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"IT'S A NICELY DESIGNED GAME AS LONG AS YOU DON'T WANT ANY MEANING IN YOUR LIFE."-TIM

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Author Topic: Ultima Underworld source code release?  (Read 13467 times)

andwan0

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2017, 05:16:02 AM »

I was delving into the Ultima Underworld remakes and was surprised myself that none of them came past alpha-stage.. and they all seem to have died off. Many reasons/excuses was that UW can be made to run on modern systems easily (via DOSBox or some tweaking).

However, I still would like the remakes developed further, for hopes to get Android ports so we can play on our phones during long commutes to/from work, etc.


Here's the 7th remakes I list here for information and interest purposes:

Abysmal Engine: https://sourceforge.net/projects/abysmal/
Labyrinth of Worlds: https://sourceforge.net/projects/low/
TSSHP (The System Shock Hack Project): https://sourceforge.net/projects/tsshp/
Underworld Adventures: https://sourceforge.net/projects/uwadv/
Underworld 2 Revival: https://sourceforge.net/projects/uw2rev/
Ultima Underworld Remake: https://sourceforge.net/projects/uwsa/
Underworld Game Creation Kit (UGCK): http://www.peroxide.dk/ugck/
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khedoros

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #31 on: February 03, 2017, 01:09:05 AM »

My own purpose has been partly to create a remake of the game, and partly as a kind of "software archeology", looking at how things used to be done, examining the algorithms, and such. I'm pretty terrible at reverse engineering, but I've had at least some minimal success. Mostly, I've just got a bunch of code related to loading the game's resources and playing back the music, either through a MIDI sequencer or an emulator for the ADLIB FM synthesis hardware or the Roland MT-32. Another part that I've spent a lot of time on is the FM synthesized sound effect format. Most of the music and audio library was actually open-sourced by its original author, but that doesn't include the Origin-developed "Time-Variant Effects" code.

It's slow going though. The game's complex, and understanding even simple compiled code is tough, without comments, names for the memory locations, etc takes a lot of detective work. My ultimate reason for taking this approach is that I'd like to be able to recreate everything in the game exactly, even glitches in the rendering of the graphics (the second game's rendering engine is more advanced, and some of the texture mapping distortions were fixed). If I ditch the idea of true-to-original graphics and just use OpenGL, that gets rid of a lot of the algorithmic complexity, but I've still got to find the core game logic that defines AI and character behaviors, the exact effects of different in-game triggers, and all that.

And Underworld's one of those games that every time you play it, you're like "Oh, yeah...I need to implement that feature too..." I think the game could be reimplemented if a group could get together to work on it for a couple years solid. Maybe that's where the others died; not enough people, not enough areas of expertise, and interest that wasn't solid for long enough periods of time.
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SteveC

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #32 on: February 15, 2017, 08:29:23 PM »

My own purpose has been partly to create a remake of the game, and partly as a kind of "software archeology", looking at how things used to be done, examining the algorithms, and such. I'm pretty terrible at reverse engineering, but I've had at least some minimal success. Mostly, I've just got a bunch of code related to loading the game's resources and playing back the music, either through a MIDI sequencer or an emulator for the ADLIB FM synthesis hardware or the Roland MT-32. Another part that I've spent a lot of time on is the FM synthesized sound effect format. Most of the music and audio library was actually open-sourced by its original author, but that doesn't include the Origin-developed "Time-Variant Effects" code.

It's slow going though. The game's complex, and understanding even simple compiled code is tough, without comments, names for the memory locations, etc takes a lot of detective work. My ultimate reason for taking this approach is that I'd like to be able to recreate everything in the game exactly, even glitches in the rendering of the graphics (the second game's rendering engine is more advanced, and some of the texture mapping distortions were fixed). If I ditch the idea of true-to-original graphics and just use OpenGL, that gets rid of a lot of the algorithmic complexity, but I've still got to find the core game logic that defines AI and character behaviors, the exact effects of different in-game triggers, and all that.

And Underworld's one of those games that every time you play it, you're like "Oh, yeah...I need to implement that feature too..." I think the game could be reimplemented if a group could get together to work on it for a couple years solid. Maybe that's where the others died; not enough people, not enough areas of expertise, and interest that wasn't solid for long enough periods of time.

There's a very similar project under Unity that there's a thread about on this forum you should take a look at. It sounds like you would have a common interest!
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khedoros

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #33 on: February 21, 2017, 02:41:49 AM »

I saw that other post, and maybe there's information that we could share, based on our own separate digging. I don't have much interest in Unity itself, but if they do, I don't want to drag them into recreating the original engine, instead of going for a more modernized approach.
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RangerThoric

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #34 on: November 29, 2018, 03:30:20 PM »

So now that Underworld Ascendant is officially released, how about we re-visit the fact that there is no living resurrection of UU 1&2, despite source code being available to certain developers. How about another crowd funding to produce a modern Unity engine version of UU1? It would be trivial to strip out any Ultima specific content, since it was clearly tossed in at the last minute, and also make a Unity version of UU2 that requires ownership of the original game files.

I know I'd pay $100 to relive those games with modern graphics.

This was also answered (and evaded) in the Reddit AmA.

Quote
NashMuhandes
Do the source codes to UW and UW2 still exist? Is there any chance of those ever being released so that people can make modern source ports?

OtherSide_Ent
We do in fact have the source code. We're actually offering digital PC copies of the original Underworld 1 and 2 also, on pledge tiers $75+
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RangerThoric

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #35 on: December 01, 2018, 05:55:50 PM »

Source code would be nice, but so would an actual working remake. At the very least, I'd like to see an UU equivalent of GZDoom.
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Dewi Morgan

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #36 on: December 05, 2018, 08:38:43 PM »

My posts here were collateral damage to spam cleanup: apologies that RangerThoric's response above now shows out of sequence.

I posted that I'd gladly pay towards a kickstarter to release the source code.
RangerThoric posted that while source code was nice, a remake would be ideal.
I then argued that having the source code would allow not only a remake, but many other things too.
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RangerThoric

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #37 on: December 07, 2018, 02:00:50 PM »

Full source release would be wonderful, but apparently some licensing issues exist, probably partially because of this:

Quote from: wikipedia
"An early difficulty was the implementation of texture mapping. Neurath had experimented unsuccessfully with the concept on an Apple II computer in the late 1980s, but he believed that the more powerful IBM PCs of the time might be able to process it. He contacted Lerner Research programmer Chris Green—an acquaintance from his past work with Ned Lerner—who created a working algorithm. Using the Space Rogue engine, Green's algorithm, assembly code from Lerner Research's Car and Driver and original programming, the Blue Sky team completed a prototype of Underworld after roughly a month of work."

So the source code is likely full of bits and pieces of proprietary code that would be difficult to get permission from all the stakeholders to release.

Instead, what I am proposing, is for those that have access to the source code, to make available all non-proprietary code and information that would make it much easier to complete a modern version of the game. If ID Software can release full source code for Wolfenstein3D, DOOM, DOOM 3, Quake, Quake II, Quake III Arena, iOS ports, etc, you'd think that we'd be able to at least get a few crumbs of Ultima Underworld... enough to get a working remake going.

I argued that having the source code would allow not only a remake, but many other things too.
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Dewi Morgan

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Re: Ultima Underworld source code release?
« Reply #38 on: December 12, 2018, 09:16:18 PM »

I agree completely that even if only fragments could be released, it'd be infinitely better than nothing: I'd fund a kickstarter for that more than I'd fund any game ever.

We know SOME stuff already from reverse engineering, like that the 3D models were compiled into the executable as x/y/z triplets, and that triggers were placeable map objects called "traps", and that at least in UW2, a trap which created an item was a "skup trap". We have the dialog, but I think not the dialog trees. We know that they used sliding-window LZW compression in places. We have the graphics and 3D objects and maps extracted. We know much of the save format. And so on.

But these were historic games. They deserve the source code to be made public and celebrated. Heck, even just the structs alone would be amazing!
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