeletal animation code, rather than sprite-based animation for monsters, NPCs and the player. Ditto for the special effects; realtime particle systems, billboarded beams and quad-strip lightning, etc... replace the old sprite-based special effects. Not that this is entirely a shame; a lot of that old animation work is pretty crude and ugly, not to mention bloated. Some of those old monsters run to >6MB of texture memory to hold the animation. Ugh.

Aaaaaanyway.... consider this a mission statement of sorts. From here on out, it's AE2 only. If you see me veering off on any of my usual tangents, feel free to yell at me, call me bad names, and make fun of my nerdy clothes.
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