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  1. #1
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    FFXI in Unreal - a UDK project

    Download and play the latest version here: http://www.soverance.com/soldier-alpha/



    I am Scott McCutchen, the CEO of Soverance Studios and a student at the Art Institute of Atlanta.

    This is a project I have been working on for about a year, which I have affectionately dubbed Final Fantasy XI: Soldier. It is a derivative work of the major Square-Enix MMO, Final Fantasy XI, and therefore uses many of the assets (mostly 3D models, music, and of course inspiration) from that game. I chose to go this route as I am simply not the best artist, and wanted something familiar to work with, as I've been a player of FFXI and leader of a top linkshell in that game for many years. I would like to one day move this project away from FFXI, and into an original IP, though I'll need to find some people to work with first!

    I started this project knowing absolutely nothing about UDK, or really game development in general. I think it's come a long way since then, especially for a solo effort.

    View README
    View Design Documentation

    Again, you can download and play the latest version @ http://www.soverance.com/soldier-alpha/

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con..._whitegate.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...whitegate2.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...m_caedarva.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...um_zhayolm.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...m_bhaflau1.jpg


    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...m_bhaflau2.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...m_zhayolm2.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...m_bhaflau3.jpg

    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...whitegate3.jpg

    **The original post is now in the 'Spoiler' tag**

    Spoiler: show
    I made a quick video of some progress I've made on a project I've been working on with Epic's Unreal Engine. It's still in a very early stage, and I only have a cursory knowledge of UDK so I'm pretty much learning as I go.

    Either way, check it out.

    /* EDIT : More current videos of my progress found later in this thread, or at http://www.soverance.com/blog/ */



    It may also be a shameless plug for an animator, as I've not gone too far with that yet.

  2. #2
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    does this imply porting (although i dont think thats the right word here) ffxi to the unreal engine?

    I would be entirely for this. all of my money. if i had any.

  3. #3
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    looks like a decent start to something that could possibly be somewhat worthwhile

  4. #4
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    Gliding Khim makes me laugh; kind of reminds me of the Fafnir GTA video. Interesting project though; pretty curious how this progresses.

  5. #5

    Quote Originally Posted by bechyni View Post
    looks like a decent start to something that could possibly be somewhat worthwhile
    Yes, because we all know SE would let this get out of the starting blocks. Not like it's their IP or anything.

  6. #6
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    If someone can manage to run 3d ripper dx on FFXI zones it'd be amazing, as you could pretty easily import them as static meshes to UE2/3. I can't the FFXI zone viewer/FFXI itself to rip zones. Something about having an ATI video card for some reason or the other.

    Well, that is unless there is another zone viewer that I don't know about. I tried to use "ewhModel7SB.exe"

  7. #7
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    3d ripper dx imports the zones wrong. I tried lol for a while.

  8. #8
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    Well shit. I assume because it culls the polys that can't be seen/could be seen from another angle? If only those programs had the source code so you could write your own exporter/importer.

  9. #9
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    Didn't the older than hell JP program set FFXiTool display zone models? Because the source code for it was floating around. I have it anyway, but it's from Feb 2005.

  10. #10
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    I can see zone models but you'd need a program to rip the model without distorting it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hashmalum View Post
    Didn't the older than hell JP program set FFXiTool display zone models? Because the source code for it was floating around. I have it anyway, but it's from Feb 2005.
    what language is that source code written in? And if you have it, can you host it somewhere for me to download?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SovereignFFXI View Post
    what language is that source code written in? And if you have it, can you host it somewhere for me to download?
    It's C++. It was written for a very old version of Microsoft Visual C++, so any more recent version may have a hard time understanding it. Even worse is the fact that the files contain Japanese text--in Shift-JIS encoding rather than Unicode, no less. Of course all the comments and variable names and such are Japanese as well. Also, the latest compiled version I have is from Feb 2005, but the file dates for the source I have are July 2004, so it's even older than I said earlier (sorry). And I can't find the original .lzh archive the source came in so god only knows what changes I might have made to it and forgot about. If you still want it despite all this let me know.

  13. #13
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    Yeah I think I'll pass on attempting to rebuild that... thanks though lol.

    Made some progress on this project recently, adding true functionality to the HUD. Working on the targeting system now. Wish I had more time to work on it, I'd be a lot further along!

    http://youtu.be/7UAbnMwiALM?t=39s

  14. #14
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    I made a new level over the weekend, the Cloister of Flames!

    More on my blog



    http://www.soverance.com/blog/wp-con...-view2x750.png

  15. #15
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  16. #16
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    As I've never worked with Unreal, but greatly admire someone working on such side-projects while aspiring to build finer things in their future, I enjoy seeing your updates. While things were definitely very rough at the start, no one ever learned anything from doing nothing, and you must begin somewhere.

    In relation to this last video, I have to note that the way collision detection is handled in relation to the steps is jarring. Are you capable of making it a smooth incline underneath instead? While the walking will look less realistic, I'd say that—from a design and end-user enjoyment perspective—the jarring camera bobbing is much less desirable.

    The lighting from the sun is nice, but in terms of overall effects, the rest of the area feels relatively lifeless. The spread-thin texture on the floor looks out of place compared to the detailed character model, and especially up against the textures on buildings. Do you plan on ultimately populating this stage with some form of gameplay, and if so, what?

  17. #17
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    Thanks for the support Kohan!

    You're absolutely right about the staircase, it's definitely not built well. It's actually the second iteration of that staircase that you see in the video, the original was nearly unplayable. About the best I can do is shorten the stair's step height, while increasing the length. However it makes for a really long stair case to get as high as it does, and the camera effect is still noticeable to a degree. I'll likely end up turning it into a ramp just so I can move on to other areas of development lol.

    You're also right about the area feeling lifeless. I'm attributing that to the overall lighting, as this level marks my first attempt at using production lighting. While I agree that I did a pretty good job with the sky dome and sunlight (it even has a night cycle that the video does not show), my directional lighting didnt turn out so great and doesnt do much for the mood. My largest problem though is the character pawn's personal light environment. It's pretty messy right now and is likely causing 90% of the lighting issues I have.

    As for the gameplay involved with this stage, I plan to use this as the "hub." It's the locale you'll return to in order to obtain new quests, level up, equip yourself, etc. Once it's populated with NPCs, that is. The small backstory I've written is that you play as a soldier under the employ of Salaheem's Sentinels (led by Naja's father at the time), sent to the new world of Aht Urhgan to assist in establishing the first colony. That colony becomes the Aht Urghan Whitegate. So I've actually made this level large enough to where I could clear out some of the trees, and build new sections of Whitegate in their place. So I thought maybe you could return from a mission to find they've completed the Shararat Teahouse, or maybe they built the Walahra Temple while you were away, and you could pick up new quests in these areas. But that is beyond the scope of this project at the moment. I wouldn't mind having the area randomly enter Besieged, either...

  18. #18
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    I'm rather impressed to. I wish i had the ... know-how to do this kind of thing, Something i always wanted to. I could probably try to teach myself, But It'd just be easier going to school for it. Hell, Maybe I will , If i could learn enough I'd enjoy working on this type of project.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karbuncle View Post
    I'm rather impressed to. I wish i had the ... know-how to do this kind of thing, Something i always wanted to. I could probably try to teach myself, But It'd just be easier going to school for it.
    Unless you simply want to learn a language (and even then), the Internet has countless resources that you can dedicate yourself to for learning to use development tools.

    http://waylon-art.com/LearningUnreal/

    If you want to practice 3D modeling, there are also free applications for that (in comparison to the thousands of dollars that you would spend on industry standards), and plenty of tutorials for them. As for making the textures you'll employ, you can use http://www.getpaint.net/ and/or http://www.gimp.org/, both of which are free. The latter can be intimidating, but there is a wealth of related lessons on the Internet.

    SketchUp

    http://www.sketchup.com/intl/en/download/gsu.html

    http://www.sketchup.com/training/videos.html

    Blender

    http://www.blender.org/

    http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Blender_3D:_Noob_to_Pro

    And beyond all of that, if you want to learn how to code, here is a collection of structured lessons that you can take online for free:

    http://www.codecademy.com/

  20. #20
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    yeah I highly recommend Codecademy. That place is amazing for learning.

    I started this particular project in June of 2012, with very little knowledge of programming and basically zero knowledge of game design. I was simply motivated to do so, and I've since read a few books and watched countless tutorials on the subjects necessary to create what I had in mind. Nearly a year later, the above video shows my progress. Nowhere near resembling what I had in mind, but it's getting there.

    To be fair, I somewhat jumped the gun, starting to learn with Unreal. It's not exactly the easiest engine to use, and a bit high-level for beginners, but I went and did it anyway because I was impressed with the games I've seen made with it. Plus, as such a popular piece of middleware from AAA games to indies, knowing it would be helpful when searching for future employment. So it started slowly and poorly, but I'm picking up skill and speed every day.

    But I've just been going about it in my spare time... I didn't quit my day job, I still go out and party one night a week, I do a number of freelance web design tasks, and I officially started school at the Art Institute in Jan. of 2013, just a few months ago. I'm overly busy outside of this project, but games are where my heart is. Now I dont really get to PLAY many games anymore... but you know how it goes.

    As far as my opinion on school goes... I am 10000000% convinced that you do not need a degree in game development to make games. The barrier for entry is low enough now with proper middleware (like Unreal, Unity, and the hundred other tools available) and distribution portals like Steam, iOS/Android app stores, etc. Educational resources are abundantly available online, to varying degrees of quality. Between those resources and your own tinkering, I believe anyone is capable of building a game. If you truly want to be a game designer or whatever... then build games. It's really that simple.

    However, school is an excellent place to build working relationships with like-minded people. Networking is key in pretty much any professional industry, and games maybe more so. Plus, you'll likely be pushed out of your comfort zone and gain a larger breadth of knowledge than if you were just watching tutorials on YouTube. But school is kind of a personal thing... it works great for some, and not so well for others. Either way, it'll look good on a resume if you finish.

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